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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB

SEPTEMBER 1, 2015

 

    The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Jason El Koubi, President and CEO of One Acadiana who spoke about his new economic development district that includes Evangeline  and other parishes in Acadiana. One Acadiana is comprised of the 9 parish area including Evangeline, Acadia, Iberia, Jeff Davis, Lafayette, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Mary and Vermillion Parishes.

     El Koubi said One Acadiana comprises the third largest metropolitan area in the area behind New Orleans and Baton Rouge. In fact the area is the 108th largest metro area in the United States.

     The area  has a population of 680,000 and 128 miles of interstate highways. It also has 7 coastal ports and 2 airports.

      The goal is to stimulate economic development throughout the district. He was the special guest of Rotarian Mark Suellentrop.



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KVPI News Director, Stephanie Ware was on the scene when the news first broke out about a manhunt for Brandon Messer (28) in the Turkey Creek area of Evangeline Parish Thursday evening. “He is being accused of threatening one individual associated with a church back there and approaching the residents of that person. And the individual was not home so he shot the dog. He’s also made other threatening comments about the church.” As soon as we get anything new, we will pass that information along to you through our various forms of media including 92.5 KVPI FM, Facebook, Twitter, and here at our website. Anyone with information can call the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office at 337-363-3345 or Louisiana State Police at 225-262-5880.

 

You can check out Steph being interviewed by KLFY News Channel 10 for their own report on this story below: 

 

 

Update: On August 24th Brandon Messer, who was being sought by the Evangeline Parish Sheriff's Office and Louisiana State Police, turned himself in.



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The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce met today at Noon at Nick’s on Main. Renee Brown, the new Chamber President conducted her first meeting. Trey Prudhomme with Heritage Manor Nursing Home was the guest speaker and talked about the new facility being built on the West side of Ville Platte. He said the expected date of opening would be the Fall of 2016, but he suspects that date will most likely being January or February of 2017. The new facility will offer 126 beds. The current facility offers 145 beds. There will be a secured area for those patients with dementia and those rooms will house 2 people per room. All other rooms will be private but will have the option of connecting multiple ones, if needed. There will also be a large Evacuation Center built behind the facility that will house 236 people in case of emergencies.

There were two new members accepted into the Chamber of Commerce: Le’ Academie de Arts and Lakeview Park and Beach.

The next Chamber meeting will be September 16th.

 
 
 

 



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The Evangeline Parish School Board met last night in the School Board Media Center. Continued discussion regarding the transportation of student athletes was had. Principals, assistant principals and coaches in attendance, all in favor of continuing to transport athletes when necessary or if needed. Ms. Peggy Foreman asked that feeder schools, Chicot, Chatagnier and Mamou be allowed to let the administrator be able to determine that if needed, a student athlete, could be transported by personnel. Mr. Arthur Savoy and Scott Limoges attempted to do away with the entire transport of student athletes. Arthur made the motion to discontinue the service and Doctor Bobby Deshotel seconded it. Superintendent Toni Hamlin, said she had sent a request to all schools and all schools said they were not interested in changing anything. The issue of “Do it for one, do it for all.” Continued to be discussed. Every principal there made a comment that only student athletes were using this service. Other extra-curricular programs take place during school. The motion of canceling the service failed by a vote of 6-5.

The budget was discussed but there will be another meeting to discuss and vote on it.

The Board voted to enter into a new service contract with Republic Solid Waste, formerly Allied Solid Waste.

Superintendent, Toni Hamlin, spoke about the critical shortage of teachers and explained that if you declare a critical shortage you are allowed to hire retirees, which is what we have done in Evangeline Parish.

 



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY MEETING

AUGUST 18, 2015

 

        The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Dr. Natalie Harder,  Director of the South Louisiana Community College System. The 8 parish system has a campus in each parish. Here in Evangeline Parish, the campus is C.B. Coreil in Ville Platte. The local C.B. Coreil Campus Administrator is Carlene Jones.

        Dr. Harder reported that her funding has been reduced by 55 percent since  2009 so it has been a challenge. “We are committed to keeping the campuses in each parish  open and vibrant.” Unfortunately the system cannot offer the same courses in every campus which explains why 45 students from Evangeline Parish are taking courses at other campuses.

        She announced that the C.B. Coreil campus offers the following courses: Accounting, Business, Business Administration, Medical Assistant, Practical Nursing, Technology, General Studies and Welding. Student enrollment has increased 34 percent this fall. Many of these courses are transferrable to four year colleges.

        Dr. Harder asked rotary members to spread the word throughout the community about the programs offered locally at the campus.



