LOCAL ELECTIONS—LOW KEY

The earliest primaries in the nation this year are in Texas. Early voting begins Feb. 20, only six weeks away, and will end March 2. Primary election day is March 6. As far as I know, it’s the earliest party primaries in the states history. Neither Ted Cruz nor Gov. Greg Abbott faces stiff Republican primary opposition in statewide races. Cruz faces four lesser known Republicians; Abbott faces two minor challengers. Those races are usually the ones that bring out the turn out. This March, the turn out could be light for both parties. The November General Election is expected to be one of the largest voter turnouts ever. Locally, only two county-wide races are on the ballot, with three candidates vying for county judge and two candidates running for county treasurer. So far, from my perch, the election doesn’t seem to have raised citizen excitement yet. Two commissioner races in Precincts 2 and 4 show signs of more interest but not much. Candidates are the ones who create voter interest and so far the candidates haven’t done much visible promoting. A few campaign signs are starting to show up and some billboard advertising, but it’s not the political activity that’s usually seen just six weeks from the start of an election. A large portion of votes will be cast in the early voting cycle, from Feb. 26 to March 2. My best guess is that the Republican Primary voters in Orange County will be eight thousand or less and the Democratic races will be far less with no contested races. Turnout and voter interest will depend on the amount of noise the candidates make. Also, in a short election like this, a candidate has to shift into second gear, sell their message and buy name ID. We’ll, look at the races in a couple of weeks and see what’s shaking. For now I’ve got ground to cover and I’m running behind. Hop on board. Come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

THE WALL, TRUMP’S MOMUMENT

The southern border wall is red meat to Trump’s base but to Trump it’s more than that, it’s personal. It is a way to get the Trump name on a permanent structure. It will forever bare the wording, ‘Built under the Donald J. Trump Administration.’ I said early on, after he took office, that if he didn’t accomplish anything else, he would go to any extreme to get that Trump wall. Of the many things the country needs, the least is an $18 billion-plus wall. The technology today is such that border patrol agents can sit in their shack and spot a rabbit, coyote or bird crossing our border. Add drones, satellite and helicopters surveillance and a wall becomes a show piece. I read a solid wall, 22 feet high, will run just a few miles near border crossing and cities that are most visible. The rest of the wall will be no wall at all but rather see-through fencing. The fence will be harmful to many farmers and ranchers who depend on water from the Rio Grande for irrigation. The wall, on the United States side, puts the river in Mexico’s control. As for Mexico paying for the wall, that is just some more red meat for Trump’sBubba’s.’ By hook or crook, Trump is determinate to build his monument. I’m sure he would prefer to be on Mount Rushmore. He will go to any extreme to build a wall as useless as it would be. Trump is putting a gun to the head of congress demanding they give him the wall and he will approve a DACA deal that allows citizens who came to the US as infants to remain in our country. Many of those citizens are now lawyers, doctors, teachers, or serving in the military, etc. His wall is more important to him than human lives. Citizens, who were brought to this country as young people, when they had no say in the matter, are now good, contributing citizens. There has been a lot of talk lately about Trump’s mental state. I don’t know, but what I and many others know, is that he has a very sick ego. He also has been referred to as being childlike. One thing for sure is that the entire country has noticed what he says and does is very juvenile. Saying “his button being bigger than Kim’s button” is just one example. Will Congress approve the billions for the wall? Trump is betting he will get his monument.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2008

