|On Thursday May 28, 2015 at 12:30 p.m. The Orange Police Department, Orange Fire Department, and Acadian EMS responded to the report of a boating accident on Adams Bayou in Orange, Texas. Emergency officials found that the two boats involved in the accident had made their way to a boat launch know as Lottie’s Landing. Lottie’s Landing is located off of DuPont Drive in an part of Orange, Texas known as The Cove. There it was learned that a twenty-eight foot long crew boat, captained by a forty-six year old man from New Iberia, Louisiana, had collided with a sixteen foot long fishing boat operated by a forty-four year old man from Orange, Texas and his eight year old daughter. The eight year old girl was transported by medical helicopter to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. She was conscious and alert at the investigation sight, but the full extent of her injures is unknown. The man operating the fishing vessel did not seek medical attention. The captain of the crew boat was uninjured. The investigation of the accident is being investigated by the Game Wardens from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the United States Coast Guard.|
A Beaumont woman was killed and another person was seriously injured Thursday morning in a two vehicle head-on collision on Interstate 10 near Taylor’s Bayou in Jefferson County. Department of Public Safety Trooper Stephanie Davis reports that at about 1:15 Thursday morning the driver of a pickup truck was traveling the wrong way Eastbound in the inside lane of Westbound Interstate 10. The pickup truck struck a white passenger vehicle in the same lane killing the driver of the white passenger vehicle. Upon impact the vehicles caught fire. The driver of the pickup was transported by helicopter to a hospital in Beaumont. He is in stable condition. Trooper Davis says the deceased is Hannah Elizabeth Willis, age 24, of Beaumont. The accident closed Eastbound I-10 for two hours, and Westbound Interstate 10 was closed for about five hours to remove the debris from the crash. The investigation into the accident is continuing, but alcohol is suspected to be a contributing factor according to Davis.
|For the second time in recent history the Orange Fire Department held a pinning ceremony for multiple personnel at Central Fire Station. From left, newly promoted Captain Jeremy Burch, Captain Jason Maddox, Captain Cody Caples, and Captain Randy LaSalle where honored by family and friends for their hard work and dedication it took to prepare for and pass the promotional process for the rank of Captain. All four men have served the department for at least four years serving at the rank of Firefighter. The vacancies created in this rank where due to the recent promotion of two Captains to the rank of Battalion Chief and the retirement of two other Captains.|
The International Paper mill is on the way to be annexed by the City of Orange. City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre Tuesday told the Orange City Council the annexation began during talks with the company during industrial district contract negotiations. He said the company wants to keep costs consistent. Two public hearings on the annexation will be held. No other properties are in the planned addition to the city.
The annexation will be part of the city’s industrial district contract with the company. Oubre said the company will give the city annual payments not based on the tax rate. The company will increase the payments every two years. International Paper will continue to get city fire and police service.
The contract negotiations are not complete. The finished contract will become public information and need council approval.
New District 2 Councilmember Wayne Guidry asked how the annexation will affect the employees at the plant and the Little Cypress-Mauriceville school district. Oubre said the city agreement will have no affect on the school taxes. The 15-year-old contract will guarantee the company's employment levels and hold the company to make improvements to the mill, according to Oubre.
Highway 87 itself, but not the land on the sides, is part of the city. The city can legally annex only the paper mill and the International Paper land without annexing other properties because the company land touches city land. With the company cooperating in the annexation, the city can negotiate whether or not to provide water and sewer services.
The paper mill, under previous owners and International Paper, has had industrial district contracts with the city for nearly 50 years. The mill makes payments instead of full taxes. The city provides fire and police service.
In December 2010, when the mill was owned by Temple-Inland, the company asked the city to provide all fire service so it could be removed from the Orange County Emergency Services District 3 with the Little Cypress Fire Department. The request came a month after the fire department began collecting a 1.5 percent sales tax that covered all items produced and sold at the plant. Even though the city agreed, the arrangement was not legal. In 2014 the Little Cypress Fire Department received $474,165 in sales taxes, according to the Texas Comptroller’s Office. In a 2013 interview, ESD 3 President Joe Parkhurst told KOGT most of the sales tax collections came from the paper mill. He said the original expectation for the sales tax was to collect about $5,000 a month, which would be $60,000 a year.
