Despite five to seven inches of rain falling on Orange over the weekend, over 30,000 braved the weather. Had it not been for the bad weather officials predict those attending the Bassmasters festivities would have gone well over 40,000. Some great events had to be canceled. Art in the Park and its 130 booths remained closed and the Tracy Byrd concert was also canceled. The media and community had really backed this year’s Bassmasters Elite Series. I don’t believe this publication had ever given so much to publicizing events. Our family of advertisers contributed space in their ads to promoting the events. All of area media gave the event space and airtime. Capt. Dickie Colburn, in his column last week, gave credit to those who had worked so hard to get the event here for the second time. Bassmasters probably won’t return anytime soon but you can bet that the same folks will be working on it.  I’m amazed at how Bassmasters pros can come up with Bass during impossible situations like this weekend on the Sabine. The river is a hard place to fish during normal times but the added burden of rising water, rain and muddy water made it impossible to fish except by pro fishermen. Congratulations to Alabama native Chris Lane who led the tournament going into the last day and his Sunday catch gave him a total of 50 pounds, the championship and the $100,000 prize money. Jasper’s Todd Faircloth, the crowd favorite and winner two years ago, could do no better than ninth. We had printed an extra 2000 newspapers that we put in hotels and other locations. They soon disappeared. Our office gave out many souvenir copies. The pros loved the hospitality of the Orange area and the large fishing fan base. We thank them for coming and thanks to all the workers who made it happen. It was a great community/Chamber effort.


A memorial service will be held Thursday, March 26, at Claybar Funeral Home in Orange, at 11 a.m., for Johny James, 71. He died Friday, March 20. Johny had been battling poor health for a long time before passing away peacefully at his home surrounded by loved ones. Johny was a man’s kind of guy. The former United States Army veteran and union electrician loved nature and just being a country boy. Johny found good in everyone. He will be missed by his wife Coleen and her large family. Coleen is a longtime member of our advertising family as owner of Sparkling Clean Cleaning Service and Sweet Creations Gift Shop, located in Pinehurst. May Johny now rest in peace. Please see obituary. 


After defying university regents, administrative policy, faculty, students and their parents, urging not to allow guns on college campuses, Sen. Brian Birdwell, sponsor of the gun bill, made the following statement. I quote, “Carrying a gun on a college campus is a fundamental right granted by the Creator.” He claimed to have God on his side. Birdwell is a Texas state senator from Granbury. I’m in favor of the second amendment rights of individuals to bear arms but nowhere in the scriptures can I find passages that give us the privileged “God given” rights to bear arms on campuses. Quite a stretch Senator. Surely you will call for Texas to secede from the United States if same sex marriage becomes legal in the U.S. I can’t find in the Bible where God is for or against it. The 84th Texas legislative session has a lot more pressing issues that would benefit all Texans, rather than “Red Meat” rhetoric to one segment of the population.


10 Years Ago-2005

Sue Church Lavergne, 40, receives a kidney from her sister Arlene, 53. Years earlier she had received a kidney from her mother Peggy that lasted 21 years. The day came when doctors thought both kidneys had to be removed. She would have to have a kidney or die. The Church family started looking for organ donors and when one couldn’t be found, sister Arlene, despite having health issues and a spot on her lung, agreed to be the donor. Arlene had been overweight and worked hard to lose 50 pounds and get her blood pressure down before the doctors would do the surgery. Strangely, Sue’s mother Peggy’s kidney was still working at 10 percent. The doctors saw no reason to remove it. (Editor’s note: It’s been ten years. I wonder how it has all come out. They recently lost their dad Earl. The Church bunch is very close knit. Maybe Cindy or someone will let me know.)*****Dr. Darrell Myers will be taking over as BCISD superintendent on April 1. He comes from Big Sandy ISD.*****Former Bridge City track star, Michael Gauthier, a freshman at Lamar, won the 54th annual Texas Southern relays. He won the 100-meter dash with a 10.73 time in the prelims. He was clocked at 10.49, qualifying him for the NCAA Regional and Junior Nationals. He also won first leg of the 16-meter relay team in a time of 3:34l.89 which gave Lamar first place. (Editor’s note: Boy that boy could run. I witnessed him winning state the year before for Bridge City High.)*****Roy and Phyl attended the funeral of longtime friend and business partner in Caldwell for Conley Windell, 90, who died on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. Conley, a German, would have found that funny. *****Karl Rove and Tom DeLay cooked up a bill that had President George W. Bush flying from Crawford to Washington to sign the Terri Schiavo Bill. A judge had ordered she be taken off life support. The DeLay bill was designed to help DeLay with Christians *****It’s Easter Sunday. It came early this year, March 27. It’s 42 degrees, an Easter cool front. *****Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Woodard celebrate 50th anniversary March 31. *****Sandra Godwin retires from DuPont SEW Employees Federal Credit Union. She has been an employee of the credit union for 35 years. (Editor‘s note: I wonder what the last 10 years have been like for Ms. Sandra. Since her retirement the name and location of the credit union has changed. *****GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Robert C. “Bob” Carmack, 68, of Orange died March 25. He is survived by his wife Jane and son Robert.*****Betty Edgerton Tarver, 65, died March 25. She was preceded in death by husband Bob Tarver. ***Thomas Ray Rainwater, 57, died March 20. He is survived by wife Lee Ann, daughter Brandy, sons Tommy and Tony. ***Adain Vaughn, 24, of Orangfield, died March 28. Service is pending. *****William Wayne Watson, 67, of Bridge City, died March 28. Service is pending.

