On September 18, 2013 the Ville Platte Police Department received a report of an adult behaving inappropriately with a juvenile. Detectives conducted an investigation and upon completion of the investigation arrested Javona Rose, 18 of 1317 West Beech Street, Ville Platte. Rose was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on September 18, 2013 and charged with aggravated rape of a juvenile. Rose was transferred to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Jail where he remains incarcerated on a $250,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
On Monday September 23, 2013 at approximately 8:39 p.m. Officers with the Ville Platte Police Department conducted a traffic stop on a suspicious vehicle near a business in the 800 block of East LaSalle. Officers arrested Angela Edwards 31, of 708 Forrest Drive, Oakdale. Ms. Edwards was charged with possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Ms. Edwards was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail where she remains on a $10,000.00 bond.
At approximately 9:02 p.m. on Monday September 23, 2013, Officers responded to a robbery call at a local business in the 1300 block of East Main Street. Officers and Detectives arrived on scene and determined that the armed suspect fled the business on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash. Detectives stated that the suspect was wearing a blue hoodie, blue jeans and a stocking mask over his face. Detectives are asking anyone that may have been in the area of East LaSalle at approximately 9:02 p.m. on the 23rd to call with any information.
Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue reminds residents that calling in tips will help the department remove these offenders from our city streets. If you have any information regarding this or any other illegal activity you are asked to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. You call will remain anonymous.
On September 10, 2013 the Ville Platte Police Department executed a search warrant on East Washington Street. Arrested was Derrick Andrew John, 20 of 120 East Washington Street. John was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and charged with possession with intent to distribute cocaine, possession of drug paraphernalia, 3 counts of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon and possession of a firearm in the presence of a controlled dangerous substance. John’s bond was set at $50,000.00 and he was transferred to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office.
To report any illegal or suspicous activity please call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. All callers will remain anonymous.
A Pine Prairie man has been charged with aggravated arson. Pine Prairie Assistant Chief Chauncey Fontenot told KVPI News that Shannon P. Daigle of 1515 Holly Street, Pine Prairie was charged Sept. 12 with aggravated arson. Fontenot said the suspect was seen intentionally attempting to light a trailer on fire at a trailer park at the 1800 block of Beech Street by putting gasoline on the front steps, yard and lighting the fuel trail. The fire department was able to put out the fire. The complainant’s wife and children were home. The suspect was then observed putting the gas can in the trunk of his vehicle and leaving from the crime scene. He was later located on Sept. 16 at the Evangeline Parish Jail where he is being held on other charges. His bond has been set at $150,000 by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
The Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce today (Monday) had two guest speakers at its meeting at the Cock’s Tail restaurant.
Kelli Buller and Mable Forman spoke on the 60th Louisiana Cotton Festival coming up October 8-13 at the Civic Center and Grounds. It was announced that King Cotton will be Secretary of State Tom Shedler, Col. Cotton Suzie Lemoine, Parade Marshal- Judge John Saunders and Mr. and Mrs. Cotton-Bob and Barbara Buroker. The Cotton Festival Grand Parade of Cotton will roll down Main Street in Ville Platte at noon Sunday October 13. Those wishing to enter the parade, please contact Vicky at city hall.
Also speaking at the Chamber meeting were Library Director Mary Foster-Galosso and Suzie Lemoine about the progress on the new main library facility. Galosso said work is primarily complete on the outside of the structure however work continues inside the new library. The move is expected sometime later this fall. A moving company will be employed to move the shelving, furniture , books and material to the new library complex. The Friends of the Library has begun a fund raiser selling memorial pavers. For more information contact the library.
Chamber President Dr. Kirk Soileau reported there are 155 members enrolled in the chamber. He announced that the annual Christmas parade is set for Sunday December 8. The Chamber Christmas social is planned for December 4 at the La Veille Banque location.
A special committee is being formed with Ben LeBleu, Annette Johnson and Annette Johnson to make plans to hold a July 4th celebration in Ville Platte.
