Legislation, approved by Congress and signed late last year by President Obama, because of rising threats around the world, authorizes the Army to spend $300 million over the next eight months in a blitz of bonuses and advertising. The Army will recruit 6,000 soldiers it needs to fill out the ranks. Recruitments are up this year to 68,500 from 62,500 in the previous year. This makes it the largest yearly increase in the history of the All-Volunteer force that dates back to 1973. By October 1, the Army must hit its target of 476,000 active soldiers, up from 460,000. When you start seeing the ads you will probably hear President Trump say he wants to increase our fighting force to make America safe again. When you hear him take credit for the military build up remember it was the work of President Obama and the last Congress that put the increase into law. I’m not at all surprised by the chaos going on in Washington, I predicted it.*****What has surprised me is how crazy this winter weather has been. Last weekend we hit a February record of 85 degrees and then we got 40 degree weather, then hot again. We’ve had one freeze, enough to kill most plants and make everything ugly. Today everywhere I travel the Azaleas are in bloom, the pecan trees however haven’t budded yet. *****I have to move on and just have a short time to do it. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

Political reality, mandated by the United States Constitution, might finally be reaching President Trump. He is realizing that there is a big difference between government and the business world. He’s discovering how the Constitution’s structure, Federal laws, Federal bureaucrats and the news media make leadership in the oval office more complicated than just giving orders in the corporate suite. Trump comes from a world where he got his way. He would sue people or they would sue him. He seems to be having a hard time with the learning curve. He has discovered he can’t sue the senate. Trump is the first president in history not to have served in the government or the military. “I alone can fix it,” he declared at his convention, but instead what he got is more contradictions and back sliding then any other modern president in the early days of their tenure. Being head of a family business is probably the worse preparation for the White House. He is dealing with experiences that are completely new to him and he just doesn’t know how to deal with them. He has surrounded himself with some very successful people in their own field but like him, they don’t have a clue about how the government works. So far he and his so-called advisors have made many major mistakes in judgment. Trump strikes back at anyone who opposes him. Mostly his ego can’t take that but so far his administration is heading down the wrong track. If he doesn’t correct the course he could be headed for bad trouble. General Michael Flynn, retiring as National Security Advisor, won’t make the problem of him talking sanctions with the Russian Ambassador go away. Trump will be in the hot seat. Questions will have to be answered. Questions like did Trump instruct Flynn to talk to Russian Ambassador? What does Trump know and when did he know it? Look for other heads to roll as Trump tries to dodge what’s coming down the pike. I look for him to do something big like bomb North Korea to gain his traction back. The next month he must do something major or he will drown.

10 Years Ago-2007
