The year comes to an end on an economical high note. Economists are optimistic about continued growth in 2015. The American economy is positioned to soar. The stock market is at an all time high, the annual deficit is down a trillion dollars, and joblessness is down. Over ten million, Americans who didn’t have health insurance before ObamaCare now have it. Speaker John Boehner’s prediction that ObamaCare would lead to five million lost jobs has done just the opposite, over one and a half million jobs have been added. The country has come a long way since the “Great Recession” of six years ago. For those years, Congress has sat on their hands or been obstructionist. Over and over,surrogates used their talking points to bash the President, knocking his poll numbers down but not mentioning his accomplishments. The first term was spent working to deny Obama a second term. When that didn’t work, they voted to undo his accomplishments. Now there is a large new Republican congress and senate. The American people expect them to govern. They can no longer revert to bashing the President. They will have to show some bipartisan accomplishments. Some will still want to dismantle some of the Obama policies but that’s not as easy as some would have you believe. The President is still the President; he maintains the opportunity and tools to set an agenda. He has leverage over everything congress tries to do. Believe it, he can and will save ObamaCare.Republicans might as well move on to more pressing issues. Americans will start to see the real progress both domestic and in foreign policy that has been made. Obama’s favorable poll numbers will go up. Obama’s foreign policy was never quite as passive as his critics made it out to be. A Republican controlled senate won’t make his life easy but results are on his side.  The economy grew at a 5 percent annual rate, the fastest in more than a decade. The Dow topped 18,000; 10,000 points more than when he took office. Unemployment is down to 5.8 percent, four points lower than when he took over. Gas prices are half what they were. six years ago. Cuba, immigration and his strangle-hold on Russia through sanctions will bring them to their knees as their economy collapses. The burden is now on Republicans to show that they can govern. If they do the country will continue to see better days ahead. That’s my take for 2015. The election for President will begin this spring for real. Let the fun begin. *****I’ve got to move on to the last column of this year. It was a fast year wasn’t it? Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.
Judge Janice Menard ends a 32 year career in the Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 office this week. She has been a good employee and a good judge. She is very knowledgeable, with more J.P. training than all other county justices. No one can find fault with the way she ran the court. Sometimes during a political campaign things are said that at other times would be slanderous and should be taken tongue in cheek. Judge Menard refused to change parties, “Hypercritical” she said, so she was caught up in the straight party GOP voting. However, she did something never done before; she received 24.5 percent cross over voting. Maybe people are catching on that you can crossover vote and still vote straight party. We thank Judge Janice for her years of service and wish her a long, healthy, happy retirement. *****Along withJudge Carl Thibodeaux, I’ll miss our buddy, Nelda’s other half, Owen Burton, on the court. We very seldom disagreed but it was fun when we did. Owen had to be talked into running for the last term so I bet he’s glad to be getting out of Dodge. His seat will be taken by a younger man, his nephew Barry Burton, a smart, down-to-earth guy who has a sincere desire to serve for all the right reasons.*****Karen Jo, oh how I’ll miss that girl. For her 40 years in the County Clerks office she’s been my friend. I’ve often called on her for information and had it before I hung the phone up. Over the years, when my Happenings cupboard was bare, Karen Jo would get me out of a bind by being my court house source for local happenings. We had a mutual admiration, she’s good people and I wish her the very best retirement. She’s earned it. *****Carl Thibodeaux: What can I say about the Judge that I haven’t said before? I don’t believe that citizens fully realize the scope of what was accomplished under his 20 years as county judge. It seems like every year he had a new court to work with. He found a way to work, even with those who were extreme and self-serving. I assure you, he will be missed, even by those who disagreed with him. Being a Cajun, he was often headstrong but he was a leader during good times and bad storms. He wanted to run again but wouldn’t switch parties. He called it “Silly” in local politics. Over the 20 years I asked him for four things. He agreed they were good ideas and he would work on them. Maybe he had good intentions but none of them ever got done. I struck out. I don’t believe ever again anyone will serve 20 years in that office. We wish the new County Judge, Brent Carlton, nothing but the best. Happy sailing. Thanks to Tib for his service but don’t bet the farm that he will stay retired and inactive in county affairs. Janice, Karen Jo, Owen and Carl all Democrats, served us well. I believe that proves that national party politics should never be the way we pick our local officials.
