CHANGE COMING IN COUNTY GOVERNMENT

Special thanks to public officials who will be leaving office January 1. The longest serving official is Tax Assessor Linda Gunstream. For many years she has served us well and ran a tight ship. She will be replaced by longtime employee Karen Fisher, who is well qualified for the job and dedicated to giving the best service possible. County Commissioner David Dubose is retiring. His interest over the years has always been the best interest of the county and its citizens. He will be missed. He always had a reasonable approach to any problem. Commissioner John Bankin, who is leaving office, always fell on the side of the people and county employees. His service will long be remembered. Justice of the Peace David Peck is retiring long before he had planned. He loved doing his job but a couple of years ago he had a stroke and suffered a blow to his head. Rehab has been difficult but he gave the job his best as long as he could. What happened to this good man is very unfortunate but he and Patsy have a lot of faith. We wish them the best in the years ahead. Peck resigns as of January 3, allowing the Court to appoint someone as of January 4, with less than two years remaining on Peck’s term. Hershel Stagner was appointed. He has spent a lifetime working with families as a funeral director. He had already shown a lot of interest in the job by visiting the other justice courts. He’s a good man and will be a good judge. Two new commissioners will be sworn into office January 1. They both came from a corporate background which should serve them well. They won’t like throwing good money after bad. I personally believe both will serve well in a business manner. Johnny Trahan takes over as Commissioner of Pct. 1. John Gothia is the new Commissioner from Pct. 3. The other changes were the Constable of Pct. 4, where longtime constable Weldon Peveto lost his seat to Sheriff’s Deputy Jimmy Lane Mooney. Welcome to all the newcomers and thanks for serving.*****I’ve got to move on. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

REMEMBERING L.K. JARRELL

Loyce K. “Casey” Jarrell, 85, of Bridge City, passed away December 21. Service was held in Burkeville Friday, December 23. Most friends called him Casey but for the 50 years I had known him I always called him L.K. He wore many hats and at one time owned and operated a service station in Bridge City. Sons Randy and Ronny, along with daughter Connie, all attended school in Bridge City. He and wife Jessie enjoyed entertaining their many friends. He was kin to the Brooks boys, Tom and John, and others who came from the Evans, LA. area to seek work.  L.K. was quite a character and cut-up and one of the great guys I had the good fortunate to have known. Our condolences to Jessie and the family. A good man has left us. Please see obituary.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2006

This was a record sports year for Orange County schools. Here are the sports stars in review. Bridge City’s Aaron Brannen captured double gold medals in UIL state track and field championships. Brannen won gold in the 3200-meter run with a time of 9:40:4. He collected gold in the 1600-meter run with a quick 4:25:34. He won three gold medals in a single year. He had also won gold in the state cross country meet earlier.***The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Lady Bears won the state softball championship with a 3-2, 12 inning victory over Dripping Springs. The Lady Bears are coached by Samana Bean. Cody Trahan was the Bears ace pitcher. Others who shined in the championship game were Sara Schoenberg, who scored the winning run in the 12th inning, Karlie Harrell and Mariam Richards.***The Bridge City Cardinals returned to the state tournament. Kevin Angelle pitched his last game for the Cards in a 7-3 loss to Texarkana’s Liberty-Eylace in the semifinal round ending a 33-6 season. It was the second consecutive trip to UIL 3-A state baseball tournament.***Little Cypress-Mauriceville Bears led by pitcher Clayton Ehlert made it to the Class 4-A Region III quarterfinals. The undefeated District 20-4A Bears captured their sixth district championship. Ehlert was named MVP, Steve Griffith named Coach of the Year.***The Bridge City Lady Cards go undefeated in district with Elena Clinton on the mound. The Lady Cardinals went undefeated until the Region III state playoffs against Central Pollock Lady Bulldogs.***Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Drew Bean wins state championship. He won gold in cross country and the bronze in the 1600-meter run 4:23:87. Orange County commissioners proclaimed Dec. 11th “Drew Bean Day.”***Sandra Ancelot and her Lady Bobcats advanced to the Region III girl’s basketball semifinal round before falling to China Springs by one point, 57-56.***Bridge City’s Kody Duplechin was undefeated in Region III in two straight tennis seasons. His performance earned him two straight bids to the UIL state tournament. His B.C. career ended in the state quarterfinals singles division. He will now take his talent to Lamar.***B.C. baseball coach Billy Bryant’s baseball record at Bridge City is 93-17 in three seasons. Meanwhile his brother Matt Bryant, NFL Tampa Bay kicker, booted a 62-yard field goal that won the game against Philadelphia. He’s just the fifth kicker to kick over 59 yards in NFL history and his best is one yard short of a 63 yard record.***Bridge City Cardinal Sam Elmore won a bronze medal at UIL state track and field meet with a discus toss of 166 feet, 3 inches.***The West Orange-Stark 800 meter relay team of Jacoby Franks, Jarrod Lewis, Earl Thomas and Deon Beasley brought home the bronze from the state meet. They clocked a time of 1:27:92.***The Mustangs stormed District 20-3-A undefeated in football. Led by everyone’s MVP Earl Thomas, who scored 24 touchdowns in 2006. The Mustangs lost 21-13 to Giddings in the area round. Coach Dan Ray Hooks was named “Coach of the Year” by Southeast Texas coaches who also named him to their “Hall of Fame.”

