Local News

KVPI Sports Plans to broadcast Ville Platte Pride Girls games this weekend on Classic Hits 92.5

The Ville Platte Pride girls all stars will represent Ville Platte and Evangeline Parish in the Fast Pitch softball World Series this weekend in Longview, Texas. The games begin at 12 noon Saturday with the pool play games that continue at 1:30pm and 4:30pm. The bracket games begin Saturday night at 6:00pm. The head coach is Dr. Brandon Fontenot and Assistant Coaches are Sunny LaHaye and David Lahaye. KVPI Sports plans to broadcast all of the girls games for friends and family back with Sports Announcers Tracey Jagneaux and Nick LeBas all on Classic Hits 92.5 KVPI FM and on line at classichits925.com. Special thanks to all of our great sponsors.

2020 Tournoi will run as scheduled in October

2020 running of the Tournoi will take place August 6, 2020 KVPI News has learned that the running of the 2020 Tournoi will take place. President Kent Saucier told KVPI News that the Tournoi board met and voted to proceed with the Tournoi at the Industrial Park. He said “We are an outdoor activity and feel we can easily socially distance and stay within the Covid 19 safety practices. “ The Tournoi is tentatively scheduled for Sunday October 18 at 2;00pm at the Ward One Industrial Park, north of Ville Platte. However there will be no Tournoi ball and no Queen’s pageant. The Tournoi eliminations are scheduled for Sunday Sept. 13 at 2;00pm at the Industrial Park for anyone interested in qualifying to ride in this year’s event. Last year the champ was Eric Guillory who has won the event for 8 years and had the fastest time. The two- man team with the most rings were Ryan Haller and Keith Saucier who had a total of 41 out of a possible 42 rings. The top nine finishers last year who are automatically qualified for this year’s event: Eric Guillory, Alex Haller, Ryan Haller, Marcus Guillory, John Ross Guillory, Kent Saucier, Shane Lee, Paul Fontenot and Keith Saucier. KVPI will be there once again broadcasting the entire event for our listeners.

Two Medical Professionals attend Evangeline School Board Wednesday

By nearly a unanimous vote, the Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday approved a recommendation by school teachers and employees on a revised school calendar. The adopted calendar calls for the start of school to be August 24 and end June 4. The new calendar calls for the same number of holidays as the previous calendars had. School Superintendent Darwan Lazard said a survey of 655 employees showed that 70 percent of the staff chose that calendar over a calendar that called for the start of school just after Labor Day. Two medical professionals addressed the school board members. Dr. Tina Stefanski, Region Four Director of the Louisiana Department of Health and Dr. Chuck Aswell, well known local physician. Both speakers commended the school board for their efforts in following the guidelines from state and federal agencies in an effort to keep students and employees healthy and safe. Stefanski announced that a recent study from South Korea showed children age 10 and younger is much less likely to spread the virus to other people. The patients with the worst outcomes and the highest mortality rates continue to be seniors and those with health issues such as high blood pressure. Dr. Aswell commented that young children are not known to spread the Covid 19 virus. He said it is safer for children to attend school than go to a store. In contrast the Swine Flu virus a few years ago attacked young children. He said there has been a lot controversy over whether case numbers in the state are accurate. Aswell said you can believe the data Stefanski’s department gives us is top notch and correct. Dr. Chuck remarked that Evangeline Parish has the lowest mortality (Death) rate in the state. He attributes the low rate to local doctors prescribing the proper medicine right at the start. Supt. Of Schools Darwan Lazard reported that buses will be running at 50 percent capacity and drivers will be wearing masks as well as students. Due to the capacity issues, school buses will no longer be able to drop off students at day care centers or permitting students to switch buses as in the past. In an effort to operate safely and within guidelines, Lazard announced buses will have a seating chart and they will transport students directly to their homes for their safety. In other action the school board: --Received a report that 1500 students have signed up to attend the online classes through Evangeline Virtual Academy; The remaining 4000 students will attend regular classes; --received news that Helene Francois has been named as the new principal at Basile High School; -- approved the purchase of 1500 mobile hot spots from AT&T at a cost of $127,500 to provide mobile connectivity for students in rural areas to take virtual classes online; --received a report on the cost of insuring the 5800 student chromebooks and 400 teacher laptops. The cost was too prohibitive. Even with a $100 deductible, it would have cost the board $139,000 a year.