13 Years Ago-2002
The lid is now shut on 2001, a year that today’s 10-year-olds will be telling their great grandchildren about. September 11, (9-11) is a date that will survive the agesin the minds of all Americans, like all of us who were youngsters Dec. 7, 1942, when Pearl Harbor was bombed. Now, we embark on a new year.*****Kim and Jason Matthews are new, proud parents of a baby girl Baylee Noel, born Dec. 18, 2001, sharing a birthday with grandmother Debbie Roy. Jason is with the Tenn. Titans football team.*****Former Dallas Cowboy Harvey Martin died last week at age 51.***Former Thomas Jefferson and Bishop Byrne coach Bud Tomlin died at age 89.*****UT Longhorns, under quarterback Major Applewhite, beat Washington 47-43 in Holiday Bowl thriller. Applewhite holds 44 UT records. (Editor’s note: He was benched and replaced by Sims, go figure.)***Homeboy, Coach R.C. Slocum and A&M beat TCU 28-9 in bowl game. (Editor’s note: A&M let R.C. go. Go figure again.)*****Brian “Red” LaSalle, 44, was found dead at his home Dec. 24 by his brother Burl. *****Amber Dunn flying out of Boston Logan said the security was so tight she had to take off her shoes. This also happened on her flight from Houston to Austin. (Editor’s note: That became a regular practice at all airports. *****Ms. Phyl and Roy celebrated their 47th anniversary at the Creaux’s Nest. A.J. Judice and Don Berard brought a most unusual gift, a “Yule Log” with the inscription, “Y’ule use it or Y’ule keep it but don’t bring it back.”*****Jack Dorman, who has been fighting a tough battle for years, has been hospitalized. “Mr. Jack” is a good man. *****Orange attorney Alan Sanders was recently appointed chairman of Partnership of Southeast Texas, a Regional Economic Development firm (POST). He replaces Dr. Sam Monroe.*****GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Hugh John “Pete” Smith, 73, of Orange, died Tuesday, Dec. 25.***Eldon Dock Jones, 71, died Dec. 22.***John E. “Johnny” Stephenson, Jr., 77, died Dec. 23.***Arthur “Tobe” LaBleu, 89, of Orange, died Dec. 25.*** “Red LaSalle, 44, died Dec. 24.***James T. “Jim” Burt, 76, of Bridge City, died Dec. 26.***Med Monroe Davis, 83, of Orange, died Dec. 30.***Nan “Nannie” Schahn, 75, died Dec. 28. The longtime Orange resident died in San Antonio.
38 Years Ago-1977
We lost a good, decent man, Cecil Wingate, an Orange native, father of 18 children, who worked hard as an accountant to maintain and provide for his family. He diedSaturday and was buried Wednesday. *****Telephone information is no longer free. Operator assistant will cost 20 cents each. The Telephone Company promises not to go any higher. (Yeah! Right!)*****Bubba Hubbard was appointed to the parks board. The president is Sam Naifeh. *****Jan. 4 is Richard Corders’ birthday. *****Our friend Vivian Holbrooks, who puts up with Fain, celebrates Jan. 5. She’s making her way to a place in heaven. *****Lyndia Patronella also celebrates on the 5. *****Barbara Gillis returns to her old job as court reporter in the County Court of Law. The past four years she has been a court reporter in Jefferson County.*****Beth Dugas’ brother, Bill Tulley, died of a massive heart attack New Year’s Eve.*****Kebble Free has a house break-in that amounts to a big loss and he’s mad as hell about it.*****N.J. “Vic” Vicknair is on a crash diet. His New Year’s resolutions are also to quit smoking and drinking. What is there left to do Vic? *****Donald and Willie Blanchard celebrated the holidays with all their family at home this year. *****Grover Lee takes over the Honda store from Clester Andrews. *****Roy and Phyllis Dunncelebrated their 22 anniversary with a big New Year’s Eve party at their home. Ann Lieby, who attended with Tim, says the guest list was a who’s who of everyone in Orange County plus Gordon Baxter, Don Jacobs and Sen. Carl Parker and wives from Jefferson County.*****Also having a party were Harold and Patsy Fisette. A large group gathered there. David Skinner was the most amusing guy there. *****The Leo Stella’s spent the holidays in Vail Colorado. The Charlie Patten’s attended the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. *****New Bridge City Chamber directors are C.R. Nash, Chapman Bell and Bill Nickum. Bell says the new savings and loan building will be completed soon. *****Barbara Mandrell and the Do-Rites will play for the dance at the VFW Hall from 8 p.m. to midnight, Jan. 11. (Editor’s note: That was before she hit the big time.) She later came back a star at the Lutcher Theater. *****This past year saw the passing of Bruce Tuppen, a young man liked by everyone who knew him.
