VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
MARCH 10, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from representatives of the Smoked Meat Festival. Renee Brown and Eva Vidrine, who represent part of the new group of organizers who will be sponsoring the Smoked Meat Festival to be held June 26 and 27.
It was reported that the sponsoring group from last year chose not to continue holding the festival so a new group was formed to keep the tradition of the festival continue. The six member board contains some members from the Viet Nam Veterans organization.
This will be the 23rd year the festival will showcase smoked meats. Most of the same traditions will remain including the smoked meat cook off, honoring veterans and giving back to the community. This year there will be a children’s area with a petting zoo along with the National Guard displaying a maze. It was also announced that the musical acts include Jaryd Lane, Geno Delafosse, Keith Frank and Ashton Dupre. The group is looking for corporate and business sponsorships and volunteers.
In other business, it was announced that the Rotary District Conference is planned for April 16-18 in Crowley and the Ville Platte club will be participating.
The club is planning to meet with the mayor and city officials to decide where to locate the new Rotary club signs at street intersections.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
MARCH 17, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from Boisy Pitre, a computer specialist and software developer who resides in the Prairie Rhonde area. Pitre gave an interesting presentation on the history of computer technology and mathematics and how they are inter -related. The first transistor was invented in 1947 and iBM invented the first personal computer in 1981. He felt the future of computer technology will be in wearables such as watches to make it more personal to the user. The camera will show the emotional engagement of the user to be able to tell if you happy or sad. The new devices will also be able to improve your fitness and health such as measure your blood pressure, sugar levels and how your meal impacts your body chemistry. Boisy Pire was the special guest of Library Director Mary Foster Galosso.
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce held its monthly meeting today at Nick’s on Main.
Guest Speaker was Donald Bergeron, Secretary/Treasurer of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury. He explained how far reaching the responsibilities of the Police Jury are. From Libraries to Prisons and ditches and roads and everything in between. He explained that the Police Jury is currently working with Congress to keep Tax Exemptions for Municipal Bonds. If they did not have the exemptions, it would not be attractive to contractors interested in a project. Mr. Bergeron explained part of the Road Work Project that Parish has been working on. It is divided into the Northern Portion and the Southern Portion. So far, in the Northern portion, they have laid 21 miles out of the 83 total miles and have spent 1.7 million dollars out of the total cost of 9.6 million dollars. In the Southern Portion, they have laid 12 of the 69 miles and spent 1.47 million dollars out of the total 9.3 million. They will be moving into Phase II and then Phase III.
Angie Rozas with Cleco announced that this year’s Annual Banquet is going to be held on April 29th. The Social will be from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. and the banquet starts at 7:00 p.m. Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, announced this year’s theme will be “Casino Theme” and there will be a silent auction, cash bar and they are working on the entertainment. Tickets will be $40.00 and the Chamber will be sending out letters letting you know when they are available. They will announce the following awards:
Man of the Year
Woman of the Year
Business of the Year
Business Person of the Year’
The deadline for you to nominate someone is April 3rd. Please include a Bio of the person when you nominate them.
March 18, 2015
The Evangeline Parish School Board had its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center at Ville Platte High School. The meeting room was packed with excited parents and students as the “Students of the Year” Awards were given out. Linda Lafleur presented the awards to the following nominees and winners:
Brooklyn Fontenot – Bazile High School
Ainsley Dutton – Bayou Chicot Elementary
Hunter Brown – Chataignier Elementary
Isaiah Noel – Mamou High School
Coreyan Johnson – Vidrine Elementary
Josie Guillory – Ville Platte High School
Jaylen Thomas – Bazile High School
Jessica Cole – Bayou Chicot Elementary
Jada Guillory – Chataignier Elementary
Kiersten Goodley – Mamou High School
Chloe Tate – Vidrine Elementary
Jarden Bias – Ville Platte High School
Savanna Bergeaux (Not Pictured) – Bazile High School
Kaitlyn Chatelain – Mamou High School
Makayla Lenzy Hebert – Pine Prairie High School
Reygan Ann Jagneaux – Ville Platte High School
THE STUDENTS OF THE YEAR ARE:
5TH GRADE: Ainsley Dutton – Bayou Chicot Elementary
8th GRADE: Kiersten Goodley – Mamou High School
12th GRADE: Savanna Bergeaux – Bazile High School
Superintendent, Toni Hamlin reported that “Testing” is going “Very Well so far”. There have been reports in the media about children being able to “opt out” of the testing; however, Evangeline Parish has a very low percentage of that happening compared to other school districts. Evangeline had 1 at Pine Prairie High School, 1 at Chataignier and 19 at Bayou Chicot Elementary. Ms. Hamlin said administrators have explained to parents that this is a tool they can use to see how their children are learning. She also noted that the Schools and the District get a “0” for any student that opts out. She also pointed out that even though opting out will never harm a child, it is not a guaranty that they will automatically promote to the next level. There is still an academic standard in the Pupil Progression Plan that students must meet. Student were asked if they think the ELA part of the test was “harder than they thought it would be or easier”. She reports that students are saying it is “Easier than they thought it would be.”