On September 11, 2013, at approximately 5:30 a.m. the Ville Platte Police Department was involved in a pursuit of a 14 year old black male juvenile who fled from officers on a stolen ATV according to a spokesman for Ville Platte Police Chief Neal Lartigue. After pursuing the juvenile throughout the city, the pursuit ended when the juvenile wrecked the ATV. The Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office assisted in the apprehension of the juvenile. The juvenile was transported to the Ville Platte Police Department where he was charged with 12 counts of disobeying a stop sign, reckless operation of a vehicle, resisting an officer, 4 counts of flight from an officer, riding an ATV on roadway, possession of a stolen item and driving the wrong way on a one way.
At approximately 1:20 p.m. the Ville Platte Police Department received a complaint of a break in and property damage at a local business on Dardeau Street. Upon viewing video surveillance it was learned that the same juvenile had entered the business earlier that morning and caused damage to 5 ATV’s in a fenced in area. The juvenile was charged with simple burglary, 5 counts of attempted theft and 5 counts of criminal damage to property. The total amount of damages has not been determined at this time but is so far over $2,000.00.
The juvenile was booked on charges from both incidents and then transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office where he faces a charge of theft and other possible charges. After paperwork was completed at both agencies the juvenile was released to a guardian until the court date.
As a reminder, there is an ongoing homicide investigation of Joseph John. Chief Neal Lartigue and Detectives continue to reach out to the community to help remove this violent criminal from the streets of our city. If you have any information at all you are asked to call, even if the information may seem insignificant or something small. Working together the streets can be safer for everyone. To call in with tips on this case call 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, adopted a new “animal adoption” agreement for anyone wishing to adopt a pet from the city animal shelter. The city took the action after receiving complaints from state animal control officials and People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) over the way some people were taking care of their pets after adoption. Now, when a pet adoption takes place, the new owner must sign an agreement promising to properly take care of their new pet and take them to the vet.
In other business, the city council approved the new Evangeline Parish emergency plan as presented by the director of emergency preparedness, Liz Hill. The 800 page plan lays out all emergency contingency plans for such emergencies such as hurricanes, tornadoes, flooding and ice storms. During an emergency declaration, Liz Hill will oversee all emergency operations for the entire parish.
In other action, the city council approved calling for public hearings on October 8 to get public comment on proposed ordinances dealing with used mobile homes and usage of propane.
Mayor Jennifer Vidrine said the mobile home ordinance mandates that the owner must make sure the mobile home meet certain minimum standards and must pass inspection by the city building inspector before it can be moved in the city.
The proposed ordinance dealing with propane mandates that the usage can only for use to outside cooking and recreational purposes. The bottle size will be limited to seven gallons. It will unlawful to use propane to heat and cook inside a structure. No propane bottles can be stored inside a residence.
In other business:
--received news that the city spent $25,000 more in the month of August than the previous month due primarily to a $21,000 legal bill;
--reappointed Edward Arvie and David Ortego to another term to serve on the Police and Fire Civil Service Board;
--heard from Fire Chief Ted Demourelle report that the fire department received 28 calls including four structure fires in August;
--heard from Police Chief Neal Lartigue announce that the police department received 608 calls in August with 101 arrests, 8 felony arrests and worked 34 traffic accidents;
--received news that the cost to repair a water wll and repairs to the Sewer plant will amount to $100,000;
--heard that the film crew will be coming in to film a documentary in Ville Platte the week of October 7.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Monday, followed the advice of their legal advisor, to deny a request from the Pine Prairie Energy Center to declare the Industrial Development Board as tax exempt. The request from Pine Prairie Energy and the local Industrial Development Board, created by the police jury, came during the annual review for any property owner protesting their tax bills.