Matt Bryant, Bridge City native, NFL kicker, to be honored Feb. 16, by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Bryant was named MVP during the 46th annual sports banquet.*****Each year eagles return to their giant nest close to the roadway on Highway 105. This year the nest has two baby eagles. (Editor’s note: Ten years ago the eagles had been returning to the same nest but it’s been several years now since I’ve heard of an eagles’ nest in Orange County.)*****West Orange Stark grad, major league pitcher, John Patterson, 29, is the Washington Nationals number one pitcher. He is scheduled to be the starting pitcher in the Nationals very first opening day game. Before leaving for spring training in Viera, Florida, John worked out at Sam Moore’s Zone, at 16th and MacArthur. (Roy has a Nationals cap from that very first Nationals game, a gift from the Patterson family.)*****Frank and Marjorie Parker were married Feb. 16, 1946, 61 years ago. They were married in the home of Lois and Roy M. Hatton. An auto accident kept Marjorie’s family from attending. (Editor’s note: I believe both of the Hatton’s have passed away in the last 10 years.)*****Camille Caelyn Thomas celebrated a first birthday Feb. 17.*****Gil Elliot turned two years old on Feb. 14.*****Little Cypress-Mauriceville’s Drew Bean, took first in the 3200 meter run in the Nederland relays. Bean laped runners from 33 schools. He clocked 9:27:88 to win. Last fall Bean won the gold medal in the UIL 4-A cross country state championship.*****Rev. Leo Anderson and wife, Ivalyn, celebrate their 47th wedding anniversary on Feb. 18. (Editor’s note: Pastor Anderson passed away a few years ago.)*****Randy Johnson, “The Big Unit” has left the big city of New York and is back with the Diamondbacks, close to his family. He has 280 victories in the Majors, with 4,544 strikeouts.*****GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Morris “Buddy” Hancken, of Orange, died Feb. 15. In keeping with his philosophy of life, he donated his body to Parker Chiropractic School of Dallas. His professional football career spanned six decades, including one game with the Philadelphia Athletics under Connie Mack, managing various minor league teams, and as a professional baseball scout. He coached five years with the Houston Astros, worked the Season Ticket office and headed the Astros Speakers Bureau for 20 years. Several achievements in his life include service in the U.S. Marine Corps during WWII. He was inducted into the Texas Baseball Hall of Fame in 1994. He is survived by daughters Kaaren Kline and Candace Begnaud, sisters Eva and Gretchen Kline Phillips and grandchildren.*****Graveside services for Ernest Willis, Jr., 71, of Orange, will be held at Eden Baptist Church, Crossett, Arkansas. Mr. Willis owned and operated Pinehurst Sheet Metal and was a U.S. Army veteran. He was a private airplane pilot and was a founding member of the Shriner’s Flying Fezz. He is survived by his wife of 47 years, Jimmie Baker Willis and daughter Sherry Willis.*****Timothy Waldrep, 41, of Orange, died Feb. 12. Service was held Feb. 15 at the Waldrep Family Cemetery. He was a lifelong resident of Orange and was an avid hunter, fisherman and talented woodworker. He is survived by his sisters Barbara, Betty, Mary and brothers Sonny, Charles, Ronnie, aunt Rena Waldrep and cousin Danny Waldrep.*****Orval Stoffer, 86. of Orange, died Feb. 16. Services were held Feb. 19. Orval, a lifelong resident of Orange, was a retired Sr. Vice President Trust Officer from Orange Bank. He was active in the community and participated in the Lions Club Carnival each year. He was also involved with DERA Travelers protection Association, Heritage House and Orange Boys Scouts. He is survived by his daughters Lenora and Lynette, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.****Dorothy Brown, 75, of Orange, died Feb. 13. Funeral services were held Feb. 16. Dorothy was born in Rose City and was a 45 year resident of McLewis. She worked for 20 years with the Orange County Extension Agency and 4-H Club. She is survived by her daughters Kathy, Becky, sons Rick, Timothy and their families.*****Callie Stroud, 84, of Orange, died Feb. 12. Services were held Feb. 17. She is survived by her granddaughter Shauna Janelle Puente, grandson Steve Stroud and step-grandsons Darby Collier, Mark Norwood, eight great grandchildren, brothers Virgil Waldrep and Jimmy Waldrep.