The Board voted to approve a three year contract with First Student to handle transportation services. Discussions were had regarding overloading on buses and children standing up. Board Member, Wanda Skinner, questioned First Student and voiced concerns regarding calls she has received from parents regarding overcrowding on a couple of buses. Ted Soileau and First Turn responded and explained that they have been working on re-rerouting some of the routes to avoid this from happening.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the courthouse. There was much discussion on some lingering issues in the parish.
Tempers were flared as the discussion of pay raises for the Justices of the Peace and the Constables of the parish were discussed. Police Juror, Kenny Burgess, made a motion that they give a $150.00 a month pay raise to the JP’s and Constables. After debating back and forth, the Jury voted against granting the pay raises. President, Ryan Ardoin, pointed out that “Donald Bergeron has already said we are over budget. We have given out loans and that money is tied up.” Juror, Kenny Burgess, stated “Unbelievable. We can give raises to the City Marshall/Constable in Ward 1, but we can’t give it to the rest of the Parish.” Juror, Lamar Johnson, was vocal as he left the police jury room, upset at the decision. Juror, Bryan Vidrine, was quoted saying “We have to stay in budget before we give out raises…this isn’t Washington D.C.”
As we have reported to you in the past, abandoned properties have been and were in deep discussion with the Police Jury this evening. They received bids from three companies to demolish structures that lie on multiple properties. If the Jury went ahead with the demolition of the structures through the companies that bid, the cost would then turn around and be placed as a lien against the property owner. Then, if not paid, the property could go up for sale and the police jury would recover the money through that avenue. The problem arose that some of these properties would not bring in near the money that it would cost to have the dwellings demolished, leaving the Police Jury in the red. They discussed the possibility of demolishing them through the Public Works department, and Director, Chester Granger, was asked to visit the locations and put together a cost estimate of what it would cost the Parish to complete the work themselves. The bids from the three companies ranged greatly but all were in excess of $50,000.00. The Jury voted to put off action in the ongoing struggle until they receive the report from Mr. Granger.
The issue of Animal Control was raised as discussions about building a new animal shelter continue to be had. President, Ryan Ardoin, suggested we “bring it to the people for a vote”, either a millage tax or a sales tax. Kenny Burgess stated he was against a millage because then only homeowners would be paying the tax. The Jury has been speaking with other parishes and organizations about the cost of building and maintaining a facility in the Parish. Surrounding areas pay a wide range from $50,000.00 a year to $198,000.00 a year to maintain a facility. They will have two guest speakers at the next committee meeting to provide more information to the Jury. Jill Stevenson and Tim Benoit from Acadia Parish will present the information to the Jury.
Dwight Landreneau, Head of State Parks, spoke to the Jury and requested they enter into a Cooperative Agreement with Chicot State Park. There has been a tremendous cut in funding and his office has had to let 116 people go from their employment. He says they simply do not have the money to operate as they did in the past. The Police Jury agreed to enter into the Agreement, which would aid the park by allowing employees, on down time, or as needed, to assist with duties and work at what Evangeline Parish calls “The Park”. Mr. Landreneau pointed out that the park generates $3.5 million dollars for Evangeline Parish and it is vital that we keep it up and running. He also said that residents who would like to volunteer at Chicot State Park or the Arboretum can call the main office speak with the office manager. Also, if you have a business or if you would like to personally “Adopt” part of the park, please call as well. There are many options you can help with.
The Police Jury voted to designate March American Red Cross Month in celebration of the Heroes in Evangeline Parish who help those in need during the time of emergencies. They come to the rescue through blood donation, helping soldiers communicate with love ones who are hurt, and prevent and eliminate human suffering during disasters. Erica Williams with The American Red Cross spoke to the Jury and thanked them for the proclamation. Locally, they have helped with 7 fires, 8 families in need, 345 parish residents have received CPR certifications, and 23 parish residents are American Red Cross Volunteers. She asked for all of you to please register and volunteer with the American Red Cross.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, brought up an issue he is currently dealing with. While Contractor, Coastal Road and Bridges has been using Readon School Road, there has been damage done to the road. They have been in disagreement about repairing the road and he reports that he and Mike Smith with Coastal have not been able to come to an agreement regarding the repairs that need to be done to the road. He said “The repairs are unsatisfactory to our standards and he has until March 16th to have the repairs done. We will keep you up to date on the matter.
