IN SEARCH OF THE STATE CROWN
The West Orange-Stark Mustangs, coming off a 49-7 win over Bellville in Porter last week, return to Texas Drive Stadium in Porter Friday at 7:30 to face Giddings. The two teams are vying for the 2016 UIL football state championship in 4-A Division 2. WO-S is the defending state champion. The Mustangs are 13-0, with eight shutouts, scoring 690 points while allowing only 51 points to five teams, 21-2-7-14-7. The Giddings Buffalos have an 11-2 win-loss record scoring 487 points while allowing 274. They are coming off a 26-14 win over Liberty. Their only losses were to Navarro in the opening game 37-21 and to Brownwood in a 36-35 loss in game five. The Buffalos are a well disciplined team that has taken advantage of turnovers in several of their games. Their offense will be a real test for the Mustang “Chain Gang.” West Orange-Stark may be facing their toughest test yet this season. A win will put the Mustangs one step closer to the state championship game and a chance to repeat as state champion for the second time in three years. All of Orange County supports Coach Cornell Thompson, his staff and outstanding Mustang team. Everyone who can is urged to attend the game Friday and show Orange County support for one of our high schools. Wear your own school colors if you’re attending from Bridge City, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Orangefield or Vidor. Go Mustangs, take that giant step toward that big leap and the state crown.*****I’ve got to move on. This week will be a shorter column. I’ve let my life get complicated cutting into my research and writing time. I’m down to just a couple hours before deadline and just getting started. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

CONDOLENCES
Remembering Burl LaSalle
Burl passed away November 28, at age 61. We had known Burl most of his life. He was raised in Bridge City and over the years had become like a family member. Making it without the help of Burl through two bad storms, Rita and Ike, would have been almost impossible. He worked day and night to help our family get back in our homes. Burl always had a hearty appetite and as long as we had the vittles he would work from can to can’t. He was a strong worker who could move large furniture, even refrigerators by himself. I called him “Mule” because he never seemed to get tired. We spent many hours and days with Burl. He had a genuine like for people and wherever and whenever he worked he brought and played his radio. He loved music and a variety of it. A few years ago, Bruce and Donna Self took Burl into their tribe. For awhile the late Terry Harvey and Burl cooked a mess of different Cajun meats. Their hog cracklins were as good as I’ve ever eaten. Two great guys that are now gone. Burl had been in failing health and Bruce looked after him, however a few weeks ago, Burl escaped his oxygen tank and came over to visit. We dug up old bones for about an hour. It was like he was making his last visit. He did something usual, Burl never shook hands, but on this day he took my hand and squeezed it and told us goodbye and to take care, then he said, “As soon as I can start cooking for myself I’m going to lose this weight.” A few days later he had a heart attack and it was down hill from there. I will not forget Burl and the help and kindness he gave us. May he rest in peace. Please see obituary.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME
10 Years Ago-2006
All Orange County football teams announced by the Record Newspapers: West Orange-Stark Mustang Earl Thomas MVP. He had over 1200 rushing yards, 24 touchdowns and two return kickoffs for touchdowns. West Orange-Stark’s Dustin Locks was named Defensive MVP and Bridge City Cardinal John Dishon Offensive MVP. Orangefield Bobcat Brett Ramsey was named Two Way MVP. Cody Mills was named Newcomer of the Year. West Orange-Stark’s Dan R. Hooks was named Coach of the Year.*****Toy Coffee showcases the Orange homes of Jackie and Jim Berry, who own three homes in the Historical District and the craftsman style 1921 cottage, owned and restored by Kelly and Monte Morphew. The homes are catty-corner to each other.