ANOTHER ELECTION IN THE BOOKS

Congratulations to the winners,

It looks like possibly a clean sweep in Orange County.  Dean Crooks unseated incumbent Brint Carlton in the Orange County Judge’s race, while Commissioners Court may have new faces as well.  Theresa Beauchamp with a very close win over incumbent Barry Burton, Robert Viator wins over incumbent Jody Crump by a large margin. Incumbent Christy Khoury will reamin County Treasurer, as David W. Smith fell under 23 %.

The Republican Primary got off to a slow start but started to pick up as early voting started.  On the Wednesday before the March election it really caught fire when Brint Carlton saw his county judge seat slipping away. He again chose to go negative in his campaign. This wasn’t his first time to go the poison pen, he did it against Commissioner John Dubose four years ago and it worked. He didn’t point out any of Dean Crooks’ shortcomings, instead he went after everyone else that supported Crooks. He went back 35 years to criticize Pinehurst mayor and former judge Pete Runnels, who is a friend of Crooks. He also attacked the Orange County Sheriff’s employees, the Building Trade Unions and the 20-year administration of Judge Carl Thibodeaux. (Editor’s note: These were the most productive years in Orange County history.) Most often negative campaigning works but sometimes it backfires and this time it backfired against Carlton.  We had predicted when he got elected he would be a one termer.  I got to move on, come along, promise it won’t do you no harm.

BILLY GRAHAM BURIED

IN PRISIONER’S CASKET

Billy Graham referred to as ‘America’s Pastor’ had preached to an estimated 600 million people around the world. Graham was buried Friday, March 2, in a casket that was built by inmates at Louisiana’s Angola prison.  The casket was built inside a small prison wood workshop at America’s largest maximum security penitentiary. The casket was hand made by three inmates, Richard Liggett, Clifford Bowman and Paul Krdowitz. Billy’s son, Franklin had insisted their names be burned into the wood of the box. Most of the more than 5,600 inmates at Angola will die behind bars through a life sentence or execution. For years they buried prisoners in crate-like boxes a little sturdier than cardboard. The prison was considered one of the toughest, bloodiest jails in the country. A new warden, Burl Cain, is credited with expanding education and work training programs. He called on inmates to work and to practice spirituality or religion. The new warden believed caskets at least should be more dignified. He started a casket building program and he turned to an inmate known as ‘Grasshopper’ to design a reliable casket. Liggett was serving life for murder and robbery. Building a casket took about three days. The Graham ministry had reached Angola years earlier but in 2005, when Franklin Graham came to the prison; ‘Grasshopper’ Liggett was building a casket. The Graham family had donated more than $200,000 to help build chapels and support prison ministry at Angola. Franklin asked the warden to have Angola carpenters make a casket for his mother Ruth Bell Graham and his father. He also requested the builders to burn their names in the wood. The cost $215 each. Franklin had declined the warden’s offer to use a higher grade of wood. Mrs. Graham died in June, 2007. ‘Grasshopper’ didn’t get to see the family receive her casket or see her funeral; he had died from lung and liver cancer three months earlier. They shipped his body to his family in Kansas. His brother said Billy Graham had changed him and he was saved by him. He was buried in the last casket he had built. At least four other inmates, whose names are not burned in the wood, had a hand in building both Graham’s caskets all those years ago. One is David Bacon, convicted of murder in 1983. On Wednesday, Bacon watched coverage of Billy Graham lying in honor in the United States Capital. He remembered the smell of the cabinet-grade plywood and stain. He said he was honored and ‘Grasshopper’ would be so proud. By the way, Liggett picked up the nickname ‘Grasshopper’ because he was so skinny he could hide in the grass.

