LOCAL VOTING MOST IMPORTANT

Early voting ended Tuesday, Election Day is Saturday, May 5. City and school board races, along with a very important port election, are being held. Voters can vote countywide for port commissioner candidates. It’s the only countywide race. A voter can cast their ballot at their regular voting box. Voters in the port races have had a tendency to vote in other races and by-pass the very important port election. While you are at the polls voting in the city and school elections, ask to vote in the election for the port. It is really important to Orange County citizens which candidate serves on that board. We urge you to vote Saturday in the elections in your district and in port elections regardless of where you live in the county. Today, Wednesday, May 2, Orange County has a new judge. Best wishes to Judge Dean Crooks.***** I’ve got to move on. Hop on and come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

DRILLING ROLLS BACK REGULATIONS IN GULF

Trump seeks to axe rules established after the 2010 British Petroleum disaster that were put in by Obama. The drilling regulations put in place after the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig expanded drilling under reduced safeguards is drawing opposition from environmentalists. The BP explosion caused more than four million barrels of crude to spill in the Gulf. The spill is still being felt today. Tar balls still show up on beaches, coral reefs that were killed still haven’t come back. Scientists have documented an increased death rate in the population of dolphins on the Louisiana coast. As long as we don’t have regulations that require safety for workers and the environment ahead of profit, the possibility of another BP disaster increases. Each year companies go into deeper and deeper water with greater degrees of underground pressure, increasing the risk of an accident.

CONDOLENCES

We were sorry to learn of the death of Marianne Murphy Smith, age 67, who passed away April 24, in Houston. She was  born in Bridge City in 1950 and was the daughter of “Rip” and Rosemary Murphy. Her siblings are Randall, Marilyn and Brian. We had known her and her family since she was a child. *****We were also saddened to learn about the death of Julie Ann Bonner, 62, of Orange, who passed away April 24. Our condolences to her entire family. *****Services were held Tuesday, May 1, for Bobby Brewer, 81, who passed away Saturday, April 28. Condolences to wife Peggy and her family. Please see obituaries.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2008

Orange has lost an icon May 4, 2008, with the death of Ms. Eunice Benckenstein, age 99. Her life’s work, service to others is unparallel. Over the years, I heard from those who knew her well that she was the most intelligent person they had ever known. I first met her 50 years ago and at age 50 she was one of the county’s most beautiful women. I saw her a few years ago and at age 90, she was still attractive. She married oilman C.H. Benckenstein and her classmate at Denton College, Nelda Stark, married Lutcher.*****Alice and Don Cole celebrate their 60th anniversary this week. Sixty-years, think about that. *****Congrats to Robert Ramirez and his business for being named ‘Small Business of the Year.’ Several people nominated Robert’s and this led to the Greater Orange Area Chamber recognizing him, his lovely wife and employees for this prestigious award that will be presented in Beaumont. *****Jockey Kent Desormeaux won his third Derby on top of ‘Big Brown’ who was named for UPS. Kent is a native of Maurice, Louisiana, between Abbeville and Lafayette, and cousin to the Bonin twins. He won in 1998 on ‘Real Quite’ and in 2000 on ‘Fusaichi Pegasus.’ In years past Kent also rode at Delta Downs in Vinton. *****What scares Corky most about retiring is not only that Betty would stack up the Honey-Do’s but also  since she’s so much younger, she likes to travel and Corky likes his own bed.(Editor’s note: Corky sleeps in heaven now days.) *****Sidney Poitier, quit school at age 12 to go to work to help the family, lived in poverty in a shack with no utilities. He just barely learned to read and write. He lived a fascinating life and reached the top by becoming one of the greatest actors of all time. He’s written a book, ‘Life Beyond Measure–Letters to my Great-Granddaughter.’ A great read for anyone who loves success stories. *****It’s hard to believe that 20 years have gone by since Sheriff James Wade resigned as sheriff after being indicted on conspiracy to manufacture drugs. (Editor’s note: He later was convicted and served nearly 18 years. Newton Johnson was appointed by commissioners to fill his term. (Editor’s note: Thirty years have gone by now.)***** Joe Nick Patoski, from Wimberley, Texas, hometown of the former Sue Pate, has written a book (biography), named ‘Willie Nelson: An Epic Life.’ The boy from Abbott and his sister were raised by grandparents. ***** Marlene Merritt, wife of incoming sheriff Keith Merritt, is out in his truck still trying to gather up political yard signs. She was trying to dodge the showers, makes for a bad hair day.

GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN

10 Years Ago-2008

Eunice “Polly” Gibson Ernst, 77, of Orange, passed away Monday, April 28.  Funeral service was held Friday, May 2. Ernst served in the US Navy during 1951-1952 as a Dental Technician. She was active in the West Orange PTA, served as its president for several years and drove a school bus for W.O.S.D. She was a member of the VFW Women’s Auxiliary. She is survived by her husband of 56 years, William A. Ernst, daughters, Stephanie Gifford and Jacqueline Shaffer and grandchildren.*****J.T. Harrison, 85, long time resident of West Orange, passed away Tuesday, April 29. Funeral Service was held Friday, May 2. He was survived by his wife of 64 years, Mary Joe Buchman Harrison; nine children sons Norman, Richard, Jerry, Albert, daughters Juanita, Mary, Ruby, Judy Harrison, Evelyn, 17 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren***** Martha Lavelle Wagner, 66 of Orange, Passed away Saturday, May 3. Funeral Services were held Monday, May 5. She is survived by her husband, Emmett Wagner of Orange; daughters, Tracy, Susan and Pamela, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.***** Mary Virginia (Jean) Smith, 63, of Mauriceville, passed away Wednesday, April 30. Funeral services were held Saturday, May 3. She is survived by her sons and daughters, Fletcher Shoemaker, Rodney Shoemaker, Angela Richard, Joanna Surber, James Smith, Richard Smith Jr., thirteen grandchildren and one great-grandchild.***** Mary Jane Darden 68, of Orange passed away Thursday, April 30. Ms. Darden retired as a clerical worker from American Bridge in Orange.  Survivors include her two sisters, Arva Bee Thompson and Shearial Livingston, two brothers, Donny Lee Darden and Charles M. Darden Jr.

40 Years Ago-1978

Attorney General John Hill defeats Gov. Dolph Briscoe in the Democratic primary.*****County Judge Pete Runnels beat back a challenge made by James Stringer to win re-election by 1,502 votes. *****Newly appointed judge of the new 269th District Court Judge Don Burgess defeated Judge Grover Halliburton. *****Newly-elected County Court at Law Judge Pat Clark is in a good position for a good political future, according to political observers. Predictions are that he will end up with a district judgeship in the future. (Editor’s note: Judge Pat how’s that for predicting?)*****Bridge City Texaco, 1805 Texas Ave., is holding a three-day ‘Beer at Cost’ sale. Pabst, 12 pack, $2.55; Billy Beer, President’s Carter’s brother Billy’s beer, 6 pack, 99 cents; A case of Schlitz, $5.40; case of Miller, $6.36; Bud $6.15 case. *****Parked on Cow Bayou, near Keown Supply are some large, 18-wheel, pipe-hauling trucks. The sign on their doors reads “Dunn Brothers, Around the Nation It Must Be Dunn.” The company belongs to Opportunity Valley News publisher Roy Dunn’s uncles. They are the largest pipeline stringers in the country, with over 400 trucks doing business in every state. They strung the Alaska Pipeline. (Editor’s note: All the Dunns are dead now. The company was sold and is now out of business. The brothers didn’t have any children, just young, second wives, who took the sale money and ran.) *****The Third Annual International Gumbo Cook off was held at Orange Navy Base. Jim Stelly was chairman. ‘Parker’s Pride,’ Sheriff Ed Parker’s gumbo team, was the overall champion. *****Harmon brothers break ground for new Chevrolet dealership in the 2600 block of MacArthur Drive. Local mayors, leading area businessmen, area chambers of commerce members, along with General Motor’s officials, attended the affair. The Harmon brothers, Jackie, president, Carlton ‘Corky’, vice-president, and Don, secretary-treasurer, said the new building contains 34,000 sq. feet of interior space and permanent financing by Orange Bank. The Harmon boys are descendents of John Harmon, Orange County’s first white settler. They have been in the car business over 30 years but their family has been selling transportation for 100 years. They operated buggy sales and horses on Front Street. They invented and made the Harmon Saddle. (Editor’s note: One of those unique saddles can be viewed at Harmon Used Cars, located at McArthur and Henrietta St. in Orange.)*****Inez Hearn has undergone surgery and is being held prisoner in Doctor’s Hospital. ‘Nez’ will be fine; she’s as tough as a barrel of rattlesnakes and ornery as Uncle John’s mule. (Editor’s note: We lost Nez a few years ago. She was truly a unique person.) *****Jean Lapeyrolerie, 18 years old, this week became the youngest grand juror in Orange County history, maybe youngest in the state. She became a registered voter less than two months ago. The intelligent young lady is a Bridge City beauty. (Editor’s note: Jean is still around, still pretty and still in sales. It’s hard to believe all of the above was so long ago.)

