Chief Neal Lartigue continues searching for 7 fugitives.
On March 5, 2018, the Ville Platte Police Department named 13 fugitives that were being sought. In an update to that search, Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue told KVPI News stated that the investigations division has reported that six of the thirteen wanted suspects have turned themselves into law enforcement or have been captured. The following suspects are still evading law enforcement and are active fugitives.
Crystal Edmundson – Aggravated battery and domestic abuse battery.
Germaine Lafleur – Improper use Telecommunications and stalking
Raylan Melancon – Theft and unauthorized use of an access card
Felicia Poullard – Monetary instrument abuse
Abraham Charles – simple burglary, theft, criminal damage to property
Corneilas Fontenot – aggravated flight from an officer
Christian Jack – failure to return rental property
If you have information on the whereabouts of these fugitives, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue is requesting the public’s assistance in locating the driver involved in a hit and run.
On March 15, 2018 at approximately 8 p.m. Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of a man lying in the roadway on Chataignier Road near Pine Street in Ville Platte. Upon arrival Officers determined that the victim was struck by a vehicle which fled the scene.
The victim was transported for treatment in Lafayette with possible life threatening injuries. The victim remains in serious to critical condition at this time.
According to Detectives, the vehicle used in the hit and run appears to be a smaller model, dark colored SUV. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today (Tuesday) and heard from Ryan Vidrine, owner of Flat Town Farm Supply. Vidrine has been operating the business for the past three years. He reported that he has been installing grain bins in areas as far away as Shreveport, Jonesboro, Lake Charles and at the Port of New Orleans.
His business has added several new lines of Ag equipment including the popular Vermeer lines of Hay equipment.
Vidrine told Rotarians that he has launched his web site where he is offering over 80,000 products in his huge warehouse that can be shipped nationwide.
Former owner Kip Manuel was in charge of the rotary program and introduced Vidrine to club members.
In other business, Club President Wayne Vidrine announced that the Spring Fellowship meeting is set for April 10 and the Installation Banquet is planned for June 12.
Rotarian Larry Lachney announced that the Sacred Heart Interact Club is doing a fund raising project where jars were placed at various businesses through town. The Rotary Club voted to donate $100 to the Interact Club’s fund raising efforts.
The Evangeline Parish School Board approved the installation of metal detectors in five Evangeline Parish schools during Wednesday night’s meeting.
Basile High School, Ville Platte High School, Mamou High School, Pine Prairie High School, and Bayou Chicot Elementary will be receiving metal detectors. This $23,681.75 project, a proactive measure, follows last month’s threats made against Evangeline Parish schools, which led to parish-wide school closures.
In order to make up the instructional minutes lost in February, Superintendent Darwan Lazard announced that Memorial Day (May 28th) will no longer be observed, and class will be held for all students.
Lazard extended his thanks to parents for being understanding, and to law enforcement, state police, and the FBI for a job well done.
The board also heard from Maintenance & Operations Facilitator, Jason Hazelton, who recognized two Evangeline Parish schools with the “Cleanest School of the Quarter” award. The “Big School Division,” award was given to Bayou Chicot Elementary custodians, and the “Small School Division” award was given to James Stephens Montessori custodians. $25 gift cards were also awarded to each custodian.
In other business:
The board accepted a price quote of $36,500.00 from Percille’s Construction, regarding the concrete slab needed for Pine Prairie High Schools new stadium bleachers; so far a $214,000 project.
Evangeline Parish Police Jury Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron was the guest speaker at today’s (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club.
Bergeron spoke about a regional drainage project that was approved by the Acadiana Planning Commission that will help relieve flooding problems in Evangeline, St. Landry and Acadia parishes. The $2 million dollar water retention project will be the construction of a pond located Northwest of Ville Platte that will be used to retain water along Bayou Joe Marcel during a major flooding event. The water drains from Bayou Joe Marcel eventually into the Mermentau River. The police jury will have 36 months to complete the FEMA funded project for the jury. Bergeron was the guest of Rotarian Bob Manuel.
Also speaking at the meeting was Attorney Gilbert “Winky” Aucoin with Grand Hoorah festival. Aucoin was pleased to announce that Louisiana Folk Roots is coming back to Chicot State Park and will be joining with Grand Hoorah to sponsor a week long cultural immersion program. Folk Roots was at Chicot Park for ten years until organizers decided to move the yearly event to Lafayette two years ago.
