Tuesday evening President Barack Obama addressed a joint session of congress with his State of the Union message. Obama, who is riding an upswing in popularity called on the congress to join him in putting aside the political games and finding areas where they agree so we can deliver for the American people. His message included proposals for tax hikes on the wealthy, tax breaks for the middle class, community college, housing, manufacturing cyber security and paid sick leave for government employees. Over the last few weeks the President has been out promoting the items he highlighted in his State of the Union address. He has made it plain he will not be a lame-duck president and plans to work for the American people up to his last day. He plans to find new ways to finance much needed infrastructure projects through public/private partnerships. Joni Ernst, the new Tea Party senator from Iowa gave the Republican response to Obama’s address. The problem is that no senator can make promises on behalf of House Republicans, not even their leader, Speaker John Boehner can do that.*****I’ve got to move on. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm. 


Throughout the 1970’s, almost every Monday evening while we were composing the Opportunity Valley News, we could count on Dr. Howard Williams coming in carrying his camera. Back then we received many old photos from the citizens. We had asked anyone who had pictures of old Orange to loan them to us. Dr. Williams would come in and shoot pictures of the photos before we returned them. Some we were fortunate enough to be allowed to keep. Dr. Williams built his own collection from those old photos, many ended up in his book of historical photographs titled “Orange, Gateway to Texas.” We had known this fine man, good doctor and his wife Elizabeth since the 1950’s. We were sorry to learn of his sudden death at age 89. He and his wife preserved much of Orange County history. They have left a legacy that will long benefit citizens and historians. They won’t soon be forgotten.


Last week we had a visit from Coach Les Johnson and wife Wanda. Coach Johnson brought us some individual highlight films on some of the outstanding players he coached at Bridge City. We will make these films available to the players but more on that later. Ironically Johnson asked if Bridge City had found a coach yet. I replied, they have it narrowed down to a couple applicants out of 50- plus, Dwayne DuBois was one of them. Johnson commented that was a lateral move for him but his system is a perfect fit for Bridge City. I believe he’s one of the better high school coaches in the state. He’s a teacher who knows that a good off season program wins games in the fall. I told him regardless of the program you have to have the players. Coach Johnson was adamant that Bridge City has the talent. Dwayne will find good players even if he has to recruit in the halls. By running the Slot-T it won’t take him long to build a strong program. It allows a lot of youngsters to be directly involved in every play. After telling Les that DuBois was hired, he said Rick Colson would be glad to hear that. Rick always said “Beaver” has the passion and interest in learning all he can about the game. Colson was offensive coordinator at B.C. under Johnson. DuBois also worked with Colson with the track program and was a football coach. Rick said he asked a lot of questions, watched a lot of films and wanted to know everything. Johnson said a big plus for Coach DuBois is that he won’t have the burden of being the athletic director while trying to build a football program. Coach Dewayne DuBois was hired Monday as head football coach at Bridge City. He and his wife Cristel both graduated from Bridge City and sons Camden and Caleb are residents of the school district and have been despite Dwayne’s coaching elsewhere. It’s a great opportunity that few get to coach where they started, at the place they call home.


16 Years Ago-1999

Bridge City’s Shane Dronett headed to Super Bowl XXXIII as a member of the Atlanta Falcons. They face John Elway and the Denver Broncos. When Shane was born on Jan. 12, 1971, his mother Candance said he was a big baby, 9 pounds, 14 ounces and nearly two feet long. Shane was an MVP in football at Bridge City and was highly recruited before selecting the Texas longhorns. He graduated from BC in 1989. Shane was a member of the 1991 Longhorns when they won the Cotton Bowl. He went to the NFL with the Broncos as a defensive end until Coach Dan Reeves moved him to defensive tackle. When the Broncos let Reeves go, he went to Atlanta, and when Shane‘s contract was up with the Broncos he joined Reeves there. Now the two will face their former team. Shane made arrangements for his entire family to attend the Super Bowl. His dad Carl Dronette said, “Shane sent tickets and made hotel arrangements for everyone. (Editor‘s note: Shane‘s number is retired and displayed at Bridge City High School along with high school teammate Jason Mathews, All-American Steve Worster and NFL kicker Matt Bryant. Several years ago, Shane took his own life possibly as a result of too many blows to the head over a long career. He left behind his parents, his wife Christy and two daughters Berkeley and Haley.)*****Bill Nickum, owner of Nickum Insurance, is the recipient of the 1999 Sam Walton Business Leader award. In his honor the Bridge City Chamber received $500 from the Wal-Mart Foundation. *****Former Bridge City coach and trainer Moe Litton joined other local sports legends inducted into the South East Texas Hall of Honor. Other 1999 inductees are Bum Phillips, Joe Washington, Alex Durley, Pappy Drenman and Darrel Shaver. (Editor’s note: Not bad company Moe.)*****Marialeice Saucier takes over as Bridge City Chamber president from outgoing president Kirk Ellender.*****Thursday night a full house attended the Bridge City football banquet to honor Coach Les Johnson’s players. Several players received All-District and other honors. Jared Williams and Jeremy Stolfa received All-State honors. Coach Johnson says at least a dozen of his players will receive college scholarships. Coach Bruchhaus of McNeese was the guest speaker. Two of Johnson’s former players, John Hoffpauir and Nicolas Watson, now attending McNeese, also attended. *****Many local folks are attending Orange County Day in Austin.

