Pine Prairie Police were called to investigate a burglary at the Pine Prairie Post office Wednesday morning. Assistant Police Chief Chuncey Fontenot was notified that several parcel lockers in the post office lobby were burglarized. After further investigation, Jacob Montie of 1722 4th Street, Pine Prairie was arrested in connection with the burglary. All of the stolen items from the lockers were located at the suspect’s home. Jacob Montie was charged with Burglary of a Post Office and Theft of over $300. His bond was set at $12,500 by Judge Larry Vidrine and is currently under investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspector Service.
Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department reports multiple arrests and asks for information to assist detectives with ongoing investigation.
On February 6, 2014 at approximately 3:15 p.m. the Ville Platte Police Department received a report of an altercation in progress in the 1800 block of Kembo Avenue, Ville Platte. Upon arrival officers learned that an altercation had taken place between two men and one man received severe injuries which required medical treatment. Detective Chateuse James was assigned to the case and began her investigation. Detective James stated that she learned that one male subject repeatedly struck the other male with a machete in the area of his head, shoulders and back. Evidence and witness information led to the arrest of Anthony Marks 50, of 803 East Street, Opelousas. Marks was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail without incident and charged with aggravated second degree battery. Marks was transferred to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Jail where he later bonded out on a $25,000.00 bond, set by Judge Thomas Fuselier. Chief Lartigue stated that it is possible that the charges that Mr. Marks is facing could possibly upgraded by the District Attorney’s Office once they review the file.
On February 15, 2014 at approximately 2:30 p.m. three male subjects entered a residence in the 700 block of Tate Cove Road, Ville Platte and stole several miscellaneous items and left in the homeowners vehicle. During a high speed chase through the city officers from St. Landry Parish Sheriff’s Office and the Louisiana State Police became involved in the pursuit. The driver lost control of the vehicle and it crashed on the Opelousas Road. Detective Steven Deville was assigned to the case and arrested Christopher Washington 20, of 412 East Cotton Street, Ville Platte, Shaquille Freeman 19, of 414 North East Rail Road, Ville Platte and Reginald Freeman 21, of 414 North East Railroad, Ville Platte. Each of the three suspects were charged with burglary, unauthorized use of a moveable and criminal damage to property. Bond was set at $15,000.00 each by judge John Larry Vidrine. Washington, Freeman and Freeman were transferred to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail.
On February 19, 2014 at approximately 5:20 a.m. the Ville Platte Police Department responded to a call of shots fired. Upon arrival officers learned that a male subject drove to a residence and fired multiple shots which damaged a home located on the 600 block of Reed Street, Ville Platte. There were four people inside the residence at the time of the incident but no one was injured. Detective Steven Deville was assigned to the case and with evidence and witness statements arrested Sandress Calvin 28, of 1214 Martin Luther King. Calvin was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail and charged with four counts of attempted second degree murder. Calvin remains incarcerated at the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail on a $500,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
On February 21, 2014 a little after midnight the Ville Platte Police Department received multiple calls reporting shots fired in the area of East Wilson Street between Latour and Chataignier. Officers responded and the suspects had fled the area.
Chief Lartigue warns citizens that shooting a firearm in the city limits is not only dangerous, it is illegal. “We intend to fully prosecute anyone caught shooting a firearm in the city limits.” Chief Lartigue said, “People do not realize the danger of this type of behavior, when shooting a gun in the air, the bullets have to land somewhere.” Chief Lartigue also asks residents to call and report anyone they know, see or have heard was shooting a firearm. Reporting this type of crime could help the officers make an arrest and could possibly save a life. Call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous.
Chief Lartigue is also asking residents to be on the look out for people in the area who have been stealing air conditioners from businesses and homes. If you notice suspicious activity in your neighborhood or know of someone who may be involved with the thefts to please contact the department. Report any information anonymously by calling the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
FEBRUARY 25, 2014
Biologist Jody David with the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission was the special guest of Rotarian Mitch Fontenot at the Ville Platte Rotary Club meeting today (Tuesday) at noon.
David announced new rules dealing with the use of yo yos at Chicot Lake. The old rule called for the use of yo yo’s from Nov through March up to a maximum of 24. Now, the new rule calls for no date restrictions and up to 50 yo yo’s are now permitted.
The Wildlife and Fisheries Commission is considering removing the slot limit for large mouth bass at Chicot Lake .. After a study conducted at the lake, it was shown that 77 percent of fishermen fishing at Chicot Lake are practicing catch and release. David said the lake has been stocked every year since 1988 and there are approximately 2.4 million bass in Chicot Lake. There have been large bass up to 13 pounds caught in the lake.