Aucoin said there will be 65 people coming from all over the United States and several countries for the week long immersion event. It will begin April 20 through April 27 with Cajun music, food, a boucherie and fun for the whole family. He is asking local Ville Platte residents to come out and support the festival.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, during Monday’s monthly meeting, decided against renewing their insurance with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and approved switching employees to United Healthcare.
Open enrollment dates are set for March 12th, 13th, and 14th at the Police Jury Office located at 1008 W Lasalle Street in Ville Platte. All Parish employees are required to set an appointment for open enrollment for healthcare.
District 7 police juror, Bryan Vidrine, stated that by switching healthcare providers, insurance prices will be cheaper, and employees will see better benefits.
In other business:
Parish Engineer, Rodney Landreneau, announced that the Hazard Mitigation Program is now accepting applications for workers who follow FEMA guidelines.
Secretary-Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, announced that the Police Jury is currently accepting applications for a part time nurse (RN or LPN) to administer care to inmates.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, announced that they are accepting applications for a replacement CDL driver for District 1, 8, and 9.
The purchase of a $13,000 rail car for Louis Rd. in District #1 was approved.
Baton Rouge, La. (March 5, 2018) – A second Ville Platte man is under arrest in connection with the theft of six cattle valued at $7,500 according to Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Fifty-five year old Paul Lavigne was arrested March 2, 2018 in St. Landry Parish by LDAF Livestock Brand Commission inspectors. On December 5, 2017, the LDAF received a report of stolen cattle from a farm in the Lawtell community of St. Landry Parish. Following an investigation, brand inspectors determined Lavigne helped load and transport the cattle to a local livestock market.
On February 6, 2018, 35-year-old Dovinski Doucet was arrested in St. Landry Parish after brand inspectors determined Doucet sold the stolen cattle at a local livestock market.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of owners using registered brands or official ear tags on their livestock. By taking these security measures, it greatly aids in the recovery of stolen livestock as well as tracing livestock diseases,” said Strain.
Lavigne was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail and charged with L.A.R.S. 14:25 accessory after the fact to commit L.A.R.S. 14:67 B (2). If convicted, he could face a penalty of not more than a $500 fine, or imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both; provided that in no case shall his punishment be greater than one-half of the maximum provided by law for a principal offender.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department assisted in these arrests. All LDAF brand inspectors are commissioned by Louisiana State Police and have authority in the performance of their duties.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports arrest for simple burglary
An arrest has been made in a burglary reported in November of 2017. According to the report a hot water heater was stolen from a house on Park Ave in Ville Platte. After gathering information and evidence, Detectives issued a warrant for Casey Lane Tate 29 of 115 South Soileau Street, Ville Platte. Tate was arrested on February 26, 2018 on the charge of simple burglary. Tate was transferred to the Evangeline Parish Jail on a $7,500.00 bond.
Chief Lartigue reminds citizens to report suspicious or illegal activity, call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Ville Platte Rotary today (Tuesday) heard from Raymond Hebert, C.E.O. of the Community Foundation of Acadiana. This non- profit agency covers the eight parish Acadiana area including Evangeline Parish. The group provides services, civic leadership and stewardship by building legacies and improving communities.
Hebert said a number of parishes have begun their own foundation under the Community Foundation umbrella. He announced that the Evangeline Parish Foundation began last year to assist and benefit Evangeline Parish citizens and groups. Anita Fontenot is a leader in the local foundation. An advisory board will soon be appointed to determine where the funds will be spent in the parish. Fontenot said the local group’s focus will be to support non profit organizations, churches, schools and public entities through the generosity of residents and businesses who want to make their community a better place to live, work and play.
Club President announced the new slate of officers that will take office later this year: Richard LeJeune-President, President Elect-Nicole Wenger, Vice President-Maggie Ortego, Treasurer-Vic Slaven, Secretary- Susan Saunders, Sgt At Arms-Dr. Jerry Veillon and Wayne Vidrine-Immediate Past President.
The club will hold a spring social on April 10.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department is seeking assistance in identifying burglary suspects.
