VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
JULY 28, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Dr. Don Hines, a former state senator who is involved with a mission project in Guatemala. Dr. Hines is working with a group from Avoyelles Parish who is taking care of some 150 children in a small village in Guatemala.
He gave a power point presentation showing that with the assistance of telemedicine, the children in this mission is able to get world class medical consultation through modern technology. For example, Dr. Hines stated that with a special stethoscope, the heart beat of a child in Guatemala can be heard at his medical office in Bunkie, Louisiana.
He mentioned that the village in the mountains has a year round temperature in the 60’s to 73 degrees year round.
Dr. Hines said it is a great experience . He was the guest speaker of Rotary Member Peter Strawitz.
In other business, the club was reminded that the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a political rally at the Civic Center on August 27.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that the business office for Centurylink will close August 7. She is trying to get the company to change their minds and keep it open so local residents can continue to pay their bills in person.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
JULY 21, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte met today (Tuesday) at noon and heard from Rotarian Trey Prudhomme, administrator of Heritage Manor Nursing home.
Prudhomme showed an artist’s drawing of the new Heritage Manor Nursing home that is due to be built in 2016. The ground breaking is scheduled for August 3 at the 13 acre site on West Main adjacent to Tate’s Men and Boys. The 66,600 square foot building will have a $16 million dollar price tag. The general contractor will be Ratcliffe Construction from Alexandria.
The new nursing home will have 124 beds and with the exception of the Alzheimer unit will all be private room and private baths. Currently, Heritage Manor employs 101 employees and Prudhomme is looking at increasing the staff to 120.
The owners of Heritage Manor Nursing Home have three options on what to do with the old building once the move is made: donate the facility to a non- profit agency, demolish the building and sell the property or turn the building into an evacuation shelter.
The building was first constructed in 1963 and was known as Maison De Sante. The last improvements to the building were done in 1986.
He reported that the private pay cost for nursing home care is about $4750 a month.
The Evangeline Parish School Board
July 15, 2015
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center. Superintendent, Toni Hamlin on asking the Board to approve a CNP Plan associated with re-opening the cafeteria at James Stephens Montessori. The school has had its cafeteria closed for 4 years and meals have been “satellited in” from Ville Platte Elementary. Due to the change in requirements for school breakfasts and lunches and to the number of students who now attend James Stephens, the cost to re-open the school’s cafeteria will be much less than having to buy more vehicles to transport meals and having to build an addition to Ville Platte Elementary to accommodate the extra food and supplies. Some personnel will be shifted to accommodate the re-opening. The Board was happy to hear the news and stated that the staff at James Stephens will be happy as well.
Toni Hamlin congratulated Principal Cherie Fontenot for being named Elementary Principal of the Year for the whole state during the Cecil J. Picard Gala that was held in Baton Rouge. She stated she was very proud of Cherie since she has only been a principal for 4 years. She stated that Cherie is humble in being honored and always says “It’s all teamwork.”, but Ms. Hamlin added in agreement that it does take team work, but it still takes a good leader.
The Board approved a motion to raise the cost of lunches for the 2015/16 school year from $1.45 to $1.50.
Sales Tax collections for the month of June for 2014-2015 were up $12,690.00 from this time last year.
The Board approved a motion to purchase an air conditioning unit from the low bidder, May’s Heating and Cooling for the Mamou High School Auditorium. Toni Hamlin stated that now all of our schools have a least some form of air conditioning where events are held.
JULY 14, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte heard from Rotarian Eric Gil report on major changes in the health care industry. Gil, an insurance agent, reported that individual health care policies can only be purchased during a sign up period between November 1 and Feb. 15. Individuals can visit their insurance agent or go to healthcare.gov to review the various policies.
He urges insurance clients to find out what insurance company you’re dealing with, review the policy and know what it covers for example does it cover cancer cases, organ transplants, mental health, and rehabilitation. He strongly urged people to not choose a policy solely on price alone.
He urged people to get Medicare supplements and to review your old health care policies. He said in many cases your old health care plans offer more coverage than the new updated policies.
In other rotary news, Club President Mitch Elmand Fontenot said the board has decided to move its “ Shots for Tots” project targeting your pre- school age children in October rather than in October.
In community news, Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin announced that Cherie Fontenot , last weekend, was named Elementary Principal of the Year for the entire state. She is principal at the James Stephens Montessori School.
Also, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that crime cameras have been installed at various high crime areas of the city. The mayor said more cameras are planned to be installed in the future to help combat crime.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
JULY 7, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte took place today (Tuesday ) at noon with new Club President Mitch Elmand Fontenot conducting his first meeting as new president.
Fontenot provided a power point presentation to rotary members on his goals and plans for the new rotary year. His mission is to make the local organization a more vibrant club, develop new projects and recruit new members. His goal is to raise the membership by ten percent or at least five new members.
The new president outlined the planned projects for the new year and they include: LSU-Eunice Scholarship fund raiser, Coreil Vo Tech fund raiser, Rotary Youth Leadership Camp sponsorship, Interact Club for high school age students, the Choices Program where rotary members encourage students in school to make correct choices and to stay in school, new Shots for Tots program, do a joint service project with the Chamber of Commerce and to support Chicot State Park.
It was learned by Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin that the first day of classes in public schools will be August 13.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury
July 6, 2015
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury met tonight in the Police Jury room at the courthouse. The topic of jail expenses and expenses from the tax department. Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, informed the Jury that Sheriff, Eddie Soileau, sent a “stack of bills” to the Police Jury asking that they pay them or reimburse his office from payment of those bills. He also referred to a revised statute indicating that the Jury is responsible for certain bills related to jail expenses and the tax office. However, there was much confusion about the bills and whether the Jury is responsible for them, especially since the invoices were not put through the proper channels with the Police Jury, including being approved and being put through the P.O. system. Donald pointed out that the expenses from the tax office should already be covered because the Sheriff already gets a flat “cost” fee of $165.00 from each property tax sale. The Jury’s attorney, Marcus Fontenot, stated “while it is the responsibility of the Jury to support the tax collector, there needs to be an accounting given to the Jury accounting for all of the tax sale proceeds on each sale so we can ensure his office is not “double dipping”, and then there needs to a “checks and balances” system set up to ensure that proper procedures are being followed”. Juror, Lamar Johnson, inserted that he thinks “it’s crazy that the Sheriff is asking the Jury for money, like he wants two sources of funding.” Donald Bergeron said he does not understand the “jail expenses” that they are being asked to pay for since there is already a Jail Supply List that is approved every day. Juror, Bryan Vidrine, said as much as he wants to support those they need to be held to the proper procedures just like any other entity. Finally, Legal Council, Marcus Fontenot advised the Jury that they should not pay the bills because the proper procedures were not followed. The Police Jury agreed and voted to not pay the bills and didn’t think legally they could or should.
Jury President, Ryan Ardoin, said Evangeline Parish is officially part of the Acadiana Planning Commission and he thinks very positive things are going to come from it. They will help with grant money, adjudicated houses, building permits, etc.
The Quick Stop in Redell was granted a liquor permit.
JUNE 30, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard a legislative update report from State Representative Bernard LeBas. The session was primarily a money session since the state was 1.6 billion in the red. The lawmakers had to find new ways to raise revenues.
Among the bills that were approved: a 50 cent a pack increase in cigarette taxes, removing the state tax exemption on solar energy panels, reduce the inventory tax credit by 25% and increasing the vehicle title fees.
The legislature is looking at going into a veto session to possibly over ride veto’s by the governor . Those veto’s include : a cost of living raise to state retirees that amounted to $30 a month; collect the state 4 percent sales tax on online sales ; putting a cap on how much the state could spend on the Tops program; reducing the tax credits to movies made in the state from $264 million down to $180 million dollars.
Le Bas was the special guest of Rotarian Dan Poret. This meeting was the last meeting conducted by outgoing President David Mayeaux. The next meeting will be conducted by incoming president Mitch Elmand Fontenot.
ROTARY CLUB MEETING
JUNE 23, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Leonard Rainey, regional representative for U.S. Senator David Vitter. Rainey handles constituent services such as Social Security, FEMA, HUD and Immigration issues.
Rainey reported that Sen. Vitter is chairman of the Small Business Committee in the Senate. In Louisiana, some 145,000 people are unemployed and the senator is working hard to help the small business owner through improvements in infrastructure.
Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot asked Rainey to get the senator’s support to four lane US 167 between Ville Platte and Opelousas.
In other business, Rotarian Larry Lachney announced that there have been three applicants that applied for the two rotary scholarships at the Coreil Campus at Louisiana Technical College.
Also, Rotary Club President David Mayeaux announced that five new Rotary road signs will be erected in the next few weeks at various intersections in Ville Platte.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury met last night in the courthouse. The Jury re-appointed two members to the Solid Waste Commission and replaced Secretary/Treasurer, Phil Miller, with Pat Soileau. The Jury also appointed Fred Fontenot to the Ward 5 Fire District Board.
There had been some confusion regarding the auto insurance policy for all of the Parish vehicles. According to Police Jurors, State Farm Insurance Company had quoted the Jury with incorrect pricing for the policy and sent a letter to them stating their coverage would be cancelled. After working with the Jury, State Farm finally decided to honor the quote they had previously given the Jury.
Police Jurors unanimously passed a resolution to display “In God We Trust” in the Police Jury Room for all public meetings.
The Jury announced that the Industrial Park water tower is now in the process of “getting a face lift”. They are also still in the process of working with black top on the roads in the Parish.
They also voted to confirm The Gazette as the official Journal.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
JUNE 9, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today (Tuesday) for their weekly meeting at Nick’s on Main and heard from Electrical Contractor Winston LaFleur. LaFleur spoke on a new group he has begun known as Ville Platte Christian Mission. The group works on raising money to go on yearly missions to Honduras. He said last March, the group raised money through a city wide garage sale. While in Honduras, the group helped construct two homes and perform a water purifying project. Winston was the special guest of Rotarian Kermit Miller.
Club President Elect Mitch Fontenot conducted the meeting and reminded Rotarians of the annual installation banquet planned for next Tuesday June 16 at 6;00pm at Nick’s On Main. There will be no noon club meeting next week. It was also announced that Peter Strawitz has been elected as a new incoming board member.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that the city is under a night time curfew for minors from 10-5 weekday nights and 12-5 on weekends.
Congratulations to Bonnie Meche for being our weekly winner of a Family Fun 4-Pack of tickets to Blue Bayou/Dixie Landin'. We will have another drawing this Friday morning so keep listening for your splashy "cue to call" and be caller 10 to qualify. Good Luck!
The Evangeline Parish School Board
June 3, 2015
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center. There were quite a few support personnel in attendance as well as Principals and Administrators. The main topic of discussion was the adoption of the 2015-2016 Salary Schedule that has been put together by the Superintendent’s Committee Members and forwarded to each school for input from the Administrators and staff members. There was lengthy discussion about how certain support personnel would be affected by the “rating” system included in the plan and how that would affect the outcome of each person’s pay, including Merit payments. Superintendent, Toni Hamlin and CFO, Amy LaFleur explained at length how the final plan was put together and said it was “fair, equitable and affordable.” There were support personnel in attendance who told the Board they were very happy with the plan and supported it. The Board did end up passing the Salary Schedule as the Committee presented it. Ms. Hamlin thanked the Committee for all of its hard work. Those members, including her, are Darwan Lazard, Amy LaFleur, Kelli LaFleur, Sherral Tezeno, Wanda Verrette, Johnell Celestine, Deborah Charles and Jacki Wyble. President, Wayne Dardeau thanked the lunch room ladies from across the Parish for “all of the hard work they do for very little pay.”
Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, stated there are 103 children enrolled in Summer School.
She also stated that some teachers are currently attending the State Leadership Summit in New Orleans. Last year they sent 30 teachers; however, in an effort to save traveling costs, they only sent 2 or 3 teachers. They will come back and present the information on Staff Development Day.
