The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the School Board Media Center. The School Board voted to accept a revised proposal from First Student for services. Regional Manager, Tony Vidrine, had previously presented a plan to the Board, but was asked to go over it again with his company to see if savings could be seen sooner than what had been proposed. Mr. Vidrine explained to the Board that the revised proposal will now begin saving the School Board approximately $88,000.00 a year beginning at the end of the 2016/2017 school year.
CFO, Amy Lafleur, explained to the Board that the State Treasury is now requiring sales tax be paid by all schools and universities for all fees for entry into “events” such as football and basketball games, as well as all concessions. The rate will begin at 5% and then will go down from there. She has been in touch with the area schools and will be working with them to put together a plan for keeping track of those numbers. For example, students who attend an event will not be charged sales tax; however, a parents or other person who is not a student will have to pay the tax.
The Board was pleased to hear that they have received $45,000.00 from a Louisiana Department of Education Opportunity Grant to purchase a used passenger bus equipped with a wheelchair lift. Superintendent of Schools, Toni Hamlin, explained the bus will be driven and used by an educator who will take Special Education children into the workforce and through what she called the “Workforce Initiative.” The grant was applied for by Supervisor, Roxanne West.
The Board also approved the calendar for the next school year which was voted on by all schools. The calendar approved includes 3 days for Mardi Gras and recognition of Memorial Day.
ROTARY CLUB HEARS FROM LOCAL STUDENT
MAY 3, 2016
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday ) heard from a local Ville Platte High student who attended the rotary sponsored youth leadership camp known as Camp Rylla.
McKenzie Fontenot thanked the local rotary club for sponsoring her attendance to the week long camp. She said “The camp changed my life for the better. I made new friends and I am so happy I was able to go.” She and her mother were the guests of Rotarian Kip Manuel.
Club President Mitch Fontenot reported on the following:
--the Walking trail cleanup was a success with 13 members of the Sacred Heart Interact Club along with local rotary club members in attendance;
--heard from Rotarian Leonard Glen Fontenot urging club members to consider becoming a first time Paul Harris Fellow. The designation is bestowed upon a club member when they contribute $1000 or more to Rotary International. The Ville Platte club is offering to contribute half or $500 to Rotary International. All of the funds go toward the international organization to promote the eradication of diseases and to promote peace and good will;
--the club will be donating $1000 to the tele-medicine project in Central America coordinated by Dr. Don Hines.
According to the Ville Platte Police Department: On May 1, 2016 at approximately 11:45 a.m. Officers and Detectives of the Ville Platte Police Department responded multiple reports of vehicle break ins on Dardeau Street where vehicles parked in a church parking lot had been broken into and damaged. Officers discovered four vehicles had broken windows and have listed cell phones, wallets and cash are some of the items taken from the vehicles. Detectives were able to obtain DNA evidence at the scene that will be sent to the crime lab for analysis. The incident was assigned to Detective Jessica Laborde and on May 2, 2016 Detective Laborde received information from an anonymous source that led to the arrest of two male and two female juveniles. All 5 cell phones that were taken from the vehicles have been located and returned to their owners. Each juvenile is being charged with 4 counts of burglary, 4 counts of theft and 3 counts of criminal damage to property.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its committee and monthly meetings tonight in the Courthouse in front of television cameras and other media. The Mayor of Ville Platte, Jennifer Vidrine, was also in attendance. One of the agenda items was to go into Executive Session about “personnel matters”. The media was only given that reason for the possible session. KVPI News has continued to report on the resignation and reinstatement of OEP Director, Liz Hill. When it came time to go into “Executive Session”, Police Juror, Eric Soileau, questioned the Jury as to why they were going into Executive Session. He asked if it was to discuss Liz Hill, who was in attendance at the Jury meeting. He then questioned the Jury’s Legal Counsel, Marcus Fontenot, as to whether Ms. Hill was required to be in attendance if they did go into Executive Session to talk about her. Mr. Fontenot responded that “Ms. Hill has the right to object to the Jury going into Executive Session regarding her.” Ms. Hill then stood and objected to the Jury doing just that. Police Jury President, Ryan Ardoin, stated he did not think they needed to go into Executive Session because he “is firm in his decision to reinstate Ms. Hill.” President Ardoin had received negative responses for his decision from a couple of Police Jurors after his decision; however, nothing further was stated in the open meeting. Police Juror, Lamar Johnson, stated “You, as President, have the power to reinstate her.” The subject quickly came to an end as the President then asked for a Motion to Adjourn. No one objected to that. KVPI News spoke with 911/OEP Director, Liz Hill, and she stated: “We need to get past this. I believe we can work together for the good of the people of Evangeline Parish.”
