A beautiful day rolls around after what was suppose to be a stormy day Monday that just fizzled. We needed the rain. The latest report from the United States drought monitor shows 95 percent of Texas is now in a drought or at least a moderate drought, the worse since 2005-2006. Statewide, the period of October to February has been the fifth driest on record. The spring outlook is that we’re going to stay dry. Weather systems staying well to the north means it’s going to get worse and could cause major agricultural failures. The high summer temperatures that are predicted and not enough rain will play havoc with home gardens also. *****Well, for now there are more pressing problems on the national level. Will the government shut down? Friday, April 8, is the deadline. If it does, the Republican controlled congress will get the blame. The extreme right wing Tea Party freshmen are advocating measures like replacing Medicare with a supplement plan. That is extremely risky. Speaker of the House Boehner is caught in a trap. If he wants to remain speaker, he’s forced to go along. The senate and president have tried to compromise. It’s all or nothing for the Tea Party members. The senate and president won’t sign off on such extreme measures so the government will shut down. There is no way the GOP can avoid the blame. I almost feel sorry for Speaker Boehner. He knows the consequences and what happened to the Party in 1994. *****On the state level, the Texas House has passed a budget bill that is totally unrealistic. Three to six hundred thousand jobs will be lost. Education and health provisions for the elderly and young will suffer. I believe if Lt. Gov. Dewhurst wants to be a U.S. senator he will have to modify the House Bill in the Senate. He’s the saving grace. Texas has plenty of assets that could be sold off. Gov. Rick Perry has had a Republican house and senate. They got the state in the bad shape it’s in. If Dewhurst figures a way out he’ll be a hero. One thing is for sure, there’s no Democrat to blame. *****I’ve gotta move on. Come along, it won’t do you no harm.


It was 94 years ago, April 6, 1917 that the United States entered World War I, formally declaring war against Germany and entering the conflict in Europe that had begun in 1914.  Under Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing, the U.S. joined Britain, France and Russia. Over two million U.S. troops served in France during the war. One of them was Roy’s father, Clay Dunn, who told horror stories about marching through France, fighting hand-to-hand combat with rifle and bayonets and of the many soldiers who died while at sea from influenza. “We ran out of flags to wrap their bodies in and just threw them overboard. I’d wake in the morning and the soldiers laying on both sides of me were often dead.” Dunn recounted. WWI claimed an estimated 16 million lives and the influenza epidemic that swept the world in 1918 killed 50 million people. One fifth of the world’s population had the deadly virus. It killed more people than any other illness in recorded history. Some victims died within hours, others after a few days. Their lungs filled with fluid and they suffocated to death. The flu afflicted over 25 percent of the U.S. population, hitting young and old, the hardest hit. In one year the average life expectancy in the U.S. dropped by 12 years. What is odd about our history is that the influenza epidemic of 1918 has been overlooked in the teaching of American history. The epidemic never really has had its rightful place as a major disaster in world history. World War I was also known as the First World War, the Great War or the War to end all Wars. While the war went on in Europe, many citizens died at home because of food shortages, flu and other illnesses. Nine million allied soldiers died on the battlefield. Many of us older citizens grew up hearing the stories of WWI fought not too many years before. Today, I see it as the forgotten war, yet it’s the second bloodiest conflict in recorded history. Add to that 50 million, one fifth of the world’s population attacked by the flue while the war raged on.

