Things have been shaky around here this week and deadline time has come and the alligators are nipping at our behinds. With Robert Hankins off sick we’re a writer and editor short. Thanks to a good staff of professionals, they have jumped in the water with the ‘Gators” and are committed to putting out two good papers. It’s a tough battle with a short stick. Some times everyone has to pitch in and make do to put out a good product. We’re known for covering all bases and having the most readership so I’d better get started doing my part. I invite you to come along; I promise it won’t do you no harm.

The Health Care reform bill President Obama signed into law Tuesday, March 23, is destined to affect nearly all Americans. Poor adults will get Medicaid, small businesses will get tax credits, and children will be able to stay on parents’ policies until age 26. Also seniors will gain additional prescription-drug coverage, AARP says most seniors will benefit and the “doughnut hole” gap will be closed. Seniors will benefit with free preventive services such as cancer screenings and improved services for people with disabilities.  Pre-existing conditions can no longer be turned down by insurers. Insurance companies will be prohibited from cancelling coverage for people who develop costly health problems.  The American Medical Association and senior groups call it a major civil rights victory, giving patients and doctors more freedom. The congressional budget office estimated a $143 billion savings over the next 10 years. For the past year Republicans have talked about ‘Death Panels” and other scare tactics. We will hear more about “Death Panels,” this time from Democrats to remind people it is not what the Republicans and insurance companies have been selling. Now Republican senators promise a no-holds barred delaying tactics that so far hasn’t worked to stop health reform. They are planning to deploy parliamentary maneuvers and offer a charade of amendments to drag out the debate in the so-call Reconciliation Bill. Democrats believe the stalling tactics will help reinforce the GOP’s image of the “Party of No.” The health care argument will be a central part of the mid-term campaigns. GOP “Talking Head” Rush Limbaugh said Monday, “Democrats who voted for the bill should be hounded out of office.” Meanwhile Wall Street is upbeat about the Health Bill. “The Bill will result in grater demand for drug purchases and more medical care for doctor’s and hospitals. They see it as a win-win for citizens and business alike. The Bill will help people. John McCain, Obama and Hillary Clinton all sited the need for health reform while running for president. For eight years, the GOP controlled the government; they did nothing on health reform. They spent $1 trillion on the Iraq War while Americans suffered. Why are they fighting it so hard? It has to do with protecting the big insurance companies who have the biggest lobbies. Their hope is to get the congressional bill to the Republican Supreme Court and do another Florida


I would hate to think what Orange would have become without the Stark Foundation. Next year the Foundation will celebrate it’s 50th anniversary. The donations and accomplishments can be seen in any direction you travel the city. Many millions of dollars have been spent daily to bring culture and wonderful endeavors to Orange. If not for the foresight of those who set up the Foundation, downtown Orange would be the wasteland witnessed by most cities not as fortunate as Orange. The Stark Museum of Art, the Lutcher Theater and Shangri-La are just some of the great visible things the Foundation offers to it’s people and make available to people the world over. Orange is unique in so many ways. Most of it wouldn’t have been possible without the vision of Lutcher and Nelda Stark. Much more is left to be done. I even have my pet project. Millions more will be spent over the years right here at home. It’s a well established, well run foundation that asks for nothing but gives plenty. I hope each of you will remember that when trash talk and innuendoes are mixed with fiction aimed at a target, a Foundation, that absolutely has no dog in the fight of the past. Their cause is simply to administer it by it’s bylaws. So far, I’d say they have done well. The evidence is all around us. There is more to be done and some areas I would like to see them explore. In the years to come, Orange and Orange County will benefit by hundreds of millions spent on this unique area where the sun rises on Texas and the stars shine first.

