Erin Ledet named 2010 Ebony Elite belle of the ball

Erin Ledet, a senior at Tioga High School, is the queen of the Ebony Elite Civic and Social Club

She was crowned at the Club’s 20th Annual Debutante Cotillion held Saturday, Feb. 27, at the Alexandria Convention Hall.

Erin is the daughter of of Steven and Zandra Brown and Darrell James Ledet.

Terra Lavalais, daughter of Terry and Angela Lavalais, is first runner up. Kytara Frazier, daughter of Tracy Frazier and David Frazier, is second runner up; and Jessica Merrill, daughter of Mary Merrill and Joseph Merrill, is the third runner up.

Terra attends Pineville High School. Both Kytara and Jessica attend Peabody Magnet High School.

Other debutantes are:

  • Sonnie Letrice Clark, daughter of Sonny Tyrone Clark and niece of Soneter Walker, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.
  • Tai Lyn-Chelle Dixon, daughter of Kimberly Cooks and Cornell Dixon, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.
  • Mercedes Antionette Granvle, daughter of Matilda Granvle, is a senior at Alexandria Senior High.
  • Kaila Janay Gross, daughter of Dariam David and Gregory Demon Gross, is a senior at Stonewall Jackson Senior High School in Manassas, Va.
  • Stephanie Humphrey, daughter of Felicia Humphrey, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.
  • Iesha Shontay Little, daughter of Barbara and Randy Cole, is a senior at Peabody Magnet High School.

Click here to see more photos of the debutantes.

Pineville native vying for stardom on Web-based ‘If I Can Dream’

Pineville native Justin Gaston, age 21, had already chalked up some impressive show business accomplishments before being cast on “If I Can Dream, ” a new multimedia star-making vehicle from the company that made “American Idol.” Read more

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Two men arrested for having a vehicle a man loaned to “Pooh”

William Smothers, 32, 1314 Hill St., Alexandria, and Jimmy Veal, 30, Vance St., Alexandria, were both arrested Thursday, Feb. 25, in connection with a vehicle that had been taken from the 6000 block of Coty Drive, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

The fiance of the vehicle’s owner reported the green 1998 Chevrolet Cavalier taken Thursday evening. The complainant, a 65-year-old man allegedly told police he loaned his fiance’s car to a man he only knew as “Pooh,” who wanted to use the car to make a quick trip to the store then return. “Pooh” had not returned the car as agreed.

Police told the man they would file a report and turn it over to the Detective’s Division.

Later, a police officer saw a vehicle that matched the description of the Cavalier.

The officer stopped the vehicle at 300 Kathy Ann St. Smothers and Veal were allegedly in the vehicle. Both men allegedly told the officer they had borrowed the vehicle from a friend who goes by the name of “Pooh.”

The men were arrested on a charge of unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Pineville man charged with unauthorized entry of a building

By EverythingCenla staff

Jerry Wayne Cooper, 59, 14 Billy Evans Rd., Pineville, has been charged with unauthorized entry of a building after police officers found him inside of a building without the owner’s permission, according to the Alexandria Police Department.

He was arrested Thursday.

According to the police report, the following allegedly occurred:

An officer responded to the Normand Building at 1407 Murray St., where two male suspects had allegedly broken into the building. When the officer arrived, he and Butsch, the department’s K-9 checked the outside of the building and discovered the side door to the building had been kicked in.

When the officer and the dog entered the building, the officer observed that the walls had been torn open and copper wires had been cut and removed. There were also exposed wires sticking out of the wall.

As the officer and the K-9 searched the second floor of the building, the dog reacted to the door at the far end of the building. The officer announced himself causing the suspect to immediately yell that he was inside and unarmed. The officer told the suspect to listen as he was going to give him instructions. The officer told the suspect to open the door and then get on the floor. The suspect complied and was taken into custody.

While clearing the building, the officer observed that someone has been ripping out the walls to remove copper wiring and copper pipes throughout the entire building. Some copper remained intact

The suspect, later identified as Cooper allegedly told officers he wanted to be court ordered to a treatment facility through the Department of Veterans Affairs because he is a disabled veteran.

Alexandria, Pineville, Rapides Parish officials jointly meet to consider levee protection

By Bill Sumrall
The Light

Elected officials from Alexandria, Pineville and Rapides Parish  rallied  in an historic tri-governmental meeting to counter decertification of area levees.

“In the beginning, when we first heard this information, I think it threw a lot of us in shock,” Rapides Parish Police Jury President Richard Billings told more than 50 people gathered for the Wednesday,  Feb. 24 joint sessions of the Alexandria and Pineville city councils and police jurors meeting in the Alexandria City Hall’s council chambers.

Federal Emergency Management Agency officials are in the process of drawing floodplain maps which local officials say would result in disastrous financial consequences for city and parish residents and businesses.

