A large group of citizens from the Shady Acres subdivision attended the Ville Platte City Council meeting Tuesday complaining the city is moving too slow in improving the drainage problems in that area of the city. Faye Lemoine said flooding took place in homes last August and again in April of this year. She felt the city does not have place drainage as a high priority.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine told Lemoine and the residents “You have my word as mayor that the flooding is a high priority. We have to follow procedures and sometimes it takes time to accomplish the plan of action.”
Engineer Ronnie Landreneau , who lives in the same subdivision, is recommending the city bid out a part of the project to a contractor with the proper equipment to clean out all of the ditches in the area and remove and replace about a half mile of 12 inch pipe.
Residents were also asked to attend police jury meetings to make sure jurors are cleaning the area canals that the city water drains into. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city is also working on other areas that are prone to flooding such as Railroad, MLK and Soileau Streets .
In other business, the mayor announced:
--the city spent $31,000 more in August than in July because of an insurance premium was due;
--the hiring of four new part time officers in the police department: three jailers and one dispatcher;
--that seven abandoned homes were torn down including the Dr. Dupre home on West Main and seven over grown lots were cleaned up;
--received news that a grant was approved to construct a subdivision of ten single family homes that will be sold to first time home buyers or rented;
--that the police reported for August that 641 calls came in, worked 38 traffic accidents and 35 people were arrested;
--the fire department announced that in August, they received 12 fire calls including one house fire.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Robin Stokes with the Better Business Bureau of Lafayette. Stokes heads up the educational arm of the local bureau informing the public of scams going on in our area. She reported she visits local senior groups on a regular basis to warn them about scammers. Stokes was informed that a local Ville Platte senior lost $15,000 in a funeral scam over several years. The scammers had taken her money over several years. The caller ID’s doesn’t help anymore as the scammers can use local number. Some of the more popular scams are that the person being called won a grant or they owe money to the IRS for back taxes. She advised those who get calls like this, to contact the Better Business Bureau and also report it to local police. Stokes said she does special seminars for investment frauds and cyber security and often visits schools. Rotarian Nicole Wenger was in charge of the program.
In other business, Club President Wayne Vidrine announced that the Ville Platte club reached its goal of matching a $1000 anonymous donation to assist those victims from Hurricane Harvey. Earlier, the club had raised $2500 in donations from club members to help victims through a church shelter. With the newest donations, the club has now raised $4500 all for hurricane relief.
Vidrine reported that the club has scheduled a Halloween social planned for October 24 where spouses and potential members will be invited.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports 3 arrests and recovered four wheelers
On Sunday afternoon September 10, 2017, Officers and Detectives with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of multiple black male juveniles riding on the roadway on four wheelers. Officers attempted to stop the two four wheelers near Alton Locks Drive, a short pursuit ensued as the juveniles traveled down multiple streets in the city. After following and tracking them, Detectives located the four wheelers near Lornette Street in a field, the juveniles fled on foot and were apprehended a short time later. Three black male juveniles were arrested and released to the custody of their parents pending a court appearance.
One of the four wheelers that was located had been reported missing the morning of September 17, 2017 and was returned to the owner. Detectives found the wiring system had been cut on the four wheeler.
The pictured four wheeler was also located and at this time the Ville Platte Police Department is searching for the owner. If you believe that this four wheeler belongs to you and you can provide paperwork or identifying information, please contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313.
The Evangeline Parish E-9-1-1 Office held a successful open house and ribbon cutting at its facility today at the Industrial Park. Many parish officials, first responders, and emergency officials gathered at its new site to congratulate Liz Hill and her staff along with Board chairman Pat Derouselle. KVPI FM 92.5 was there with Becky Vidrine covering the entire event.
1 SUSPECT ARRESTED FOR:
14:81 Indecent Behavior with juvenile
On August 2nd, 2017 Pine Prairie Police received a complaint in reference to Indecent Behavior with a Juvenile. During the investigation, it was alleged that Jimmie D Duhon age 47 performed indecent acts of a sexual nature with a juvenile subject while living in the Village Limits of Pine Prairie. During the 3 week investigation, an arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Duhon by Judge Chuck West with a $50,000 bond. Mr. Duhon was located by Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office on September 12, 2017 and held on our warrant. He was brought to Evangeline Parish Jail where he was booked on those charges where he awaits bond. We thank the Iberia Parish Sheriff’s Office for their assistance in locating Mr. Duhon.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, received two offers from local residents to lease Crooked Creek Park. Jury Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron said the jury is looking at exploring that option. The parish owned 300 acre park is about 40 years old and contains over 100 camping sites along with a fishing lake and a sandy beach. Bergeron said jurors plan to be cautious of any lease to make sure the taxpayer’s investment is protected. The jury agreed to formally advertise to lease the park and review the bids.
