KVPI had a drawing of everyone who qualified for our promotion to win Wayne Toups concert tickets. Congratulations to our three winners: Danny Lahaye, Darrell Fontenot and Lisa Lee. Each of our winners have won a pair of tickets to see Wayne Toups on concert Saturday Feb. 1 at Paragon Casino in Marksville Platte. Thank you to everyone who qualified to win.
Ville Platte City Council Meeting
January 22, 2020
The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday , discussed a growing crime problem through the city and agreed upon solutions to combat the crime issue.
Two representatives of the business community attended the meeting, Cody Vidrine of Ace Hardware and Angie Shexnayder of Ville Platte Clinic Pharmacy.
Vidrine related three recent incidents of crimes around his business involving juveniles. He said “I am not worried about dirty streets . We need to get more police on our streets.” He was commenting about the fact that the police chief announced he has only one officer on patrol per shift in the city. “It is time for us to do something. This is getting out of control. If something is not done, someone is going to get killed.”
Angie Shexnayder was surprised at the low pay a police officer gets. “My pharmacy techs are making more money than our police officers who are risking their lives.”
City Councilman Bryan Riggs commented “We lost population in the city and crime increased. We raised utility fees to correct the budget deficit and to give more money to our police force.
The city council has approved hiring ten additional police officers. Two were hired last night. The problem is that a police officer has to become post certified by attending special training at a police academy for several months. One of the two officers hired last night is post certified so she can go to work immediately.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that as of Thursday, all calls to the city police will automatically go to 9-1-1 dispatchers. The savings of some $80-100,000 will be used to beef up the police force.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine also announced that a new free anonymous tip app will launch for Ville Platte residents in February to help fight crime.
The problem is low pay for police officers. The city council agreed to gradually raise the pay for police officers to $15 an hour to compete with police departments such as Opelousas. The police chief said the newly trained officers in Ville Platte are leaving the city to better paying jobs elsewhere.
The city council approved giving the authority for the police chief to hire new officers after consultation and approval with the mayor without having to wait for the full city council’s approval.
The city council asked the city attorney to review options to restrict operations at the L&V Store where loitering is common and has been the scene of a shooting.
In other action:
--C.P.A. Vic Slaven reviewed the finding of an audit on the city’s financial records that ended as of June 30 of last year and gave the city a clean unmodified opinion;
--the city spent $57,000 in December than in November and Mayor Jennnifer Vidrine blames the increase to payment of the auditor, the payment of an insurance premium and repairing a sewer pump;
--voted to get an estimate on the cost to repair its city street sweeper;
--approved paying a longevity pay increase to city employees who have been with the city for five years or more. The cost will be $14,688;
--the city council welcomed the new Evangeline Chamber Director Erin Hoffpauir;
--heard the fire chief report for December: 27 calls, 4 structure fires and 6 grass fires;
-heard the police chief give his December report: 360 calls, 19 citations, 32 arrests, 11 felony arrests and worked 38 accidents;
--announced that the city has demolished five abandoned properties in December;
--approved a liquor permit for the Swamp Pop Reunion dance on Feb. 24 at the civic center.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from two guest speakers representing Cameron in Ville Platte. Abby Landreneau and Jared Blanchard spoke about what is going at Cameron/Schlumberger.
Abby Landreneau began her presentation with a video clip produced by an employee giving a history of the Ville Platte facility. Cameron opened at the Ward One Industrial park in 1983. In 2015, the plant was purchased by Schlumberger. The facility manufactures valves for the oil and gas industry ranging in size from 2 inch to 42 inch.
There are currently 310 employees working at Cameron. In 2019, 59 percent of the workforce lived in Evangeline Parish. The plant produced 11 million dollars in sales for Evangeline Parish and paid 1.5 million dollars in taxes to the parish.
She reported on the numerous community outreach projects they do every year including: the annual children’s Christmas party for hardship students, giving tours to school students and assisting with the special Olympics.