There will be a public hearing on April 13th at 5:45 regarding abandoning a portion of Gallou Lake Road due to the purchase of the surrounding land by Dominick Brown from JT Miller.
Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergerson, reported that the 2% Sales Tax Collection for the month of January was $247,717.13.
The Ville Platte City Council
March 3, 2015
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight at Ville Platte City Hall. During Council Comments, Councilman Mike Perron, brought up the problems that the City is having with street cleaning. He stated that the driver of the street sweeper is having problems with residents putting their trash boxes too close, if not on, the road. This becomes a problem because the sweeper cannot pass without the driver getting out and moving the boxes. Residents should know their trash boxes should be at least 1 – 2 feet away from the curb. It was also noted that much of the trash that residents are disposing off are not the City’s responsibility to pick up. It is the responsibility of the Solid Waste Commission. Items such as sofas, stoves, air conditioners, refrigerators and other items should be put out in accordance with the specifications of the Solid Waste Commission, then residents are to call 363-7254 and ask that those items be picked up. Mayor Vidrine stated “We are trying to clean up the City. If you put your trash out too early and animals get into your trash and scatter it, you can be ticketed if it is not picked up. This is your responsibility.” There was also discussion of the problem with residents cutting limbs and raking leaves and other lawn clippings into ditches and gutters. This becomes a problem with drainage and creates a headache to clean up.
Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, was pleased to report that expenditures for the City of Ville Platte for the month of February were $123,670.30. That was down $95,953.47 from the month of January. She, again, thanked the city employees, supervisors, in-house personnel for all of their efficient work, as well as business owners for following the purchase order process.
A concerned citizen spoke to the council regarding his unpleasant experience with SuddenLink in our area. He has been unhappy with the connectivity service as well as the lack of answers he has received from SuddenLink regarding any possible upgrade in equipment. The Mayor shared her additional concern with their service and stated she has spoken to two other companies to see what availability Ville Platte would have for another service to be offered. She stated she was unhappy with the price of the service versus the amount of channels. Another member of the audience in the council room stated he wanted to know why his service has not gotten better, yet he has received a $6.00 hike on his bill.
The City Council unanimously agreed to enter into a Cooperative Agreement with Head of State Parks, Dwight Landreneau, and Chicot State Park due to the cuts in funding that are happening. The City will be aiding the park through the Experience Work program by providing workers, volunteers, machinery, etc., when needed.
A Cooperative Agreement was also agreed to for Renee Brown and her group taking over The Smoked Meat Festival. Mayor Vidrine thanked Renee and Jessie Muse, along with the rest of the volunteers, for taking over the event and not letting it go.
Mayor Vidrine thanked Councilman Riggs for his generous donation of a “Ping Pong Table” to the Boys & Girls Club.
Also in attendance were Glen Fontenot and Charlie Manuel from the Ville Platte Lyons Club. They also made a donation to the Boys & Girls Club.
Mayor Vidrine also made note of the article regarding KVPI, French Programming and Evangeline Parish in the New York Times. She showed her framed copy and said it would be hung inside City Hall.
During the Mayor’s Comments, she took the time to state: “Publicly and personally thank the Council for all they have done for the City. The Mayor’s name comes up a lot but the Council has so much to do with everything. I thank them for their support and enthusiasm for getting things done. A lot of cities have councils and mayors that do not get along and things do not get done. But, the Council and I work together as 1 body to do the best for the City.”
She also thanked City Engineer, Ronnie Landreneau, for doing so much for Ville Platte on a daily basis. She stated: “I don’t many people know the time, paperwork, research and all Ronnie does for Ville Platte. I thank him from the bottom of my heart and appreciate all you and your staff do to get things right for our city.”
She lastly thanked our City Attorney, Eric Lafleur for all he does for our city and our area. She stated: “We are very lucky to have a city attorney who is also a State Senator and we thank him for being there for us.”
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting this evening in the Courthouse. President, Ryan Ardoin, began the meeting by announcing he will be enforcing a 2 minute time limit for speaking on subjects on the agenda.