41 Years Ago-1974

The county races are all set. Let the race begin. Incumbent County Judge Grover Halliburton is challenged by James D. Stringer and James A Broussard. Dr. John Greco is the only Republican.***County Court-at-Law David Dunn; district clerk, Edna Enmon; county clerk, Sallie Frazier; county treasurer, Earline Hilliard; county school superintendent, James A. Peddy. County commissioners, Pct. 1, S.P. “Pete” Dickey, Claude J. Broussard, Glenn Seale, George W. Stevens, Morris Collier and Glen Peveto. (A bunch). ***Pct. 4, Raymond Gould, incumbent, C.O. “Goober” Williamson, L.B.  “Timer” Williamson; Ray Willie, R.H. Harold Carter and Sam Humberson. (Another bunch).***Democratic chairman, J.L. “Pete” Runnels,incumbent, and Louis Dugas, Jr.***Constable Pct. 2, S.D. “Bill” Dickerson, J.R. “James” Aaron, Leon Frederick, H.D. Tucker, Jr., R.J. “Ronnie” Burns, Robert E. Smith, Donald A. Gunn, Joe D. Shibley.  (A whole bunch).***J.P. Pct. 1, Viola Shibley, Claude Wimberly, S. E. Bellfield, C. Arnold Buxton and Allen D. Cary, Sr.***JP Pct. 3, Martin Ardoin.***JP Pct. 4, V.I. “Coon” Constance and incumbent Joe Bunn.*** State Rep. Wayne Peveto, incumbent and Thomas W. Porter.*****A strange sight was seen this week. Tom Cockrell and Joe Blands, two barbers, walking a picket line together in Orangefield. One was carrying a Bible, the other a deck of cards. *****Doug Harrington and Roy Dunn are supposed to play the big tennis match this Thursday. Five will get you 10 that Dunn backs out. *****Helen and Truman Hodge became great-grandparents. Daughter Beverly and son-in-law James Francis are the parents of Jamie Lynn.*****Cecil Scales says the only thing lit up in Orange after 10 p.m. is Ken Rainwater. *****Coach Andy Griffin, 37, head football coach and athletic director at White Oak, will assume those duties at Bridge City March 1. Griffin replaces H.W. “Chief” Wilson, who resigned to accept another position. *****The LCM Bearettes are zone basketball champs. They are Tanyia Strickland, DeDe Crawford, Linda Bean, Becky Dunn, Karen Kachtik, Angela Kanoy, Theresa Duncan, Debbie McClelland, Debbie Martinez, Molly Malone, Doris Flanagan, Sheryl Miller, Julia Knight, Dawana Wiggins, Donna Peveto and Brenda Burch. Coaches are Paul Baker and Linda Warner.


