VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
JULY 22, 2014
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Richard Fontenot, President of the Evangeline Parish Farm Bureau. Fontenot , a fifth generation farmer in Evangeline Parish, also serves on Farm Bureau’s Mutual Board and is a District Five Board Member representing our area on a national level. Farm Bureau is an organization that is considered the voice of Louisiana agriculture.
Fontenot said the number one crop in Evangeline Parish is rice followed surprisingly by horses. Cattle production is number three followed by forestry at the number four position. Statewide, forestry production is number one. Ten percent of the rice crop in the state is produced here in Evangeline Parish.
He praised State Representative Bernard LeBas for his leadership in helping the rice industry through the check off program.
Fontenot said the new farm bill is not friendly to Louisiana producers because it removes all direct payments and relies more on crop insurance.
His outlook for the crops this year: rice will be good, soybeans average to above average and cattle prices will be surging.
In an answer to a question about a young person wanting to get into agriculture production, he said it would very difficult to get the financing. The high costs for equipment and land is prohibitive for many people. For example, a new combine could be as high as $500,000 and a new tractor could be around $200,000.
Fontenot was the special guest of Rotarian Jeremy Ortego.
Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department reports additional charges filed in July 4th incident.
The Ville Platte Police Department has charged 4 more people in the previously reported incident of July 4th, 2014. As the investigation continued and more information and videos were shared with detectives, additional people were brought in for questioning and subsequently charged. The following were charged with disturbing the peace by fighting.
Charged were: Carrie Fruge 23 of 723 South Dupre Street, Ville Platte
Deandre Dangerfield 20, of 1614 Amy Street, Ville Platte
Constance Spriggins 21, of 249 Lithcote Road, Ville Platte
Makeisha Fruge 22 of 1114 Peach Street, Ville Platte
All 4 have since posted their bond of $10,000.00 each issued by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
Chief Lartigue reminds citizens to remember to check all windows and doors on homes vehicles and out buildings to make sure they are locked and secure to prevent thefts. If you see suspicious activity or know of illegal activity please call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
July 16, 2014
Evangeline Parish School Board
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its meeting last night wherein a Resolution was passed giving preliminary approval to the issuance of, not to exceed, Two Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars ($2,500,000) of Limited Tax Revenue Bonds for the purpose of paying for the costs of data distribution including servers, external and internal wiring, switches and related equipment for Evangeline Parish Schools. These changes will bring technology to a new level in the schools and will help prepare for the upcoming changes in how children are tested.
Board Member, David Landreneau, reported that he and other board members, along with Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, visited the Extended School Year Program at the old Mamou High Upper building. They visited a class of students with disabilities consisting of seven students. Mr. Landreneau reported that the facility they are now in has “fallen through the cracks” during all of the projects that have being taking place. The building is in need of a suspended ceiling, insulation, heating in the winter and cooling in the summer. He asked the board to pass a Resolution to get quotes and begin on those renovations soon. The Board unanimously agreed to pass the requested resolution. The resolution also provides for the superintendent’s office to schedule to have the improvements done once quotes are received.
Assistant Superintendent, Darwan Lazard, reported that the projects around the parish schools are coming along very nicely and they hope to have them finished before the beginning of school. He thanked the board for funding the projects, which includes new windows and some doors at Bayou Chicot Elementary and new lighting at Mamou Elementary. He also thanked Mike Hazleton for doing great work with the small crew he has. They have worked on special projects as well as other maintenance. He thanked him for the leadership he gives to his crew.
Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, noted that she will be placing a pilot program into place this year at a couple of schools. She said she will be putting some of those who have completed their Educational Leadership Certification into Administrative Assistant roles so they can learn all facets of running a school. She noted the complexity of running a school and this program would assist principals in daily administration work, along with providing mentoring and a ton of experience to the new administrative assistants.
VILLE PLATTE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEETING
JULY 16, 2014
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) heard from Jane Vidrine and Jean Kiesel, the authors of the book on “Evangeline Parish”. The new book is available at several shops in the parish and the response has been great.
Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot reported that the chamber plans to sponsor a political rally August 21 beginning at 5;00pmn at the Ville Platte Civic Center . The event will be free to the public. Political candidates who wish to sponsor a table and speak to the public will be charged $150. Refreshments will be sold. It will be a fund raiser for the chamber. Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel will be the emcee for the event.