The subject of installing a fire hydrant in the Mill Creek Subdivision, off Chicot Road, came into discussion. Jacob Fusilier and others from the subdivision were in attendance at the meeting. Mr. Fusilier stated during public comments that the subdivision is located ”outside” the city limits and is located one mile North and one mile South of the nearest fire hydrant. He stated that there are 36 houses occupied by couples, children and elderly in the neighborhood and as the situation stands, they would have a delay in receiving fire services if something were to happen. He explained that the neighborhood generates more taxes per household than anywhere else, and asked for help from the police jury to install a hydrant. After much discussion, a motion was passed to allow the subdivision developer to pay half of the cost of the hydrant and to loan Police Juror, Bryan Vidrine, the other half of the cost through the General Fund, with the understanding that the loan/cost will be paid back with an insurance rebate check that will be forthcoming. Mr. Fusilier thanked Mr. Vidrine for all of his help in the matter.
Anna Frank, Director of Section 8, spoke to the Jury and explained that her office is $25,000 in the negative from a build-up of “miscommunications” with Accountant, Amy Buchanan. She explained that the federal government is not paying the cost required to run her office and pointed out that she started in her position seven years ago and has never been in the red before. She requested that the Police Jury loan Section 8 the money to cover the negative balance with the agreement that she will repay the loan. The Jury agreed to the loan, as well as taking on her salary permanently.
The Jury voted and agreed to hire Phil Lemoine as “Risk Manager” for the Parish. He will oversee and evaluate insurance policies as they come up for renewal and advise the Jury as to policy terms and applications. He will be paid $500.00 a month and will report to Donald Bergeron.
Discussion began on repairs at the Parish Jail. Donald Bergeron reported that water has been restored to all cells, except #5. Reports have been made to all broken light fixtures and are now being “vandalized proofed”. They were broken and damaged by prisoners. It was announced that anyone caught destroying items in the Jail can be charged with Criminal Damage to Property. The Jury voted in favor of replacing the broken stove/ovens with a new one costing $4,800.00 as well as a garbage disposal in the amount of $3,600.00.
Police Juror, Lamar Johnson, requested an $80,000.00 loan from the General Fund to overlay TC/Glenmora Hwy and part of Earl DeVille Road. The Jury voted in favor of the loan to be repaid $40,000.00 in January of 2016 and $40,000.00 in January of 2017.
Police Juror, Kenny Burgess asked the Jury to pass a resolution regarding support of Veteran’s contributions. They Jury unanimously agreed to recognize all military holidays in the parish. Mr. Burgess pointed out that “Not many people realize this but we have a Pearl Harbor Veteran living in our Parish. Mr. Celestine lives in a nursing home in Mamou.” He said we also have many other veteran’s from WWII, The Korean War and other battles fought.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, said he was called to the “Mamou Yard” Friday evening at 9:00 p.m. where someone had broken in. The same weekend, in Region A, someone stole 67 gallons of diesel. He is urging the Policy Jury to install surveillance cameras at the Yards. Discussion will continue on this matter.
And finally, Donald Bergeron reported that the 2% Sales Tax Collections for December were $338,392.71. That is a 19% increase from last year.
ROTARY CLUB MEETING
FEBRUARY 10, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club heard from LSU Eunice Chancellor Dr. Bill Nunez make a special audio visual presentation. Dr. Willie Buller representing the Ville Platte club made a financial presentation to Dr. Nunez for the 22nd year. This scholarship fund represents a $90,000 endowment from Rotary in Ville Platte. Dr. Nunez, who is retiring in June after serving 19 years, thanked the local club for their annual funding. He also recognized Dr. John Couvillion, former Chancellor. LSU Eunice has been serving the tri parish area for the past 48 years. Due to less funding from the state, the burden of higher tuitions has been falling on the student and their family. Dr. Nunez emphasized that we need to work harder to educate our children and have them stay here instead of moving out of state.
Dr. Nunez gave some statistics for the average student attending LSU E: average age is 22, 71 percent of the students is female, 67 percent is Caucasian, the average ACT score is 19.33; Evangeline Parish students represent 14 percent of the total student population with students from St. Landry and Acadia having a higher percentage.
In other business, Assistant District Governor Yvonne Normand announced that she is working to re establish a club in Mamou.
FEBRUARY 24, 2015
The Vile Platte Rotary Club today heard from Connie Lamke with the Relay for Life. She announced that this year’s relay event for the benefit of the American Cancer Society is scheduled for Saturday April 18 from 12 noon to 12 midnight at the Ville Platte High Football Field. This year’s theme is “Keep Calm and Relay On”. There will be a BBQ cook off sponsored by Teet’s Food Store. T Boy’s of Mamou will sponsor a boudin eating contest. There will be fun jumps, fire truck rides, food, a silent auction, contests, raffles, music and fun.