In other business, the police jury approved the following appointments: Sandra Jacobs to replace Mayor Jennifer Vidrine on the Parish Library board and Pam Hall to the Mamou Drainage Board; the following were re -appointed to serve another term: Charles Benny Fontenot and Wendell Brunet to the Vidrine Drainage board; Bryan Bieber and Darrell McGee to the Prairie Mamou Drainage Board; Clem Manuel and Paul Berzas to the Duralde Gravity Drainage Board; Ralph Celestine to the Mamou Drainage Board; Lynn Gooden and Nathaniel Thomas to the Evangeline Parish Communications Board.
Also the jury approved picking up the election day expenses for the following polls that do not meet the minimum voter numbers: Lake Cove, Faubourg, Chauncey Pitre Ag Arena, Veterans Home and Lincoln Road. The state mandates that a poll must have a minimum of 300 registered voters. If not, they should consolidate. The jury did request the state to consider paying the election expenses for Lake Cove under extra ordinary circumstances since the majority of voters are low income and it would cause a hardship for voters to travel to another precinct.
In other action, the jury was notified that the security camera project is completed for the courthouse at a cost of $40,000; sales tax collections for July amounted to $266,692, a drop of $40,000 from the month before; and the Beacon’s Gully Bridge project is finally complete after eight years at a cost of $600,000.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Casey Duos with Savoy Medical Center. Duos is a pharmacist with Savoy Medical but also works in chemo therapy at Savoy Cancer Center. She is the chair person for the annual Savoy Cancer Breast Cancer Walk Saturday Oct. 14. All of the funds raised from this annual benefit go to help indigent cancer patients with co-pay payments, prosthesis and wigs.
The event will attract some 500 participants in the 5-K run/walk, activities, food and live music. They are still looking for additional sponsors from businesses and corporations.
She was the guest of Rotarian Dr. Ted Ardoin.
In other business, Rotary Club President Wayne Vidrine announced the names of four local student recipients of a local Rotary Club scholarship at LSU Eunice.
Also it was announced that $600 has been collected so far in a fund raising drive to match a $1000 donation from an anonymous donor from the club to assist victims from Tropical Storm Harvey in the Houston Texas area. This is on top of $2500 collected earlier.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports a search for suspect for attempted second degree murder
On the date of September 11, 2017 Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of shots fired in the 100 block of East Oak. Upon arrival Officers observed a white male subject walking out of the residence with blood all over his clothing. The subject had a single gunshot wound underneath his left arm. Witnesses stated that the subject was in an altercation with four black males where he was struck repeatedly including being struck physically with a pistol. The subject had cuts and marks on his arm, face and head. At some point during the altercation one of the black male suspects pulled out a pistol and shot the white male.
The gunshot victim was transported by Acadian Ambulance to Mercy Regional Medical Center. The on call Detective responded to the scene and after further investigation an arrest warrant was issued for Lawrence L. Fontenot, 24 of 2930 Kenneth Street, Ville Platte. Fontenot was charged with attempted second degree murder. Fontenot’s bond is set at $100,000.00.
Anyone knowing the whereabouts of Lawrence L. Fontenot is asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Tournoi eliminations were held Sunday at the Industrial Park Tournoi track. Unlike last year, the weather was perfect for the riders. Steve “Buffy” Guillory told KVPI News that the time keepers were retired Tournoi riders. Here are the six riders who will join the top ten riders from last year for this year’s running of the Tournoi: 1st- Marcus Guillory; 2nd- Kent Saucier; 3rd- Bryce Johnson; 4th- Jordan Sylvester; 5th- Shane Trahan and 6th- Chuck Manuel.
These riders will join last year’s top ten riders: 2016 Tournoi Champ- Eric Guillory; 2nd place- Ryan Haller; 3rd place- Alex Haller; 4th place- Shane Lee; 5th place- Paul Fontenot; 6th place- Keith Saucier; 7th place-Lisa Crane; 8th place- John Ross Guillory; 9th place- Cheyenne Crane and 10th place- Logan Floyd.
