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People may soon have special bicycle lanes to ride through the oak-shaded historic areas of Orange. On Tuesday, the Orange City Council is holding a public hearing on a plan to put bike trails and walking sidewalks through the Shangri La neighborhood, the Old Orange Historic District, downtown cultural sites and on to the Boat Ramp along the Sabine River. Public Works Director Jim Wolf said the bike trail will be painted onto the streets. Sidewalks will be installed on the right-of-way by curbs on the streets which do not have them. Old, broken sidewalks will be removed and replaced. The plan calls for removing 2,000 square yards of old sidewalks and building 4,000 square yards of new sidewalks. The sidewalks will link the historic areas to the cultural sites in downtown to the recreational river. If the council agrees, the city will apply for a Texas Department of Transportation grant for alternative transportation programs. Wolf said the TxDOT program "encourages cities in non-metropolitan areas and other organizations to develop alternative means of transportation to vehicles." The bike lane and sidewalk project is estimated to cost about $855,000. The city's share will be $98,000 and the TxDOT grant will be for $757,000. The public hearing will be held during the regular meeting of the City Council, which starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the council auditorium next to the Orange Public Library.

TxDOT crews will be working in the following areas:
VIDOR Ė Alternate lane closures will begin on FM105 south April 27 to replace the existing asphalt surface. The lane closures will take place Monday-Friday 7am-5pm for the duration of the project, approximately a month and a half.
ORANGE Ė FM1130 at the railroad crossing, approximately two miles east of Mauriceville, will be closed Sunday, April 26, 8am-5pm to replace the crossing.

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Marriage License Issued By The Office of Brandy Robertson, Orange County Clerk For the Week of April 20, 2015 thru April 24, 2015. Joseph H. Rachal and Willie M. Bryant, Vladimir C. Quirante and Alyssa A. Harrell, Vernie W. McDaniel, Jr. and Lana G. Broussard, Cody E. Craig and Amanda E. Montalvo, Henry J. Walker and Quiana R. Smith, George T. Bell and Michelle L. Odell, Heath M. Weaver and Jimmie D. Johnson, Wyndal P. Reese and Christine A. Quarles, William D. Cheatwood, Jr. and Shawna A. Burmaster, Guillaume G. Reynolds and Tiffany M. Beard, Joseph P. Kromka and Courtney L. Owens, John K. Royer and Catherine A. Lemmons, Jeffrey V. Griffith and Breah S. Nelson, Justin L. Knolley and Erin M. Melgoza, Kevin J. Richard and Amanda M. Carriker, Cody D. Cook and Dallas N. Hall, James M. Booksh and Amanda L. Bertrand, Jairo A. Verma and Courtney M. Verma, Kendal S. Reynolds and Jenny R. Landry.

Texas has laws permitting citizens to carry concealed handguns. The Texas legislature is close to passing the open carrying of guns for Texans. Opinions on the possibility of citizens openly carrying their guns in public vary. Local law enforcement officials have their opinions too. Pinehurst Police Chief Fred Hanauer analyzed the positive and negative parts of the proposed legislation. Chief Hanauer said he likes that a concealed carry permit will be required before someone can open carry and should guarantee that the citizen has been screened and is legal to possess the weapon. He does have some concern that citizens can openly carry their weapon without also having to display their concealed carry permit. Hanauer thinks open carry could be a deterrent to would be criminals, but he stipulated there should be a requirement and training for the proper holstering of the weapon to prevent it being taken during some type of altercation. Lane Martin the chief of the Orange Police Department said he preferred not to comment on the proposed law, but added that the Orange Police Department will uphold whatever law is passed. Orange County Sheriff Keith Merritt is investigating the wording in the proposed statute and believes there is good and bad aspects to it. Sheriff Merritt pointed out some of the pros and cons stating the biggest negative could be his deputies going to a situation where multiple persons are carrying guns forcing the deputies to determine who is the perpetrator and who is the victim. Merritt is concerned about the safety of his deputies on that aspect of it. Sheriff Merritt is still keeping an open mind to the prospects of citizens openly carrying guns and thinks the pro side of the law is properly permitted citizens could aid law enforcement in certain situations, but he is not strong either way on the proposed legislation. Hanauer and Merritt believe the success of the new law depends how responsible citizens are in carrying their guns. Both said that citizens currently with concealed handgun licenses have told them they will probably continue to carry their guns concealed and not openly.