Kayla McFarlain Kincannon was guest speaker at Ville Platte Rotary Club Meeting

Rotary Club Meeting August 4, 2020 The Ville Platte Rotary Club heard from Kayla McFarlain Kincannon , a master herbalist and owner of Brambles Herbal Apothecary. Her business is located at 118 Court Street in Ville Platte. She told club members as a master herbalist and a life coach, she is helping local and area residents with personalized education and support on a road to wellness and total integrative healing program through the use of herbal medicines. She answered a number of questions about herbs. She stated “that we need to explore and learn how to use the tools found in nature to nurture and support our bodies and to aid the maintain the balance we crave.”

Evangeline Parish Police Jury is commended by auditors

During its regular monthly meeting Monday evening, the Evangeline Parish Police Jury received a “clean audit opinion” from Casey Ardoin, a partner in the Kolder, Slaven & Company accounting firm. Ardoin said that the audit came with an “unmodified opinion,” meaning that “the financial statements look very good.” “You are in a strong position,” Ardoin told the Jury, with a fund balance of more than $14 million. “As of Dec. 31 2019, you have money in the bank to operate. You guys do a good job here.” Jury President Ryan Williams was pleased with the audit report, saying, “We’re taking care of business. Everybody is being accountable. Let’s keep it that way.” In related news, Secretary-Treasurer Donald Bergeron announced that the June sales tax collection was over $325,000; “a very good month,” he said. In other business, the Jury heard about a litter enforcement program from Corporal Jason Stagg with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, the leading litter enforcement agency in the state. Stagg discussed the tremendous success of a program that uses hidden cameras to catch people who litter. Stagg said that, using the cameras, the LDWF is working on 50 open cases. These cases could turn into more than 70 different cases, he said. He also told the Jury that the department would cooperate by putting cameras in any high-litter areas that it could identify. Juror Bryan Vidrine noted some people were recently caught littering along Stagecoach Road. “Thirty garbage bags of trash were thrown off the bridge,” he reported. “Some of the bags were so heavy that we had to use an excavator to extract them.” “Litter is a big problem in our parish,” Williams noted. “We spend a lot of money picking up trash when we could be spending money making Evangeline beautiful.” Gwen Fontenot, the new president of the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce, introduced herself to the Jury. Fontenot, who took over on July 1, said that her number one priority is to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on local businesses. “Our local and small businesses need financial assistance,” Fontenot explained. “A lot of small businesses are struggling to get the available assistance.” She said that the Chamber is “putting together informational webinars and training of businesses to help them get to the right place to apply for the right things.” In other coronavirus news, Bergeron informed the Jury that it has received funding from the Corona Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities relief program. The Jury has received more than $60,000; while sub-applicants Solid Waste and 911 received over $75,000 and $65,000 respectively. The money will help to cover expenses related to the coronavirus. Earlier, in an Executive Committee meeting, Fontenot and Tourism Commission President Jay Gielow agreed to informally continue a cooperative endeavor agreement that provides funding for the two groups to employees. However, the two groups do not see eye-to-eye on continuing the agreement; so they will be meeting to iron out differences. Next month, the two groups will have a proposal for a new agreement. In another earlier committee meeting, Bergeron informed the Jury about the status of a flood mitigation project. The project to build a $1.8 million retention pond was originally crafted to take advantage of FEMA money following the historic 2016 floods. Due to fierce competition for the grant money and an approaching deadline, Bergeron recommended that the Jury allow the application to lapse. However, Bergeron told the Jury, the Department of Housing and Urban Development is also doling money for similar projects. Bergeron recommended that the Jury gather more information to be ready to apply for the grant money once it becomes official. He said that the retention pond project could be used for the HUD application. The Jury also approved a resolution to call a special election on Dec. 5 for the renewal of the Acadia-Evangeline Fire Protection District tax. It is expected to collect $58,500 every year for the construction and maintenance of fire protection facilities and equipment. Mrs. Hattie Johnston was appointed to represent Pine Prairie on the Tourism Board. Cecile Causey was hired as a front office employee; Michael Guillory was hired as a courthouse janitor; Tony Tremie was hired on the Dist. 1 and Dist. 7 litter crew; and a vacancy for the litter abatement crew was announced. The September Police Jury meeting will not be held at its normal time. Usually, the Jury meets on the first Monday of the month, which will be Sept. 8. However, that also happens to be Labor Day. Because of the holiday, the Jury will move its September meeting to the following Monday, Sept. 14. Before the regular meeting, there will be two public hearings: one at 4:30 pm for comment about adopting Orange Street in Chataignier; and one at 4:50 pm about putting a 3-Way stop sign at the intersection of Berdine Street in the Wyble Subdivision.