Sheriff Huel Fontenot stopped by. Wife Mary had gone to College Station to look after the grandchild while Amy recovers from minor surgery. Mary’s in her glory when baby-sitting. Huel says it’s not too good for hot meals. (Mary passed away a few years ago.)*****Folks have been calling to congratulate Roy on his ‘Citizen of the Year’ selection. Ron Sigler called from Gonzales, LA., where he says he runs into Dr. Joe Ben Welch often.  Judge Pat Clark called to say the award should have gone to Ms. Phyl. Maurice Garrett, who formerly was the longtime owner of Garrett’s Auto Supply, called. Unbelievably, he is now 90 years old and he and his wife live with his daughter in Mauriceville. Maurice was the first businessman to put an insert in Dunn’s OVN newspaper in 1971. ***** On Jan. 25, John ‘Tee Bruce’ Broussard will turn 79. Two days later, Jan. 27, he will retire from his long running Sunday morning Cajun show. He recently has been in the hospital with congestive heart failure.***** The Wednesday Lunch Bunch last week gathered at Robert’s. Among the visitors last week were Rob Strause, a nice guy, and his wife Janois. She’s really a doll and a very interesting lady. Rob, who is running for constable, is a deputy sheriff and the head of the Narcotic Division. Constable Dee Aven is always fun to be around. Harold Hass, running for constable, joined in for lunch. Marline Merritt and son Robert, who have been working hard on Keith’s behalf, stopped in for lunch. I understand she’s Keith’s campaign manager. Martha and David Vandagriff, who is also running for constable, broke bread and visited. *****Congratulations to homeboy Samuel C. Sichko, a Stark High grad, who has been named one of the top attorneys in the nation. Samuel and wife Medb, make their home in Boston.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

Obituaries 2008

We are deeply saddened to learn about the death of Wallace Stanley, 60, who passed away Sunday evening, Jan. 13. Wallace was diagnosed six weeks ago with pancreatic cancer. He was a foreman for the county and worked in Pct. 3. County Commissioner John Dubose was obviously shaken by his death. “Even though you know that the situation is bad, you are never prepared for the outcome,” he said, “A good man has passed.” Everyone who knew Wallace will miss him. He was true salt of the earth.****** Beulah Frances Campbell, 88, of Orange, died Saturday, Jan. 12. Funeral services will be held Wednesday, Jan. 16. She is survived by her daughter, Irene Taylor, son, Carl Malish, grandchildren and great grandchildren.*****Wallace Riley Stanley, 60, of Orange passed away Sunday, Jan. 13. Funeral services will be held Thursday, Jan. 17. *****Allan “Limey” Bowman, 65, of Bridge City, passed away Friday, Jan. 11. A memorial service was held Tuesday, Jan. 15. Born in Sunderland, England he served as a member of the British Royal Navy. Bowman lived in Southeast Texas for the last 40 years. He was a crane operator with Inland-Orange. He is survived by his wife, Bonnie Bowman, mother, Vera Cook Bowman.*****Mabel Gentry, 79, of Orange, died Saturday, Jan. 12. Funeral services were Tuesday, Jan. 15. She retired as a custodian at LCMISD and was a member of Texas Teacher’s Retirement Association. She is survived by sons, Lloyd Dean Gentry and Larry Gentry, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. *****Fannie Mae Barker, 86, of Orange, passed away Sunday, Jan. 13. Funeral services will be held Tuesday, Jan. 15. She was a homemaker and a member of Little Cypress Baptist Church. She is survived by her daughter, Doris Wells, grandchildren, step-grandson, Jason Deshotel, great grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren.

40 Years Ago-1978

Scott Free was just playing around doing the Robot dance at the Beaumont Fair and at the O.C.P. in ‘Charity’ when a talent scout saw him. He is now booked at the Sheraton Hotel in Dallas each Friday and Saturday night. Big brother, Keble, and Scott fly back and forth. Scott’s routine, dancing to a ‘Star Wars’ theme, is as stunning as his silver Afro and spacesuit. A star is born maybe. He’s Skipper’s youngest. *****Judge David Dunn, 35, is a candidate for 163rd. District Court. He’s married to the former Betsy Bonin. The Judge is an Orange native, attended public school here and attended the University of Texas law school. He was appointed Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Sept. 11, 1967, served until 1969, became Orange City Attorney until Jan. 24, 1972, was appointed Judge of the County Court-At-Law and then elected to the post, which he is now serving.*****County Commissioner Raymond Gould, Pct. 4, announced for a third term.*****Bridge City Rotary elects new officers. Albert Gore, president, John Brooks, first vice-president, Don Cole, second vice-president, Charles Patton, 3rd. vice-president, Chapman Bell, secretary, Tim Lieby, sergeant-at-arms. Named as directors were Lawrence Helton, Roy Dunn, C.R. Nash and Hank Eckhardt. H.D. Pate is the outgoing president. *****Roy Dunn, publisher of Greater Beaumont Publishing Company, announced the appointment of Don Jacobs as editor of the weekly newsmagazine, ‘Consumer Beacon.’ Jacobs will also serve as associate editor of other Dunn family owned publications. Jacobs, a business writer, police and labor reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise and Journal, resigned to pursue his music career. After a stint in Nashville, he joined the Dunn publications as a columnist at the Orange County Opportunity Valley News. (Editor’s Note: The Beacon, along with the Triangle Press and Port Arthur’s Community Post were sold to Cox Enterprise in 1981.)*****Wilson Roberts assumes the position of criminal investigator in the County Attorney’s office. Roberts, former police chief, becomes the first person to hold the newly created position. County Attorney Sharon Bearden gained the support and approval of Commissioner’s Court for the position due to the new speedy trial law soon to go into effect. Roberts, who also served as a sheriff deputy in Jefferson and Orange County, is a graduate of Lamar University Police Academy and also holds a degree in Criminal Justice. Roberts is a member of the Criminal Justice Advisory Committee of the South East Texas Planning Commission. (Editor’s note: Wilson went on to have a long career in law enforcement, including as State Fire Marshal. Today, he is retired.)