30 Years Ago-1980

Eleven Orange County cyclists will compete in Astrodome. Vying for the state championship are Byron Chism, Curt Hawkins, Von Thomas, Chad Parker, Buddy Strickland, Phil Drew, Greg Flowers, Darrell Waystaff, Heath Parker, Troy Broussard and Ty McCarty. *****Neyland-Gilmer House, 312 W. Pine, receives Texas Historical Marker Saturday, March 5. The home is presently owned by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas McKenna. Former owner, Mrs. C.M. Tilley, delivered the welcome. Frances Reid is chairman of the Orange County Historical Society. In 1875, Albert Neyland built a small house on the site. In 1877 Alexander Gilmer bought the property. The Victorian residence was built around the original structure. Gilmer deeded it to his daughter Martha when she married H.S. Filson. *****Gordon Underwood is in the state race for ‘Realtor of the Year.’ J.D. Stanfield made the nomination. *****Leeza Gibbons, P.M. Magazine television host, was surprised with a birthday cake after filming “Miracle Worker” segments at the Orange Community Playhouse. Surprising the attractive celebrity were director Charles Ferguson, Angie, Diana and Brooks Hill, Claude and Jean Hamerly, Beth and Louis Dugas, Jimmie Hart, Rosalie Anderson, Carol Block, Jerry Garrett, Bob Jones, Russ Turkel, Faye Speer, Bob John, Debbie and Daphne Franklin, Polly Walton and Sandra Taliaferro. (Editor’s note: I remember almost all of those fine people. Leeza went from Beaumont to be a national star on Entertainment Tonight and her own network show. We haven’t heard anything about her in the last couple of years. Her co-host Mary Hart is still on ET. *****Lani Hall turned 11 last week. Cash and Martha Curtis are the proud parents of Cash Curtis, II. *****Mauriceville citizens move to organize a Water Supply corporation. The system will serve those families who are members of the non-profit organization. *****Candidate for Bridge City city council are Mayor Gordon Harvey vs. Billy Cagle; Place 2, Don Cole; Place 4, Mike Faulk vs. Bob Pruitt Jr., Steve Baker and Albon Lee Buffington. Place 6, Jim Wallace vs. John Banken. (Editor’s note: For the last 20 years Wallace has been a Dist. Judge in Houston.)*****On the water boards are G.A. Ham Laughlin, W.W. Bill Hutto and Howard Mathews. *****Three seats are up on Bridge City School Board. Incumbent candidates seeking post again are Barbara Landry, Gus Garza and Tom Brooks. The fourth candidate is Jerry McInnis.