Reward Offered in Stagecoach Road Burglary

BAYOU CHICOT HOMEOWNERS OFFERS A $1,000.00 CASH REWARD FOR THE CAPTURE AND ARREST OF THE STAGE COACH ROAD BURGLAR Sheriff Charles R. Guillory, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office releases the following: Bayou Chicot homeowners hope the thief that burglarized their home is captured. Investigators said on Tuesday, July 21, 2020 after 10:00 p.m. a suspect(s) forced entry into a home in the 2000 Block of Stage Coach Road. The residents were not home at the time of the burglary. Glass of a rear door was damaged allowing the suspect(s) to gain entry into the residence. Once inside the following items were taken from the residence: several firearms, valuable jewelry, and prescribed narcotics. Anyone with information that can help find the person(s) involved is asked to call Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Investigators at 337-363-2161.Homeowners have offered a $1,000.00 reward for information that leads to the arrest of the person(s) involved. All callers will remain anonymous.

KVPI Sports plans to broadcast Ville Platte 10U All stars in the World Series in Texas

The Ville Platte 10U all star girls will be attending the World Series softball tournament next weekend August 7-9 in Texas. KVPI Sports is making arrangements to broadcast these games with our Sports Announcer Tracey Jagneaux. We plan to carry all of their games in Texas. We are currently contacting sponsors to help carry the games. The girls came visit KVPI studios to record special shoutout messages all next week. They also did a live shoutout on the air with DJ Lauren Soileau at the controls. Shown with the girls are Assistant Coaches Sunny Lahaye and David Lahaye. Dr. Brandon Fontenot, who could not attend, is the head coach. The Team Mom is Ashlee Fontenot. Good luck to our girls and bring home the World Series Title.

Evangeline Parish Chamber of Commerce Met Wednesday

Evangeline Chamber of Commerce Meeting July 29, 2020 The Evangeline Parish Chamber of Commerce Wednesday held a virtual meeting with Chamber President Dr. Gwen Fontenot conducting. The chamber board will be reviewing nominations to replace former member Mark Suellentrop who has left the area. The election of the new board member will take place in early August. She said it has been a challenge for the chamber and tourism since its executive director and assistant both resigned. Dr. Fontenot commended Elizabeth West who has been working for the tourism board and has volunteered to assist with office work for the chamber as well. The chamber is due to hire a temporary part time assistant in the near future. Both the chamber and tourism boards are due to meet soon to discuss whether to continue having one director handling both responsibilities in chamber and tourism or consider move forward as two separate organizations. Tourism Director Jay Gielow told chamber members that he is hoping that the governor will allow each parish determine what phase they should be in whether than on a statewide level based on their case load. Guest speaker State Representative Rhonda Butler urged small businesses to apply for the Main Street Recovery program where grants are given for up to $15,000 to pay for Covid-19 expenses. She announced that her Economic Task Force will be meeting with Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser to help plan strategies and programs to help local businesses through tourism projects. Butler said she is working with local officials to develop a drug court to help young people get off drugs rather than go to jail. She was able to assist Sheriff Charles Guillory in getting grant funds for new vehicles. Connie Lamke with the Acosta Foundation is scheduling webinars to help local small businesses obtain needed grants.

Boil Advisory for Turkey Creek has been Lifted

The boil advisory for the Village of Turkey Creek issued Saturday, July 25, 2020 has been lifted. Water is safe for consumption according to Village Clerk Melissa Ferguson.