A FEW HAPPENINGS

Our buddy Phillip Welch stopped by for a nice visit. Phillip is one of those guys it is always a pleasure to spend time with. He’s one of the good guys that you can always learn from. Phillip brought me a jar of Bo Henley’s honey. It’s local honey that you can’t beat. I love honey in or on anything. *****Speaking of that, Gerald Leleux brought me three of his homegrown grapefruit. I’m an idiot for that citrus. They were typical Orange County fruit, very juicy and good. *****I haven’t heard from our friend John Heard. I don’t know what the bad freeze did to his orange and grapefruit crop. I must check with him. He raises the best I’ve ever eater. ***** Congrats and happy anniversary to a couple of great youngsters, Cindi and Chris Gunn, who celebrate their 30th on Jan. 10. Chris picked the prettiest, shapely gal in Orangefield all those years ago and now have two grown kids.*****Also happy anniversary to longtime friends Margie and Harry Stephens, who got married 32 years ago on Jan. 11. It’s hard to believe how quickly those years have gone by. I have known Harry many more years since 1968. Margie is a native of Orange who was raised in Kentucky. They operate Harry’s Appliance. Best wishes for many more happy, healthy years.***** Oprah won’t run for president but it’s helping to stir up the Democratic base. Here’s where Oprah wins, Weight Watchers stock shares jumped 12.2 % on Monday after her Sunday Golden Globe speech and speculation. She owns 10% of WW. She bought $42 million in stock at 6.75 a share. Today its up to $52.62 a share. That’s nearly $40 million profit. Why would she run for president? VP maybe.*****We were sorry to learn of the death of Ronald Gene Morris, 68, of Bridge City who passed away Dec. 30. Our condolences to his family. He was one of a kind. Please see obituary.***We were also saddened to learn of the death of Beth Ann Windham, 78, who died Jan. 6. Funeral service will be held Jan. 12, 11 a.m., at First United Methodist Church, Orange. Mrs. Windham was a beautiful lady and longtime county employee. Our condolences to Jerry and his family. Please see obituary.*****A big mistake would be for Commissioner’s Court to hire an outside attorney just to represent the court. It’s just another expense for the taxpayers. We have a district attorney’s office, that we are already funding, capable of representing the court as well as all elected officials. There is absolutely no reason to hire outside lawyers for only one function.