When International Paper becomes part of the city, it will no longer pay the sales tax or property taxes to the Little Cypress Fire Department. In a letter to citizens in the emergency services district, Parkhurst said the annexation will devastate and cripple the emergency services for the area. He said International Paper property and sales taxes have allowed the district to keep paid certified fire fighters and emergency medical technicians on duty. Without the income, the Little Cypress Fire Department will have to rely on volunteers, he said in the letter.
Cloeren Incorporated is ready to invest $6 million for improvements to the manufacturing facilities in Orange. Tuesday the Orange City Council approved a resolution declaring Cloeren as a state Enterprise Project. The resolution could lead to the company getting state and local tax breaks and other economic development incentives.
City Economic Development Director Jay Trahan told the council Cloeren has been in Orange since 1981 and is committed to keeping 216 jobs. Currently the company has 201 full-time jobs and 15 part-time jobs. The company pays wages 120 percent of the average weekly local wage of $1,101. Cloeren Incorporated is a privately-held corporation with customers around the world. Cloeren manufactures extrusion equipment for the plastics industry.
In other business, the council conducted a public hearing for spending $40,000 in federal Community Development Block Grants for non-profit service groups. City Grants Planner Sandra Wilson said a community committee recommends the expenditures. The money will have $6,670 going to the Southeast Texas Hospice. Then five more groups will get $6,666 each. The groups are GOALS literacy program, Orange Community Action Association, Stable Spirit, Jackson Community Center and Samaritan Counseling. New District 2 Councilmember Wayne Guidry asked about the money going to Stable Spirit, which is in Rose City. Stable Spirit uses horses to help youth with emotional problems or handicaps. City staff said the city's payment is used to help people who live in Orange.
Also, the council approved a budget for $269,582 in federal 2015 Community Development Block Grant and Section 108 Loan Program. The budget has $90,000 for code enforcement, $60,000 for clearance and demolition, $57,666 for street improvements and $61,916 to pay the city for administration costs of the grant.
The council paid tribute to the Gate City Commandery No. 43 and the Gate City Guild No. 42 for the Adopt a Street Program. The two civic groups are cleaning trash from Second Street and part of Third Street from John Avenue to Farragut Avenue.
In other business, the council elected District 4 Councilmember Mary McKenna to serve as mayor pro tem. At-Large Councilmember Bill Mello originally nominated District 3 Councilmember Essie Bellfield, but she said she had served before and to let someone else have the position. At-Large Councilmember Larry Spears Jr. was elected to serve on the City of Orange Economic Development Corporation board of directors. A council position on the board was open after Theresa Beauchamp left the council because of term limits.
A tree fell on transmission and distribution lines for Entergy about 2 a.m. Wednesday, knocking out power to the Oak Creek Village and International neighborhoods in north Orange. The 245 customers went without electricity for 12 hours. Entergy Service Manager Johnny Trahan said the tree caused tension on lines and caused a hazard for hand removal. The company had to get a large piece of equipment nicknamed a "giraffe" to use long arms to remove the tree safely. Then crews had to get two sets of lines back in working order. A similar incident happened 15 months ago. However, the residents in the area are set for some relief. Trahan said Entergy engineers have designed a switch system that if similar problems develop in the area, service can be switched around to leave a smaller amount of people without power. He hopes the switch project can start in June.
A heavy thunderstorm moved through Orange County about 6 a.m. Wednesday dropping more than an inch of rain in about half an hour in some areas. A number of streets flooded but drained as the rain subsided. The West Orange-Cove school district delayed the start of classes an hour and a half because of the weather. The Sabine River Authority gauge on Pier Road near downtown Orange had 1.25 inch within 30 minutes beginning about 6 a.m. The gauge had a total of 2 inches at 10 a.m. The National Weather Service at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday reported the Sabine River at Deweyville was at 26 feet, two feet above flood level. The morning forecast was for the river to rise to 26.9 feet by Saturday.