The three new 2017 Tournoi Queens were on hand Sunday to view the eliminations: 2017 Miss Louisiana Tournoi- Holly Kay of Natchitoches, the daughter of Robin and Keith Kay; 2017 Teen Louisiana Tournoi- Charly Marie Bieber of Mamou, the daughter of Charles and Michelle Bieber and the 2017 Jr. Tournoi Queen is Samara Lafleur of Pine Prairie, the daughter of Kasey and Jade Lafleur.
The 2017 Tournoi will be run in the memory of the late Jerry L. Dupre. This year’s Tournoi will be run Sunday October 15 at 2:00pm right after the Cotton Festival parade at the Industrial Park Track. KVPI-FM 92.5 will be there broadcasting the event for those who cannot attend.
The Evangeline Parish School Board met Wednesday night in the School Board Media Center. The room was packed with supporters of the Cheerleaders from Bayou Chicot Elementary. School Superintendent, Darwan Lazard introduced the cheering team and announced that three of the cheerleaders were recently selected as All-American Cheerleaders. Jesa Vidrine, Mayzee Lafleur and Ainsley Dutton were chosen after attending UCA Camp this summer. Only 10% of those who attend the Camp are actually chosen as an All-American. The three are sponsored by Anne Soileau and Fallen Ortego. The girls will not only be performing during the half-time show at the LSU game this Saturday night; but, they will also be performing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Orlando, Florida.
First Student Representative, Lance Enkey, gave an update to the School Board on how things are going since school started. Enkey said there was a driver’s meeting held with principals from schools, drivers and some members of the Board and Administration attended. He said he received a “ton” of feedback from the drivers and said it was a very productive meeting. He said there are currently 89 routes being run daily in the Parish consisting of approximately 4,521 miles driven by approximately 25 drivers. Each bus contains 4 digital cameras and they have implemented safety practices on the buses to ensure that no child is left on a bus at the end of the day. A few of the drivers have already found children sleeping due to their safety practices.
School scores will be changing next year and will continue to change until the target year of 2025 when new standards in student scores will take full effect. According to Roxanne West and Penny McDaniel with the School Board, ‘BASIC’ is no longer acceptable and the State is sending schools to achieve a “MASTERY” status by students in order to receive the points required to score schools. The Superintendent said “Some schools that were at an ‘A’ last year may not come in at an ‘A’ next year due to the changes. He said they are working very hard with children to achieve the new levels.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue would like to thank everyone who donated items for the victims of Hurricane Harvey. He has been working with Connie Lamke, also with the Ville Platte Police Department who teamed up with Kerri Courville – Area Manager (Central Louisiana Market) of AT&T- Live Mobile to collect donations of supplies such as water, diapers, wipes, soaps, shampoo, deodorant, undergarments etc. Staff at both locations helped greet donors and gather donations. In three days over 150 cases of water were donated and enough supplies to fill and truck and trailer. “We are thankful and proud to have been a part of this donation drive” Chief Lartigue said, “We will continue to be a drop off point for anyone who wishes to donate.”
Chief Lartigue has been hands on for this donation drive as well as helping personally, He recently made a trip to Beaumont to help rescue a family. “Chief Lartigue has encouraged the department to get involved and help and continues to lead by example”, Connie Lamke stated, “He was on the road when the group photo was taken but kept in touch with me to make sure we had what we needed before our team left for Texas.” Kerri, Connie and Chief Lartigue had a meeting at the Police Department before the trip to Texas to discuss routes, logistics and safety.
On Sunday Kerri and Casey Courville left Ville Platte headed for Texas with the supplies in tow. As most of the interstate was still closed to traffic, it took many detours and extra hours of travel to reach their destination. Kerri stated that they were met by friendly faces and much appreciation. “We saw so many people helping and giving” Kerri said, “It was a humbling experience that I’m happy to have been a part of.”
Donations will still be accepted for another trip. “We already have donations that have come in even after the team left for Texas and we will continue to accept donations at the Ville Platte Police Department and AT&T- Live Mobile.” Chief Lartigue stated, “Our focus will be on what is a continued need for our neighbors in Texas and we will keep the public informed as their needs change.”
Our parish residents have risen to the needs of victims with donations of huge proportions. Staff at both drop off points were kept busy helping offload donations as they arrived. “We were proud to be able to reach out and help those affected, “Chief Lartigue stated, “We’ve been there ourselves, our neighbors in Texas needed help and will continue to need help for some time.”
If you would like more information on donating or other ways to help, contact Connie at the Ville Platte Police Department, 363-1313.
Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander C. Van Hook announced today that an Opelousas man pleaded guilty to possessing a pistol even though he was previously convicted of a felony and prohibited from possessing a firearm. Willie Jamal Reynolds, 28, of Opelousas, La., pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick Hanna to one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.
