Turkey Creek Voters vote to Appoint Police Chief
March 24, 2018
In the only election held in Evangeline Parish today (Saturday) , voters in the Village of Turkey Creek overwhelmingly by 67 percent voted to make the office of Police Chief an appointive position rather than an elective one. Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel reported to KVPI News that the vote totals were as follows: 56 voting yes for the move to the appointive and 27 votes voting no. Some 30 percent of the eligible voters took part in Saturday’s election. The police chief was due to be on the election day ballot this fall. Now the chief will be appointed by the Turkey Creek Board of Aldermen.
The next elections are scheduled in November for congressman, school board and several municipal elections.
Evangeline Parish School Board members were met with a full house this Wednesday, as Ville Platte High School Student Council members, teachers, and staff were in attendance to deliver a presentation called “Highlights and Horizons,” a look at progress made and future plans.
“When we highlight Ville Platte High School, there is no way we can highlight every person that contributes on the campus, but there are many, many contributing factors. Tonight, I felt appropriate that the most important factor be the one that present to you.” said Principal Melanie Miller. Student Council members took turns presenting a slide show to the board.
Some of the highlights included school programs, such as their CNA program, Jobs of America Graduates, Bulldog Band, FFA, JROTC, BETA, 4-H, and FBLA. Saving the big news for last, a brand new program, Digital Media and Entertainment/Bull Dog Productions will be coming soon for Sophomores and Juniors. This program will offer students the opportunity to learn music production, radio, publications, news reporting, journalism, and broadcasting. Also recognized was Yvette Jagneaux, Middle School District Teacher of the Year, and Mitzi Fontenot, High School District Teacher of the Year.
Superintendent, Darwan Lazard also had exciting news to share with the board. Lazard announced that 1,993 Chromebooks are now in the hands of Evangeline Parish students. “We are ahead of our one-year goal, and we are substantially into our year two goal,” says Lazard. “Our goal is to put a Chromebook -- in the hands of each of our students.”
Lazard was also very proud to announce that Ted Soileau, Instructional Supervisor of the Evangeline Parish School Board, and his division, reported back a clean state audit with no findings.
In other business:
- Mamou High School and Bayou Chicot Elementary Principals, and Assistant Principals contracts were renewed for 2 years. W.W. Stewart Elementary School’s Assistant Principal was approved for a 2-year contract renewal.
- The 2018-2019 school year calendar was approved.
- Low bid of $5,910 was accepted for new exterior doors for Ville Platte High School.
Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI-FM and the Cajundome in Lafayette, LA teamed up to send five lucky listeners to the "Toughest Monster Truck Tour" on Friday, March 23rd at 7:30 p.m. Each time the monster truck cue aired on KVPI, listeners called the request line to be entered in the drawing. Congratulations to the family four-pack winners: Joann Dupre, Rose Marcantel, Susan Ortego, Belton Orgeron, and Owen Riemer. Thank you to all those who participated in the contest. Keep listening to 92.5 KVPI for chances to win more giveaways!
Shady Acres residents demanded answers during Tuesday’s meeting regarding when the city will address the subdivision's drainage issues.
6 months ago, resident Faye Lemoine addressed the Council, complaining that the city was moving too slow in improving the drainage problems in that area of the city. Then, Lemoine expressed concern over the city not prioritizing drainage, now, Lemoine says she is frustrated, and has had enough.
Louisiana’s rainy season is here, and Lemoine expressed her fear of the homes in their subdivision flooding for a third time. The first two floods took place August of 2016 and April of 2017.
Mayor Vidrine reported that everything is ready to go, but they are just waiting on the ground to dry from previous rain. Lemoine, unimpressed, said she will be back to speak on behalf of shady acres if immediate action is not taken.
6 months ago, during that same meeting, the City Council called on citizens to attend Police Jury meetings to ensure that the Police Jury is doing their part in the Keep Evangeline Beautiful Movement, by maintaining the properties they own. During Tuesday’s meeting, Mayor Vidrine said she is “embarrassed” by how little the police jury has done to maintain these properties. Not only are the properties unsightly, it could lead to lower home appraisals. Once again, Mayor Vidrine encourages the public to reach out to the Police Jury, and ask them to do their part. Their office number is (337) 363-5651, and meetings are normally held the first Monday of each month.
