The Orange County Year in Review
Harrison announced plans to leave BCISD
Date ran: Jan. 26 ,2011 – Former Bridge City ISD Superintendent Dr. Jamey Harrison announced he would be leaving the district at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. Harrison agreed to become the Deputy Director for the University Scholastic League (UIL) in Austin. He had been with the district since 2007.
Harrison graduated from Hardin-Jefferson ISD, received his bachelors and masters degrees from Lamar Beaumont and received his doctorate at the University of Texas in Austin.
He has worked for the Buna, Lumberton and Hardin-Jefferson school districts prior to working for BCISD.
Harrison’s tenure will be remembered as one of accomplishment, leadership and community involvement. In the aftermath of Hurricane Ike, Sep. 13, 2008, Harrison had students back in class by Oct. 9. The timing was critical in preserving the community as displaced citizens returned home.
For his efforts, Harrison, along with Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeuax and Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, were named ‘Newsmakers of the Year’ by the Press Club of Southeast Texas in 2009.
Harrison was instrumental in gaining government disaster relief funds and other resources to build the nearly completed Bridge City Elementary School on West Roundbunch.
Both Hatton Elementary and Sims Elementary were destroyed by Hurricane Ike. Bridge City Elementary students have been going to school in modular buildings since the storm.
The new school is expected to open in May. Harrison plans on finishing out the school year to ensure the building is completed.
“I [wanted] to finish the new building here, to make sure it’s ready for the first day of school,” Harrison said. “This is such a wonderful place. It was a really grueling decision for my wife and I to make. It’s an opportunity that’s too good to pass up, but that doesn’t mean that it was very, very difficult to decide to take it. We have been so happy here. We love this town, we love the schools, and we love our neighbors. It’s just a special place. We’re going to miss it.”
The UIL exists to provide educational extracurricular academic, athletic, and music contests. The initials UIL have come to represent quality educational competition administered by school people on an equitable basis.
WOS Coach Dan Hooks announces retirement
Date ran: March 23, 2011 – West Orange – Cove CISD Athletic Director/ Head Football Coach Dan Hooks announced his retirement effective at the end of the 2010-2011 school year, June 30.
“It is sad to see an iconic staff member retire from our District, especially with the legacy that he has created with West Orange – Stark football. We value and respect him,” Superintendent James Colbert said. “When people across this State think of West Orange – Cove School District or West Orange – Stark High School, they think of Mustang football, Dan Hooks, and Dan R. Hooks Stadium. We are going to miss him tremendously.”
Coach Hooks became the West Orange – Stark High School Head Coach in 1981.
Under his leadership, the WO-S Mustangs won the UIL 4-A Football State Championship in 1986 and again in 1987. The Mustangs also advanced to and played in the State Finals in 1988 and 2000.
“We have had great coaches and good players,” Coach Hooks said. “I had a great time and hope to see the program continue to do well.”
Community mourned the lost of three Orangefield teens
Date ran: Sept. 21, 2011 – Through tears of sorrow and pain, the Orangefield and the surrounding community mourned the loss of three young men. Grey Smith, Jacob Bates and Darrick Brantley, all juniors at Orangefield High School, died Sunday, Sept. 18 due to a car accident on Hwy 62 near Hoo Hoo Rd (south of FM 105).
At approximately 3:30 a.m., Smith, the driver of the four door Mazda, crossed the center line into the path of a Chevrolet Tahoe, driven by Clinton Lloyd of Orange. Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Judge Derry Dunn pronounced Smith and Bates dead at the scene and Brantley, who was riding in the backseat, was transported to St. Elizabeth’s in Beaumont where he later died.
Lloyd suffered from a broken leg and his three year old son, who was secured in his child’s safety seat, received a few minor bruises.
Neighboring school districts sent counselors to Orangefield High School to help the students and staff with the grieving process.
A memorial service was held the following Monday at the high school gymnasium. Friends and family gathered together to remember the lives of these three young men that were tragically cut short.
BCLL Jr. All Stars place third in the world
Date ran: Aug. 24,
2011 – The Bridge City Little League Jr. softball team participated in
the Little League World Series, finishing the tournament with a record
of 4-2, the girls have bragging rights as third in the world of Jr.