In other business, it was announced:
--the old Wal Mart location has been purchased by the Herbert Brown family and will be opened as a clothing warehouse outlet store sometime in November;
--received a report that the summer reading program sponsored by the public library has been very successful. Some 8000 books have been circulated. There are two weeks left in the program. The move into the new library facility is expected in mid August;
--there are still a few seats available for the two chamber bus trips to see the Bob Hope show in New Orleans in September and to Phantom of the Opera in November;
--ribbon cutting of the new La Tee Da gift boutique is July 18 at 11:30am;
--a re-dedication ceremony at Village De Memoire July 23 at 11;00am ;
--a fishing tournament and family fun day sponsored by the Ville Platte Fire Department is planned for August 9.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting last night and the Jury handled a long list of issues
within the parish. A main topic of discussion was “nuisance properties”. The Police Jury has been tackling
unsafe, uninhabitable, abandoned dwellings and property. Notices have been sent to landowners with a
notice to clean up property, including cutting tall grass, and/or repairing or tearing down dwellings that are in
poor to dangerous conditions.
The Jury voted to now “move along” with correcting these properties that
have not been taken care of by the owner. Following Section 12-31 of state law, the Jury will send out new
notices to the property owners informing the owner it has a certain amount of time to have the repairs made.
If after that time the clean-up in not performed, the Parish will move forward with performing the task itself.
The cost of the repairs or clean-up will then be passed along to the property owner through a lien on the
property which will be attached to the next year’s property tax bill. The following properties were discussed
by the jury and unanimously approved to begin the process:
1040 Campbell Ave., (Kennedy Subdivision)
1824 Boozo Street (Between Mamou and Redel)
1024, 1026 and 1032 Oat Pass Street (Eugene Subdivision off of the Vidrine Road)
145 Candy Lane (Off the Vidrine Road)
Property located behind 2088 Hwy. 106 (Black Lake Road, St. Landry)
535 Sandy Street, Ville Platte
Citizens from these areas were in attendance at the meeting.
The President of 911, Kent Fontenot and Pat Derousselle addressed the Jury regarding the new 911 building
currently under plan. The building will be approximately 8,000 square ft. and it will be a $1.6 million project.
They are looking at 2 acres of land in Industrial Park. They now have bid-specs and they are anticipating
those being in the paper this Thursday. Mr. Fontenot advised that opening bids for the project will begin
August 19th. The project has been planned for 10 years and Mr. Fontenot reported “We have worked hard to
save our money to do this…so we are going to do it right.” Eric Lafleur is currently working with them on a
bond issue to pay for a portion of the project, although that amount is not known as of yet. The building is
going to be able to handle category three hurricane conditions and will keep workers who are in the facility safe
for 3-4 days.
Derousselle said they want it to be a workable, taskable building that will allow emergency
personnel from all over to come together and make sure they get emergency services provided as fast as they
can. This includes emergency medical crews, The National Guard and State Police.
Jury Member, Bryan Vidrine, announced the upcoming opening of a “Paint Ball” facility that is being opened
in Turkey Creek. “Gobble Gully” is set to open in the next couple of weeks. We will bring you more
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY HEARS JACK MILLER BBQ SAUCE HISTORY
JULY 15, 2014
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Rotarian Kermit Miller share the history of his family’s business. American Inn Inc. is celebrating its 73rd year in business this year. The business began as a restaurant operated by Kermit’s father, Jack Miller. Jack Miller began marketing his BBQ sauce 59 years ago.
The company has a staff of 5 people and produces 2-3,000 bottles a day. The business was originally at the Pigstand restaurant and later moved to a location on East Main street. In 1980, the company moved to its current location on Jack Miller road.
American Inn produces Jack Miller BBQ Sauce, Seasoning Mix and dipping sauce.
On July 13, 2014 at approximately 8:30, the Ville Platte Police Department received a call reporting an armed robbery at a local business on East Main Street. Upon arrival officers learned that a black male wearing all black entered the business with his face covered and pointed a gun at employees demanding money from the register. Officers secured the area and Detectives began their investigation. The suspect reportedly fled on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Chief Neal Lartigue is asking for the publics assistance in identifying this suspect. If you have information on this armed robbery or saw a back male dressed in black running on East Main at approximately 8:30 on Sunday night, please call the Ville Platte Police Department right away. If you come in contact with someone you believe is a suspect please do not question or attempt to detain this person. This suspect is considered armed and dangerous.
To anonymously provide information on this or any other case or to report illegal activity, call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.
In a game broadcast over Classic Hits 92.5 tonight, the Mamou 8 year old All Stars defeated West Monroe East in the first game of the state Dixie Youth Pitching Machine Tournament in Pineville. Final score: Mamou 15 West Monroe East 7. The Mamou All Stars advance to the second game in pool play Friday morning at 11:30 against Minden Continental to be broadcast over KVPI.
