Barack Obama is our 44th President. He faces daunting challenges and high expectations. Like Franklin Roosevelt, he faces an economy in vast disarray. He has the advantage of political capital; an 80-percent approval rating that can get him off to a good start. It has been my experience that political goodwill is fast fleeing if expectations seem to take longer than the masses expect. For example, unemployment is above seven percent and rising. If it goes beyond 8 percent in the next few months, when the expectation today is that jobs are right around the corner, instant approval is expected. Even though that is unrealistic, the people will place blame and the political capital will start to erode. His honeymoon and window of opportunity is about a year. He has to hit the road running. President Obama has assembled a great team of qualified members for his cabinet. People are hurting out here and face an enormous sense of urgency. Don’t expect Obama to be able to achieve every one of his 10 major campaign promises. There will always be some hang-ups plus, Republicans from the far right are just waiting to pounce at any opening. The Barack Obama story is amazing and extraordinary. I for one never would have believed I would live long enough to witness the first African-American president of this great country. It is indeed a historical time. Billions of words will be written about one of the biggest events in our country’s history. A crowd that exceeded the record 1.2 million from Lyndon Johnson’s inauguration in 1965 lined the Pennsylvania Avenue parade route to the White House.*****I’ve spent the day taking in all of the events. Now I’m behind and facing a quick deadline. Come along, it won’t do you no harm.

On Jan. 15, Merle Luker, 92, passed away. Our association and friendship with this good man went back many years. Merle was raised in the newspaper publishing business. His dad Albert owned the newspaper in his hometown of Grapeland, Texas. After serving in the Navy in World War II Merle returned home to help the family publish the Grapeland Messenger. Before moving to Vidor, Merle served on the city council and two terms as mayor of Grapeland.
Merle and Vidor fit like a glove. He arrived in 1959 and in every report became “Mr. Vidorian.” He served on the city council but that was just a small part of his civic contributions to the community he loved and helped to build. The longtime newspaper publisher, with his Vidor papers and printing presses, for 50 years was the voice of the community. Despite facing changing times and outside competitions by large chain operations the Vidor Shopper and Vidorian newspapers continued to thrive due to its commitment to local news. The papers were for and about the local folks first, and offered an effective advertising media to reach home folks at a reasonable cost. His boys Dan and Randall, along with mom Adair, a beautiful lady and folksy down-home writer, will continue to operate the family business, the newspapers and 4-Star Press.
When Merle first came to the area, he joined with a group of pioneer publishers of weekly newspapers, among these were Penny Record publisher Walter Gaston, Jack Parcell and others. They all split up to publish their own papers in various communities. For nearly 50 years Merle worked almost daily, except when he skipped work to return to the farm in Grapeland to till the soil that had produced him. Merle Luker was a straight shooter, the words; “You can go to the bank on what he tells you” were invented for him.
He and The Record publisher Roy Dunn, had an unwritten pact to stay out of each other’s territory and to only distribute in neutral areas. Today, between the two Record papers and Vidor papers, Orange County is covered like a blanket by locally owned publications. They offer excellent service to local folks and their communities. A combination advertisement in the Vidorian and The Record Newspapers will reach nearly 90 percent of all Orange County consumers. The weekly newspaper publications Merle helped launch 50 years ago are still doing what Merle intended them to be, local community papers.


35 Years ago-1974

Coach Chief Wilson retires from coaching. Football at Bridge City has come a long way since Wilson became the athletic director and head coach. His record included two trips to the state championship and winning it all in 1966. Bridge City, under coach Wilson, never had a losing season.. *****Constable Morris Collier resigned his Pct. 2 position to become a candidate for county commissioner of Pct. 2. *****After 27 years in law enforcement “Slim” Folsom, former chief deputy, who had been demoted, resigned. *****Bridge City football players, Lanston Fall and Mark Dunn, flew to Dallas on a school visitation. On the same plane was radio personality Gordon Baxter. One of the boys commented that “lightening might well strike this plane.” The BC boys were among the very first to fly out of the new Dallas-Fort Worth airport on Sunday, the day it officially opened. The football players reported that the airport was so big that the stewardesses at the northern end wear blue uniforms and the ones at the southern end wear gray.. That’s one big terminal. *****State Rep. Wayne Peveto, in Austin as a delegate to the state constitutional convention, has announced he will be a candidate for reelection. *****Betty Kazmar is a candidate for Orange City Council. *****Trying to outdo each other in the county judges race, Judge Grover Halliburton and James Stringer take on the energy crisis. Halliburton is buying a horse and buggy to tour the county, Stringer says he will tour on a 10-speed bicycle. This should be quite a race. If they make it to William’s Settlement, they might be a month getting beck to Orange and that would be a good thing. *****Earlene Hillard, 48, asked for a second term as County Treasurer. She is married to G.W. “Wallace” Hillard and they have one daughter, Guandine, a freshman at Texas A&M. *****For sale, oak firewood, $22 per load, mixed $17. *****The spotlight is on Bridge City basketball. Coach of the team is Don Calvert; team seniors are Shannon Martin, Jeff Gephart and David Weisman. Returning players are Billy James Jr. forward, Steve Harmon, sophomore guard, Art Simmons, sophomore forward, Randy Fults, sophomore center and sophomore Robert Truncale.