On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of a burglary on South Soileau Street. Upon arrival Officers learned that the suspects cleared out the entire contents of the Cottage Bed & Breakfast. Officers notified Detective Clark who determined that the suspects gained entry and started removing items after 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday and into the early morning hours of Wednesday.
The following items are listed as stolen. An antique bed, couch, coffee table, antique end table, antique rug, tufted antique chairs, antique crystal lamps, 46” flat screen tv, Centurylink modem, AC Unit, mattress, box spring with vintage bedding, handmade table cloth, microwave, espresso machine, cooktop, utensils, bathroom towels, linens, rug, and toiletries. The suspects also caused property damage to the interior of the residence while removing items.
Chief Neal Lartigue is asking for information regarding the whereabouts of the stolen items and if you can identify the truck in the picture that we have posted on our Facebook page , call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
KVPI News has learned that Eric Soileau of Reddell was sworn as the new President of the Louisiana Police Jury Association Thursday night during a meeting of the group at the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria.
Soileau has been serving as a member of the Executive Board of the association for the past five years. He has been a member of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury representing District Six for the past 13 years.
Soileau said his plans to work closely with the executive board and director to represent parish governments before the state legislature. Soileau wants to make sure parish governments continue to get their funding from the state and to prevent unfunded mandates from state and federal agencies.
Soileau is the third Evangeline Parish Police Juror to serve as President of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana: Larry Buller and Bob Manuel both served in that position.
He is a resident of Reddell and is employed at T’s Boy’s Meat Market. He is active in many local and civic organization including the Mamou Cajun Music Association. He is married to the former Cathy Deshotel for 39 and they have two children and four grandchildren
Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Meeting
February 21, 2018
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) received a report on the infrastructure meeting held earlier this week by One Acadiana. It was determined that the top two priorities for infrastructure projects in Evangeline Parish would be: the four laning of US 167 from Ville Platte to Opelousas. A second priority would be drainage improvements after flooding events the past two years. It was announced that the police jury has recently been awarded special grant funds to build an 81 acre retention pond to hold water after flooding rains. This project will not only help Evangeline parish but also Acadia and St. Landry Parishes in alleviate flooding.
Chamber members were notified some 4 or 5 applicants have applied so far for the executive director position. The application period continues through Friday. Interviews will begin next week and a new director will be selected by the chamber board.
Pine Prairie Energy has made a donation to the Industrial Development Board in the amount of $10,000.
Outgoing Chamber President Dr. Tojo Ward was given a plaque of appreciation by new Club President Luke Deville.
The turnout was good at the organization’s new meeting headquarters: Cottage Couture.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from LSU-Eunice Chancellor Kimberly Russell give an update report on what is going on at the college.
Russell and members of her staff were presented a $5100 check by Dr. Willie Buller to the LSU-E Scholarship Fund. Club members have been contributing to this scholarship fund since 1984. Over 100 students have been awarded scholarships as a result of this special fund through the years. The fund will award three new recipients this year and is one of the top five endowments the college receives.
Russell spoke about new programs that have begun at the college: the LSU-E Academy where High School Jr’s and seniors can get a jump start on their college education. These high school students could actually end up graduating from high school with an associate degree. There are currently 65 students enrolled in the program, of which 20 are from Evangeline Parish.
This fall, LSU Eunice will begin new courses for diagnostic medical stenography and surgical technology funded through state grants and local and area hospitals.
LSU-E will launch a Pharmacy Technology program where students completing the program an Associate Degree.
Also, the college is looking at expanding the school nursing program by partnering with Lafayette General Medical Center.
The college is adding three new sports: Men’s basketball and Men’s and Women’s Soccer.
Russell reported that enrollment is up 22 percent since 2015. The school has a 104.3 million dollar impact upon the area’s economy and employs 182 people.
Evangeline Parish Police Jury Awarded Grant
Evangeline Parish Police Jury President Ryan Williams announced that Evangeline Parish received a grant of $1.9 million Wednesday for flood control at a meeting of the Acadiana Planning Commission. A total of 20 projects were submitted from 7 Acadiana Parishes totaling $94.5 million. Evangeline Parish was one of nine projects that were approved by the Acadiana Planning Commission. This award stems from the Louisiana Resilient Recovery Initiative Governor John Bel Edwards announced in August of 2017. A total of $25 million for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds for regional drainage projects in Acadiana was awarded.