Congratulations to the Ville Platte 12 year old All Stars for capturing the District title by defeating Dequincy 11-1 tonight at the Ville Platte Recreational Facility. The All Stars will advance to play in the regional tournament July 18 in Metairie.
KVPI Installs New Generator Installed for Backup Power
July 9, 2014
Ville Platte Broadcasting Company announces that it has approved the installation of a new more powerful generator for its transmitter site on Te Mamou road. The new generator will provide the power needed to keep both our FM and AM radio stations on the air during stormy weather. KVPI-FM increased its power to 6,000 watts a few years ago and the older generator was not capable to keep the station on the air at full power. The new installation completed this week at the transmitter site compliments our generator unit at our office and studios on West LaSalle Street. General Manager Mark Layne said “Our board felt now was the time to make the necessary investment to upgrade our back up power at the beginning of hurricane season. We are committed to the fact our listeners depend upon us to be there on the air providing the latest weather information and messages from emergency officials. “
July 8, 2014 Ville Platte City Council Mtg.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine and the Ville Platte City Council held their monthly meeting last night at City Hall.
A public hearing was scheduled by Councilman Taranza Arvie of District “F” to discuss adopting an ordinance to require quarterly reports on the amounts spent on gift baskets that are given to special visitors to the community. This is the second public hearing he has been scheduled on the subject; however, Councilman Taranza was not in attendance for either one. The mayor spoke on the issue and had the following comments:
“These are gift baskets that we give to promote our area. These are not gifts given to council members…let’s make this clear. There are no gifts given to council members. The “City Baskets” contain local products and the information on them is always readily available. These baskets are a tremendous economic boom to our city and have become famous. They contain seasonings from our local businesses and when we purchase a seasoning, it is at cost. And the business donates seasonings as well. The baskets also contain a Ville Platte t-shirt (which is no cost to us). People from all over are calling to get products from these businesses now. Businesses have received calls from Wisconsin, Minnesota, and all over. It is as if we are one of the best kept secrets. The public had no idea that our area had so many seasoning companies. This is all to promote local business and our area.”
The mayor questioned why they need an ordinance for information that is already readily available. The council agreed and voted to leave things the way they are now.
The mayor also spoke on abandoned properties and wants to remind anyone who has abandoned dwellings to tear them down, and if you have property, please keep the grass cut. Over the past 3 years, they have torn down over 200 properties and still have a list of over 400 they continue to work on. They do not like sending out the letters and knowing that possible warrants will be issued, but these properties bring rats, snakes and other rodents to other landowners next to them. These dwellings are also being used for criminal activity.
“We want new businesses to come in and see a clean city.”
During council comments, it was reported that The Rendezvous Restaurant is still being torn down at this time and will continue to be cleaned up. “It is a slow process, but it is still being removed.” – Mayor Vidrine remarked.
The Sales Tax collection Comparison was reported to be UP 15.18%. The Mayor was happy to announce that and thanks everyone for continuing to shop locally.
The City Engineer Ronnie Landreneau reported the SMART METER program has been finished and they have performed two test runs on reading them. The Mayor reminds anyone who has a question about their bill to come to City Hall and they will be happy to go over it with you.
The Boys and Girls club is under complete renovation for what needs to be in conformity to the Fire Marshal’s rules. They are anticipating having it done by the end of next week. The state has issued the name Ville Platte Boys & Girls Club, Inc., and they are currently awaiting 501(c) status. They need to have $150,000 in the bank to be granted an official charter from The Boys & Girls Club of America and they are half way there! Donations are being taken.
There will be a book signing on July 18th for the authors of Evangeline Parish from 10-2 at City Hall.
New street signs will be going up starting with the 80 streets that currently have no street signs. The signs will be red and will have the city seal on them. More information will be forthcoming.
The meals for the elderly will begin on July 28th for those 60 years and older. It will be held at the MLK Southside Center. It will be open from 8:00 – 12:00 p.m. and lunch will be served at 10:30. There is no charge, but a $1.00 donation is welcomed. Please call 363-5161 for more information.
September 6th will be Louisiana Championship Wrestling at Ville Platte High School with special guest Big Name Wrestler Hacksaw Jim Dugan, along with others. Tickets will be on sale at City Hall a month before and will be $15.00 for ringside seats and $10.00 for regular seats. It’s all to benefit the Boys & Girls Club.
The Mayor wanted to thank everyone who came out for the 4th of July Celebration at the Pavilion. She said the movie and fireworks were a huge success. They sold out of EVERYTHING in the food stand and the event was great for our community.
Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department reports the following incidents over the 4th of July weekend.