We were glad to hear that Roger Reinert got out of ICU at St. Elizabeth on Saturday. While in Vidor doing business last week, he became ill and was rushed to the hospital to be incubated. I think it started with the crud everyone seems to have lately. Nova said he scared Wanda Beth and the family with this near-death experience.*****We were sorry to hear about the death of Ronny Halliburton, 51, who passed away Jan. 16. Services were Sunday at Claybar in Bridge City with interment Jan. 19 in Diboll. Our condolences to wife Sarah, parents Roy and Mary and the children and grandchildren.***** James Zay Roberts was absent from the Martin Luther King March Monday. Roberts had led the march and been master of ceremonies since 1986. He had suffered a stroke that has left him in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Baptist Orange Hospital. James was found in his FEMA trailer after not being seen for a few days.. We have known him very well for years. He was a booster of the NAACP and had attended functions where Martin Luther King spoke. What a shame he waited a lifetime for this day and is not aware of it. We pray for his recovery.*****Granny Newton called all excited to say they had recovered her dog Sugar. She had gotten attached to some man and followed him off. That has happened to gals since time began. Dr. Pugh called and told Granny he had Sugar and she wasn’t pregnant. We’re glad she’s home. Linda and Dale have had enough troubles to last a lifetime. They lost their son in an auto accident right after Ike destroyed their business, Granny’s Seafood. Hopefully they can get back in business before summer. *****Let me tell you about a great couple; Karen and Billy Blanchard – married 27 years and owners of Mobile Air out of Vidor. “They do it all” is their motto. They are not new to the business, Billy’s family has always been in the mobile home business and Karen’s grandparents owned Ward’s Mobile Homes on Strickland Drive in Pinehurst. They do great work and have a lot of references. See their ad inside. They have one son, B.J., who is only 18 but is a world-class shooter and is attending school in Colorado Springs. He’s an amazing youngster. We’ll tell you more about B.J. later, but if you need their services give them a call, you’ll really like them.***** Is it true? The Arizona Cardinals are going to the Super Bowl? Really, it’s true; it’s not a cruel joke. It’s been 61 years since it’s last NFL title but ageless Kurt Warner threw four touchdowns, three to unstoppable wide-receiver Larry Fitzgerald to win a 32-25 battle against the Eagles. The Cardinals gained their first trip to the world championship against the Pittsburgh Steelers, who edged out the Baltimore Ravens 23-14. I wonder what the odds would have been in September that these two would be in the Super Bowl to be played Feb. 1, in Tampa, Fla. Probably 10,000 to 1. Over the last 20 years I’ve guessed the exact score twice, got close on others and really got killed on a couple of games. My heart says the Cardinals; the odd makers say the Steelers by 7. I’ll wait a little while before I give you my guess.*****House Speaker Joe Straus has replaced Tom Craddick. We had predicted that ole Tom had danced his last tune. Straus is on thin ice with a 76-74 Republican margin. In 2010, if the Democrats gain control of the House, very likely they will elect their own and hopefully it will be a new day for Texas through redistricting.*****Located on Strickland in Orange, Richard Potter’s Mirror Glaze is going full speed. Richard can make any old car look brand new.***** Casual Corner Hair and Nails, also on Strickland and holding a re-grand opening on Jan. 22. It’s a big day so make appointments now. Call any of these lovely ladies, Dale, Jenny, Olive, Jean, Bonnie, Gail, Wendy, Betty, Olivia and Glenda at 886-5644.*****Here’s a story where being unlucky is a good thing. Amber Dunn was in New York City for two days interviewing for an internship. At LaGuardia Airport her plane was running late, which would effect her changeovers down the line to El Paso. She had a free ticket coming from U.S. Air so she tried to switch to the earlier US 1549 flight. Too late, the plane was full with 156 passengers and no cancellations. She took the next flight to Charlotte, N.C., and not until arriving there did the passengers find out flight 1549 had gone down in the Hudson River. The injured were taken to Roosevelt Hospital where she had spent all day and many of the future interns she had interviewed with at Roosevelt and NYU were on the downed plane. Unfortunately for her family, Amber loved New York. She visits Miami this Friday and maybe she’ll like it there better. Footnote: She said she looked like O.J. running through the Chicago airport, but made it to El Paso despite missing that U.S. Air 1549.*****I understand that Sam Moore will have a grand re-opening of “Hitter’s Inc.” behind Bridge City Little League Park. The opening will be Jan. 24. A barbecue sale will take place with free hitting. Kids will also be signed up for the Feb. 28 baseball / softball clinic. Coach Sam Moore, general manager of Hitter’s Inc., will take applications for future lessons of your choice. If anyone knows baseball Sam does. Tell him the “Old Creaux” sent you. *****Joe Biden is the first Catholic vice president. John F. Kennedy is the first and only Catholic president. *****Let me tell you about Michael Cozine and Bryan Jenkins. Those good old boys are project managers for Apex Construction. They are insurance claims specialists who do roofing, siding and gutters. They are members of the BC Chamber of Commerce and BBB. Give them a call at 409-474-3516 if you can use their services.

