On May 3, 1999, Moore, Okla. was destroyed by a tornado. On this Memorial week, when we remember our veterans killed in all wars, terror hits us again here at home. Scores were killed when Moore was again hit by a monster tornado, packing 200 mile per hour winds. For 40 minutes it left destruction over a mile wide. The 1999 twister was the highest recorded winds at 302 mph, killing 36 people and causing over $1 billion in damage. Despite the winds not being as strong, the May 20, 2013 tornado, because of its time on the ground, left total destruction. When I heard that many children, kindergarten to third grade age, had been in a school hallway that no longer existed, my mind went to prayer. Time has proven that some of those small children were killed. That is so sad. What a blow to those young couples just starting out in life, losing their child, maybe two, and all their possessions. We take life for granted every day. During war we have learned to expect death but never consider how many of our follow citizens die yearly in natural disasters. We have been criticized as being fools for living on the Gulf Coast but I wouldn’t trade it for Tornado Alley. With a hurricane we get plenty of warning, we have the choice to leave or stay. The people of Moore had 15 minutes and were told everyone not underground were not likely to survive. An EF-5 storm on the Fujita Scale is the most powerful type of twister known to man. Time will paint a very dark picture of death and destruction seen only in wars. Many stories, some of survival, will be told that will pull at your heartstrings and cause you to count your blessings while praying for those poor, unfortunate people of Moore. Many more twisters are expected around the country. Hopefully they will be minimum and spare life. While remembering our veterans who were lost in battle, take time to say a prayer for our fellow citizens who faced the worse day of their lives. *****I must move on. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.


Our Southeast Texas girl, Kree Harrison, came up short on national votes but she made a lot of fans along the way. We haven’t heard the last of her. American Idol, Season 12, gave her the exposure and her talent propelled her to the final two. That’s overcoming tremendous odds, starting with 100,000 contestants and making it to the top with a chance to win it all. Idol winner Candice Glover, who is a great talent, took three tries on different years to win it all. She will be a star. Talent wise very little separated the two.  I think Candice got a better selection of songs that highlighted her great pipes. I suspect before the month is over Kree will have a recording contract. It wouldn’t surprise me if it was with Keith Urban and his group. Since American Idol, Kree has made a guest appearance on the Kelly and Michael daytime show and is suppose to appear on the Grand Old Opry in the future.  Kree’s grandfather, Wilson Roberts, was disappointed but he put it best, “All you can expect in life is a break, Kree got that, now it’s up to her what she does with it. In my heart of hearts, I believe she will make the most of it.” We join him in wishing Kree a happy 23rd birthday and may all her dreams come true.


Our local high schools all bit the dust over the weekend. The Bridge City baseball Cardinals were the only team with a good shot to move on. Leading 4-0 in the fifth, they let the game get away losing to Huffman 5-4. It was a great season for the Cards. The seniors will be missed and will long be remembered for the years and effort they put out as members of a proud Cardinal bunch.*****Losing two out of three, the Orangefield Bobcats faced a tough Silsbee bunch in the playoffs. The Bobcats came further than anyone expected when the season started, something everyone should be proud of. Good luck to the seniors and thanks. *****The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears, in a best of three, just couldn’t get the train on track and lost the first two games to Ridge Point, 2-0. What a great bunch of girls, they were exciting to watch and have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments. Again, thanks to the seniors for their dedication and may life bring the best. To all the seniors, we know these high school years with your teammates will always be treasured.


The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office projects a $642 billion budget deficit, down $200 billion from its February estimate and the smallest annual shortfall since 2008. The long term deficit projection is also improved. CBO estimates a 2015 deficit of only $378 billion. The report is good news for the White House, yet more evidence that the President’s policies are contributing to the most rapid deficit reduction since World War II. The new CBO outlook might take the sting out of the Congress on fiscal battles that dominated the last session. The report buys the President and Congressional leaders more time to maneuver the politics of the debt ceiling vote and sequester. Another battle over the debt ceiling could rattle global markets and maybe cause another credit downgrade. It’s time for congress to quit being obstructionist, down party lines, and do what’s best for the country as a whole.