40 Years Ago-1977
Jerry Neie performs nightly at the Yacht Club, inside the Orange House Hotel. Jerry, a troubadour songwriter, has gone across the country and back playing his music. He’s a Orange native.*****All Orange County head football coaches participate in a Walk-A-Thon. They are Andy Griffin, Bridge City; Ed Peveto, Orangefield; Lidney Thompson, LC-M; Steve McCarty, WO-S; and Cliff Patton, Vidor.*****Kenny Dolly, son of Vera and Gerald, joins the Army.*****Vickie Curtis pens a batch of Office Hound drawings that will appear in The Opportunity Valley News column, ‘Ear to the Ground.’*****Jackie and Bill Bishop are the new owners of Ranch House Restaurant on Hwy. 62.*****Joe Burke has in his possession a Baptist Church sign that he will give to any church that can use it.****On Feb. 10, Donna and Robert Brunser surprised their parents with a celebration marking their 25th wedding anniversary.****Racing forms are available at Border Street News Service, located next to John’s Café.*****Kim Daniels and David Gauthier were crowned queen and king at Bridge City high school coronation. June Nezat and Jerry Bogan were duchess and duke.*****Mike Hatton, a Bridge City native was elected president of the Sabine Neches Retail Grocers Association. He is general manager of Alford’s Super Market in Port Acres. Howard Morse will serve as vice-president. He is owner of Howard Superettes and Big Red Pantry in Bridge City. Fire destroyed the Pantry store and a new one is being built with opening planned in April.*****Running for City Council in Bridge City are Robert Reynolds, Place 3, against Vic Vicknair. Clifford Sneed, John Banken and Jack Moore are running for Place 5. Robert McFerrin and Don Calliouet, for Place 1. Shirley Marks and Bruce Wright don’t face challenge. Running for Mayor are P.M. ‘Red’ Wood, Gordon Harvey and Bob Bisson.*****Bill Townes, Barbara Landry and Gus Garza are running unopposed for Bridge City School Board.*****Bridge City Police Chief Wilson Roberts has a warrant for Wayne Morse and Roy Dunn, who are suspected of placing a sign that reads, “Sanford and Son” on the Chief’s truck. The truck does remind one of Fred and Lamont.
Jenn Burns, a nice lady originally from Yankee coutry and a loyal employee of Steirman/Whitfield & Co., gave birth to baby “Orion” right on time last Tuesday. He weighted in a one ounce less than 7 pounds. Congrats on the big, healthy boy.*****Ironically, on the very same day, Jane Whitfield, partner in S&W, became a grandmother for the very first time by way of daughter Sarah, who gave birth to a beautiful little girl.****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Novrozsky’s, on 16th Street this week and back at Robert’s next week. Everyone welcome.*****We visited with Attorney H.D. Pate last week. He has been battling leg problems since last May. First the left leg, then knee surgery on the right leg. Blood clots developed that almost cost him his leg. Extensive surgery has saved the leg but he is only able to get around with a walker that he says he hates. He can’t wait to get on a stick. Thanks to wife Pat and some nurses, he’s looking forward to riding the range by late March.****The 59th Grammy Awards honored the best in music from folk to pop. Adele won all five awards she was nominated for. She and Beyonce both stole the show. The old guy, David Bowie, won three awards. Newcomer Sturgill Simpson got a Grammy for Best Country Album, “A Sailor’s Guide to Earth.” Dolly’s Jolene” has been around for many years yet she and Pentatonic won “Best Country Duo,” for the song. Beyonce, pregnant with twins, appeareing as a Goddess of Femininity, was introduced by her mother Tina Knowles. It was a long show that showed little signs of the Grammy awards of years ago.*****A few folks we know celebrating their special day in the next few days: Feb. 15: Longtime Orangefield School District Superintendent Bob Montagne’s oldest child, Robert, celebrates a birthday on this day. I have known him for over 50 years and we are getting up high on the latter of life. Best wishes for a great day to a great guy. Drew Domas also celebrates a birthday today. Celebrities joining them are actress Jane Seymour, 66, rapper Birdman, 48 and singer Gloria Trevi, 49.*****Feb. 16: Happy birthday on this day to Patricia Dalio, Ann McDuff, Inez Jones, Vicky Stanley and Judy Brownlie. Joining them are singers The Weekend, 27, rapper Ice T, 59 and football player Jerome Bethis, 45.