Members of the team from Bridge City are: Skylar Kahla,
Kaleigh Carter, Bailee Bacon, Harleigh Myers, Kasey Frederick, Faith
Kaufman, Brooke DeRouen, Haley Mills, Hannah Faulk and Kellyn Cormier.
Members from Orangefield are: Sabryn Crain, Ashlyn Mitchell and Katelyn
Dickerson. Coaches: Hilton Bacon and Justin Frederick. Manager: Julie
Smith named as new Veteran Service Officer
Date ran: July 20, 2011 – The Orange County judge and the four county commissioners were faced with a difficult problem in early June. Veteran Service Officer Jerry Childress resigned and the Benefits Coordinator was let go due to several complications.
The County then had to decide how to get the Orange County Veterans Service Office back to serving veterans in the shortest amount of time, and who to select to fill the position of Veteran’s Service officer. After only a few days the office was once again serving the veterans.
The county administration was advertising for candidates seeking the VSO position.
The members of Court met and interviewed the final four candidates. After reviewing the qualifications of each candidate and their impressions of the interviews the court decided to hire F. E. “Gene” Smith as the new VSO for Orange County.
County Judge Carl Thibodeaux explained that Smith’s qualifications and presentation on how the Veterans Service Office should operate made him stand out.
One of Smith’s goals is to have every veteran in Orange County registered in the county office.
“We need to know who the veterans are. If they will register in our office and keep their information current we will be able to help them better. In case of a death of a veteran we would already have a head up on getting the paperwork started to help the survivors obtain benefits,” said Smith. “We are employees of Orange County, not the Veterans Administration.
Our primary purpose is to serve our county veterans. If a veteran comes into the office that is not an Orange County resident, we will help him, but we want out-of-county veterans to know that there is a county service officer in every county. The information about county offices is easy to obtain. One way is through the website for the county. Out of state veterans should go to the office nearest to them in their home state. Each state has a separate budget and most importantly, different benefits.”
According to Smith the duties of the employees in the office are to serve in a manner similar to a secretary.
“We are here to do paperwork for the veterans. Some of the forms and questions can be very confusing. It is our job to help our vets understand the process and keep them on the right path. I have spent nearly 70 percent of my life in and with the military. My goal in my job is to help any veteran, in any way I can,” said Smith.
Burch-Arkeen named 128th District Judge
Date ran: April 27, 2011 – Even as she was donning her cap and gown at her graduation from Orangefield High School in 1994, Courtney Burch-Arkeen knew that she wanted to work in the field of law.
“No one else in my family is a lawyer,” she said, “but, I knew that I wanted to work in law. When I left for the University of Texas, I wanted to work in the state capitol. And, while working on my undergraduate degree, I worked for State Representative Ron Lewis.”
Earlier this year, the state senate confirmed that Burch-Arkeen will now don a new black robe — as the 128th District Court judge.
Former district judge Patrick Clark retired from the bench, leaving the position vacant. The position will once again be up for election in 2012.
Burch-Arkeen has been practicing family, criminal and civil law for the past 11 years, but says that she got her first inkling for the courtroom while in the classroom at Orangefield High.
Burch-Arkeen is leading the way in firsts, as she is the first female district court judge in not only Orange, but for the entire surrounding Southeast Texas areas of Jefferson, Newton and Chambers counties.
She is also the first Republican judge in Orange County history, according to County Clerk Karen Jo Vance.
Mike King chosen as new BCISD superintendent
Date ran: June 15, 2011 – On Monday, June 13, The Bridge City School Board officially announced the lone finalist for the BCISD Superintendent office: Mike King.
King and his wife, Shannon have three children (one boy and two girls): Jaret is currently attending Texas A&M, Trinity is a sophomore at BC High School and Avery is in the third grade.
“Everyone has welcomed us with open arms,” King said. “My wife and children, we are all excited to be here. It has been about as seamless of a move as we could have asked for.”
King said they are most awe struck by the love and care Bridge City has for their community and their schools.
“Most obvious is what the district and community has done to come back from Ike,” King said. “It is impressive and inspiring and, they may not be aware of this, it is known around the state.”