David also said other area lakes have been stocked including Miller’s Lake, Crooked Creek and Cocodrie Lake.
State Wildlife officials plan to apply herbicide in the spring near the Landing. Also last December, the state added sterile grass carp to help control the vegetation. They are also planning to drop the lake by two feet in the fall.
The state also has issued some 32 to 40 tags for alligator harvesting at Chicot Lake this past year. The rules call for one per 100 acres of lake.
VILLE PLATTE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE MEETING
FEBRUARY 24, 2014
A joint meeting was held today (Monday) at noon at Nicks on Main for two organizations in Ville Platte, the Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club. The purpose of the meeting was to hear from South Louisiana Community College officials answer questions about the future of the Coreil Campus located in Ville Platte.
Special guests were Dr. David Volpe, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Willie Smith, Vice Chancellor for Economic and Work Force Development for South Louisiana Community College System.
Dr. Volpe said he wanted to clear any rumors about possible closure of the Coreil Campus. He said that issue has never been discussed. He said “Coreil campus is alive and well”. He introduced the new school administrator, Carleen Jones. He reported that that there are 86 students going to Coreil Campus taking courses such as auto mechanics, welding, business and nursing. He expects the enrollment in the fall will increase to 120.
He reported that registrations for the Spring Semester have stopped which was a concern to local residents so the staff can prepare a new curriculum.
Dr. Willie Buller said he and others in the community have been concerned over the “deterioration” over the enrollment numbers and the small number of instructors at the local campus. “We need to make a concerted effort for technical” or trade courses over straight academic courses.
Chamber Executive Director Camille Fontenot said her concerns are over the shrinking number of instructors at the school. Currently the business program only has one instructor.
Willie Smith said he was actively recruiting additional instructors to Coreil, T.H. Harris and other campuses in the system. He said the trouble he is having is the pay. He said, the system cannot compete with private industry that is paying instructors three times what they can pay them.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine urged school officials to try to find funding to help pay to transport students to the school.
Evangeline Parish Superintendent of Schools Toni Hamlin announced that the public school system has over 100 students taking dual enrollment courses using in house instructors. Dual enrollment gives students instruction and credit for post secondary courses.
State Representative Bernard LeBas said “I feel like the rural areas are once again being left out. All of the tax payer’s money is primarily going to the populated areas”.
TORNADO TOUCHED DOWN IN VIDRINE
FEBRUARY 21, 2014
The National Weather Service confirmed today that a EF-1 Tornado touched down in the Vidrine area destroying several garages and barns and damaging several homes. Damage to the homes consisted of some siding or roof shingle removal. One home had a tree fall on it temporarily trapping people inside but the Vidrine fire department helped rescue them and there were no injuries. At least seven power poles were snapped or pulled down along Highway ten.
Evangeline Parish Office of Emergency Preparedness Director Liz Hill reported to KVPI News that 5-7 utility poles snapped due to the high winds. A little over 1000 Cleco customers were without electricity during the event due to the broken poles and the downed power lines. Most, if not all of the power has been restored in the affected area.
Evangeline Parish Clerk of Court Randy Deshotel announced that after the closing of qualifications on Friday, February 14th at 4:30 pm, for the special election to be held April in the Village of Chataignier for the position of village alderman, only one candidate qualified; Mr. Gail “Mac” McDavid. Since only one candidate qualified there will be no election in April.
But this fall we have a very important and large election coming up. Qualifying will be August 20, 21 and 22nd, 2014. The Primary Election will be held on November 4, 2014, which is a Tuesday, as this is a federal election, and the General Election will be held on Saturday, December 6, 2014. Offices to be elected in this upcoming election are:
Supreme Court Justice
Court of Appeal Judge
School Board Members
Justices of the Peace
Ville Platte City Court Judge
Ville Plate City Court Marshall
ALL of the municipalities within Evangeline Parish (with the exception of Pine Prairie) which includes the Mayor, Chief of Police and Aldermen.
The Ville Platte Rotary Club heard from Randal and Annette Graser of Landscape Creations. Randal Graser answered questions and offered tips on landscaping and maintenance topics. He offered tips on pruning, fertilizer use, mulching, insect control as well as when and how much to water your lawns. He warned Rotarian members that tomato plants will be more expensive this year due to the cold snap we experienced this winter.