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB

AUGUST 11, 2015

 

     The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard  from State Senator Eric Lafleur  discuss highlights from the recent legislative session in Baton Rouge.

      Lafleur said once again, the legislature used one time money to balance the budget. By using non recurring money, lawmakers will have to meet again early next year to overcome a one billion deficit.

      The senator said all of the major candidates for governor have announced if they are elected they will call a special session to help tackle once and for all the spending problem they face each year .

      This year, the state balanced the budget by raising certain taxes. For example, a tax on utility bills for large companies and industries was implemented.

      Senator Lafleur said Governor Jindal would not allow federal Medicaid dollars to expand Medicaid coverage for the working poor in the state. Over 30 states have expanded Medicaid coverage. He said it would provide medical benefits for low paid workers and would be beneficial to the state.



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The Evangeline Parish Police Jury

August 10, 2015

 

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury met tonight in the courthouse.  Registrar of Voters, Lucas Buller addressed the Police Jury regarding the upcoming October and November elections.  He advised the Jury that due to the upcoming Cotton Festival, the Ville Platte Civic Center will not be available to be used as a voting precinct.  He requested that the Jury approve moving the location to the Courthouse temporarily.  The Jury approved the measure. 

 

The Jury approved new appointments to the Keep Evangeline Beautiful Board.  They are as follows: Becky Buller, Susan Lahaye, Mary Alice Fontenot, Jessica Ducote Earles, Jim Robinson, Donald Bergeron, Diana Johnson, James Berthelot, Scott Fontenot, Mike Perron, Dagen Soileau, Hattie Johnson, Heather Cloud, Carmen Langly and Jackie Thomas.

 

Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, advised that the appraisal for the “Old Library” has come back in the amount of $156,000.00.  On the recommendation of Juror, Eric Soileau, the Jury agreed to start the process of listing the property for sale.

 

The Jury re-entered into a Cooperative Agreement with the LSU Ag Center so as to continue to work together. 

 

Public Works Director, Chester Granger, reported that some of the parishes’ large equipment is currently out of order and it will take approximately a month to have repairs made.  This will put the chip & seal project behind.  He thanked the Jury for assisting him and thanked the public for understanding that due to the previous weather and equipment failure, projects have gone slow.  Eric Soileau commended Chester and his staff.  He stated “I know we have given you and your crew a lot to do.  And I know you put in a lot of hours.”

 

The Police Jury appointed Sandra Deville to replace Benny Ducote on the Lone Pine Fire Protection District.



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Stay tuned to KVPI tomorrow for more details from the council meeting.

 

The Ville Platte City Council

August 6, 2015

 

The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight at Ville Platte City Hall.  There were quite a few announcements made.  Starting with the subject of abandoned properties, the Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, said that the city’s legal department is currently constructing a “courtesy letter” that is about to sent to those who have abandoned properties, grass that is too tall or dangerous conditions.  The letter will tell property owners they have 30 days to perform a clean-up of the area or the City will step in and perform the service and the cost will be tacked onto owner’s property tax bills.  They will now be enforcing the current ordinance.

 

The Mayor reported that she accompanied a contractor to all 18 canals in Ville Platte to see the extent of what needed to be cleaned.  The contractor stated that he will be giving the Mayor a quote in the next 7 – 10 days.  The City Council voted that once the quote comes in, they will be asking the Evangeline Parish Police Jury to pay half of the cost.  She stated the canals are in very tough conditions.

 

Interim Fire Chief, Chris Harrison, was presented with a check in the amount of $41,477.24 from a 2% insurance rebate due to a great insurance rating.  Mr. Harrison stated the money will be used for additional equipment and equipment for volunteers.

The City will begin collecting a 1% Utility Tax on business customers.  This tax is not imposed by the City, but was voted in during the last legislative session.  The City will have to turn the funds over to the LA Dept. of Revenue.

 

The City has now received its long awaited Kubota excavator and backhoe that will be used to clean abandoned properties, culverts, etc.  They will soon be receiving a new tractor.

 

Tuesday, August 11th, the 8-year old All Stars who won the World Series, will have their banquet at the Ville Platte Civic Center.  A parade will begin at 4:00 p.m. that day and will start at Teets to Tate Cove and then to Lincoln to end at the Civic Center.

 



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Stay tuned to KVPI tomorrow for more details from the council meeting.

 

The Ville Platte City Council

August 6, 2015

 

The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight at Ville Platte City Hall.  There were quite a few announcements made.  Starting with the subject of abandoned properties, the Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, said that the city’s legal department is currently constructing a “courtesy letter” that is about to sent to those who have abandoned properties, grass that is too tall or dangerous conditions.  The letter will tell property owners they have 30 days to perform a clean-up of the area or the City will step in and perform the service and the cost will be tacked onto owner’s property tax bills.  They will now be enforcing the current ordinance.