The LCM UIL One Act Play Company has advanced to the 4-A STATE Contest Finals in Austin, Texas. They had previously won their District, Bi-District and Area rounds. This past Wednesday, they competed in the 4A Region III Finals at Atascocita High School. The group came in 1st place from the panel of three judges and are now among the top eight shows in the state of Texas out of 193 4-A schools. Earning individual awards at Region were: Shawn Blair, Outstanding Technician, Alex Borel, Shannon Boozer and Rebecca Sanford, All-Star Cast and Triston Stringer, Best Actor. The group will perform the play one last time here at home in the LCM Auditorium on Thursday, May 21 at 7pm. Tickets will be $5 at the door. They will depart for Austin on Monday, May 25 with a chance to fight for the 4-A State Championship. The students are under the direction of Cory Broom and Caroline Hennigan.

The lifeguard sitting on an elevated chair wearing sunglasses and a whistle was as much a part of the summer swimming ritual as the pool itself. Kids dreamed of growing to 16 or 17 to get that classic All-American job. Not now. No one wants to be a lifeguard. Orange City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre said the natatorium can't be open for the summer if the city can't find lifeguards. Last year the city borrowed from a supply of lifeguards through the Port Arthur YMCA. This year, that group doesn't have enough lifeguards. "It's a statewide problem," Oubre said. The city of Austin is even offering signing bonuses for lifeguards, he said.
The problem even extends outside of the state. The city checked with natatorium in Sulphur, Louisiana, to for available lifeguards. Again, no success. "Because of the liability of the pool, we can't open the natatorium without lifeguards," Oubre said. With no natatorium, adults won't have morning swim and exercise times. Day camps won't be able to have swim times. Groups won't be able to teach swim lessons. And kids won't be able to cool down with an afternoon dip in the water.
The lifeguards for the City of Orange must be at least 16 years old. The city prefers high school or college students for the jobs, which are considered temporary because they last only for the summer. In addition, the city is looking for an assistant pool manager. All lifeguards and the assistant pool manager must have lifeguard certification through a group like the Red Cross or YMCA. In addition, lifeguards and need to have certified training in CPR and first aid. They are also required to have a driver's license with a good driving record. More information is available through the city's website or the personnel department at 409-883-1030.

Orange police are looking for 28-year-old Anthony Morris in connection with leading a chase Thursday night that included an officer firing at the tires of an SUV as it swerved toward another officer. Detective Captain Cliff Hargrave said the 2002 Chevrolet Suburban involved in the chase is registered to Morris. Morris is wanted on a felony warrant in connection with a bond being revoked because he did not appear for a court hearing. He has been charged with felony injury to a child.
Orange Officer Patrick McDonald reported he tried to stop the Suburban for a traffic violation about 9:40 p.m. Wednesday in the 3100 block of 16th Street. The SUV did not stop for the emergency lights and went north on 16th Street. The SUV turned west on Clark Lane and then north on Meeks Drive. The chase then turned west again on Allie Payne Road. The SUV went up to the closed gate at the Fox Run Apartments. Officer McDonald said he was walking up to the driverís side of the Suburban when the vehicle accelerated and turned left toward him. Thatís when another officer shot at the tires. The SUV traveled through the gate and stopped. The driver then ran away into the night. Several officers from different agencies searched for him but could not find him.

Two more vehicles were reported stolen from the Cecil Atkission Toyota dealership on Interstate 10 Wednesday. Orange police recovered a stolen pickup truck later in the day and arrested a 48-year-old man for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Employees from the dealership called police about 9 a.m. Wednesday to report that a Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck and a GMC Sierra pickup were missing. The dealership on Monday reported a new Toyota Tundra pickup truck was gone. Officer L.A. Lovelace stopped the Silverado on Interstate 10. James Curtis Dunbar was arrested and charged with unauthorized use.

Police have surveillance pictures of a man breaking into the Cypress Bayou convenience store at 7014 Highway 87 early Thursday morning. Orange Police Officer C.J. Foreman reported he was patrolling the area about 2 a.m. and saw an open door. A closer look showed the door had been pried open. The owner of the store came and showed surveillance video. Officer Foreman said the video from 1:15 a.m. showed a white man wearing a black baseball cap and carrying a backpack trying to get a side door open. It appeared as if the man would run and hide when a car went by. The man went inside by the cash register and took money. He also loaded the backpack with cigarettes.

 Open Carry... "Cast Your Vote" in this weeks poll

About 80 people listened for about 90 minutes as six candidates for the West Orange-Cove school board answered questions from moderator Wayne Sparrow. Four candidates did not go to the forum sponsored by the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. Two of the candidates are running for the one year left on the unexpired term of the late Mary Kirksey. Nathaniel Colbert Jr. was appointed to the seat last July to serve until the election. He was at the forum along with challenger Linda Platt-Bryant. Two candidates for the position were not there. They are Carmen Purgahn and Dawn Fusilier. Six candidates are running for two full-term positions that are elected at large. Eric Mitchell is the only incumbent and he was at the forum along with John H. Smith Jr., Demetrius Hunter and Roderick Robertson. Ricky Blagburn and John H. Gray Jr. did not attend.