The plea will become final when accepted by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. According to the guilty plea, police arrested Reynolds on June 3, 2017 for possessing a Smith and Wesson .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol. After further investigation, police found a 15-minute video online of Reynolds and a friend in the presence of numerous firearms. Reynolds is a felon after receiving a conviction in September of 2013 and is not allowed to possess a firearm. Reynolds faces up to 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine. The court did not set a sentencing date.
This investigation and prosecution is part of Project Safe Neighborhoods, which is a Department of Justice initiative to promote firearm safety and to reduce firearm crimes by preventing the possession and use of firearms by dangerous and persistent felons and others not authorized to possess a firearm. The ATF and the Opelousas Police Department conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Dominic Rossetti is prosecuting the case.
Starting Wednesday at 4:30pm, join us on 92.5 KVPI as we carry a new weekly radio show "LSU E News" with the latest news coming from LSU Eunice. This week's show will feature Travis Webb.
On or about the evening of August 31st and the morning of September 1, 2017 items were stolen from a local business on East Main Street in Ville Platte. Officers and Detectives report that a padlock was cut and the suspect entered the business grounds and stole a welding machine, 60 pound air compressor, aluminum tool box, and a 6 x 8 custom made trailer with a sheet metal roof.
Chief Neal Lartigue is requesting that anyone that has information on these items or suspects to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine give a status report on projects going on in the city.
Mayor Jennifer said work crews are continuing to clean drainage in Shady Acres, LaSalle and Chataignier streets to prevent future flooding events. She said there was no street flooding last week with Hurricane Harvey.
She reported that a new software system will detect water leaks anywhere inside the city limits. Every week, homeowners will be notified if the software finds there is a leak on the home owners property instead of waiting until the end of the month when the water bill could be considerable.
The city of Ville Platte will be getting a $1.6 million dollar grant for the Ville Platte Recreation complex for four additional fields.
Work is progressing on cleaning up abandoned property and abandoned vehicles. She reported that in the last two weeks, 14 abandoned homes were torn down. The mayor said homeowners have 30 days to clean up their property once they have been notified by the city. For abandoned cars, they have three days.
The city is building 10 single family homes on city owned property along Dossman Street using grant funds for rent or purchase.
Also the city is looking at erecting a new welcome sign on East Main next Tobacco Plus with a fountain and flags.
Mayor Jennifer said a group of citizens is urging the city to remove the reflective gear ordinance. The mayor feels it is a good ordinance to protect the safety of motorists and pedestrians walking at night.
In other rotary business, Rotarian Dr. Willie Buller was named fund raising chairman to raise funds for flood relief victims. Already, $3,000 have been collected. An additional $1000 was given by an anonymous rotarian challenging fellow club members.
KVPI joined with Tee Cotton Bowl organizers by taking the French News and La Tasse de Cafe on the road broadcasting live this morning at the Meet and Greet at the beautiful home of Dr. and Mrs. Chuck Aswell on West Main Street. Special thanks to Dr. Chuck for opening his home to us and the many people who showed up. There was a virtual feast of food. After our La Tasse de Cafe, Steph stayed on the air doing live remote breaks over 92.5 KVPI.
Savoy Cancer Center in Mamou, Louisiana is now scheduling appointments to treat patients from areas affected by Hurricane Harvey. Any patient receiving Chemotherapy, Radiation, or Infusions outside of Central Louisiana can receive continued treatment through their Cancer Center. Please call (337) 468-3099 for more information.
The Ville Platte Police Department and your local AT&T retailer are hosting drop off points for bottled water and baby supplies for victims of Hurricane Harvey. Beaumont has lost all of their consumable water. The hurricane waters have damaged their water pumps for their main line and their secondary line which means they have no clean water at this time. They cannot repair the damage until the water recedes. Beaumont has a population of over 100,000 people that will be affected by the water outage. They are in critical need of consumable water.
You can drop off supplies at either the Ville Platte Police Department or the AT&T store next to Walmart in Ville Platte starting now and throughout the weekend.
If a business wishes to make a larger donation of supplies, we can arrange for the supplies to be picked up.
Along with bottled water we are hoping to collect baby wipes, diapers and blankets, soap and hand sanitizer.