 

The Mayor reported that she accompanied a contractor to all 18 canals in Ville Platte to see the extent of what needed to be cleaned.  The contractor stated that he will be giving the Mayor a quote in the next 7 – 10 days.  The City Council voted that once the quote comes in, they will be asking the Evangeline Parish Police Jury to pay half of the cost.  She stated the canals are in very tough conditions.

 

Interim Fire Chief, Chris Harrison, was presented with a check in the amount of $41,477.24 from a 2% insurance rebate due to a great insurance rating.  Mr. Harrison stated the money will be used for additional equipment and equipment for volunteers.

 

The City will begin collecting a 1% Utility Tax on business customers.  This tax is not imposed by the City, but was voted in during the last legislative session.  The City will have to turn the funds over to the LA Dept. of Revenue.

 

The City has now received its long awaited Kubota excavator and backhoe that will be used to clean abandoned properties, culverts, etc.  They will soon be receiving a new tractor.

 

Tuesday, August 11th, the 8-year old All Stars who won the World Series, will have their banquet at the Ville Platte Civic Center.  A parade will begin at 4:00 p.m. that day and will start at Teets to Tate Cove and then to Lincoln to end at the Civic Center.

 



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Evangeline Parish School Board

August 5, 2015

 

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the School Board Media Center, one week before the official start of the 2015/16 school year.  Perry Watson gave a presentation regarding improvements that are being proposed to WW Stewart Elementary School and Basile High School through a proposed election to be held in School District No. 7 of the Second Police Jury Ward and the Seventh Police Jury Ward to authorize the issuance of general obligation bonds.  The improvements, if approved would be funded through those bonds.  There will be a public hearing in September before the School Board will vote on whether to vote to have the election.

Lance Enkey with First Student gave a report on bus routes and changes that have been made to avoid overcrowding and more efficient bus routes for our students.  He said there are eleven new buses this year and all of the driver positions have been filled with local drivers.  Lance said the routes should be running efficiently for the first day of school.

There was much discussion back and forth about continuing to reimburse coaches for providing athletes with transportation for after school extra curricula activities, governed by LHSAA.  The question of why high school athletes are being provided the transportation, and not middle school athletes, was the main focus.  After lengthy debate, the Board voted to table the issue until they are given the monetary amount it would take to fund all schools in this manner.

 

 

 



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING

AUGUST 4, 2015

 

       The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Police Juror Bryan Vidrine who gave an update report on what is going parish wide.

       The primary issue facing members of the police jury is the problem of funding the growing cost of parish prisoners. He said usually the parish jail has about 5-10 prisoners over the limit. Right now, the sheriff’s department is having to deal with 60 prisoners over the jail capacity. Due to the Pine Prairie prison closing, the parish is having to send prisoners over the local jail limit to Caldwell parish where the daily cost is twice what the parish was paying at Pine Prairie.

      The police jury is reviewing several options to decrease the expenses including asking the courts to do more home arrests.

      Also, Vidrine said the parish owned Crooked Creek Park has been self sufficient for the past six years. The problem facing the jury is maintaining its electrical system inside the park. Also the jury is asking for entrepreneurs to step forward to invest in entertainment programs at the park.

     The juror said he had good news dealing with the problem of collecting overdue sewer bills. The jury now has a cooperative agreement with water systems throughout the parish . In the event, a customer of a parish owned sewer system does not pay their bill, the water system that serves that customer can cut off their water until their bills are paid. Under law, the parish cannot cut off a customer’s sewer bill.

  Vidrine was the special guest of Rotarian Robert Eastin.



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING

JULY 28, 2015

 

    The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Dr. Don Hines, a former state senator who is involved with a mission project in Guatemala. Dr. Hines is working with a group from Avoyelles Parish who is taking care of some 150  children in a small village in Guatemala.

    He gave a power point presentation showing that with the assistance of telemedicine, the children in this mission is able to get world class medical consultation through modern technology. For example, Dr. Hines stated that with a special stethoscope, the heart beat of a child in Guatemala can be heard at his medical office in Bunkie, Louisiana.

     He mentioned that the village in the mountains has  a year round temperature in the 60’s to 73 degrees year round.

     Dr. Hines said it is a great experience . He was the guest speaker of Rotary Member Peter Strawitz.

     In other business, the club was reminded that the Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring a political rally at the Civic Center on August 27.

    Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that the business office for Centurylink will close August 7. She is trying to get the company to change their minds and keep it open so local residents can continue to pay their bills in person.



