2019 AND NEW EXPECTATIONS

When I was a boy it seemed impossible that I would ever live long enough to see the year 2019 roll around. I had wished, in fact, I prayed, that I would see the year 2000 come around. I had thought how cool that would be. I realized that in order to achieve that goal I would have to live to be an old man. At the time life expectancy had just gone up from 54 to 56 years for a male. I often thought along the way how many more years before 2000. It was a big deal to me when we celebrated the arrival of the new century. My Dad, born in the 1800’s, had done it. It’s hard to believe today that I have surpassed my original goal. I was right to believe that I had to live to old age to do it. Now I believe it would be great to make it, in sound mind, through 2020 because I believe that will be an interesting year. At my age you don’t look too far down the road like you do when you are young. To a youngster, 2050 is so far away, but to us, who have lived it, know its right around the corner if you’re lucky. The saddest thing about living a long life is all the friends you loose along the way. I’ve lost hundreds of great people and I know I’ll probably see more leave us in the New Year. I feel really blessed and thankful to see another year roll around. I’m going to make a couple of resolutions and one will be to try and stay in contact with those friends that makes this journey a true blessing. Even though many of those friends know it’s not my regular contact that matters, it’s the fact that I’ll always be there for them if they need me. I also know where they stand. Without friends life doesn’t have much value. I will take this opportunity to thank the many good folks who have shared this long journey with me. My wish for you and yours is not only a happy, but also healthy New Year. Special thanks to some special friends and family for the memories and making a great life for me. *****Now I have to move on. Please come along, I promise it won’t do you no harm.

COMMANDER-IN-CHIEF LIES TO THE TROOPS

Three independent fact check outlets have verified that Donald Trump has lied to the American people over 7,500 times in 700 days. Since then a basket full of more lies have come from is mouth, none bigger or more dangerous than the Commander-in-Chief lying to his own troops during his first trip to a war zone since becoming president. Trump drew cheers when he told the troops he had won them their first raise in 10 years and suggested a whopping one. Neither one is true, outright lies. Trump said “You just got one of the biggest pay raises you ever received.” Then he really bore down on the lie, “You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years, and I got you a big one.” He outright lied about there not being a pay increase for service members in more than 10 years and about their raise being the largest. The troops have gotten a pay raise every year for decades. For example, raises in 2008, 2009 and 2010 were all 3.4 percent. Several in the last 10 years have been larger than the new raise, the raise this year is 2.4 percent and 2.6 percent for 2019. In May he told graduates of the Navel Academy he had just gotten them a pay raise, first time in 10 years. In Iraq he told the troops that many people had told him, “We could make it three percent, we could make it three percent, I said, “No, make it 10 percent, make it more than 10 percent.” The AP Fact Check, release says, “Whatever he might have said at the time, the 2.6 percent for 2019 falls far short of the 10 percent he told the troops at al Assad Air Base, in Iraq.”  At the time, Trump also told the troops, who put their life in harms way, we were being played for suckers. That should be real comforting to those serving overseas. This week’s big lie is Trump blaming the Democrats for shutting down the government, when the world saw and heard him say to Chuck and Nancy, “I will proudly shut down the government, carry the mantle and not blame you for it.” Donald Trump is shameless and a poor example of a person who came to the job knowing nothing and lying his way through his first two years. My guess is that it will only get worse and I fear for our country.