Since Hurricane Katrina, FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers have revised levee and floodplain guidelines, officials say, which expanded 100-year floodplains but caused loss of levee certification, which would increase flood insurance premiums and adversely affect property development.

“Whether it be on the right-hand side of the levee or the left-hand side of the levee, we’re all in this together,” Billings said.

“If we can’t get this to where it’s accredited, and try to keep the insurance rates down, who would want to come in our levee district and build anything? I don’t think nobody would, because they could not afford to,” Billings said.

As for the police jury, Billings said he commends his colleagues for being willing to step forward and “try to do everything that we can possibly do to ensure the citizens not only of their safety but of (insurance) rating.”

Billings added, “I know in my heart this is a money thing.”

Roy O. Martin III later echoed this view. “My personal belief, as a private citizen, is, I think this is a federally caused situation that should be solved with federally caused dollars,” Martin said, which brought applause from the audience.

Alexandria Mayor Jacques Roy emphasized the need to ensure the physical safety provided by the levees as well as the fiscal considerations.

“If there are sand boils and there are issues that are undermining the levees, we need to know where they are and the exact cost, and we need to go fix them right now. We’re willing to do that,” Roy said.

“We’re willing to find the funds and do that right now, but we don’t that to be lost with the politics, if you will, of moving this process as far as the remapping to grab (insurance) premiums instead of thinking about, number one, safety, and then what’s fair and right. So, that’s what this process is about,” Roy said.

During the meeting, the Alexandria City Council passed resolutions and ordinances designed to form a committee to explore what is needed to fund and fix any problems found with the levees.

At one point in the meeting, Alexandria Councilman Chuck Fowler asked how much of Alexandria would be impacted by decertification of the levees, keeping in mind that federal flood insurance is required for mortgage lending.

Alexandria city engineer Michael Wilkinson estimated 95 percent of Alexandria would be impacted.

Mayor Roy said this is the reason he’s asking Alexandria’s City Council to consider at its next regular meeting to devote a small amount of funding toward helping in the joint effort to resolve the decertification issue.

“Our tax base will be destroyed by that action,” Roy said.

Though he didn’t have a percentage of the effect on his city, Pineville Mayor Clarence Fields said some may feel his city can opt out because it is located on higher ground but noted “it’s the overall picture that you actually have to look at.”

“Just think about it, 95 percent of Alexandria is affected. It’s going to affect Pineville and every municipality around us,” Fields said.

“It does not matter who’s in and who’s out. What matters is this region and the effect that it’s going to have economically,” Fields said.

Two Alexandria women and a Pineville woman arrested on drug charges

By Everything Cenla

Two Alexandria women and a Pineville woman were arrested Wednesday, Feb. 25, on drug charges after authorities allegedly found drugs at the home they were in at 1801 Yale St., according to the Rapides Parish Sheriff’s Office.

Parish narcotics agents followed up on neighbors’ complaints about suspected drug sales and drug activity at the home. The complaints indicated methamphetamine sales and a high flow of traffic to and from the house.

With a drug warrant, agents entered the home and allegedly found a small amount of glass methamphetamine, some marijuana, Hydrocodone pills, a handgun and numerous pieces of drug paraphernalia.

Arrested are Jill Ann Meginley, 44, 1801 Yale St., possession of Controlled Dangerous Substance I, possession of CDS II, possession of CDS III, possession of drug paraphernalia; Shannon M. Winbery, 32, 1801 Yale St., possession of drug paraphernalia; and Alana Michelle Daniel Waters, 34, 261 Hazmuka Rd., Pineville, possession of CDS II and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Two Hessmer residents arrested onburglary, theft charges

Tina Michot

Robert Lacroix

By EveythingCenla staff

Robert A. Lacroix, 26, 147 Little Rabbit Lane, and Tina L. Michot, 24, 208 T. Williams Road, both of Hessmer, were arrested Wednesday, Feb. 24, on burglary and theft charges, according to the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Department.

The arrests were the result of an investigation into a burglary ring in which five Hessemer area residences were burglarized or  had items stolen from their lawns Monday morning.

The investigation led parish detectives to search Mitchot’s home at 208 T. Williams Rd, early Wednesday morning. Detectives recovered approximately $10,000 in reported stolen items, in addition to a A.T.V., which was reported stolen on Feb. 18.simple burglary of an inhabited dwelling and three counts of theft.

The suspects allegedly got in to some of the homes by prying the back doors open while the owners were not home. Once inside, the pair allegedly stole items that included televisions, computer equipment, musical instruments, children’s toys and games and kitchen appliances.

Michot and Lacroix were booked into the Avoyelles Parish Sheriff’s Office Detention Center I. Michot was charged with theft over $500 and five counts of illegal possession of stolen things. Lacroix was charged with three counts of illegal possession of stolen things.

The case remains under invesitation and additional arrests may be made.