12 Years Ago-1999

World-class vaulters, Jonathan Henley and Eric Eshbach, compete in home meet. Coach Joe Hester, of Orangefield High School, said, “Never in the history of the sport has there been such a pair from one school. Odds are there never will be again.” Hester said he wants the people to see first hand these great vaulters before they both leave for Nebraska, the college they signed with. Throughout the season, Esbach was almost always no. 1 in the nation and Henley no. 2. Recently the rankings flip-flopped. You never know what will happen when they compete against each other. (Editor’s note: Both went to Nebraska. After a year Henley left. Eric went to on be a national champion vaulter, vaulting over 19 feet.)*****Johnny Montagne, of Bridge City and Billy Barrow, of Little Cypress, have been friends since 9th grade. The two 18 year-olds lead the area in homeruns, with district play only one week old. Billy has seven homeruns and Johnny six. Last week, coach Marc Jones’ Bridge City Cards romped coach Griffith’s LC-M Bears 4-2. Burrow holds the school record in homeruns, RBI’s and doubles. Montagne says he plays for the fun, Burrow says, “I compete, I like to win.” Johnny says he wants to attend Texas A&M. He was the second leading tackler in area football and will seek an engineering degree at A&M. (Editor’s note: Johnny got that degree, married Bobby and Devra Cormier’s daughter Janet. They have two children and he now runs the family business, Economy Insulation, Industrial Contractors. He’s the son of Darlene and Johnny Montagne. Billy went on to a full baseball scholarship with Galveston Junior College and then moved up. We lost track of him in recent years. He’s the son of Pam and Billy Burrow Sr.)*****Local girl, Brenda “Missy” Lewis lands on the Ricki Lake show in New York.*****Pretty Katie Olson celebrates her birthday. (Editor’s note: Today she is a is a dental specialist with offices in Beaumont.)*****Mary Sneed and son Clyde both celebrate birthdays this week.*****Opening day ceremonies were held for Bridge City Little League. Special guests were B.C. mayor John Dubose, B.C. superintendent Sam Lucia, Orangefield superintendent Robert Montagne and league president Jerry McInnis. *****Another Orange County big leaguer making us proud is Bruce Avens, who made the 25-man roster of the Florida Marlins. He’s married to Mary Ann, Rosalie and Judge Pat Clark’s daughter. *****A beautiful and talented young lady, Salina Hebert, graduated from Lamar in three years and has accepted a full-ride scholarship to attend Texas Tech Law School. She and T.J. Knight plan to marry in July. (Editor’s note: Salina didn’t like law, went on to get another degree. She and T.J. live in the Dallas area, have two children and I believe, one on the way.)*****Chris Menard, Sharon and Mark Dunn’s oldest son will enter Uncle Sam’s Army on April 12. *****John Patterson, Doug’s boy with the Diamonbacks, is assigned to El Paso this season. They are bringing their $6 million man along slowly.*****Bridge City’s Dan Fletcher pitched a three hitter against LC-M for a 4-2 win.*****Jacob Davis, former Orangefield high vaulter now with the University of Texas, had a bad day at the Texas Relays making only a 18-2.5 vault. Last year he led the nation with 19-4.


Cyndie Chauvin, David Blanton, Helen Locklin, James Bourdier, Jean Saxon, John Green, Shirley Hayes, Bob Cummings, Brenda McPherson, Shelly Watts, Janet Anderson, Linda Juneau, Wayne McPherson, April Butler, Billie Jo Nelson, Brandy Block, Cathy Riley, Joyce Kleinknecht, Lindsey Etheridge, Camrie Helm, Mike Knox, Gary Chaffin, Lorene Zoch, Mrs. David Goode, Patsy Herrington, Peggy Drane, Bob Todd, Melissa Pittman, Brad Ernst, Trey Dubose, Ken Swenson, Jomie Chapman, Kristi Trahan, Terri Brent, Tonya Burch, Wayne Currie, Adam Prosperie, Barbara Allen, Janet Montagne, Barbara Goins, Ed Cox, Elliot Purcell, Jamye Martin, Jayme Martin, Johnnie Nicks, K’Lynn Ess, Katie Olson, Matt Day, Nancy Hood, Alivia Duhon, Austin Brent, Becky Myers, Bob Arnold, David Thacker, Edyth Ramsey, Dustin Kemp, Roy Gill, Jackie Schell, Patsy Evans, Travis Miller, Amanda Ginn, Travis Reed, Cortland Savage, Howard Nelson, Jill Lemoine, Dora Ogden, Kathy Vessel, Leslie Staudenmier, Roy Mazzagate III, Jaclyn James, Shellie Holmes, Zackary Busby, Abby Noah, and Ann Glover.