*****Feb. 17: Celebrating today are Mellisa Tuttle, Kim Harmon, Ashley Floyd and Rolf Schulz. Also celebrating are Paris Hilton, 36, rock singer Billie Joe Armstrong, 45 and basketball great Michael Jordan, 54.*****Feb. 18: Celebrating is our buddy, Norman Barry, who for years has been the youngest of the Kroger Koffee Klub (KKK), today turns 77. Also celebrating are Justin Broussard and Charlotte North. Movie actors John Travolta, 62, Matt Dillon, 53, and Molly Ringwald, 49 also celebrate on this day.*****Feb. 19: Happy birthday today to Christy Faulk, Darrin Havens, Jason Clark, Martha Pittman. Joining them are singers Seal, 54, Smokey Robinson, 77, actors Haylie Duff, 32, and Eric Lange, 44. This is also the day in 1959 that Clay Dunn, Roy’s father, died at age 65.*****Feb. 20: Celebrating today are Ty Broussard, Sydney Peet and Allison Floyd. Celebrities joining them are singers Rihanna, 29, actor Sidney Poitier, 90 and basketball player Charles Barkley, 54.*****Feb. 21: Our buddy Ray Cravins, a lifetime carpenter, is a year older today. Also celebrating birthdays are Misty Song, Chris Menard, Erin Boren and Jim Izer. Also celebrating are actors Corbin Bleu, 28, comedians Jordan Peele, 38 and Michael McIntyre, 41, also celebrating is rapper Wish Bone, 42.*****This week in 1861, 156 years ago, Abraham Lincoln was officially declared winner of the 1860 presidential election. He was born Feb. 12, 1809. One year ago this week, on Feb. 13, Supreme Court Judge Antonin Scalia was found dead at a private residence in the Big Bend area of West Texas. President Obama tried unsuccessfully to get the Republican Senate to at least hold a hearing on Scalia’s replacement. Their refusal to do so has given the Republican Party the opportunity to steal a judgeship on the Supreme Court. Democrats will now be accused of dragging their feet on approval of a new judge.*****Six Patriots from the Super Bowl New England Champions take a stand against Trump and say they will not attend the visit at the White House. Martellus Bennett, Devin McCourty, Chris Long, LeGarrett Blunt, Alan Branch and Dont’a Hightower are expected to be joined by other players who resent Trump’s polarizing. You might recall when Tom Brady was a “no show” the last time the Patriots went to the White House on a visit hosted by President Obama.*****I’ve been following Tamron Hall, a Texas girl’s career on NBC for the last 10 years. She now has departed the network. Her last day anchoring on “Today with Al Roker” and her MSNBC hour long show ended two weeks ago. The writing was on the wall when Megyn Kelly was hired from FOX News and promised a morning show. In a statement Hall wrote, “The last 10 years have been beyond anything I could have imagined and I’m grateful. I’m also very excited about the next chapter.” She also said she will miss her great colleagues but will be rooting for them. I’ll be watching to see where she lands.
Tree friends were sitting at Black’s Oyster Bar, across from da St. Mary Magdalene church, wat sits on a hill overlooking Abbeville. A funeral possession was jus unloading poor Joe Breaux’s body from da hurst to take him into da church. Da men’s looking out da big window at Black’s start talking about dying.
Clovis Boutte, him axe, “Wen you in you casket and you friends and family are mourning over you, wat would you like dem to say?”
Elwood Marceaux spoke up, “I would like dem to say Elwood him, was a good man, a good husband to Agnes and always kept his family supplied with crawfish.”
Rene’ Oubre say, “Me, I would like dem to say, Rene’ him, he served his church and God and made a difference in people’s lives.”
Den day turned to Clovis and axe him, “Wat about you?”
“Well, while everybody is looking at me in dat casket, wearing my new suit, someone starts hollowing, “Look, Look, Clovis him is moving.”
A Big Time in Old Town
The Orange Chamber is sponsoring the Mardi Gras celebration in downtown Orange. This Saturday, February 18, the Munchkin parade will began at 1 p.m. Donny Broussard and his band “The Louisiana Stars” will entertain from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. The Mardi Gras parade will start at 5:30 p.m. The Bernie Alan band cranks up at 7 p.m. till 9 p.m. with great music. No pets or coolers will be allowed. Come pass a good time. See you there.*****I’m running behind so I’ll have to end this column. I’m shy on news this week but boy have I been preoccupied. Please read us cover to cover and shop our family of advertisers. Thanks for your time. Take care and God bless.