CONDOLENCES

Ruthie Hannegan

We were sorry to hear about the death of Ruthie Hannegan, 67, who passed away Feb. 27. Funeral services were held Saturday, March 3, at Bridge point Fellowship Church. Ruthie was diagnosed with cancer in 2015. After losing her son, John Hannegan, she joined a group of mothers who had lost a child. For many years Ruthie was the office manager in the District Attorney’s office. After 35 years most everyone knew her and she was highly regarded by her employer and other county employees. Our deepest sympathies to her husband, longtime deputy sheriff Kent Hannegan and the entire family. May this good lady rest in peace.

Willie Harrison

We were sorry to learn of the death of Willie Harrison, 92, who passed away March 4. Service will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday, March 7, at Dorman Funeral Home. Willie served in the United States Army 603rd Tank Destroyer Battalion during WWII. He was a highly decorated soldier. I went back with Willie many years, back in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. A unique bunch of men made their living buying and selling used cars. They were a colorful group of guys. Once there was over a dozen whose life was the car business. They have all gone to that big car lot in the sky. Willie outlasted them all and was the last to go. He was a tall, lanky guy with a big heart. May he rest in peace.

Jim Wallace

We were saddened also to learn that Jim Wallace, 87, a veteran of the Korean War, passed away March 4. Service was held Tuesday, March 6, at Claybar Funeral Home, in Bridge City. I remember Jim and all he did to help get Little League Baseball going in Bridge City. Today it is one of the best programs in the state. We lost a good man. Condolences to his family.

10 YEARS AGO-2008

On March 4, Bill Berry, 85, passed away. Services were held March 8. Bill, one of the many colorful used car dealers who operated in Orange in the 1950’s and 60’s as were Cecil Scales, Bill Kizer, Bill Bell, Leo Brown, Leon Slayter, J.T. and Willie Harrison, Jackie Harmon, Lofton Thomas and others. Bill’s brother Vareece served as Orange police chief in the early 1950’s. Over the last few years Bill sold metal detectors and raised Mayhaw and grape trees off of Hwy. 105. He was a good friend of many years. Our condolences to his family.***** We were sorry to hear about the death of Hollis Parker, 78, March 7. Services were held Sunday. We had known him many years, he was a good man. Our condolences to wife Carolyn, daughter Renee, son Rickie and their families.*****Our sympathies also to the family of Clara Edwards, 80, who passed away on March 7. For many years she was one of the management team at Bridge City Bank. She was also active in many civic endeavors over the years. To Tom and his family we send our deepest sympathy.*****.***** Mark Carter, Democratic chairman, came down sick after the long, hard hours put in during the presidential, state and county primary races. As of Monday, he was in ICU at Baptist Orange. A diagnosis is unknown although extreme sore throat started the problem. Mark said it was a long day for his capable workers in all 34 boxes followed by the caucus tabulations. Imogene McKinney was one of those workers at box 25. She arrived at 7:30 a.m. and went home at 11 p.m. Now they must do it all over again April 8, in the countywide sheriff’s runoff between Keith Merritt, 7,860 votes and Mike White, 6,462 votes. Also in runoffs constable races in Pct. 1, Chris Humble, 1513 votes and Sarah Jefferson Simon, 1,255 votes. In Pct. 2, A.B. ‘Yank’ Peveto, 1, 489 votes and Robert ‘Rob’ Strause, 1,056. Congrats to winners Commissioner John Dubose and Pct. 1 new comer Commissioner David Dubose. Also to Mark Phillpot, elected constable Pct. 3 and Weldon Peveto, Pct. 4. There were 16,694 Democratic votes cast. The runoff election county wide I figure will draw between 6,000 to 7,000.  Total Clinton-10,317, Obama-4,123. Hillary carried the Orange County caucus by 71 percent to 29 percent. (Editor’s note: There were no contested Republican races. Hard to believe that was only 10 years ago. Some day Orange County will be Blue again.) ***** I believe this is the first time since 1818 that St. Patrick’s Day and Good Friday fall in the same week. Easter only fell earlier than March 23 and that was in 1818 also. Easter was on March 22 that year. It will be over 200 years before it occurs again.***** We were sorry to see Gina Mannino go from Bridge City High. She was a very good high school principal and will be missed. We are proud of her promotion to Curriculum Director. Another Bridge City native and BC grad, Richard Briggs, has been selected to replace her. I believe he and Gina graduated while Joe Chenella was principal. He’s Bud and Barbara Briggs’ boy.***** Judge Stringer would be the first to tell you that an elected position belongs to the people and they choose who’s serving them. Stringer lost his commissioner’s post in the primary to David Dubose. Stringer is thankful for the many years of support.