In other news from the meeting, it was reported that nearly every entity has now entered into a Cooperative Endeavor Agreement with 911 for dispatching now that Sheriff, Eddie Soileau, will no longer be handling those calls.
At the request of Jill Stevens with Every Paw Animal Rescue, the Jury voted to cover up to $300.00 a month to euthanize animals taken in from the parish who pose a “threat to the population”. The funds will be taken out of Health Unit funding.
Police Juror, Bryan Vidrine, brought up of the use of drones in our area and asked that a public hearing has been set to open discussions about regulating them. That hearing is set for June 6th at 4:30 p.m.
There will also be a public hearing on June 6th at 4:45 to discuss reducing the speed limits on Gautreaux Lane, CDF Road and Redlick Road
The children’s choir of the French Immersion Program at Prairie Elementary School in Lafayette visited KVPI studios today (Saturday) to record part of a performance they gave earlier at stops in Eunice that included the Chapelle Country Store and the Jean Lafitte Acadian Cultural. The members are 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders of Prairie Elementary Lafayette French Immersion Program. The teachers are Sabrina Benazzous, Jean-Philippe Warlet and Sophie Zaoui and come from Belgium and France. We plan to play back their recorded performance Thursday at 12:30pm on KVPI AM and FM. The students recorded the Pledge of Allegiance in French and an ID in French that listeners will hear on a regular basis.
The Ville Platte Civic Center hosted the annual Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet Thursday night. Here are the winners:
Ville Platte Man of the Year- Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel
Ville Platte Woman of the Year: Two were selected- Diana Freeman-Johnson and Becky Buller;
Business Person of the Year: Two were selected- Scott and Amy Dupre with B&S Grocery and Luke DeVille with Teet’s Food Store;
Business of the Year- H.L. Pitre and Sons
Agricultural Person of the Year- Larry Fontenot
The guest speaker for the occasion was retired Lt. General Russell Honore’. Listen for a special interview KVPI News Director Stephanie Ware will have with General Honore’ next week.
President of The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Ryan Ardoin, has reinstated 911 Director, Liz Hill, back in to the dual role of Office of Emergency Preparedness Director. KVPI News has spoken with Ardoin who says he feels it was the “right thing to do.” He stated “Ms. Hill has worked very hard for the Parish and is very good at what she does. She has not done anything wrong or out of the ordinary and I believe she needs to remain in the position.” Ms. Hill resigned from the position during an open Police Jury meeting Monday after what numerous Jurors describe as a “minor situation blown out of proportion.” Ardoin reports that Ms. Hill has agreed to continue her work with the Jury. Tune in Friday at Noon as we sit down and talk to the Parish President about the situation and other things happening in Evangeline Parish.
Fire investigators with the Ville Platte Fire Department with help from the state fire marshal’s Office are investigating the cause of the fire that damaged the Dr. R.E. Dupre home on West Main Street Thursday night. The landmark home constructed in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s by Dr. Dupre had been vacant for the past few years. For many years, the home was considered a showcase and a landmark. As soon as we get more details on the fire we will share it with you. Photo compliments of KVPI News Director Stephanie Ware.
KVPI has been in ticket giveaway mode and we recently gave listeners a chance to win tickets to see Foreigner at the Paragon Casino on April 22nd and tickets to The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival the weekends of April 22nd and April 29th. When listeners heard the “Jukebox Hero” and “Brown-Eyed Girl” cues to call, they needed to call in to be qualified for our drawings that took place Monday, April 18th and Tuesday, April 19th. Congratulations to our lucky winners:
Foreigner tickets were awarded to:
Weber Deshotels, Jr.