14 Years Ago-1999

Residents of Moore, Okla. are still digging out from a powerful twister, with 300 mph winds, that destroyed the town on May 3.*****Louis Dugas, Jay Tanzen and Richard Turkel drive to New Orleans to argue before the entire Fifth Federal Circuit. Sixteen black robed judges heard their arguments and asked many questions. All three lawyers reported it was an exciting and grand experience. *****Karen Jo Vance, county clerk, gave Dugas a book on their return titled, “Why you Say It.” The book contains stories behind our everyday words and phrases. Louis says it’s amazing what he learned about simple words, like “Shampoo” etc. *****Congrats to Eric Eshbach, who vaulted 18.2 ¼ feet, making him the world’s greatest high school pole vaulter. Coming in second at the State Championships was fellow Orangefield vaulter, Jonathan Henly, who received the silver medal with a 17.3 vault. The Bobcats brought home first and second and Eric set a world record.*****Former West Orange-Stark baseball star Bruce Aven went three for four with one homerun to beat the Brewers 14-3. Bruce is batting .372 in the major leagues. *****Bridge City Coach Les Johnson and Wanda celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary May 20. (Editor’s note: If my addition is right, Wanda and Les celebrated their 58th this week. They make their home in Bastrop. We send our friends, who keep up with us on our website, our sincere best wishes for a long, healthy life.)*****Evelyn Morse, 73, passed away last week, May 11. Survivors are husband Howard, sons Gary, Wayne and Kenneth and daughter Kathleen. A grandson she raised preached his first sermon at her service Thursday after being ordained just the day before. *****Attorney Karla Rogers has a good point when she says, “Judges shouldn’t have to run under a national party banner. Honestly, I’ve never known any judge who ruled based on being Republican or Democrat.”  (Editor’s note: That was 14 years ago and still is true today. Taking it a little farther, no one should be elected or defeated in local government based on a national party. Local candidates should be judged on qualifications, not party banner. Party voting is a dumb way to pick the best candidate.

34 years ago, 1979

On May 28, Memorial Day, the Putman B. Curry official Texas historical grave marker will be dedicated in Evergreen Cemetery. Dr. Howard Williams, historian, researched and wrote the historical narrative required to receive the official marker. Curry was born Sept. 16, 1835. He died in 1873. The war hero settled in Orange, married Eliza Ochiltree. They had four children. He was a merchant, hotel operator and newspaper publisher. *****The Killer Bees, a group of Texas Senators, including Sen. Carl Parker, go into hiding. It was their only recourse, to stop a special presidential primary at the cost of $5 million to taxpayers. *****W.T. Oliver wins a hush puppy contest in Lufkin. *****Mary Dorothea Fontaine Smith has a birthday on May 21. *****Edgar Wooten will be 25 on May 24. *****Karen Dunn, a cut little blond, celebrated her birthday on May 20. Looks like her mom; acts like her dad. *****Sue Bailey, Rob’s other half, is featured in a Texas Highways magazine article. The story also features Sidney Island. Sue is warden of the National Audubon Society. *****Bickham Lincoln-Mercury holds a midnight sale. Sale ends at daylight. *****West Orange Mustangs hold their all-sports banquet. Receiving awards are Lyn Broussard, volleyball; Geneva Vontours, track; Retha Jones, basketball; Scarlet Bland, golf; Sheila Ryan, Tennis; Earnest Anderson, football; Greg Marshall, basketball; Gary Withworth, Tennis; Kevin Wolford, baseball; Greg Hill, track; Retha Jones, Outstanding Female Athlete; Van Barnett, Outstanding Male.*****The Bridge City baseball team is in the playoffs against Brenham.*****Outstanding athletes honored at BC: Pat Meeks, baseball; Wesley Munlin, tennis; Lydia Moreno, basketball; Tammy Poindecker, track.*****N.J. “Vic” Vicknair has surgery.*****Ladonna Higginbotham and Ricky Hollier are to be wed May 26.