What a wild, most unexpected finish to a playoff game. The Seattle Seahawks trailed the Green Bay Packers 19-7, with less than four minutes to play. The Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson had thrown four picks and it appeared to be doomsday for Earl Thomas and the team. Finally Russell Wilson came out of the funk he’d been in throughout the game to lead Seattle to score 15 points in 44 seconds.  A quick score, two point conversion and a mishandled onside kick in overtime by Brandon Bostick, Packers tight end, and the Seahawks were back in business. Green Bay never touched the ball again. The Seahawks won the toss and Wilson put on a show that left Green Bay in shock and Wilson in tears of emotion. The Seahawks pulled a 28-22 miracle win. Now it will be the young quarterback vs. the old master. The New England Patriots trampled the Baltimore Colts 45-7 to set up the showdown with the Hawks in the Super Bowl, to be played Feb. 1, 5:30, in Glendale Arizona. Now Wilson, Earl Thomas and the Seahawks have a chance to win two Super Bowls in consecutive seasons. Most of the country will be pulling for the Patriots and Tom Brady to win but not here in the Golden Triangle where home boy Earl Thomas III is a local hero. I’ll never doubt again what the Seahawks can accomplish after Sunday’s rally over the Packers.


Randy Weber, who represents Jefferson County, is one of the crazies that voted against the House leadership. That’s bad enough because now he can’t get favors for his district but then he turns around and claims credit for the passage of the bill that would deepen the Sabine Neches Ship Channel. He had absolutely nothing to do with that. We will be lucky if he doesn’t cause us to lose the project. Now here’s what proves he’s a pure extremist.  He compares the President of the United States to Hitler, who murdered millions of Jews. Hopefully some day the people of Texas will wake up and quit sending fools like Weber to Washington.


Former Houston Texan head coach Gary Kubiak returns to Denver as head coach. He was a back up quarterback to his now boss John Elway. He also previously served as Elway and Denver’s offensive coordinator. Don’t be surprised to find out that Wade Phillips will join Kubiak and Elway at Denver. *****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will meet at Robert’s this week and back at Novrozsky’s next. Everyone always welcome. ***** A few folks we know celebrating their special day. First let me take a line to remember our friend Ray Trahan who died on Jan. 19, 2003. Ray touched a lot of lives. ****On Jan. 21, Charles Arceneaux, David Doucet and Sarah Bonds celebrate. They share the day with singer Mac Davis, 72, golfer Jack Nicklaus, 74, actors Geena Davis, 58 and Robby Benson, 58.*****On Jan. 22, Judge Janice Menard, former J.P. now retired, celebrates. Also celebrating are Chris Anderson, Don Collins and Betty Stephenson. Sharing birthdays are singer Steve Perry, 65, actors Diane Lane, 49, Linda Blair, 55 and chef Guy Fieri,46.*****On Jan. 23, a special happy birthday to Sandra Peveto. Also celebrating are Caitlyn Linder, Sue Harris, Cindy Cain and Harold Collins. They share birthdays with actors Richard Dean Anderson, 64, Mariska Hargitay, 50 and Tiffani Thiessen, 40.*****On Jan. 24, Larry Gray, Randy Franklin, Toni Robertson and Eric Shuford celebrate. They join singers Neil Diamond,73, Aaron Neville, 73, and Gymnast Mary Lou Retton, 46. That one is hard to believe. *****On Jan. 25, our friend Roy McDaniel, who The Record did a feature on last week, turns 90 today. Younger folks celebrating are Tayler Thompson, Amy Kidder, Jessica Hobbs, Jody Rogers and Malissie Bailey. They share the day with singer Alicia Keys, 33 and actor Dean Jones, 83. *****On Jan. 26, our longtime buddy, retired banker Nancy Vincent celebrates. Also Mike Faulk, Frank Richardson, Haley Parish and Ron Huebel. Also on this day Pat and attorney H.D. Pate celebrate their anniversary. Pat still does the chores and H.D. practices law. Celebrity birthdays Ellen DeGeneres, 56, singer Anita Baker, 56, actor Scott Glenn, 73 and hockey player Wayne Gretsky, 53.*****Jan. 27 is a special day for a special little guy, Leland Clay Gros, who turns 6 years old. “The Scoot” is Ms. Phyl and Roy’s great grandson. Also celebrating on this day are Tommy Wolfford, Hazel Reedon, Kemberly Barclay, Virginia Pelitier and Tori Lummus. They join actresses Bridget Fonda, 50, Mimi Rogers, 58 and country singer Tracy Lawrence, 46. Happy birthday to all. *****As far as I can recall there has never been as many county department heads heading out the door when a new judge came into office. I’ve had others tell me they would leave the employment of the county but have to put in another year or two. Those who have left after many years of service are county clerk Karen Jo Vance, emergency management Jeff Kelly, personnel Jill Shores, operations and maintenance director Mark Wimberley, Donna Minter, transportation department director, Janine Denman, secretary for the county judge. Brandy Robertson, appointed county clerk, is the only job that has been filled. I personally believe the shoes of Mark Wimberley will be some big shoes to fill. He knows where every nut and bolt is in those county buildings. He was truly an operations director. Judge Thibodeaux had a good team. Last week “Thib” was honored with a large farewell gathering at the Expo Center. Thanks Judge for 20 years of a job well done and also thanks for the memories. The best to you and Micaela during the coming years. I’m still not convinced you will not be back in some capacity. You love serving too much to just sit around. Our prayers go out to our friend Gerald Morris who underwent triple bypass surgery this week in Houston. 