Evangeline Parish’s $1.9 million project as approved would create a water retention area located North West of Ville Platte. The purpose of the project is to create an area which will retain water flowing south from the most northern portion of Bayou Joe Marcel. The purpose of this retainage is to reduce the amount of water flowing south down Bayou Joe Marcel during large rain events. The goal of the project is to allow the water level in Bayou Joe Marcel to be maintained at the optimal level during a 100 year storm, thus preventing flooding in the areas drained by the canals. There would then be a controlled release of water after the flooding event. The reduction in downstream water during large rain events will benefit all areas south of the structure. The project timeline is setup to be completed within 36 months.
On Monday, February 12th, the Ville Platte City Council was presented their audit (ending June 30,2017) for the first time by Vic Slaven CPA, who helped clear up some confusion surrounding the audit.
Slaven stated that while the numbers are correct on the audit, they are misleading because the audit does not take into account the transferring of funds. Slaven had this to say about the audit:
"The City does not have a four-million-dollar deficit. It does not. The city has a $160,000 spendable, unassigned, general fund balance going into the next fiscal year. Which means, if you don't monitor your revenue and expenses on a close basis to where you break out even to what you budgeted for, and you start over spending that budget again... You only have 160,000 dollars to play with. And then, once that's gone, you're going to be operating in a deficit spending budget situation, which is against state statutes. And if you don't fix that then they will send an administrator over here to make the decisions for you to make sure you comply with state statutes."
Slaven also noted that there were fewer reports in this year’s audit than last years.
According to Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, the police department has over spent their budget due to their insurance tripling in price from civil liabilities. They overspent their budget by $220,000.
In other business, the City Council:
Presented a plaque to city retiree, Carroll "Sexy" Fontenot.
In honor of Black History Month, Mayor Vidrine presented a plaque to the family of John Alfred, Sr., a Ville Platte man, who in the 1800's who was murdered for wanting to be involved with local government.
Arrest Made in St. Landry Parish Cattle Thefts
Baton Rouge, La. (February 9, 2018) – A Ville Platte man is under arrest in connection with the theft of six cattle valued at $7,500 according to Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Thirty-five year old Dovinski Doucet was arrested February 6, 2018 in St. Landry Parish by Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry Livestock Brand Commission inspectors.
On December 5, 2017, the LDAF received a report of the stolen cattle from a farm in the Lawtell Community of St. Landry Parish. Following an investigation, brand inspectors determined Doucet sold the stolen cattle at a local livestock market.
“We advise livestock owners to use registered brands or official ear tags on their livestock which greatly aids in recovery of stolen livestock as well as tracing livestock diseases,” said Strain.
Doucet was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail. If convicted, he could face a penalty, with or without hard labor, for not more than ten years, or may be fined not more than ten thousand dollars, or both.
The investigation is ongoing and additional arrests are expected.
All enforcement personnel are commissioned by Louisiana State Police and have authority in the performance of their duties.
Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue is advising businesses to be aware of counterfeit money
On February 7, 2018, Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of counterfeit money at a business located on Tate Cove Road. Upon arrival Officers learned that a customer attempted to make a purchase with a ten dollar bill that was counterfeit. The customer had received the ten dollar bill from someone and had no knowledge that the bill was not real.
Chief Lartigue reminds business owners to be vigilant in checking money at their place of business. Some people assume that only large bills are the ones being counterfeited when that is not always the case.
Chief Lartigue reminds business owners to call the Police Department if you have a suspicion that someone is trying to use a counterfeit bill at your place of business.
To report suspicious or illegal activity of any kind, please contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Evangeline Parish School Board heard from Elementary Supervisor, Linda Lafleur, at the boards meeting Wednesday as she recognized the 2018 students of the year. The outstanding student award for the work-based learning program is Carlondus Ardoin from Mamou High School. The outstanding student award for High School JAG is Tereek Seriale. District winners include 5th grade, Prisha Makey from Ville Platte High School, 8th grade, Ethan Bergeron from Basile High School, and 12th grade, Cort Fuller from Pine Prairie High School.