Toby Foreman named 2010 Track and Field Coach of the Year
Date ran: Feb. 9, 2011 – West Orange – Stark High School Coach Toby Foreman was chosen by the National Federation of State High School Coaches as the 2010 Coach of the Year at the state level for Boys Track and Field.
Foreman, who ran track in high school for WO-S, credits his and his teams’ accomplishments to several things.
“We have talented people here that run track but more than that, people that are willing to work,” Foreman said. “A lot of schools have talent but they just don’t have the work ethic that we do.”
New BC Elementary school building opens its doors
Date ran: Aug. 17, 2011 – The new Bridge City Elementary school is a state of the art facility and is teaming with new technology and fun art designed by Creative Arts, who also designs for Disney. Their doors open for the new school year on Aug. 22.
Each hallway has its own little theme. Pre-K is pedal cars. Kindergarten has a water theme with boats and things. First grade is the roadway with cars and trucks. Second grade covers the air.
There is a large stage in the cafeteria with a media system that includes a projector that comes down from the ceiling and a large screen. There is a similar set-up in the library.
The library was stocked with 9,000 new books. It also sports a puppet stage and a train. The cars of the train are seating for the students.
Artwork in the gymnasium features athletes, the Strutters and cheerleaders as Cardinals.
Seating in the gym is retractable.
Fine Arts is a multipurpose room covering art, music and theater arts.
The playground also features a transportation theme with a train and bus among others. The ground is covered with rubberized material for safety. Covered benches are provided as shade for teachers and staff as they chaperone the students on the playground.
Two computer labs are among the amenities at the new facility.
Weeren’s favorite thing about the new school is all the technology. Each room has a smart board, an interactive white board that is used in conjunction with a computer and a large video display. The surface of the board becomes touch sensitive and allows the user to control the computer.
The smart board technology allows the user to save the information drawn as an image. They will be able share this information digitally, save and re-use it without having a hard copy.
All of the classrooms will also have sound systems from Front Row Pro Digital. Speakers are installed in the ceiling.
Teachers also have microphones that fit around their necks, projecting their voices to the back of the room.
The Life Skills classroom for special needs students is expansive compared to what they had at the Intermediate School.
The students have different stations for education, cooking, a library and listening center, sensory center and art.
Harrison, The Record Newspapers honored at BCCC banquet
Date ran: Feb. 23, 2011 – The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce honored Jamey Harrison and The Record Newspapers at their annual banquet on Thursday, Feb. 17. Harrison was named 2010 Citizen of the Year and The Record was named 2010 Business of the Year.
Kirk Ellender, a Bridge City ISD school board member, present Harrison with the Citizen of the Year award.
Harrison became the superintendent for Bridge City ISD and has diligently worked to serve this community since July 16, 2007. In January, Harrison announced that he is going to be leaving BCISD to become the Deputy Director for the University Scholastic League (UIL) in Austin.
“This is an extremely special place and an extremely special community,” Harrison said. “I have been blessed to take an unbelievable job that many folks would consider a dream job. I had to be talked into it. I said ‘no’ three times. It’s not because it’s not a wonderful job, a dream job. It’s because this community is that special, because this school is that special.”
Harrison finished out the school year with BCISD.
Judge Carl Thibodeaux presented The Record Newspapers with the 2010 Business of the Year award from the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce. Roy Dunn is the publisher of The Record Newspapers.
Dunn was born and raised in Abbeyville, La., but has been a long-time resident of Bridge City since 1955. His family has had business interests in BC since 1926 and, for many years, the Dunn family owned the only motel in town.
His three children, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren have all attended Bridge City schools. His wife, Phyllis; son, Mark; and daughter, Karen have all been involved with the papers over the years.
The Record Newspapers include The County Record, The Penny Record and TheRecordLive.com.
The Penny Record was started by Walter Gaston in the 60s and was bought by Dunn in 1995. In the mid 90s, the County Record made its debut. The expansion led to the widest circulation of any newspaper in Orange County.
The Record’s web site, TheRecordLive.Com, made its debut in 2008 and is one of the fastest growing Web sites in Orange County. The Record has even expanded to reach their readers by using Facebook and Twitter.