Blanchard reported that the TC Energy Trans Canada Louisiana Express Pipeline from Appalachia to Louisiana will add three compressor stations in the state. One of those stations will be located in the St. Landry area near Chicot Park in Evangeline Parish. All of the control valves being used in this project are being manufactured at the Ville Platte facility.
The facility is known for building the “Cadillac” of ball valves in the oil and gas industry known as the “Cameron Valve”that are shipped world wide. The cost of a 2 inch valve is $2000 while the huge 42 inch size value has a price tag of $130,000.
Landreneau, in an answer to a question from a club member, said market conditions may change but she did not expect any additional personnel layoffs.
In other club business, the rotary club approved the appointment of Bob Manuel to the board replacing Dr. Jerry Veillon who has retired. Bob joins the rest of the board: Annette Johnson, Larry Lachney, Dr. Joey Soileau, Wayne Vidrine and Nicole Wenger.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced she will be meeting with Suddenlink and Centurylink officials soon to encourage the companies to improve their internet service to Ville Platte. She will also talk with Suddenlink about putting KVPI back on KVPI on cable lineup.
Evangeline Parish School Board Meeting
January 15, 2020
Certified Public Accountant Vic Slaven of the C.P.A. firm, Kolder, Slaven and Company on Wednesday presented the findings of its audit of the financial records of the Evangeline Parish School Board during the board’s meeting. Slaven gave the board a “clean” opinion with no findings. He called it a good report. The ending fund balance in the general fund for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019 showed the school district having $8.6 million dollars in its account.
A member of the audience, Rufus Serailles, addressed the board after the audit report to complain about a salary discrepancy. He asked board members if they were aware that certain members of the school board office staff received a $6,000 a year pay raise while teachers only received a $1000 pay raise.
School Board Legal Advisor, Assistant District Attorney Betsy Jackson, told Serailles that he was out of order since his subject matter did not deal directly with the subject of the audit. Board President Wayne Dardeau suggested to the speaker that the issue he raised would have to be brought at another time.
Chief Financial Officer Amy Lafleur announced that two schools in the Basile area will pilot a new program using school accounting software. The software will offer the option for parents to pay fees on line rather than cash to the schools. It is expected other schools will soon be offering the payment options as well.
School Superintendent Darwan Lazard praised CFO Amy Lafleur and her staff for the good audit report findings. She has been serving in that capacity for the school district for 19 years. Lazard also announced that she has been named as new Finance Secretary to the Louisiana School Business Officers Association.
Amy Lafleur reported that sales tax collections dropped by $18,000 over the same time a year earlier for the month of December. However, overall collections, year to date still show a healthy balance with over $219,000 more that the same period a year earlier.
Supt. Lazard introduced two new appointments: Miss Willie Goodley will serve as Interim Principal at Ville Platte High . She has over 40 years in education with 20 years serving at Basile and Mamou schools;
Cherie Fontenot will serve as new Acting Elementary Supervisor for the school district. She has served more than 27 years in education. She was named as Louisiana Elementary Principal of the Year and worked at James Stephens Montessori School.
Mr. Lazard also announced that Tom Prudhomme was recently appointed in the maintenance crew in AC, Heating and Electrical work.
It was announced that Monday is a holiday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day while Tuesday will be a day of Professional Development where students will not attend classes.
As per Clerk of Court, Randy Deshotel, candidates that have qualified as of 4:30 p.m., Friday, January 10, 2020, to run for office in the upcoming April 4, 2020 election are as follows:
City Marshall, City Court, City of Ville Platte
Lisa M. Doucet
Horace Johnson, Jr.
Lucian McKinney, Jr.
Brian Keith Fontenot
Democratic Parish Executive Committee, Member at Large
Chasity Ann Vidrine
Kelli Ritter Buller
Phillip Allen Lemoine
Brian James Ardoin
John B. Vidrine
Democratic Parish Executive Committee, District 1
Democratic State Central Committee, Office “A”
Jennifer L. Vidrine
Democratic State Central Committee, Office “B”
Republican Parish Executive Committee, Member at Large
Bryan Kirk Vidrine
Warren James Lafleur
Toni Lyon Aguillard
Republican Parish Executive Committee, District 1
Warren James LaFleur, Jr.