BIRTHDAYS

A few folks we know celebrating birthdays in the next few weeks. Jan. 10: Frank Skeeler, Sandy Uzzle and Scott Gerald and Evelyn Duncan, now retired from BCISD, all celebrate on this date. A special happy birthday to Collin ‘Billy Jack’ Gros, Karen’s youngest, who will be all of 23 years old. Hard to believe. Joining them are singers Frank Sinatra Jr., 72, Rod Stewart, 71 and actors Evan Handler (”Sex and the City,”) 55 and rapper Chris Smith, of Kris Kross, 37. *****Jan. 11: Celebrating on this day are Ann Oliff, David Thompson, Olivia Trahan, Grant Gilson, Madeline Evans and Teresa Franklin and city councilman Bill Mello. Celebrities celebrating today are singers Naomi Judd, 70, Cody Simpson, 19 and Mary J. Blige, 45, actress Phyllis Logan (”Downton Abbey,”) 60.***** Jan. 12: Dana Sandlin, Beth Lindner, David Pendergast, Lynnett Lothman and Susan LeBlanc all celebrate on this day. They are joined by actors Kirstie Alley, 65 and  Katherine MacGregor (“Little House on the Prairie,”) 91, country singer William Lee Golden,of the Oak Ridge Boys, 77.. Radio personalities Rush Limbaugh, 65, Howard Stern, 62, TV news Christiane Amanpour, 58.*****Jan. 13: Kent Hannegan, Ashton Sezer, Lyndia Permenter and Mandy Jaarah all celebrate. Celebrities joining them in celebrating birthdays are actors Julia Louis-Dreyfus, 55, Patrick Dempsey, 50, Orlando Bloom, 39 and Liam Hemsworth, 26.*****Jan. 14: On this day Robert Simonton, and attorneys Rodney Townsend and Jerry Pennington celebrate, they are joined by pretty Mel Campbell, Stephanie Sehon, who turns 23 today and Tommy Thompson. Also celebrating are actors Faye Dunaway, 75,  Emily Watson, 49, rapper LL Cool J, 48.*****Jan. 15: Don Thompson, Dee Culpepper, Joy Hughes and Brennan Broussard celebrate. They are joined by actor-director Mario Van Peeble, 59. James Nesbitt, 51, Eddie Cahill, 38 and rapper Pitbull, 35.*****Jan. 16: Celebrating another birthday is our good friend Glenn Oliver, John Green III, Gary Dearing and Clayton Gearhart. Also on this day Opera singer Marilyn Horne, 82, Country singer Ronnie Milsap, 73. Supermodel Kate Moss, 42, Guitarist James Young, of The Eli Young Band, 36 all celebrate. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Tuffy’s this week and be back at Robert’s next week. Everyone always welcome.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Two men were in Tee-Boy’s Bar and Grill drinking a lot of beer dem. One of dem mens said to da udder, “Where are you from hanh?”

I’m from Breaux Bridge me,” He answer.

Da first man said, “I can’t believe dat me, I’m from Breaux Bridge me too.” Den he axe, “Where did you go to school?”

“I went to Saint Mary’s me,” da utter man answer.

“Well, I’ll be darn, “ da first man said. Den he axe, “When did you graduate?”

De udder man answer, “In 1972.”

Da first man say, “Man dats unbelievable, I went to Saint Mary’s too and graduated in 72.”

Bout dat time Clovis Comeaux come in and sits at da bar. He axe da bartender, “Wats been going on?”

De bartender replied, “Nuttin much, da LeBlanc twins are in here tonight an dey are drunk again.”

C’EST TOUT

NATIVES AND THE NFL

Going back to high school we got use to Earl Thomas being in the playoffs. That includes three years at West Orange-Stark, two at the University of Texas, and every year in the NFL. This year Earl is not in the post season. His team, the Seahawks, was shut out of the playoffs. Orange County however, has two natives in the playoffs. Wade Phillips, born in downtown Orange, is defensive coordinator of the LA Rams. His team lost Saturday to the Atlanta Falcons, who was led in scoring by Bridge City native, kicker Matt Bryant. Matt kicked four field goals, two over 50 yards, to lead the team in scoring. That was the second week in a row Matt was successful at kicking four field goals. He and the Falcons will face Philadelphia next Saturday. Every year, for many years, Orange County has been represented in the NFL. That speaks highly of the caliber of high school football played here at home.*****I never bet against Alabama. Monday they became national champions by defeating Georgia, 26-20 in overtime. Safety Delonte Thompson, Orange Native and former West Orange-Stark star, had a good game and will probably be the next Orange resident to be in the NFL in a couple of years. Tony Brown, from Ozen, also had a good game on defense and could be another Southeast Texas NFL pro someday.*****My time is up, I thank you for yours. Please shop our Family of Advertisers. Take care and God bless.