Congrats to Heather who is the new owner of Heather Montagne Insurance Agency, 3127 16th. St., Orange. The business was formerly Pete Sterling State Farm. Heather is the daughter of Darlene and Johnny Montagne of Bridge City. She can be reached at 886-3589. *****We were sorry to hear about the death of Opal Scales Duplantis, 88, on March 21. She was a native of Orangefield and from a pioneer family there. Services will be held Thursday, March 25 in Houma, La. Our condolences to brother Melvin Scales and the family. *****We were also sad to learn about the death of Jeannie Riddling, 80, of Bridge City. She passed away March 21. To son David Riddling, daughter Sharon Davis and their family we extend our sorrow. *****After a long battle with characinoid cancer, Lana Kaye Davis, 48, passed away on March 21. To husband Chuck, daughter Brianna, Mother Joyce Rice and the family our condolences. *****Condolences to the family of two great Cajuns, Tony Cailler and John Lloyd, “Tee-Bruce” Broussard. Please see obit and “Down Life’s Highway” column. *****An update on Mayo Leblanc. Mayo informed us that he is still growing peppers and making his famous hot sauce that he ships all over the country. For many years he has been bottling different varieties of hot, medium and mild sauce. Ideal for salads, gumbo, spicing up beans or whatever. To find out how to get the sauce call 626-2377. By the way, I got an email saying, “I’m grieving for Mayo’s fig trees. Sorry to hear they’re gone. Not so fast, he was able to save his big fig tree. He won’t get many figs but he’s looking for a fair crop. *****A beautiful lady, Odette Simar, is turning 100-years-old on March 31. On March 28, cake and punch will be served at 2 p.m. at the Meadows on Hwy. 105. I’m planning to be there. Now there’s a lady who lived through a lot of Orange history. Best wishes for a dozen more healthy years. *****Don’t forget the Art in the Park celebration this weekend at Stark Park. *****Palm Sunday will be March 28; Passover will come with the full moon on March 30. *****A few special folks having birthdays this week. Karen Gros’ oldest son Garrett Clay turns 25 on March 28. It seems like just yesterday she was that age. Garrett is the proud father of one-year-old Leland Clay, better known as “L.C.” Garrett, Brittany and little Leland now make their home in Bridge City. Brittany’s mom Kelley and sister Hayley will be in town to celebrate Garrett’s birthday this weekend. ***** Also to our longtime friend, coach Joe Blanda. He was named after his famous grandfather “Joe the Barber,” who was often referred to by his friends as “the Italian Clipper.” Joe’s grandmother died this past year at age 105. Good genes. Happy birthday Joe and many long, healthy years. *****Our buddy Louise Wood, longtime newspaper lady, married to Rush Wood and employed at Lamar is celebrating her special day this week. Quite a gal. I will always remember the good times. *****Terry Stuebing, Ella’s other half, former Bridge City principal is celebrating another birthday this week. By the way, Ella was also a BC principal. What became of them anyway? *****Warren Claybar, Grant Kimbrough, Margie Fields and the lovable Billy LeLeux are all celebrating. Best wishes to all. *****On Sunday, March 21, Johnny Deshon, on the LSU baseball team, turned 21-years-old. *****On March 31, it will be 15 years since Tejano star Selena was killed. Last week Yolanda Saldivar’s conviction was withheld. She shot Selena at a Corpus Christi motel after she was confronted by Selena for embezzlement. *****ABC has hired Christiane Amanpour away from CNN where she has been reporting international news for 20 years. She will start her Sunday political talk show in August. The show had been hosted by George Stephanopoulas, who moved to Good Morning America. *****Our buddy Linda “Granny” Newton has been in Baptist Orange Hospital after undergoing gall bladder surgery. They also found a spot on her lung, hopefully, there’s nothing to it. Here’s to a speedy recovery. *****Happy golden anniversary to Joe and Annie Hargrave. I can’t believe, after 50 years, Annie wants to do it all over again. She has agreed to renew their wedding vows. Their children will honor them with a reception Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. at the KC Hall in Bridge City. All of their friends are invited to come by. I believe that vows are all that will be repeated. *****We visited with Anabel Anderson and daughter, Mary, and picked up one of the best chocolate pies we have ever eater, baked by Betty Boyd. King Dunn had told us what a championship pie baker she was. We enjoyed the visit with our old friend. Anabel is recovering from a fall. *****We’re sorry we missed the St. Joseph Altar at St. Mary’s Church Sunday. We understand it was one of the best ever. Judge Pat Clark said they fed over 500 people Sunday. We were under the weather and unable to attend. We heard Bishop Guidry held quite a service. Wish we could have been there. *****Former BC grad and now sophomore shortstop Lauren Angelle continues to pound out the hits for the Lamar State College-Port Arthur Seahawks. She is hitting .475 with eight doubles, two triples and 15 runs scored. Bridge City High School senior Valerie Brown, who has signed to play softball for LSC-PA in 2010-11, won the 3A regional power-lifting championship (198-pound class) for the third straight year. She then set a new state record of 480 pounds for the squat lift during the state 3A finals, topping the previous record by 10 pounds. Valerie, the 2009 state champion in her weight class, lifted a personal-best 1,070 total pounds this year to finish second by five pounds. LCM’s Maegan Fontenot won her third straight state championship. She finishes her high school career with seven regional records and four state records. Bear freshman Raven Cole finished in second place giving the LCM team a 2nd place overall at state.