Republican Parish Executive Committee, District 4
Opal Andrus Johnson
Qualifying brought more candidates on Day Two
January 9, 2020
Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel informed KVPI News that the following candidates qualified in his office today for the various offices on Day Two of qualifying for the April 4 special election:
Member at Large for the Evangeline Parish Republican Executive Committee:
Kenny Burgess, Bryan Kirk Vidrine, Warren James Lafleur and Toni Lyon Aguillard;
District One, Evangeline Parish Republican Executive Committee: Warren James Lafleur.
Qualifying ends Friday at the Clerk of Court’s Office in the courthouse
Five people qualified today for Ville Platte City Marshal
January 8, 2020
Qualifying for Ward One City Marshal began with five candidates officially qualifying for the office in the special April 4 election. The election is being held to fill the unexpired term of the late Ronald T. Doucet. Among the candidates who qualified with Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel in the courthouse include: Adam Toussaint, Lisa Doucet, Horace Johnson Jr., Lucian McKinney Jr and Brian Keith Fontenot. The qualifying continues through Friday at the Clerk of Court’s office.
Also qualifying today for positions in the parish and state levels of the Democratic Party: Chasity Vidrine qualified for the Democratic Parish Executive Committee Member at Large while Jennifer L. Vidrine qualified for Office A in the Democratic State Central Committee.
Driver Killed in Two-Vehicle Crash in St. Landry Parish
Prairie Ronde – Shortly after 12:15 p.m. on January 5, 2020, Troopers from Louisiana State
Police Troop I began investigating a two-vehicle crash on LA Hwy 103 at McGuffy Road in St.
Landry Parish. The crash took the life of 57-year-old Stephanie Soileau of Ville Platte.
The initial investigation by State Police revealed that the crash occurred as Soileau was driving
North on LA 103, in a 2014 Nissan Maxima, when she failed to negotiate a curve and crossed the
centerline. After doing so, her vehicle struck a southbound 2005 Chevrolet Avalanche.
Soileau was restrained at the time of the crash. She was transported to a local hospital in critical
condition where she ultimately succumbed to her injuries. The driver of the Avalanche was
properly restrained and was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. Impairment is
unknown but standard toxicology samples were obtained from both drivers. This crash remains
This marks the first fatality crash of 2020 for LSP Troop I.
Louisiana State Troopers wish to remind motorists that making good choices while in motor
vehicles such as observing all traffic laws, never driving while impaired or distracted, and always
ensuring every occupant is properly restrained can often mean the difference between life and
Sheriff Eddie Soileau, of the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office has released the following:
Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Department is relieved after capturing a white male subject identified as Timothy Kordish a known suspect involved in a recent Carjacking at a camp outside the city limits of Mamou, LA.
Thursday January 2, 2020 Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Deputies apprehended Kordish safely and without incident at a residence on the 1200 block of Baldridge Road.
Initially on Thursday, December 19, 2019, Deputies were called out for the theft of a motor vehicle. After a brief gathering of information it was learned that a white male subject identified as Timothy Kordish had taken William Reed’s vehicle without consent. Reed had invited Kordish to spend the day with him and his girlfriend at a camp off the Bond Road. Prior to departing while Reed was not present in the vehicle, Kordish armed himself with a rifle. He then threatened Reed’s girlfriend with the rifle while they were waiting on Reed to return. At some point she was able to exit the vehicle without harm. After which Kordish drove off in the vehicle and didn’t return. The vehicle was later recovered.
An Affidavit for Arrest and an Arrest Warrant was immediately authored for Carjacking and Aggravated Assault with a Firearm. The Warrant was approved and signed by 13th Judicial Judge Chuck West.
Kordish is currently being held at the Evangeline Parish jail on a $50,000.00 bond.
Ville Platte City Council Meeting
December 23, 2019
The Ville Platte City Council, in a special meeting today (Tuesday) approved a request from Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue to enter into a contract with Evangeline Parish 9-1-1 Communications District to provide dispatching services for the city police department.