UNITED WAY AWARDS CEREMONY
JUNE 3, 2015
St. Landry/Evangeline United Way held their annual awards banquet Tuesday night. Among the awards given out were Mark Suellentrop, Cabot Corporation Manager named as Board Member of the Year. KVPI and the Ville Platte Gazette were given plaques for our news coverage throughout the year for United Way Projects.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
JUNE 2, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Kip Manuel give a brief history of Manuel Hardware. He stated there were four investors that began in 1948 Roy Tractor Company in Ville Platte: Leroy Soileau, Gilbert Aucoin, John Miller and Sam Miller with two employees: Henry Lee Manuel and A.B. Billeaudeau. A few years later in 1950, the owners sold the company to the two employees. The company began selling hay balers and shredders in addition to tractors. Also the company began selling grain bins as the business continued to grow through the years. In 1972, Henry Lee Manuel convinced his son, Kip, who was attending college to come work in the business. Kip acquired a contractor’s license and began building metal buildings. Among the customers the company constructed buildings included Cabot, Union Tank, Holloway and T&J Ford. Kip Manuel introduced the new owners of the business, Ryan Vidrine. He is a graduate of McNeese and has been in the Ag industry for a number of years. He and his wife are planning to expand the business into new markets.
In other business:
Welcomed the new editor of the Ville Platte Gazette: Raymond Partsche;
Was reminded that the annual installation banquet will be June 16 at 6;00pm at Nick’s on Main;
Was told that there will be a garage sale at Eric Gil’s State Farm Office on LaSalle Saturday from 7-12 noon for the Make A Wish foundation;
Is still seeking applicants for the Rotary Scholarship for the Coreil Campus of Louisiana Technical College.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
MAY 26, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Guest Speaker Willie Bergeron of Cleco. He gave some conservation measures for customers to save on their electricity bill this summer. He said heating and cooling amounts to 45% of the monthly power bill. Cleco suggests the thermostat should be set at 68 degrees in the winter and 78 degrees in the summer and to use a programmable thermostat. The next greatest user of energy in the home is the water heater which takes about 15 percent of the power bill. The water heater should be set at not higher than 125 degrees. Bergeron mentioned plugged in devices that are known as energy vampires such as computers, cell phone chargers and TV’s. Bergeron works for Cleco out of the Eunice office and was the guest speaker of Rotarian Nicole Wenger.
Rotarians were notified by Wayne Vidrine that three students from Ville Platte schools will be attended the Rotary sponsored RYLA camp at Lake Fausse Park: McKenzie Fontenot, Taylor Leger and Tracy Trahan.
Leonard Fontenot reported that Peter Strawitz and Wayne Vidrine will be named Paul Harris Fellows at the upcoming June 16 Installation Banquet for their $500 matching contribution to Rotary International.
Rotarian Mark Suellentrop reported that the recently completed Choices Program reached over 300 students in all but three schools in the parish.
May 20, 2015
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center at Ville Platte High.
Parent, Tiffany Allison of Mamou, addressed the Board about two alleged incidents that took place on the school bus her children rode. One involved an alleged slapping of a child by the school bus driver and the other involved the driver allegedly dropping her 2nd child off a mile and a half away from the correct drop off point. Board Members, Wanda Skinner and David Landreneau also expressed concerns about other complaints that have been reported to them. Lance with First Student addressed the concerns and stated that he, along with the school principal, reviewed the video tapes from the bus and found no incident of a slapping; however, did acknowledge that the driver did drop the second child off at the wrong point. Wanda Skinner advised that the driver does not reside in the parish. Lance with First Student advised the driver has been taken out of the parish.
Recognition was given to Pine Prairie Student, Lelia Deville, by Pine Prairie Assistant Principal, Andrew Dwyer, for her upcoming attendance at the 2015 National Future Business Leaders of America Leadership Conference in Chicago, Illinois from June 26th through July 3rd. The School Board unanimously voted to contribute $200.00 for her attendance.
The School Board voted to continue the millage rates that are currently in effect for this year.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB ROTARY MEETING
MAY 19, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte Tuesday heard from Evangeline Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Liz Hill, who is also in charge of the 9-1-1 Communications District. She informed club members that construction work is progressing on the new 9-1-1 communications facility at the Industrial Park. The concrete slab has just been poured for the 8,000 square foot building located next the Coreil Campus of South Louisiana Community College. This compares with their current location which is only 1400 square feet.
The 9-1-1 communications board has been working and saving for over ten years for this new building which will have larger space for the communications center that will have the latest technology with a price tag of $400,000. It will house training rooms and other offices and space for emergency agencies to re locate during hurricanes and other critical times for use as incident command. The $2 million dollar facility is being built through a bond issue using local banks. It is expected to be completed in the next eleven months. The board is making every effort to keep jobs locally by using local sub contractors when possible.
Liz Hill was the special guest of Rotarian Hillary Hill. He reminded club members of the Ville Platte VFW 75th anniversary celebration June 13 at the Our Lady Queen of All Saints Family Life Center. The State VFW Commander and Adjutant are expected to attend.
Rotarian Mark Suelentrop reported on the success the club is having with the Choices program being taught in schools through out the parish. Club members are going to classrooms and encouraging students to stay in school. So far the program has reached 318 students parishwide.
The Ville Platte City Council
May 12, 2015
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight in City Hall. Prior to the meeting, a public hearing was held regarding the issuance of a liquor permit to J.C. Ceasar who has purchased the property on the corner of MLK Drive and Dr. Carver. He intends to remodel the property and open a restaurant named The Creole House. There were quite a few in attendance of support for Mr. Ceasar and there were also those who voiced concerns about parking in the area as well as problems from alcohol sales. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine explained that she had received approximately 60 calls from residents voicing concerns as well. After long discussions back and forth and with advisement from City Attorney Eric Lafleur, the Council voted to grant the liquor permit for a 6 month period and will continue it should Mr. Ceasar meet the requirement of having sales of food of more than 50% of total sales.
It was a happy time, when Ms. Ville Platte, Candace Bennatt, who is now Ms. Louisiana came and spoke to the council. She received a standing ovation from everyone when the Mayor announced that Candace has chosen her “city to represent” as Ville Platte. She said she chose Ville Platte because it reminds her of her hometown of Huffman, Texas and that she is very proud of Ville Platte. Her boyfriend, Jack Walker was also in attendance. The Miss USA Pageant will air on NBC at 8:00 p.m. on July 12th from Baton Rouge.
The Council voted to approve the V.P. Youth on the Move Summer Program which employee 24 children ages 16-18 over a 2 month period. The child must live in the City of Ville Platte. They will work in area businesses and receive other training pertaining to entering the work force, interviews, etc.
The Mayor announced that she has been appointed to the Louisiana Housing and Transportation Commission and this will help with planning for transportation in Ville Platte as well as working for affordable housing.
She also reminded everyone that if you have an abandoned property, clean it up or you will be fined if you receive a warning and don’t. The first fine is $1,000.00 and goes up from there. If the City has to clean it, the cost will be put on your tax bill.
The expenditures for the month of April were $192,411.07 and that is down $25,360.18 from the month of March.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
MAY 12, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from special guest speaker District Judge Chuck West.
Judge West told club members that he and Judge Gary Ortego in cooperation with the Clerk of Court have made changes and improvements to the jury selection process. He said the public needs to be aware of the need to appear for possible jury duty. Some 300 people are subpoenaed in a given month for civil and criminal trials. As a means to inform more of the general public, the public can now go on line and see when the jury trials are set and if they need to report.
Also both judges have signed up to speed up the process for arrest and search warrants. In the past, sometimes it could take hours to notify a judge after hours or on weekends to review and sign a warrant. Now, Judges West and Ortego have signed up for an online warranty generator. Through this process, it reduces the turnaround time from up to two hours down to 15 minutes.
Judge West is also concerned with security in the court rooms and throughout the courthouse. “Sometimes we deal with tense and explosive situations between the accused and victims and we need better security, “the judge said. Currently courthouse departments are pooling their resources to ramp up security personnel and measures. Judge West was the special guest of Rotarian Jimmy LeBlanc.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury
May 11, 2015
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the Courthouse. Discussions were had during the thirty minute meeting about a request from FEMA for OEP to refund $8,367.15 is was given nine years ago to use for overtime pay after Hurricane Gustov. Since FEMA determined the Jury did not have a policy in place regarding overtime at that time, FEMA decided to “not allow” the funds to be kept and repayment has now been requested. The Jury voted unanimously to give FEMA the refund out of the General Fund.
The Police Jury voted to “deny” an alleged auto damage claim in excess of $2,000.00. The Claimant says his “rims were bent” from a pothole in the parish.
Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, reported that he and Ryan Williams both attended the Acadiana Planning Commission Meeting where Mr. Eric Kolabota with the LA Department of Transportation and Development spoke regarding the list of road projects that will be coming in the future should funding for those projects go through. Proposals for “Dues” to be in the Planning Commission could run approximately $5,000.00/year should everything move forward. The next meeting will be held on July 30th and will be held in Evangeline Parish.
Mr. Bergeron reported that the Sales Tax Collection for the month of March was $299,095.09.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, reported that due to all of the rain, it was put a delay in the chip and seal project. Until the roads dry out, they are unable to prepare the roads to continue with the project. The Police Jury voted to allow the Public Works Department to replace a bridge on James Lane in District 1 in the amount of $11,200.00
City Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, reported that there will be a “Pre-Bid Conference” tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. in the Police Jury Office in the conference room regarding the bids being received soon in the micro-surfacing project.
The Evangeline Parish School
May 7, 2015
The Evangeline Parish School Board held it’s bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center. The Board was presented with a Resolution currently being submitted by the Iberia Parish School Board opposing any changes to the Inventory Tax Repeal. Superintendent, Toni Hamlin explained that if the repeal of the tax collection is passed it would cost the School Board $1.1 million dollars and the Parish would suffer losing $3.5 million dollars. The Resolution asks that the State of Louisiana find alternate ways to recover from its $1.6 billion dollar deficit.
There were quite a few teachers and administrators in attendance at the meeting and the topic of teacher and support staff salary structure were discussed. The Executive Committee recently met to establish a salary structure which is based on “levels” teachers and workers are placed in and each level carries a different financial aspect to the structure. Yvonne Johnson, Resource Teacher at Pine Prairie High School addressed the Board and thanked them for addressing the salary issue. She also voiced concern over certain levels regarding the difference in a Bachelor’s Degree vs. a Master’s. Cheryl Deseneaux also addressed the Board and stated “After 36 years working in the Parish, she never was part of the financial aspect until now.” She now understands how the Board has been consistent with preserving the jobs of “everyone”. She stated due to all of the different financial aspects the Board and Parish continues to go through, she feels the Board should keep the current structure “as it is.”
Chief Financial Officer, Amy LaFleur, reported that the sales tax comparison for the month of April was $701,001.31 and that is down $51,631.07 from this time last year. However, she stated that the Board is still ahead for the fiscal year by $234,745.07.
Toni Hamlin announced the following graduation dates:
Mamou High School – May 15th ,Pine Prairie High School – May 14th ,Ville Platte High School – May 14th, Basille High School – May 15th
Ms. Hamlin also announced that it is Teacher’s Appreciation/Employee Appreciation Week and she thanked all employees for the hard work and great job they do every day.
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center at Ville Platte High School.
An important discussion was had regarding HB 177 that was passed through committee today in Baton Rouge. If passed, the Bill would eliminate any governmental agency from collecting inventory taxes as they have in the past. There was much discussion on how devastating this would be to many different entities as in school boards, maintenance funds, athletic funds, etc. Board President, Wayne Dardeau, said he spoke to Representative Eric Lafleur, who is on the Executive Finance Committee, and he indicated he was for the Bill; however, stated that he said there should be an amendment where the lost money would have to be recouped by another means. The question was asked “Where is that money going to come from?” The general response was “There is no-where for it to come from.” Several members of the Board questioned as to why Rep. Lafleur is in favor of such a Bill. The Bill will go to the floor for debate on April 27th. President Dardeau stated that Rep. Lafleur also said that he was not sure if the Bill could be passed without a Constitutional Amendment.
The Evangeline Sales Tax Comparison for the month of March was $528,417.92 and that is down $11,842.01 down from this time last year.
Keith Fontenot, Tina Guillory and Todd Fontenot presented the Board with a 4-H report that included information on some of the various programs offered to students, farmers, and homeowners. It was noted that, due to the recent weather, they have fielded a variety of different phone calls regarding everything from bees, ants, various other insects and other issues with what the vast amount of rain brought with it. Board President, Wayne Dardeau thanked all three of them for their continued efforts and assistance to the students and people in the parish.
On Wednesday, April 29th, there will be an Executive Committee Meeting to discuss various subjects including the “Jumpstart” program and salary issues. Principles from area schools will be in attendance.