40 Years Ago-1976

The Bicentennial year is ending. Roy Wingate will be long remembered for his efforts in 1976 as Bicentennial chairman. Several changes took place in 1976; Jimmy Carter became our new president; Carl Parker, senator; Pete Runnels, county judge; Ed Parker, sheriff; David Dunn, district judge; Grover Halliburton, county court-at-law judge, Arthur Simpson, Pct. 1 county commissioner; Bob Montagne, county Democratic chairman; C.R. Nash, city manager at Bridge City. Orange hired Paul Hulsey as new police chief. Those who are gone from public office are State Sen. D. Roy Harrington, who served us well, Fred Trimble, 163rd district court judge, who resigned for medical reasons, which later led to a leg amputation. Sheriff Allen “Buck” Patillo leaves after being defeated with 32 years of law enforcement under his belt. Halliburton left county judge post for new at-law-court judgeship. Commissioner Dudley Baker was defeated by Simpson. *****Roy and Phyllis Dunn celebrate their 22 wedding anniversary on Dec. 31. *****F.C. “Speck” Ferris and his lovely wife Rachel celebrate 38 years on Jan. 1. *****Dennis Hall celebrates a birthday on Jan. 2. He’ll celebrate it at the Dunns’ party on New Year’s Eve. *****Ronny Hebert flew in from Merced, California, Christmas day, which is his birthday, to visit parents Fred and Bonita Hebert and his siblings. *****Mr. and Mrs. Charles Patten will shut down Gravely Tractor for a week to attend the Rose Bowl in California. *****Mr. and Mrs. Curtis Dearing, of Victory Gardens, are the proud parents of Angela Cherrie, born Dec. 20. *****Members of the original Jack Tar’s Sunday Morning Round Table Club who are no longer with us are Carl Owens and his twin brother, attorney Paul Owens; also Lannie Claybar, born in 1917; H.U. “Mr. Mac” McGill, a Front Street businessman is still around and is a longtime member. *****Wendell and Jesse Hebert, and Fay and Don Garner, owners of Industrial Contractors in Bridge City, throw a big Christmas party at their office. Jo Ann Brabham and Joan Davis served as hostesses.*****Attorney Sharon Bearden celebrated his 38th birthday on Dec. 27.*****Joe Blanda and Jimmy Conn are still up to their old ways. Anyone could be victim when Joe and J.K. play their practical jokes. Two of Conn’s favorite targets are Doug Harrington and Roy Dunn. *****Top country and western single, “Thinkin of a Rendezvous,’ by Johnny Duncan; “She Never Knew Me,” #2, Don Williams; “Laudy Miss Claudy,” #3, Mickey Gilley; “Sweet Dreams, #4, Emmylou Harris. My favorite was #10, by Conway Twitty, “I can’t Believe She Gives It All To Me.” *****Happy New Year from this old historical dog. We look forward to next week and 1977.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