The Council also heard a mother’s heart felt plea for detective Dunn, and the Ville Platte Police Department to help find the person who slashed her son’s tires at their home on February 13th, and who is currently sending anonymous threats to her family and even her daughter, who is a minor. The mother, Wendy Johnson, said that detective Dunn was called in to review security camera footage, and to gather a police report. Johnson says detective Dunn left her property, forgetting to file the police report, and had to be called back. Johnson said too little has been done by police and detectives.
Police Chief Neil Lartigue declined to comment, due to it being an ongoing investigation. It has been 1 month and 1 week since the incident, and Johnson said she fears for the life of her children, and fears living in the city of Ville Platte.
In other business:
- Joe Manuel was recognized for his new job position as Captain of the Ville Platte Fire Department, along with Zachary Johnson, who will take Manuel's place as a full time firefighter. .
-The police reported for March that 575 calls came in, 56 arrests were made (27 felony arrests), 17 citations, and 31 vehicular accidents.
- The Fire Department reported 18 calls came in, no fatalities.
- The board approved starting plans for removing all 9 Cyprus trees on Main Street, due to overgrowth that’s causing sidewalk damage and powerline issues. These trees were donated by individuals to the city. Donors will be contacted.
- Mayor Vidrine announced that the 1 million dollar LCDBG grant went towards improvements at the sewer plant, including a state-of-the-art filtration system.
- The city received a 20,349 grant for water improvement that has already been used on fixing broken equipment.
Evangeline Parish Farmer Jeffery Sylvester was the guest speaker at today’s (Tuesday’s) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club.
Sylvester farms some 5000 acres of rice, soybeans and crawfish. He and his wife, Cathy are the parents of six children. Louisiana is one of the leading states in rice production with Arkansas being the top producing state. He told club members that rice farmers are urging the Congress not to tinker with the Farm Bill and its safety net provisions.
Sylvester said he feels that despite the comments by the President, the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is good for American producers. He said Mexico is the number one rice buyer of Louisiana rice and Canada is the #4 buyer of our rice. The price of rice has dropped because of the dumping of cheap Vietnamese rice on the world market.
He reported that the crawfish industry is booming. Some 90 percent of all rice farmers are growing crawfish. He called it a “good money maker”.
Sylvester was the guest of Rotarian John Mayeaux.
In other news, Maggie Ortego reported that the rotary sponsored “Choices” program will be taught at four classes at Ville Platte High School on April 24 and 25.
Larry Lachney announced that the Sacred Heart Interact Club did very well at the recent Interact Conference including Interactor of the Year award and first place in the T Shirt competition.
Evangeline Parish – On March 18, 2018, shortly before 3:00 am, Troopers with Troop I were notified of a single vehicle crash on US 167 at the St. Landry Parish / Evangeline Parish line. Upon arrival, Troopers located a 2007 Chevrolet Silverado in the ditch against a fence off of US 167 inside of Evangeline Parish. Troopers investigated the crash, but were unable to locate a driver of the vehicle.
On March 19, 2018, shortly before 9:30 am, Troop I was notified by the St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office of a body found on the Evangeline Parish side of US 167 near the St. Landry Parish line. The body was identified as 24 year old William Morein of Ville Plate. Further investigation revealed that Morein was the owner and suspected driver of the vehicle involved in the March 18th crash.
Troopers determined that Morein was not restrained at the time of the crash, and was ejected from the vehicle after striking a bridge rail while traveling northbound on US 167. After being ejected, Morein’s vehicle continued traveling northbound before entering the ditch. It is unknown if impairment is a factor in the crash. Standard toxicology samples were taken and submitted for analysis. This crash remains under investigation.
Drivers can effectively reduce the chances of being involved in a crash by ensuring that while behind the wheel of a vehicle you remain focused solely on the task of driving. Heed all posted speed limits and remain focused on the roadway at all times. While not all crashes are survivable, making good choices while traveling such as never driving while impaired, always ensuring every occupant is properly restrained, and avoiding all distractions can greatly increase your chances of surviving a crash.
Chief Neal Lartigue continues searching for 7 fugitives.
On March 5, 2018, the Ville Platte Police Department named 13 fugitives that were being sought. In an update to that search, Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue told KVPI News stated that the investigations division has reported that six of the thirteen wanted suspects have turned themselves into law enforcement or have been captured. The following suspects are still evading law enforcement and are active fugitives.
Crystal Edmundson – Aggravated battery and domestic abuse battery.