The chief said the action will save the city some $100,000 a year. All but one police department dispatchers will remain on in another capacity such as jailers.
Chief Lartigue addressed concerns about the police station remaining open after hours. He reported that the police station will remain open and there will be a phone for the public’s use in the police department lobby for emergency usage.
He expects the move over to 9-1-1 will take place in the next few months.
New director of Evangeline Chamber of Commerce and Evangeline Parish Tourist Commission to take over January 1
VILLE PLATTE, La., December 18, 2019
The board members of the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce and the Evangeline Parish Tourist Commission are pleased to announce that Ms. Erin Hoffpauir will begin serving as the Executive Director of both organizations at the beginning of 2020.
Erin, an Evangeline Parish native, grew up on her family’s farm in Vidrine. Erin has almost a decade of experience in multiple facets of retail management. Her experiences focus on business development, customer service and retention, and employee supervision.
With a heart for animals, Erin has worked directly with animal rescue organizations to raise funds for housing and care of displaced animals. She plans to put her fund-raising skills to work in her new position in Evangeline Parish.
Erin is a passionate, driven individual who plans to give her all to Evangeline Parish. She understands the needs and potentials of the communities in this heritage-rich area and looks forward to putting her experiences, training, and education to use with the Evangeline Chamber of Commerce and the Evangeline Parish Tourist Commission.
Hoffpauir fills the position following former executive director Renee Brown’s departure to begin a new career with Mercy Regional Medical Center.
2019 Food Net Food Drive
Dec. 10, 2019
Despite the winter weather conditions and a power outage, local and area residents braved the inclement weather to make a donation at local drop off locations for the Food Net Food Drive.
Here in Ville Platte, the drop off location was at the Ville Platte Civic Center pavilion. Volunteers were there from 5;00am to 8:00pm to greet donors and remove the boxes of food from vehicles.
DJ Jude Dardeau provided holiday music for the volunteers throughout the day. KVPI was there during the morning with a live remote. TV 10 was there with a report.
At mid day, Gene Fontenot with the Christian Care and Share Center announced that monetary donations had already matched last year’s total : $2000.
Other drop off locations included Mamou, Pine Prairie and Eunice.
Evangeline Parish Police Jury
December 10, 2019
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury held their annual all French meeting today (Tuesday) in the courthouse before a standing room only crowd of dignitaries, visitors and well-wishers. The all French meeting has become a tradition for the police jury and is the only police jury in the state that is conducting an official meeting in another language.
Police Juror Eric Soileau conducted the meeting for President Ryan LeDay Williams. Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel offered an opening prayer in French. The camp jammers Cajun music group performed the National Anthem.
The French Immersion students from Ville Platte and Mamou performed special Christmas songs sung in French.
Attorney Gilbert W. Aucoin and his wife, Margaret “Chicken” Aucoin announced to the group that the next Grand Hoorah Cajun music event is planned for April 17-24 at Chicot State Park. Margaret Aucoin announced that she will begin hosting classes in the new year to teach residents how to speak French. Musician Dave Johnson of Basile introduced the members of his musical group who entertained the crow in the foyer.
State Representative mike Huval thanked Supt. Of School Darwan Lazard for supporting and introducing the French Immersion program in Evangeline Parish schools. He urged residents to support our Cajun French heritage and not lose it.
The police jury recognized retired police jury Larry Buller who was in attendance. Buller served on the jury for 24 years and also served as president.
In other action the police jury:
--reappointed Greg Monier to the Mamou Fire District Board for another two year term;
--reappointed Randall Fruge and Albert Neil LeJeune to the Acadia-Evangeline Fire District for a two year term;
--reappointed Opal Johnson as a member to the Evangeline Tourism Board;
--recognized all of the public officials that included:
Senator Elect Heather Cloud; Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel; Assessor Dirk Deville, Judges Chuck West and Gary Ortego, Chataignier Mayor Justin Darbonne, District Attorney Trent Brignac, City Marshal Lisa Doucet, Sheriff Elect Charles Guillory, Rep. Mike Huval, Rep. Elect Rhonda Butler, Ville Platte Councilwoman Faye Lemoine, Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine, Turkey Creek Mayor Phillip Cavins, Supt of Schools Darwan Lazard and Registrar of Voters Lucas Buller.