On March 25 Sarah Jessica Parker will be 45; Elton John, 63; Aretha Franklin, 68, Danica Patrick, 28 and Anita Bryant, 70. ***March 26, Kenny Cheney, 42; Marcus Allen, 50; Martin Short, 60; Diana Ross, 66; Bob Woodard, 67; James Caan, 71 and Leonard Nimoy, 79. ***March 27, Fergie, 35; Mariah Carey, 40; Quentin Tarantino, 47 and Michael York, 68. ***March 28, Lady Gaga, 24; Kate Gosselin, 35; Julia Stiles, 29; Reba McEntire, 55 and Ken Howard, 66. ***March 29, Elle Macpherson, 46; John Major, 67; Lucy Lawless, 42 and Jennifer Capriati, 34. ***March 30, Mark Consuelos, 39; Celine Dion, 42; M.C. Hammer, 48; Eric Clapton, 65 and Warren Beatty, 73. ***March 31, Al Gore, 62; Christopher Walken, 67; Herb Alpert, 75; Richard Chamberlain, 75 and Geordie Howe, will be 82.


Kyle Leyendecker, Matt Hanson, Renee Dillon, Ruth Platt, Mike Roberts, Forrest Wood, Hannah Drane, James Stone, Joseph Blanda, Matt Hanson, Louise Wood, Mary Ann Smith, Zara Killman, Brenda Edwards, Grant Kimbrough, Katie Birdwell, Mary Grimes, Matt Thompson, Scott Mangham, Warren Claybar, B.J. Walker, Mike Vincent, Karen Bozman, Margie Fields, Marjorie Fields, Sherry Stevens, Billy LeLeux, Christy Day, Lou Hillard, Nancy Crew, Sarah Coffey, Dale Forse, Jane Scherer, Jennifer Kreamer, Dorothy Keith, Jean Jackson, Lindsey Peoples, Rob Butler, Steve Holland, Annely Domas, Jason James, Katie May, Kaydee Wingate, Robert Clark Jr., Julie Norwood, Julie Walker, Kate Ferguson, Lisa Smith, Terry Stuebing and Cliff Brookshire.


Joe Boudreaux stop by to visit his friend Minus Breaux. He say, “Wat’s happening Breaux?”
“Well, me and Clotile are repairing to go visit my cousin Tee-Man in Gaydon. Clotile is getting repaired her but she takes so long to get repaired dat I’m almost ready to change my mind. It shouldn’t take so long for us to get repaired to go anywhere.”
Boudreaux couldn’t take it anymore and finally said, “Breaux, repaired means to fix something.”
Joe answered, “Mais, I know dat me, dats wat I said, me and Clotile are fixing to go visit Cousin Tee-Man.”


This Wednesday the Lunch Bunch will dine at Van Choate’s Tuffy’s. The food has really been great. Manager Cathy Clark continues to make good changes. I’m headed there Thursday evening for all the crawfish you can eat. They’re a good size now and spiced just right. Next Wednesday the Bunch will lunch at Robert’s. Everyone welcome. *****Well, it will be a while before the smoke clears on the Health Reform Bill but in time people will find out that a lot of the negative claims were mostly falsehoods. They won’t pull the plug on Granny, tax dollars won’t pay for abortions, insurance companies can’t turn us down etc.  Also, it won’t bust the country and our grandchildren won’t be left with a big debt. More claims will continue to muddy the water but Health Reform will be the law of the land, a historical event like the other big three, Social Security, Medicare and the Civil Rights legislation. It’s been nearly 100 years coming. Every president since Teddy Roosevelt has pursued it with the exception of George W. Bush. Time will prove how much better off we are because of the Health Reform Legislation signed into law on March 23, 2010.  That doesn’t mean the insurance companies will quit fighting. They have had a nest on the ground and own most of the country’s gold. *****Well, I made it through another week. Thanks for your time, mine is up. Take care and God bless America.