I got a great surprise visit last Friday from Connie Eshbach and Leah Johansson. Connie kept her late mother-in-law’s tradition of bringing homemade fudge to us at Christmas time. It was great to see both of them. Connie and her husband Cal live on the lake near Corsicana but are thinking of relocation to South Padre.*****On Tuesday, Jan. 3, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Sunset Grove Country Club, the Claybar Funeral Home family and staff will honor 36 year employee Hershel Stagner, Jr. Hershel will be the new Justice of the Peace for Pct. 1. The Commissioner’s Court made a good choice in appointing Hershel as JP. He has worked with and served families in their time of need for many years. The Claybars invite you to join them for this special recognition.*****Last week the superintendents of all Orange County school districts joined a growing number of educators across Texas opposed to the state’s new letter-grade rating system. They claim the system will “vilify” teachers and mislead the public. They claim the system called, “The Letter Grades,” is unfair and accused the state leaders of demonizing public schools in the name of politics and profit. State Senator Robert Nichols has responded that he understands concerns exist regarding schools in economically disadvantaged areas. Sen. Nichols said he has met with all superintendents in his district and he’s aware of their concerns about the accountability system. The provisional reports with Letter Grades will be released to the Texas Legislature by Dec. 30, to school districts Jan. 4 and to the public Jan. 6.*****A few folks we know celebrating their special day in the next few days. Happy Birthday. On Dec. 28: Harriet Dubose celebrates today. She and David are looking forward to retirement when county commissions leave office Jan. 1. Also celebrating are Marcy Messer, NFL star Earl Thomas’ mom Debbie and our longtime friend, former county clerk, Karen Jo Vance, as does Lynda Montagne, Stacy Roberts and Linn Cardner. Celebrities having birthdays on this day are singer John Legend, 38, actors Danzel Washington, 62, Joe Manganiello, 40.*****Dec. 29 Kenny “Kee Kee” Dupuis celebrates being a year older on this day as does Bruce’s better half Donna Harvey Self, the captain of the ship at “Burger Town” on Roundbunch and Hwy. 105. Seth Dinger celebrates as does Jacklyn Bradberry and Pam White. Joining them are actors Jude Law, 44, Alison Broe, 34 and Michael Cudlitz, 52.*****Dec. 30: Tina Jetton has a birthday today. Joining her is Paula Aven, Kari Stringer, Kyler Walron and Marie Perkins. Celebrities celebrating today are basketball star LeBron James, 32, pop singer Ellie Goulding, 30 and golfer Tiger Woods, 41.*****Dec. 31: Molly DeRouen, LaSanda Williams and our longtime friend, David’s mom, Norma Fusilier all share birthdays today. Celebrating also are actors Anthony Hopkins, 79 and Ricky Whittle, 35. Ms. Phyl and Roy mark 62 years of marriage on this day. Also celebrating an anniversary are Jerry and Barbara Childress.*****Jan. 1: David Kuch, owner and chef of PK’s Grill, starts off the New Year with a birthday. Also Ronnie Hearn, Joanne Hill, Robert Hoke and Glenda Wilburn celebrate. Celebrities joining them are actors Colin Morgan, 31, Katrina Law, 32 and Angourie Rice, 16.*****Jan. 2: Christina Sterling, Angela Abshire, Cody Johnson, Courtney Anderson and David Villanoueva all share birthdays. Joining them are actors Cuba Gooding Jr., 49, Kate Bosworth, 34, Dax Shepard, 42 and Taye Diggs, 46.*****Jan. 3: Our buddy, former county commissioner Owen Burton celebrates. Owen has been under the weather lately. We wish for him improved health in the New Year. Also celebrating today are Barbara Dardeau, Betty Johnson and Ann Burns. Celebrities joining them are quarterback Eli Manning, 36, actor Mel Gibson, 61 and singer Lloyd Polite, 31.*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch had its annual Christmas gathering at Robert’s Restaurant, hosted by Robert and Rebecca Ramirez and staff.  Around 40 attended although several had to leave before the annual picture was taken (See photo in this issue.) The Bunch is not gathering this week but will dine at JB’s Barbeque next week, Jan. 4. Everyone always welcome.*****It sounds more like Donald Trump and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are triggering a destabilizing nuclear arms race instead of arms reduction. The United States and Russia have 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons but smaller nuclear powers, such as China, North Korea, India and Pakistan may view Trump and Putin’s statements as a call to bolster their own arsenals, sending a message to start their engines, the race is on. Trump and Putin, a scary twosome.*****A good New Year resolution: At least once a month stop in at Dupuis Full Service Station and get full service. They check everything on your car from tire pressure, coolant, transmission and motor oil, plus they clean your windshield. That’s a good investment for the life of your car. It will save you money and keep your vehicle healthy. Try it.*****I’m still in doubt that the Seahawks can make it to the Super Bowl without Earl Thomas’ playing and leadership. They have lost two games since Earl’s leg was broken.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Final Cajun thoughts of the year 2016. We recently received an e-mail from Kansas wanting to know what a Cajun is.