University Scholoarship Announced Today for Evangeline Parish Public School Grads

New Scholarship Announced for Evangeline Parish Students July 28, 2020 Evangeline Parish School Superintendent Darwan Lazard announced the donation of an endowed University of Louisiana at Lafayette academic scholarship for Evangeline Parish public school graduates. The Ivy and Edley (Kye) Fontenot Memorial Scholarship was created by their daughter, Dr. Gwen Fontenot, Vidrine resident and alumna of the former Vidrine High School and Associate Professor of Marketing at UL Lafayette. Dr. Fontenot made the official announcement at a special meeting this (Tuesday) morning with parish school counselors and other school officials. The purpose of the fund is to provide academic scholarships to students who meet the following eligibility requirements: Must have an ACT composite of 23 or greater or SAT composite of 1130 or greater, Must be admitted to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette as a full-time student, Must be an Evangeline Parish resident, Must be a graduate of an Evangeline Parish Public School System High School with preference given to an incoming freshman, Must have at least a 3.0 cumulative Grade Point Average to be eligible and May be majoring in any undergraduate degree program at the UL-Lafayette. The amount of the scholarship is dependent on the annual earnings of the endowed principal. The award has recently ranged between $1000-$1300 per year. Students are eligible to renew the scholarship as long as they maintain the criteria. In her comments at the Tuesday morning gathering, Dr. Fontenot remarked “I have provided this scholarship in memory of my parents who instilled in me a desire to learn and provided me with every opportunity to do so. It is my wish that my parents’ values and drive will live on through this scholarship and that it will make a difference in the lives of the recipients so they, too, will be successful and give back to their communities.”

Pine Prairie Police arrest local woman on drug Charges

Pine Prairie Police arrests local woman on drug charges July 26, 2020 A Pine Prairie woman was arrested by local police on drug charges , according to a news release by Pine Prairie Police Chief L.C. Deshotel. The suspect was identified as Stacey Babin age 36. She was charged with possession of Marijuana and Crystal Meth and possession of drug paraphernalia The arrest took place on Saturday July 11 when police received a complaint about a juvenile in possession of what appeared to be marijuana. Upon further investigation, Officer Eckhart made contact with the mother of the juvenile, Stacy Bain. That is when police discovered she was in possession of what is believed to be drugs. The suspect was transported to the Evangeline Parish Jail on a $9,000 bond set by Judge Gary Ortego. Chief Deshotel urges Pine Prairie citizens to report any suspicious activity and thanks the public for the information received.

Qualifying for the November Primary Election ended today

Qualifying for the November 3 Primary Election July 24, 2020 Qualifying has ended for the November 3 primary election in Evangeline Parish. Since Wednesday, candidates have been coming in to the Clerk of Court office in the courthouse to file their qualifying papers to seek political office. Here is the list of qualifiers: For US Senator (statewide): Incumbent Bill Cassidy and challengers: Beryl Billiot, John Paul Bourgois, Reno Daret, Derrick Edwards, Xan John, David Knight, M.V. Mendoza, Jamar Montgomery, Dustin Murphy, Adrian Perkins, Antoine Pierce, Melinda Price, Aaron Sigler and Peter Wenstrup. For Congressman, 4th Congressional District: Incumbent Mike Johnson and challengers: Ben Gibson, Kenny Houston and Ryan Trundle. Both District Court Judges, Gary Ortego and Chuck West and District Attorney Trent Brignac were unopposed so they were re-elected to another term in office. Also City Court Judge Gregory Vidrine was unopposed and was re elected for another term. For Ward One City Court Judge, three qualified for the November election: Lisa Doucet, Horace Johnson and Nicole Snoddy. The following candidates were unopposed and were re-elected: Nick Chaumont, District Two School Board member, Dave McGee and Charlotte Smith for the two Justices of the Peace in Ward Two, Pamela Hall for Justice of the Peace Ward Three; Wade Riley for Justice of the Peace Ward Four, Mike Causey for Justice of the Peace for Ward Five; Earlin Fruge and Mike Stockwell for the two Constables in Ward Two; Tim Causey for Constable in Ward Four; Derrick Guillory for Constable in Ward Five; and Quint West for Pine Prairie Mayor. The following will face off in November: Joe Brady and Michael “Gorilla” Fruge for Constable in Ward Three; Incumbent L.C. Deshotel and challenger Joshua Estes for Pine Prairie Police Chief; Carmen Cortez and Herbert “Rip” Rippeon for Alderman in District Two in Basile and for Aldermen in Pine Prairie where three are to be elected: Incumbents Gilbert Bordelon, Tammy Hammond and Debbie Oge and challengers Gretchen Long Lamke and Kevin Rodriguez. Voters will also for President of the United States.