We were sorry to hear about the death of Jim Pruter, age 85. We considered Jim a friend and although we often disagreed on political views he came by our Orange office to visit and emailed us often. He was an avid reader of The Record and was knowledgeable on Orange history. We enjoyed his stories. We had known him over 50 years. He and brother Doug owned Pruter’s Flowers and Gifts. He was married 58 years to his wife Charlotte, who is now in poor health. Jim died March 30 and a simple burial was held April 1. We’ll miss him and express our condolences to his family and friends. *****A date I remember quite well is April 8, 1974. Hank Aaron hit his 715th homerun at Atlanta against Al Downing. *****When Judge Pat Clark resigned as district judge last week, he was the longest serving district judge in Texas. I believe Judge Buddy Hahn discovered Judge Pat was the senior district judge. Judge Carl Thibodeaux swore him in as Orange County Court at Law judge at his home. The reason the swearing in took place at home was so his longtime wife, Rosalie, could witness the occasion. She is awaiting a knee replacement and now has spacers where her new knee will be. *****On April 12, 1938, our friend Cal Broussard was born. He would be 73 years old this week. He died July 1, 2009. It seems like yesterday. I still miss him and will honor him on his birthday with a glass of wine. I’m sure he will also be on Betty Lou Womack’s mind and all of his friends at the Wednesday Lunch Bunch.*****Speaking of the Lunch Bunch, Brian Smith, chief fund raiser for the CHAMPS project and campaign manager for Convergent Non-profit Solutions, was in attendance last week as was the legendary, retiring coach Dan Hooks. Coach Les Johnson and Wanda visited friends over the weekend. Les says if Hooks had asked him, he would have said, “Don’t Retire.” Les says he’s miserable not coaching. He retired from the school business in January. The Lunch Bunch will dine at Novrozsky’s this week and back to Robert’s next. *****We ran into Moe Litton and he is doing better than most folks. He’s enjoying Mickey and her daughter living with him. He says they’re Godsends. I found it amazing that Moe still reads without glasses. *****We also spoke to Mary Bryant while she was attending a Bridge City baseball game. Grandson Dillon Mulhollan is the starting first baseman for the Cards. *****We were happy to hear from our buddy Joel Beckon who has finished a job in Russia, purchased a home and is now living in Mauriceville. ***** We just learned Orange native author Sylvia Dickey Smith’s World War II novel “A War of Her Own” that is set in Orange just won Best Novel of the Year honors from the Press Women of Texas organization. It will move forward and compete on the national level.***** Regardless of what you might have heard the Bridge City Post Office will remain open. The Post Office will continue to sell stamps and other retail services and Post Office box rentals will still be is available. In mid May all carriers will work out of the Orange Post Office but this should not affect local Bridge City delivery. The Bridge City Post Office is definitely scaling down but at least through the next year will remain in operation. Last year nationwide the mail service lost $8.5 million.  Nearly $4 million more than the previous year. Another service the Internet has shot down. At this time no changes are in the works for the Orangefield Post Office. *****Congrats to Rachel Boyett, Journalism teacher at Orangefield High School. She was selected to receive the Reaud Teacher of the Year award for her excellence as a classroom teacher.*****Twenty years ago this week, services were held for former Sen. John Tower and his daughter Marian. They and 21 others were killed in a plane crash in Georgia. *****The UConn Huskies beat Butler 53-41 to win the national championship in the most boring game I’ve ever watched. A couple of weeks ago, in our 12 Years Ago segment, we wrote that UConn had upset Duke to win the title and asked if history might repeat itself. Well it did. I didn’t have the guts to bet it however. The best thing for us old folks is that UConn coach Jim Calhoun, 68, is the oldest NCAA coach to win the championship, his third title. *****Meanwhile it looks like coach Pat Knight will be named head basketball coach at Lamar. They interviewed others but that was just a show. That’s what I believe anyhow. *****The Texas A&M women’s basketball team makes us proud. They played for the national title against Notre Dame Tuesday night and won 76-70. It was their first national title–ever. It was a great trip. Women were not allowed at A&M until 1963 when the school went co-ed. We also want to congratulate the Bridge City Cardinals for a big Dist. 21-31 victory 13-7 over Hamshire-Fannett on Tuesday.


On April 6, John Ratzenberger will be 64; Marilu Henner, 59; Paul Rudd, 42; Zach Braff, 36 and Candance Cameron Bure, 35.***James Garner will be 83 on April 7; Jackie Chan, 57; Russell Crowe, 47 and Francis Ford Coppola, 72.***April 8, John Schneider will be 51; Julian Lennon, 48; Robin Wright Penn, 45 and Patricia Arquette, 43.***April 9, Hugh Hefner, 85; Dean Koontz, 66; Dennis Quaid, 57 and Kristen Stewart, 21.***April 10, Steven Seagal, 59; Brian Setzer, 52; Orlando Jones, 43 and Mandy Moore, 27.***April 11, Joss Stone, 24.***April 12, David Letterman, 64; Tom Clancy, 64; Vince Gill, 54 and Shannen Doherty, 40.


Tree Cajun boys, all raised in Vermillion Parish together, went off to college. Wen dey graduated from dere college dey take da trip to Mexico dat dey had planned four years earlier. While touring all da back roads in Mexico dey was captured dem by da drug cortell who believed dem to be undercover “Noc agencs.” Dey took dem to an old jail wat had an electric chair and prepared to put dem to death. First it was Joe Boudreaux. Dey strapped him in and axe if he had las words him. He said, “Me, I jus graduate from Nichols State, in Thibodeaux, Loosianna. I believe da almighty power of God will intervene on da behalf of da innocent.”
Da Mexicans dem threw da switch, nutten happened, dem Mexicans drop to dere knees and axe Boudreaux’s forgivness and released him.
Next was Alfred Comeaux. He said, “Me, I just graduate from McNeese in Lake Charles, Loosiana, I believe in da power of justice to intervene on da part of da innocent. Nutten happened. Dey fell to dere knees and beg Comeux to forgive dem.
Da las one was LeRoy Babineaux. Dey strap him in da old chair and he say, “Me, I’m from LS&U, in Baton Rough, I just graduate with a degree in electrical engineering.” Den he added, “I’ll tell you rat now, you ain’t never gonna electrocute nobody if you don’t plug dat dang ting in.”


At the time most employees can’t remember their last substantial raise, CEO’s pay has jumped through the roof. While CEO’s made their companies lean, they gave themselves big bonuses, protected by the recently renewed Bush tax plan with the loopholes, the top of the heap pays little tax. Example Philippe Dallman, CIO Viacon, salary and bonus was $84,469,515, 148.6 percent over last year. Ray Iran, Occidental Petroleum, $76,107,070, Michael White, Direct TV, $32,932,618. Just three of the many CEO’s who make over $15 million, plus corporate jets, all meals and wine. The average 500 CEO got a $2.2 million bonus in 2010. That’s tough to swallow while so many Americans suffer. *****Over the weekend, President Barack Obama has announced that he is running for re-election. He starts his campaign in one of the stronger positions of a sitting president over the past four decades. His job approval, at this tenure, is higher than that of Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan, who won second terms. He’ll have a lot of advantages as the incumbent by not being challenged for his party’s nomination while the Republican Party battles it out for a candidate. Obama will not spend any money in the primary and will have a billion dollars to run on in the general election. The bad economy he inherited is turning around. The car industry, on the verge of collapse, has turned around. Unemployment is coming down, ever so slowly, but coming down. History is on his side. For over a century, a party who wins the White House holds it for at least eight years. The only exception was Jimmy Carter in 1980. Also, when one party wins, the congress the other party wins the White House. The general election is a year and a half away but in the meantime there will be lots of action in the Republican Party primary, regular conservatives against Tea Party candidates. The GOP will be divided. I don’t believe anyone has an idea of who out of the dozen will survive to make the big show. *****On that it’s come time for me to go. Thanks for your time. Read us cover to cover, you don’t want to miss next week’s great issue, our 51st anniversary. To advertise in this special issue call 735-7183. Take care and God bless.