TURNING BACK THE HANDS OF TIME

10 Years Ago-2009

Like we had predicted Speaker of the State House Tom Craddick is hanging up his gavel and won’t run for a fourth term. Rep. Joe Straus, Republican from San Antonio claims to have 84 votes, enough to elect him speaker. The Texas House is divided, 76 Republicans to 74 Democrats. *****The bodies at Hollywood Cemetery haven’t been reburied because the grounds are still just too wet. The remains of Gatemouth Brown were also washed up by Hurricane Ike. The Orange musician was known around the world. Before the storm a move was on to raise money for a permanent marker. The Hospice organization is furnishing the funds for reburial when the weather gets better. *****Celebrity birthdays: On Jan. 7, Katie Couric turns 52, Jan. 10; Rod Stewart will be 64 and George Foreman, 60.*****I don’t know where the rumor started but for several days now we have been hearing that Bridge City would hire a new police chief Tuesday night. That never was the intent of the council. They were just being brought up-to-date by City Manager Jerry Jones. Forty-two applicants for the chief’s job have been received.*****A new city councilman, however, will be selected to replace Mark Phillpott on the council.***** An NBC-Wall Street poll finds that President George Bush has an 18 percent approval rating. The Bush-Cheney gang is leaving the country in economic shambles. There are those Neocons who are already criticizing Obama, Nancy and the new incoming administration before the Democrats even start cleaning up the mess left behind. The truth is that politically being a Republican in Washington will be very insignificant. They will try to convince the folks in their districts about the important committees they sit on but sitting there is all it will amount to. ***** Penny has discovered two different school groups at West Orange-Stark and Orangefield who will fly to Obama’s inauguration. ***** Texas beat Ohio State 24-21 with a last 16 second touchdown Thursday night. Oklahoma will play Florida in the national championship game Thursday. If Florida wins, who should be the national champions? One of our favorite people, Orange Police Chief Sam Kittell, will speak to the “Sisters in Crime” group in Austin on Sunday, Jan. 11. Sam’s topic will be “CSI Mayberry, Big City Policing in Small Town America.” *****One of our favorite young guys Collin Slade “Billy Jack” Gros turns 14 on Jan. 10. This kid will do to ride the range with.

45 Years Ago-1974

If you started out on your on at 20 years old in 1974 chances are today you would be a grandparent looking to retire in a few years. Let’s see who was doing that 45 years ago. Gordon Baxter wrote about Village Creek. “C’mon creeks! Eleven floods in 12 months and it used to be every seven years.” Gordon celebrated his birthday on Christmas.*****Liz Wickersham, an-Orange raised beauty who lives in Hawaii, was in the states over the holidays. She had a date with Joe Namath. Liz dated many famous guys including Ted Turner before settling down and marrying a New York lawyer. She was in town last for her dad Charlie’s funeral.*****Doug Harrington sent Jimmy Conn one oyster in a pill bottle while his friends ate a gallon. Doug said he didn’t want Conn to over extend himself with his love making.*****Corky and Betty Harmon have been baby sitting with Joe and Beverly Williams’ young son while they vacationed.*****It’s said that Jewel Bearden has traded in her .38-caliber pistol in for a new .45. She says, “If I have to shoot I don’t want to miss.”*****S.P. (Pete) Dickey, 59, has announced he will be a candidate for commissioner of Pct. 2.*****Larry Bergeron is store manager at McLaury’s.*****Bonanza Sirloin Pit is offering chicken fried steak for $1.39.*****Jim Crossland is the head football coach at LC-M.

55 Years Ago

Now let’s see what was happening and who was doing what 55 years ago. *****Flashy Eddie Sutton bleeding from a gash at the mouth threw caution to the wind and hammered out a unanimous decision over Lafayette’s Seminal Foreman to win the outstanding boxer’s award at the Orange boxing tournament. Other Orange boxers were Gary McCamey, Ken Ballard, Oscar Dominquez and Larry Carpenter.*****Attorney General Waggoner Carr to be speaker at the Orange Chamber banquet.*****Commissioners Casey Peveto and Asa Mansfield will seek re-election.*****State Representative Clyde Haynes announces for a third term.*****W.D. Bill Joyce, former Orange County ID officer is running for sheriff of Newton County.*****Lutcher Stark High football players C.E. Riggs and Frank Beauchamp were named to AAA All State Team.*****O.L. “Babe” Whitman, longtime deputy for Sheriff Chester Holts retires.*****First Savings and Loan holds formal opening. Officers are Ward Stephenson, president; Homer Stephenson, director; Wayne Cox, vice president; Davis Cooper, vice president; Joe Powell, Walter Eubanks, Donald Cohenour and Jessie Dickerson, directors.