*****Prior to the Orange Christmas parade Major League baseball player, pitcher John Patterson, took time to visit and sign a baseball for 13-year-old Sean Shehane of Mauriceville. (Editor’s note: Sean is now 23-years-old. I wonder if he still has that baseball.)*****Judge Pat Clark says little Pat and his wife are expecting another child. They already have twins.*****Phillip Welch will replace Mike Gentry as incoming Orangefield ISD superintendent. He will take over in July. Welch is a 1977 graduate of Bridge City high School. He is the son of Frank and Lorayne Welch of Bridge City. While he worked on his masters degree Phillip spent a few years as director of the Orange County Mosquito Control Department. He also served a couple of years as an assistant basketball coach under Bill Tennison. Jared, Phillip’s son, is a senior at Orangefield. (Editor’s note: We haven’t heard from Phillip in quite a while. Last time he came by he was escorting a beautiful lady. I believe he is the Superintendent at Hardin Jefferson.*****A strange turn of events: Ms. Phyl and her sister Jo’s only aunt, Joyce Hemmer, 94, died in Oklahoma last week. Joyce fell and son-in-law Jessie took her to the doctor for a check up even though she seemed to be alright. Arriving home after the doctor visit he walked around to the passenger side to help her and discovered she had died. Two days later, Joyce’s daughter, Jessie’s wife, Mary Ann died. A double funeral was held.*****Judy and Don Shockley celebrate their wedding anniversary Dec. 2. (Editor’s note: Ten years have gone by and since then Don has passed away.)*****GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Ruth Mcllheran, 54, of Orange, passed away Nov. 28. Services were held Dec. 2. She was a homemaker, a member of the Service League of Orange, Kiwanis, Women of St. Francis, Girl Scout Leader and Boy Scount Leader. She is survived by her husband Michael E. Mcllheran, mother Manuela Hernandez, daughter Julia Ruth Wood, and sons Thomas Mcllheran and Edward Mcllheran.*****Graveside services for Janet Myers Smith, 56, were held Dec. 5. Born in Orange she had worked as a respiratory therapist in Houston. She is survived by her son Roger Smith, daughter Marcy Richard, brother Russ Myers of Bridge City, sister Nancy Gryder of Orangefield and two grandchildren.*****Mary F. Everett, 76, of Bridge City, died Nov. 28. Funeral services were held Dec. 1. A lifelong resident of Bridge City she had retired from DuPont. She was an avid gardener, loved playing Bridge and reading. She was a former member of Beta Sigma Phi Professional Women’s Organization. She is survived by her husband John Everatt, son Owen, daughters Terri Barclay, Cindy Clay and son Stephen Everett and their families.*****Felton Joseph Hebert, 63, of Bridge City died Nov. 26. Services were held Nov. 29. A lifelong resident of the area he had worked as a Heavy Equipment Operator for C&B for 23 years. He is survived by his wife Judy Hebert, parents Alton and Mildred Hebert, daughters Melissa Leah and Kelly Renee, step-daughter Cindy Dautreuil and grandchild Cody Ernesto Alonzo.

40 Years Ago-1976
Bill and Patsy Nacol celebrated their 7th wedding anniversary on Nov. 28.*****Restoring old houses is almost a fad in Orange. Mark Dunn is the latest. He purchased a house on Cherry Street that was one of the four houses to survive the 1865 storm in Orange. The house was moved from the Sabine River banks to Cherry Street years ago.****Rev. Bo Lewis is leaving Drake Presbyterian to pastor a new church near Dallas. He and Becky will be missed.*****Leo Welch of Orange was the winner of a new car given away by Hughes Market Basket in Bridge City. Denise Lormand, Miss Bridge City, drew the winning ticket.*****Chuck Majors was selected to the Blue Key national Men’s Honor Fraternity. The Lamar student is the son of Dr. Joe and Mary Majors of Bridge City. (Editor’s note: Chuck went on to become Dr. Majors and the last we heard he was practicing dentistry in Caldwell, Texas.)*****Bridge City Rotary Club welcomes new members Chapman Bell of Golden Triangle Savings and Loan; Bobby Cormier, of Orangefield’s Cormier Enterprises; Jim Moss, Gulf States plant manage; Bill Nacol, Jewelry Store; C.H. “Charlie” Guidry, Triangle Shifting and Fleeting.