40 Years Ago-1975

State Rep. Wayne Peveto introduced two bills of interest to Orange County. One bill allows Orange County to take advantage of a park’s bill that only applies to counties with 350,000 or more population. Peveto‘s bill, would lower the law to 70,000, allowing Orange County to take advantage of the existing county parks law. The second bill extends the southern boundaries of Orange County to the geographic middle of Sabine River and Sabine Lake. Peveto also co-sponsored House Bill 433. Orange and Jefferson County residents will testify before the committee in support of the strong utility regulations bill. *****Linnes Hubbard, special investigator for the district attorney, has been working sleepless nights investigating the brutal Ardoin-Burtt murders. The quite, soft-spoken east Texan is one of the top investigators in the state. *****Evelyn Joyce Davis weds Dwayne Duncan on March 22, 1975. *****The Opportunity Valley News celebrates its 5th birthday. The popular weekly paper, owned by the Dunn family, features writers Gordon Baxter, Hortense Chesser, Joyce Poche’, Ernest Willard Frank, Grace Weldon, Roy Dunn, Randy Beeson, Don Jacobs, Jim Crossland, Charlie Russell, Richard Corer, Mark Dunn, Joe Kazmar, Bill Clark, Dennis Hall, Jerry Wilson, the Office Hound and editor Nina Harden.*****Tommy Segura will wed Rebecca Lynn Lilly in Mt. Hope, Virginia on April 5.*****April Fontenot will turn 11-years-old this April 2. The young beauty is the daughter of Janet and James Fontenot. *****Will and Katherine Frey will open Frey’s Nursery and Garden Center on 16th Street in Orange. They will have the help of four lovely daughters Kim, Sabina, Karen and Stephanie. Son Mark is helping to prepare the place. *****Debra and Marc Hogden celebrate their first wedding anniversary.

65 Years Ago-1950

Five Orange Countains were appointed to the National Rivers and Harbors congress by Gov. Allen Shivers. They are Sid J. Calliavet, Tom Lowe, John W. Simmons and Jimmy Conn. *****The Orange mayor’s race finds Orange County Clerk Joe Runnels opposing Mayor Raymond Sanders. (Editor’s note: That was before the city manager and mayor’s salaries were more than county clerk.)*****New officers for University of Texas Ex-students Association were elected. They are Homer Stephenson, president; Francis Brown, secretary/treasurer and Bill Sexton vice president.