The Penny Record has been in existence for over 50 years, which makes it eligible for a Historical Marker. The Record is an award-winning newspaper, winning awards in every category possible, and continues to be the only free, hometown newspaper in Orange County. The Record is locally owned and operated, which is rare by today’s standards.
Salvation Army welcomes new captains
Date ran: July 6, 2011 – The month of June brought a pretty significant change for the Orange County Salvation Army. Major John Queener, who has been with the Salvation Army for over 51 years, and his wife, Linda, were transferred to a Salvation Army in Fort Worth. Captains Michael and Laura Cox came to Orange from that same Salvation Army in Fort Worth.
Michael and Laura, who have been married for 17 years and have three sons (15, 12, and 10 years of age), have been officers with the Salvation Army for the last four to five years.
“As officers, we are first off ministers for the Salvation Army and then we provide services or programs,” Cox said. “We are administrators as well. We have several employees that are responsible for social services, finances, the family store, our after school Boys and Girls club.
We oversee all of the programs, but they oversee the programs they are responsible for in effect in Orange County.”
The Salvation Army helps any who need it year around, not just during the holiday season. With the way the economy has been, many who didn’t need assistance last year find themselves walking in the doors of the Salvation Army.
The Orange facility helps, on average, ten families per day, but has seen as many as 25 families a day for food. Their pantry is currently partially stocked and they give a little bit of whatever they many have on hand. Food donations are always welcome, but monetary donations are needed as well.
They also offer a summer day camp as well as an after school program during the school year.
Church services are Sundays: 9:45 Sunday School Class, 11 a.m. Worship Service and they offer a Wednesday night Bible study.
For more information or to make a donation, please contact the Orange County Salvation Army at 409-883-4232.
Bridge City waterfront park gets help from Houseman
Date ran: May 4, 2011 – The vision of a waterfront park on Cow Bayou in Bridge City became much clearer Thursday, April 28, with a proposal by landowner Ms. Gisela Houseman.
Ms. Houseman offered the five-plus acres adjoining the Cow Bayou Swing Bridge on Hwy-87 at a price well below market value putting it within reach of the fund raising efforts of the nonprofit Bridge City Historical Society. She also offered more – to build a multi-purpose facility overlooking the property and bayou.
The new facility will house the vast Tony and Gisela Houseman collection of art, photography, artifacts and wildlife trophies from around the world. The facility is intended to provide the children of Southeast Texas an opportunity to learn about conservation, wildlife and its natural habitat.
Additionally, the building would also become a heritage resource center and new home for the Bridge City Historical Society.
The facility will be designed and constructed by Tony Houseman Homes. The waterfront park itself will be completed in phases. A master plan is currently being created with the help of Bridge City architect Mark Magnuson.
The idea for a waterfront park was proposed to Ms. Houseman in 2009 by a small discussion group that included Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte, Orange County Parks Director Donna Scales, Jerry Jones and Mark Dunn, then president of the Bridge City Chamber of Commerce.
Also in 2009, the Bridge City Historical Society became a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charitable organization and took the lead role in acquiring the property. The organization sought partnership with the City of Bridge City in August 2010. With support from the City, the group began the process of visioning and developing plans to help acquire the property as a waterfront park on Cow Bayou.
As envisioned, the waterfront park on Cow Bayou would be family oriented and ideal for numerous recreational and educational activities and events. It would include such amenities as an amphitheater, playgrounds, a broad boardwalk along the bulkhead, period style lighting throughout the park and along the shoreline, covered picnic tables, walking trails, floral gardens, concessions and rest rooms. Native bald cypress, dogwoods, oak trees and other vegetation would become part of the landscape.
The land has special significance as the site of the infamous Joe Bailey’s Bridge City Fish Camp near the Cow Bayou Swing Bridge. The bridge became listed to the National Register of Historic Places in 2010. The Cow Bayou waterfront location, paired with the National Register designation, is the perfect scenerio for opportunities and benefits of history and heritage based tourism.
Add to that, the Houseman collection and the park takes on another unique dimension providing education in natural history offering wildlife educational programs and events. The facility will provide the opportunity to present information on the world’s wildlife and ecosystems that encourages discovery and understanding through fun and entertainment.