Germaine Lafleur – Improper use Telecommunications and stalking
Raylan Melancon – Theft and unauthorized use of an access card
Felicia Poullard – Monetary instrument abuse
Abraham Charles – simple burglary, theft, criminal damage to property
Corneilas Fontenot – aggravated flight from an officer
Christian Jack – failure to return rental property
If you have information on the whereabouts of these fugitives, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue is requesting the public’s assistance in locating the driver involved in a hit and run.
On March 15, 2018 at approximately 8 p.m. Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of a man lying in the roadway on Chataignier Road near Pine Street in Ville Platte. Upon arrival Officers determined that the victim was struck by a vehicle which fled the scene.
The victim was transported for treatment in Lafayette with possible life threatening injuries. The victim remains in serious to critical condition at this time.
According to Detectives, the vehicle used in the hit and run appears to be a smaller model, dark colored SUV. If anyone has any information regarding this incident, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today (Tuesday) and heard from Ryan Vidrine, owner of Flat Town Farm Supply. Vidrine has been operating the business for the past three years. He reported that he has been installing grain bins in areas as far away as Shreveport, Jonesboro, Lake Charles and at the Port of New Orleans.
His business has added several new lines of Ag equipment including the popular Vermeer lines of Hay equipment.
Vidrine told Rotarians that he has launched his web site where he is offering over 80,000 products in his huge warehouse that can be shipped nationwide.
Former owner Kip Manuel was in charge of the rotary program and introduced Vidrine to club members.
In other business, Club President Wayne Vidrine announced that the Spring Fellowship meeting is set for April 10 and the Installation Banquet is planned for June 12.
Rotarian Larry Lachney announced that the Sacred Heart Interact Club is doing a fund raising project where jars were placed at various businesses through town. The Rotary Club voted to donate $100 to the Interact Club’s fund raising efforts.
The Evangeline Parish School Board approved the installation of metal detectors in five Evangeline Parish schools during Wednesday night’s meeting.
Basile High School, Ville Platte High School, Mamou High School, Pine Prairie High School, and Bayou Chicot Elementary will be receiving metal detectors. This $23,681.75 project, a proactive measure, follows last month’s threats made against Evangeline Parish schools, which led to parish-wide school closures.
In order to make up the instructional minutes lost in February, Superintendent Darwan Lazard announced that Memorial Day (May 28th) will no longer be observed, and class will be held for all students.
Lazard extended his thanks to parents for being understanding, and to law enforcement, state police, and the FBI for a job well done.
The board also heard from Maintenance & Operations Facilitator, Jason Hazelton, who recognized two Evangeline Parish schools with the “Cleanest School of the Quarter” award. The “Big School Division,” award was given to Bayou Chicot Elementary custodians, and the “Small School Division” award was given to James Stephens Montessori custodians. $25 gift cards were also awarded to each custodian.
In other business:
The board accepted a price quote of $36,500.00 from Percille’s Construction, regarding the concrete slab needed for Pine Prairie High Schools new stadium bleachers; so far a $214,000 project.
Evangeline Parish Police Jury Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron was the guest speaker at today’s (Tuesday) meeting of the Ville Platte Rotary Club.
Bergeron spoke about a regional drainage project that was approved by the Acadiana Planning Commission that will help relieve flooding problems in Evangeline, St. Landry and Acadia parishes. The $2 million dollar water retention project will be the construction of a pond located Northwest of Ville Platte that will be used to retain water along Bayou Joe Marcel during a major flooding event. The water drains from Bayou Joe Marcel eventually into the Mermentau River. The police jury will have 36 months to complete the FEMA funded project for the jury. Bergeron was the guest of Rotarian Bob Manuel.
Also speaking at the meeting was Attorney Gilbert “Winky” Aucoin with Grand Hoorah festival. Aucoin was pleased to announce that Louisiana Folk Roots is coming back to Chicot State Park and will be joining with Grand Hoorah to sponsor a week long cultural immersion program. Folk Roots was at Chicot Park for ten years until organizers decided to move the yearly event to Lafayette two years ago.
Aucoin said there will be 65 people coming from all over the United States and several countries for the week long immersion event. It will begin April 20 through April 27 with Cajun music, food, a boucherie and fun for the whole family. He is asking local Ville Platte residents to come out and support the festival.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, during Monday’s monthly meeting, decided against renewing their insurance with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, and approved switching employees to United Healthcare.
Open enrollment dates are set for March 12th, 13th, and 14th at the Police Jury Office located at 1008 W Lasalle Street in Ville Platte. All Parish employees are required to set an appointment for open enrollment for healthcare.