In other business, Rotary President Bill Brunet:
--invited members to attend the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce meeting next Monday February 24 at noon at Nicks on Main. An official with the Louisiana Technical College system will be in attendance to discuss the future of the Ville Platte Coreil campus;
--received a report from Larry Lachney about the Sacred Heart Interact Club. The club collected and donated 600 cans of food for the Food Drive in December. The club is currently selling memorial bricks for the prayer garden.
Helmetless Motorcycle Operator Dies in Crash
Evangeline Parish- Yesterday, Troopers with Louisiana State Police Troop I investigated a fatal crash on LA Highway 3187 near Red Lick Road which has claimed the life of a Ville Platte man.
On February 16, 2014, at 6:10 p.m. 60-year-old Terry Thrasher of Ville Plate was operating a 2001 Honda three-wheel motorcycle north on LA 3187. For reasons still under investigation Thrasher crossed the centerline, traveled off the left side of the road and struck a tree. Thrasher, who was not wearing a helmet, was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Evangeline Parish Coroner.
It is unknown if impairment was a factor in this crash; however, routine toxicology samples were obtained and will be submitted to the State Police Crime Lab for analysis.
This crash remains under investigation.
On January 20, 2014 the Ville Platte Police Department received a report of a break in at a local business on West LaSalle Street in Ville Platte. Upon arrival the officers discovered that while the suspect was in the store attempting to steal items, he was interrupted by the store owner and fled on foot. Detective Deville began his investigation and arrested Finally Had Fruge, 17 of 1202 Rev. E.D. Alfred St., Ville Platte. Fruge was charged with burglary and was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $15,000.00 bond. Fruge was transported to the Evangeline Parish Sheriff’s Office Jail.
On February 10, 2014 the Ville Platte Police Department received a report of a break in of a local business on West LaSalle. Upon arrival officers learned that alcohol and cigarettes were among items stolen from the business. Detective Hall was assigned to the case and began his investigation. Evidence along with video surveillance was collected from the scene and Detectives were able to identify and arrest the suspects on February 12, 2014.
Arrested were Brandon Leday 29, no address available, Ville Platte. Leday was charged with Simple Burglary and Criminal Damage to Property. Leday’s was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge Thomas Fuselier.
Wallace V. Lafleur 29, of 718 Harold Bordelon Circle Apt. 183, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with simple burglary. Lafleur was booked into the Ville Platte City Jail on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge Thomas Fuselier.
Chief Neal Lartigue reminds citizens to report suspicious activity to the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your tip could help solve a crime and remove a criminal from our streets. Your call will remain anonymous.
SUZY LEMOINE HONORED
FEBRUARY 14, 2014
Suzy Lemoine of Ville Platte was honored by the St. Landry/Evangeline United Way today(Friday) at noon by being named a “Woman of Heart” for Evangeline Parish. Suzy was nominated by the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce and Evangeline Tourism Commission. Former Governor Kathleen Blanco served as guest speaker for the event held at the Opelousas Civic Center.
VILLE PLATTE CITY COUNCIL MEETING
FEBRUARY 12, 2014
The Ville Platte City Council, Tuesday, approved a request from Camille Fontenot, executive director of the Ville Platte Chamber of Commerce to replace the roof on the Chamber of Commerce building. Fontenot said the chamber office is located in the city owned building. She remarked that it is raining in the building. It was noted that the lease agreement with the city revealed that the chamber is responsible for paying up to $1200 in roof repairs per year. It is estimated that it will cost from $8-10,000 to replace the roof. The council is requesting another tenant in the building, Work Force, to help pay for a portion of the replacement cost. Also attending the meeting were Dr. Kirk Soileau, President of the Chamber of Commerce and Mary Alice Fontenot, President of the Evangeline Tourism Commission.
Ville Platte Mayor Jennifer Vidrine announced that a number of Little Free Libraries will be located in city parks and in various neighborhoods. The Little Free Library is an open cabinet with shelves containing books. Residents will be invited to take a book and leave one of their own books to replace it. The project is to encourage literacy in the city.
In other action the city council:
--approved the hiring of Justin Taylor of Oakdale as a new police officer;
--approved a liquor permit for” How You Want It Seasonings” for a benefit gumbo cook off March 2 at the City Park Grand pavilion for the benefit of the new Ville Platte Boys and Girls Club;
--received a report from City Engineer Ronnie Landreneau that work crews have installed 1350 of the 1500 smart meters as part of the city water project;
--heard from Mayor Vidrine announce that the city is still accepting residents to come in and have their income tax returns done at no charge at city hall with retired IRS agents;
--received a report from Fire Chief Ted Demourelle that the Ville Platte Fire Department received 14 fire calls in the city including 7 structure fires and 2 vehicle fires for the month of January;
--received a report from Police Chief Neal Lartigue that the police department received 607 complaints in January including 21 citations, 6 felony arrests and 29 traffic accidents.
