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Oldies Local News Archives for 2012-07

Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting


       The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today for their regular weekly meeting.  The guest speaker today was Jeff Conley, the plant manager at Cameron, a provider of flow equipment products, systems and services to worldwide oil, gas and process industries.  Conley said Cameron is an eight billion dollar a year company.  They employ about 28,000 people worldwide, with 3,500 employees in Louisiana and about 600 at both plants on the Ville Platte campus.  They have about 120 machines in the factory.  Conley said that Cameron has put on job fairs in the last nine months with machinist training classes, which last about three weeks, teaching the basics, and then provide on-the-job training for several months to develop skills.  He said that employee retention is a problem with smaller communities because they wind up going to bigger cities.  Every day, they conduct safety meetings.  He said they are also very active in the community. Cameron has had significant job growth, and they expect job growth well into 2013.

Evangeline School Board Appoints New Board Member


 

    In a special meeting Wednesday night, the Evangeline Parish School Board appointed Christopher Buck Dupuis to replace the late Dan Hoffpauir as a school board member in District Seven. Dupuis, an oil field worker from the Mamou will serve as school board member until a special meeting is held in November.

Pharmacy Burglary Arrest by Evangeline S.O.


On July 12, 2012, Pine Prairie Police Assistant Chief Joey Arnaud requested assistance from Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department for a burglary of Pine Prairie Pharmacy.  Officers observed a hole in the pharmacy floor and noticed several electric hand tools had been left at the scene after responding to an alarm activation.  Assistant Chief Arnaud later conducted a traffic stop on Pecan Street, where he observed Justin David Lawson as a passenger.  Lawson was bare footed, muddy and gave a fictitious name of Colby Lawson with conflicting statements on his whereabouts.  Officers were able to recover Lawson’s shoes and several items of evidence including the tools and gloves used in the burglary.  Lawson was interviewed in reference to the burglary, where he admitted to cutting a hole in the floor of the pharmacy and taking numerous bottles of prescription pills. Lawson said he was dropped off at the pharmacy by his girlfriend Heather Danielle Riggs, of 544 Denny Road, Deville La, 71328, but said she left when the alarm sounded.  Lawson was booked in the parish jail for criminal damage to property, burglary of a pharmacy, theft and misrepresentation during booking.  Assistant Chief Arnaud and Captain Shawn Eckhart were able to recover the medication stolen from the pharmacy in a field off of Pecan Street.  A warrant for the arrest of Heather Riggs was executed on July 17, 2012.  Riggs was arrested and booked in the parish jail for principle to burglary of a pharmacy and principle to theft.   
On July 17, 2012, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department arrested Patrick D. Thomas and Kayla Renee Hebert for unauthorized use of an access card.  Detectives were able to retrieve video footage from several convenience stores depicting Thomas and Hebert using a stolen debit card to make unauthorized purchases.  Thomas and Hebert both admitted to using the stolen debit card.  Patrick Thomas was booked in the parish jail for five counts of unauthorized use of an access card.  Kayla Hebert was booked in the parish jail for unauthorized use of an access card. 
On July 20, 2012, Assistant Warden Garnett intercepted a package from Latrakus Rondez Joseph, which was intended for an inmate housed in the parish jail.  Garnett searched the contents and located a black cellular phone hidden inside a pack of Community Coffee.  A warrant for the arrest of Latrakus Rondez Joseph was issued.  Joseph was booked in the parish jail for introduction of contraband into a penal facility. 
On July 24, 2012, Assistant Warden Garnett intercepted a package from Heather Riggs which was intended for an inmate housed in the parish jail.  Garnett contacted Detectives and after inspecting the contents of the packages Detectives discovered narcotics, tobacco, cigarette lighters and other items considered as contraband concealed inside bottles of body wash and coffee creamer.  Detectives obtained a consent to search Riggs’ vehicle, which was parked on government property, and discovered more marijuana, prescription pills and a clear Ziploc type bag containing a white powder residue, believed to be a controlled dangerous substance.  Heather Danielle Riggs was booked in the parish jail for four counts of introduction of contraband into a penal facility, two counts of possession with the intent to distribute a schedule II controlled dangerous substance, possession with the intent to distribute a schedule I controlled dangerous substance, simple possession of a schedule I controlled dangerous substance and possession of drugs in a drug free zone.  Additional charges are pending the outcome of the scientific analysis from the contents of the clear Ziploc type bag found in Riggs’ vehicle. 
            Sheriff Eddie Soileau would like to remind citizens that the operation of ATV’s on the roadway is unsafe and is illegal.  Persons found operating ATV’s on the roadway may be cited and the ATV towed at the owner’s expense.  Sheriff would also like remind citizens to properly secure their equipment and to contact his office with information about illegal activities and to report all suspicious activity to his office.  He said all callers will remain anonymous.
 

Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting


 

The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today for their regular meeting.  The guest speaker was Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel.  He spoke about adjusting to his new position as Clerk of Court.  He is trying to bring more technology to the court house.  “After fifty-six years of one way of doing things, I faced quite a daunting picture,” he said. 

Deshotel is making changes to get everything up-to-date.  An E-Commerce System will be set up online in the next couple of months.  In addition to quick access to multiple locations, the system can increase revenue by selling subscriptions to the service.  Also they have streamlined the office, so that now it looks bigger and more open.  And they are now going to utilize an old vault as an evidence room, instead of keeping evidence in an office.

Deshotel said that it is a learning process.  When a new clerk comes in, all commissioners have to be re-certified.  Classes are being conducted this week, and the Secretary of State’s Office is coming in to make sure everything is being done correctly.  Today’s (Tues.) class is at 6:00 at the Pine Prairie Town Hall, and tomorrow (Wed.) at 6:00 PM the Turkey Creek Community Center. 

Deshotel concluded by saying that he’s “Very fortunate to have inherited a great staff.  They’re great teachers and great people.”  He also reminds the public that they shouldn’t hesitate to call if they have any questions for the Clerk of Court’s Office.

Evangeline School Board Calls Special School Board Member Election


 

 

Ville Platte-    The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday voted to call a special election on November 6 to replace District 7 School Board Member Dan Hoffpauir who died Tuesday after a lengthy illness. Hoffpauir had served the District 7-Mamou area as a board member for the past 24 years.

                         Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin said Hoffpauir was “a real gentleman. This is a great loss to the board and to the staff. He will be sorely missed.”

                         Funeral services are planned Thursday at 3:00 at St. Ann’s Catholic Church in Mamou for Hoffpauir, age  73. Hoffpauir operated a Western Auto store in Mamou for 28 years.

                        The school board has called a special meeting Tuesday July 24 at 6:00pm to appoint a replacement board member until the election is held in November.

                         Business Manager Amy LaFleur reported that revenues from school sales taxes increased by $524,671 for the fiscal year over the same period a year ago. The school district ended the fiscal year June 30 collected $7.7 million dollars as compared to $7.2 million in 2010-2011.

                        In her comments to the school board, Superintendent Hamlin said she was unsure how efficient the restructuring of the State Department of Education  of school districts into network regions will be. In the past, Evangeline was part of the Acadiana region with neighboring Southwest Louisiana parishes. “We had a lot of things in common with these other parishes including our Cajun and Creole French heritage,” said Hamlin.

                        Evangeline Parish along with St. Landry and Lafayette parishes are  now in a network comprised of parishes such as East Baton Rouge, Orleans and Jefferson parishes.

                        Superintendent Hamlin reported that Dexter Brown was appointed principal at Evangeline Central School, reclassified from an interim principal while Barbara Lee was appointed principal at Pine Prairie High School, also reclassified from an interim principal at the school.

Cleco Official Addresses Cleco Official


            The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today for their weekly meeting.  The guest speaker was James Las of Cleco; he is the Manager of Transmission and Distribution Support and Emergency Management.  He discussed Hurricane Management Strategy. 

            Cleco’s Emergency Management Strategy involves assigning every employee one of several storm teams, which include Critical Care Customers, Transportation, and Sanitation. 

            During severe storms, Cleco utilizes crews from other utilities, such as line mechanics and tree trimmers.  Utilities hold meetings prior to storm season to discuss mutual assistance issues.  Contractors are also used for logistics services and security. 

            James Las went on to say that, during mass power outages, transmission and distribution lines are the first to be repaired, as well as restoring power to critical community services like hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire departments, as well as water wells and sewer treatment plants.  He also reminded everyone to stay away from downed power lines.  He said that traffic increases after a storm, also that the general public is not aware of hazards such as cleared debris placed under power lines.  Las said that customers can track Cleco’s progress during power outages by going to their website at Cleco.com and clicking on the outage map.

Ville Platte Chamber Hears Rep. LeBas on State Budget Woes


 

   The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce met today(Monday) at noon today with State Representative Bernard LeBas as their guest speaker. Le Bas reported that the entire legislature is in favor of fully funding Codofil. Recently, the Council for the Development of French in Louisiana was cut 40 percent in funding in a line item veto by the governor. Codofil assists in training teachers for the French Immersion schools in Louisiana. LeBas said “We draw millions of dollars to our state because of our French culture and heritage.”