The board then heard from Title I Director Mary Ann Fontenot, and Title I Supervisor Penny McDaniel who recognized two Evangeline Parish Elementary Schools for receiving excellent on their early child performance scores. Vidrine Elementary scored highest in the state with a score of 6.69/7. W.W. Stewart received an excellent score of 6.19/7. The parish received an overall score of 5.26/7. Only one-third of schools in the state received excellent scores. Staff members from both schools were recognized.
Lance Enkey then approached the podium to deliver his transportation update. Enkey reports that in an effort to battle the nationwide opioid epidemic, changes have been made to the State Law D.O.T testing process. Four semi-opiates were added to the drug screen.
The board then heard from Maintenance & Operations Facilitator, Jason Hazelton, who provided a PowerPoint presentation showcasing some of the work Hazelton and his crew of 6 have completed at Evangeline Parish Schools. Since the 1st of 2017 till now 2,858 work orders were processed and completed.
Amy Lafleur approached the podium next to discuss the Evangeline Parish sales tax comparison. As of January, the sales tax collection is down by $91,002.71 compared to last January.
Next, the board approved an instructional minutes recovery plan, proposed by Superintendent Darwan Lazard for school days missed. The first proposal applies to Basile schools only. The second proposal applies to Mamou High School, Mamou Elementary, Vidrine Elementary, Evangeline Central, Pine Prairie High School, Bayou Chicot Elementary, Ville Platte High School, Ville Platte Elementary, James Stephens Montessori, and Chataigner Elementary. The proposal for Basile schools includes February 14th (Ash Wednesday) and 19th (President’s Day) as instructional days rather than holidays, and 5 minutes of instruction will be added to each day beginning February 8th. The second proposal, for the ten schools, includes February 19th as an instructional day, rather than a holiday. Also, 5-11 minutes of instruction added to each day (depending on amount needed for each school) beginning February 8th. In the event that another instructional day is needed, both proposals include Memorial Day, May 28th, as a possible instructional day.
Lazard then asked the board to adopt a resolution calling on the Governor and State of Louisiana legislative leaders to create a task force on teacher shortages. The motion was approved.
Lastly the meeting went into executive session to discuss workers compensation case 2018-001 and Superintendent evaluation.
Other items approved by board:
- Permission to conduct structural assessment of James Stephens Montessori gymnasium building at a cost of $5,400.
- John Deranger, technology coordinator, 2-year contract renewed effective 7/1/2018
- Connie Fontenot, accountant, 2-year contract renewed 7/1/2018.
- Ted Soileau, career/technical/transportation/textbook supervisor, 2-year contract renewed effective 7/1/2018.
- Peggy Edwards, principal presently assigned to Chataigner Elementary School, 2-year contract renewed effective 7/1/2018.
Authorities are announcing that a $1000 reward is being offered for any information leading to the indictment and conviction of the persons responsible for the murder of Kathy Weston. Kathy Weston was shot and killed on April 23, 2017 while walking near the intersection of North Chataignier and East Jackson on her way to a grocery store in Ville Platte. Anyone with information, please call the Evangeline Parish District Attorney Investigator at 337-363-3438 or the Ville Platte Police Department at 337-363-1313.
The Family Life Center hall was packed today (Tuesday) at the weekly Ville Platte Rotary Club meeting. Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard was in charge of the program. He invited the three district level “Student of the Year” award winners along with their parents to attend the noon luncheon.
The winners who spoke to club members: Prisha Makey, Fifth Grade student from Ville Platte High; Ethan Bergeron, 8th Grade student from Basile; and Cort Fuller, 12th Grade student from Pine Prairie. These three students will represent the Evangeline Parish School in regional competition.
Supervisor Linda Lafleur reported that that the students must have a 3.2 grade point average or higher. They go through extensive interviews and write an essay. The school level and district level winners were honored at a special gala event at the Civic Center sponsored by the school board.
In other business, Club President Wayne Vidrine said the police jury approved a motion endorsing the rotary club’s support for the state to construct a dorm style building at the group camp location at Chicot State Park.
Vidrine read a letter of thanks from the Beaumont Rotary club for the local club’s donation to assist in the Hurricane Harvey recovery.