The burn ban and fireworks were some of the major topics at the regular session of Orange County Commissioners’ Court Monday.


of Orange County have reached the highest level on the Keetch-Byram

Drought Index. Jeff Kelley, Emergency Management director, advised

commissioners to keep the burn ban in effect. The county is 16-20

inches short of rainfall this year. Kelley said the county hasn’t seen

drought conditions this severe since 2000.


people from the fireworks industry came to speak before the court this

week since commissioners banned aerial fireworks at last week’s court

session. Jaime Peltz representing Joe’s Hogwild Fireworks asked the

court not to place a total ban on fireworks. She said fireworks are

regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. According to

Peltz, fireworks are tested for safety “to make sure they are not the

fire hazards people think they are.” She stated it is the misuse of

fireworks that causes fires.


said closing the short window of sales opportunity is very detrimental

to not only fireworks stands but also area organizations. Volunteers

man their booths for a percentage of the sales. She also said there is

an additional two percent sales tax on fireworks in Texas that goes

into a fund specifically for volunteer fire departments. “All they have

to do is apply for these benefits.” 


Daughtery, President of Texas Fireworks Association said less than 1

percent of fires are from fireworks. He asks them to just prohibit use

before they prohibit sales and use.


of right now, I don’t mind telling you, the judges, there’s not a

single one of us that wants to pass a total ban, including myself,”

said Thibodeaux. “That’s like banning ice cream and apple pie in

America.” But, Thibodeaux did say he was going to keep a close eye on

the situation.

U.M. Army headed to Orange


Mainer of the U.M. Army (United Methodist Action Reach-out Mission by

Youth) presented to the Commissioners information concerning the

organization and their mission. July 17, approximately 80 youth and 40

adults will be in the area for one week to assist citizens in Orange

County and Port Arthur by building wheelchair ramps, handrails and

steps. They also repair roofs and floors, do sheetrock work, paint and

clean yards. “This is an unusual mission in that the kids actually pay

to do this. There is no cost whatsoever to the recipient,” said Mainer.

The homes they work on are referred by area churches or agencies. “We

do pre-qualify all of our sites in terms of need and if it’s something

we can do.” Mainer said they don’t do any plumbing or electrical work.

Mainer can be reached at 713-828-4626.

Beaumont VA helps with veterans

of vacancies that were created in the Veteran’s office by last week’s

dismissals, Thibodeaux said that vets needing immediate action can pick

up their files and take them to the VA clinic in Beaumont. Thibodeaux

said the Beaumont office had agreed to see Orange County veterans that

need to be seen right away. “The veterans are being patient about it. A

few are frustrated and I can understand that,” said Thibodeaux. They

will start making new appointments in the Orange Veteran’s office for

June 27. Thibodeaux said hopefully they will have the positions filled

by then. He said when the veteran’s office is back to full force vets

can bring their files back to Orange.


said Tuesdays and Thursdays, buses will be available if the veterans

don’t want to drive to Beaumont or do not have transportation to get

there. The criteria haven’t been set yet but Thibodeaux said they need

to know ahead of time and so does Beaumont so they can staff

accordingly. To ride Tuesday the transportation office needs to know by

the previous Friday. For Thursday trips, Thibodeaux said they need to

reserve their spot by Tuesday. He said the veterans’ office is

overloaded, so to call for a ride, call Thibodeaux’s office: 409-882-7070 or the transportation office: 409-886-1783.


court approved advertising for the vacant veteran’s service officer

position and the vacant benefits coordinator. It was suggested that a

committee make the selection of the VSO and allowing the new VSO hire

the benefits coordinator.


said that the volunteers to the veterans’ office had been frozen last

week and were not allowed in the office. The employees still at the

veterans’ office requested the return of two volunteers: J.C. Statum

and Betty Conway. The court approved the request.

In other news


Waldon, David Dubose, Jeff Kelley, Bobby Fillyaw, Doug Manning, Dan

Barclay, Thomas Foreman and Josephine Jarrell with TxDot Aviation were

appointed to the Orange County Airport Advisory Board.


County Sheriff, Keith Merritt, requested the approval of the 2011-2012

contract with the Orangefield ISD. Merritt said it is the same contract

as in the past except the hours had been cut back a little and the pay

rate changed due to educational budget cuts. This contract will be

effective on Aug. 22, 2011 and shall continue thereafter unless any

party involved gives 60 days notice


Orange County Tax Office in Orange will be closed Wednesday, June 15,

for computer upgrade and reorganization of the equipment. The Vidor Tax

Office will remain open 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m.

Commissioners gave

Purchasing Agent, Connie Cassidy, permission to seek bids on bulk fuel

for the county and one Zodiac Inflatable Rescue Watercraft

Boat/Motor/Trailer. The boat is requested by the Emergency Management

Department and will be funded by the Department of Homeland Security.


of Health and Code Compliance, Joel Ardoin, asked Commissioners for

approval of the ten applications recommended by the On-Site sewer

system project committee for the Community Development Block Grant.


court voted to pay $43,395.97 to Carroll & Blackman, Inc., from the

general fund for the coastal study for storm surge in Orange

County.”This is the study we’re doing for the possibility of building a

levee system,” said Thibodeaux.


Thibodeaux said he signed the contracts last week for the C.H.A.M.P.S.

building to be built on FM1442. “Hopefully construction will start to

take shape in a couple of weeks,” he said.

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.