Museum board members have agreed to become the initial donors in a Capital Campaign to purchase the property. The Bridge City Historical Society offers individual and corporate donors a tax deduction for their charitable donations. Donations of goods and services is also tax deductible. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
City breaks ground for new Central Fire Station
Date ran: June 8, 2011 – Mayor Brown Claybar led the ground breaking ceremony at the City of Orange Central Fire Station construction site the morning of June 3.
Representatives invited to participate in the ceremony were the Orange City Council, senior staff members, Texas Department of Rural Affairs (TDRA), Bush-Clinton Foundation, H.J. Lutcher and Nelda C. Stark Foundation, Temple Inland Corp, Sabine River Authority, Orange County United Way, SpawGlass Construction, BRW Architects, City of Orange Economic Development Corp, Orange Chamber of Commerce and the on duty shift of the Orange Fire Department.
The majority of the project is being funded through a grant from TDRA for Hurricane Ike and Dolly recovery. Other financial contributors are the Bush-Clinton Foundation, Stark Foundation, Temple Inland Corp, and the Sabine River Authority.
Judge Shuff retires after 31 years
Date ran: Feb. 23, 2011 – On Feb. 14, the Orange County Commissioners Court accepted Judge Michael W. Shuff’s letter for retirement ending a 31 year career in the judicial position. Judge Shuff presided over the Orange County Court at Law.
Stark Foundation celebrates 50 years
Date ran: Feb. 16, 2011 – The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation, which was established in 1961 by Nelda and Lutcher Stark celebrated their 50th Anniversary on Feb. 23.
The Stark Foundation has served for 50 years with a mission to improve the quality of life in Orange and surrounding communities in Southeast Texas through grants for education, health and human services, arts and culture, and community enhancement. Through the operation of its venues — The W.H. Stark House, the Stark Museum of Art, Frances Ann Lutcher Theater for the Performing Arts, and Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center – the Stark Foundation contributes historical, artistic and cultural resources to the area.
Stark Venues times of operation are as follows:
The W.H. Stark House – 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. For more information, call 409-883-0871 or visit www.starkhouse.org.
Stark Museum of Art – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 409-886-ARTS (2787) or visit www.starkmuseum.org.
Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center – 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. For more information, call 409-670-9113 or visit www.shangrilagardens.org.
Lutcher Theater – 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. For more information, call 409-886-5535 or visit www.lutcher.org.
Orangefield Cormier Museum brings back Christmas tradition
Date ran: Nov. 30, 2011 – Bill Remke put lights on the first derrick Christmas tree in Dec., 1953. The first derrick was located next to his home on Highway 105 just west of Cow Bayou in Orangefield. It was on the Oscar Chesson lease and operated by the Kilmarnock Oil Co. Mr. Remke was a field manager for this company for about 14 years.
After his death, the tradition was carried on for a few years and then began to fade away.
In December, 1975, the Orangefield Lions Club made the Orangefield Derrick Christmas Tree their project and moved the lights to a derrick on the east side of the new Hwy. 105 Cow Bayou Bridge. That derrick came down during Hurricane Rita and the tradition ceased.
This year the Orangefield Cormier Museum brought back the tradition at the “Christmas In Orangefield” with a Hootenanny on Friday, Dec. 9 and Christmas Festival Saturday Dec. 10.
The ceremony used a 94’ tall work over rig provided by Bobby Cormier and was lit up after Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux read a “Cajun Night Before Christmas.”
Hopefully by next Christmas the last two derricks in the Orange Oil Field will be relocated to the museum and the restoration of an old tradition be complete.
Performers were Rudicelli (Linda Granger Crawford, Wanda and Bob Lester) from Mansfield, Texas; Acoustic Fuse from Orangefield; Hearts of Compassion (Douglas and Maridee Stanley), currently doing mission work in the Vinton area; Bonita Granger Eaves from Buna; Glenn Granger from Spring; and the Carroll Benoit Band from the Mauriceville/Orange area. Music will be of country, gospel, rock and roll, Christmas and the classics genres.