The attorneys for both Pine Prairie Energy and the Industrial Development Board said they are appealing a tax bill by the Evangeline Parish Assessor over property owned by Pine Prairie Energy and transferred to the Industrial Development Board. The issue is now before the local state district court. It was learned that Judge Tom Fuselier has ruled in favor of Pine Prairie Energy over the ownership of pipeline property. A second issue has still before the court on whether the Industrial Development Board, created by the police jury, is tax exempt.
Attorney Tony Walker, representing the Industrial Development Board, said a memorandum of understanding was reached between the board and Pine Prairie Energy granting the private company a property tax exemption for 15 years in exchange for the company to locate in Easton. Walker said such agreements are standard throughout the state as an incentive to attract private industry and businesses to relocate.
Parish Assessor Dirk Deville, who initially agreed to the agreement, said he got involved when the firm transferred pipeline property over to the Industrial Development Board. After consultation with a specialist in pipeline laws, Deville was advised that the entire agreement was unconstitutional. Deville has been attempting to collect property taxes from the company.
As a result, Pine Prairie Energy stopped adding additional gas storage caverns to its Easton facility and has begun a similar operation in Mississippi.
Dr. William “Tojo” Ward said until this legal issue is resolved, “a dark cloud hangs over any prospect of economic development in our parish. We cannot compete with other parishes. It is a nightmare that is never ending. What kind of message are we sending to business and industry?” he said.
Ward reminded the jury that Pine Prairie Energy has been a good neighbor to the entire parish spending over $12 million dollars in this parish.
Police Jury Attorney Greg Vidrine advised the jury that that the issue is beyond their authority and scope. The jury can only rule on the whether the valuation on a given property is too high or low, not on whether it should be exempted or reduced to zero.
The board also took no action on a second protest from Spectra Corporation, the owner of the old Parkview Plaza Shopping Center.
In other action, the police jury:
--appointed Dustin Vidrine as new Public Works Director by a vote of 5-4. Vidrine received votes from Rocky Rider, Ryan Williams, Richard Thomas,, Bryan Vidrine and Kevin Veillon. Former Public Works Director Chester Granger received votes from Ryan Ardoin, Knny Burgess, Eric Soileau and Lamar Johnson;
--approved plans for the construction of a new 9-1-1 Communications facility at the Industrial Park;
--appointed Hunter Soileau to replace Pat Soileau on the Fire Protection District Two Board;
--sent best wishes to retiring Secretary Treasurer Doug Deville who is stepping down at this month.
The Ville Platte Police Department continues to ask for help from the public.
Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department would like to remind everyone that as the investigation into the homicide of Joseph John continues, any information from the public would be very helpful. “It takes time for lab results, crime analysis and coroner reports to come back.” Chief Lartigue said, “We know that as time passes a killer is still free and we are working diligently to get information that will help convict this person” Chief Lartigue stated that the public is reluctant to get involved and that fear is making it harder to get information. “We continue to ask for help and continue to remind everyone that all information shared with this department is kept confidential and anonymous.” Chief Lartigue said, “We don’t want anyone to live in fear and will keep them anonymous but someone walking our streets killed another person and if you know something and don’t come forward anonymously, you are helping this person remain free.” Chief Lartigue feels that it cannot be stressed enough that this case is not at a stand still. They continue to devote many man hours to tracking leads, sorting information, requesting information, working with the Acadiana Crime Lab, obtaining records and speaking to every caller that calls with information. This case has not been forgotten and will not be put on the back burner.” Chief Lartigue stated. “We want justice for the family and safety for the community.”
Detectives want citizens to know that even if the information they have may seem insignificant or small, they still want to hear from you. Every bit of information can help put their current information in a different light or tie up a loose end.
To speak to a detective confidentially, you can call 363-1313. You can speak with any detective you choose or Chief Lartigue. Call anyone within the department that you feel comfortable speaking too, just call.