Lauren Parrish, Will Schisler, Bailey McCurry, Gary Hollingsworth, John Hanes, Louis Purifoy, Billy Raymer, McCartney Miller, Justin Trahan, Tracy Davis, Amanda Uzzle, Philip Douglas Thomas, Joey Williams, Rusty Williams, Fran Bullard, Gracie Lemley, Jane Logsdon, Nelson Derrick, Chris Green, Jack James, Cutler Hubbard, Jo Lynn Harris, Judy Duncan, Sheryl Frazier, Archie McLellan, Barbara Olson, George Ragsdale, Logan New, Greg Williams, Mary Majors, Willamette Reynolds, Dylan Ball, Dylan Maas, Mary Donahey, McKenzie Louvier, Robert Herin, Bruce Montague, Charlene Terro, Honor Lee Smith, Lee Ludwig, Jacque Phelps, Jeanie Larch, Judy Landry, Kyle Smoke, Maureen McAllister, Michael Garcia, Rebecca Brumer, Shelly Smith, Kelli Boehme and Steffan Milligan.


Orange Riverfront Boardwalk and Pavilion held a grand opening ceremony over the weekend. I give much credit to former mayor, Brown Claybar, who pushed that project through despite some vocal opposition. It‘s a plus for Orange that will be enjoyed for many years to come. Go take a walk, it‘s a great addition to the city.*****Farmer’s Market, on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings, at Big Lot parking lot, is in full swing. An abundance of fresh produce, many different kinds of homemade jellies and jams and many plants and hanging baskets are all available. I got two blueberry bushes ready to plant. Billy Peveto has new potatoes and other good stuff like tomatoes, squash, peppers and loads of healthy vegetables. A special treat that was available Saturday was a loaf of Julie Teresa Chisholm’s homemade, wheat bread. Julie tells me she grinds her own wheat and bakes the loaf to nice, firm, tasty bread. What I did was pre-heat the oven to warm and heated the loaf for a few minutes. When I took it out I had delicious fresh baked bread. I ate half of it with figs before I could stop myself. You can visit Julie Theresa for special orders at the Farmer’s Market. Visit the Market on Wednesday and Saturday and keep it alive so you can shop for all the fresh vegetables and produce that will be coming our way. *****After a month of trying, I got our friend Doug Harrington on the phone Sunday. I’m glad to report that other than having low energy levels, he’s doing good in is recovery.*****Also our friends Don Harmon and Jerry Wimberly are continuing with their cancer treatments and are optimistic that some day they will beat the disease. Our prayers are with them. *****Billie Sol Estes, 88, died in his sleep last week. As a young man I met Billie Sol on a couple of occasions. By the time he was 30 years old he was a millionaire. His connection to Orange County was at age 21, in 1946, following the war. He bought Navy houses from the U.S. government and moved the small houses to Pinehurst and later sold them off. Some of those buildings were sold to Clay Dunn and were part of the Midway Motel in Bridge City. In 1953, Billie Sol was named one of the “Ten Most Outstanding Young Men in America” by the U.S. Junior Chamber of Commerce. However, in 1962, during the J.F.K. administration, L.B. J.’s friend, Billie Sol, was convicted of using phony financial statements, involving non-existent fertilizer tanks. My impression of him was he was very personable. If you didn’t know better, you would have thought he was a preacher. *****Oxbow, 15 to 1, trained by D. Wayne Lukas and ridden by 50-year-old jockey, Gary Stevens, pulled out an upset to win at the Preakness Stakes. The Kentucky Derby winner Orb came in fourth. Another year with no Triple Crown winner.*****Speaking of winners, Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Mitt Romney were all on the tube this past weekend. I guess President Obama’s recent problems gave them cover. *****A few fine folks we know celebrating their special day in the coming days. May 23, is a special day for a special young lady. Over the years Amanda Uzzle has made her family proud. She’s a joy to everyone who has ever known her. ***Also celebrating on this day is an industrious, hard working young man, with a strong sense of family values. Best wishes to Billy Raymer. ***The twins Joey and Rusty Williams celebrate on May 24. Both will do to ride the range with. ***Celebrating on May 25 is the birthday of lovely Barbara Olson, always a lady with class and a caring heart. ***Celebrating also on this day is Constable Mark Philpot .who has two reasons to celebrate. The day also marks 22 years of marriage to Babette. Happy anniversary to Mark and Babette. ***May 26 is longtime Bridge City resident Mary Majors’ big day. Mary and Dr. Joe, Bridge City’s first dentist, raised their family in B.C. They have moved to College Station a few years ago. Son, Dr. Chuck Majors, lives in nearby Caldwell. The Majors played an important part in the development of Bridge City.***May 27 finds Bruce Montagne, Robert Herin, and Charlene Terro celebrating.***On May 28 nice lady, Maureen McAllister, celebrates, also Lee Ludwig, Michael Garcia, Judy Landry and Kelli Boehme.***A happy 60th birthday to our friend Margaret Toal. She’s much wiser than her years. Keep on keeping on.  Happy birthday to all. Please see complete list.*****Taylor Swift won eight of 11 Billboard awards, Justin Bieber won three, including “Male Artist” and the coveted “Milestone” award, beating Swift and Bruno Mars. Prince got the “ICON” AWARD.*****Jude and Monty Turley just returned from a seven-day cruise on Carnival, out of Galveston, making stop in Jamaica, Grand Cayman, etc. They had a great time and a nice break from routine. I wonder how attorney Jack Smith made it a week without Jude. Apparently not too good, he was getting treatments at the chiropractor Monday morning. *****Our office manager, Nicole Gibbs, recalls the Moore, Okla. tornado in May, 1999, she was 16 years old. She feels for today’s residents of Moore. Her sister teaches nearby but was alright; however her best friend and family lost everything, taking a direct hit. See Nicole’s story and pictures in this issue. Meanwhile, Neighbor Cox and Ms. Ginny were concerned for their daughter Karen and her family. Grandson Kegan, who lives near Norman, saw the large storm but it missed that town. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Robert’s this week and a special gathering next week at Novrozsky’s. Everyone is welcome.