Ville Platte City Council
December 10, 2019
The Ville Platte City Council Tuesday, voted to deposit $209,174 to begin a reserve fund for future uses. The excess funds come from a Louisiana Workers Compensation dividend check. The council agreed to use $15,000 from the dividend to purchase equipment such as weed eaters and lawn mowers to be used in work projects. The city is planning to use inmate labor along with new workers to pursue those work projects.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the city spent $26,000 more in November than it did in October. She blames the cost increase to the purchase of a new pump for a sewer lift station and repairs on a water well.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that the city will have a new free app for local residents to use with their smart phone . The app is called “Tips Ville Platte.” Local residents can send a tip on a crime to police without giving their identity. The app should launch sometime in January.
In other action the Ville Platte City Council:
approved the appointment of Trojan Harrison as a new fulltime paid firefighter;
approved a mandatory 2 percent increase in pay for Ville Platte firefighters;
received a report from Fire Chief Chris Harrison that the month of November showed there were six structural fires, six grass fires and one vehicle fire for a total of 24 fire calls;
appointed Coach Lionel Anderson as new Mayor Pro Temp;
voted to call their January meeting to be held January 21 at 5;00pm;
approved eight more properties for demolition in the city limits;
voted to approve the sale of liquor for the Evangeline Arts Council sponsorship of a New Year’s Eve dance;
received a police report from Chief Neal Lartigue: 299 calls in November, issued 19 citations, 39 arrests including 9 felony arrests and worked 38 traffic accidents.
Ville Platte Rotary Club December 3, 2019 The Ville Platte Rotary Club met today (Tuesday) at the Family Life Center. The guest speaker was Doug Ireland, executive director of the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame is located in Natchitoches. Out of 150 sports figures nominated this year, eight were chosen to be inducted in Hall of Fame next year in June: Phil Robertson, Nick Saban, Charles Tillman, Angela Turner, Ronnie Coleman, Lou Dunbar, Joe Horn and Kerry Kittles. The Hall of Fame began by the Louisiana Sports Writers Association in 1958. There are three inductees from Evangeline Parish including Pine Prairie High Basketball Coach Leslie Gaudet, who won over 1000 games in his long career and never received a technical foul. Also in the Sports of Fame is Opelousas native Rod Milburn of Opelousas who won the 1972 Olympics in the 110 meter hurdles. He was the guest speaker of Rotarian Garland Forman. In other business, Rotary Club President Nicole Wenger announced the proposed slate of officers approved by the club to begin the new year in July: President Peter Strawitz; President Elect-Michael Lemoine; Vice President -Jimmy LeBlanc; Treasurer-Vic Slaven; Secretary- Susan Saunders. The board members will include: Annette Johnson, Larry Lachney, Dr. Jerry Veillon, Wayne Vidrine, Dr. Joey Soileau and Nicole Wenger. Wenger announced that the annual club Christmas social will be held Tuesday night Dec. 10 at 6;00pm at Café Evangeline. Due to the social, there will be no noon luncheon next week. She also reminded club members to turn in their toy donations and names of needy families for gift baskets.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reports search for two suspects in separate incidents.
On November 20, 2019 Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a disturbance on East Jefferson Street where a male suspect forced his way inside of a residence and assaulted two people inside. After further investigation, an arrest warrant has been issued for Carlos Skinner age 37, last known address of 2517 2nd Street, Ville Platte. Skinner is wanted on one count of home invasion and one count of simple battery with other charges pending.
On September 15, 2019, Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a report of an altercation at a store on Edward Knotoe Thomas Street. During the altercation the suspect pulled a weapon on another male. After further investigation a warrant has been issued for Reonna Freeman age 21, last known address of 502 Dr. Carver Street, Ville Platte. Freeman is wanted on the charge of aggravated assault with a firearm.