VILLE PLATTE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
FEBRUARY 11, 2014
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) heard from officials of LSU-Eunice. This is the 30th year of the local Rotary Club’s relationship with LSU-Eunice through a local funded scholarship program. Dr. William Buller, who was in charge of the program introduced LSU Eunice Chancellor Dr. William Nunez, LSU Eunice Foundation Director Madeline Landry and Judy Daniels, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. The local scholarship account funded by the rotary club has a projected market value of $91,220. The three made a special presentation to Dr. Buller for his 30 years of support to LSU Eunice.
Dr. Nunez reminded rotary club members that all LSU Eunice courses are transferable to any school. He also reported that the school was recently audited by the Southern Association of Accreditations and received a perfect report with no negative findings.
He stated that the student profile shows that the average student attending the two year college is 23 years old and 70 percent of the student population is female while 30 percent is male. Evangeline Parish is ranked third in the highest number of students attending the college. St. Landry Parish students are ranked number one with 24 percent, Acadia Parish has 17 percent with Evangeline having about 13% of the total population.
In other business, Rotarian Camille Fontenot, Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, reported on her concerns over the future of the Coreil Campus of Louisiana Technical College. She said the local school is down to one office instructor, one welding instructor and the auto mechanics instructor works here just two days a week. On top of that the school is not accepting any new students until the fall. An official with the Louisiana Technical College will be addressing the chamber at their next meeting on February 24. Rotary members were invited to attend that chamber meeting .
EVANGELINE POLICE JURY CONSIDERING COST OF LIVING PAY INCREASE FOR EMPLOYEES
FEBRUARY 10, 2018
The Evangeline Parish Police Jury, Monday, will make a decision in March whether to proceed and offer a cost of living pay raise to its employees. Jury President Ryan Ardoin said the amount of the raise will be based on each employee’s job performance. Increases in pay are under consideration for parish employees including office personnel, road and sewer department employees.
In other business, parish engineer Ronnie Landreneau informed the police jury that bids will be accepted in the next few weeks to make improvements to the pavilion at Crooked Creek Recreation Area. Also, the engineer announced that electrical and plumbing work will soon begin at the parish jail.
Landreneau said quotes will be coming in within the next ten days to snag and clean Bayou Des Cannes in District 6 as requested by Police Juror Eric Soileau.
In other action the police jury:
--reappointed Landscape Creations for the upkeep and maintenance of the courthouse grounds for $150 a month;
--agreed to enter into a cooperative endeavor agreement with Mamou Fire Protection District #1 to prepare a driveway for the fire district reach a water pit for use in obtaining water in a rural area of the parish to maintain its current fire rating;
--voted to advertise to obtain quotes for health insurance coverage;
--and reappointed its cemetery workers to maintain public owned cemeteries.
Chief Neal Lartigue with the Ville Platte Police Department reports that the D.A.R.E. program recently held a graduation ceremony for 5th grade students at Sacred Heart Elementary. D.A.R.E. Instructor- Detective Charles Patrick Hall worked with these students for 10 weeks teaching them the dangers of drugs, the ways stay drug free and other life skills such as avoiding peer pressure and bullying. At the ceremony Chief Lartigue reminded the students to remember what the D.A.R.E. program and Detective Hall taught them and those lessons will help them in every day life. Captain Shawn Duplechain assisted with the graduation and enjoyed visiting with the children who remember him as D.A.R.E officer and friend.
“The D.A.R.E. program is beneficial for the youth in our community.” Chief Lartigue said, “They learn skills necessary to avoid traps and dangers in today’s world.” Chief Lartigue also commended Det. Hall for his hard work and dedication to the youth of the community.
Detective Hall commented that he enjoys working with the children and he feels that it is important that they all know that the police are there to help them so that they aren’t afraid to reach out when they need someone. During the D.A.R.E. program the classes are asked to write and essay and Detective Hall said that choosing one from each class is a hard task. “Each student wrote a good essay and showed that they were paying attention and learned a lot from the D.A.R.E classes.” Detective Hall said. “The hardest part is choosing just one when each of them were so great.” This year’s essay winners for Sacred Heart Elementary were Kale Vidrine and Hailey Arnaud.
Guest speaker for the ceremony was Pastor Caleb Semien of Word Ministries of Eunice. He reinforced the lessons the kids learned in the D.A.R.E. program by explaining how each person is unique and special and what it means to remain drug free. Chief Lartigue offered his thanks to Pastor Semien for attending and speaking to the children. Det. Hall was honored by the graduating class who presented him with a banner that they all signed and decorated for him.
