EARLY VOTING NOW IN PROGRESS

From the White House to the Court House and every place in between, it’s election time in Texas. On the local scene, we have some important races, positions that affect our everyday lives. On the local level, all positions being challenged are in the Republican Party Primary, with the exception of the race for Democratic chairman. There is apparently some interest in the Democratic presidential races. Local candidates who have been canvassing door-to-door are running into a lot of people who say they are Democrats, but what’s unsure is if they plan to vote in the primary. Because of local races, there will be some crossover votes. It depends how much interest there is in the presidential race. Republican candidates who go unchallenged by Democrats on March 1, will not be challenged in local general election races in November. The Democratic body has some work to do to rebuild the party locally. It will take some time but it will happen. Primarily Orange County is a Democratic county that in some elections have drifted from their roots or have not participated in the process. The last countywide election in the county judges race drew only 6,000 total, 50,000 citizens had registered, which tells me many stayed home. A great number were Democrats. The General Election in November is when I believe many will return. *****Well, I’ve got to get going. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

GOP OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE COULD BACKFIRE

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, 79, at a Texas ranch Saturday, brings on an epic Washington political battle. Minutes after the death was announced, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed the Senate would not act on Scalia’s replacement until after the election. Democrats quickly took aim at Republicans saying a refusal to even hold a hearing would amount to an outrageous act of obstruction. A backlash is predicted from the public, particularly in swing states where Republicans need to win to hold control of the senate. The Republicans now hold the senate, which is not a guarantee in the new congress, and it’s a good bet they won’t win the White House according to the Las Vegas odd makers. It seems they would have a better chance now of at least having a say on who the nominee would be. There are several good candidates, some that the senate has already confirmed with unanimous vote.  Sen. Elizabeth Warren said on Twitter, “Abandoning their senate duties would also prove that all the Republican talk about loving the constitution is just that, empty talk.” President Obama said Saturday, “I plan to fulfill my constitutional responsibilities to nominate a successor in due time. There will be plenty of time for me to do so and for the senate to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote. These are responsibilities that I take seriously, as should everyone. They’re bigger than any one party.” The President was elected twice to four year terms, not three years. He is our duly elected president. The constitution says, “He shall appoint.” If the senate continues to obstruct, it could rag on for two years and take up the first 100-days of the new president where nothing gets accomplished. Sen. McConnell, before Obama took office for the first time, said their first priority was for Obama to be a one termer. They used obstruction for four full years, sitting on their hands and it backfired. This could also backfire. Control of the senate is at stake in such states as Florida, Illinois, New Hampshire, Ohio and Wisconsin. Polls will start to show GOP candidates falling behind in these states and the pressure will mount on McConnell. The American people will fall on the side of doing the right thing, not the hyper-partisanship of obstructionist.

REMEMBERING SANDI

We were sorry to learn of the death of Sandi Mobley Huckabay, 56, who died Feb. 14. We had known Sandi since she was a freshman at Bridge City High School in the D.E. program. She and Debbie McCardle Fusilier came to work at the Opportunity Valley Newspaper under the program directed by Coach Rusty Wilson. They were 14 and 15 years old. Debbie stayed on almost 25 years. She and Sandi raised their families and remained friends since that first job. Debbie got to visit Sandi last week before she passed away. Over the last year, Sandi had been undergoing Dialysis and had contracted staph infection that apparently led to her death. She was an architect but had not practice her trade very long. She and her husband Brent owned Frontier Motors in Bridge City. She was a fun loving person who liked people. We will never forget her as an energetic, young teenager who had remained our friend through the years. Service will be Thursday, Feb. 18, 10:30 a.m. at Claybar Funeral Home in Bridge City. Visitation will be held Wednesday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m  Our condolences to the family and her many friends. May she rest in peace. Please see Obituary.

CONDOLENCES

We were sorry to hear about the death of Travis Clark, 82, of Orange, who died Feb. 7. Service was held Friday, Feb. 12, at  Claybar Funeral Home in Orange. He was preceded in death by 22 brothers and sisters. He is survived by his wife of 61years, Jaucelle, daughter Kathy and husband Tommy Gunn, son Dwayne and Melissa Clark. Condolences to the entire family. Please see obituary.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2006