Shirley Guillory and
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival tickets were awarded to:
And the Grand Prize of three tickets to get into the festival went to:
Keep listening for more chances to win on Classic Hits 92.5
According to the Ville Platte Police, the following individuals have recently been arrested and booked into the Ville Platte City Jail:
Keiara Calvin, Age 21 – arrested for Disturbing the Peace and Simple Battery and is currently out on a $950.00 bond;
Murphy Lemelle, Age 35 – arrested for Disturbing the Peace by Intoxication, Theft, Remaining After Forbidden, Criminal Damage to Property, Criminal Mischief and Prohibited Acts and is currently out on a $4,800.00 bond;
Christopher Ducote, Age 37 – arrested for Discharging a Firearm and is currently out on a $2,500.00 bond;
Kizzy Fontenot, Age 36 – arrested for Improper Suspension/x2 and currently out on a $500.00 bond;
Bonnie Leday, Age 53 – arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery, Simple Battery and Resisting an officer and is currently incarcerated;
Darlene Jackson, Age 43 – arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery, Prohibited Acts and Resisting an Officer and is currently incarcerated;
Sunnie Veillon, Age 31 – arrested for Theft of Goods and Misrepresentation during Booking and is currently out on a $700.00 bond;
Gladys Pleasant, Age 50 – arrested for Remaining After Forbidden and is currently incarcerated;
Joseph Morgan, Age 27 – arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and currently out on a $1,000.00 bond; and
Douglas Fontenot, Age 17 – arrested for Distribution with Intent to Distribute and Paraphernalia and currently incarcerated on a $5,000.00 bond.
NEW MISS LAFAYETTE IS EVANGELINE PARISH RESIDENT
APRIL 17, 2016
The new 2016 Miss Lafayette is Carly Chaumont, a resident of the Turkey Creek area. She was selected Saturday night during the pageant at Homewood Suites in Lafayette. She replaces the outgoing queen, Rachel North. Carly was among nine contestants who entered the contest to represent the City of Lafayette.
Carly is an air personality at KVPI and is attending LSU-Alexandria majoring in mass Communications. She has been involved in pageants since age 16. In 2011, she was Miss Evangeline Parish Farm Bureau, in 2012 she was Miss Boggy Bayou Queen, in 2013 Miss Ville Platte, in 2014, Carly was Miss Louisiana Fur and Wildlife from Cameron and this past year she was Miss Rayne Frog Festival.
As Miss Lafayette, Carly will represent the city in official functions and work with charity organizations in the Lafayette area. She will also compete in the Miss Louisiana USA pageant in Metairie October 7 and 8 representing the City of Lafayette.
According to the Ville Platte Police Department, the following individuals were arrested and booked into the Ville Platte City Jail:
Krystal Clark, age 50 – Arrested for Disturbing the Peace by Disorderly Conduct and has bonded out on a $200.00 bond;
Marcus Arvie, age 42 – Arrested for Disturbing the Peace by Intoxication and remains incarcerated on a $500.00 bond;
Darryl Riley, age 20 – Arrested for No Reflective Gear and Disorderly Conduct and has bonded out on a $400.00 bond;
Courtney Gary, age 20 – Arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and has bonded out on a $1,000.00 bond;
William Wise, age 17 – Arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and has bonded out on a $1,000.00 bond; and
Kelly Segura, age 34 – Arrested for Criminal Mischief and has bonded out on a $200.00 bond.
The Evangeline Parish School Board met Wednesday evening in the School Board Media Center. It was standing room only as numerous students were recognized for their talents in music and art. Jim Boyne, Retired Music Teacher, has been working with several of the students and he presented three students who performed for the crowd. Ashanti Thomas of Ville Platte High School performed All I can do is Cry by Etta James, and Anna and Victoria Steckler of Bayou Chicot Elementary performed The Fight Song by Rachel Platt.