A FEW HAPPENINGS

My buddy of many years, Essie Bellfield, will celebrate her 88th birthday next Monday, May 6. We often kid about her being from the ‘Frog Capital of the World, Rayne, LA.’ Cajuns pronounce frog, “Crop-Po.” Read David Ball’s story on this great lady.***** This week, April 30, 1789, 229 years ago, George Washington took the oath of office in New York to become the first president of the United States.*****Speaking of presidents, last Saturday, in Washington Township, Michigan, Donald Trump said one of the most outrageous things he’s said yet. With a front row filled with youngsters, Trump declared in a anti-media message, “They hate your guts.” He also put down law enforcement, the FBI and the Justice system. In a presidential example for our youth, Trump is the worst in history. When asked who was responsible for the Korean peace talks, he declared, “I am.” He gave no other country credit. My bet is that China, who furnishes North Korea with 90% of their imports, played the largest part.*****Every day I miss Corky Harmon. I can’t believe he’s gone. Thursday, May 3, is one year since he died at age 89. When we first joined the Harmon’s after Ike here on Henrietta, we visited daily with Don Harmon, who always arrived first, Corky and Ray Cravins. Today they are all gone. That saddens me.*****We heard from a couple of people who wanted to know how to get some Bo Henley’s Bobcat Farm honey. I guess it’s called that because Bo is on the Orangefield school board. It is the best local clover honey I’ve ever eaten and I’m a conasouir of honey from around the country. I get mine as a gift from Phillip Welch, however to purchase some call Bo at 988-8523. You’ll love it.*****A mystery is brewing at the White House about what happened to the oak tree President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron planted there during his state visit last week. The sapling was a gift from Macron. He and Trump shoveled dirt onto the tree Monday during a ceremonial planting on the South Lawn of the White House. By the end of the week, the tree was gone. The White House hasn’t offered an explanation.*****Last Week at the Wednesday Lunch Bunch get together, Port Commissioner Keith Wallace and County Commissioner Johnny Trahan were discussing ideas to better the future of Orange County. Susan Kazmar said she will be attending more often when she again retires from teaching, this time for good. She is a teacher at Orangefield. The Bunch dines at JB’s Barbeque this week and will gather at Robert’s next week. Everyone always welcome.*****Gas prices at the pump has gone up a dollar a gallon since Trump took office. The average price is $2.81 nation wide and headed to $4 in California. Gas prices always goes up during Republican Administrations.*****The Kentucky Derby will be televised  at 5:46 Saturday on NBC. The race will feature 20 horses. I don’t know who the Cajun jockey is but I bet there will be at least one. This year’s winner could be a horse named Combatant.*****Firearms will be banned at the NRA annual meeting in Dallas. Guns will not be allowed at the forum when President Trump and Vice-president Pence are in the building. The VP speaks Friday. It’s ironic that they are banning guns to protect themselves after their main selling pitch has been “more guns, more protection.”*****Seven years ago, May 2, 2011, in Pakistan, President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden, who was killed during the United States commando operation. It was May 1 in the United States.*****Another Trump appointee quits. Thomas Homan, heading up immigration and customs enforcement as director, was Trump’s first appointment. He headed up Trump’s efforts to ramp up immigration arrests and crack down on Sanctuary Cities. The President had been putting pressure on him to do more.*****Peggy and Richard Albair, of Peggy’s on the Bayou, have faced many hardships in the past years. Three major storms wiped them out and the Cow Bayou Bridge, on Roundbunch, being shut down for months for repair, put a big hurt on them. Hurricane Harvey totally destroyed them but these hard working folks has no quit in them. They embarked on a new food service. They know how to prepare great food and are inviting you to give them a try. See Peggy’s ad and menu in this issue.