Orange County Economic Development was the subject of a workshop Wednesday. Economic Development Director Bobby Fillyaw met with the Commissioners Court to discuss current and future strategies. Fillyaw informed the court that since the county Economic Development Corporation was created about 10 years ago it has had a significant impact on the county in ways not directly connected to its primary function of economic development. Fillyaw reminded the commissioners that it was EDC that went to Austin and spoke to the state legislature to start getting the county Hotel Occupancy Tax funds which have totaled close to a million dollars and it was the EDC that is conducting the levy project with Army Corps of Engineers getting the grant funds to do that. County Judge Brint Carlton questioned Fillyaw if he could determine the overall economic impact his office has had in the county. Fillyaw mentioned grants secured for both the Port of Orange and the Port of Beaumont, a $6 million dollar impact from the two fishing tournaments that were held in Orange, and he added it would take some research and a little time anyway to determine exactly how much impact the EDC has earned for the county, but it is in the millions and millions of dollars. Fillyaw concluded the EDC is currently working on 12 projects that could have an impact of close to $10 billion for Orange County.
U.S. Representative Brian Babin, who took office in January, held an open house at his Orange office Tuesday. The office on Green Avenue, which has housed local congressional representatives from more than 20 years, offers assistance for people with problems involving the federal government on things like social security and veterans benefits. Babin met with many local officials and cut an orange ribbon as part of a Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce ceremony.
A resolution for the Golden Triangle Militia was considered by the Commissioners Court Tuesday. Commander of the Golden Triangle Militia David Smith said he has been working over a year for the passing of the resolution by the county to recognize his militia group under state code 431 which has existed since 1987 and has not been adopted by any county in the state. County Judge Brint Carlton stated that there had been a misunderstanding to the intent of the resolution the Court was considering regarding the local militia group. Judge Carlton commented that the proposed resolution was not to recognize, create or authorize the militia since the group already exists. Instead the resolution was to simply thank them as the county would thank all persons who volunteer to help the county in times of trouble or need. The court voted unanimously to take no action on the resolution pertaining to just the Golden Triangle Militia. Instead Commissioners Court voted unanimously to accept a resolution recognizing and thanking all groups who serve Orange County. Two workshops were held Tuesday by the Commissioners Court concerning items that were on the agenda for the meeting of the Court. The first workshop was to discuss a revised retiree’s supplemental insurance plan. During the Commissioners Court session the court voted to take no action on the item at this time. It may be June 8 before Commissioners will consider the revised plan again. A clerical error listed a public meeting concerning the residential culvert policy as a Public Workshop instead of a Public Hearing. As a result the court could not take any action on revisions proposed by County Engineer Clark Slacum. The revisions Slacum is proposing include three possible increases in the fee charged for the county to build a culvert at a residence and would restrict the location where the county builds culverts to county maintained roads while excluding state highways and FM roads. A Public Hearing will need to be advertised and then held before the Court can vote during a regular meeting on the revised policy. The Commissioners did approve a revision in the policy for use of the Orange County Expo Center. The revised plan allows clients to use the center for setting up events only 13 hours a day, from 8 AM to 1 PM and from 4 PM to 12 midnight. Previously clients could use the facility for 16 hours from 8 AM to 12 midnight with no break.
|KOGT Salutes the Class of 2015!
Here are your Valedictorians and Salutatorians
|"Class of 2015" Graduation Dates|
|Community||May 21, 7pm at CCS|
|West Orange-Stark||May 29, 6:30|
|Bridge City||May 29, 8pm at L. Ward Stadium|
|Orangefield||May 29, 7:30 at FL McLain|
|Vidor||May 29, 7pm. Montagne Center|
|Deweyville||May 29, 7pm at DHS Gym|
|Little Cypress-Mauriceville||May 30, 2pm Montagne Center|
Three newly elected members of the Pinehurst City Council were seated Tuesday night. Sarah McLendon begins her first term on the city council. McLendon is excited about working with the other council members and the city administrator. She is glad to being on the team. Returning to the Pinehurst City Council is T. W. Permenter. He has served previously on the council and also as mayor. Permenter said he gives his full backing to the beautification project being promoted by City Administrator Robbie Hood for the city of Pinehurst. Dan Mohon was also re-elected to another term on the city council. John Zerko was unanimously elected by the council as mayor pro-tem. The council members were assigned duties for the coming year. Zerko and Mike Anderson will serve on the police negotiation team. Mohon and McLendon were appointed to the budget committee. Permenter will work on the Labor Day Picnic Committee. Swearing in new council members took up the bulk of Tuesday night’s city council meeting in Pinehurst, but the new council did conduct some city business. Plans were approved for the annual Labor Day Picnic in Pinehurst. Details will be refined the next three months for the picnic which is scheduled for Monday, September 7. The city council approved the amended Sex Offender Ordinance as presented by Pinehurst Police Chief Fred Hanauer. City Administrator Hood updated the council on the work city employees are doing to help beautify the infrastructure and thoroughfares in the city. The public works department has been picking up litter including cigarette butts while trimming and edging along streets. Hood said the purpose of the beautification is to give Pinehurst a small community oriented mind which he believes will help attract new businesses to the city. Hood added the public works employees deserve a pat on the back for their efforts.