Also, the group is sponsoring a 5K Fun Walk/Run on March 21 for Relay for Life.
Some 255 cancer patients in Evangeline Parish have been assisted directly by the American Cancer Society in the last two years.
Lamke also announced that the Ville Platte Police Department is sponsoring a fund raiser for Faith House March 18 to pick up supplies for women and children who have to leave their homes quickly.
It was announced during the meeting that Rotary International this week has turned 110 years old.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
MARCH 24, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte today (Tuesday) heard from representatives of Pine Prairie Energy Center, a gas storage facility located in Easton. Among those attending speaking were Don Fontenot, Ed Benoit and Kyle Fontenot.
Benoit offered a audio visual presentation on Pine Prairie Energy that is been in operation since 2006. The facility has five caverns, 4000 feet deep. The caverns can hold up to 46 billion cubic feet of gas enough to supply the gas needs of the entire state of Louisiana for one day. The facility is located over a huge salt dome which is nearly 2 miles wide. The company has 84 miles of 24 inch pipeline that goes to Eunice and elsewhere. The pipeline connects to such major companies pipelines as Tennessee Gas, Transco, Texas Eastern, Columbia Gas and Texas Gas.
Pine Prairie Energy employs 19 people and has provided over 15 million dollars in taxes sinc ei began operations. The three were guests of Rotarian Eric Gil.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said she is preparing a special gift basket to present to the Mayor of Paris, France when she visits our area on Monday.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
MARCH 31, 2015
The Vile Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from two semi finalists for State Teacher of the Year and State Principal of the Year. Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin introduced her three guests which included Vidrine Elementary School Principal Sherrell Tezeno . Tezeno introduced her teacher, Brandi Marcantel, who is in the running for State Teacher of the Year.
Brandi Marcantel is a fourth grade teacher at Vidrine Elementary for the past three years and has been in the profession for nineyears. She is married and she and her husband are the parents of two children. She is totally dedicated to making sure her students achieve and she has 100 percent of her students passed their Leap test exams.
Also Cherie Fontenot, principal at James Stephens Montessori School is in the running for State Principal of the Year. Cherie has been an educator for 20 years and for the past four years as principal.
VILLE PLATTE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE BANQUET NOMINEES
APRIL 17, 2015
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce will hold their annual banquet on Wednesday April 29 at the Ville Platte Civic Center. The highlight of the event is the announcement of the civic award winners.
Here are the nominations:
Nominees for Ville Platte Man of the Year: Randy Deshotels Clerk of Court and Nick LeBas with Evangeline Drug Store;
Nominees for Ville Platte Woman of the Year: Jennifer Meylian with KVPI; Linda Lebsack with Friends of the Library and Evangeline Parish Tourism Commission; Mary Foster Galasso with the Evangeline Parish Library;
Business of the Year- Budget Rental ; Cabot Corporation, Citizens Bank, Cottage Couture, Evangeline Parish Communications-911; Laville Funeral Home; Leroy’s Cajun Meats; Mayeaux Wealth Partners, Rick’s Custom Signs, The Hatchery and Walk and Sons -Slap Ya Mama.
Business Person of the Year- Anita Fontenot-owner of the Hatchery and Southwest Loan Companies; Annette Johnson of Kolder, Champagne, Slaven and Co; Clem Lafleur-Owner of Lafleur Industries; Darin Bordelon-owner of Laville Funeral Home; Donald Fontenot- Storage Facility Manager of Pine Prairie Energy; Leroy Fontenot-Owner of Leroy’s Cajun Meats; Liz Hill-Director of Evangeline Parish Communications 9-1-1; Maggie Eades-Owner of Cottage Couture; Sheila Saunders of Cottage Couture; Larry Lachney-Owner of Papa Gators Cajun Foods, Money Mart, Gators Drive Through and Lachney Properties.
Congratulations to all the nominees.
FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT
APRIL 19, 2015
KVPI is sponsoring a Fan Appreciation Night for its listeners by giving away dozens of prizes all for the benefit of Evangeline Community Autism Network . The event is planned for this Saturday night from 6;00-12 midnight at Nick’s on Main. Tickets $20 per person. The first fifty people also receive a free T Shirt.