The wait is over for Bridge City principle and athletic director. The school board, following a delay of one year, renewed the contracts for high school principle Terry Stuebing and coach Claude Tarver.*****Talk over the past week around the world has been VP Cheney’s shooting of his friend Harry on a hunting trip. A headline in Sidney, Australia read “Cheney hunts quail, everyone else ducks.”*****Early voting has started in Texas. There are only two precinct races in Orange County, J.P. in Pct. 2 and Pct. 4. A light turnout is expected. Four are running to replace J.P. Sherry Smith in Pct. 4, Bertha Dunbar is challenging Judge Derry Dunn. (Editor’s note: I believe Rodney Price won the race in Pct. 4.) Bridge City Councilman Kirk Roccafort will be a candidate for mayor to replace Mayor Bobbie Burgess. *****Cliff and Helen McCardle, Debbie Fusilier’s parents, will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary March 1. (Editor’s note: That means number 60 is coming up on March 1, 2016. Not a record but a good average.) *****Shannon Ferguson and Eddie Toohey became Mr. and Mrs. On Feb. 18. He is the grandson of Rev. Lee Brown, who preformed the ceremony.*****The first gay cowboy song by a major artist, “Ode to Gay Cowboys,” is released by Willie Nelson. One line says, “Inside every cowboy there’s a lady who’d love to slip out.”*****Happy first birthday to Gil Elliott Gomez, Feb. 14. His parents are Sal and Lisa Gomez of Bridge City. *****Donnie Anderson turns 13 on Feb. 22. *****GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Leola “Lola” Landry, 68, of Bridge City, died Monday, Feb. 13. She was a native of Kaplan, LA. She was preceded in death by her former husband Don, brothers Ray and L.J. Trahan, Jr. Among her survivors are twin brother Leo Trahan, son Terry Landry, daughters Susan Gauthier, Carrie Little, Tina Hebert, brother Jay Trahan. She is also survived by two sisters and nine grandchildren. Services were held at St. Henry Catholic Church with Father Jim McClintock officiating. *****N.D. Palmer, 71, of Orange, died Feb. 12. A native of Sulphur, Oklahoma, he was owner of N.D. Palmer Home Builders. He is survived by his wife Jennie and their children. *****David Wade Morris, 33, of Orange, died Feb. 14, from results of an auto accident. He was a boilermaker helper and a member of Little Cypress Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife Brandi and parents Wayne and Kay Morris. *****Don Louie Dubose, 80, died Feb. 12. A native of Indian Bayou, he was a WWII Army veteran, Company A, 276th Infantry, 70th Division. He was awarded a Silver Star. Don and Mary were longtime residents of Bridge City. He retired from DuPont with 37 years of service. *****Willard Eugene “Bill” Delli, 50, of Orange, died Feb. 15. He is survived by wife Phyllis “Bit” Delli, daughter Billie, of Bridge City, son Damon of Orange. *****Ralph Daniel Rucker, 79, of Bridge City, died Feb. 19. A native of Port Arthur, he was a veteran of the U.S. Navy and was a superintendent for Duckworth, Inc. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Wondola, sons Dan, Kelly, Jim, and Randy, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Service was held Wed. Feb. 22. *****Paul Gilerease, 79, of Orange died Feb. 19. He was a boilermaker with Local 587 in Orange, a member of Madison Lodge 126 AF&Am, Bethel Baptist Church. He was an avid hunter and fisherman. He is survived by daughter Janet Almaguer, of Orange grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Pallbearers will be members of Madison Lodge 126 AF&AM.

40 Years Ago-1976

Tommy Gunn graduates number one in his class at Baylor Law School. No big surprise, Tommy also graduated at the top of the class in high school and college. He will join the law firm of Wingate and Carlton soon. He is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Donald Gunn of West Orange.*****Most of Texas, from the dogwoods of the East, to rolling hills of the North, the mountains of the West, through the heart of Texas, are preparing to celebrate Texas’ Bi-Centennial. After touring the state, Roy Dunn reports that most communities are really getting into the nation’s 200th birthday, just like Orange County is.*****The Kountze News’ front page story boils down to a confrontation between publisher Buddy Moore and Dist. Attorney Stanley Coe. Buddy, former Orange Countian, replaced Archie Fullingim as publisher. (Editor’s note: Buddy has since passed away but it should be noted that he and Archie made the Kountze News famous, even in the halls of Congress.)*****Local fishing has been good the past couple of weeks. Lake Sabine produced a new state record flounder, 13 pounds. North of the Orange Navy ships, a 6.5 pound striper was caught. A super catch won the Firestone Fishing Club tournament on the Sabine River, 37 pounds, 8 ounces by the team of Burns and Tubbyville. Also three reds from Lake Sabine weighed 38 pounds. That’s not all; Black’s Bayou produced 20 bass, weighing 44 pounds. Fishing is looking good. The Game Reserve will open March 1. Lake Sabine will warm up as trout make their spring run. A few folks are finding an abundance of oysters at Big Lake. This part of the world is a fisherman’s paradise. (Editor’s note: That was over 40 years ago and it’s amazing, that over all that time, more hasn’t been done to develop and make Orange County the fishing mecca it could be. It’s one of our greatest natural assets.)*****The Academy of Country Music will be broadcasted by ABC from the Hollywood Palladium. Marty Robbins will be the host. Guest lineup includes Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Crystal Gayle, Billy ‘Crash’ Cradock, Jerry Clower and more. (Editor’s note: That’s when country music was good. *****Gene Maulsby, who has been gone from the area, has returned and opened Bilt Rite Construction on IH-10. He and wife Mary are building a new home in Bridge City.*****C&B Trucking is building a new office on a lot next to Emmert’s Bicycle and Lawn Mower on Texas Ave.*****Laura Nixon, Donna Wilson and Randy Fults all graduated at the end of this quarter from Bridge City High School.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