A Dodge 2500 pickup truck was traveling on Park Avenue so fast Sunday evening that it went airborne at the sloped railroad track crossing. The truck apparently flew for feet yards and landed on top of a couple riding their Harley Davidson motorcycle. The crash killed 52-year-old Riley Portie and his wife, 50-year-old Emily Portie. Tuesday afternoon Orange police blocked off Park Avenue from 10th Street to 13th Street for further investigation of the crash. 29-year-old Travis OBrian Collins (right) of Orange has been charged with two counts of intoxicated manslaughter. The collision was about 7:30 p.m. After the initial collision, the truck, with the motorcycle underneath it, traveled for several feet past the intersection with 12th Street. According to the affidavit of probable cause by Orange Police Captain Keith Longlois, both vehicles were traveling west on Park Avenue. Collins' brother was the passenger in the truck. He told police his brother had been drinking heavily all day and was traveling at a high rate of speed down Park Avenue, ignoring traffic laws, including the four-way stop at 10th Street near the railroad tracks. Services for the Porties are on the KOGT Obituary page.
Orange police are investigating the armed robbery of a man who was resting on a couch in his house the 2400 block of 16th Street Sunday about 1 p.m. The man told police a boy age 12 to 15 years old knocked at his door. When the man answered, the boy asked for a glass of water and came into the house. The youth put a semi-automatic pistol at the man's head and asked for his wallet. Then the youth ran away into Sunset Park across the street from the house where the man lives. Officer J.T. Gillen said police were first called to a report of a man disregarding traffic and running in the street. It had been the man after the robbery. Acadian Ambulance checked the victim to make sure he had no medical issues. Gillen reported the robber is described as black, about 5-feet-five-inches tall and wearing dark pants.
Orange police Saturday night at 10:25 arrested a man wanted in Louisiana for attempted murder. They recovered two knives and a machete. Officer D.Y. Myers reported four police officers, including one from Pinehurst, went to a house in the 2300 block of Monterrey Street after learning the man might be at the house. 30-year-old Anthony James Granger was arrested as he went out a side door after a captain knocked on the front door. Myers said Granger lay on the ground when ordered and was handcuffed. The officer said Granger had a fixed knife in a sheath on his belt and a folding pocket. Police also found a machete on the ground but could not determine whether Granger had been carrying it.
The concession stand at Memorial Park on Eddleman Road sustained about $2,000 worth of damage during a burglary discovered Friday. A woman working at the concession stand called Orange police at 11:30 a.m. Friday after discovering the break-in. Officer D.B. Mulhollan reported the burglar damaged an outside wall to get an opening into the ceiling area. Then the burglar forced the ceiling inward. Two iron bars were also cut. The woman at the stand reported things were moved around and left on the floor.
Burglaries and thefts reported to the Orange Police Department during the holiday weekend included: Burglary, 9:56 p.m. Friday, 300 block of Bridal Wreath. Jewelry, videos and TV equipment were stolen. Theft, 10:46 a.m. Saturday, 2300 block Godwin Circle. A 5-foot by 8-foot white utility trailer was taken from where it was parked beside a house. Burglary of a vehicle, 1:20 p.m. Saturday, 1800 block Cub Trail. An HP laptop computer worth about $2,000 was stolen from a pickup truck parked inside a garage. Burglary, 9:12 p.m. Saturday, 2300 block Third Street. An X-Box game system, headset, wireless control and games were stolen.