Justin Rainey, a Mauriceville Elementary student in Mary Kay Berndtís class, received a letter from President Barack Obama in response to a letter Justin wrote during a business letter writing lesson. Not only did Justin receive a letter from President Obama, he also received pictures of the President, the Presidentís family, their pets, and other information concerning The White House.

On April 22, 2015 at approximately 9:40 p.m. City of Orange Police Officers attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a vehicle while in the 3100 block of 16th Street. The vehicle failed to stop and continued traveling northbound on 16th Street. The vehicle then turned westbound onto Clark Lane and the north onto Meeks Drive to Allie Payne where it turned west and drove to the Fox Run Apartment Complex. The vehicle then stopped for the entrance gate to open and officers approached the vehicle on foot. As officers were approaching the vehicle, the driver began to accelerate in the direction of an officer standing near the driverís side of the vehicle. A second officer then fired two rounds from his duty weapon into the passengerís front tire of the vehicle. The vehicle then continued into the complex a short distance before the driver stopped and fled on foot. Officer pursued the suspect on foot and was unable to apprehend him. No one was injured and no property was damaged during this incident. This investigation is ongoing by the City of Orange Detective Division.

The Board of Commissioners for the City of Orange Housing Authority agreed Tuesday to settle a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former authority executive director Tanya Wilson. Wilson filed the suit in October 2013 claiming that she was fired earlier in the year because she talked to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development about the authority's contracts and bidding process with the ITEX group based in Port Arthur. Wilson had worked for the housing authority for 20 years. She was promoted to executive director in 2011 after the former director resigned after a scathing report from HUD concerning expenditures at the housing authority
Current housing authority Executive Director LaNita Brown said in a statement that the settlement with Wilson will be paid from non-federal funds generated through the new housing projects the authority has under construction. She did not announce the amount of the settlement. The agreement includes the stipulation that Wilson will not seek a job with the Orange housing authority in the future.
Brown said the housing authority has more than $17 million in hurricane recovery grant funds and sold tax credits to build the three new complexes. HUD and the Office of Inspector General have found no problems in the development of those new apartments, she said.
The housing authority reports that construction on the Willow Bend Apartments on Sikes Road is nearly completed. Those apartments will be replacing some of the old Arthur Robinson apartments in East Orange. The site was moved because of lawsuits filed by advocate groups in Austin to move low-income residents to different neighborhoods.
Construction is continued for Velma Jeter Manor on Allie Payne Road and for Park Avenue Manor on the site of the former Pine Grove complex. The old apartments at both those sites have been demolished to make room for the new construction.
In addition, the housing authority is developing the Whispering Oaks Apartments in West Orange off Western Avenue. Construction is expected to start in the summer.

What's happening around town?  Check the Happenings page!

Mauriceville Elementary School Honor Roll 5th Six Weeks

The Sabine River Authority has opened gates at Toledo Bend Reservoir and now has both generators using water flow 24 hours a day. For several weeks, one of the generators was stopped for repairs. Five gates are open at one foot each. Wednesday morning, the lake was at 172.48 feet mean sea level. The full level is 172 feet. Minor flooding is continuing downriver at Deweyville. The Sabine River Wednesday morning was at 24.3 feet with flood level being 24 feet. The river is expected to rise to 24.4 feet on Sunday morning before beginning to fall.

An employee at West Orange-Stark High School was taken by ambulance to a Beaumont hospital Tuesday morning after an accident in which a pickup truck ran over his leg. West Orange Assistant Police Chief Jesse Romero said the employee was using the truck behind the school. He stopped on an incline and got out to do something. The truck began to roll down the incline and the man ran behind it to try to stop it. He fell and the truck rolled over his leg. Romero said Acadian Ambulance Service took the man to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont.