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB

JULY 21, 2015

 

   The Rotary Club of Ville Platte met today (Tuesday) at noon and heard from Rotarian  Trey Prudhomme, administrator of Heritage Manor Nursing home.

    Prudhomme showed an artist’s drawing of the new Heritage Manor Nursing home that is due to be built in 2016. The ground breaking is scheduled for August 3 at the 13 acre site on West Main adjacent to Tate’s Men and Boys. The 66,600 square foot building will have a $16 million dollar price tag. The general contractor will be Ratcliffe Construction from Alexandria.

    The new nursing home will have 124 beds and with the exception of the Alzheimer unit will all be private room and private baths. Currently, Heritage Manor employs 101 employees and Prudhomme is looking at increasing the staff to 120.

    The owners of Heritage Manor Nursing Home have three options on what to do with the old building once the move is made: donate the facility to a non- profit agency, demolish the building and sell the property or turn the building into an evacuation shelter.

     The building was first constructed in 1963 and was known as Maison De Sante. The last improvements to the building were done in 1986.

     He reported that the private pay cost for nursing home care is about $4750 a month.



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The Evangeline Parish School Board
July 15, 2015

The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center. Superintendent, Toni Hamlin on asking the Board to approve a CNP Plan associated with re-opening the cafeteria at James Stephens Montessori. The school has had its cafeteria closed for 4 years and meals have been “satellited in” from Ville Platte Elementary. Due to the change in requirements for school breakfasts and lunches and to the number of students who now attend James Stephens, the cost to re-open the school’s cafeteria will be much less than having to buy more vehicles to transport meals and having to build an addition to Ville Platte Elementary to accommodate the extra food and supplies. Some personnel will be shifted to accommodate the re-opening. The Board was happy to hear the news and stated that the staff at James Stephens will be happy as well.

Toni Hamlin congratulated Principal Cherie Fontenot for being named Elementary Principal of the Year for the whole state during the Cecil J. Picard Gala that was held in Baton Rouge. She stated she was very proud of Cherie since she has only been a principal for 4 years. She stated that Cherie is humble in being honored and always says “It’s all teamwork.”, but Ms. Hamlin added in agreement that it does take team work, but it still takes a good leader.

The Board approved a motion to raise the cost of lunches for the 2015/16 school year from $1.45 to $1.50.

Sales Tax collections for the month of June for 2014-2015 were up $12,690.00 from this time last year.

The Board approved a motion to purchase an air conditioning unit from the low bidder, May’s Heating and Cooling for the Mamou High School Auditorium. Toni Hamlin stated that now all of our schools have a least some form of air conditioning where events are held.

 



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ROTARY MEETING

JULY 14, 2015

 

   The Rotary Club of Ville Platte heard from Rotarian Eric Gil report on major changes in the health care industry. Gil, an insurance agent, reported that individual health care policies can only be purchased during a sign up period between November 1 and Feb. 15. Individuals can visit their insurance agent or go to healthcare.gov to review the various policies.

   He urges insurance clients to find out what insurance company you’re dealing with, review the policy and know what it covers for example does it cover cancer cases, organ transplants, mental health, and rehabilitation. He strongly urged people to not choose a policy solely on price alone.

    He urged people to get Medicare supplements and to review your old health care policies. He said in many cases your old health care plans offer more coverage than the new updated policies.

     In other rotary news, Club President Mitch Elmand Fontenot said the board has decided to move its “ Shots for Tots” project targeting your pre- school age children in October rather than in October.

     In community news, Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin announced that Cherie Fontenot , last weekend, was named Elementary Principal of the Year for the entire state. She is principal at the James Stephens Montessori School.

    Also, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that crime cameras have been installed at various high crime areas of the city. The mayor said more cameras are planned to be installed in the future to help combat crime.



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING

JULY 7, 2015

 

   The Rotary Club of Ville Platte took place today (Tuesday ) at noon with new Club President Mitch Elmand Fontenot conducting his first meeting as new president.

   Fontenot provided a power point presentation to rotary members on his goals and plans for the new rotary year. His mission is to make the local organization a more vibrant club, develop new projects and recruit new members. His goal is to raise the membership by ten percent or at least five new members.

   The new president outlined the planned projects for the new year and they include: LSU-Eunice Scholarship fund raiser, Coreil Vo Tech fund raiser, Rotary Youth Leadership Camp sponsorship, Interact Club for high school age students, the Choices Program where rotary members encourage students in school to make correct choices and to stay in school, new Shots for Tots program, do a joint service project with the Chamber of Commerce and to support Chicot State Park.

    It was learned by Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin that the first day of classes in public schools will be August 13.