Charles Arceneaux, Millagro Foster, David Doucet, Don Collins, Gary Baker, Janice Westfall, Lyndon Robinson, Myra Sherwood, Nancy Sieck, Suzanne Pittard, Betty Stephenson, Caitlyn Lindner, Cindy Cain, Eryn Leroux, Harold Collins, Jennifer Grizzaffi, Logan Mitchell, Lyndell Hodgkinson, Stephanie Smith, Sue Harris, Karen Anthony, Randy Franklin, Toni Robertson, Eric Shuford, Garland Gresham, Judy Rogers, Malissie Bailey, Melanie Thevis, Tayler Thompson, Taylor Fraccastoro, Chelsea Anderson, Flip Flippen, Glenn Oliver, Hayden Anderson, Michael Faulk, Mike Faulk, Nancy Vincent, Ollie Butler, Ginny Pelpier, Hazel Reedom, Jonathan Arnold, Kimberly Barclay, Melanie Prosperie, Mick Weidner, Tori Lummus, Virginia Pelitier and Bill Dixon.

One day Tee-Neg Comeaux and Peanut Premeaux were sitting around Tee-Boy’s Bar and Grill just talking and drinking a few beers. Tee-Boy him, was behind da bar eavesdropping on dere conversation.
Tee-Neg Comeaux says to Primeaux, “Peanut, if’n I was to sneak over to your trailer Saturday and make love to you wife while you was off hunting and she got pregnant and had a baby, would dat make us kin?”
Primeaux him tink about dat for a minute den he scratched his head, squinted his eyes tinking real hard about da question and finally said, “Well Tee-Neg, I don’t know about dat kin but it for sure would make us even.”

I was glad to hear our commissioner’s court has taken up the issue of exploring the possibility of a levee for Orange County. The window of opportunity is now but it will take some fancy maneuvering and quick action. It’s a good move to bring in the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. Shawn Davis, the director, knows the political process after years of working for Reps. Charlie Wilson and Allen Ritter. The group is needed to dilute the negative vote Obama got in Orange County. State Rep. Joe Deshotel should also be a player, as well as Port Director Gene Bouillion, who could sell Bibles or vacuum cleaners door-to-door. Access to Bouillion’s port needs dredging bad and its a sellable issue. A perfect example that a dirt levee will work is the SBA fresh water canal. I watched as the Ike surge came in, the levee bordering the canal never let a drop of salt water into the canal. However, such a large project won’t be easy or overnight. It will take time but it is do-able and should be started sooner rather than later if the chips all fall in place. Connections in the state and federal governments will be important and will take the right players to call in some favors.*****My time is up. Thanks for yours. Read us cover to cover and please shop with the good people who bring you this paper free every week. Suggest to those who don’t advertise with us that they should, they are missing the boat. Take care and God bless.