Almost half of the food businesses inspected during the first part of April received perfect scores. But roaches and mice caused problems for the lowest-scored business, Family Dollar on West Bolivar Street in Vidor. Orange County Health Inspector James Scales reported finding dead roaches and dead mice in the store. Plus he could hear several live mice inside walls and mice feces in the store room. He gave the business a 91 score. The perfect scores went mainly to schools. Crawfish Capitol Sales in Mauriceville was the only commercial food business making a 100 rating. Other perfect places were Vidor Junior High, Mauriceville Middle School, Orangefield High School and North Early Learning Center in Orange. Scales also made a pre-opening inspection with no score for Las Regio Mexican Food at 18440 Highway 62 South in Orange.
Scores and demerits are: Subway, 2205 Highway 62 in McLewis: 97. The front cooler door was started to split and needed to be repaired. Baseboard tiles were broken or beginning to come apart from the wall. All certified food manager certificates and the food service permit needed to be posted in front of the store.
Wal-Mart, 1350 North Main Street in Vidor: 97. The inside of the coolers needed to be cleaned of old foods and trash. Market Basket Deli, 800 North Main Street in Vidor: 93. The water heater was not keeping up with demands. All areas of the kitchen, including equipment, walls and floors, needed to be cleaned of old food. A follow-up was set. Market Basket, 800 North Main Street in Vidor: 93. Inspector pulled several expired foods from shelves. The inside of the milk cooler, plus the back storage room and vents inside the meat department needed to be cleaned. Judiceís Cajun Cafe, 2045 Texas Avenue in Bridge City: 93. Several flies were found. An employee was found with a lip piercing. Family Dollar, 115 West Bolivar Street in Vidor: 91. Several dead roaches and mice were found. Live mice were heard inside walls. The milk cooler needed to be cleaned. Holes in walls and the door needed to be repaired where the mice have been. The storage room needed to be cleaned of old boxes and mice feces. Pest controlled was called and a follow-up visit was scheduled.

Four stolen cars, including two new ones from dealerships, were reported stolen in Orange Monday. Cecil Atkission Toyota at 11:18 a.m. reported a 2015 white Toyota Tundra pickup truck was missing from the inventory. Then at 12:24 p.m. Sabine River Ford on Green Avenue called to report that a red 2015 Ford Escape was missing. Earlier in the morning, a GMC Safari worth about $500 was reported stolen from a driveway in the 1500 block of Carter Street. It was found abandoned and stuck in mud by a house in the 2300 block of Riverside Drive. Orange police reported that people at the house chased two men through the yard about 3 a.m. Also, a 2005 Chevrolet Cavalier was reported stolen from Guy Lane.

Orange police on Monday night were called to an accidental shooting. The victim was shot in the right forearm and said the Derringer pistol fell from his pocket and discharged when it hit concrete. Officer L.T. Holland reported he went to the Executive Inn on 27th Street at 10:15 p.m. because someone heard a single gunshot. When he arrived, he saw a man with a towel wrapped around his forearm with a gunshot wound. He told Officer Holland that the .22 caliber Derringer fell out of his pocket in the parking lot. Holland found the pistol under a car. Acadian Ambulance Service took the man to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont for treatment.

Cities and public utility districts in Orange County, along with the Sabine River Authority, are trying to get $50 million in damages from the BP oil spill. The money will go to build a county-wide wastewater treatment plant and system that will keep fecal matter out of the bayous, the river and the Gulf of Mexico. The Sabine River Authority is helping with the project.
Also, the Port of Orange is seeking $23.75 million in oil spill damages for a variety of projects, including the removal of the World War II piers along the Sabine River in Orange and the restoration of the west bank shoreline and wetlands.
Groups from Texas and Louisiana held a media conference Monday afternoon to announce the projects. The conference was at the City of Orange Riverfront Pavilion along the Sabine River, which empties into Sabine Lake, a bay of the Gulf of Mexico. Monday was the fifth anniversary of the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig and the spill that lasted for weeks.
Lawyer Tim Richardson of Baltimore, who has been representing the local groups, said Congress agreed that the fines and penalties issued against the companies involved in the disaster will go to the affected states. Texas and Louisiana have pledged that their recovery money will be spent on coastal preservation and restoration projects. Three Louisiana parishes--Calcasieu, Vermillion and Cameron-- and three counties in Texas--Orange, Jefferson and Chambers--formed the Chenier Plain Alliance to coordinate ways to use the money to improve and preserve wetlands. Richardson said the local entities have applied through the Texas governor's office for the grants but the money has not been awarded.
Engineer Bill Hughes with the Sabine River Authority, said the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has been trying to get local entities to clean up Adams and Cow bayous for more than a decade. A regional waste water treatment plant that would empty into the Sabine River, instead of the bayous, was the best solution but no one had the money to pay for such a system. He said that when the money is approved, the city systems and the ones operated by public utility districts could be hooked up together within three to five years.
Port Director Gene Bouillion said the port is asking for $17 million to build up and preserve the west shoreline of the Sabine River. The shoreline has been eroding and then the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers must dredge out the sand and silt that has settled in the waterway. He said room is running out for areas to dump the dredging spoils. Another proposal from the port is for $750,000 for a feasibility study about using spoils to construct barrier islands that could be used as rookeries for water birds. Also, the port is asking for $4 million to remove the remains of dozens of giant wooden piers built along the Sabine River during World War II. The piers have decayed and fallen into the river. They present particular problems for sports water craft. Also, the port wants $2 million to remove a barge with asphalt that was beached by Hurricane Ike.