The District Students of the Year were announced:
5th Grade: Hannah Claire Manuel from Basille High School
8th Grade: Jace Vidrine from Bayou Chicot Elementary
12th Grade: Louis Henry Deville from Pine Prairie High School
Recognized as The Parent Volunteer of the Year from the State is Alisha Fontenot
Students placing at the Excellence in Art Show at Louisiana College were:
Averie Martello from Mamou High School – 1st place
Taylor Deville from Pine Prairie High School – 2nd place
Isac Calderon from Pine Prairie High School – 3rd place
2016 LSU Statewide Juried High School:
Averie Martello from Mamou High School
LAEA Youth Art Month 2016 Competition
Emma Manuel from Sacred Heart – Honorable Mention
Aniya Taylor from Bayou Chicot Elementary – 3rd place
2016 Scholastic Art Awards Southwest Art Region at Large
Taylar Deville from Pine Prairie High School – Gold Key Level
Noah Andrus from Mamou High School – Silver Key Level
Alex Soileau from Ville Platte High School – Honorable Mention
Three students have moved up and will be attending the FBLA Convention:
Seth Gautreaux from Pine Prairie High School
Court Fuller from Pine Prairie High School
Gabriel Cormier from Ville Platte High School
In other news, Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, reported that she and her staff watched the press conference of Governor, John Bel Edwards, and stated that K-12 Education can expect roughly $50 million in cuts because of the $792 million shortfall in the Louisiana Budget. She stated “It’s a wait and see type of situation, but we will not be staffing at 100% until we know how everything will turn out.” She also stated that the governor stated that the day after the Regular Session closes, they will begin a Special Session to work on financial issues.
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting Tuesday at City Hall. There was some dispute and confusion as the owners of the Empire Nightclub, Frank Miller and Davina Davis, spoke to the Council and the Mayor regarding the granting of a business permit so they can re-open the bar. Mr. Miller stated they have spent approximately $30,000.00 renovating the bar and are ready to open. The nightclub is located in the area on West Main where the old Sonic is located. The Mayor reported to the owners that they are not able to issue a business permit to them because of the City Ordinance stating that they cannot because the business is not at least 300 feet from 2 residences. Mr. Miller then questioned how far that the Bulldog Sports Bar is from a residence. He stated that he measured it himself and it is located less than 100 ft. He stated that if “that’s the case, then we need to make sure everyone is held to that rule.” He also presented a letter from the resident near the business with approval of opening the business. He was asked to meet with the City Attorney, Eric Lafleur, with his findings and that he needed to have done his “due diligence in regard to opening a bar.” We will keep you updated on the matter as it develops.
On a happy note, the Mayor and the City Council announced that they are doing “the right thing” and raising the City’s Minimum Wage from $7.25 to $8.00. The increase in pay will be effective in the next fiscal year beginning in September, but could come earlier than that. The City also announced they have granted a 3% increase in pay for salaried employees which will take effect next pay period. It was also announced that the insurance premiums for employees will be going up 8%, but like last year when the rates rose 6%, the City will not be passing those costs on to the employees. There will also be no deductible on the drug portion of their insurance.
Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, reported that expenditures for the month of March was $307,186.46 compared to the month of February at $216,348.81. That is an increase of $90,837.65. The Mayor reported that the increase was due to the major water breaks in the Sewer System and the water well problems that the city has been experiencing. She was happy to report that the Sales Tax Collection was up 4.86% from March of last year. She thanked local business owners and those who shop locally.
The City Council approved six new full-time and 2 part-time officers The Ville Platte City Police Department. If all new hires pass all required testing, that will bring the number of officers to 30 fulltime and 18 patrolmen. Fire Chief, Chris Harrison, reported that the department’s new recruit, Kyle Dupre, has completed the Academy and is now working. It was noted that Kyle received the Teamwork Award while at the Academy.
CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES BUSINESS NOMINATIONS
APRIL 12, 2016
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce has released the nominees for Business Person of the Year and Business of the Year.
The nominees for Business Person of the Year include: Scott and Amy Dupre for B&S Grocery, Luke Deville for Teet’s Food Store, Toni Hamlin for Evangeline Parish School System and Alana McCaskey for the Flower Patch.
The nominees for Business of the Year include: B&S Grocery, H.L. Pitre and Sons, The Flower Patch and Uptown Cakes.