Lynda Gunstream is one of our most dedicated public officials. She runs the Orange Tax Assessor’s office like a fine tuned business. I’ve never known of her office ever engaging in the petty politics that often surrounds elective offices. Over the many years, as our tax assessor collector, her office has never been the target of scandal. Many elected officials have held that office but none better than Lynda. We were disappointed to learn that she will step down next year and not run for re-election. That’s the loss of a good leader, a nice lady and a good person. She and Karen Jo Vance, who recently retired, always put the citizens first and ran a tight ship. Both are the kind of officials that don’t come around every day. *****D.A. John Kimbrough had knee replacement a couple of weeks ago. It hasn’t been an easy haul but we hear he’s progressing. I understand John has had longtime knee problems and that’s one reason he gave up refereeing football. *****Judge David Peck returned to Beaumont hospital to have a procedure to remove fluid that usually occurs after surgery. He should be in Beaumont the rest of the week. Babette and Constable Mark Philpott visited David. Mark took him for a ride around the grounds. He said the Judge was up to his old misbehaving. When he got away from Patsy on their wheelchair run, the Judge bought a large muffin and ate the whole thing. Birds were following them picking up the crumbs. *****By the way, Evelyn has retired from the J.P. office and Peck hired Kay Abbott, attorney Mike’s wife, to replace her. *****Joyce Dowdle, who recently had knee surgery, is doing pretty well with her therapy but her back and hip problem, created by favoring the bad knee, is yet to be worked on. Joyce says for once in a long time she has no knee pain. She says in a few weeks she’ll be ready to do the “twist” the dance of choice in her run-a-round days*****Tammi Fisette, Judge Don Peters daughter, and her husband James, stopped by Monday. She says Judge Peters is home and improving. That’s good news. He’s been fighting a long battle and with the help of Hospice he looks forward to better days. *****We were sorry to learn that our longtime Italian friend Joe Romano is having health issues. It’s a long name that I can’t pronounce or spell but it’s a blood disorder. We wish Joe God speed.*****Last Thursday night Jon Stewart did a skit about FOX News and the 1,000 times they’ve spun the word Benghazi tied to Hillary Clinton. Stewart showed all the committees that had found that every thing was done above board. There was no cover up. A Republican intelligence committee even exonerated Hillary saying she did nothing wrong. Of course they won’t leave it alone. Now FOX, especially O’Reilly, is obsessed with Hillary’s email which is a lot to do over nothing, no officials put classified information on emails. What they would like to do is get to her private email and find something like maybe she paid $75.000 for a dress etc. One thing FOX News is not touching is Obama’s executive order on immigration. That would be a big basher for them but FOX owner Rupert Murdock is for the immigration plan. FOX has a monopoly on very “Far Right” conservatives during prime time. They tell them what they want to hear, it’s called “Red Meat.”*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at PK’s Grill this week and will be at Robert’s the next two weeks, with a special gathering on April 8. Make plans to drop in anytime, everyone always welcome. Good folks and good fellowship.*****Tracy Byrd was presented with a Texas Country Music Hall of Fame jacket Saturday by Tommie Ritter Smith, cousin of “Tex” Ritter. Byrd will be inducted into the Hall of Fame, in Carthage, on Aug. 8. *****A few folks we know celebrating their special day in the coming week. On March 25, Warren Claybar, a nice guy who took over the operation of Claybar Funeral Home from his dad Brown, celebrates on this day. Also Matt Thompson and Mike Vincent. They join singer Elton John, 67, soul-singer Aretha Franklin, 72, actress Sarah Jessica Parker, 49, astronaut James Lovell, 86, auto racer Danica Partick, 32.*****On March 26, our longtime friend, a darn good attorney Joe Alford celebrates. Also Gerald’s brother “The Postman” Billy Leleux and one of the Steven’s girls, Paulette’s sister, Sherry, celebrates. They join Diana Ross, 70, Kenny Chesney, 46, Nancy Pelosi, 74, actor Martin Short, 64 and former NFL player Marcus Allen, 54.*****March 27 finds 1978 Bridge City grad Dale Forse celebrating, also Ruth Platt, Jordan Harper and Jane Scherer. They are joined by singer Mariah Carey, 44, and former football player Randall Cunningham. *****On March 28, our buddy, Roy and Ms. Phyl’s oldest grandson, Garrett Clay Gros, celebrates. The years have flown by since he was on the Little League field, now he has a 6-year-old of his own. Also celebrating is Jason James, Mike Roberts, Rayford Spurgeon and Ms. Dorothy Keith. They join Lady Gaga, 28, Reba McEntire, 59, singer Rodney Atkins, 45 and Cowboy coach Jason Garrett, 48.*****On March 29, Dean’s big brother Al Granger, moves up a notch. He’s been buying and selling cars since he was a puppy. Today he celebrates a birthday. Marking another is the late Leo Anderson’s widow, Ivalyn, I understand she’s in a nursing home also Julie Walker and Julie Dorwood celebrate. In 2012, on this date, Anabel Anderson died at age 90. Celebrity birthdays are actress Lucy Lawless, 46 and former football player Earl Campbell, 59. ****On March 30, former Bridge City High principle, the voice of the Cardinals, Terry Stuebing is a year older. Also celebrating on this day are Lisa Smith, Karen Bergeron and Kate Ferguson. Celebrity birthdays are singers Celine Dion, 46, Eric Clapton, 69, Justin Moore, 30 and actor Warren Beaty,77.*****On March 31, Terry Seal, Dana Myers, Danny Carter, Mary LeJeune and Rebecca Hunter celebrate. They are joined by actress Shirley Jones, 80, Christopher Walken, 71 and Ewan McGregor, 43. Also former VP Al Gore turns 66.*****Note of interest: It was on this day 20 years ago that Latino singer Selena was shot and killed by Yolanda Saldivan, her fan club president. She was only 23.*****Orange native Sylvia Dickey Smith just signed a four-book deal with Oghma Creative Media, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. She is starting a three-book paranormal series on haunted Hot Springs, with the first one titled, The Painted Ladies.*****Former West Orange native Dolores Cantu’s first management client was recently murdered in North Carolina, along with her new husband and unborn baby. Cantu said, “Cristie Schoen Codd was the reason Candu Management began 14 years ago. We all meet people that change our lives forever and Christi did that for me. “*****Another plane crash. A German wings plane carrying 150 crashed in the French Alps Tuesday morning.