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The Evangeline Parish Police Jury
July 6, 2015

The Evangeline Parish Police Jury met tonight in the Police Jury room at the courthouse. The topic of jail expenses and expenses from the tax department. Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, informed the Jury that Sheriff, Eddie Soileau, sent a “stack of bills” to the Police Jury asking that they pay them or reimburse his office from payment of those bills. He also referred to a revised statute indicating that the Jury is responsible for certain bills related to jail expenses and the tax office. However, there was much confusion about the bills and whether the Jury is responsible for them, especially since the invoices were not put through the proper channels with the Police Jury, including being approved and being put through the P.O. system. Donald pointed out that the expenses from the tax office should already be covered because the Sheriff already gets a flat “cost” fee of $165.00 from each property tax sale. The Jury’s attorney, Marcus Fontenot, stated “while it is the responsibility of the Jury to support the tax collector, there needs to be an accounting given to the Jury accounting for all of the tax sale proceeds on each sale so we can ensure his office is not “double dipping”, and then there needs to a “checks and balances” system set up to ensure that proper procedures are being followed”. Juror, Lamar Johnson, inserted that he thinks “it’s crazy that the Sheriff is asking the Jury for money, like he wants two sources of funding.” Donald Bergeron said he does not understand the “jail expenses” that they are being asked to pay for since there is already a Jail Supply List that is approved every day. Juror, Bryan Vidrine, said as much as he wants to support those they need to be held to the proper procedures just like any other entity. Finally, Legal Council, Marcus Fontenot advised the Jury that they should not pay the bills because the proper procedures were not followed. The Police Jury agreed and voted to not pay the bills and didn’t think legally they could or should.

Jury President, Ryan Ardoin, said Evangeline Parish is officially part of the Acadiana Planning Commission and he thinks very positive things are going to come from it. They will help with grant money, adjudicated houses, building permits, etc.

The Quick Stop in Redell was granted a liquor permit.

 



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ROTARY MEETING

JUNE 30, 2015

 

    The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard a legislative update report from State Representative Bernard LeBas. The session was primarily a money session since the state was 1.6 billion in the red. The lawmakers had to find new ways to raise revenues.

    Among the bills that were approved: a 50 cent a pack increase in cigarette taxes, removing the state tax exemption on solar energy panels, reduce the inventory tax credit by 25% and increasing the vehicle title fees.

     The legislature is looking at going into a veto session to possibly over ride veto’s by the governor . Those veto’s include : a cost of living raise to state retirees that amounted to $30 a month; collect the state 4 percent sales tax on online sales ; putting a cap on how much the state could spend on the Tops program; reducing the tax credits to movies made in the state from $264 million down to $180 million dollars.

      Le Bas was the special guest of Rotarian Dan Poret. This meeting was the last meeting conducted by outgoing President David Mayeaux. The next meeting will be conducted by incoming president Mitch Elmand Fontenot.



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ROTARY CLUB MEETING

JUNE 23, 2015

 

       The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from Leonard Rainey, regional representative for U.S. Senator David Vitter. Rainey handles constituent services such as Social Security, FEMA, HUD and Immigration issues.

      Rainey reported that Sen. Vitter is chairman of the Small Business Committee in the Senate. In Louisiana, some 145,000 people are unemployed and the senator is working hard to help the small business owner through improvements in infrastructure.

      Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot asked Rainey to get the senator’s support to four lane US 167 between Ville Platte and Opelousas.

      In other business, Rotarian Larry Lachney announced that there have been three applicants that applied for the two rotary scholarships at the Coreil Campus at Louisiana Technical College.

     Also, Rotary Club President David Mayeaux announced that five new  Rotary road signs will be erected in the next few weeks at various intersections in Ville Platte.



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The Evangeline Parish Police Jury met last night in the courthouse.  The Jury re-appointed two members to the Solid Waste Commission and replaced Secretary/Treasurer, Phil Miller, with Pat Soileau.  The Jury also appointed Fred Fontenot to the Ward 5 Fire District Board.

There had been some confusion regarding the auto insurance policy for all of the Parish vehicles.  According to Police Jurors, State Farm Insurance Company had quoted the Jury with incorrect pricing for the policy and sent a letter to them stating their coverage would be cancelled.  After working with the Jury, State Farm finally decided to honor the quote they had previously given the Jury.

 

Police Jurors unanimously passed a resolution to display “In God We Trust” in the Police Jury Room for all public meetings.

 

The Jury announced that the Industrial Park water tower is now in the process of “getting a face lift”.  They are also still in the process of working with black top on the roads in the Parish.

 

They also voted to confirm The Gazette as the official Journal.



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