Enjoy music Alyse Young, Dayne West, Mitch Attales and Spencer Racca. Bring your dancing shoes and party the night away. The KVPI crew will be there so come meet us. There will be a cash bar, and food will be available from Nick’s menu.
Our fans will have a chance to win great door prizes including: four tickets to Blue Bayou Dixie Landing, a one night stay and a meal for two at Paragon Casino Resort, Movie Tickets, McDonalds Food vouchers, Disney on Ice Prize Packs, KVPI T Shirts, Koozies, Cups and Bumper Stickers.
We will also have a raffle to win a Crawfish Boiling kit, a sack of crawfish and a $100 Wal-Mart gift Card. $1 per chance. The winner will be announced that night.
KVPI is planning a Radio-Thon Friday from 9-12 noon on both KVPI AM and FM where those who wish to make a donation for Evangeline Community Autism Network may do so over the phone. Parents will go to your home or business to pick up your tax deductable donation.
Our special thanks to our sponsors: Woodman of the World, Sheriff Eddie Soileau, Paragon Casino Resort, Fontenot’s Hatchery, KVPIU, Nick’s On Main, The Y Not Stop Shell, Citizens Bank, Fontenot Physical Therapy, Blakes Pharmacy, Cabot Corporation, City of Ville Platte, Evangeline Bank and Trust Company, T&J Ford, and Cajun Catfish and Kitchen.
U.S. JUSTICE DEPARTMENT LAUNCHING INVESTIGATION OF VILLE PLATTE POLICE DEPARTMENT
APRIL 21, 2015
The Ville Platte City Police Department is the target of an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department, according to Mayor Jennifer Vidrine. The mayor told KVPI News that she received news this (Tuesday) morning in a letter. She has reviewed the letter with Police Chief Neal Lartigue. Mayor Jennifer and Chief Lartigue announced that they will fully cooperate with the investigation. “We will be fully transparent and comply with any and all recommendations that come out of this investigation.” The mayor could not release any additional information on the specifics of the investigation. As soon as we receive any further word, we will inform our listeners.
The Ville Platte City Council
April 14, 2015
The Ville Platte City Council held its monthly meeting tonight at Ville Platte City Hall. Mayor, Jennifer Vidrine, and all of the City Councilmen were in attendance.
Real Estate Developer, J.C. Ceasar, approached the City Council with his plans to renovate, rejuvenate and turn the property he purchased at the corner of Dr. Carver and MLK Drive into a restaurant similar to that of Buffalo Wild Wings. He will be filing an application for a liquor permit to serve alcohol similar to that of the big chain restaurant. There was some hot discussion back and forth about the issuance of a liquor permit in that area. Mr. Ceasar reported that he has met with many residents in the area and received a lot of approval to go ahead with the project. Mayor Vidrine expressed that she has received calls from some area residents who, because of the past in the area, and where they live, they were against a liquor permit being issued. Councilman Bryant Riggs spoke in support of giving Mr. Caesar a chance with the project because he knows Mr. Ceasar’s reputation, his service in the military, his help with other projects in Ville Platte, and commented that we “should not focus on the past, but the future.” Area resident, Joycee Thomas, spoke out against the project as she lives directly across the street and says that since the clubs in that area have closed she “now pass peace and can sleep at night.” Wanda Skinner came to the podium and said she was very much “for the project” and that she is “tired of always having to travel to the other side of town to get something to eat. There will be a public hearing for comments at 4:30 p.m. before the next meeting on May 12th.
The Police Jury unanimously agreed to grant a permit to Stout & Co. to construct and erect a 195 foot tower on the south end of town off of Hickory that will be used by multiple wireless companies to better cell phone coverage, and internet speed. Stout reported that the project should be completed in the next 120 days.
Tiffany Barth spoke to the Council and Mayor regarding the introduction of an ordinance regarding a Drinking Water Protection Program. She presented a draft ordinance patterned after the EPA standards for protection of our public water supply from possible contaminations. One of the items in the draft ordinance, which can be altered by the Council if adopted, is to have restrictions within 1,000 feet of any water well serving an active public water system. When asked the question “What kind of opposition do you receive from these ordinances in other places?” she replied “Normally from the farming community”. The Council’s legal council will now be reviewing the draft ordinance and there will be a public hearing for comments at 4:45 p.m. at the next meeting on May 12th..
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine reported that the City has just submitted a $5 Million dollar grant application to build 30 new, affordable, brick homes in the Woods Section of Town. She stated: “We want people to rebuild on that side of town and be proud to live and stay there.”