For more information or to arrange a pick up time please call Connie at the Ville Platte Police Department. 337-363-1313
Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC (BEE), a privately held limited liability company headquartered in Houston, Texas, was sentenced today on eight felony violations of the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act (OCSLA) and one misdemeanor count of violating the Clean Water Act before the Honorable U.S. District Judge Jane Triche Milazzo, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey H. Wood of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division and Acting U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans for the Eastern District of Louisiana.
The charges stemmed from events causing an explosion in November 2012 on an offshore oil production platform that resulted in the deaths of three workers and injuries to several others. This case is also related to the recent conviction of Wood Group PSN in the Western District of Louisiana for their role in operations on the platform.
In accordance with a plea agreement, the Court ordered BEE to pay a $4.2 million monetary penalty. However, due to BEE’s bankruptcy, the $4.2 million agreed monetary penalty will be a general unsecured claim against BEE’s bankruptcy estate entitled to a pro rata distribution from the trust with other allowed unsecured claims against BEE. On Aug. 11, 2015, four of BEE’s creditors filed an involuntary chapter 7 bankruptcy case against BEE in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. The case converted to a voluntary chapter 11 case shortly thereafter. Under a Chapter 11 plan of liquidation confirmed on July 13, 2016, BEE’s assets were transferred into two trusts, and a trustee will administer distributions to creditors from funds in one of the trusts.
According to the court documents, beginning on Nov. 3, 2012, after pipeline repairs, BEE undertook platform repairs to include replacing equipment and installing a divert valve on the platform’s Lease Automatic Custody Transfer (LACT) unit and tying it into the sump line piping. The LACT system was the last point in the production process prior to the oil leaving West Delta 32 and entering the sales transmission pipeline.
Some of the construction projects on West Delta 32 required “hot work,” or welding, grinding, and/or any other activity that may produce a spark. Hot work on an oil production facility is a hazardous activity capable of causing injury or death. Title 30 of the Code of Federal Regulations requires that written permission, commonly referred to as a “hot work permit,” be issued by the welding supervisor or designated person in charge (PIC) before any hot work on a production platform begin. At a maximum, a hot work permit is valid for 12 hours. Once a hot work permit expires, all the precautionary steps should be complete before a new hot work permit is issued.
Starting on or about Nov. 8, 2012, Christopher Srubar, a co-defendant and Wood Group PSN employee and West Delta 32 PIC, issued hot work permits for the construction work related to the West Delta 32 projects. However, Srubar stopped issuing hot work permits and conducting all-hands safety meetings and instead delegated the permitting to the Wood Group PSN “C” operator. Neither Srubar nor the “C” operator conducted a daily pre-work inspection with the construction crew, staffed by Grand Isle Shipyards (GIS), nor did they designate a fire watch for the hot work areas.
On or about Nov. 15, 2012, hot work commenced on the LACT unit with the knowledge of co-defendants Don Moss and Curtis Dantin. Moss and Dantin did not ask Srubar if he completed a safety check of the area. In addition, they did not complete a pre-work inspection or issue a warning to the GIS crews to step welding on the sump line piping. Instead, Dantin instructed some of the crew to begin the welding of the sump line piping for the LACT unit upgrade. The single hot work permit the “C” operator issued for Nov. 16 did not state that the LACT unit or sump line piping as areas that were safe for hot work.
Workers started to make cuts to the sump line piping leading to the Wet Oil Tank, causing liquid to spill from the piping. At approximately 9:00 a.m., hydrocarbon vapors that escaped from the Wet Oil Tank ignited, causing a series of explosions in the three oil tanks on the platform. The fire and explosions resulted in the deaths of GIS employees Avelino Tajonera, Elroy Corporal, and Jerome Malagapo. Other workers were seriously burned and physically injured.
BEE admitted that its employees and agents were negligent in the manner in which they planned and executed the hot work on West Delta 32 platform, and that the acts of their agents and employees violated the regulations in 30 C.F.R. § 250.113 promulgated under the OCSLA.
Co-defendant GIS faces manslaughter charges, and Dantin, Srubar, and Moss face criminal violations of the Clean Water Act in the Eastern District of Louisiana. The OCSLA charges against GIS, Moss, Srubar, and Dantin, were dismissed by the district court and are pending an interlocutory appeal by the government to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, argued on May 1, 2017.
The U.S. Department of the Interior-Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency-CID conducted the investigations. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Emily Greenfield and Nicholas Moses, and Senior Trial Attorney Kenneth Nelson of the Environment and Natural Resources Division prosecuted the case.
Children should expect to return to the classroom Thursday in Evangeline Parish. Superintendent, Darwan Lazard announced that busses will be running and all public schools in Evangeline Parish will be open Thursday.