LOUISIANA COTTON FESTIVAL CHILDREN’S COURTS:
Held this past weekend
FROM THE COURT OF BABY TEE-COTTON:
QUEEN BABY TEE-COTTON – ZARIAH TAFFI -- DAUGHTER OF NATALIE FONTENOT AND JESSI TAFFI
FROM THE COURT OF TINY TEE-COTTON:
PRINCESS TINY TEE-COTTON – EMMA LEWIS -- DAUGHTER OF JOSEPH AND KAYLA LEWIS
QUEEN TINY TEE-COTTON – KYLIE TUBRE --DAUGHTER OF DAVID AND HANNAH TUBRE
KING TINY TEE-COTTON – HUDSON MANUEL -- SON OF JOEL AND MORGAN MANUEL
FROM THE COURT OF TEE-COTTON:
DUCHESS TEE-COTTON – CHAZZLYN BEN --DAUGHTER OF CHAD AND CELESTE BEN
PRINCESS TEE-COTTON – SIERRA FONTENOT --DAUGHTER OF SHAWN AND SAMANTHA FONTENOT
QUEEN TEE-COTTON – CAMILLE GUILLORY -- DAUGHTER OF ROBERT AND LAUREN GUILLORY
FROM THE COURT OF COTTON SEED:
QUEEN COTTON SEED –AMELIA FONTENOT -- DAUGHTER OF JASON AND AMY FONTENOT
FROM THE COURT OF COTTON CLOTH:
QUEEN COTTON CLOTH – BECCA DISATELL -- DAUGHTER OF ROBERT AND SARAH DISATELL
FROM THE COURT OF COTTON FIBER:
PRINCESS COTTON FIBER – ELIZABETH FONTENOT -- DAUGHTER OF CHAD AND ANN FONTENOT
QUEEN COTTON FIBER – MAKAYLA JONES -- DAUGHTER OF CHARLES JONES AND CORRIE LAMBERT
FROM THE COURT OF COTTON BLOSSOM:
QUEEN COTTON BLOSSOM – DESTINY MENIER --DAUGHTER OF KATIE WILLIS AND DERRICK MENIER
The Louisiana Tournoi Association conducted its annual eliminations at the Tournoi track at the Ward One Industrial Park Sunday afternoon, according to spokesman Steve “Buffy” Guillory.
Here is how the riders ranked after the completion of the eliminations:
Nick Ortego-First, Todd Manuel-Second, Ryan Haller-Third, Shane Trahan-4th, Jody Trahan-5th, Shane Lee-6th, Ched Fontenot-7th place, Cody Manuel-8th place, Marty Fruge-9th place, Rusty Lafleur-10th place with Larry Lachney as an alternate.
The top ten will compete with the top ten riders in the 2012 Tournoi: Champion Eric Guillory who also won the fastest time award, Chuck Manuel, William Fontenot, Kent Saucier, Paul Fontenot, Alex Haller, Bryan Fontenot, Marcus Guillory, Marcus Guillory, Cody Lafleur and Keith Saucier. Chuck Manuel won the Sportsmanship award at last year’s event. One more interesting fact is that both the Champ and second place finisher each had 21 rings.
Guillory said veteran Tournoi Rider and Past Champion Gerald L. Fontenot used an electronic timer clock for a more precise timing for each rider.
There were no accidents or injuries during the elimination trials.
The Tournoi Royalty will consist of Kristi LaJack, Miss Louisiana Tournoi Queen, Darrelyn Lachney Jr. Miss Tournoi and Sydney Reed, Teen Miss Tournoi.
The running of the historic Tournoi will be held Sunday October 14 at 2:00pm at the Ward One Industrial Park in conjunction with the Louisiana Cotton Festival.
The Ville Platte Lions Club, Saturday night, sponsored their annual Ladies night and installation of officers. Special guests were Past District Governors Ethel Robin and Russell LeBlanc. President Mike Ardoin conducted the meeting. Secretary Floyd Soileau was the emcee. Dr. Philippe Vidrine was sworn in as the club’s newest member. Glen Fontenot, Charles Manuel and Presidnt Mike Ardoin were recognized for membership growth. The club’s longest serving members, Dess Fontenot and Charles Manuel gave a short history of the club and the community projects through the years. They then showed off the club’s new 70th year banner. The club was organized in September 1943 with first club president C.W. Berry. Ken Johnson received a special appreciation award from Club President Mike Ardoin. Klark Bowen was awarded as Lion of the Year. Benny Dupre received the Cooyon of the Year award. Charles Manuel won a special prize from Ethel Robin.