The Record columnist Caroline Brewton stopped by the office for a visit during the holidays. Caroline is moving to Austin for a new job in newspaper production. Congratulations and best wishes on your new career. *****HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS: Vickie Thompson, formerly of Bridge City, now a Dallas resident, was in town visiting with family for the holidays. Her sister and brother-in-law Kim and Tim McDonald, of Little Cypress, were excited to have her home. ***Dr. Amber Dunn came home for a few days before Christmas. She was on hospital call for Christmas. She will fly to San Antonio for the Valero Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2.***Ms. Phyl’s sister Jo and husband Claude came in from Hot Springs for several days during the Christmas holidays.***Port Director Gene Bouillon and family spent their Christmas holiday in the Cajun Country of Abbeville. His sister came from Houston and they all gathered at Shucks Seafood Restaurant for Christmas dinner. It don’t get no better than that. If you are ever in that area you must dine at Shucks. Their specialty is oysters but everything Cajun is special.*****Our longtime friend Edee Pratt has been in and out of the hospital since Charles died but lately she has been struck with many health problems that have kept her hospitalized for nearly three months. She first broke her hip, then her wrist and then came down with pneumonia. She’s finally home, turning down nursing home care for home recovery. She’s one tough cookie. We wish her well. *****Judge Derry Dunn, Pct. 3 Justice of the Peace, has been pitch-hitting for J.P. David Peck while he has been hospitalized. We understand that he has been transferred to Hospice Rehab and is much improved but has a long way to go. We wish him continued improvement. *****A few folks we know celebrating their special day in the next few days. On Dec. 31, Ms. Norma Fusilier, David’s mom and Debbie’s longtime mother-n-law celebrates. Also Richard Hunter and Jessica Anderson.***Roy and Ms. Phyl mark 60 years together on this day. Not a record but a darn good average.***They share this day with actors Anthony Hopkins, 76, Ben Kingsley, 70, Val Kilmer, 54 and fashion designer Diane Von Furstenberg, 67.*****On Jan. 1Robert Hoke, longtime WOS employee and retired Shangri La director, a good man, celebrates today as does Ronnie Hearn, Joanne Hill and Glenda Wilburn. They share birthdays with actor Frank Langella, 76 and Greenbay Packer Eddie Lacy, 23.*****Celebrating on Jan. 2 is David Villanoueva, a guy who once went to the Olympics and worked many days at Dupuis Gulf. Also celebrating on this day areKathy Mercer, O’Neal Waldrop and Angela Abshire. They share birthdays with actors Cuba Gooding, Jr., 46, Tia Carrere, 47, TV host Jack Hanna, 67 and dancerKarina Smirnoff, 36.*****On Jan. 3, our friend, the “Mule Man,” retiring county commissioner Owen Burton will have two things to celebrate, getting off the court and his birthday. Also celebrating is Roy Simar, Barbara Dardeau, Ann Burns and Alvin Wright. They share birthdays with actors Mel Gibson, 58, Victoria Principal, 64 and quarterback Eli Manning, 33.*****On Jan. 4, two beautiful ladies, our friends Beth Rash and Vergie Moreland celebrate. Also Nancy Lapeyrolerie and Lillian Wray. The same day singer Patty Lovelace, 57, actress Dyann Cannon, 77, Julia Ormond, 49 and NFL coach Don Shula, 84 celebrate. This would also have been the birthday of the late Richard Corder. *****On Jan. 5, three longtime friends Marilou Pachar Gunn, Tommy’s mom, Vivian Holbrooks and ultra conservative Kenneth Young who turns 88. Kenneth and I go back to when dirt was discovered. Also celebrating on this day is Malinda Vail. They share birthdays with actors Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton, 68 and former VP Walter Mondale, 86. *****On Jan. 6, our longtime buddy, Skipper Free, who was born at Shangri La celebrates. So does former Orange Fire chief Marvin Ziller, Joan Trivino, Louise Dubose, Clint Reves and Sherry Morgan. They share birthdays with Coach Lou Holtz, 77, TV host Julie Chen,44 and celebrity chef Ree Drummond, 45. A very happy birthday to all. Please see complete birthday list.