****Bubba Hubbard was recently a guest at the London Rotary Club, England’s oldest club.*****Dr. David and Barbara Olson attended the Dental Society Convention in Las Vegas.*****Richard Soloman is re-elected Bridge City Fire Chief. David Riley, is Assistant Chief, Truck captains are John Echols, Leroy Breaux and Larry Callahan. Don Landry is secretary and Steve Hoggs treasurer.*****Texas A&M beats Texas Longhorns.***** Ms. Dennis Calliavet is in the hospital with pneumonia. She’s the family wood chopper and Judge Sid reports he’s getting low on Wood.*****Speaking of the Calliavet clan, grandson Phillip is restoring the old Calliavet homestead at 1412 Orange Av.*****L.K. Jarrell has purchased the Midway Gulf on Texas Ave. and is turning it into a discount tire shop.*****Danny’s West Orange Food Center is now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is the county’s only 24 hour store.*****New County Judge Pete Runnels now has his name on his office door. Dennis Hall painted it. Secretary Willie Blanchard was still mistakenly answering the phone, “Judge Halliburton’s office.”*****Ethel Campbell sent President Jimmy Carter a column written by Gordon Baxter and Betty Em that appeared in the O.V.N. The article got a nice response from the President.***** “Living it Down” by Freddy Fender was in the Top 10 country songs. Number one was “Good Women Blues” by Mel Tillis; Number two “Somebody Somewhere” by Loretta Lynn.*****Tim Lieby named chairman for Bridge City Chamber Banquet to be held Jan. 11. Citizen of the year award to be presented. Former winners are Bubba Hubbard, 1970; Albert Gore, 1971; Glenn Pearson, 1972; Gus Garza, 1973; P.M. Wood, 1974 and George Besse, 1975.

A FEW HAPPENINGS
Our buddy Corky Harmon hasn’t been to work here at the Used Car Lot for a few months but Monday Betty brought him into work for a few hours. He says she just wanted him out of the house. She said it was time for him to quit sitting around watching TV. He’s very weak but working on getting stronger. He seems happy to be back to work.*****A few months ago we were the first to publish that HEB was going to build a large, 63,000 sq. foot super market. Now we have learned from a Beaumont source that HEB has acquired only the Sears store and parking lot. The Phelan Company will remodel the rest of the MacArthur Center. They plan to build according to longtime renters specifications. They hope to attract large chain outlets even though HEB will be the anchor. There is no sales tax on groceries, just on other items. The satellite stores in the center would be a big plus for Pinehurst sales taxes. HEB will close the 16th Street store. It will probably be late 2018 before any of the stores open if by then.*****We heard from our longtime friend, Sis Keogh, now 87 years old. Sis is living at Brookdale Retirement Center in Houston to be near her son and his family. Sis said she misses Bridge City and all the folks she knew there and would love to hear from them. She also told us that she has been honored by being nominated for Ms. Senior Houston. If she wins that title she can move on to Ms. Senior America. Way to go Sis.. Give her a call.*****We talked to our friend H.D. Pate in Houston’s Methodist Hospital and right now his major problem is that his blood pressure falls way too low. That has turned out to be a constant problem. He’s just laying there so if any of his friends want to call him that would be fine. He said he’s heard from Judge Pat, Wilson Roberts and Roy in the last few days.*****A few folks we know celebrating their special day in the next few days. Nov. 30: Vance Chauvin, the “Big Red” man celebrates today. Also celebrating are Norris and Pat’s little girl Evelyn Brandon and Brad Braus, Erin Evans, Sandra Smith, Kenneth Manuel, Tish Garrett and Ryan Anderson. Celebrities celebrating on this day are actors Kaley Cucco, 30, Ben Stiller, 50 and rock singer Billy Idol, 60.*****Dec. 1: Two good ole boys, Gene Edgerly and Bill Hare celebrate today. Those guys will do to ride the range with. Also celebrating are Amanda George, Kelsey Dardeau, John Carrison, Jamie Medley Douget and Wesley Duncan.*****Joining them are singers Bette Midler, 70 and Janelle Monae, 30, football player Desean Jackson, 29 and director Woody Allen, 80.