The next School Board Meeting will be held on May 7th instead of May 6th.
U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LAUNCHING INVESTIGATION OF VILLE PLATTE POLICE DEPARTMENT
APRIL 21, 2015
The Ville Platte City Police Department is the target of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, according to Mayor Jennifer Vidrine. The mayor told KVPI News that she received news this (Tuesday) morning in a letter. She has reviewed the letter with Police Chief Neal Lartigue. Mayor Jennifer and Chief Lartigue announced that they will fully cooperate with the investigation. “We will be fully transparent and comply with any and all recommendations that come out of this investigation.” The mayor could not release any additional information on the specifics of the investigation. As soon as we receive any further word, we will inform our listeners.
FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT
APRIL 19, 2015
KVPI is sponsoring a Fan Appreciation Night for its listeners by giving away dozens of prizes all for the benefit of Evangeline Community Autism Network . The event is planned for this Saturday night from 6;00-12 midnight at Nick’s on Main. Tickets $20 per person. The first fifty people also receive a free T Shirt.
Enjoy music Alyse Young, Dayne West, Mitch Attales and Spencer Racca. Bring your dancing shoes and party the night away. The KVPI crew will be there so come meet us. There will be a cash bar, and food will be available from Nick’s menu.
Our fans will have a chance to win great door prizes including: four tickets to Blue Bayou Dixie Landing, a one night stay and a meal for two at Paragon Casino Resort, Movie Tickets, McDonalds Food vouchers, Disney on Ice Prize Packs, KVPI T Shirts, Koozies, Cups and Bumper Stickers.
We will also have a raffle to win a Crawfish Boiling kit, a sack of crawfish and a $100 Wal-Mart gift Card. $1 per chance. The winner will be announced that night.
KVPI is planning a Radio-Thon Friday from 9-12 noon on both KVPI AM and FM where those who wish to make a donation for Evangeline Community Autism Network may do so over the phone. Parents will go to your home or business to pick up your tax deductable donation.
Our special thanks to our sponsors: Woodman of the World, Sheriff Eddie Soileau, Paragon Casino Resort, Fontenot’s Hatchery, KVPIU, Nick’s On Main, The Y Not Stop Shell, Citizens Bank, Fontenot Physical Therapy, Blakes Pharmacy, Cabot Corporation, City of Ville Platte, Evangeline Bank and Trust Company, T&J Ford, and Cajun Catfish and Kitchen.
VILLE PLATTE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET NOMINEES
APRIL 17, 2015
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual banquet on Wednesday April 29 at the Ville Platte Civic Center. The highlight of the event is the announcement of the civic award winners.
Here are the nominations:
Nominees for Ville Platte Man of the Year: Randy Deshotels Clerk of Court and Nick LeBas with Evangeline Drug Store;
Nominees for Ville Platte Woman of the Year: Jennifer Meylian with KVPI; Linda Lebsack with Friends of the Library and Evangeline Parish Tourism Commission; Mary Foster Galasso with the Evangeline Parish Library;
Business of the Year- Budget Rental ; Cabot Corporation, Citizens Bank, Cottage Couture, Evangeline Parish Communications-911; Laville Funeral Home; Leroy’s Cajun Meats; Mayeaux Wealth Partners, Rick’s Custom Signs, The Hatchery and Walk and Sons -Slap Ya Mama.
Business Person of the Year- Anita Fontenot-owner of the Hatchery and Southwest Loan Companies; Annette Johnson of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven and Co; Clem Lafleur-Owner of Lafleur Industries; Darin Bordelon-owner of Laville Funeral Home; Donald Fontenot- Storage Facility Manager of Pine Prairie Energy; Leroy Fontenot-Owner of Leroy’s Cajun Meats; Liz Hill-Director of Evangeline Parish Communications 9-1-1; Maggie Eades-Owner of Cottage Couture; Sheila Saunders of Cottage Couture; Larry Lachney-Owner of Papa Gators Cajun Foods, Money Mart, Gators Drive Through and Lachney Properties.
Congratulations to all the nominees.
The Ville Platte City Council
April 14, 2015
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight at Ville Platte City Hall. Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, and all of the City Councilmen were in attendance.
Real Estate Developer, J.C. Ceasar, approached the City Council with his plans to renovate, rejuvenate and turn the property he purchased at the corner of Dr. Carver and MLK Drive into a restaurant similar to that of Buffalo Wild Wings. He will be filing an application for a liquor permit to serve alcohol similar to that of the big chain restaurant. There was some hot discussion back and forth about the issuance of a liquor permit in that area. Mr. Ceasar reported that he has met with many residents in the area and received a lot of approval to go ahead with the project. Mayor Vidrine expressed that she has received calls from some area residents who, because of the past in the area, and where they live, they were against a liquor permit being issued. Councilman Bryant Riggs spoke in support of giving Mr. Caesar a chance with the project because he knows Mr. Ceasar’s reputation, his service in the military, his help with other projects in Ville Platte, and commented that we “should not focus on the past, but the future.” Area resident, Joycee Thomas, spoke out against the project as she lives directly across the street and says that since the clubs in that area have closed she “now pass peace and can sleep at night.” Wanda Skinner came to the podium and said she was very much “for the project” and that she is “tired of always having to travel to the other side of town to get something to eat. There will be a public hearing for comments at 4:30 p.m. before the next meeting on May 12th.
The Police Jury unanimously agreed to grant a permit to Stout & Co. to construct and erect a 195 foot tower on the south end of town off of Hickory that will be used by multiple wireless companies to better cell phone coverage, and internet speed. Stout reported that the project should be completed in the next 120 days.
Tiffany Barth spoke to the Council and Mayor regarding the introduction of an ordinance regarding a Drinking Water Protection Program. She presented a draft ordinance patterned after the EPA standards for protection of our public water supply from possible contaminations. One of the items in the draft ordinance, which can be altered by the Council if adopted, is to have restrictions within 1,000 feet of any water well serving an active public water system. When asked the question “What kind of opposition do you receive from these ordinances in other places?” she replied “Normally from the farming community”. The Council’s legal council will now be reviewing the draft ordinance and there will be a public hearing for comments at 4:45 p.m. at the next meeting on May 12th..
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine reported that the City has just submitted a $5 Million dollar grant application to build 30 new, affordable, brick homes in the Woods Section of Town. She stated: “We want people to rebuild on that side of town and be proud to live and stay there.”
The Mayor announced and congratulated Kennedy Wilson, a senior at Ville Platte High School, who has received the LA Housing Aid Scholarship in the amount of $1,800.00. The scholarship that was based on academic performance, extra- curricular activities, community service and a submitted essay.
There will be a 4-way stop sign installed at the corner of Coreil & Jefferson Street.
The Mayor has been working with the Senior V.P. of Suddenlink out of Dallas and says they are going to be doing a $150,000.00 upgrade to their equipment in our area around July.
She also announced that they are currently waiting for the permits to place the first three flag poles at the entrance of Ville Platte near Tobacco Plus. The first three will be the American Flag, the State of Louisiana flag and a flag that is being developed for the City of Ville Platte. Other flags will be added later and plans are being made to put in a water feature at the same site.
They met with the Mayor of Paris France and gave her a replica of the news French/English signs being erected in the City and the Mayor returned to France to place it in her office.
The Mayor thanks Thomas Scully for all of his hard work and dedication at the new ball complex in Ville Platte. Scully reported that the “Tournament Action” is going well and that at the last tournament the gate and concession collected approximately $10,000.00.
Lastly, the Council unanimously voted to get the ball rolling on a new Planning and Zoning Commission for our area.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
APRIL 14, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte heard from the Sacred Heart Interact Club. Interact is a rotary sponsored organization for high school students. Among those who spoke were Claire Bordelon, President of the local group. She gave a report on some of the activities her organization performed during the past year: making regular visits to Heritage Manor Nursing Home to play bingo with the residents; cleaning the Sacred Heart School Prayer Garden. She also announced that the recent polio project in conjunction with the local rotary club raised over $300 that will be donated to Rotary International to help in their efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.
Tori Ann Veillon, a senior at Sacred Heart was named Interact Student for the entire rotary district. She gave an essay on what Interact means to her and some of the projects the group was involved in. The group assisted in Food for Families Food Drive last December.
Kim LeJeune, Sacred Heart Development Director informed Rotarians of the annual Sacred Heart benefit coming up on May 23 from 6:30-11:00pm. The school will have a 9 piece band performing and providing a buffet meal. There will also be a live and a silent auction. Tickets will be $80 per person.
The three speakers were the guests of Rotarian Larry Lachney.
Also, KVPI Program Director Jennifer Meylian addressed the Rotary Club about the KVPI Benefit event planned for Saturday April 25 for the benefit of Evangeline Community Autism Network. The benefit dance will take place from 6:00-12 midnight at Nicks on Main and will feature four musical acts. Tickets are $20 per person and available now at KVPI. She shared her personal story of raising her daughter, Sarah, that was diagnosed with autism at age 4. The group is a support group that provides help, support and education to families in Evangeline Parish with an autistic child.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury
April 13, 2015
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the Evangeline Parish Courthouse. Keith Fontenot, Tina Guillory and Todd Fontenot with the LSU AG Center addressed the Jury and told of various services the AG Center provides for our area and neighboring parishes, including educational programs regarding production practices and Master programs such as Farmer and Logger programs. Ms. Guillory stated the focus for the 4-H Nutrition and Health Programs has been etiquette and manners, including cell phone etiquette, cyber safety, making a commitment and following through, cheating versus honesty and dressing appropriately for occasions. Todd Fontenot spoke regarding the Live Stock Program, Cattlemen’s Show and the success they are having with the shooting program. They thanked the Jury for use of the buildings used for their programs and for helping with other assistance.
The Police Jury unanimously voted to adopt the 2015 Amendments to the Budget, which will include $19,000.00 requested by Judge Chuck West to make improvements to both district courtrooms, including wiring for the sound system, etc.
Philip Lemoine addressed the Jury regarding various insurance changes, issues with certain coverages, savings possibilities and persons covered. He reported that The Affordable Care Act continues to be a thorn and he continues to receive “New Rules” regarding the program.
Kenneth Johnson with Crooked Creek reported to the Jury that there have been problems with campers keeping loud music playing late into the night. The Jury approved changing the rule to having a cut-off time of 10:00 p.m. sharp. They reiterated that the rule will be enforced. There will also be changes coming as to “Golf Cart Passes”. It was reported that people try to “sneak in” golf carts and until a new program is established, they will be handing out golf cart tags at the front gate that must be on your golf cart showing when you checked in, what spot you are camping in, and when you are departing.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, advised the Jury of two bridges that are in need of serious…on Stage Coach Road and 4 Mile Road. They Jury approved Mr. Granger hiring a new crew for Chip & Seal that will begin at the South end of the parish. He advised if you are interested in applying for any positions, please go to Acadiana Works and apply.
Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, reported that the 2% Sales Tax collected for February was $198,544.00 and that is down $18,000.00 from this time last year.
FESTIVAL WRAP UP
APRIL 12, 2015
Despite a rainy start Friday, both parish festivals ended with nice weather and plenty of activities for local and area residents.
The 31st Annual Boggy Bayou Festival began Thursday at the festival grounds and ended Saturday night. All of the funds raised go to the Prairie Manor Nursing Home. Events were hampered Friday with all the rain. However things greatly improved Saturday. Crowds came out and enjoyed the carnival rides, music by Ashton Dupre, Mitch Attales and Jaryd Lane. KVPI FM was there doing a live remote broadcast with Jenn Meylian Saturday from 10-12 noon. Organizer Bernice Ardoin wants to thank the many volunteers and everyone who came out for making it another great year for the festival.
The first ever “Le Grand Hoorah” festival, a festival of Louisiana culture took place Friday night and all day Saturday. Again, rain fell for the Friday night event however there were several hundred festival goers assembled under the big dance tent to enjoy Steve Riley and Doug Kershaw and had a great time. On Saturday with the sun shining, the crowds came out and everyone enjoyed the musical acts, great food and activities for the kids. The music included Horace Trahan, Kyle Huval and Déjà Vu. Organizer Gilbert Winky Aucoin wants to thank all the many volunteers, sponsors, groups and the public for their support in making it a successful festival and looks forward to next year. KVPI FM was there covering the event live with a remote Saturday morning from 10-12 noon.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
APRIL 8, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club Tuesday heard from Missy Grimmett, a workforce developer with the Louisiana Workforce Commission. She told Rotarians that the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act was signed into law on July 1 of last year. She said her primary focus is to work with employers in finding the skilled workers they need. She said the most jobs in demand are in these industries: construction, health care, manufacturing and oil and gas. She also reported that three companies will be locating in Acadiana and hiring 1000 people in the IT industry.