40 YEARS Ago-1978

In elections around Bridge City the only candidates to file for Water District were Howard Matthews, W.W. Hutto and G.A. ‘Ham’ Laughlin. (Editor’s note: That was before the city took over the district.)*****Lydia Miller has filed for one of two spots coming up on the school board. Incumbents on the board are C.W. Lormand and R.A. ‘Bob’ Pruitt. *****In city elections Barbara Truncale has filed for Place 4, held by Billy Cagle.*****Bridge City chapter of DeMolay choose Kathy Grayson as sweetheart.***** According to Frances Reid, historical chairperson, a search is underway to locate the graves of all Confederate soldiers in order to place government markers on all unmarked graves.***** Hobson ‘Hobby’ Dunn, Roy’s uncle, died March 6 at Baylor Hospital in Dallas. He was buried at the little cemetery in Sipes Springs, in the Dunn family plot next to his mother and father and siblings, including Roy’s dad Clay.*****OVN names Wayne Fredrick ‘Citizen of the Year.’ Plaque presentation ceremony will be held March 17, 10 a.m. in commissioners courtroom. Wayne was born May 10, 1942, the third of six children. He is the son of the late L.A, Frederick and mother Mrs. Roy Buxton.*****On March 10, Uncle Jim ‘The Fisherman’ celebrated his 93rd birthday. His birthday cake was decorated with an oil well. Jim was at the Spindletop oil boom.*****Preston Fuller and L.J. Schrieber are both salesmen at Harmon Chevrolet Used Cars at 1st. and Green in Orange. Both are sporting shoulder-length hair. County Judge Pete Runnels also wears his hair long and full, but well trimmed.*****Donald Wayne Cole reaches the ripe old age of 25 on March 13. *****Two good-looking gals around town who can really shake their stuff are Judy Wyatt and Judy Shockley. Those two ladies will be handling the ‘Mock Beauty Pageant,’ to be held April 1.*****DalSasso Realty is now open at 2105 Texas Ave. in Bridge City. Realtors are Glenda Garison and Shirley Russell.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

We learned at the Lunch Bunch last week that our friend Pete Fredrick had a couple of stints put in and now he’s not dizzy anymore.*****I was sorry to learn that my buddy and a longtime Record employee Liz Weaver has been under the weather lately. Our prayers are with her. Her birthday is this week, March 9. If you get a chance join me in wishing her a happy birthday.*****Last week we had the pleasure of being visited by William ‘Bill’ Conway, 90, born in 1928 in Oklahoma. He has many stores about farm life in those early years. At age 16, he left the farm to join the Marines in WWII. Bill can tell you many stories about the war also. He married a Cajun girl from Iola, LA and in 1957 they made Orange their home. He went to work for Spencer Chemical until retirement. He says Mr. Spencer was a good man and it was a good job. His wife passed away a few years ago. Bill has health problems but is faring well for a 90 year old. He takes pride in being a Yellow Dog Democrat. He knows he’s in the minority now but believes the day is coming when folks will see the light and return to their roots.*****Next Sunday, March 11, is time to ‘spring forward,’ You will have to move your clock up an hour because it’s Daylight Savings Time. I prefer to lose that hour at noon on Saturday, it gives you time to adjust before having to get up an hour earlier.*****Last Friday I got a Crab Burger and Onion Rings from Burger Town. The burger is a Friday Lent special. The food was great. I’ve never got a bad meal at Burger Town on Hwy. 1442. It’s not one of the fast food joints. They hand cook everything, even grill the buns. It’s a unique place to visit also, décor right out of the 50’s, from Marlon Brando to Fonzie and Elvis. A great place to have an evening meal. Try it you’ll agree.*****Finally got in contact with Chief Wilson Roberts, the first Bridge City Police Chief, has turned 80 since we had last talked to him. He says he will make the Lunch Bunch at Robert’s this week. The Bunch will dine at JB’s next week. Everyone is always welcome. This week, the day after election, should be interesting. you should join us.*****Congrats to Matt Bryant who will get to kick for the Falcons until he’s 45 years old. Matt signed a three-year contract worth $12 million.