At midmorning it started raining; by lunchtime, Calvin Breaux and Mason Comeaux got rained out on dere construction job. Dey ate dere lunch dem, and went to Tee-Boy’s Bar and Grill for a few beers. 

Da rain kept coming down, eight inches in all. Da guys dem, kept on drinking while da rain pour. By later afternoon, dem, dey were boat loop-legged and talking crazy bout dere wives being mad cause dey not home, 

Comeaux blurred out, “Say Breaux, if I went to you house, and made love to you wife, would dat make us kin, hanh?”

“No Comeaux, but it sure would make us even.” Breaux replied.


Next week, we will feature our graduation issue. If you have a student graduating from high school or college, you can honor them with a nice picture ad, with information for only $30 and free color. Let everyone else know that you’re proud of your student. *****Notice to all advertisers: This will be a nice issue for you to advertise in. Every school in our market will be featured. This souvenir issue will give your business a lot of exposure. Call our office, 735-7183 or 886-7183, to speak to an account executive.*****Where I think the GOP efforts to make scandals out of the IRS and Benghazi will hurt the most is slowing down President Obama’s jobs effort. Wall Street is booming and the economy is on the move. The distractions however, don’t help the focus on jobs. One thing I’ve wondered about is why Douglas Shulman, a Bush IRS appointee, who led the IRS for much of the targeting of the Tea Party, has yet to be questioned. Frankly, I don’t believe any president would be foolish enough to use the IRS or the Treasury. That’s how they got to Al Capon, Dandy Don and hundreds of mobsters however. All this scuttlebutt is about stopping progress and Obama programs such as back ground checks, immigration, jobs, etc. Everyone in congress needs to get back to work and accomplish something. *****The law will be out in full force this Memorial Day weekend. They are going to be targeting everyone not wearing seat belts. So remember, “Click It.” The state will raise several million over those four days. Don’t contribute to state funds.*****You will never know how much I really appreciate your loyalty to this column.  Thanks for your time. Stay safe. Take care and God bless.