She announced that Acadiana’s share of a $6.1 million dollar grant will be used in the next three years to help employers train new workers. Grant funds are available up to $5000 to train prospective new workers if they meet eligibility requirements.
She was the special guest of Rotarian Bob Manuel.
It was announced during the meeting that the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet is planned for April 29 at the Ville Platte Civic Center. The banquet will honor Ville Platte’s Man and Woman of the Year, Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year.
Also, the rotary club learned that the VFW Post 3803 will have a sandwich sale on May 13 to raise funds to plan a 75th anniversary celebration on June 13.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
MARCH 31, 2015
The Vile Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from two semi finalists for State Teacher of the Year and State Principal of the Year. Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin introduced her three guests which included Vidrine Elementary School Principal Sherrell Tezeno . Tezeno introduced her teacher, Brandi Marcantel, who is in the running for State Teacher of the Year.
Brandi Marcantel is a fourth grade teacher at Vidrine Elementary for the past three years and has been in the profession for nineyears. She is married and she and her husband are the parents of two children. She is totally dedicated to making sure her students achieve and she has 100 percent of her students passed their Leap test exams.
Also Cherie Fontenot, principal at James Stephens Montessori School is in the running for State Principal of the Year. Cherie has been an educator for 20 years and for the past four years as principal.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
MARCH 24, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from representatives of Pine Prairie Energy Center, a gas storage facility located in Easton. Among those attending speaking were Don Fontenot, Ed Benoit and Kyle Fontenot.
Benoit offered a audio visual presentation on Pine Prairie Energy that is been in operation since 2006. The facility has five caverns, 4000 feet deep. The caverns can hold up to 46 billion cubic feet of gas enough to supply the gas needs of the entire state of Louisiana for one day. The facility is located over a huge salt dome which is nearly 2 miles wide. The company has 84 miles of 24 inch pipeline that goes to Eunice and elsewhere. The pipeline connects to such major companies pipelines as Tennessee Gas, Transco, Texas Eastern, Columbia Gas and Texas Gas.
Pine Prairie Energy employs 19 people and has provided over 15 million dollars in taxes sinc ei began operations. The three were guests of Rotarian Eric Gil.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said she is preparing a special gift basket to present to the Mayor of Paris, France when she visits our area on Monday.
March 18, 2015
The Evangeline Parish School Board had its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center at Ville Platte High School. The meeting room was packed with excited parents and students as the “Students of the Year” Awards were given out. Linda Lafleur presented the awards to the following nominees and winners:
Brooklyn Fontenot – Bazile High School
Ainsley Dutton – Bayou Chicot Elementary
Hunter Brown – Chataignier Elementary
Isaiah Noel – Mamou High School
Coreyan Johnson – Vidrine Elementary
Josie Guillory – Ville Platte High School
Jaylen Thomas – Bazile High School
Jessica Cole – Bayou Chicot Elementary
Jada Guillory – Chataignier Elementary
Kiersten Goodley – Mamou High School
Chloe Tate – Vidrine Elementary
Jarden Bias – Ville Platte High School
Savanna Bergeaux (Not Pictured) – Bazile High School
Kaitlyn Chatelain – Mamou High School
Makayla Lenzy Hebert – Pine Prairie High School
Reygan Ann Jagneaux – Ville Platte High School
THE STUDENTS OF THE YEAR ARE:
5TH GRADE: Ainsley Dutton – Bayou Chicot Elementary
8th GRADE: Kiersten Goodley – Mamou High School
12th GRADE: Savanna Bergeaux – Bazile High School
Superintendent, Toni Hamlin reported that “Testing” is going “Very Well so far”. There have been reports in the media about children being able to “opt out” of the testing; however, Evangeline Parish has a very low percentage of that happening compared to other school districts. Evangeline had 1 at Pine Prairie High School, 1 at Chataignier and 19 at Bayou Chicot Elementary. Ms. Hamlin said administrators have explained to parents that this is a tool they can use to see how their children are learning. She also noted that the Schools and the District get a “0” for any student that opts out. She also pointed out that even though opting out will never harm a child, it is not a guaranty that they will automatically promote to the next level. There is still an academic standard in the Pupil Progression Plan that students must meet. Student were asked if they think the ELA part of the test was “harder than they thought it would be or easier”. She reports that students are saying it is “Easier than they thought it would be.”
The Board voted to approve a three year contract with First Student to handle transportation services. Discussions were had regarding overloading on buses and children standing up. Board Member, Wanda Skinner, questioned First Student and voiced concerns regarding calls she has received from parents regarding overcrowding on a couple of buses. Ted Soileau and First Turn responded and explained that they have been working on re-rerouting some of the routes to avoid this from happening.
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting today at Nick’s on Main.
Guest Speaker was Donald Bergeron, Secretary/Treasurer of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury. He explained how far reaching the responsibilities of the Police Jury are. From Libraries to Prisons and ditches and roads and everything in between. He explained that the Police Jury is currently working with Congress to keep Tax Exemptions for Municipal Bonds. If they did not have the exemptions, it would not be attractive to contractors interested in a project. Mr. Bergeron explained part of the Road Work Project that Parish has been working on. It is divided into the Northern Portion and the Southern Portion. So far, in the Northern portion, they have laid 21 miles out of the 83 total miles and have spent 1.7 million dollars out of the total cost of 9.6 million dollars. In the Southern Portion, they have laid 12 of the 69 miles and spent 1.47 million dollars out of the total 9.3 million. They will be moving into Phase II and then Phase III.
Angie Rozas with Cleco announced that this year’s Annual Banquet is going to be held on April 29th. The Social will be from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and the banquet starts at 7:00 p.m. Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, announced this year’s theme will be “Casino Theme” and there will be a silent auction, cash bar and they are working on the entertainment. Tickets will be $40.00 and the Chamber will be sending out letters letting you know when they are available. They will announce the following awards:
Man of the Year
Woman of the Year
Business of the Year
Business Person of the Year’
The deadline for you to nominate someone is April 3rd. Please include a Bio of the person when you nominate them.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
MARCH 17, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Boisy Pitre, a computer specialist and software developer who resides in the Prairie Rhonde area. Pitre gave an interesting presentation on the history of computer technology and mathematics and how they are inter -related. The first transistor was invented in 1947 and iBM invented the first personal computer in 1981. He felt the future of computer technology will be in wearables such as watches to make it more personal to the user. The camera will show the emotional engagement of the user to be able to tell if you happy or sad. The new devices will also be able to improve your fitness and health such as measure your blood pressure, sugar levels and how your meal impacts your body chemistry. Boisy Pire was the special guest of Library Director Mary Foster Galosso.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
MARCH 10, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from representatives of the Smoked Meat Festival. Renee Brown and Eva Vidrine, who represent part of the new group of organizers who will be sponsoring the Smoked Meat Festival to be held June 26 and 27.
It was reported that the sponsoring group from last year chose not to continue holding the festival so a new group was formed to keep the tradition of the festival continue. The six member board contains some members from the Viet Nam Veterans organization.
This will be the 23rd year the festival will showcase smoked meats. Most of the same traditions will remain including the smoked meat cook off, honoring veterans and giving back to the community. This year there will be a children’s area with a petting zoo along with the National Guard displaying a maze. It was also announced that the musical acts include Jaryd Lane, Geno Delafosse, Keith Frank and Ashton Dupre. The group is looking for corporate and business sponsorships and volunteers.
In other business, it was announced that the Rotary District Conference is planned for April 16-18 in Crowley and the Ville Platte club will be participating.
The club is planning to meet with the mayor and city officials to decide where to locate the new Rotary club signs at street intersections.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the courthouse. There was much discussion on some lingering issues in the parish.
Tempers were flared as the discussion of pay raises for the Justices of the Peace and the Constables of the parish were discussed. Police Juror, Kenny Burgess, made a motion that they give a $150.00 a month pay raise to the JP’s and Constables. After debating back and forth, the Jury voted against granting the pay raises. President, Ryan Ardoin, pointed out that “Donald Bergeron has already said we are over budget. We have given out loans and that money is tied up.” Juror, Kenny Burgess, stated “Unbelievable. We can give raises to the City Marshall/Constable in Ward 1, but we can’t give it to the rest of the Parish.” Juror, Lamar Johnson, was vocal as he left the police jury room, upset at the decision. Juror, Bryan Vidrine, was quoted saying “We have to stay in budget before we give out raises…this isn’t Washington D.C.”
As we have reported to you in the past, abandoned properties have been and were in deep discussion with the Police Jury this evening. They received bids from three companies to demolish structures that lie on multiple properties. If the Jury went ahead with the demolition of the structures through the companies that bid, the cost would then turn around and be placed as a lien against the property owner. Then, if not paid, the property could go up for sale and the police jury would recover the money through that avenue. The problem arose that some of these properties would not bring in near the money that it would cost to have the dwellings demolished, leaving the Police Jury in the red. They discussed the possibility of demolishing them through the Public Works department, and Director, Chester Granger, was asked to visit the locations and put together a cost estimate of what it would cost the Parish to complete the work themselves. The bids from the three companies ranged greatly but all were in excess of $50,000.00. The Jury voted to put off action in the ongoing struggle until they receive the report from Mr. Granger.
The issue of Animal Control was raised as discussions about building a new animal shelter continue to be had. President, Ryan Ardoin, suggested we “bring it to the people for a vote”, either a millage tax or a sales tax. Kenny Burgess stated he was against a millage because then only homeowners would be paying the tax. The Jury has been speaking with other parishes and organizations about the cost of building and maintaining a facility in the Parish. Surrounding areas pay a wide range from $50,000.00 a year to $198,000.00 a year to maintain a facility. They will have two guest speakers at the next committee meeting to provide more information to the Jury. Jill Stevenson and Tim Benoit from Acadia Parish will present the information to the Jury.
Dwight Landreneau, Head of State Parks, spoke to the Jury and requested they enter into a Cooperative Agreement with Chicot State Park. There has been a tremendous cut in funding and his office has had to let 116 people go from their employment. He says they simply do not have the money to operate as they did in the past. The Police Jury agreed to enter into the Agreement, which would aid the park by allowing employees, on down time, or as needed, to assist with duties and work at what Evangeline Parish calls “The Park”. Mr. Landreneau pointed out that the park generates $3.5 million dollars for Evangeline Parish and it is vital that we keep it up and running. He also said that residents who would like to volunteer at Chicot State Park or the Arboretum can call the main office speak with the office manager. Also, if you have a business or if you would like to personally “Adopt” part of the park, please call as well. There are many options you can help with.
The Police Jury voted to designate March American Red Cross Month in celebration of the Heroes in Evangeline Parish who help those in need during the time of emergencies. They come to the rescue through blood donation, helping soldiers communicate with love ones who are hurt, and prevent and eliminate human suffering during disasters. Erica Williams with The American Red Cross spoke to the Jury and thanked them for the proclamation. Locally, they have helped with 7 fires, 8 families in need, 345 parish residents have received CPR certifications, and 23 parish residents are American Red Cross Volunteers. She asked for all of you to please register and volunteer with the American Red Cross.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, brought up an issue he is currently dealing with. While Contractor, Coastal Road and Bridges has been using Readon School Road, there has been damage done to the road. They have been in disagreement about repairing the road and he reports that he and Mike Smith with Coastal have not been able to come to an agreement regarding the repairs that need to be done to the road. He said “The repairs are unsatisfactory to our standards and he has until March 16th to have the repairs done. We will keep you up to date on the matter.
There will be a public hearing on April 13th at 5:45 regarding abandoning a portion of Gallou Lake Road due to the purchase of the surrounding land by Dominick Brown from JT Miller.
Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergerson, reported that the 2% Sales Tax Collection for the month of January was $247,717.13.
The Ville Platte City Council
March 3, 2015
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight at Ville Platte City Hall. During Council Comments, Councilman Mike Perron, brought up the problems that the City is having with street cleaning. He stated that the driver of the street sweeper is having problems with residents putting their trash boxes too close, if not on, the road. This becomes a problem because the sweeper cannot pass without the driver getting out and moving the boxes. Residents should know their trash boxes should be at least 1 – 2 feet away from the curb. It was also noted that much of the trash that residents are disposing off are not the City’s responsibility to pick up. It is the responsibility of the Solid Waste Commission. Items such as sofas, stoves, air conditioners, refrigerators and other items should be put out in accordance with the specifications of the Solid Waste Commission, then residents are to call 363-7254 and ask that those items be picked up. Mayor Vidrine stated “We are trying to clean up the City. If you put your trash out too early and animals get into your trash and scatter it, you can be ticketed if it is not picked up. This is your responsibility.” There was also discussion of the problem with residents cutting limbs and raking leaves and other lawn clippings into ditches and gutters. This becomes a problem with drainage and creates a headache to clean up.
Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, was pleased to report that expenditures for the City of Ville Platte for the month of February were $123,670.30. That was down $95,953.47 from the month of January. She, again, thanked the city employees, supervisors, in-house personnel for all of their efficient work, as well as business owners for following the purchase order process.
A concerned citizen spoke to the council regarding his unpleasant experience with SuddenLink in our area. He has been unhappy with the connectivity service as well as the lack of answers he has received from SuddenLink regarding any possible upgrade in equipment. The Mayor shared her additional concern with their service and stated she has spoken to two other companies to see what availability Ville Platte would have for another service to be offered. She stated she was unhappy with the price of the service versus the amount of channels. Another member of the audience in the council room stated he wanted to know why his service has not gotten better, yet he has received a $6.00 hike on his bill.
The City Council unanimously agreed to enter into a Cooperative Agreement with Head of State Parks, Dwight Landreneau, and Chicot State Park due to the cuts in funding that are happening. The City will be aiding the park through the Experience Work program by providing workers, volunteers, machinery, etc., when needed.
A Cooperative Agreement was also agreed to for Renee Brown and her group taking over The Smoked Meat Festival. Mayor Vidrine thanked Renee and Jessie Muse, along with the rest of the volunteers, for taking over the event and not letting it go.
Mayor Vidrine thanked Councilman Riggs for his generous donation of a “Ping Pong Table” to the Boys & Girls Club.
Also in attendance were Glen Fontenot and Charlie Manuel from the Ville Platte Lyons Club. They also made a donation to the Boys & Girls Club.
Mayor Vidrine also made note of the article regarding KVPI, French Programming and Evangeline Parish in the New York Times. She showed her framed copy and said it would be hung inside City Hall.
During the Mayor’s Comments, she took the time to state: “Publicly and personally thank the Council for all they have done for the City. The Mayor’s name comes up a lot but the Council has so much to do with everything. I thank them for their support and enthusiasm for getting things done. A lot of cities have councils and mayors that do not get along and things do not get done. But, the Council and I work together as 1 body to do the best for the City.”
She also thanked City Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, for doing so much for Ville Platte on a daily basis. She stated: “I don’t many people know the time, paperwork, research and all Ronnie does for Ville Platte. I thank him from the bottom of my heart and appreciate all you and your staff do to get things right for our city.”
She lastly thanked our City Attorney, Eric Lafleur for all he does for our city and our area. She stated: “We are very lucky to have a city attorney who is also a State Senator and we thank him for being there for us.”
FEBRUARY 24, 2015
The Vile Platte Rotary Club today heard from Connie Lamke with the Relay for Life. She announced that this year’s relay event for the benefit of the American Cancer Society is scheduled for Saturday April 18 from 12 noon to 12 midnight at the Ville Platte High Football Field. This year’s theme is “Keep Calm and Relay On”. There will be a BBQ cook off sponsored by Teet’s Food Store. T Boy’s of Mamou will sponsor a boudin eating contest. There will be fun jumps, fire truck rides, food, a silent auction, contests, raffles, music and fun.
Also, the group is sponsoring a 5K Fun Walk/Run on March 21 for Relay for Life.
Some 255 cancer patients in Evangeline Parish have been assisted directly by the American Cancer Society in the last two years.
Lamke also announced that the Ville Platte Police Department is sponsoring a fund raiser for Faith House March 18 to pick up supplies for women and children who have to leave their homes quickly.
It was announced during the meeting that Rotary International this week has turned 110 years old.
ROTARY CLUB MEETING
FEBRUARY 10, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club heard from LSU Eunice Chancellor Dr. Bill Nunez make a special audio visual presentation. Dr. Willie Buller representing the Ville Platte club made a financial presentation to Dr. Nunez for the 22nd year. This scholarship fund represents a $90,000 endowment from Rotary in Ville Platte. Dr. Nunez, who is retiring in June after serving 19 years, thanked the local club for their annual funding. He also recognized Dr. John Couvillion, former Chancellor. LSU Eunice has been serving the tri parish area for the past 48 years. Due to less funding from the state, the burden of higher tuitions has been falling on the student and their family. Dr. Nunez emphasized that we need to work harder to educate our children and have them stay here instead of moving out of state.
Dr. Nunez gave some statistics for the average student attending LSU E: average age is 22, 71 percent of the students is female, 67 percent is Caucasian, the average ACT score is 19.33; Evangeline Parish students represent 14 percent of the total student population with students from St. Landry and Acadia having a higher percentage.
In other business, Assistant District Governor Yvonne Normand announced that she is working to re establish a club in Mamou.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting this evening in the Courthouse. President, Ryan Ardoin, began the meeting by announcing he will be enforcing a 2 minute time limit for speaking on subjects on the agenda.
The subject of installing a fire hydrant in the Mill Creek Subdivision, off Chicot Road, came into discussion. Jacob Fusilier and others from the subdivision were in attendance at the meeting. Mr. Fusilier stated during public comments that the subdivision is located ”outside” the city limits and is located one mile North and one mile South of the nearest fire hydrant. He stated that there are 36 houses occupied by couples, children and elderly in the neighborhood and as the situation stands, they would have a delay in receiving fire services if something were to happen. He explained that the neighborhood generates more taxes per household than anywhere else, and asked for help from the police jury to install a hydrant. After much discussion, a motion was passed to allow the subdivision developer to pay half of the cost of the hydrant and to loan Police Juror, Bryan Vidrine, the other half of the cost through the General Fund, with the understanding that the loan/cost will be paid back with an insurance rebate check that will be forthcoming. Mr. Fusilier thanked Mr. Vidrine for all of his help in the matter.
Anna Frank, Director of Section 8, spoke to the Jury and explained that her office is $25,000 in the negative from a build-up of “miscommunications” with Accountant, Amy Buchanan. She explained that the federal government is not paying the cost required to run her office and pointed out that she started in her position seven years ago and has never been in the red before. She requested that the Police Jury loan Section 8 the money to cover the negative balance with the agreement that she will repay the loan. The Jury agreed to the loan, as well as taking on her salary permanently.
The Jury voted and agreed to hire Phil Lemoine as “Risk Manager” for the Parish. He will oversee and evaluate insurance policies as they come up for renewal and advise the Jury as to policy terms and applications. He will be paid $500.00 a month and will report to Donald Bergeron.
Discussion began on repairs at the Parish Jail. Donald Bergeron reported that water has been restored to all cells, except #5. Reports have been made to all broken light fixtures and are now being “vandalized proofed”. They were broken and damaged by prisoners. It was announced that anyone caught destroying items in the Jail can be charged with Criminal Damage to Property. The Jury voted in favor of replacing the broken stove/ovens with a new one costing $4,800.00 as well as a garbage disposal in the amount of $3,600.00.
Police Juror, Lamar Johnson, requested an $80,000.00 loan from the General Fund to overlay TC/Glenmora Hwy and part of Earl DeVille Road. The Jury voted in favor of the loan to be repaid $40,000.00 in January of 2016 and $40,000.00 in January of 2017.
Police Juror, Kenny Burgess asked the Jury to pass a resolution regarding support of Veteran’s contributions. They Jury unanimously agreed to recognize all military holidays in the parish. Mr. Burgess pointed out that “Not many people realize this but we have a Pearl Harbor Veteran living in our Parish. Mr. Celestine lives in a nursing home in Mamou.” He said we also have many other veteran’s from WWII, The Korean War and other battles fought.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, said he was called to the “Mamou Yard” Friday evening at 9:00 p.m. where someone had broken in. The same weekend, in Region A, someone stole 67 gallons of diesel. He is urging the Policy Jury to install surveillance cameras at the Yards. Discussion will continue on this matter.
And finally, Donald Bergeron reported that the 2% Sales Tax Collections for December were $338,392.71. That is a 19% increase from last year.
February 4, 2015
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center. There was an Executive Committee Meeting held on January 27th where the topic of an announcement made in the media regarding students’ option not to participate in the state testing. Superintendent, Toni Hamlin brought the subject up and because it is not mentioned in State Law 17:24, the subject could become critical. There would be no penalty to the student, but teachers, schools and districts would be penalized. A school would receive a “0” for every student not tested, which would be disastrous for the School Performance Scores. This was a topic for discussion and information at this time.
During the regular Board Meeting, Mr. Vic Slaven gave the Audit Report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2014. He gave the Board a “Very Clean Report”. Board Member, Nancy Hamlin, said she was very proud of the schools, Central Office and Amy Lafleur, Chief Financial Officer for their hard work.
Discussion then turned to the renewal of the First Student transportation contract. The issue had been discussed in the Executive Committee Meeting wherein a “Five Year Renewal” was rejected and a “Three Year Renewal” was accepted. When presented to the Board, there was debate back and forth as to whether the contract needed to go out for bid rather than just renewed, especially that the amount of the contract is in the millions and the highest paid contract the School Board has. Board Member, Mike Fontenot expressed it would be “fiscally responsible to our constituents and our students to put it out for bid in hopes of saving money.” The Board voted 5 to 6 in favor of putting the contract out for bid. Work on the bidding process will now begin.
Assistant Superintendent, Darwan Lazard spoke regarding repairs and projects being performed at all of our schools. He pointed out that he has a small group performing the work, but they have done a very good job and have completed approximately 188 work orders from October 11, 2014 through January 7, 2015.
He reported that they did come across an “unsafe situation” at James Stephens. They were receiving complaints from those in the neighborhood and had a problem with an emergency vehicle not being able to get through. This is in the area where the parents line up to drop off and pick up the children. They are preparing a new route in the rear of the school for new pickup. They have placed limestone, extended a canopy and sidewalk. New signage will be going up. James Stevens Drive will become a 1-way from 7-9:00 A.M. and from 2-4:00 P.M. and Peach Street will become a one-way to the East for part of the day. A letter will be sent home to parents regarding the changes.
There will be a Superintendent’s Committee Meeting for support personal at 2:00 P.M. tomorrow at the Central Office.
Vidrine Elementary was recognized by KATC for being a “Cool School” due to their donations of books to children’s hospitals.
And we close on a good note, Pine Prairie High School Student Jamie Jenkins was awarded 1st Place in the Cover Art Contest by the Louisiana Council for Exceptional Children. Congratulations from KVPI!
NEW YORK TIMES FEATURE STORY
Feb. 1, 2015
KVPI and the Ville Platte area will be visited by Richard Fausset, a reporter with the New York Times,on Monday through Wednesday. He will be working on a feature story on our Cajun/Creole culture and especially KVPI’s French language programming. Fausset first heard about us as he was visiting South La. A few years ago whne he came across our La Tasse de Café program. KVPI has been programming French language programming since we signed on in 1953 and we are one of the very few radio stations still programming these specialty programs to preserve and support our special Cajun/Creole culture and heritage.
January 21, 2015
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting today at noon at Nick’s on Main. There was a very nice turnout of Chamber members. KVPI’s Jenn Meylian and Stephanie Ware of The 2 Non-Blonde’s Café were special guest speakers and they spoke about their broadcasting careers and the birth and growth of their morning show. Winky Aucoin, Lyndsey Young and Tony Davoren with Prairie Heritage, LLC were also guest speakers and spoke about the upcoming event “Le Grand Hurrah” to be held at Chicot State Park on April 10th and 11th. They are working very hard to make this a grand event and ask that everyone support their efforts in putting it all together. It’s a great event for our area.
Executive Director, Camille Fontenot announced that the Christmas Parade was a great success and was happy that they were able to get the Coca-Cola truck this year. She thanked those and City Hall and Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, for helping with those efforts. She also thanked Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, for the use of his beautiful home for the After Hours chamber event. She announced that the Chamber Banquet is going to be held April 29th at the Ville Platte Civic Center. At that time, the Man & Woman of the Year, Agriculturer of the Year along with other awards will be given.
Chamber Member, Susan Fisher with St. Landry – Evangeline United Way, announced that the Women with Heart event will be held at the Opelousas Civic Center on February 6th. She also announced that the Harley Ambassadors will again be visiting Pine Prairie and Ville Platte High School on February 11th speaking with 4th, 5th and 6th graders about “real life and how to make smart choices”.
The next Chamber meeting has been scheduled for February 25th.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
JANUARY 21, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Kelli Landry, a case worker with The Family Tree Information, Education and Counseling Center in Lafayette. Kelly is involved in the “Healthy Start” program, a federally funded program designed to reduce infant mortality. The program targets high risk African American women who are pregnant or who have young children.
The program is designed to help women in Evangeline, Lafayette, St. Martin, Iberville and Acadia parishes. She reported that the infant mortality rate in Evangeline Parish is at 9 percent which is three times the national average. She is currently going to the library, health unit and other public places to meet with women in need. The program also assists with depression screening, anger management and basic health.
Rotary Club President Elect Mitch Fontenot reported on last weekend’s Mid Year Assembly for Rotary District 6200. He announced that the annual District Conference is scheduled for April 16-18 in Crowley and urged rotary members to attend.
Evangeline Parish- On January 16, 2015, shortly before 5:00 a.m., Louisiana State Police Troop I responded to a crash on LA Highway 13 north of LA Highway 374 that claimed the life of a Eunice man.
The preliminary investigation revealed that 64-year-old Keith Stakes of Eunice, LA was walking in the southbound travel lane, when he was struck by a 1996 Chevrolet Silverado driven by 46-year-old Billy Hubbard of Ville Platte, La.
Stakes was transported to a local hospital where he later died as a result of his injuries. Hubbard and his passenger were wearing seat belts and were not injured.
Toxicology samples were taken from Stakes and were submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis. Hubbard submitted to a chemical test and was not impaired.
This crash remains under investigation.
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the School Board Media Room. Attorney, Betsy Jackson, swore in School Board Members, President, Wayne Dardeau, Vice President, Scott Limoges, Peggy Foreman, Georgianna Wilson, Wanda Skinner, Arthur Savoy, Lonnie Sonnier and Ellis Guillory. Board Members, Mike Fontenot and Darrin Vidrine were in attendance, but had previously been sworn in.
Supervisor, Linda Lafleur, addressed the board with proposed changes to the “Remediation” program for 4th and 8th grade students. The Board approved the change of making the remediation period 4 days in May instead of the 6 days leading into June as it is now. Normal Summer School will remain the same.
Chief Financial Officer, Amy Lafleur, gave the sales tax comparison and reported that collections for the month of December of the 2014-15 school year were $548,027.73 compared to $455,345.25 for the 2013-2014 school year. That is an increase of $92,682.48.
Again, discussions turned to the PARC Assessment and the Common Core program as the Board was presented with two Resolutions from other parishes asking the State of Louisiana to grant a moratorium on sanctions being imposed if a school district is not ready in time for the PARC testing (St. Mary Parish School Board); and asking the State to remove itself from the Common Core Standards and charge the Louisiana Board of Education with developing a new standard (St. Tammany Parish School Board). After discussions were had, the Board adopted the Resolutions. They will have no effect on Evangeline Parish.
Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, congratulated newest Board Member, Mike Fontenot from the Mamou area for being with the Board. She also announced the first Executive Committee meeting will be on Tuesday, January 27th at 2:00 p.m. in the Media Center. Peggy Foremen has agreed to head that committee again this year. This Friday will be a staff development day so educators can continue to receive up-to-date training.
Ms. Hamlin also congratulated Mamou High School for receiving two grants this week. The School received a $5,000.00 grant from Lowe’s Home Improvement for beautification and improvement to the campus; and also a $1,000.00 grant from the new Walmart Express newly opened in Mamou.
January 13, 2015
Ville Platte City Council
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting this evening at City Hall. Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, officially welcomed the newest member of the City Council, Bryant Riggs, and presented him with his official name plate.
Jumping forward to the end of the meeting, Mayor Vidrine and the council surprised Councilman, C.J. Dardeau with a cake, plaque and celebration for not only his 79th birthday for his 38 years as as a public servant. His family was there to surprise him as well.
CPA, Vic Slaven reported good news to the Council and the Mayor by announcing his findings during the recent city audit. The Mayor and Council were very pleased when he reported a surplus of $512,906.00. The good news kept coming as the Mayor reported expenditures for the month of December were $164,491.08 compared to $189,013.58 for the month of November. The city spent $24,522.50 less in December. The Mayor thanked all of the City Hall staff and supervisors for doing such a great job and doing what they needed to.
The Summer Feeding Program will take place again this year for any child age 1 – 18. It will start the 1st Monday in June and will take place daily at Ville Platte High School. The City sponsors the program; however, spends no funds on it as they receive grant money to fund the program. No one will be required to fill out any paperwork in order to take advantage of the program and there will be buses on both sides of town to pick children up to go and eat, and then bring them back.
The Mayor and City Council congratulated and presented a plaque to Carlton “Duece” Doucet for his 16 years of faithful service as a city employee. “Duece” retired in November.
There were two donations presented to the Mayor for The Boys & Girls Club. The first came in the amount of $200.00 from the Evangeline Community Theatre who are celebrating their third anniversary this month; and the second was in the amount of $100.00 from the Veterans Foreign War. The Mayor reminds everyone that you can always go online and make donations at cityofvilleplatte.com. Go to The Boys & Girls Club and it will allow you to make donations. In order to gain a charter from The Boys & Girls Club of America, there is a requirement to have $150,000.00 in the bank.
There were some very happy employees in the council chamber this evening, as the council approved the holiday schedule for 2015, which included an extra holiday which is Christmas Eve Day. That brings their total paid vacation days to 16. They were also excited when the council approved a 3% pay raise for all employees, and that includes part-timers. The Mayor stated: “For the last four years, we have been able to provide an increase and our employees are working hard.” There was also council approval for Longevity Pay for those employees with the city five years of more of service. That bonus comes in a separate check.
Prairie Heritage, Inc., was granted a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement for an event being scheduled at Chicot State Park called “HOORAH”. The event is planned for April 10th & 11th.
City Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, reported that they have just about wrapped Phase II of the water project and are now patching the holes in the streets that were created to do the work.
Police Chief, Neal Lartigue, requested the council’s approval of hiring 3 new full-time officers and 3 part-time jailers. The council unanimously approved same.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
JANUARY 13, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard special classification talks from three new members of the organization. All three were born and raised in Ville Platte, moved away and now have moved back to their home town.
Chris Ludeau, an attorney has been practicing law for the past two years in Lafayette. He is a graduate of the LSU Law School and Sacred Heart High School.
Nick Monier, a 28 year old attorney, is a graduate of Sacred Heart, LSU and Loyola. He opened his practice last year here in Ville Platte. His grandfather is well known Ville Platte Barber Allen Monier.
Nicole Wenger, a native of Ville Platte, graduated from UL-Lafayette and moved to the West Coast where she met her husband. After moving several more times, her family moved back two years ago to Ville Platte where they provide emergency services to homes damaged by fire, water and mold. Her grandfather is the late Van Ortego, long time post office employee.
Rotary Club President David Mayeaux showed off the new Rotary Club road signs that will be placed at various entrances into Ville Platte.
He also announced that the annual Mid Year District Conference for the Rotary District 6200 is scheduled for this Saturday in Lafayette.
Monday, January 12, 2015
Evangeline Parish Police Jury
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting this evening in the courthouse. The Jury unanimously agreed to keep Ryan Ardoin as President of the Jury and Ryan Ledet Williams as Vice President of the Jury for the 2015 term. They also agreed to continue to hold their monthly meetings on the second Monday of the month at 6:00 p.m. in the Police Jury room. Committee meetings will be held the 1st Monday of the month at 5:00 p.m., also in the Police Jury room.
The Jury also voted to appoint Todd Welsh as the replacement for the deceased Louis B. Johnson in Waterworks District #1, and after receiving a recommendation from Mamou Gravity Drainage Board #5, agreed to appoint Kerry G. Fontenot to replace Minerva Baker on the Board.
There was much discussion regarding a recommended pay increase for the staff at the Police Jury Office, which includes 5 full-time and 1 part-time employee. Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron stated “Last year, the Police Jury was unable to fund pay raises for the staff. I instructed the staff to look at incoming bills and any place they thought we could cut back, and bring it to our attention. The staff worked hard and was able to cut spending through contract negotiations, a cut in insurance rates and questioning bills.” The discussion included giving raises to all of the road crews as well, but not all of the information was available to grant those during this meeting. The Jury voted to reward the office staff with $1.00/hr. raise, as well as to Region A & B for the road crews. Regions C & D will be discussed during the next meeting, and if the Jury elects to give those raises as well, the Jury would make the raises retroactive.
President, Ryan Ardoin, also brought of the issue of a Police Jury ordinance that requires the Jury to be responsible for stray, nuisance and/or possibly dangerous animals when alerted to same. The Jury agreed to get with other parishes and towns who currently have animal shelters in order to gain information regarding the legality of specifics required for a facility, the expense to build and maintain a facility in our area so there can be animal control.
Stemming from the last meeting, the Limestone bid has been awarded to Jody Cloud Trucking in Turkey Creek.
And, finally, according to Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, the 2% sales tax collected in the month of December for the month of November was $321,456.38, an increase of 49.18%.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
JANUARY 6, 2014
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from LSU Ag Center 4-H Agent Todd Fontenot discuss the 4-H program. The 4-H Program is a youth development program with 800 members enrolled from the 4th grade through the 12th grade. The young people learn important life skills. He explained for example that the livestock program teaches 4-H students to be responsible for their animals, build self confidence and self esteem.
He announced that the parish livestock show is January 22-24 where some 120 exhibitors will be participating at the Chauncey Pitre Ag Arena. The Jr. Market Animal Sale will be held Saturday January 24.
Todd Fontenot was the special guest of Rotarian Bill Brunet.
In other rotary news, it was announced that the club currently 54 members. Vice President Mitch Fontenot announced that the District 6200 Rotary Mid Year Assembly will be held January 17.
COURT OF APPEAL RULING
DECEMBER 30, 2014
An appeals court panel issued a ruling today upholding a lower court decision against a challenge against Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue. The ruling released this morning by a panel of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, Judges Gene Thibodeaux, Jimmie Peters and James Genovese.
Linton Fontenot and Glenn LeLeux had filed a lawsuit challenging the residency requirements for Ville Platte Chief of Police Neal Lartigue. 13th Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Fuselier had ruled against the plaintiffs saying the challenge was too late. The time period to challenge a candidate is during the qualifying period. No challenge was made.Both Fontenot and LeLeux , former candidates for chief of police, filed an appeal with the Third Circuit.
The Appeals Court affirmed the trial court ruling.
December 29, 2014
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury opened up a public hearing tonight at 5:15 to allow anyone who would like to speak regarding the proposed amendments to the 2014 Budget and the proposed 2015 Budget. No one chose to speak during public comments.
President, Ryan Ardoin, then opened the Special Meeting with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer. The police jury approved the 2014 Amended Budgets and discussion began on the proposed 2015 Budget. Police Juror, Bryan Vidrine, made a few adjustments in the budget by increasing funding to the Chip and Seal projects in Wards 4 and 5, as well as including funding for a “dog pound” which would cost approximately $700,000.00 to build. The Jury then approved the 2015 Budget, along with the Acadiana Crime Lab Budget. They also adopted the Capital Outlay Plan for 2015-2017, and they adopted the “Monitoring Plan Resolution”.
One of the items on the agenda was the discuss appointing an “Agent of Record” for Workers Compensation Insurance. Phil Lemoine and Allan Farr both spoke before the Jury and told of their experience and offered ways to save the Jury money on their insurance. There was much discussion between the Jury members as to whether an Agent of Record was needed and how it would benefit them compared to how things are now. Juror, Bryan Vidrine said he did not think it was a service needed right now and that “Our staff does the work and I don’t see what anyone else is going to do different.” Lamar Johnson suggested waiting 6-8 weeks to see other proposals. Ultimately, Vice President, Ryan Williams made a motion to appoint Phil Lemoine as the Agent of record for the term of one year to start and a cap on commission of $2,500.00. Juror, Rocky Rider, seconded the motion and the majority of the Police Jury passed the motion.
The Jury also awarded low bids to the following contractors in their respective category: J&J Exterminating, Guillory Oil Co., Inc., Jody Cloud, Louisiana CAT, Asphalt Products, and Coastal Culvert out of Eunice. The low bid for Limestone will be announced January 12th.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports the following information and will update when more information is available.
On Tuesday December 23,2014 At approximately 10:30 pm Officers responded to a report of a shooting in the 600 block of North Chataignier. Upon arrival officers found a male with a gunshot wound in the upper part of his leg. The victim was transported by Acadian Ambulance for medical treatment and later released. Chief Lartigue stated that they have one suspect in custody and the investigation is ongoing.
If you have any information regarding this or any other illegal activity, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
CHRISTMAS LIGHTING CONTEST WINNERS
DECEMBER 22, 2014
According to the Magnolia Garden Club, here are the results of the Christmas Lighting Contest in Ville Platte:
The Overall Christmas Award Winner was given to Dr. and Mrs. Dale Reed at 1568 East Main;
The Christmas Spirit Award Winner for Overall Lighting was awarded to Billy Rich at 304 North Coreil;
The Christmas Spirit Appreciation Award went to the Ludeau Family residence on LaSalle street;
Also the Christmas Spirit award went to the Jay Aswell family residence at 1110 LaSalle street;
The Civic Award winner was La Belle Maison at 523 West Main;
Another Christmas Spirit Award went to the Kermit Miller residence at 210 Pecan Street and the Chris Briley home at 706 West Magnolia Street. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Christmas Lighting contest.
Chief Neal Lartigue reports two arrested for attempted second degree murder.
As a follow up to the December 17th press release which involved the shooting of a man on East Beech Street, Chief Lartigue has stated that two men have been arrested. A warrant of arrest was issued on December 20, 2014 on the following suspects:
Kwan Divinski Anderson 30 of 1930 Marshal Frank Drive, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. Anderson was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and his bond was set at $200,000.00 by Judge John Larry Vidrine. Anderson was later transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail where he remains incarcerated.
Willie A. Jones 23 of 516 Rev. E.D. Alfred Street, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with attempted second degree murder. Jones was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and his bond was set at $200,000.00 by Judge John Larry Vidrine. Jones was later transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail where he remains incarcerated.
Chief Lartigue stated that the case is still under investigation and more arrests are possible. If anyone has any information regarding this case or any other illegal activity, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Police Chief Lawsuit Case Appealed to Court of Appeals
December 19, 2014
The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals will be hearing the lawsuit asking the court to throw out the results of the December 6 election because the Ville Platte Chief of Police does not reside in Ville Platte. Police chief candidates Linton Fontenot and Glenn LeLeux are the plaintiffs against Police Chief Neal Lartigue who was re elected December 6.
A hearing on the lawsuit was heard Thursday afternoon in 13th Judicial District Court with Judge Tom Fuselier presiding. No witnesses were called. The court heard from both attorneys: Walter Clawson representing the plaintiffs and Brent Coreil representing Chief Lartigue.
Judge Fuselier ruled against the plaintiffs saying they waited too long to file their challenge. The law states candidacy challenges must be filed within 7 days after qualifying.
Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel confirmed to KVPI News that an appeal has been filed in his office today. The appeal will be hand delivered to the Appeal’s Court in Lake Charles on Monday. Due to the Christmas holiday break, the case will probably be heard Monday December 29
COURT DISMISSES LAWSUIT AGAINST POLICE CHIEF LARTIGUE
DECEMBER 19, 2014
13th Judicial District Court Judge Thomas Fuselier Thursday dismissed a lawsuit filed by Linton Fontenot and Glenn LeLeux against Ville Platte Chief of Police Neal Lartigue. Fontenot and LeLeux were candidates in the race for Chief of Police in Ville Platte in which incumbent Neal Lartigue won re-election. The lawsuit challenged the residency of Lartigue that he currently resides out of town. Judge Fuselier said the time had expired over challenging the residency requirements of a political candidate. The plaintiffs should have filed the challenge within seven days of the qualifying period. No witnesses were heard. The attorney representing the plaintiffs was Walter Clawson. The attorney representing Neal Lartigue was Brent Coreil.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
DECEMBER 9, 2014
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Leonard Fontenot who spoke on Rotary Foundation and Paul Harris Fellows. A Paul Harris Fellow is a designation given to Rotarians who contribute $1000 to the Rotary Foundation. The Foundation is the giving arm of Rotary International that helps people all around the world. Their main emphasis is the total eradication of Polio around the world. Fontenot explained that the Ville Platte club assists 2 members each year become a Paul Harris fellow by matching half of the cost or $500 to Rotary International.
It was announced that the Sacred Heart Interact Club raised about $300 in their recent fund raiser for Rotary International.
Ville Platte City Council Meeting
December 9, 2014
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight (Tuesday) at City Hall.
City Hall and the Council Room are beautifully decorated for the holidays. Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, reported her staff was responsible for the gorgeous Christmas decorating and as of tonight, there are 55 Christmas trees throughout City Hall. She invited everyone to bring the family and come and walk through. Feel free to take pictures for the holidays. It is well worth the trip!
The Mayor was happy to report that November expenditures came in at $189,013.58, and that is down $21,038.37 from the month of October, when expenditures were $210,051.95.
She was also pleased to announce that the Sales Tax Comparison is UP 19.2% from this time last year. The Mayor thanked everyone for shopping locally and especially thanked business owners for having the type of businesses that make people want to stay in our area and shop.
More good news from the meeting…Helping Hands made a donation and presented a check to Mayor Vidrine for the Boys & Girls Club in the amount of $1,000.00; and Reverend Matthew Alfred, Jr. and members of his congregation at the Eastern Seventh District Baptist Association presented the mayor with a donation to the Boys & Girls Club for $1,225.00. City Engineer reports that modified plans have been submitted to the Fire Marshall’s office in hopes that they will be able to open the Boys & Girls Club soon.
Councilman, Taranza Arvie, was recognized for his 8 years on the council and his service to the people of his district and Ville Platte. Councilman Arvie commented saying “I never considered myself a politician, only a public servant. I will continue to work in the community, and I thank you for allowing me to serve.”
The council approved a resolution to approach the Evangeline Parish School Board about “studying and exploring” having a French Immersion program put into our schools. The mayor reported they have been working with Codofil to help promote French Immersion in Ville Platte. She said “We are doing this to help keep our French culture going.”
Also, the council voted to approve a $50,000 application for a LGAP grant to move forward with the Master Plan at the Northside Civic Center. This grant would be used for basketball courts and then they will move onto other aspects such as walking trail, water park splash pad and playground equipment. They should know something about the approval sometime around the beginning of the legislative session.
It was announced that the new Mayor Pro-Temp will now be Councilman, Jerry Joseph.
The council approved the hiring of two full-time and two part-time police officers for the Ville Platte City Police Department. They also approved the painting of a new mural inside the MLK Center reflecting black history makers. They hope to have the mural finished by February, which is Black History Month.
Phase II of the Water Project is finishing up. They are currently “killing old lines that are still leaking”, and dressing up areas from earlier projects.
The Mayor announced there will be an Ethics meeting on Monday, December 15th at 10:00 a.m. City Hall will be closed from 9:30 a.m. until Noon so employees can attend. The mayor invites any governmental employee in the parish to attend and reminds employees ethics training is mandatory every year. You can contact City Hall for more information.
The Mayor said on behalf of herself and the City Council, “Merry Christmas, and we hope you all pass a good time!”
EVANGELINE PARISH POLICE JURY MEETING
DECEMBER 9, 2014
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury today (Tuesday) held their December meeting at the courthouse and it was conducted in the French language. There was a standing room only crowd of VIP’s, Public Officials and special guests watched as Police Juror Eric Soileau conducted the meeting. KVPI’s Jim Soileau led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance while Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel offered the opening prayer. The entire meeting was broadcast live over KVPI 1050 AM.
Former Secretary Treasurer Wilbert Ardoin recognized guests include: former Secretary Treasurer Doug Deville, Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Cloud, Assessor Dirk Deville, City Marshal Rondl Doucet, Library Director Mary Foster Galosso, Chamber Director Camille Fontenot, City Judge Elect Greg Vidrine, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, former school board member J.D. Soileau, Ville Platte Police Chief Neil lartigue, State Rep. Bernard LeBas, State Senator Eric Lafleur and District Court Judge Elect Chuck West.
Gilbert “Winky” Aucoin , who spearheaded the Folk Roots Festival at Chicot Park for the past several years, announced that he and a group of young musicians are forming a new cultural organization. The aim of the group is to have a yearly festival at Chicot Park in April something similar to what Folk Roots was doing. If the group is successful, they plan to help fund a French Immersion program and to support Cajun and Creole music in Evangeline Parish.
Charles Larocque, Director of Codofil commended the police jury in their efforts to have an annual all French meeting. “You appreciate the value of our heritage. We must recover our language. We want to encourage our young people to stay here in Evangeline Parish and South Louisiana and not move to Houston, Atlanta and other major cities out of state,” he said. He announced that Codofil will have an office in Ville Platte at City Hall.
The police jury approved a resolution offered by State Senator Eric Lafleur requesting the Evangeline Parish School Board to consider implementing a French immersion school. Lafleur said Evangeline Parish, despite having the largest bi-lingual population in the state , is the only parish in Acadiana without a French immersion school.
The police jury:
--approved applying for a $100,000 grant in Community Development Block funds to provide additional security measures at the courthouse and the police jury offices.
--appointed Gerald Duplechain to replace Wade Riley on the Parish Library board and appointed Glen Holden to replace Johnny Deshotel on the Industrial Development Board;
--received a report from Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron that sales Tax collections increased 9.4 percent to $313,000 for November.
KVPI Names News Director
December 8, 2014
KVPI General Manager Mark Layne announced today that Stephanie Ware has been named as News Director for KVPI AM and FM.
Layne announced that Ware has been covering all of the governmental meetings for both radio stations for the past three months. In addition, she has been doing interviews with news makers and covered KVPI election returns.
“We’re proud of her talents in such a short time with us and we felt it was time to give her the recognition she has earned by naming her News Director for both KVPI AM and FM”, said Layne.
December 6, 2014
Well, the elections are finally over and the voters once again have spoken. Before we get to the results here locally, we would like to thank everyone who got out and voted in the primary and run-off elections.
Stephanie Ware and Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel covered the elections tonight and here are the final results:
Bill Cassidy defeated Incumbent, Mary Landrieu, by receiving 6,336 votes in our Parish to Ms. Landrieu’s 4,101 votes
City Court Judge for the City of Ville Platte – Gregory Vidrine won with 2,956 votes over Betsy Jackson with 2,476 votes
Chief of Police for the City of Ville Platte – Incumbent, Neil Lartigue kept his position by receiving 1,688 votes over Linton Fontenot’s 1,246 votes
Chief of Police for the Town of Mamou – Robert McGee won with 580 votes to Katina Richard with 496 votes
Chief of Police for the Village of Turkey Creek – Robert Glenn Leggett won with 109 votes to Louis Dale Marcantel with 66 votes
Alderman District 3 for the Town of Mamou – Charles Reed won with 129 votes over Derryl T. Glyn Brunet with 127 votes
Alderman District E for the City of Ville Platte – Incumbent, Donald Sam won with 310 votes over Jerry Botley with 249 votes
Alderman District F for the City of Ville Platte – Bryant Riggs won with 282 votes over Shounda Smith Jack with 214 votes
Town of Basille – Millage Renewal for another 10 years – 1456 Yes’s and 88 voting against
The Duralde Gravity Drainage District No. 4 8.17 millage tax renewal passing with 87 votes for and 28 votes against it.
Thanks going out to Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel and the entire staff in his office, as well as all of the commissioners who worked during this election year.
APPEALS COURT ORDERS NEW ELECTION FOR TURKEY CREEK MAYOR
DECEMBER 3, 2014
The Third Circuit Court of Appeals today ruled today in the law suit filed by Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Miley Cloud who lost in the November Primary election by four votes to her opponent Bert Keith Campbell. She had filed a lawsuit claiming fraud was involved in the election and she had documents from at least four residents who said they were paid to vote for Campbell. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals today reversed the trial court’s judgment dismissing the lawsuit. The Appeals Court also strikes the four illegal votes declaring a tie between the two candidates and ordered the trial court judge, Judge Joel Davis of Allen Parish, to set a new election date to be held. The Appeals Court Judges who ruled in the matter were Sylvia Cooks, Billy Ezell and Phyllis Keaty. The attorneys for Mayor Cloud are Anne Watson and Elbert Guillory of Opelousas while the attorneys for Campbell are Wendel Fuselier of Ville Platte.and Ray Rush of Oakdale.
Food for Families Food Drive A Success
December 3, 2014
Despite a cold wind blowing for most of the morning hours but improving weather conditions in the afternoon, the 2014 Food For Families Food Drive conducted by KLFY TV 10 and Food Net was a success throughout the Acadiana drop off points including Evangeline Parish. Here in Evangeline Parish the drop off points were the Civic Center Pavillion in Ville Platte and in Mamou at St. Ann Church parking Lot. On behalf of everyone at Christian Care and Center, thank you for your food and monetary donations. About 5 tons of food and over $1500 in monetary donations was collected in Ville Platte which is slightly less than last year. However Care and Share Center officials are expecting additional donations today for those who did not have the opportunity.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB HEARS REPRESENTATIVES FROM LIGHTHOUSE MINISTRY
DECEMBER 2, 2014
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Mike Fontenot and Johnny Carrier of the Opelousas Lighthouse Ministry, a faith based 32 bed homeless shelter for men. Fontenot said 90 percent of the men that come to the shelter are referred from hospitals, prisons, additions or job loss. The facility is structured and has a strict set of rules. All men are required to do some of job while they reside at the shelter. The average length of stay ranges from 2-4 months. The goal is to return the men to become self sustaining. The facility includes a working garden and green house , computers and transportation support. The two were special guests of Rotarian Dr. Ted Ardoin.
Rotarians were reminded that the Rotary Wheel and Interact Club students will be participating in the Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade this Sunday at 5;30pm.
The annual Rotary Christmas social is planned for next Tuesday Dec. 9 at 6:00pm at Nicks on Main.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
NOVEMBER 25, 2014
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Ville Platte Housing Executive Director Grant Soileau. He reported the Housing Authority was first established in the early 50’s with a five member board selected by the mayor. The first grant developed 90 housing units: 70 on North Dupre and 20 on South Dupre streets. The Housing Authority employs 8 full time employees and 4 part time workers. The federal agency that oversees housing authorities grades the local authorities on management, financing and maintenence. The Ville Platte agency currently has a 93 grade which is considered high performer. The Housing Authority today oversees 218 rental units. There are 578 people living in the units at the present time. Soileau says he expects more and more cuts from the federal government. Soileau was the special guest of Rotarian Peggy Tate.
In other business, the Club:
--was notified that the annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will roll down main street Sunday Dec. 7 at 5:30. The Coca Cola Christmas truck will run in the parade. Also the Ville Platte Rotary wheel will be displayed in the parade;
--received news that the annual Rotary Club Christmas social will be held Dec. 9 at 6;00pm at Nicks on Main
KVPI Sports Update
KVPI Sports will be airing the Basile High-LaSalle High game Friday night at 7:00pm live from Basile over Classic Hits 92.5 and on the web at oldies925.com with KVPI Sports Announcer Tracey Jagneaux. Our game coverage will begin with the pre game at 6:45 and the S.E.C. report kicks off at 6:30pm. No LSu game this weekend. Their next game which he final game of the regular season: LSU will play Texas A and M Thanksgiving night and we plan to carry the game Sunday night.
VILLE PLATTE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
NOVEMBER 19, 2014
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) heard from Rhonda and Frank Butler with Gobble Gully Paintball in Turkey Creek. Rhonda Butler told chamber members that the park has only been open for four months and the turnout has been overwhelming with visitors from a 70-80 mile radius. They are the first paintball facility in the country using low impact paint ball guns. The owners are looking at expanding the facility since they are only using five of the 20 acres they own. Packages start at $29 on up and they accommodate up to 300 people per day. They are open Friday and Saturdays and Sunday afternoons.
In other action, Dr. William “Tojo” Ward said he was pleased to announce that after three years of litigation against Pine Prairie Energy, the lawsuit has been thrown out. He said “We are ready to move forward and remove the dark cloud over economic development in Evangeline Parish”. He announced that Pine Prairie Energy has donated $10,000 while Walmart has donated $500 to the Industrial Development Board.
In other business, Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot reported that the Chamber Christmas social is scheduled for December 4 at the Randy Deshotel home on Three Sisters road;
The annual Chamber of Commerce Christmas parade is planned for December 7 at 5:30 with line up at Citizens Bank. She reminded those wishing to enter a unit in the parade they must have it lighted. No four wheelers will be permitted. The Coca Cola Santa Claus truck will be riding in the parade.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
NOVEMBER 18, 2014
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte heard from Ginger LeCompte and Susan Fisher with St. Landry-Evangeline United Way. They discussed the various programs and services offered to groups in Evangeline and St. Landry Parishes. It was announced that the Harlem Ambassadors basketball team will be coming into Ville Platte for an assembly with 4th, 5th and 6th grade school students on Feb. 11 and playing a game against a team being selected by Mayor Jennifer Vidrine. United Way assists in areas of education, income , Health and Disaster Relief. They were the special guests of Rotarian Mark Sullentrop.
Club President David Mayeaux announced that the annual Rotary Club Christmas social will be held Dec. 9 at Nicks on Main.
Three new members have applied to join the group: Steve Williams with Union Tank and Attorneys Nick Monier and Chris Ludeau.
The club members heard Mayeaux:
--announce that distribution boxes prepared by the Sacred Heart Interact Club need to be displayed in club member’s places of business to get donations to the Rotary Foundation to help eradicate polio from around the world;
--explain that the new Rotary Club Face Book page is up and running to help build awareness of the local club.
November 17, 2014
A lawsuit was dismissed in 13th Judicial District Court this morning challenging the election outcome in the Turkey Creek mayor’s race. Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Miley Cloud filed the suit challenging the election results that shows that Bert Keith Campbell won by four votes, 110-106 votes. The suit challenged the results since the mayor had affidavits of four voters who testified that they sold their votes for $15.
The court was nearly packed while Judge Joel Davis of Allen Parish dismissed the lawsuit. Judge Davis met with all of the attorneys on both sides in a pre trial conference. He cited a supreme court decision, “Savage vs. Edwards” that stated that district court judges should not interfere or change the results of an election. The plaintiffs are appealing the decision to the Third Circuit. The higher court can either sustain the lower court ruling and throw out the lawsuit or reverse the court ruling and remand the case back to the court for a full hearing and trial.
Mayor Cloud’s attorneys included Anne Watson and Elbert Guillory while Campbell’s attorneys included Ray Rush, Wendell and Jacob Fuselier.
TURKEY CREEK MAYOR’S RACE RESULTS BEING CONTESTED IN LAWSUIT
NOVEMBER 13, 2014
A lawsuit has been filed in 13th District Court on Wednesday by Turkey Creek Mayor Heather Miley Cloud, contesting the results of the November 4 election. KVPI News obtained a copy of the lawsuit today at the Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court’s office.
The election results showed that her opponent Bert Keith Campbell received 110 votes and incumbent Mayor Heather Cloud received 106 votes, a difference of four votes. Cloud is suing her opponent Bert Keith Campbell on fraud charges. Also named in the lawsuit was Secretary of State Tom Shedler.
The suit included four affidavits of voters who testify that they sold their votes to vote for defendant Bert Keith Campbell in which they were given $15 per vote along with a piece of paper with Campbell’s voting number. In addition, one of the voters was promised to lead the Turkey Creek Christmas parade and another was promised a new bicycle. All four voters testified that otherwise they would have voted for Mayor Cloud
The lawsuit is asking the court that four of the votes for Campbell were illegal and fraudulent and add those four votes to the plaintiff’s total. By adding those four votes, the court should declare the plaintiff, Heather Cloud , the winner of the election for the position of Mayor in Turkey Creek.
The attorneys for Mayor Cloud are Anne Watson and Elbert Guillory of Opelousas. The court hearing is set for 9:00am Monday in Courtroom B before a judge from out of the parish. Both local district court judges have recuse themselves to avoid the appearance of impropriety.
KVPI contacted Bert Campbell regarding the lawsuit. He commented "As far as I am concerned, there was no vote buying. I know nothing of this and I beat Ms. Cloud because I went out and signed up 30 new registered voters." He denies the allegations and said " I never offered anyone money for a vote. I worked hard for two months and that is how I won." Mr. Campbell has not seen the lawsuit as of this afternoon.
November 10, 2014
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight (Monday) in the courthouse.
Police Jury President, Ryan Arduino, announced the formation of a Courthouse Emergency Committee being formed. Along with Liz Hill, others will be asked to join the committee. The jury will be looking at finding a representative from the Police Department, Sheriff’s office, Fire Department as well as someone from DHH. The committee will discuss and make plans of what to do when the courthouse is in an emergency situation.
The Jury voted to schedule the next meeting in “French” to be held on Tuesday, December 9th at 2:00 p.m. Also, there will be a public hearing at 5:15 on December 29th followed by a special meeting at 5:30 to amend the 2014 budgets and adopt the 2015 budgets.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, reported that the drainage crews have been in Chatagnier but were stopped due to an equipment breakdown. A hydraulic pump had to be replaced before work could continue.
Parish Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, reported that the long awaited Morgan Road project will begin. The pipe is on the site and other materials have been ordered. He expects it to be complete within a couple of weeks.
He also said that the Crooked Creek pavilion is finished and they now need to find a project there to use the excess $9,000.00. They will be exploring that.
Secretary-Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, announced the “Budget Date” for November 20th at 8:00 a.m. and encouraged anyone to come and attend. He also announced that the 2% collections were $271,479.04, which was 2.66% down from last year which he said was “not too bad.”
And, the jury voted to appoint Bryan Vidrine to the Board of the Acadian Resource and Conservation Council.
The Ville Platte Police Department is looking for a runaway from the Gabriel Villa Apartment complex. Olshimer McCoy was last seen on Friday November 7, 2014 at approximately 7:30 in the evening. He is described as a black male approximately 5’9. He is 15 years old and has his hair cut into a Mohawk. He was last seen wearing a yellow LSU hoodie and camouflage cargo shorts. He has run away before and is possibly hiding in the Ville Platte area. If you have any information on this juveniles whereabouts, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.
Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting
November 5, 2014
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight (Wednesday) in the Media Center.
The Board voted on a 2 year extension of Superintendent, Toni Hamlin’s contract. 8 voted for the extension and 3 were opposed. Board Member, Wayne Dardeau, stated his opposition was not against Ms. Hamlin, because he believes she is doing a good job, it was because he would like all employees to get a raise, not just one person. Board Member, Anthony Savoy mirrored Mr. Dardeau’s statement. The extension passed.
Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, spoke regarding the School Report Cards. She was very pleased to announce that the parish has gone from a “C” rating to a “B” rating for the 2013-2014 school year. That is quite an accomplishment. She wanted to thank the supervisory staff, the administration at the schools, the teachers and definitely the students. The parish went from 77.6 to 88.7 (which is a B rating). A copy of the report cards will be going out to parents. She was proud to announce that Mamou Elementary went from a “C” rating to an “A” rating and that there has been a really strong strengthening in the graduation rate, especially at Ville Platte High School.
Board Member, Scott Limoges inquired as to what end of the year testing will be used this school year. Ms. Hamlin said that she received notice that grades 3-8 will be a pencil and paper test, but that high school students will be online PARC assessments. Technology is still being installed the schools. Mamou is complete and installation is currently being done at Ville Platte High.
Council to the Board, Bob Hammons, was in attendance at the meeting. He was asked the status of the battle between Governor Bobby Jindal and Louisiana State Superintendent, John White regarding the Common Core program. Mr. Hammons stated that “So, far…it looks like Mr. White is winning.” He stated that was on a district level and the cases are on their way to the appellate court.
Board Member David Landreneau, who was defeated in his race on Tuesday by Michael Fontenot, thanked the Board, teachers, staff and supervisors for the 30 years of support. He said this is the best staff this parish has ever had, with great principals and a great board. Council members exchanged kind words with Mr. Landreneau as he stated “My wife is very happy with the results of the election.”
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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.