A FEW HAPPENINGS

Judge Derry Dunn, after 12 years as Justice of the peace, retired as of Dec. 31. He then swore in his replacement judge, Chad Jenkins, on Jan. 1, before leaving for Houston hospital where he underwent a procedure at MD Anderson Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. The doctors Wednesday found no sign of cancer and released him, calling it a miracle. The tumor in his bladder had totally disappeared. Thank God. We’re going to miss the Judge and hope his health will now be back on track.*****Joy Dubose-Simonton decided that after a very busy year and holiday season, she wanted a low key swearing in ceremony this year. She along with husband and daughter, stayed in their pajamas and ate pancakes with family members, John and Joyce Dubose and friend Christy Khoury and daughter Coree.  Her husband, Robert Simonton swore her in for another term as Orange County Justice of the Peace, Pct. 3.*****Johnny Trahan and Barry Burton along with their spouses and a group of friends were spotted across the river at The Golden Nugget on Saturday night attending a Steve Miller Band concert.  

*****The Dallas Morning News has picked former First Lady Laura Bush as the newspaper’s “Texan of the Year,” in part for speaking out against child separation at the Border.*****No one is surprised that Alabama and Clemson will meet in the college football championship game. The Tigers and Crimson Tide will meet for the fourth time in four years. Alabama won the first and third, Clemson took the second. The college football championship game will be played Jan. 7, in Santa Clara, CA, and shown at 7 p.m. on ESPN. Orange County has one player in the game, All-American Deionte Thompson. He’s the third safety for West Orange-Stark to star in college football. Kevin Smith, A&M, Earl Thomas, Texas and Thompson, Alabama. All first class programs.*****The Lunch Bunch will gather for the first time in the New Year on Wed., Jan. 9, at Tuffy’s. The group hasn’t dined with Van and Josette in quite awhile. Our friends are urged to make plans to attend. Everyone always welcome.*****President Trump issued an executive order Friday freezing pay raises for federal civilians workers in 2019. The pay for the military is separate; they will get a 2.6 percent raise. Trump said about the two million civilian workers, “They are mostly Democrats anyway.” He’s ready to give them the gift of a freeze if congress fails to act on his border wall.*****We were sorry to learn of the death of Belvia Ann Trahan Jowell, age 82, who passed away Dec. 27. She had been employed as an LVN at Orange Memorial Hospital for many years and was known and respected by many. Our condolences to her husband E.C. and her loving family. Please see obituary.

BIRTHDAYS

Some folks we know celebrating birthdays in the next few days. Jan. 2: Christina Sterling, Amber Cortez, Cody Johnson, Courtney Anderson and Kathy Mercer all celebrate. They are joined by actors Cuba Gooding, Jr., 50, Taye Diggs, 47 and Shelley Hennig, 31.*****Jan. 3: Jim Sharon Bearden, David McLemore, Owen Burton, Betty Johnson Barbara Dardeau and Betty Johnson have birthdays on this day. Also celebrating are football player Eli Manning, 37 and actors Mel Gibson, 62, Danica McKellar, 43.*****Jan. 4: Celebrating on this day are Beth Rash, Vergie Moreland, Devin Force and Nancy Lapeyrolerie. Celebrities joining them are chef Graham Elliot, 41 and actors Liz Soberano, 20, Coco Jones, 20.*****Jan. 5: Celebrating this day are Lora Simpson, Vivian Holbrooks, Melinda Vail and Patsy Dowder. They are joined by actors Bradley Cooper, 42, Diane Keaton, 72 and Robert Duvall, 87.*****Jan. 6: DeeDee Viator, Clint Reves, Louise Dubose, Sherry Morgan and our longtime friend Skipper Free all celebrate. Also celebrating are chef Ree Drummond, 49 and entrepreneur Eric Trump, 34.*****Jan. 7: Celebrating birthdays today are Betty Jagen, Libby Campbell, Michael Collins, Teresa Collins, Chance Chatagnier, Mary Hebert and Carley McDuffie. Celebrities celebrating are rock singer Kenny Loggins, 70, actors Nicolas Cage, 54 and Jeremy Renner, 47.*****Jan. 8: Terri Gauthier, Lanston Fall, Heather Mankopf, Mike Comeaux, Joey Halliburton, Sandra Cole and Sean Brinson celebrate. Also R&B singer R. Kelly, 51, actors Sam Riley, 38, and Noah Cyrus, 18. 