Det. Hall is currently working with 5th graders at Ville Platte High School and their graduation will be in May. Chief Lartigue is pleased with the results of the D.A.R.E. program and looks forward to this program touching the lives of these children and making a difference. “Our goal is to reach and teach as many young people as possible to help them make smarter choices so that they can grow to be good role models and productive citizens. Chief Lartigue said. “As often as we can we try to meet with these young people and it’s nice when what they learned made a lasting impression on them.
On February 1, 2014 at approximately 7:30 a.m. the Ville Platte Police Department received a call in reference to a business break in on Dardeau Street. Upon arrival Officers discovered that multiple ATVs were stolen from one business and a truck and fork lift were stolen from a second business in the area. They also discovered damage to both businesses.
Investigators were called to the scene and began their investigation. Video surveillance and evidence led to the arrest of 3 adults and 4 juveniles. A total of 6 ATV’s were recovered along with a truck and fork lift.
Kendel Freeman, 17 of West Live Oak Street, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with theft, burglary and criminal damage to property. Freeman remains incarcerated on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
Clyde Bihm Jr. 17 of 154 Buzzy Lane, Ville Platte was arrested and charged with theft, burglary and criminal damage to property. Bihm remains incarcerated on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
Damoddrick Griffin 17 of 405 North Latour Street, Ville Platte, was arrested and charged with theft, burglary and criminal damage to property. Griffin remains incarcerated on a $15,000.00 bond set by Judge John Larry Vidrine.
4 juveniles have also been charged and released to their parents pending a court date.
Chief Lartigue stated that the investigation is ongoing and more arrests could be made in this case and that there are other break ins and thefts that this group of suspects may be responsible for.
Chief Lartigue is also asking for assistance in other thefts that may or may not be related to this investigation. Multiple air conditioners have been stolen from local homes and businesses throughout the last month. If you know anything about these air conditioners the detectives want to hear from you.
“It is worthy to note that the officers and detectives were able to recover all of these items which was helpful to the business owners and citizens.” Chief Lartigue stated. Chief Lartigue would like to commend the Officers and Detectives who worked diligently throughout this investigation to find these suspects and recover the stolen items.
If you have any information on recent break ins and thefts, you are urged to call the Ville Platte Police Department at 363-1313. Your call will remain anonymous
EVANGELINE PARISH SCHOOL BOARD MEETING
FEBRUARY 5, 2014
The Evangeline Parish School Board, Wednesday, voted to authorize the superintendent handle any and all terminations of support personnel. By law under State Act One, the superintendent has the authority to hire all personnel including teachers and support staff as well as dismissing teachers. Board President Wayne Dardeau announced that a number of school districts are giving that extra authority to their superintendents. It was learned that the State Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of Act One.
In other business, the school board approved a proposal to recover the needed instructional minutes lost recently because of severe winter weather. Assistant Superintendent Darwin Lazard explained that the school district will cancel a staff development day on February 24. In addition, schools will add anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes a day to gain the necessary instructional time.
Due to the Mardi Gras holiday on March 3 and 4, the Evangeline Parish School Board approved having only one board meeting in March rather than two. The only meeting will be on March 12, according to Superintendent Toni Hamlin.
In other action the school board approved renewing the contracts of the following : Supervisor Ted Soileau, School Principal Peggy Edwards, Technology Coordinator Robert Landreneau, Technology Facilitators Connie Bertrand and Johnathan Deranger and Assistant Accountant Connie Fontenot.
VILLE PLATTE ROTARY CLUB MEETING
FEBRUARY 4, 2014
The Ville Platte Rotary Club today (Tuesday) at noon heard from Brad Farmer, executive director of the Acadiana Area Human Services District based in Lafayette. The organization is a public entity that provides medical services in behavioral health and for the developmentally disabled in the seven parish area. It is over seen by a board that includes two local members : Rob Eastin and John Pitre. There is a local Ville Platte office at 312 Court Street with local Clinic Manager Nancy Bourque. Last year, the district provided services to over 20,000 people.
The Rotary Club also asked to get more information on the status of the Coreil Campus of the Louisiana Technical College in Ville Platte. Last week, the chamber of commerce asked its members to write letters to the local legislative delegation and governor to make sure the school remained fully staffed.
Rotarian Larry Lachney asked city and parish leaders to consider the economic impact on businesses when they call a dusk to dawn curfew. Lachney said several businesses were hurt financially when the curfew went into effect over several days.
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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.