*****Betty and Corky Harmon were the victims of an auto accident in Winnie over the weekend. A lady ran a stop sign and totaled their car. Their air bags didn’t go off but fortunately they were wearing their seat belts so they came out with only belt bruises. Thank God, even though they are both sore they had no major injuries.*****We had a phone visit with out buddy Ray Cotton. He’s been coasting lately. He sold most of the Cotton Corner Complex to his daughter Tina. I believe he kept the bingo hall. Ray will do to ride the range with. I miss him when I don’t see him for a while. *****On Dec. 29, 1845, Texas was admitted as the 28th state. In 2015, Texas will celebrate its 170th birthday. *****We heard from our buddyJohn Heard. He and Ms. Linda are doing good and had a nice Christmas. We were able to get some good Orange County citrus from him. No place, Florida, California or the Rio Grande Valley grows better oranges or grapefruit. If you like fresh fruit straight from the farm give John a call at 988-5231He and Linda are good people. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will not gather this week. The Bunch will dine at Robert’s Jan. 7, to welcome in the new year. Everyone is welcome to catch up with what was done over the holidays. Make every effort to attend. Great fellowship and great food. *****An artist to watch in 2015 is a young Colorado guitar picking farm girl. She recently signed to record country Music with Universal of Nashville. The pretty former truck driver is Clare Dunn. I predict she will hit the big times.*****On a sad note, we were sorry to hear that Brenda Sanders, a wonderful lady who worked in the deli at Danny’s had a massive heart attack last Friday and is in critical condition in a Beaumont Hospital. She is the daughter of Sue Simar. Meanwhile, Tommy is recovering from knee surgery and can’t be with Sue while she maintains vigilance at the hospital. The family is asking for your prayers during this very critical time while Brenda’s life hangs in the balance.*****Donnie and Corky Harmon have made some good purchases on good, pre-owned cars and are passing the savings on to the customers. Work cars, school cars, or family cars, they have them at great prices.Check them out before you buy.
Little Amie Premeaux, her, is a smart little second grader. She help her mutter Agnes round da house but she has a special interest in helping her mom in da kitchen. One day in class, da teacher, Ms. Ulla Mae, axe, “Who can name da four seasons?”
Lil Amie her, quick, quick, she raise her hand. “I know me,” she shouted.
Ms. Ulla Mae say, “OK Amie, wat is the answer to da four seasons.”
Da little Cajun girl answer, “Well, it’s onions, celery, bell pepper and garlic.”
Well, I’ve come to the end for another year. I was a young guy when I started this column writing back in 1970. I’m sure I’ve written a million words or more. I’m thankful to the many readers who have made this column so well read. In the next few days I’m going to relax and plan on watching a lot of football.*****Four NFL coaches have been fired, Marc Trestman, Bears; Rex Ryan, Jets; Mike Smith, Falcons; and Jim Harbaugh, 49’ers, who has now been hired by the University of Michigan. I don’t know where the others will land. Also look for other teams, like New Orleans, to let top assistants go.***** I hate that the Texans missed the playoffs.Collin Gros attended the Texan game last Sunday and says J.J. Watt is something to watch in person. J.J. had three sacks, one in the end zone for two points and scored a touchdown. It would have been nice to have seen him in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Cowboys made it and will face the Lions. You never know which Cowboy team will show up.**** The college playoffs should be good. I look for an upset like Florida State beating Oregon.*****By the way, we are featuring The Records “All Orange County Team” this week. It’s a good issue. Look it over and be sure to check out the sports section. In fact, read us cover to cover and please shop our family of advertisers. Here’s wishing you a Happy, Healthy, New Year. Take care and God bless.