The Mayor announced and congratulated Kennedy Wilson, a senior at Ville Platte High School, who has received the LA Housing Aid Scholarship in the amount of $1,800.00. The scholarship that was based on academic performance, extra- curricular activities, community service and a submitted essay.
There will be a 4-way stop sign installed at the corner of Coreil & Jefferson Street.
The Mayor has been working with the Senior V.P. of Suddenlink out of Dallas and says they are going to be doing a $150,000.00 upgrade to their equipment in our area around July.
She also announced that they are currently waiting for the permits to place the first three flag poles at the entrance of Ville Platte near Tobacco Plus. The first three will be the American Flag, the State of Louisiana flag and a flag that is being developed for the City of Ville Platte. Other flags will be added later and plans are being made to put in a water feature at the same site.
They met with the Mayor of Paris France and gave her a replica of the news French/English signs being erected in the City and the Mayor returned to France to place it in her office.
The Mayor thanks Thomas Scully for all of his hard work and dedication at the new ball complex in Ville Platte. Scully reported that the “Tournament Action” is going well and that at the last tournament the gate and concession collected approximately $10,000.00.
Lastly, the Council unanimously voted to get the ball rolling on a new Planning and Zoning Commission for our area.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
APRIL 14, 2015
The Rotary Club of Ville Platte heard from the Sacred Heart Interact Club. Interact is a rotary sponsored organization for high school students. Among those who spoke were Claire Bordelon, President of the local group. She gave a report on some of the activities her organization performed during the past year: making regular visits to Heritage Manor Nursing Home to play bingo with the residents; cleaning the Sacred Heart School Prayer Garden. She also announced that the recent polio project in conjunction with the local rotary club raised over $300 that will be donated to Rotary International to help in their efforts to eradicate polio worldwide.
Tori Ann Veillon, a senior at Sacred Heart was named Interact Student for the entire rotary district. She gave an essay on what Interact means to her and some of the projects the group was involved in. The group assisted in Food for Families Food Drive last December.
Kim LeJeune, Sacred Heart Development Director informed Rotarians of the annual Sacred Heart benefit coming up on May 23 from 6:30-11:00pm. The school will have a 9 piece band performing and providing a buffet meal. There will also be a live and a silent auction. Tickets will be $80 per person.
The three speakers were the guests of Rotarian Larry Lachney.
Also, KVPI Program Director Jennifer Meylian addressed the Rotary Club about the KVPI Benefit event planned for Saturday April 25 for the benefit of Evangeline Community Autism Network. The benefit dance will take place from 6:00-12 midnight at Nicks on Main and will feature four musical acts. Tickets are $20 per person and available now at KVPI. She shared her personal story of raising her daughter, Sarah, that was diagnosed with autism at age 4. The group is a support group that provides help, support and education to families in Evangeline Parish with an autistic child.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB
APRIL 8, 2015
The Ville Platte Rotary Club Tuesday heard from Missy Grimmett, a workforce developer with the Louisiana Workforce Commission. She told Rotarians that the Workforce Investment and Opportunity Act was signed into law on July 1 of last year. She said her primary focus is to work with employers in finding the skilled workers they need. She said the most jobs in demand are in these industries: construction, health care, manufacturing and oil and gas. She also reported that three companies will be locating in Acadiana and hiring 1000 people in the IT industry.
She announced that Acadiana’s share of a $6.1 million dollar grant will be used in the next three years to help employers train new workers. Grant funds are available up to $5000 to train prospective new workers if they meet eligibility requirements.
She was the special guest of Rotarian Bob Manuel.
It was announced during the meeting that the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet is planned for April 29 at the Ville Platte Civic Center. The banquet will honor Ville Platte’s Man and Woman of the Year, Business of the Year and Business Person of the Year.
Also, the rotary club learned that the VFW Post 3803 will have a sandwich sale on May 13 to raise funds to plan a 75th anniversary celebration on June 13.
FESTIVAL WRAP UP
APRIL 12, 2015
Despite a rainy start Friday, both parish festivals ended with nice weather and plenty of activities for local and area residents.
The 31st Annual Boggy Bayou Festival began Thursday at the festival grounds and ended Saturday night. All of the funds raised go to the Prairie Manor Nursing Home. Events were hampered Friday with all the rain. However things greatly improved Saturday. Crowds came out and enjoyed the carnival rides, music by Ashton Dupre, Mitch Attales and Jaryd Lane. KVPI FM was there doing a live remote broadcast with Jenn Meylian Saturday from 10-12 noon. Organizer Bernice Ardoin wants to thank the many volunteers and everyone who came out for making it another great year for the festival.