District 7 police juror, Bryan Vidrine, stated that by switching healthcare providers, insurance prices will be cheaper, and employees will see better benefits.
In other business:
Parish Engineer, Rodney Landreneau, announced that the Hazard Mitigation Program is now accepting applications for workers who follow FEMA guidelines.
Secretary-Treasurer, Donald Bergeron, announced that the Police Jury is currently accepting applications for a part time nurse (RN or LPN) to administer care to inmates.
Public Works Director, Chester Granger, announced that they are accepting applications for a replacement CDL driver for District 1, 8, and 9.
The purchase of a $13,000 rail car for Louis Rd. in District #1 was approved.
Baton Rouge, La. (March 5, 2018) – A second Ville Platte man is under arrest in connection with the theft of six cattle valued at $7,500 according to Louisiana Department of Agriculture and Forestry (LDAF) Commissioner Mike Strain, D.V.M.
Fifty-five year old Paul Lavigne was arrested March 2, 2018 in St. Landry Parish by LDAF Livestock Brand Commission inspectors. On December 5, 2017, the LDAF received a report of stolen cattle from a farm in the Lawtell community of St. Landry Parish. Following an investigation, brand inspectors determined Lavigne helped load and transport the cattle to a local livestock market.
On February 6, 2018, 35-year-old Dovinski Doucet was arrested in St. Landry Parish after brand inspectors determined Doucet sold the stolen cattle at a local livestock market.
“We cannot stress enough the importance of owners using registered brands or official ear tags on their livestock. By taking these security measures, it greatly aids in the recovery of stolen livestock as well as tracing livestock diseases,” said Strain.
Lavigne was booked into the St. Landry Parish Jail and charged with L.A.R.S. 14:25 accessory after the fact to commit L.A.R.S. 14:67 B (2). If convicted, he could face a penalty of not more than a $500 fine, or imprisonment, with or without hard labor, for not more than five years, or both; provided that in no case shall his punishment be greater than one-half of the maximum provided by law for a principal offender.
The St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Department assisted in these arrests. All LDAF brand inspectors are commissioned by Louisiana State Police and have authority in the performance of their duties.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports arrest for simple burglary
An arrest has been made in a burglary reported in November of 2017. According to the report a hot water heater was stolen from a house on Park Ave in Ville Platte. After gathering information and evidence, Detectives issued a warrant for Casey Lane Tate 29 of 115 South Soileau Street, Ville Platte. Tate was arrested on February 26, 2018 on the charge of simple burglary. Tate was transferred to the Evangeline Parish Jail on a $7,500.00 bond.
Chief Lartigue reminds citizens to report suspicious or illegal activity, call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Ville Platte Rotary today (Tuesday) heard from Raymond Hebert, C.E.O. of the Community Foundation of Acadiana. This non- profit agency covers the eight parish Acadiana area including Evangeline Parish. The group provides services, civic leadership and stewardship by building legacies and improving communities.
Hebert said a number of parishes have begun their own foundation under the Community Foundation umbrella. He announced that the Evangeline Parish Foundation began last year to assist and benefit Evangeline Parish citizens and groups. Anita Fontenot is a leader in the local foundation. An advisory board will soon be appointed to determine where the funds will be spent in the parish. Fontenot said the local group’s focus will be to support non profit organizations, churches, schools and public entities through the generosity of residents and businesses who want to make their community a better place to live, work and play.
Club President announced the new slate of officers that will take office later this year: Richard LeJeune-President, President Elect-Nicole Wenger, Vice President-Maggie Ortego, Treasurer-Vic Slaven, Secretary- Susan Saunders, Sgt At Arms-Dr. Jerry Veillon and Wayne Vidrine-Immediate Past President.
The club will hold a spring social on April 10.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department is seeking assistance in identifying burglary suspects.
On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of a burglary on South Soileau Street. Upon arrival Officers learned that the suspects cleared out the entire contents of the Cottage Bed & Breakfast. Officers notified Detective Clark who determined that the suspects gained entry and started removing items after 11:00 p.m. on Tuesday and into the early morning hours of Wednesday.
The following items are listed as stolen. An antique bed, couch, coffee table, antique end table, antique rug, tufted antique chairs, antique crystal lamps, 46” flat screen tv, Centurylink modem, AC Unit, mattress, box spring with vintage bedding, handmade table cloth, microwave, espresso machine, cooktop, utensils, bathroom towels, linens, rug, and toiletries. The suspects also caused property damage to the interior of the residence while removing items.