    On the issue of education reform, LeBas said lawmakers are waiting to see how the courts will decide on the constitutional issue dealing with using taxpayer funds to pay school vouchers for public school students attend private schools.

    LeBas said the state is looking at making $850 million dollars in more cuts to the Medicaid program. He said this will mean the Charity Hospitals will take a 25% reduction in their budget while nursing homes will take lose 11 percent  in funding from the Medicaid program.

    In other chamber news, Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot reported that the chamber currently has 115 members enrolled. The newest member is David Mayeaux , Edward Jones Financial Advisor. She reminded chamber members that Mayeaux’s office will have a ribbon cutting and open house Wednesday from 10-2.

      Mable Forman reminded chamber members that the Fourth Annual Back to School Health Information and Resource Fair is planned for this Saturday July 21 from 9-12 noon at the Ville Platte Civic Center sponsored by the Evangeline Parish Medicaid Office, City of Ville Platte and Ville Platte Home Health. The event is planning to provide back to school supplies and book sacks to some 650 students.

       Chamber members were reminded about the chamber sponsored bus trip to see the musical “The Jersey Boys” in January in New Orleans. The cost is $169. A deposit of $100 is required by Sept. 24 at the chamber office.

       A list of nominations for Chamber officers and board members will be sent to Chamber members in the next few weeks.

Louisiana Historic Creole Families Gathered in Ville Platte Saturday





       People from as far away as Point Coupee Parish and New Orleans gathered in Ville Platte Saturday  at the Civic Center Pavillion to honor Louisiana’s Historic Creole families. Emceeing the event was French Educator and Author John Lafleur. Among those who spoke was Dr. Ina Fandrich who read a letter saluting the French Creole families from the French Consul General. Dr. Fandrich also introduced singer musician Andrew from Ghana. There were a number of people from Avoyelles Parish. Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine welcomed the group to Ville Platte. A petition was prepared and signed for legislative action next year to recognize July 14 as Bastille Day , a state holiday in Louisiana to recognize the French Creole families in Louisiana. KVPI Classic Country 1050 was there as we broadcast the entire program for those who could not attend.

Ville Platte Police Make Burglary and Armed Robbery Arrests


Ville Platte Chief Neal Lartigue reports several arrests this week resulting from ongoing investigations which include burglary and armed robbery. 

 

On July 2, 2012 the Ville Platte Police Department received a call in reference to a break in on Court Street. The investigation led to the arrest of Henry Jones, 39 of 110 West Railroad Street, Ville Platte.  Jones was charged with 1 count of simple burglary.  Also arrested was Perry Mayes 21, of 431 North Saint Jones St.  Eunice.  Mayes was also charged with 1 count simple burglary.  Jones and Mayes were booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and were later transferred to the Evangeline Parish Jail where they remain incarcerated.  Jones and Mayes each were issued a bond amount of $10,000.00 set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.


On June 30, 2012 the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a call of theft on Owen Street.  After further investigation the incident was determined to have been an armed robbery and two people were arrested and charged on July 3, 2012.  The investigation led to the arrest of Phyllis Serie 32, of 1024 East Street, Mamou.  Serie was arrested and charged with armed robbery.  Serie was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail where she remains incarcerated on a $5,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.  Also Charged in the armed robbery was Ronald Pete 25, of 820 North East Railroad St. Ville Platte. Pete was charged with aggravated burglary, armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Pete was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail where he remains incarcerated with a bond of $75,000.00 set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.

 

On June 8, 2012, a report of an armed robbery of a person was received by the Ville Plate Police Department.  Phyllis Serie 32, of 1024 East Street, Mamou was arrested and charged with armed robbery and the bond set for this incident is $55,000.00. Brittany Fontenot 23, of 820 North East Railroad St, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with armed robbery.  Fontenot’s bond was set at $55,000.00.  Ronald Pete 25, of 820 North East Railroad St. Ville Platte. Pete was arrested and charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.  Pete’s bond for this charge was set at $75,000.00 by Judge John Larry Vidrine.

 

On July 3, 2012 Ronald Pete 25, of 820 North East Railroad St. Ville Platte was also charged with armed robbery and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon as a result of an investigation into an armed robbery that took place at a local business on March 14, 2012. Pete was booked and a bond set at $75,000.00 by Judge John Larry Vidrine.