Ville Platte Police Arrest Subject on Attempted Murder Charge

Ville Platte Police Arrest local suspect on Attempted Murder Charge July 24, 2020 Ville Platte Police responded to a call of shots being fired at a local store Friday in the 700 block of Edward Notto Street. When they arrived, police found the male victim with a gunshot wound to his leg. He was transported to a Lafayette area hospital for treatment. During their investigation, police found out that the wounded subject was shot by his brother. Police Detective Darrien Guillory secured an arrest warrant from 13th Judicial District Court Judge Gary Ortego for the arrest of the suspect. The suspect, Ahmed Ali , of 218 North Latour Street, Ville Platte was arrested by Bunkie Police, the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff deputies and U.S. Marshals. Police Chief Neal Lartigue would like to thank the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office, Bunkie Police, Avoyelles Sheriff Office, Lafayette Sheriff Office, U. S. Marshals Office and the Louisiana State Police for their help.

More candidates qualify on Day Two at the Clerk of Court's Office

As per Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, candidates that have qualified as of 4:30 p.m., Thursday, July 23, 2020, to run for office in the upcoming November 3 Fall election are as follows: Constable, Ward 2 Mike Stockwell Constable, Ward 5 Derrick Guillory School Board, District 2 Nick Chaumont Alderman, District 2, Basile Carmen Cortez City Judge, City Court, City of Ville Platte Gregory Vidrine Justice of the Peace, Ward 2 Charlotte D. Smith Justice of the Peace, Ward 3 Pamela H. Hall Mayor, Village of Pine Prairie Quint West Alderman, Village of Pine Prairie Debbie Oge Gilbert J. Bordelon Tammy M. Hammond Chief of Police, Village of Pine Prairie L.C. Deshotel Qualifying ends Friday July 24 at the Clerk of Court’s Office in the courthouse.

Evangeline Parish School Board Adopts a "Hybrid" Covid-19 School Plan and delays the start of school

Evangeline Parish School Board Delays School Opening July 22, 2020 The Evangeline Parish School Board Wednesday night in a lengthy meeting approved delaying the start of public schools in the parish to permit teachers more time to prepare for students under a new approved Covid-19 plan. The original calendar date for the start of school was August 12 with teachers due to come in two days earlier. The vote to delay was 10-1 with Wanda Skinner voting no. . The board authorized Superintendent of Schools Darwan Lazard and his staff survey the teachers and prepare two proposed calendars for the start of school in time for the next school board meeting on August 5 . After a presentation by Superintendent of Schools Lazard and Assistant Supt. Michael Lombas on a blended plan for students returning to the classroom along with the choice of students attending the Evangeline Virtual Academy, the board approved the plan by a 10-1 vote with Wanda Skinner voting no. Skinner had earlier made an earlier motion to go 100 percent virtual and her motion died for a lack of a second. A survey of parents showed that over 60 percent of parents responding want to send their children back to school while some 20 percent do not. That is why the school district has given parents the option to have their children attend the Evangeline Virtual Academy online from their homes. Some 1072 of the 5700 students have signed up so far , for the online school. The deadline to sign up is July 31. The major problem facing the school system is some rural areas of the parish have no internet service. School officials have met with the Louisiana Public Service Commission and the local internet provider, Centurylink but have yet to resolve the issue. Each school will have three temperature checking devices that can check the temperature of each student crossing through it. Supt. Lazard gave an overview of the adopted plan: No more than 25 students in a classroom in Phase two. Face coverings are mandated for school employees and students. All students will receive face to face instruction Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday depending upon the group they are in. The other days will be home instruction through distance learning Students refusing to wear a face covering at school will be removed from class and sent home and will have to attend the online school. School Board Attorney Bob Hammonds said he is preparing an official policy for the school board to follow to stay in line with the act of the legislature that will provide immunity to the school system from any liability should someone come down with Covid 19. Alex Hickerson, a parent, said he was pleased the board voted to delay the start of school but he is concerned that some board members are not taking the wearing of face masks seriously. Yvonne Johnson, local Louisiana Association of educators representative, announced that 150 teachers have responded to a survey about the start of school: 29 percent of teachers are ready to start school, 37 percent are unsure about the start of school and 34 percent said they felt pressured to return to school. In other business, the school board: --Recognized the new principal at Ville Platte High School Chenile Tezeno ; --Heard from Supt. Lazard announce that the French Immersion teachers from Belgium and France were given special waivers from President Trump to come teach at Ville Platte and Mamou Elementary. Special thanks to Wanda Verette and Eric Soileau for their work along with Congressman Mike Johnson; --approved the purchase of 1100 additional chromebook devices so every student will have one to start the school year at a cost of $435,000; --received news that large ceiling fans will be installed at six school gyms in August.