CAJUN STORY OF THE WEEK

Pastor Oris Gaspard’s wife, Mary Ann, was expecting a baby so he stood before the congregation and axed dem for a raise. Dey agree dem dat wenever da preacher’s family expanded so would his paycheck. After Pastor Gaspard and Mary Ann dem had six chiluns it started to get expensive so da congregation decided to hold anutter meeting to discuss da preacher’s expanding salary.

A great deal of yelling and bickering went on as to how much Pastor Gaspard’s additional chiluns wre costing da church and how much more it could cost dem. After listening to dem for about an hour, Pastor Gaspard got up from his chair and spoke. “My friends, chiluns are a gift from God and we will take as many gifts as he gives us.” Rev. Gaspard had made his point. Silence fell on da congregation.

In da back pew Maude DeBlanc, a little old lady, struggled to stand and finally said in her frail voice, “Rain is also a gift from God but wen we get too much of it we wear rubber boots.”

Da congregation said, “Amen Sister.”

C’EST TOUT

Changes in Government

In the past two years the Orange County Commissioners Court has completely flipped over. Every member of the Court was not there three years ago. Two new commissioners, Theresa Beauchamp and Robert Viator, along with judge Dean Crooks, join commissioners Johnny Trahan and John Gothia, who were elected two years ago. County Judge Crooks comes to the job well prepared after serving an apprenticeship since May when Judge Brint Carlton resigned after losing to Crooks. Judge Crooks, during his appointed time, has learned a lot about running Orange County. He has had the opportunity to know and work with the other elected officials over the last few months before taking over his elected term. He’s turned loose some trial ballots and studied the way the wind will blow with some members of the court. One thing I learned about the Judge is that he will put every expenditure under the microscope. He wants to know if its money well spent.For example: Economic Development: The Judge supports economic growth but he argues that there is a point of diminishing returns on the county’s payout on infrastructure and believes 10 years tax abatement is enough to get any company interested in our unique location. One of several examples of buying the whole loaf and just getting the two heels is the City of Orange spending $400,000 on infrastructure, services, roads, etc, to locate here, plus 10 years tax abatement. Charlie Wickersham talked the city economic fathers into the promotion for a newspaper printing plant that was going to bring business from afar and employ 50 full time employees. The business never came and the company has five or less employees. Sometime to sell a particular deal, the promoters will inflate the numbers and not figure in the infrastructure cost, which over time can be a lot. Sometimes it’s a good deal to bring in a large company and then, at best, it might be just a break even venture. In Orange County’s Economic Development’s case, I believe they are dedicated to bring in new development and are working hard at it. In order to show that the money spent for this agency is worth the yearly cost, they might be going overboard and giving away too much. Often the number of employees is inflated and most of the construction jobs are given to out-of-area workers, who head out to the next job when this one is finished. My personal hope is that we are able to attract more industry. God knows we can use all we can get, but at what cost. That’s what Judge Crooks is looking at. With Crooks, it seems to always be the bottom line, “Is it the best deal for the tax payer.”*****Meanwhile on the national front, a new congress has taken over. A whole new Washington game started Jan. 3. The first pitch has been thrown; this game will go into extra innings. *****Here’s hoping you have a great New Year. Thanks for you time, mine is up. Take care and God bless.