A woman playing with a new pistol accidentally shot her 22-year-old daughter in the abdomen Friday night at a residence in Orange. Detective Captain Cliff Hargrave said the daughter is now at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont and is expected to recover. The family was at home on Childers Drive when the .38 caliber revolver discharged. They called for help at 11:49 p.m. Friday. Captain Hargrave said the 51-year-old woman had bought the gun and was not familiar with firearms. She was sitting on the couch playing with the pistol when it fired, hitting the daughter. Police talked to witnesses and after an investigation consider the shooting accidental, he said.

A man who thought he was going to buy marijuana was hit in the head with the butt of a pistol, robbed and thrown from a moving pickup truck. The victim was taken by Acadian Ambulance to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Orange after passers-by saw him lying off the roadway in the 800 block of Rein Avenue. Officer Justin Kirkpatrick said he saw the victim lying in the ditch with a golf ball-size lump on his forehead. The man, whose address was listed in West Orange, told the officer he was walking on Sixth Street when a black Toyota Tundra pickup truck stopped. The people inside the truck asked if he wanted to buy marijuana and so he got inside with them. When the man took out his wallet, one of the men in the truck pulled out a pistol and hit him with it. They then pushed him out of the moving truck and drove away with the wallet and cash.

State Child Protective Services took custody of a young child Friday evening after the child's mother had some kind of mental break-down while traveling on the Interstate 10 Sabine River Bridge. Orange Police Captain C.A. Stephenson said officers were called by motorists who reported a woman being forced into a car and a woman trying to throw a child off the bridge. Stephenson traffic on the westbound lanes of the bridge halted as people came and grabbed the child and tried to determine what was happening. The captain reported that the woman and child were traveling with a couple from Florida in a 2010 Toyota Corolla. The woman got out of the car with the child. When police arrived, the couple had the woman in the back seat with the child safety locks in place so she wouldn't get out. Acadian Ambulance took the woman to Baptist Hospital Orange. Captain Stephenson said CPS was called because the woman and child were not related to the people in the car. He reported that the woman was treated and released from the hospital.

Judge Carl Thibodeaux attended the first IV Training course at Lamar State College-Orange. The Pharmacy Technician Program is now offering PHRA 1345.60 Sterile Compounding and Aseptic Technique certification course by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE). For more information contact Thera Granger at 409-882-3010 or go to

The Commissioners Court held two closed meetings Monday with Assistant County Attorney Doug Manning to discuss pending litigation for Orange County. Last week an appellate court upheld a $1.5 million jury award to the Robert Montano Family. Montano died in the Orange County Jail in 2011. Manning updated the commissioners on the current status of the lawsuit, but the court voted to take no action from its meeting with Manning. The second case is a suit with Courtney Patronella involving whether the county has a roadway easement on Operators Lane in Precinct 4. The Court voted to take no action on this case as well. Commissioners did approve renewing a couple of contracts. Nichole Davis with the Management Information Systems office spoke on the countyís annual internet contract. Davis said the renewal of the contract will have the county pay a $330.96 increase to THEnet for its internet service. Commissioner Jody Crump asked Davis about a recent loss of internet service at the courthouse. Davis reported that the problem was with AT&T on Thursday that caused some of the courthouseís equipment to go down. After the county fixed its end of the problem, AT&T did the same, and David informed the commissioners everybody is back up now. The county will save over $800 on its maintenance contract with Canon by reducing the number of copies being produced by the copy machine in the 128th District Court.

The Liberty County Sheriff's Office has reported that a 32-year-old man from Orange committed suicide Saturday while in the Liberty County Jail. Captain Ken DeFoor said Jeremy Keith Shomo was found dead in his single-person cell about 5:40 p.m. Saturday.
The captain said Shomo apparently hanged himself with a shoe lace attached to a shower hook. He said Shomo had been placed in a cell near the nurse's station because jail personnel believed he was faking seizures. Shomo did not show typical symptoms of a medical issue, according to the jail.
The Texas Rangers are now investigating the death and the autopsy results will not be available for a few days.
Shomo and his wife were arrested on Wednesday April 15 by City of Liberty Police for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, according to Captain DeFoor. only carries summations of news stories.  For the full story including interviews, tune in to KOGT Vocal News at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30, and 11:50am, as well as 4:30 and 5:30pm weekdays.

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