BIRTHDAYS

A few folks we know celebrating birthdays this week. May 2: Celebrating are Mary Stewart, Megan Cornwell and Amy Wiebold. They are joined by actors Dwayne Johnson,  45,  Thomas McDonell,  31,  soccer player David Beckham,  42, race car driver,  Kyle Busch,  32.***** May 3: Our former ‘Girl Friday’ Nicole Gibbs, Stacie Hollier, Kay Boudreaux, and Brandon Applebach all celebrate. Celebrities celebrating are country singer Eric Church, 40, actors Rob Brydon,  52 and Christina Hendricks, 42.*****May 4: Laurie Miller, MacAlan Trammell, Jenna Dismukes and Julia Hoke celebrate today. Having birthdays on this day are country singer Randy Travis,  58,  sportscaster Erin Andrews, 39, and pop singer, Lance Bass, 38.*****May 5: Today is Cinco deMayo, a holiday that celebrates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France. Having birthdays are Brad Broussard, Butch Myers, Bridget Toohey, Lindsey Dardeau and Amanda Dumesnil. They are joined by singer Adele,  29 and Chris Brown,  28,   reality star Brooke Hogan,  29, actor Henry Cavill, 34.***** May 6: One year older today are James Scales, Jr., Deborah “Debbie” Gregg, Mayor Essie Bellfield, Brandon Bond. Also celebrating birthdays are actor George Clooney,  56,  football player Jason Witten,  35 and rock singer  Bob Seger.  72.***** May 7: Josh Sanders celebrates a birthday today along with Joe Chenella, Sherri Thompson, Connie Angelle, Anrea Beadle, Gina Mannino and Jessica Hughes. Joining them are football player Earl Thomas,  28,  actors Bracken Meyer,  43,  Betsy Rue,  38,  Alexander Ludwig  25.*****May 8: Wilma Horner, Debra Truncale, Ginger Hogden, Alan Bates and Arion Fields have birthdays on this day.  Celebities joining them are actors Stephen Amell,  36,  Melissa Gilbert,  53 and  Eyes Gabel,  34.

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Tee-Moon Boudreaux was visiting his sister Shirley Marie, wat done moved to Kerrville. A Texas game warden was driving down the road when he came up on Tee-Moon carrying a wild turkey under his arm. Officer Lambert got out of his car and axe Tee-Moon, “Where did you get dat turkey?”

Tee-Moon replied, “Wat turkey?”

“Dat turkey you got dere under you arm,” said da Warden.

Tee-Moon him look down and said, “Well, lookee here, a turkey done roosted under my arm.”

Warden Lambert said, “Turkey season is closed in Texas. Now whatever you do to dat turkey, I’m gonna do to you. If you break his leg, I’m gonna break your leg. If you break his wing, I’ll break your arm. Whatever you do to dat turkey, I’ll do to you, so what are you gonna do with him?”

Tee-Moon tink bout dat a moment and den says, “I guess under da circumstance, I’ll just kiss his ass me, and let him go.”

C’EST TOUT

Time to stop partisan gerrymandering. The census is taken throughout the nation every ten years. The next one will be taken in 2020, just a couple of years away. Two decades ago, partisan gerrymandering started allowing politicians to pick their voters in Texas rather than the other way around. The practice, over the years, has gotten worse. Smarter computer programs are now able to create absurd looking districts. In our own area we have seen changes that tied Orange County to the Woodlands and Houston. In Texas the congressional map around Austin and the Dallas-Fort Worth area shows the extremes which Democratic voters are being punished. That’s what gerrymandering amounts to. Lawmakers in one party, punishing members in the other party, by putting them into districts where they have little influence on government affairs. Both political parties are guilty. It’s the deprivation to representative government done by the majority in power. Political maps should be drawn by bi-partisan or non-partisan commissions. Maps should follow county and city lines, not lines that create districts that look like jigsaw puzzles. The Supreme Court at some point will have to get involved. They must end the anti-democratic behavior and be consistent with voting rights laws.*****I’ve gotta go, running late. I’ll see you on the next turn around. Don’t forget to vote. I thank you for your time. It’s important to me. Please shop our advertisers and read us cover to cover. Good stuff throughout. Take care and God bless.