 

In an unrelated incident, Ronald Pete 25, of 820 North East Railroad St. Ville Platte was served with a charge of distribution of crack cocaine on July 10, 2012.  The distribution charge was the result of an ongoing undercover operation.  Pete was served while incarcerated in the Ville Platte City Jail.  The bond for the charge of distribution of crack cocaine was set at $20,000.00 by Judge John Larry Vidrine.

 

 “The Detectives have done an outstanding job and have solved many cases with the arrest of Ronald Pete” Chief Lartigue said. “Lake Charles is investigating Ronald Pete for multiple crimes in their area and he is facing pending charges there also.”

 

Chief Lartigue reminds residents that when you call in tips you remain anonymous and you can help make our streets safer.  Your tips provide information that the department can use to locate and apprehend criminals.  Call in your anonymous tips to the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.

Eleven Year Old Victim Killed in Traffic Mishap


Young Girl Dies in Crash

EVANGELINE PARISH- Today, Louisiana State Police Troop I investigated a single vehicle fatal crash on LA Highway 104 west of LA Highway 1165 which claimed the life of an 11-year-old girl from Ville Platte.  

According to investigating troopers, on July 10, 2012, at 12:50 hours, 44-year-old Julie Banks of Mamou, was driving a 2002 Ford truck east on LA Highway 104.  For reasons still under investigation, Banks exited a left curve and traveled off the right side of the road.  After leaving the roadway, Banks’ vehicle struck a tree.  Banks, who was wearing a seatbelt, sustained minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital.  

Two other juvenile passengers, a 12-year-old female and a 13-year-old boy, were also properly restrained and sustained minor injuries.  They were transported to a local hospital for treatment.  A third passenger, 11-year-old Alyssa Guillory of Ville Platte, died at the scene as a result of her injuries.  She was pronounced dead by the Evangeline Parish Coroner.  Troopers indicated Guillory was also properly restrained.  

It is unknown if Banks was impaired when the crash occurred; however, routine toxicology samples have been obtained and will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.  

This crash remains under investigation.  

While it is still unknown if impairment was a factor in this crash, troopers remind drivers that impaired driving continues to be a leading cause for fatal crashes throughout Louisiana. While troopers have seen the number of deaths and serious injuries due to impaired drivers decrease in recent years, there is still work to be done. Troopers will continue to enforce Louisiana’s DWI laws across the state and remain committed to a public education campaign to end impaired driving.

 

Evangeline Police Jury Appoves New Library Construction


 

        The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday, after a public hearing, approved placing on the November election ballot the renewal of its 2 cent sales tax for roads and drainage for another 15 years. The jury voted to add the Ward Two area of the parish that was left out of the road and drainage district 15 years ago when the original tax was first called. The new road district lines include the entire parish excluding all municipalities.

         In other business, the police jury approved  a recommendation from the Evangeline Parish Library Board to accept the low interest rate quote of Evangeline Bank to finance the construction of a new $1.5 million dollar library in Ville Platte. Three other parish banks will also participate in the financing. The bond issue will be for a 16 year term. The new Ville Platte Library will be built on the library’s property that formerly housed Ville Platte Medical Center on West Main Street.

            Police Juror Rocky Rider said local residents are concerned that a possible bar may soon be opening in the old Po Boy Lumber Yard location on Opelousas Road. All of the residents of a nearby subdivision are against such a business opening in their neighborhood. However, Rider said little can be done since there is no church or school nearby. Parish ordinances stipulate that bars cannot open within 1000 feet of a school or church but no ordinance exist for a bar opening near a residential area.

        In other business the police jury:

--voted to go on record opposing recent action by Governor Jindal to cut Codofil’s budget by 40 percent. The jury will be sending a letter to reconsider his action with copies to be sent to the local legislative delegation. Codofil helps train and fund teachers in the French Immersion program statewide;

--approved paying Dr. Tojo Ward $1200 a month in expense reimbursement for his work as Director of the Parish Industrial Board and as a member of the Acadiana Economic Development District Board. The jury will offer local industry the opportunity to help contribute toward the reimbursement cost;

--appointed Daniel Miller to replace Nathan Fontenot on the Te Mamou Water District Board;

--approved the low quote of Phillips Contracting of $21,400 to retrofit the parish owned Medicaid Office building to accommodate the police jury staff. It is expected that the District Attorney will be paying the moving expenses of the jury.

Mamou Man Killed in Car Crash


 


Crash on LA 3277 Claims Life of Mamou Man

EVANGELINE PARISH- Today, Louisiana State Police Troop I investigated a single vehicle fatal crash on LA Highway 3277 west of LA Highway 3158 which claimed the life of a Mamou man.  