Da school board members at Rayne High School say dat da coaches could attend da coaching school and retreat. Because of lack of money though, da coaches would have to bunk two of dem to a room. Dere was one problem wit dat, no one wanted to room wit coach Fontenot because he snores so loud, him. Da utta coaches dem, decided if dat was da only way da school would pay for da trip, dat dey would take turns, so each would only have to share a room wit coach Fontenot one night.

Coach Guidry shared da first night. Da next morning, he look like hell him, his eyes all blood shot, wit bags under dem as big as prunes.

Da utta two coaches ax, “Man you look like hell you, was it dat bad?”

Coach Guidry say, “Man, dat Fontenot snore so loud I don’t sleep a wink. I watch him all night.”

Da nex night it was coach LeLeux’s turn. In da morning da same ting. Da coahes say, “LeLeux, you look bad you.”

He answer, “Dat Fontenot, he shook da roof him. I watch him all night me.”

Da turd night, it was coach Comeaux’s turn. He came to breakfast da next morning bright eyed and ready to roll.

Da utta coaches can’t believe it. “Man, tell us wat happened hanh?”

Comeaux say, “Well, it’s like dis, I took my shower and we got ready for bed. I pranced in da room naked, covered Fontenot up, tucked him in and kissed him goodnight. He watched ME all night, him.”


A little more than two years after becoming a U.S. senator, Ted Cruz became the first of a possible two dozen GOP presidential candidate to announce that he is running. Cruz made a big play at Liberty University, founded by Jerry Farwell, for the Far Right Wing Evangelical vote. “God isn’t done with America,” he said. Monday night he did his first live interview on the Sean Hannity show for the entire hour. Hannity appeals to the Far Right Wing Tea Party faithful. If Cruz can run Huckabee and Santorum off and pick up their Evangelical support, he would then have a block vote. If only three or four candidates remain at the end and Cruz gets 26 percent of the primary vote, which would probably be enough to get the nomination. That’s his plan anyway. On April 7, Libertarian U.S. Senator Rand Paul will announce and try to cut Cruz off from some of the Tea Party vote. Senator John McCain calls them both “wacko birds” that can’t win the general election, only 553 days away. This is just the beginning of a long clown show. Donald Trump will be the circus ring master.*****We were disappointed that County Commissioner David Dubose announced that he will not be a candidate for re-election in Pct. 1 next year. It wasn’t a shock. Our last conversation with the commissioner he expressed some disappointment with the Court’s actions. Commissioner Dubose is a doer with a sincere desire to do good. He puts the citizens and the employees first. He’s been, and is, an active commissioner despite being on the Court only six and a half years. He’s the senior member of the Court and he and Sheriff Keith Merritt are the only two officials left with any hurricane experience. I understand they hired a Mr. Peabody, from California, to take Jeff Kelly’s place as director of emergency management. We are getting many employee complaints and more good people will be leaving county employment. The citizens just don’t have any idea. My guess is the county is being run out of Vidor. *****I’ve run out of time. Thanks for yours. Check us out on our website 24-7, Take care and God bless.