Qualifying for the November Primary Election began today at the Clerk of Court's Office

As per Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, candidates that have qualified as of 4:30 p.m., Wednesday, July 22, 2020, to run for office in the upcoming Fall election are as follows: Constable: Ward 2 Earlin Fruge Constable; Ward 3 Joseph “Joe” Brady Michael “Gorilla” Fruge Constable; Ward 4 Tim Causey City Marshall, City Court, Ville Platte Nicole Latour Snoddy Lisa M. Doucet Horace Johnson Alderman, Village of Pine Prairie Gretchen Long Lamke Kevin P. Rodriguez Chief of Police, Village of Pine Prairie Joshua C. Estes Alderman, District 2, Town of Basile Herbert “Ripp” Rippeon District Judge, 13th JDC, Division A: Gary Ortego District Judge, 13th JDC, Division B: Chuck R. West Justice of the Peace, Ward 4 Wade Riley Justice of the Peace, Ward 5 J. Michael “Mike” Causey District Attorney, 13th JDC Trent Brignac

Rotary Club Hears from Jennifer Feucht of Mercy Regional Medical Center

The Ville Platte Rotary Club, today (Tuesday) heard from Jennifer Feucht, a registered nurse and the Director of Infection Prevention and Employee Health and Education at Mercy Regional Medical Center. Feucht reminded club members that the number one way to prevent infection is hand hygiene by keeping your hands clean. The hand cleaners need to contain 60 percent alcohol to be effective. Two other important factors to stop the spread of the Corona Virus is wearing a mask and social distancing. The respiratory droplets from coughs and sneezes will usually fall from 3-4 feet so health experts urge residents to keep a safe distance of six feet. She said the virus is easy to kill through alcohol and cleaners. Some of the symptoms those who have the virus include headaches, a fever and a sore throat. Others are asymptomatic which means they show no symptoms but they could spread the virus to other people with underlying health problems. Feucht says hospitals are filling up and starting to strain the bed capacity but on the good side, death rates and the demand for ventilators have decreased. She said most corona virus tests take 7-10 days to get results. Feucht was the guest speaker of Rotarian Renee Brown. Rotary Club President introduced the new club secretary Barbara Buroker.

Evangeline Parish District Attorney announces Grand Jury proceedings for Wednesday and Thursday Cancelled

Here is a special news release from Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac: "Pursuant to the recent Governor's proclamation as well as Louisiana Supreme Court's orders, the Evangeline Parish District Attorney's office in conjunction with the District Judges have cancelled grand jury proceedings set for Wednesday July 22, 2020 and Thursday July 23, 2020. The rescheduling of the grand jury will be announced at a future date. If any one with the grand jury has any questions, please fee free to contact the District Attorney's office at 337-363-3438."