Chief Neal Lartigue is asking for information regarding the whereabouts of the stolen items and if you can identify the truck in the picture that we have posted on our Facebook page , call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
KVPI News has learned that Eric Soileau of Reddell was sworn as the new President of the Louisiana Police Jury Association Thursday night during a meeting of the group at the Hotel Bentley in Alexandria.
Soileau has been serving as a member of the Executive Board of the association for the past five years. He has been a member of the Evangeline Parish Police Jury representing District Six for the past 13 years.
Soileau said his plans to work closely with the executive board and director to represent parish governments before the state legislature. Soileau wants to make sure parish governments continue to get their funding from the state and to prevent unfunded mandates from state and federal agencies.
Soileau is the third Evangeline Parish Police Juror to serve as President of the Police Jury Association of Louisiana: Larry Buller and Bob Manuel both served in that position.
He is a resident of Reddell and is employed at T’s Boy’s Meat Market. He is active in many local and civic organization including the Mamou Cajun Music Association. He is married to the former Cathy Deshotel for 39 and they have two children and four grandchildren
Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce Meeting
February 21, 2018
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Wednesday) received a report on the infrastructure meeting held earlier this week by One Acadiana. It was determined that the top two priorities for infrastructure projects in Evangeline Parish would be: the four laning of US 167 from Ville Platte to Opelousas. A second priority would be drainage improvements after flooding events the past two years. It was announced that the police jury has recently been awarded special grant funds to build an 81 acre retention pond to hold water after flooding rains. This project will not only help Evangeline parish but also Acadia and St. Landry Parishes in alleviate flooding.
Chamber members were notified some 4 or 5 applicants have applied so far for the executive director position. The application period continues through Friday. Interviews will begin next week and a new director will be selected by the chamber board.
Pine Prairie Energy has made a donation to the Industrial Development Board in the amount of $10,000.
Outgoing Chamber President Dr. Tojo Ward was given a plaque of appreciation by new Club President Luke Deville.
The turnout was good at the organization’s new meeting headquarters: Cottage Couture.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from LSU-Eunice Chancellor Kimberly Russell give an update report on what is going on at the college.
Russell and members of her staff were presented a $5100 check by Dr. Willie Buller to the LSU-E Scholarship Fund. Club members have been contributing to this scholarship fund since 1984. Over 100 students have been awarded scholarships as a result of this special fund through the years. The fund will award three new recipients this year and is one of the top five endowments the college receives.
Russell spoke about new programs that have begun at the college: the LSU-E Academy where High School Jr’s and seniors can get a jump start on their college education. These high school students could actually end up graduating from high school with an associate degree. There are currently 65 students enrolled in the program, of which 20 are from Evangeline Parish.
This fall, LSU Eunice will begin new courses for diagnostic medical stenography and surgical technology funded through state grants and local and area hospitals.
LSU-E will launch a Pharmacy Technology program where students completing the program an Associate Degree.
Also, the college is looking at expanding the school nursing program by partnering with Lafayette General Medical Center.
The college is adding three new sports: Men’s basketball and Men’s and Women’s Soccer.
Russell reported that enrollment is up 22 percent since 2015. The school has a 104.3 million dollar impact upon the area’s economy and employs 182 people.
Evangeline Parish Police Jury Awarded Grant
Evangeline Parish Police Jury President Ryan Williams announced that Evangeline Parish received a grant of $1.9 million Wednesday for flood control at a meeting of the Acadiana Planning Commission. A total of 20 projects were submitted from 7 Acadiana Parishes totaling $94.5 million. Evangeline Parish was one of nine projects that were approved by the Acadiana Planning Commission. This award stems from the Louisiana Resilient Recovery Initiative Governor John Bel Edwards announced in August of 2017. A total of $25 million for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program funds for regional drainage projects in Acadiana was awarded.
Evangeline Parish’s $1.9 million project as approved would create a water retention area located North West of Ville Platte. The purpose of the project is to create an area which will retain water flowing south from the most northern portion of Bayou Joe Marcel. The purpose of this retainage is to reduce the amount of water flowing south down Bayou Joe Marcel during large rain events. The goal of the project is to allow the water level in Bayou Joe Marcel to be maintained at the optimal level during a 100 year storm, thus preventing flooding in the areas drained by the canals. There would then be a controlled release of water after the flooding event. The reduction in downstream water during large rain events will benefit all areas south of the structure. The project timeline is setup to be completed within 36 months.