The February issue of the Events Book magazine featured a great story on Eva and Ross Smith. The couple will be honored Friday, May 6, at the Beaumont Civic Center, by the American Red Cross regional chapter, representing 11 counties. The honor will be presented at the Red Cross 28th annual hurricane party, Cocktails and Camo. The story highlights Eva and Ross’ struggles putting their home back together on Cow Bayou after the hurricane put four-foot of water in it. Also the importance the Red Cross played in keeping all of us supplied with meals and other needs. The Smith’s are people who give greatly to their community and work on humanitarian causes. They are great people in business and philanthropists but most of all; they are just down to earth good folks, never far from their roots. *****Last Saturday, at the Constable David Cagle gathering, former County Commissioner Owen Burton auctioned off one of his prized goats to benefit Deputy Sheriff Garrod Seago, who was severely injured in an auto accident. The goat “Billy,” just four months old, is quite a guy. Chris Whitehead’s youngsters fell in love with Billy so he ended up buying him. Billy brought in $200. Constable Cagle hosted a fun day attended by many.*****Father Sinclair Oubre, of St. Francis Catholic Church in Orange, worked the Encounter Catholic booth at the Port Arthur Mardi Gras. He blessed everything that moved. We should have brought our bird Creaux, he could use some blessing.*****Kobe Bryant says goodbye to basketball after the All Star game. His team, the West, won 196-173. What a great career he’s had. Michael Jordan gave him a full set of Air Jordan’s (three dozen). The first pair of Air Jordan’s came out in 1986.*****Our buddy the Mayor of Starks Rene’ Hanks, had triple by-pass surgery Monday and is doing just fine. He went in to get lined up for hip surgery but instead, the doctors admitted him Friday for surgery on his heart. What a surprise.*****