Five members of Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School’s Texas Association of Future Educators won first place in District to earn the right to participate in the State Meet. Unfortunately, the competition was in Lubbock and was too far away for the girls to travel for the competition. Winning First Place in “Exploring Learning Challenges” were Celeste Miller and Heather Lewis; Molly Winfrey took First in “TAFE Moment” and Abigail Turner and Alyssa Humphrey won First in “Children's Literature Book.” Babs Foster is the sponsor for TAFE. From left to right, are Heather Lewis, Celeste Miller, Abigail Turner, Molly Winfrey and Alyssa Humphrey.
Mauriceville Elementary’s Student Council has named officers for the 2015-2016 School Year. They are President - Nicole McCormick, Vice- President Kendal Lockler, Secretary- Hallie Maddox, Treasurer- Charlie Davis, Parliamentarian - Lorelei Babb and Head Senator- Brooks Pattillo. The Senators for the year are Tristen Bryant, Gracie Johnson, Evan Landry, Catie Strother and Cole Johnson. Front row from left are Nicole McCormick, Kendal Lockler, Hallie Maddox, Lorelei Babb and Brooks Pattillo. Second row from left, Charlie Davis, Cole Johnson, Tristan Bryant, Gracie Johnson, Evan Landry and Catie Strother.
|Someone broke into the LCM Bear Necessities Store early Sunday morning which is the Booster Club store next the concession stand inside Bear Stadium. Booster Club President Jennifer Umbenhaur said they have surveillance video of a white male carrying tools and breaking thru the wall of the store, trashing the inside and stealing items. He also stole the Booster Club Golf Cart and used it to rut up several fields. Umbenhaur believes there may have been more than one person involved as they continue to look at the schools security cameras. If you see the golf cart or know anything about this case please call the Orange County Sheriffs Dept.|
What's happening around town? Check the Happenings page!
|Saturday around 12:30 a box truck carrying snack cakes lost control traveling east on MacArthur Drive. If not for the truck hitting a tree, it may have ended up in Adams Bayou. The driver was taken to an area hospital with non-life threatening injuries.|
Kirk Ardoin was ready this weekend to plant the Kentucky wonder beans and sweet corn that he had grown from seed. Instead, he and wife Sherie, plus daughter Kylah were at the Orange Farmers Market Saturday morning hoping to sell the plants. "There's no use in planting them now," he said. "The garden's going to flood." They live near the Sabine River in Deweyville and are preparing for the flooding that is coming.
Newton County Judge Truman Dougharty on Friday signed a declaration for a local state of disaster because of the flooding along the river, particularly in Deweyville and Bon Wier. Kirk Ardoin said the family has been moving outside things on the ground like the lawnmower and tiller and other items to higher places. The family's garden was going strong with the squash and cucumbers almost ready to pick. He's planning on losing it. "The plants in the ground, there's nothing you can do something with that. You can't sandbag all around the garden," he said.
Sherie Ardoin said their house is raised and doesn't flood. The rest of their land will. Kirk said he will likely stay with someone in town when the flood waters come so he can get to work. They're making plans and moving things this weekend. "We're preparing for the worst," he said.
Late Saturday morning, the National Weather Service had the river at 24.2 feet at Deweyville, slightly over the flood stage of 24 feet. The morning prediction was for the river to get to 26.7 feet by Wednesday. At 26 feet, Deweyville will have moderate flooding. Residents in the Indian Lake and River Oaks area can expect their roads to be under water.
Marriage License: Issued By The Office of Brandy Robertson, Orange County Clerk For the Week of May 18, 2015 thru May 22, 2015. Zachary T. Graham and Jerusha A. Boutte; Christopher L. Pymm and Jessica A. Broussard, Donnie J. LeBlanc , Jr. and Kandace M. Carter, Sebastian F. Vasquez and Cydney R. Hines, Darrin J. Smith and Courtney J. Bellard, Celbert M. Brown, III and Dallis A. Garrett, Robert L. Maple and Sharon E. Rattray, Donald L. Mulhollan and Dannette K. Guidry, Samuel C. McLellan and Ann M. Kobloth, Michael T. Mincey and Brittany N. Conner, Paul L. Richardson and Tracy G. Tauzin, Cory W. Kovatch and Elizabeth A. McWatters.