Dey from Sou’h Louisiana dem.*** Da crawfish mounds in der front yard have overtaken da grass.*** Dey greet people wit, “Howz yaw moma and dem?” and hear back, “Dey fine.”*** Dere four seasons in da year are crawfish, crab, sugar cane and king cake. ***Dey don’t learn till high school dat Mardi Gras is not a national holiday.**** Dere last name isn’t pronounced da way it is spelled. ***Dey know wat a nutria rat is but still pick it to represent dere baseball team. ***Dey like dere rice and politics dirty. *** Dey assume everyone has mosquito swarms in dere backyard.***Dey know dose big roaches can fly but sleep like babies at night anyhow. ***A friend of dere’s gets in trouble for roaches in his car and dey wonder if it was dose big ones or dose little ones dat go after da French fries dat fell under da seat. ***Dey not afraid wen someone wants to “Ax,” dem someting. ***Dey buy a new winter coat and throw dere arms up in da air to make sure it allows enough room to catch Mardi Gras beads. ***Dey “wrench’ dere hands in da sink wit an onion bar to get da crawfish smell off. ***”Dat’s it, Happy New Year Cha.”

C’EST  TOUT

Well, it’s come to the end of another year, a new year rolls around. What surprises 2017 will hold is anyone’s guess. 2016 will long be remembered as the year national politics took a drastic turn. Donald J. Trump defeated 16 opponents to win the Republican nomination. He drew large crowds to his rallies and didn’t let the truth get in the way. He made many false claims but he had his crowd eating out of his hand. He made promises to build a 2,000 mile wall, 20 feet high, and would make Mexico pay for it. That’s not going to happen and many other things won’t. He promised to the swing states of Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania that he would bring back the manufacturing jobs that had left. Ain’t gonna happen. For many of all those promises the Republican majorities in the next congress will have to peel away at least eight senate democrats to pass anything that is filibuster proof. The Affordable Care Act isn’t going anywhere because Trump has nothing to replace it with. It will take three years to come up with another plan. The lack of a plan will fall in their ball park and they will own the fact that 30 million citizens lost insurance coverage overnight. I don’t think so. Trump and the GOP don’t have a clear agenda so it’s anybody’s guess as to what the future holds. Besides all that, the president elect has a mess on his hands in trying to maintain a business empire while also serving as president. Example: The old post office on Pennsylvania Ave, now a hotel, is not owned by Trump but by the Federal Government. As of Jan. 20, Trump will effectively be both landlord and tenant. Having his children, sons Donald Jr. and Eric, run the empire accomplishes nothing in shielding Trump from conflict of interest because it will ultimately benefit Donald Trump. He has been defiant about releasing his tax returns and as time goes by he will get deeper in ethical mud that will dog him more and more with time. The honeymoon will someday be over. The story of Trump’s life is one legal conflict after another and it’s not going to change. Those are my thoughts in this last column of the year. Happy New Year. Take care and God bless.