On July 2, 2014 officers were dispatched to a report of a home invasion on East LaSalle. Upon arrival officers were told that a female and her infant were in the residence when a black male broke a window and unlocked the door from the inside. The homeowner advised that the suspect was holding a knife with a brown handle and fled when he discovered her in the residence. Officers located the suspect and he was transported to Mercy Regional Medical Center with injuries from the broken window at the residence. A warrant has been issued for Poindexter Bruner 40, 606 East LaSalle, Apartment B, Ville Platte. Bruner is charged with home invasion and 2 counts of criminal damage to property. Bruner’s bond is set at $30,000.00 by Judge Thomas Fuselier.
On July 2, 2014 officers responded to a complaint of a stolen camper from East Main Street. Officers report that it appears that the camper was stolen between June 31, 2014 and July 2, 2014 from a local business. Detective Steven Deville was assigned the investigation. Chief Lartigue is asking anyone who may have seen someone in the area of East Main Street over the weekend towing a camper to call and report this information.
On July 4, 2014 at approximately 8:30 pm officers responded to a complaint of a large fight in progress in the Martin Luther King Park. Upon arrival officers learned that multiple males and females were involved in a fight which left one person with a stab wound to the arm. Officers spoke with several witnesses, collected evidence which included a knife and made multiple arrests. Det. Steven Deville was assigned the incident and it is still under investigation. Arrested was Christopher Anderson 26 of 1711 State Street, Ville Platte and Ranotti Freeman 29 of 415 Court Street, Ville Platte. Anderson was charged with 2 counts of battery and has since bonded out. Freeman was charged with aggravated battery, 2nd degree battery and 2 counts of battery on a juvenile. Freeman was released on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine. Chief Lartigue stated that this incident is still under investigation.
The Ville Platte Police Department recovered a stolen vehicle on July 4, 2014. Det. Steven Deville was assigned to the incident and stated that the vehicle was reported stolen on Wednesday. July 2, 2014 and found abandoned on July 4, 2014 near Oak Alley, Ville Platte. Det. Deville stated that the incident in still under investigation.
On July 6, 2014 officers responded to a report of a break in at a business on Prosper Street. Upon arrival officers discovered that the suspect or suspects gained entry through an unlocked window. Multiple rooms inside the business were ransacked and a computer monitor was stolen. Chief Lartigue asks if anyone saw anyone suspicious in the area of Prosper Street or may have information on the stolen computer monitor to call the Ville Platte Police Department.
All calls with information on these or any other illegal activity will remain anonymous. Help remove these offenders from our streets by calling the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
JULY 8, 2014
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Glynn Fontenot, a native of Ville Platte who is the new plant manager for Methanex Corporation’s new facility being built in Geismar, Louisiana. Fontenot was formerly employed with Georgia Gulf for 29 years in Baton Rouge. This billion dollar project includes the relocation of two major plants from Chile’ to Geismar. The plants are being dismantled in Chile and are being shipped to Louisiana which takes 30 days one way, 7500 miles in distance. Methanex is a worldwide energy company headquartered in Canada.
Fontenot reported two advances in technology has changed things in the energy field: hydraulic fracturing and horizontal drilling. The company supplies methanol around the world used for fuel, plastics, paints, polyester and building materials.
The new plant is to begin operations in December of this year with 1500 construction jobs and 133 permanent jobs.
Fontenot was the special guest of Rotarian Glenn Darnall.
Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting
July 2, 2014
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its first meeting of the month Wednesday in the Media Center. The Board approved a motion to allocate $500,000.00 for the purchase of new math textbooks for all children in the parish grades K-12. It pleased the Board to hear that the new math book will come with an online system that will allow children to log on to their math book via computer from home. There will be a tool included online that will allow a child, or parent helping a child, that may be stumped by a math problem, to be shown the explanation of how to solve the problem properly.
The controversial Common Core and PARC on line Assessment were also discussed once again. Superintendent, Toni Hamlin presented a letter she received from State Supt. of Education John White. In that letter he states:
“Given that the new school year is rapidly approaching, this lack of clarity on future tests risks is creating a chaotic situation for students, families, and educators. It is important that we move quickly to resolve it. To resolve the issue swiftly, BESE (Board of Elementary Education) voted today to obtain outside legal counsel on a pro bono basis, to advise the board on this issue. At the same time, BESE voted to require me and my team to seek a meeting with the Governor to discuss potential resolution other than the courts.”
Governor Jindal and State Superintendent John White have been in disagreement in the use of the Common Core and PARC Assessment.
Given the conflict in the matter, the Board reaffirmed its earlier decision for moving forward with installing the new technology needed for whatever assessment comes through, and to keep the children moving forward in this age of technology.
It was also reported that next school year , the grading periods will go from every six weeks to every nine weeks.
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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.