The new Lions Club Offiers are as follows: President Mike Ardoin, First Vice President Charles Manuel, Secretary Floyd Soileau, Treasurer Sammy Lafleur, Tail Twister Benny Dupre, Lion Tamer Ken Johnson, One Year Board Member Paul Ardoin and Two Year Board Member Klark Bowen and Membership Chairman Klark Bowen.
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury Tuesday, in a special meeting, could not agree on who to select as their new Public Works Director. The jury had four separate votes with three of the four votes coming up as tie votes.
Three of the six applicants were nominated for the position vacated by Donald Bergeron who was promoted to Secretary Treasurer effective October 1. The nominees were Former Public Works Director Chester Granger, Dustin Vidrine and Wilbur Thompson. There was one juror absent from the meeting: Richard Thomas.
The first vote was split among all three nominees: Granger receiving 4 votes, Vidrine with 3 votes and Thompson with 1 vote. Since no nominee received a majority of the votes, a second vote was taken with Thompson out of the race: Granger and Vidrine each received 4 votes. After recesses and discussions with their legal advisor, the jury took two more votes on the position with the same results: a 4-4 tie vote.
Some jurors felt that since Granger received a plurality of the votes in the first vote, he should have been elected. Jury President Bryan Vidrine explained that the jury follows Robert’s Rules of Order and the rules call for a majority of the votes as the deciding factor.
The jury by a vote of 5-3 requested an Attorney General’s Opinion on the issue . Meanwhile, the jury agreed to continue the special meeting at 5:45 next Monday September 9 before the regular meeting to attempt to resolve the issue.
In other news, a police jury committee approved by a vote of 3-1 to pay new Secretary Treasurer Donald Bergeron the same pay rate that retiring Doug Deville was being paid: $57,000 plus benefits.
The Evangeline Parish School Board approved a recommendation from its business manager to purchase the necessary software to help track employees in connection with the far reaching effects of the Affordable Health Care Act. The law, better known as Obama Care, mandates employers to provide health care coverage to employees that work 30 hours or more. Employers who fail to comply with the provisions will be penalized with hefty fines from the Internal Revenue Service.
The school board is planning to spend $8950 initially for the tracking software and the annual license will amount to $17,300.
Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin said “It has been taxing for all of us to comply with this health care law.”
Business Manager Amy Lafleur also had some good news for employees. The state has restored the 2.75% growth factor with the Minimum Foundation Formula funding to local school districts. The school district will receive $604, 662 from the extra funds. Professionals and support personnel will receive an additional check in October from the additional funds. Professionals will receive a one time check of $525 while Support Personnel will receive $236.
In other action:
--received news that sales tax collections dropped by $220,497 in August as compared to August of 2012;-
--adopted the new 2013 fiscal year budget.
The Ville Platte Fire Department is investigating a fire that heavily damaged an unused building at 1004 North Reed Street. Police Chief Ted Demourelle said the fire call came in at 2:12 this morning for the fire at the cinder block and metal building located near Parkview Shopping Center and Village De Memoire. Two fire engines and a ladder truck along with 15 firefighters responded to the early morning fire. The building had no electricity. One side of the building was fully involved by the time firefighters arrived at the scene.
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The Louisiana Swamp Pop Museum operated by the City of Ville Platte is open to the public every Friday and Saturday from 10:00am to 3:00pm. Come view the amazing artifacts, photos, records, Wall of Fame and hear the music. Admission charge is $3 adults, $2 seniors and $1 for children under 12. The museum is located on Northwest Railroad Avenue.