According to investigating troopers, on July 7, 2012, at 12:16 hours, 20-year-old Garrett Deshotels of Mamou, was driving a 1999 Chevrolet truck south on LA Highway 3277.  Deshotels drove off the right side of the road, steered back to the left, crossed the highway and drove off the left side of the road.  After traveling off the road, Deshotels’ vehicle struck a crawfish pond levee.  Deshotels, who was unrestrained, was ejected from the vehicle.  He was pronounced dead by the Evangeline Parish Coroner.  

It is unknown if Deshotels was impaired when the crash occurred; however, routine toxicology samples have been obtained and will be submitted to the Louisiana State Police Crime Lab for analysis.  

This crash remains under investigation.  

Troopers remind drivers and occupants of motor vehicles that state law requires everyone to be properly restrained.  When properly worn, a seatbelt can greatly reduce your risk of injury in most crashes.  This is the 4th fatal crash Troop I has investigated this month.

Evangeline Sheriff's Department Arrests


    On June 20, 2012, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Criminal Investigations Division executed a warrant of arrest for Brad Shannon King, 1107 Country Lane Turkey Creek.  King was arrested after admitting to Detectives that he had a sexual relationship with a juvenile girl.  King was arrested and booked in the parish jail for felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile.  The Department of Children and Family Services were contacted and the investigation continues.  Additional charges may follow the outcome of the investigation.  
     On June 22, 2012, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Criminal Investigations Division conducted criminal interdiction and made several drug related arrests.  A male juvenile was stopped for traffic violations and was found to be in possession of marijuana.  The parents were contacted and the juvenile was released to their custody.  The juvenile will be petitioned to court for the drug violation.  Sidrick Allison was arrested and booked in the parish jail for possession with intent to distribute a schedule I controlled dangerous substance to wit marijuana and was also cited for improper lane usage and driving with a suspended driver’s license.  Danny Thomas was arrested and booked in the parish jail for possession with intent to distribute a schedule I controlled dangerous substance to wit marijuana and two counts of possession with intent to distribute a schedule II controlled substance, to wit cocaine. 
    On June 27, 2012, Detectives with Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department received information of possible inappropriate behavior involving juveniles.  An investigation revealed that Joseph Lee Edward Johnson conducted himself in an inappropriate manner with a child under the age of thirteen (13).  Johnson admitted to the allegations and was charged with aggravated rape and indecent behavior involving juveniles.  The Department of Children and Family Services were contacted and the investigation continues.  Additional charges may follow the outcome of the investigation. 
On June 29, 2012, Ricky J. Ardoin was stopped for reckless operation and improper lane usage on Miller’s Lake Road.  During the field interview with Ardoin, Detectives located four rocks in the vehicle which tested positive for cocaine.  Detectives also located items of drug paraphernalia within the vehicle.  Ricky J. Ardoin was arrested and booked in the parish jail for four counts of possession of a schedule II controlled dangerous substance, reckless operation and improper lane usage.  Additional charges are pending the outcome of a scientific analysis on the drug paraphernalia. 
       Sheriff Eddie Soileau would like to remind citizens that the operation of ATV’s on the roadway is unsafe and is illegal.  Persons found operating ATV’s on the roadway may be cited and the ATV towed at the owner’s expense.  Sheriff would also like remind citizens to properly secure their equipment and to contact his office with information about illegal activities and to report all suspicious activity to his office.  He said all callers will remain anonymous.
 

Senator Eric Lafleur Guest Speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Meeting


The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today for their regular meeting.  The guest speaker was Senator Eric LaFleur, who spoke about the recent session.  He discussed budget cuts.  He said that Medicare was cut, mostly with preventative care, such as mammograms.  He also spoke about the recent healthcare bill that was voted on by the Supreme Court.  Senator LaFleur agreed that health care reform was much needed and that we need to promote a healthy lifestyle as a big part of preventative care.

Senator LaFleur also discussed education and the voucher program as well as teacher tenure, pointing out that it was important for principals to be able to fire bad teachers regardless of their tenure status. 

A question was brought up about the testing of welfare recipients to make sure they were not using illegal drugs.  Senator LaFleur is against drug testing for welfare recipients, saying that there is already a screening program in place.  He alluded to a slippery slope, saying that if we were to test welfare recipients, then it could lead to the testing of anyone who receives money, such as T.O.P.S. students.  He concluded by saying that the welfare system isn’t perfect, but it’s much better than what it used to be, because now recipients are limited for the number of years they can be on welfare.

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