Bridge City Strutters win National Champions again
Date ran: March 30, 2011 – Strutter history is in the making again. The Bridge City Strutters are National Champions for the second time. The first time was in 2008. This year they won five National Championships in team categories as well as three National Championships for officer categories. The team also won second place in the international prop category with their Texas skirt dance. The Strutters attended the American Dance International/National competition at the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas. This competition held over 1100 events throughout the weekend and included two teams from Japan.
The officers are the National Champions overall in small team category. They won National Champion awards in modern, lyrical, and open. They also won the Gussie Nell Davis Award and the Best of the Best Award. Officers are Captain Jordyn Ewing, lst Lieutenant Allison Morphew, Lieutenant Nicole Encalade, Lieutenant Kaitlyn Ezell and Lieutenant Karli Anderson.
The Strutter competition team is the National Champions overall in small team category. They won National Champion awards in pom, novelty, kick, prop, and open. They also won the National Academic Champions, Gussie Nell Davis Excellence Award and the Best of the Best Award.
Kaitlyn Ezell is the National Champion solo winner. Solo finalists include Jordyn Ewing – first runner-up; Allison Morphew, Nicole Encalade and Devon Skidmore – tied for second runner-up; Sydney Shepherd – third runner-up; and Madison Woodruff – fourth runner-up.
Jordyn Ewing earned Miss National High Kick Company, and Kaitlyn Ezell earned Miss National High Kick Company Semi-Finalist. Freshman Aubrey Hale is the Miss JV National High Kick winner with Madison Lyons and Ciara Cooper named Miss JV National High Kick Company.
Competition team Strutters are Jordyn Ewing, Allison Morphew, Karli Anderson, Nicole Encalade, Kaitlyn Ezell, Taylor Dishon, Devon Skidmore, Samantha Morphew, Katie Nation, Sydney Shepherd, Madison Woodruff, Alexandra Biggs, Ciara Cooper, Aubrey Hale and Madison Lyons.
Bridge City Public Library celebrates 20 years
Date ran: March 16, 2011 – The Bridge City Public Library celebrated their 20th anniversary on March 17. The first and only director, Mary Montgomery, commented, “It has been a pleasure developing the library collection and meeting people in the community. We’re serving the second generation of many of our original patrons.”
The Friends of the Bridge City Public Library began gathering books two and a half years before the doors of the first public library in Bridge City were opened on March 17, 1991.
Shelter of last resort under construction
Date ran: Aug. 10, 2011 – Local officials and interested parties gathered at the Shelter of Last Resort site on Farm Road 1442 just one mile south of Interstate-10 for the ground breaking ceremony that had actually been postponed five times due to rain.
The multi-purpose building will house county offices for Texas AgriLife, Building Codes and Permits and will be used as emergency management operations. The other half of the building will be a large event center with a commercial kitchen and banquet facilities that will also serve as a shelter of last resort and shelter first-responders in emergency situations. In a banquet style setting, the building will accommodate 600. It could shelter 400-750 first responders, depending on how it was set up.
The 50,000 square feet building will be made of concrete walls and a concrete roof. It is designed to withstand 200 miles per hour winds.
“It’s not designed to be a public shelter, it’s important to know that,” said Jeff Kelley, Orange County Emergency Management Director. “It’s only designed as a medical special needs shelter of last resort and a shelter for first responders.
There are plans in the future with the C.H.A.M.P.S. organization to build an arena, baseball/softball fields and other amenities on this site.
Work completed on Bailey’s Road
Date ran: July 20, 2011 – After being severely damaged by Hurricane Ike, Bailey’s Road is now fully repaired, thanks to a $400,000 community development block grant.
“It took more time for funding to get approved than it did to get the work completed,” John Dubose, precinct three commissioner, said.
Les Anderson, county engineer, said that the resurfacing project took about three or four weeks altogether to complete.
The county added six inches of limestone and covered it with a double coat of chip seal down the length of the road, Anderson said.
Dubose said that although there are not many residents along Bailey Road, a lot of people come down for fishing recreation at the docks, which were part of Texas Parks and Wildlife funding.
“We have a lot of people coming down here to fish,” Dubose said. “So, it is heavily used by the public. I’m still working on getting a new pier built out here near the old Port Arthur ferry landing.