If you have any information on the whereabouts of any of these suspects, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue asks for information on suspect.
October 30, 2019 Officers responded to a report of an attempted armed robbery of restaurant located on West Main Street. Upon arrival Officers learned that a black male suspect entered the restaurant and attempted to rob the employees. The suspect was unsuccessful and fled the area on foot. A reward is being offered for information that leads to the arrest of the suspect involved.
If you have any information regarding the attempted armed robbery, you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Ville Platte Rotary Club hears from LSU Eunice Athletic Director Jeff Willis
November 19, 2019
The Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from LSU Eunice Athletic Director and Baseball Coach Jeff Willis. Coach Willis is one of the winningest coaches in baseball. In his 17 years with Bengal baseball, he has amassed a record of 779 wins and 178 losses, that is an 81 percent winning rate. He has coached six national championship baseball teams and has won numerous coaching awards.
Coach Willis told club members that the accolades “really doesn’t matter”. He said his primary goal and aim every day is to help young people reach their full potential.
The coach said he is excited to report that the addition of three additional sports being played at LSU Eunice: Men and Women soccer and Men’s Basketball.
As a result of the new soccer programs, it has drawn 20 international students to the school from such countries as Sweden, Denmark, Spain and Brazil. The coach shared a personal story about a student from Iraq who said he was being persecuted in his home country because of his family’s Christian faith.
The new soccer programs are doing well with the men’s team currently listed as #6 in the country and are the regional champs after only two years. The ladies program is currently #9 in the country in division two.
The men’s basketball program currently has a 6 and 1 record this season. Last year the men’s baseball team had a 51-8 record. Both the women’s basketball and women’s softball programs have new coaches.
Coach Willis was the special guest of Rotarian Mitch Fontenot.
Ville Platte Police Chief Lartigue reports break in and burglaries of a local school.
The Ville Platte Police Department has responded to two calls from James Stephens Montessori where a break in occurred on both occasions. The first incident occurred on November 12, 2019 where a nurse’s office, classroom and maintenance van were broken into. Windows were busted on the classrooms and maintenance vehicle. Items stolen were a battery powered drill with accessories, television, apple play box and mini fridge.
In the second incident it is reported on November 18, 2019, that eight or more classroom windows were broken and the suspect(s) entered these rooms and started gathering items to take. It is unclear at this time if anything was removed. Both incidents are under investigation.
Both break-ins appeared to have happened on weekends. Anyone noticing anyone suspicious in the area of James Stephens Montessori over the weekend of November 9th -12th or 16th- 18th are asked to contact the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Complete but unofficial election returns from Saturday’s election shows that Charles Guillory was elected as sheriff in Evangeline Parish. He defeated opponent Brian Ardoin: 7426 votes to Ardoin’s 4800 votes. There was no incumbent in the race.
In the Police Juror District One race, incumbent Rocky Rider was defeated b y challenger Keith Saucier. The final vote total was : Saucier receiving 816 votes to Rider’s 732 votes.
In the Police Juror District 7 race, incumbent Bryan Vidrine with 929 votes beat challenger David Ortego who got 618 votes.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards was reelected to a second term in office over Republican Challenger Eddie Rispone. The final state wide vote total showed Edwards had 51 percent of the vote to Rispone’s 49 percent of the vote. Here isn Evangeline Parish, Rispone was the top vote getter with 61 percent of the vote to Edwards 38 percent.
For Secretary of State, incumbent Kyle Ardoin was reelected to another term in office with 59 percent of the statewide vote over challenger Gwen Collins Greenup who received 41 percent of the vote. Here in Evangeline Parish the vote totals showed Ardoin, a native of Evangeline Parish, getting 71 percent of the vote whole his opponent receiving 28 percent of the vote.
All four of Pine Prairie’s millage tax renewal propositions were approved by voters. The Eunice Gravity Drainage District #9 millage proposition which includes portions of St. Landry and Evangeline Parishes was approved by voters. Here in Evangeline Parish, the district includes the Duralde area failed by a vote of 25-3.
KVPI-FM was there broadcasting complete election returns with Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel.