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United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that the former executive director of the Morgan City Housing Authority and three former employees were sentenced for a conspiracy related to theft of half a million dollars.

Charles E. Spann, 78, of Kingsport, Tenn., was sentenced to 36 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $111,657.47 restitution on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Tori D. Johnson, 38, of Morgan City, La., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $100,040.23 restitution on one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Diana L. Pace, 64, of Morgan City was sentenced to 18 months in prison, three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $137,660.72 restitution on one count of theft of government money. Sandra L. Greene, 59, of Morgan City, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $165,405.46 restitution on one count of misprision of a felony. United States District Judge Donald E. Walter presided over the hearings.

According to the April 22, 2016 guilty pleas, the defendants received a total of $514,764.14 in bonus payments to which they were not entitled from 2007 to 2013. In 2007, a one-time bonus for work performed in the wake of hurricanes Katrina and Rita was granted. After the one-time bonuses were sent to all employees of the housing authority, Johnson requested from Spann, who was executive director, that she, Spann and the other two employees, continue to receive bonuses. Johnson wrote false justifications for the bonuses and Spann signed off on them. The bonuses were not approved by the civil service board or the Morgan City Housing Authority Board of Directors. Span received $111,657.47, Johnson received $100,040.23, Greene received $165.405.46 and Pace received $137,660.72 to which they were not entitled.

The U.S. Office of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Investigations, conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Kelly P. Uebinger and Robert F. Moore prosecuted the case.



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LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that a Lafayette Buddhist monk was sentenced to 30 months in prison for wrongfully taking more than $263,000 from his own temple.

Khang Nguyen Le, 36, a Vietnamese citizen who is living in Lafayette, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Donald E. Walter on one count of wire fraud. He was also ordered to pay $263,463.36 in restitution and may face deportation to Vietnam after release from prison. According to the March 17, 2016 guilty plea, Le was the president, presiding monk and resident of the temple of the Vietnamese Buddhist Association of Southwest Louisiana in Lafayette from 2010 to October of 2014. From January of 2013 until August of 2014, Le wrongfully withdrew $263,463.36 in temple funds from the temple’s bank accounts to gamble at a Lake Charles casino.  Le would drive to Lake Charles and withdraw the money from temple bank accounts using automated teller machines and casino tellers. To hide his unlawful activity from temple members, Le would misrepresent the temple’s financial situation at meetings and gambled in lower-populated areas of the casino to avoid being seen. Le was at no time authorized by the temple to use its money for gambling purposes.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys David C. Joseph and Myers P. Namie prosecuted the case.



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QUALIFYING:

According to Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, candidates in Evangeline Parish who have now qualified to run for office in the upcoming November 2016 election are as follows:

POLICE CHIEF OF PINE PRAIRIE:

L.C. Deshotel
Joshua C. Estes

MAYOR OF PINE PRAIRIE

Quint West
Wade Deshotels, Sr.

ALDERMAN, VILLAGE OF PINE PRAIRIE

Tammy M. Hammond
"Debbie" Oge
Gilbert J. Bordelon
Gregory Savant

WARD 3, JUSTICE OF THE PEACE

Paul Tate, Jr.

CONSTABLE, WARD 3

Charles Perdices
Michael "Gorilla" Fruge

Qualifying took place from Wednesday, July 20, 2016 – July 22, 2016 at 4:30 p.m. Qualifying is now closed.

 



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United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that a Natchitoches man was sentenced Wednesday to 211 months in prison for possessing methamphetamine and a firearm.

Harold Jumale Anderson, 42, of Natchitoches, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell to 151 months in prison on one count of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute and 60 months on one count of possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking. He was also sentenced to five years of supervised release. According to the April 26, 2016 guilty plea, law enforcement agents conducted a controlled buy of methamphetamine using a confidential informant on August 18, 2015, in Alexandria.  After his arrest, Anderson’s residence was searched, and agents found more than 500 grams of methamphetamine, a loaded Ruger 9 mm handgun and additional ammunition in his bedroom.

 

The FBI and the Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Allison D. Bushnell prosecuted the case.



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United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that Caddo Parish Commissioner Michael Dwayne Williams was sentenced to 14 months in prison for stealing from a nonprofit meant to help at-risk youth. Williams, 55, of Shreveport, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks Jr. on 11 counts of wire fraud. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release, and he was ordered to pay $8,584.68 restitution, a $10,000 fine and $1,100 to the Crime Victims Fund. According to evidence presented at the four-day trial that ended on March 10, 2016, Williams took more than $8,000 from a nonprofit’s bank account from October 1, 2012 through July 1, 2014. Williams urged the parish commission to appropriate public funds for the nonprofit SWAG Nation. Once those funds were allocated from the parish’s budget to SWAG Nation, Williams caused a bank debit card to be issued for the nonprofit. Between April of 2013 and July of 2014, Williams used the card to remove money on numerous occasions. According to the indictment, he took $100 to $200 each time that he made a withdrawal. Evidence presented at trial showed the defendant used the card in excess of 45 times for cash withdrawals and purchases. SWAG Nation’s declared purpose is to partner with local institutions to help mentor and counsel at-risk individuals ages 7 to 17 so that they can better function in society. “Mr. Williams put greed before the needs of his constituents by stealing money from a program set up to help at-risk youth,” stated Finley. “His actions are a betrayal of the public trust and his oath of office.” “Stealing is bad enough, but when you’re an elected official, you are stealing from the taxpayers who put their faith and trust in you,” Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator said. “Mr. Williams violated the public’s trust and should now be held accountable.” The FBI and the Caddo Parish Sheriff’s Office conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joseph G. Jarzabek and Brandon B. Brown prosecuted the case.



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Qualifying

July 22, 2016

 

   After two days of qualifying for the November primary elections the following political candidates have qualified to seek political office in the Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court’s Office:

 

Mayor of Pine Prairie- Quint West and Wade Deshotels, Sr.

Chief of Police of Pine Prairie-L.C. Deshotel

Alderman for the Village of Pine Prairie- Tammy Hammond, Debbie Oge and Gilbert J. Bordelon;

For Ward 3 Justice of the Peace- Paul Tate Jr.

For Constable in the Ward 3- Charles Perdices and Michael “Gorilla” Fruge.

   Qualifying ends today at 4;30 at the Clerk of Court’s Office.



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On July 20th, The Pine Prairie Police Department responded to a call near 4th Street involving a man assaulting a female, dragging her into a green mini-van and driving away.  Detective Estes with the Pine Prairie Police Department spoke with a witness at the scene who advised the female had “walked across the yard and was crouching near a tree” when the van drove by and turned around recklessly down Oak.  The witness said the man “started beating the woman and dragged her into the van and then drove away.”  Detective Estes and the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office began looking for the van and an alert was put out over KVPI.  Detective Caleb Stelly with the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office located the vehicle near Tom’s Fried Chicken.  He alerted Pine Prairie P.D. and Detective Estes arrived and identified the female as Abby Elizabeth Clark who stated it was just an argument and that was all.  The male was identified as Elliot Billy Travis.  When Detective Estes approached the van, he found 5 children inside and he questioned them about what happened.  One child advised Travis “hit his mom” and all of the children said Travis “pushed their mom into the van.  Elliot Billy Travis was arrested for Domestic Abuse Battery and Careless Operation and booked into the Evangeline Parish Jail. Travis is scheduled for a Gwen’s Law hearing today (Thursday) at 1:00 p.m.  A Gwen’s Law Hearing is a bail hearing for certain offenses against a family or household member or dating partner.

UPDATE:

Travis remains incarcerated with a $12,500.00 bond set by Judge Gary Ortego in the Gwen's Law Hearing held at 1:00 p.m. today.



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ALEXANDRIA, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced today that an Alexandria man was sentenced to 20 months in prison for attempting to send obscene material to a minor.

William Ware, 40, of Alexandria, La., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Dee D. Drell on one count of attempting to transfer obscene material to a minor. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and must register as a sex offender. According to the April 12, 2016 guilty plea, on December 9, 2014, Ware contacted what he believed was a 13-year-old minor female using social media over the internet. He then sent the purported minor two sexually explicit videos using an internet chat service. The minor was in fact an undercover law enforcement agent, and Ware was later arrested.

Homeland Security Investigations conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamilla A. Bynog is prosecuting the case.

This case is part of Project Safe Childhood, a U.S. Department of Justice nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse.  Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims.  For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security/Homeland Security Investigations/Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) also encourages the public to report suspected child predators and any suspicious activity through its toll-free hotline at (866) 347-2423.  Investigators are available at all hours to answer hotline calls. Tips or other information can also be submitted to ICE online by visiting their website atwww.ice.gov/exec/forms/hsi-tips/tips.asp or through the Operation Predator smartphone applicationwww.ice.gov/predator/smartphone-app. Tips may be submitted anonymously.



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Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting

July 20, 2016

 

     The Evangeline Parish School Board, Wednesday, approved by a unanimous vote, the recommendations of its executive committee to reduce the number of paraprofessionals by 16 for the 2016-17 school year.

    The recommendation was based on a formula to address the overstaffing of special education paraprofessionals.

     The school board  voted to  follow the formula on overstaffing of special education paraprofessionals with a cap of 12. In addition, four stand alone paraprofessionals at James Stephens Montessori School will be eliminated for the 2016-17 school  year.

    Superintendent Toni Hamlin thanked the school board for approving the staffing changes. The staff cuts will save the school board $1.14 million dollars. The school board is facing a $1.2 million deficit in next year’s budget.

     Hamlin said the school district has 104 paraprofessionals working in schools. She reported that there are three criteria  used in the overstaffing policy: qualifications,  performance rating and longevity.

     In other business, the school board received a sales tax report from its business manager, Amy Lafleur. The school district ended the fiscal year collecting $7.1 million dollars which is a $316,289 drop from last year.

    Lafleur reported that despite a slow economy, the sales tax distribution should be near what was distributed to school employees last year. The sales tax excess checks will be going out to employees in November.

     Maintenance Manager Mike Hazelton reported that nearly all of the repair and clean up projects have been completed in time for the start of school next month. Bids will be let soon for new roofs at Chataignier Elementary and Evangeline Central in Vidrine.

    In other action the school board approved re classifying regular education teacher Melanie Bordelon to interim principal at James Stephens Montessori replacing Cheri Fontenot.



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Qualifying Begins in Evangeline Parish

July 20, 2016

 

      A number of candidates qualified today (Wednesday) in the Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court’s Office for the November primary elections.

      Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel reported to KVPI News that L.C. Deshotel, the incumbent qualified to run for re-election for the Police Chief in the Village of Pine Prairie. No one qualified on the first day for Pine Prairie Mayor and no one qualified for Alderman for the village of Pine Prairie where three are to be elected.

     For the special election for Ward 3 Justice of the Peace, Paul Tate Jr. qualified for the office.

     For the special election for Constable in Ward 3, two people qualified: Charles Perdices and Michael “Gorilla” Fruge.



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The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce met Wednesday for its monthly meeting.  Newly elected President, Dr. Tojo Ward, was introduced and presented with his gavel by Director, Camille Fontenot.  Other officers introduced were Luke Deville as First Vice President and Peter Strawitz as Second Vice President (pictured). 

 

The Chamber members heard from guest speaker, Floyd Soileau of Flat Town Music Company.  Soileau has been in the music business for the last 60 years and has been involved with many musicians and recording artists.  Floyd’s Record Shop has a long history in Ville Platte and Soileau stated they would have “tour buses of tourists come and tour the shop.”  His shop contained everything from vinyl records to record players, 45 players where the record dropped, 8-track players and various other musical artifacts.  Soileau said in 2012, the music industry went in another direction and people were “not buying hard copy music.”  He stated he maintained the business as long as he could, but eventually had to close.  He has a smaller shop now located at the U-Store It on Chataignier.  Soileau reports that people can buy music online but a lot of them still want to come into a “store” to purchase music.  Soileau and his wife, Ginver, are celebrating their 57th wedding anniversary.

 

Members also heard from Assistant District Attorney, Betsy Jackson, regarding the Flat Town Culinary Program at the Boys & Girls Club.  It serves as an extension to the Families in Need of Services Program she is behind to keep children from turning to crime and juvenile delinquency.  They will hold a V.P. Boys & Girls Club Banquet and Closing Ceremony on August 2nd, with doors opening at 6:00 p.m. and the first course served by the young “Chefs” that have gone through the Culinary program being served at 6:30 p.m.  The program is taught by Betsy’s husband, Chef Terrill Jackson, and Betsy states “He has a love for food and is able to make it an art form.”  We will have more on the program on our Facebook page at Classic Hits 92.5.



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB

JULY 19, 2016

 

    The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from guest speaker Debbie Poret. Debbie Poret is the wife of Rotarian Dan Poret who was in charge of the program.

    She spoke about her and Dan’s travels to the national parks in the west this summer. In particular, she spoke about two parks situated in the state of Utah: Bryce Canyon and Zion Canyon. Dan and Debbie shared some beautiful photos of both parks to members of the rotary club.

     This year marks the 100th anniversary of the national park system. She discovered that Louisiana has many state parks but no national park.

     Debbie Poret urged club members to go visit and see “the beauty of our country. It makes you proud to be an American.”

     In other business, Rotarian Mable Forman announced that the Evangeline Parish Coalition will once again offer a back to school supply drive for needy students on July 30 at the Ville Platte Civic Center.



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Creole Families Bastille Day

July 16, 2016

 

The 7th annual Creole Families Bastille Day Festival was held today at the Ville Platte Civic Center. The emcee was event President Gene Buller. The Holy Mass was conducted all in French by Fr. Jason Vidrine of St. Anthony Catholic Church.  The guest speaker was Dr. Olivier Chatelain with the French Consul General’s Office in New Orleans. Dr. Chatelain talked about the recent terrorist attack in Nice, France. He also talked about the close relationship between France and its French cousins in Louisiana. At the end of his address, the French National Anthem “La Marseillaise” was played over the public address system.  Dr. Charles Fontenot and Gene Fontenot recognized a special roll call of well- known Creoles whose work, support, support have contributed to the preservation of our French and Creole heritage and culture. A special champagne toast was held at the conclusion of the program.  Local educator and author John Lafleur gave an address on “Our Rich Louisiana Creole and French Cultural Heritage.  Donna Demourelle Johnson with the Evangeline Genealogical and Historical Society spoke on the “first Families of Ville Platte.  KVPI FM Classic Hits 92.5 was there covering the entire event live for those who could not attend.



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In Monday’s Evangeline Parish Police Jury meeting, the discussion turned to failed attempts to collect outstanding sewage bills from many residents and/or businesses in the Parish.  We’re not talking about a few late bills, we are talking about a vast number of extremely delinquent, unpaid bills that total to date $109,570.00 owed to the Parish.  In an effort to collect from those who owe, the Police Jury is now moving in a direction where they may be using the court system to sue those who owe and force them appear in Small Claims Court; and/or the making the decision to pull the sewage permit from the residence which could affect a tenant’s electrical service as well.  As discussions were had, the question was asked why so many get away with not paying.  It’s almost like they are trying to make a point because others don’t pay.  Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, replied saying “He personally knows some that are doing it to make a statement.”  In response, Police Juror, Bryan Vidrine, stated “Well, maybe we need to make a statement.”
 
To put it in perspective, there are water systems in the parish that service 39 residents to which 24 of them do not pay their sewage bill.  Bergeron has told KVPI News that the Redell/Vidrine Water District has been working with the Jury to shut off water to those who don’t pay; however, they have yet to be successful with other water systems to aid them in collecting.  Police Juror, Lamar Johnson said “We need to do something right away!”  That way may be in Court or without sewage permit which could lead to loss of electrical service as well.  We’ll keep you up to date on the collection efforts
 


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The Ville Platte City Council and Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, met tonight for their monthly meeting in Ville Platte City Hall Tuesday night.  The newest priest at Sacred Heart Church, Father Taj Glodd, was introduced and gave the Invocation. 

 

Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, happily reported that expenditures for the month of June for The City of Ville Platte were $73,235.04 less than the previous month.  She also announced that the City will be putting up 10 more security street cameras throughout Ville Platte and her priority is to eventually “blanket the city in security cameras.”

 

Councilman, Mike Perron, addressed the Council and audience members regarding Keep Evangeline Beautiful and asked residents to please help them with efforts to keep the City beautiful.  He asked that you help clean your area and not only your yard but right-of-ways, around telephone poles and street signs.  He said it is the City’s responsibility to cut those areas but if you are tending to your area, maybe residents can go a little further with helping.  When school starts, KEB will be engaging children in activities to make them aware of litter problems. 

 

Mayor Vidrine reported that 15 letters have gone out over the last two weeks to those with abandoned property issues.  That means they recipient has 30 days to clean up the area or tear down buildings.  After that, if no action is taken the City will step in and do it.  Then, the costs will be tacked onto that person’s property tax bill.  The cost will not be cheap so she encourages everyone to clean up their property now.  She stated that three people have torn down buildings since receiving the notices.

 

She announced Bastille Day regarding the Creole culture will be held Saturday at the Civic Center Pavilion from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.  Also, work on the pavilions at Hargrove Park will begin as soon as they receive an elevation study that needed to be done.  Hopefully, at the end of the week.

 

The Mayor ended the meeting by saying “They feel very bad about the situations in St. Paul, Baton Rouge and Dallas.  We want to keep unity in our community.  We support our policemen and women.  They serve our community every day.”



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According to the Ville Platte Police Department, the following individuals have recently been arrested and booked into the Ville Platte City Jail:

 

John Duplechain, 44 of 119 E. Oak, Ville Platte – arrested for Disturbing the Peace by Fighting and out on a $200.00 bond;

 

David Duplechain, 41 of 119 E. Oak, Ville Platte – arrested for Disturbing the Peace by Fighting and out on a $200.00 bond;

 

Sidrick Allison, 26 of 1158 3 Sisters Road – arrested for Open Container, Switched Plate, No Driver’s License, No Registration and No Plate Lamp and currently incarcerated on a $1,000.00 bond;

 

Michael Lanclow, 50 of 5982 Pine Point Road – arrested for Possession of Schedule I (Marijuana) and currently incarcerated on a $2,500.00 bond;

 

Trinowski Thomas, arrested for Disturbing the Peace by Fighting and Possession of Schedule I – currently incarcerated; and

 

Mike Berry, 33 of 126 Washington – arrested for Discharging a Firearm inside the city limits and currently out on a $2,500.00 bond.



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VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING

JULY 12, 2016

 

      Lisa Deen, owner of Tincy’s Corner was the special guest speaker at the weekly Ville Platte Rotary Club meeting today (Tuesday) at noon.

      The new business is located in the former Best Flower Shop location Main street with her grand opening last weekend. The business specializes in in vinyl cutting as well as monogramming and embroidery services. She said she began her business six years ago in her bedroom and has grown since then. She named her business after her mom’s nickname.

     She moved to Ville Platte in 2002 and worked as an educator at Sacred Heart for nine years. She currently is employed with Cleco in Eunice.

    Also meeting with rotary club members was Caroline Fayard, candidate for the U. S. Senate in November to fill David Vitter’s seat.

    Rotarian John Mayeaux was presented a plaque for being honored as a “Paul Harris Fellow” for his donation to Rotary International. The presentation was made by Rotarian Leonard Glenn Fontenot.



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The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the Courthouse.  There was much discussion about Litter Abatement about issuing fines to those who litter as well as those with nuisance properties in need of being cleaned up.  The process of having Constables issue citations and Justices of the Peace enforcing citations was discussed.  Parish Attorney, Marcus Fontenot, advised that due to the State laws already on the books, the Constables and J.O.P.’s have the ability to enforce the litter laws and can do so without approval from the Police Jury.  Juror, Lamar Johnson, stated “the parish is spending approximately $40,000.00 a year to clean up trash and litter.  Something has to be done.”  He said “dumping a couch on the side of the road should call for fines and jail time.” Attorney Fontenot agreed to put tighter language together to help enforce citations and fines for nuisance properties and a public hearing will be set at next month’s meeting after that language is approved.

 

Public Works Director, Chester Granger, addressed the Jury and stated he needed the Jury to direct him on how to proceed.  There are three bridges in the parish that are not up to State specifications and have to be fixed.  Due to a shortage of man power, if they want him to fix the bridges, the Chip Seal project would have to be pushed back as he cannot perform both duties at once.  Juror, Kevin Veillon, said he definitely agreed with pushing the Chip Seal project back because those bridges need to be fixed.  Two of the three bridges are in his district and residents are having to drive way out of their way because they cannot pass on the bridge due to being closed.  Juror, Rocky Rider, pointed out that “If the bridge is out, you can’t go, but also should emergency services be needed in that area it would be very bad if they had to go 4 or 5 miles out of their way to reach their destination.”  The Jury voted to push back the Chip Seal and move forward with the bridge repairs.  Granger stated to Veillon that repair work on the Green Valley Bridge will begin in approximately 2 weeks.

 

Bidding on the Old Library building will be held on July 25th at 2:00 p.m. at the Police Jury Office.  Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, stated he has shown the property to four or five interested parties.

Bergeron announced that The Acadian Resource and Conservation group will hold a children’s workshop at Chicot Park in September entitled All About Squirrels.  Juror, Bryan Vidrine, currently sits on that Board.

 

The Sales Tax Collection for the month of May was $227,068.83.



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We had Gene Buller and John Lafleur today in the KVPI studios to record an interview about this Saturday's Creole Families Bastille Day Heritage Festival. The event is planned for 9:30am to 2:30pm at the Ville Platte Civic Center. All free. Music, food, A Catholic Mass conducted all in French with Fr. Jason Vidrine and a live KVPI remote broadcast. The interview will air Thursday at 12:30pm. Come join us.



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MONROE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that an Arkansas man was sentenced Tuesday to 60 months in prison for conspiring with several women to conduct a counterfeit check cashing scheme. Dion Paul Barnes, 38, of Little Rock, Ark., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Robert G. James on one count of conspiracy to make, utter or possess counterfeit securities. He was also sentenced to three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $24,153.46 restitution. According to the February 23, 2016 guilty plea, from January 2015 to June 2015, Barnes conspired with multiple individuals including April M. Augustine, 35, of Monroe, and Barbara J. Island, 32, of Bastrop, La., to make and cash counterfeit checks. A Louisiana state trooper conducted a traffic stop near Sterlington, La., on June 10, 2016 on a Chevrolet Camaro the defendants were traveling in. A search was conducted, and 48 counterfeit checks, a large stack of blank check stock paper, two laptop computers, three computer tablets, six cell phones and one print-scan-copy machine were found. Troopers also found a DVD containing template software that could be used to produce fake identification cards. The car they were riding in was also reported stolen. Upon further investigation, Dion Barnes was found to be the leader of a scheme to cash counterfeit checks in Arkansas, Mississippi, Missouri and Louisiana. Barnes is solely responsible for the creation of $39,712.22 worth of counterfeit checks. Barnes, Augustine and Island are responsible for cashing a total of $2,274.73 worth of counterfeit checks. Island was sentenced on April 18, 2016, to 10 months in prison and three years of supervised release, and Augustine was sentenced on June 20, 2016, to five years of probation for the conspiracy count. They were also ordered to pay $2,274.73 in restitution along with Barnes. The U.S. Secret Service and the Louisiana State Police conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Cytheria D. Jernigan prosecuted the case.



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