*****Dec. 2: Vergie Thomas, Lisa Walker, Beverly Blalack and Jake Glazner celebrate today. Also having birthdays on this day are pop singer Britney Spears, 34, country singer Jana Kramer, 32, football player Aaron Rodgers, 32 and actress Lucy Liu, 47.*****Dec. 3: Ms. Phyl’s sister Jo Ann Huard celebrates today as does BCISD employee Susan MacCammond. Also celebrating is a nice lady, Bill’s daughter and Eric’s mom, Carolyn Smith Andrus, at COS, Wayme Scales and Annelise Borg. Celebrities having birthdays on this day are metal singer Ozzie Ozbourne, 67, actors Julianne Moore, 55, Brendan Fraser, 47 and Steve Harris, 50.*****Dec. 4: Gwen Tallant, Dana Simmons, Catherine Allen and Stephanie Kreger all celebrate today. They are joined by actors Jeff Bridges, 66 and Marisa Tomel, 51, also TV host Tyra Banks, 42 and rapper Jay Z.*****Dec. 5: The mayor of Starks, Rene’ Hanks is a year older today. Other folks having birthdays are Leslie Dishon, Shea Bolton, Susie Collins, Belinda Force, Mary Bridges and Steve Hightower. Joining them are rock singer Little Richard, 83, country singer Gary Allan, 48 and race car driver James Hichcliffe, 29.*****Dec. 6: Richard Briggs, former BCISD employee celebrates today. Cheryl Jones and Rosalyn Potter, BCISD teachers, have birthdays also as does Debbie Bishop, Michelle Potter and Barbara Cartwright. Joining them are football player Johnny Manziel, 23, pop singer Tiffany Houghton, 22, actors Janine Turner, 53 and Cade Sutton, 13. Happy Birthday to all.*****The Lunch Bunch will dine at Robert’s this week and at PK’s next week. Everyone welcome.*****USA Today’s Super 25 High School Rankings list two Texas teams in the top seven. At #4 is DeSota, 13-0. Quarterback Shawn Robinson passed for 344 yards and a TD in the 49-45 win over Abilene in the 6-A Regional I playoff. Saturday they face Cedar Hill in 6-A II quarter finals to be played in Arlington.*****Allen, 13-0, listed #7, will face Dunkanville next Saturday in a 6-A I quarter final also to be played in Arlington.***** Back in the early 1800s, in local taverns, pubs and bars, people drank from pint or quart size containers. A barmaid’s job was to keep an eye on the customers and keep the drinks coming. She had to pay close attention and remember who was drinking in ‘pints’ and who was drinking in ‘quarts’, hence the phrase, “Minding your “P’s” and Q’s” was born.*****

CAJUN STORY OF THE YEAR
Dear Cuz,
It’s been a longtime since I rote me. Sugar Bee said to tell you “Hi.” We doing okay us. Jus a few lines to let you know wats going on in S’out Louisana.
I guess you hear dat not long ago, one of dem nuclear-power ships visited New Orleans. Our cuzzin, Tee Ned Breaux, loaded up Clotile and da chillens and drove from Church Point to New Orleans to look at dat nuclear ship wat is tied up at da Poydras Street warp.
He stop an axe a policeman, “Mr. Officer, can you tole me where is dat nutria-power ship?” Me, I got to see and show Clotile and da chilluns how dem lil animals can run a big boat all by deyself.”

C’EST TOUT
From Senator Nichols
In 1996, Nelda Laney, the wife of then Speaker of the Texas House of Representatives, realized the Texas Capitol needed its own unique Christmas ornament to adorn the Christmas Trees at the Capitol. The ornament became an annual tradition with the proceeds of the sales going to support ongoing Capitol conservation, eminence programs and educating the public about the history of the Capitol and its grounds. The 2016 Capitol ornament features a replica of the 20+ foot Capitol Christmas Trees, which are placed in the Senate and House Chambers. The ornament is decorated with lone stars, garland and Capitol ornaments from the past. To buy your own and have a little piece of Capital history you can visit www.texascapitolgiftshop.com. Christmas has been a favorite holiday of mine since I was a young boy. Of course, I was lucky to grow up in a toy factory where my father, Talley Nichols, manufactured toy cap guns. As you gather with friends and family during this Christmas season, I wish you a very Merry Christmas from my family to yours.*****Thanks Senator. My time is up. Thanks for yours. Read us cover to cover, take care and God bless.