Evangeline Parish District Attorney announces Grand Jury proceedings for Wednesday and Thursday Cancelled

Here is a special news release from Evangeline Parish District Attorney Trent Brignac: "Pursuant to the recent Governor's proclamation as well as Louisiana Supreme Court's orders, the Evangeline Parish District Attorney's office in conjunction with the District Judges have cancelled grand jury proceedings set for Wednesday July 22, 2020 and Thursday July 23, 2020. The rescheduling of the grand jury will be announced at a future date. If any one with the grand jury has any questions, please fee free to contact the District Attorney's office at 337-363-3438."

Ville Platte City Council Approves Additional Ambulance Service in City

Following major decisions at the Ville Platte City Council’s July regular meeting, the city will have another choice in ambulance service and ten new single-family homes. In a unanimous decision the Council voted Tuesday to allow MedExpress Ambulance Service to operate in the city limits. Up to this point, only Acadian Ambulance served Ville Platte. MedExpress will now begin looking for a location in the city to put its office, where it will house one unit. Until then, its ambulances will be dispatched from Opelousas. Director of Operations Tyler Martin told the Council that the move will bring eight jobs to the city, including four EMT positions, four paramedic positions, and two office jobs. He said that MedExpress is committed to having local workers fill the jobs. Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said that she has already spoken to Evangeline Parish 911, which told her that there would be no problems with rotating the calls between Acadian and MedExpress. Martin told the Council that having two ambulance services in the city would ensure that the patient is always getting the closest ambulance in the case of an emergency. Although MedExpress can only operate within the city limits for emergency calls, Martin also told the Council that the company is investigating putting a unit in Mamou, and possibly one in Vidrine. MedExpress has a VIP Membership plan that does not have any membership fees. Anyone who is enrolled in the VIP plan receives up to 30 percent off of transportation costs. Martin and MedExpress attorney Alyssa Tassin emphasized the community outreach that MedExpress is dedicated to providing, including cooperating with public schools to conduct EMT classes and partnering with the police department for telemedicine. In another important decision, the Council agreed to sell twelve lots in the Eloi Demourelle Subdivision along North Dossman Street to Community Directions, Inc., for $20,000. The non-profit organization based in Opelousas will develop the 1.7 acre property, building ten single-family detached homes for rent or purchase. The homes will have two bedrooms. Chad Hesnor Contractors will build the homes, using local laborers and purchasing the material locally. In other business, Mayor Vidrine reminded residents and business owners of the Gov. Edward’s recent mandate for people to wear masks. “The City of Ville Platte is following the mandate,” Vidrine said. “We are also requesting that business put a sign on its doors when entering that masks are required.” “Let’s take politics out of it,” she said. “It’s not political. It’s about health. It’s to save lives. Be kind. Be considerate. Be good Ville Platte human beings that car about each other.” In an interview with KVPI after the meeting, Vidrine said that business that fail to enforce the mask mandate could be cited, but the citations do not apply to individuals. Before citing the businesses, Vidrine said that the police would first have a discussion with the business owner to emphasize the seriousness of following the mandate. “But, I hope it doesn’t come to that,” she said. The mayor added that the citywide curfew is still in effect: from 11 pm – 5 am for adults; and from 8 pm – 6 am for minors. Councilman Bryant Riggs suggested a bonus program to help with hiring police officers. He noted that Ville Platte has raised it’s salary to $15/hour for officers, which is higher than the surrounding police departments. Riggs mentioned that both Opelousas and Eunice pay just $12/hour for its officers. He suggested a hiring bonus for experienced, post-certified new hires. Mayor Vidrine said that the city’s legal department will look into the possibility of such a program and implement it if possible. “Unlike in other places of the United States,” Vidrine said, “we do not believe in defunding the police. In fact, we added $300,000 to the police budget. The City Council has done everything in its power to have officers on the road patrolling and protecting our community.” Vidrine reminded the public that there are openings in the police department and encouraged people to pick up an application. She also noted that there are currently 12 positions open in the city’s street department, and encouraged people to apply for those positions. The Council approved spending $18,040 to repair a cave-in at the intersection of South Dossman and Magnolia streets. According to City Engineer Ronnie Landreneau, there is a chance that the cost could go up if the proposed method of repair isn’t feasible. Mayor Vidrine announced a partnership with Evangeline Parish Tourism to clean up and improve Heritage Park.

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