The first ever “Le Grand Hoorah” festival, a festival of Louisiana culture took place Friday night and all day Saturday. Again, rain fell for the Friday night event however there were several hundred festival goers assembled under the big dance tent to enjoy Steve Riley and Doug Kershaw and had a great time. On Saturday with the sun shining, the crowds came out and everyone enjoyed the musical acts, great food and activities for the kids. The music included Horace Trahan, Kyle Huval and Déjà Vu. Organizer Gilbert Winky Aucoin wants to thank all the many volunteers, sponsors, groups and the public for their support in making it a successful festival and looks forward to next year. KVPI FM was there covering the event live with a remote Saturday morning from 10-12 noon.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury
April 13, 2015
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held its monthly meeting tonight in the Evangeline Parish Courthouse. Keith Fontenot, Tina Guillory and Todd Fontenot with the LSU AG Center addressed the Jury and told of various services the AG Center provides for our area and neighboring parishes, including educational programs regarding production practices and Master programs such as Farmer and Logger programs. Ms. Guillory stated the focus for the 4-H Nutrition and Health Programs has been etiquette and manners, including cell phone etiquette, cyber safety, making a commitment and following through, cheating versus honesty and dressing appropriately for occasions. Todd Fontenot spoke regarding the Live Stock Program, Cattlemen’s Show and the success they are having with the shooting program. They thanked the Jury for use of the buildings used for their programs and for helping with other assistance.
The Police Jury unanimously voted to adopt the 2015 Amendments to the Budget, which will include $19,000.00 requested by Judge Chuck West to make improvements to both district courtrooms, including wiring for the sound system, etc.
Philip Lemoine addressed the Jury regarding various insurance changes, issues with certain coverages, savings possibilities and persons covered. He reported that The Affordable Care Act continues to be a thorn and he continues to receive “New Rules” regarding the program.
Kenneth Johnson with Crooked Creek reported to the Jury that there have been problems with campers keeping loud music playing late into the night. The Jury approved changing the rule to having a cut-off time of 10:00 p.m. sharp. They reiterated that the rule will be enforced. There will also be changes coming as to “Golf Cart Passes”. It was reported that people try to “sneak in” golf carts and until a new program is established, they will be handing out golf cart tags at the front gate that must be on your golf cart showing when you checked in, what spot you are camping in, and when you are departing.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, advised the Jury of two bridges that are in need of serious…on Stage Coach Road and 4 Mile Road. They Jury approved Mr. Granger hiring a new crew for Chip & Seal that will begin at the South end of the parish. He advised if you are interested in applying for any positions, please go to Acadiana Works and apply.
Secretary/Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, reported that the 2% Sales Tax collected for February was $198,544.00 and that is down $18,000.00 from this time last year.
The Evangeline Parish School Board held its bi-monthly meeting tonight in the Media Center at Ville Platte High School.
An important discussion was had regarding HB 177 that was passed through committee today in Baton Rouge. If passed, the Bill would eliminate any governmental agency from collecting inventory taxes as they have in the past. There was much discussion on how devastating this would be to many different entities as in school boards, maintenance funds, athletic funds, etc. Board President, Wayne Dardeau, said he spoke to Representative Eric Lafleur, who is on the Executive Finance Committee, and he indicated he was for the Bill; however, stated that he said there should be an amendment where the lost money would have to be recouped by another means. The question was asked “Where is that money going to come from?” The general response was “There is no-where for it to come from.” Several members of the Board questioned as to why Rep. Lafleur is in favor of such a Bill. The Bill will go to the floor for debate on April 27th. President Dardeau stated that Rep. Lafleur also said that he was not sure if the Bill could be passed without a Constitutional Amendment.
The Evangeline Sales Tax Comparison for the month of March was $528,417.92 and that is down $11,842.01 down from this time last year.
Keith Fontenot, Tina Guillory and Todd Fontenot presented the Board with a 4-H report that included information on some of the various programs offered to students, farmers, and homeowners. It was noted that, due to the recent weather, they have fielded a variety of different phone calls regarding everything from bees, ants, various other insects and other issues with what the vast amount of rain brought with it. Board President, Wayne Dardeau thanked all three of them for their continued efforts and assistance to the students and people in the parish.
On Wednesday, April 29th, there will be an Executive Committee Meeting to discuss various subjects including the “Jumpstart” program and salary issues. Principles from area schools will be in attendance.
The next School Board Meeting will be held on May 7th instead of May 6th.