A few folks we know having birthdays in the next few days. On Feb. 17, Tom Edwards, Mellisa Tuttle, Kim Harmon and Ashley Floyd all celebrate. They join celebrities Michael Jordan, 53, Larry the Cable Guy, 53 and football player Jim Brown, 80. *****Feb. 18, finds our buddy Norman Barry, who used to be the youngest in the Kroger Koffee Klub, turning 76. Also, having birthdays are music teacher and head of the Bridge City Cardinal Singers, Charlotte North, Leah Gunstream, Justin Broussard and Bernice Say.*****They join actors John Travolta, 62 and Molly Ringwald, 48 and game show host Vanna White, 59.*****Feb. 19 finds Martha Pittman, Jason Clark, Christy Faulk and Ruby Sanders all celebrating. They are joined by singer Smokey Robinson, 76, actor Jeff Daniels, 61 and England’s Prince Andrew, 56. Also on this day in 1959, Clay Dunn died. He was born in 1893. *****On Feb. 20, Ty Broussard, Nathan Dickman, Allison Floyd and Sydney Peet all celebrate. Celebrities celebrating on this day are actor Sidney Poitier, 89, model Cindy Crawford, 50 and basketball player Charles Barkley, 53.*****On Feb. 21, our buddy, Ray Cravens celebrates number 68, Chris Menard, Sharon’s oldest, turns 37, Misty Song is 34 today and Doc’s wife, Beverly Satir, has a birthday. They are joined by actor Kelsey Grammer, 61, politician John Lewis, 76 and actress Jennifer Love-Hewitt, 37.*****On Feb. 22, George Washington’s birthday, those celebrating are Leslie Braus, Chad Boatman, Bob Hankins, Erin Boren, Jim Izer and County Judge Brint Carlton. Celebrities celebrating are actress Drew Barrymore, 41 and basketball player Julius “Dr. J” Erving. *****Feb. 23 finds Joe Hebert, Juanita Sullivan, Misti Bishop, Betty Davis and John Hughes all celebrating. Also celebrating are actors Peter Fonda, 76, Dakota Fanning, 22 and Niecy Nash, 46. This was also the day, in 1996, that Anne Lee Knight passed away. She is gone but never forgotten. She was special. *****Sabine River Ford has announced that Brandy Slaughter, longtime auto executive, is now associated with their Ford store. Brandy is returning to the Ford dealership where she previously had been employed for several years. She’s a good match to be working for Ross and Pat and with the staff.*****Monday evening, Lamar Orange presented their Distinguished Lecture Series featuring Mary Matalin and husband James Carville. They booked it as “All’s Fair: Love, War and Politics. It’s amazing how they stayed married 22 years. She’s a very conservative, far-right, former Cheney right hand. James,  a Democratic who supports Hillary Clinton. Many people attended their presentation and came away entertained. It was a fun night for everyone.*****Wednesday night Taylor Swift took home three awards at the Grammy show, including Album of the Year. Best New Artist award went to Megan Trainer. Best Country Album, Traveller, Chris Stapleton, who also got Best Country Solo. Best Country Duo went to Little Big Town, who also got Best Country Song, for “Girl Crush.”*****WORTH NOTING: A Reagan nominee, Supreme Court Judge Anthony Kennedy, was confirmed in February of 1988, an election year. Also worth noting is when Justice William Rehnquist died in 2005, within a month the senate had confirmed President George W. Bush’s replacement, John Roberts. The president and the senate have a job to do without delay for the good of the country, not a party. This is no time to slam the door shut on the constitution and the Supreme Court.*****Charlene Terro wants to remind everyone that Friday is fish fry day at the K.C. Hall in Bridge City. Great Lenten meal.*****Tyler Runnels, granddaughter of Mayor Pete Runnels and great granddaughter of Don and Alice Cole, received a full ride, four year scholarship to the University of Arkansas in soccer. Way to go Tyler.*****Deven Michael reports he spent a great Valentines Day with grandson Grayson.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Joe Dartez is in Tee-Boy’s Bar & Grill, very drunk him and trying to impress da patrons wit his fighting ability. “I’m trained in every hand to hand combat dere is,” he said. To further prove his point, he walks up to Tee-Man Premeaux and whops him behind da neck. “Karate Chop from China,” he says.

Po Tee-Man gets off da floor him and sits back on da stool.

Da big man Dartez hits him again. “Judo from Japan,” he says.

Tee-Man picks himself up and continued sipping his beer.

Dartez grabs da little guy putting him in a state of suspended animation. “Dat’s a Nerve Pinch from Korea,” he says.

After a few minutes, Tee Man is able to move again him. Dis time he don’t get on da stool, he walked out of da bar. Bout ten minutes later he walks back in wit a large board in his hand and hits Dartez square in da head wit da board, laying him flat out. Looking down at da bully Tee Man say, “Two-by-Four from Home Depot.”

C’EST TOUT

Spring is in the air today and serious gardeners are starting to break ground, preparing the sod for planting. Some folks have a hard time waiting and get the plants in the ground too early. Often getting a bad frost and have to replant. Almost always, around Easter, we get a cold snap. How cold is the question. I don’t see anything very cold coming down the pike but about the time I think winter is done, here comes a cold blow. I had predicted this would be a mild winter in South East Texas and so far I’ve been right. Around the nation however, there has been some record colds. Here at home some gardeners did quite well with fall gardens. For folks who love the outdoors and working the ground, cabin fever is miserable but not fatal. Don’t pull the trigger too quick.  Soon spring will shine on us. I predict one of the best gardening seasons we’ve had in a few years. Extreme summer will be late and we will have frequent showers. Last year the cucumber plants were green and healthy but did not produce any cucumbers. That won’t be the case this year. Just don’t get over anxious to plant.*****Thanks for your time, mine is up. Thanks also for your loyalty. Read us cover to cover and be sure to check out all the political advertisements. Those candidates are working hard to get your vote. We appreciate them using our paper to get their message to you. The Lunch Bunch meets this week at JB’s BBQ and next week at Robert’s. Please vote. Take care and God bless.