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK

March 7: Dana Bourque, Mike White, Libby Mitchell, Misty Thurman and Rick Taylor. Celebrities joining them are comedian Wanda Sykes, 53, actors Bryan Cranston, 61 and T.J. Thyne, 42.*****March 8: BCISD coach Christi Wiegreffe and Angela Burris are celebrating on this day. Joining them are actors Freddie Prinze, Jr., 41, Camryn Manheim, 56 and news anchor Lester Holt, 58.*****March 9: Pat Pate, Liz Weaver. Brittney Zenos, Claudia Gilson, Jordon Doiron. Also having birthdays this day are TV show host Steve Wilkos, 53, actors Matthew Gray Gubler, 37 and Brittany Snow, 31.*****March 10: Josh Gros, Mary White. Also celebrating are Country singer Carrie Underwood, 34 and ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Chuck Norris turns 77.*****March 11: Rick McCall, Cindy Reynolds, Kate Benoit, AJ Strahan, Colton ‘CJ’ Dugan. Celebrities enjoying birthdays today are actors Terrance Howard, 48, Alex Kingston, 54 and John Barrowman, 50. This is also the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. Don’t forget to set your clocks.*****March 12: Bryleigh Moore, Carol Ann Kimbrow and celebrating also are politician Mitt Romney, 70, actress Liza Minnelli, 71 and folks singer James Taylor, 69.***** March 13: Happy birthday to Kyle Dubose, Jean Braus, John Collin Kimbrow and Lana Sepulvado. Joining them are Pop singer Charo, 76, actors Emile Hirsch, 32, William Macy, 67 and Rapper Common, 45.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Joe Primeaux owned a small rice farm outside of Erath, near Henry. Premeaux heard from da Louisiana State Wage and Hour Department who claimed he was not paying proper wages to his help him and were sending an agent out to interview him.

Da city slicker arrived from Baton Rouge, “I need a list of your employees and how much you pay dem,” he demanded.

“Well,” Joe replied, “Dere’s my farm hand Comeaux who’s been wit me four or tree years. I pay him $200 a week plus free room and board. Da cook Mable has been here for about a year and I pay her $150 a week and free room and board. Den dere’s da half-wit who works bout 18 hours a day and does bout 90 percent of all da work. He makes about $10 or $12 per week, pays his own room and board and on Saturday night I buy him a bottle of bourbon. He also sleeps wit my wife sometime if he’s not too worn out.”

Da government man say, “Well dat’s the guy I want to talk to me, da half-wit.”

Primeaux replied, “Well mister, dat would be me.”

C’EST TOUT

IT’S TIME TO SHAPE UP YARD

The last freeze to hit us did some real damage to our yards. The very cold temperatures killed a lot of plants and damaged most of the shrubs that will have to be cut back. Some of the plants that look dead may still have some life left in them. If you have the need to put your place back to looking good, if it’s just trimming, replacing plants or landscaping, now is the time to call Pete at Coastal Landscaping. You will be surprised at how reasonable you can get your place looking good in time for Easter.*****I’ve gotta get out of here. Take care and God bless.