“We haven’t got that done yet, but it is something I’d like to see done.”
Wilma Horner fighting breast cancer, already a survivor
Date ran: Oct. 5, 2011 – Wilma Horner, broker and owner of Platinum ReMax in Bridge City, was diagnosed with a malignant and aggressive form of breast cancer after a standard wellness exam found a small lump.
“This is just another obstacle,” Horner explains. “What are we going to do about it? My only other thoughts were ones of concern for my family and agents.”
What she and her doctors decided would be the best treatment was a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. The chemo is beginning to take a harder toll on her than some of the previous stages of treatment. Wilma, however, refuses to let it take her out of her own life.
“The way I look at it, I am not the first and I won’t be the last. Its like my son says, I am a rodeo clown, I get knocked down, I dust off, I keep going.”
Still, there is no doubt, in spite of the positive façade she promotes, the newest chemotherapy drugs are starting to hit hard. FEC (a combination chemotherapy treatment for breast cancer) is the most recent cocktail that is being administered to her. She travels to Houston to get her treatments at M.D. Anderson every three weeks. Wilma will receive four months of the treatment, which will have a progressively dramatic affect to her physical body with each dose. She finds she is losing days, but keeps coming into work and pushing forward.
“The way I look at this, we’ve had many to fight that give us courage to fight and I will be one of those who survives to help others fight.”
Her prognosis is good. She says a mammogram wouldn’t have found the cancer in her case, but says women should be in tune with their bodies and follow what is right for them. She is modest about her position in the lives of others, but it is evident she makes a very strong imprint.
Pearl Burgess Day honored by Court
Date ran: Oct. 26, 2011 – She was taken completely by surprise when Orange County Judge Carl Thibodeaux proclaimed Thursday, Oct. 27 as “Pearl Burgess-Stanfield Day.”
“This is a great surprise to me,” said Burgess. “I have two grandfathers [that] were judges. I really appreciate this, it makes me feel humble. Thank you very, very much.”
New directors sworn in for Port of Orange’s IDC
Date ran: Nov. 23, 2011 – The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) was founded in 1979. The IDC is a nonprofit corporation wholly owned by the Orange County Navigation & Port District. The purpose of the IDC is to issue bonds for the promotion and development of commercial, industrial and manufacturing enterprises. The IDC Board Members are Orange County Navigation Board of Commissioners Jerry Hughes and Jimmy Smith, Port Director Gene Bouillion along with appointed Directors John Cooper, John Gothia, Nancy Vincent and Don Lightfoot.
Mauricville Middle School builds outdoor classroom
Date ran: Jan. 19, 2011 – Black boards, desks, notebooks and textbooks. Sitting in a classroom day in and day out can become very mundane and it’s no wonder why attentions begin to wander. A few years ago, a group of students at Mauriceville Middle School dreamt of a way to be outside and still get class work done.
On Jan. 18, Mauriceville Middle School (MMS) will hold a ribbon cutting for their very own outdoor classroom. This classroom will allow the students and teachers to experience learning in a 100 percent natural setting. The classroom is 900 square feet, has seating around the perimeter, two stations at the center of it, and has both electricity and water.
The Nelda C. and H.J. Lutcher Stark Foundation sponsored the construction of this classroom. Nelda Burton was the voice for the children at MMS and applied for the grant.
“It’s a nature classroom that opened up opportunities for our kids to do composting, planting, learn about the water cycle and all kinds of things to do with the outdoors,” said Principal Todd Loupe.
Judge Janice Menard moves into new office
Date ran: Nov. 30, 2011
– More than three years after Hurricane Ike destroyed the courtroom and
offices of Orange County Justice of the Peace of Precinct 3 Janice
Menard, she was moved into her new building Monday.
finally. It’s been a long time coming, but it’s worth it,” said Menard.
They had spent the last three years in the temporary quarters of a small
trailer. “We were cramped,” she said. Menard is very happy with the new
offices. “It’s so nice, so very nice.”
Menard kept her gavel from
the old office even though it has some water damage on the handle. It
was a gift from John Tarver and his wife, Dena, when Judge Menard was