Chamber members are urged to turn in their selections for both categories no later than noon Monday April 18 at the Chamber Office.
The announcement of the winners in these categories as well as Ville Platte’s Man and Woman of the Year will be made at the Chamber banquet scheduled for Thursday April 28 at the Civic Center.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
APRIL 12, 2016
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from 13th District Court, Division B Judge Chuck West.
Judge West shared his experiences as a new judge to conduct three murder cases in two months. All three cases ended with a guilty verdict for the defendants.
Judge West noted that some 475-500 potential jurors subpoenaed to choose three juries. In the last trial, the judge remarked that it took from 12 noon to 9:30 at night to choose the 14 person jury to hear the case.
The trials took a lot of coordination from a lot of agencies including having a DNA expert brought in from Pennsylvania for one of the trials. Extra police was called in from the sheriff’s office, city police and city marshal to handle the security.
“It is a big endeavor in time and money”, said Judge West adding that “it puts a strain on the parish on manpower and resources”. The judge commended the District Attorney’s office and everyone involved.
There are no more murder trails scheduled for Division B however one is scheduled for Division A. Judge West was the special guest of Rotarian Jimmy LeBlanc.
In other rotary news, President Mitch Fontenot reminded club members:
--a clean up is planned for the Heritage Park on Saturday April 23 from 8:30am to 12 noon;
--Shots for Tots is planned for the Health Unit Thursday April 28.
According to Evangeline Parish Sheriff, Eddie Soileau:
On Friday, April 6, 2016, Chief Allen Noel of Mamou Police Department contacted the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Investigations Division for assistance with the misconduct of a Police Officer.
Chief Noel stated that on Friday, April 1, 2016 Mamou Police Officer Christopher Ryan Lemaire conducted a traffic stop at the intersection of Martin Luther King and 6th street in Mamou. During Officer Lemaire’s traffic stop he received a verbal consent from the driver to search the vehicle. Officer Lemaire located an ounce of Marijuana and a bong. Officer Lemaire confiscated the drug and paraphernalia. Officer Lemaire then discarded the Evidence prematurely without authorization before processing it as Evidence. The driver admitted to the possession of both items found, but no arrest was made.
After a thorough and complete investigation, a Warrant of Arrest and Affidavit was authored by Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office. The Warrant was signed by 13th Judicial Judge Chuck West with a bond set at $25,000.00.
Lemaire was arrested and booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail on the charges of Malfeasance in Office. Bail posted.
Unofficial election results from Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel::
Chief of Police - Town of Mamou (43% Turnout)
Brent Zackary - 51% or 481 votes
Katina Richard - 49% or 459 votes
Ward 5 Fire Protection District Proposition - Tax Renewal (4.6% Turnout)
Yes - 95% or 102 votes
No - 5% or 5 votes
According to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office – On Friday, March 18, 2016 Sheriff’s Deputies arrested one male subject and seized multiple narcotics and drug paraphernalia while dispatched to a residence for an Alarm Activation.
31-year-old Bernard Bryan Caldwell II was arrested and booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail on drug and weapon charges.
Sheriff Eddie Soileau said his Investigators seized a large amount of Marijuana and a small amount of Cocaine. A firearm was also located in the residence and confiscated. All located at a residence on the 4000 block of Highway 167N.
Caldwell was charged with Possession of Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance (Cocaine), Cultivation/Distribution of Marijuana, Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, and Possession of a Firearm by a Convicted Felon.
Bond was set at $55,000.00 by 13th Judicial Judge Gary Ortego. Subject posted bail
According to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office – On Friday, April 8, 2016 Sheriff’s Deputies arrested one male subject and seized multiple narcotics and drug paraphernalia while dispatched to a residence for a Noise Complaint.
35-year-old Jeremy Michael Savant was arrested and booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail for Possession with intent to distribute Schedule I (Marijuana), Possession of Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance (Methamphetamine), and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.
Sheriff Eddie Soileau said his Patrolman seized .656 ounces of Marijuana and .012 ounces of Methamphetamine, along with numerous items of drug paraphernalia. All located at a residence on the 200 block of Cheryl Street, Ville Platte.
Bond was not set at time of Press Release.