The law firm for Orange County's delinquent taxes filed warrants against five businesses owing a total of $30,000 in back personal property taxes. The personal property covers inventory, furniture and fixtures. The sheriff's office served the warrants to take possession of the properties on Wednesday and Thursday. Steve Bird with the Linebarger Law Firm said today that three of the businesses have paid the amount in full. The other two are negotiating and will have paid the past due amounts by next month.
The businesses that have paid are Star Stop Number 4 at 1415 16th Street in Orange. The store owed $7,473. Also, Country Corner and Country Corner Liquor in Vidor. The business owed $6,309. Also the Shell Food Mart on Edgar Brown Drive in Orange, which owed $5,126. The two working out payments are the Vidor Shipley Donuts owing $4,553 and the Vidor Step N Go, owing $5,126. Orange County Tax Collector Lynda Gunstream said most 97 to 98 percent of the businesses in the county pay their taxes on time. She said the county works with those that are having problems paying but sometimes the warrants are the only way to get the owners to pay.
Sales tax returns from the month of March have been sent to Orange County, the cities and the Little Cypress Fire and Rescue Department, which is the only special district with a sales tax. The taxes are collected by the state comptroller's office and reimbursed to the entities. The payments are:
Bridge City: $152,223 for the month. $818,000 for the year, compared to $555,000 for the same period last year.
Orange: $324,254 for the month. $1.698 for the year, compared to $1.525 million for the same period last year.
Pinehurst: $60,600 for the month. $268,215 for the year, compared to $291,200 for the same period last year.
Vidor: $285,870 for the month. $1.09 million for the year, compared to $1.046 million for the same period last year.
West Orange: $108,200 for the month. $493,300 for the year, compared to $456,900 for the same period last year.
Orange County: $476,400 for the month. $2.2 million for the year, compared to $1.83 million for the same period last year.
Emergency Services District 3: $33,630 for the month. $141,000 for the year, compared to $122,770 for the same period last year.
Sixty-nine Lamar State College-Port Arthur students qualified for the 2015 spring semester President’s List, which recognizes students who earn a perfect 4.0 grade point average while completing at least 12 semester credit hours. Another 78 students qualified for the Deans’ List, which requires an overall grade point average of at least 3.6 for the semester.
Several students from Orange County were among those earning top academic honors.
Students qualifying for the President’s List in the Academic College, listed by hometown, are:
Vidor: Stephanie Evans.
Students qualifying for the President’s List in the Technical College, listed by hometown, are:
Bridge City: Chelsea Phillips, Casey Jackson.
Orange: Jordan Simpson.
Starks, La.: Nathan Ingalls.
Vidor: Laura Pineda, Jessica Jones.
Students qualifying for the Dean’s List in the Technical College, listed by hometown, are:
Bridge City: Whittney English.
Orange: Brandon Boze, Matthew Roe, Amber Riedel.
Vidor: Jeffrey Zernial.
|This dog is missing from the Tanglewood/Gloria area in West Orange. There is a $300 reward. Please call 4097797480 if you've seen him.|
Lamar State College-Orange Confers over 200 Degrees, Certificates and Awards at Spring 2015 Commencement. Four graduates of LSCO graduated with the designation of summa cum laude, with “highest honors.” Summa cum laude designation includes those students with grade point averages of 3.8 to 4.0. The students with this designation were Gerardo Santos Jr., Tyler James LeBlanc, Thomas Wayne Greenwell, and Charles Jordan Perry from Orange. Magna cum laude, or “high honors” designation, is awarded to graduates who earn GPAs of 3.65 to 3.79. The eight students receiving this recognition were Trevier Matias Gonzalez, Jordan Allen Williams, Cole Alan Ashby, Katherine E Thrailkille, and Tyrone Leon Spears, Orange; Carly Danae Drake and Rachel Cherie Lowery Rich, Vidor; Gregory Paul Gaspard, Vinton, La. Graduates