Charles Arceneaux, Sarah Bonds, Millagro Foster, David Doucet, Cris Anderson, Meloney Delano, Julian Meadows, Don Collins, Gary Baker, Janice Westfall, Lyndon Robinson, Myra Sherwood, Nancy Sieck, Suzanne Pittard, Betty Stephenson, Sandra Peveto, Caitlyn Lindner, Cindy Cain, Eryn Leroux

Harold Collins, Jennifer Grizzaffi, Logan Mitchell, Lyndell Hodgkinson, Stephanie Smith, Sue Harris, Karen Anthony, Larry Gray, Randy Franklin, Toni Robertson, Eric Shuford, Amy Kidder, Garland Gresham, Jessica Hobbs, Judy Rogers, Malissie Bailey, Melanie Thevis, Tayler Thompson, Taylor Fraccastoro, Chelsea Anderson, Frank Richardson, Marie Howell, Noreen Cook, Haley Parish, Flip Flippen, Hayden Anderson, Mike Faulk, Nancy Vincent, Ollie Butler, Ginny Pelpier, Ron Huebel, Tommy Wolfford, Hazel Reedon, Jonathan Arnold, Kimberly Barclay, Melanie Prosperie, Mick Weidner, Tori Lummus and Virginia Pelitier. 




Alex Boudreaux and Marie were speeding along on da I-10 high rise bridge over Whisky Bay when Boudreaux saw da red-light flashing in da rearview window. Boudreaux pull over as good as he could to da side of da bridge. Da state trooper Landry walk up to da window wit his clipboard in his hand.

He axed, “Did you know dat you was going 80 miles an hour and da speed limit on dis bridge is 60?”

Boudreaux look at da carpet of da truck for dat cigarette he dropped. He say, “Nope, I was going 60, me.”

Da trooper sounded fed up as he look at his clipboard and said, “Nope, I clocked you at 80. Den da trooper look over at Marie sitting dere looking out of da passenger window at da cypress trees in da water. Da trooper say, “Maam, I clocked dat man at 80. He said he was going 60. Now you tell me, was he going 60 or 80, hanh?”

Marie say, “Me, I never argue wit Boudreaux when he’s been drinking him.”


When it comes to open carry gun laws I see dark clouds ahead. For one, it could be a nightmare for law enforcement officers. Make no mistake about it, the extreme right Texas Legislature is hell bent on passing the open carry law and new Gov. Greg Abbott says as soon as it’s passed he will sign it. We could see open carry in Texas as soon as next September. Already in Texas we can openly carry rifles and shotguns and soon Texans will be able to display handguns as well. The proposal now is that anyone over the age of 18 will be able to carry without requiring a license. Groups in the Dallas area who are anti-police follow officers, film them on a stop, harass them or shout insults. These are members of gun rights groups. Remember how they came down on Port Arthur Police Chief Blanton a few days ago. They called him ignorant because he spoke out on the fears of police officers. Hopefully, the police and district attorney lobby will work to put provisions in the law that require a permit and specify places where a visible handgun can not be carried on the premises. The Legislature is also expected to vote the cowboy hats the official hat wear in Texas. There you go. We will be all set. I remember when Pct. 4 constable Gene Scott always wore two holsters, with a pistol on both hips, one looking north, and the other headed south. I used to think that was pretty cool. Today I view open carry as risky business especially for law enforcement. Contact your legislatures. You can try but I doubt if it will do much good. *****Thanks for your time. Read us cover to cover and please shop our family of advertisers when you can. Take care and God bless.