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The polar vortex earlier in the month has turned Orange to orange, red, gold, deep purple and sienna. Trees that do not usually change in this region's subtropical climate are putting on a show for Thanksgiving. "We're seeing extra color now," said Rick Lewandowski, director of Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center. Areas in the north U.S. known for colorful fall foliage have frequent cold nights and warm days to trigger the changing hues of the trees. "We don't have that here and we don't usually get the color," he said. Orange County has a subtropical climate. Often, the invasive, non-native Chinese tallow trees are the only ones displaying fall colors. However, the cold wave that dropped the temperatures below freezing a couple of weeks ago has triggered the trees to put on a show against a bright blue sky. People have been stopping to take photographs of the leaves and that might be a good idea. A strong wind or a rain will send the fall colors falling to the ground. It might take a year, or several years, before the weather makes the trees produce another colorful crop of leaves. Lewandowski said Shangri La has many trees displaying the fall hues and the Christmas decorations have gone up. The gardens and nature center will be open Friday and Saturday for visitors.

All non-emergency offices for Orange County and the cities of Orange, West Orange, Pinehurst, Bridge City and Vidor will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving. Vidor will be the only city with garbage service on Thursday. Garbage pickup schedules are:
Orange: No pickup Thursday. Regular Thursday routes will be on Friday and Friday customers are scheduled for Saturday.
Pinehurst: No Friday pickup. Garbage trucks will run Saturday.
West Orange: No Friday pickup. Routes will be run on Saturday.
Bridge City: No pickup on Thursday. Regular Thursday routes will be on Friday and Friday customers are scheduled for Saturday.
Vidor: The city sanitation department will run regular routes on Thursday and Friday.

Marriage Licenses Issued By The Office of Karen Jo Vance, Orange County Clerk For the Week of November 24, 2014 through November 26, 2014. Blaine R. Caillier and Regina C. Toohey, Ed W. Granger and Carol D. Holmes, Juan L. Gomez Moreno and Maria L. Moreno Castaneda, Danny DeJohn and Vivian M. Kelly. Teddy J. Breaux and Breanna R. McQuerry, Marcellus D.R. Thomas and Alexandra B. Purcell, Jacob A.W. Trevino and Ivey M. Benoit.

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

Peggy Claybar, of Orange, who works as a nurse at Christus St. Mary Hospital in Port Arthur, was recently honored with the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses.  DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. The Foundation was formed in November, 1999, by the family of J. Patrick Barnes who died at age 33 of complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura.  Barnes received such good care, the foundation was created to publicly honor other nurses who have shown incredible skill and passion. 

West Orange resident David Richard is having a problem with his neighbor’s property.  Richard lives at 2511 Smith Street in West Orange and next to his home is more than an acre of undeveloped private property.  The problem Richard states is the grass in the neighboring lot is about 6-feet high.  As a result of the un-mowed grass Richard has found a snake in his clothes dryer, seen numerous rats scampering around, and a week ago a herd of feral hogs ran by his home.  Richard knows that city ordinances do not require the land be mowed, but he requested the city council consider an ordinance making it mandatory that the grass be mowed at least twice a year on these lots.  Code Enforcement Officer Dean Fuller in West Orange says the current city ordinance allows for vacant undeveloped property larger than 1 acre not to be mowed.  Many lots like this are used as pasture for livestock.  Fuller indicates the West Orange City Council would need to rescind the current ordinance while drafting a new ordinance to meet the criteria requested by Richard.  Only with a new ordinance requiring periodic mowing could Fuller enforce the cutting of the grass.

Residents on Whippoorwill Street in Pinehurst could be thankful to be driving on a new road very soon. The City Council in Pinehurst approved Tuesday night an agreement with contractors to resurface the street with asphalt. City Administrator Joe Parkhurst told the council about the agreement reached between the city and the contractors to pave the street at an additional cost of about $46,000. Parkhurst informed the council that originally there was to be a 50/50 split of the additional cost, but since their previous meeting the contractors have agreed to a 60/40 split with city to pay $18,495 for its 40 percent. Engineer Nestor Barroeta says the contractors striped the road Tuesday for their machinery and the paving should be done Wednesday. Barroeta added that the paving should take about four hours to maybe half a day to complete. Shon Branham was approved as the new fire chief by the Pinehurst City Council following his selection by the Pinehurst Volunteer Fire Department. Branham has been a fireman for close to two decades. He previously served as a fireman in Bridge City for 17 years. Branham retired a couple of years ago, but says he was coaxed into returning to fire fighting in Pinehurst about a year and a half ago. During his time with the Pinehurst department Branham has served as assistant training officer, head training officer, and doing the job of fire chief handling anything that needed to be taken care of. Branham replaces Justin Partain who resigned for personal reasons about a month ago. The Pinehurst City Council accepted the recommendation of a committee to award contracts for administering a block grant for the city and a contract for the engineering work on the grant. City Administrator Joe Parkhurst made the recommendation to the council that David Waxman & Associates be contracted to administer the grant and Schaumburg & Polk handle the engineering portion of the grant. The block grant is for $275,000 and will be used to improve sewer lines in Pinehurst. There was no opposition to a request for placing a manufactured home on Mockingbird at the city council meeting. Pinehurst Code Enforcement Officer Harry Vine recommended the city council grant the application saying it would be a good use for the property. Vine did say that he received one non-consenting reply from a neighbor in the vicinity of where the mobile home is to be placed. The neighbor was concerned about drainage between the two properties. The city council asked Vine to follow-up on the drainage problem. Parkhurst informed the council of replacing water well #2 at a cost of $19,570, water well #1 needs a new pump which may cost the same as the replacement for well #2, repairs to one waste water clarifier has been completed and a second clarifier needs about $5,000 in repairs, the requirement of installing vent fans for a chlorine room, and the need to purchase a new slope mower for $17,000 during the city administrator report.

Commissioners’ Court held a public hearing Monday morning to hear comments on whether to create a Transportation Reinvestment Zone or TRZ for the proposed FM 299 in the Vidor area. Maps of the contemplated TRZ were available showing three possible zones that could be used separately or all together. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux explained the criteria for the TRZ is to establish areas for the development of the new road which will help pay for the initial investment to build the road. Thibodeaux has indicated that although he is in favor of the loop, he is not in favor of the county having to take responsibility of paying back a $40 million loan just to build a loop. The Court must wait 30 days after closing the public hearing before taking any action on the TRZ. Public opinion on the proposed Vidor Loop or FM 299 was mixed during the public hearing in the Commissioners’ Court. Citizens voiced support for the Transportation Reinvestment Zone to be created by the loop and others were very much against it. Robert Viator, Jr. who serves on the Vidor City Council does not believe the investment will be worthwhile to Orange County. Viator stated after establishing the reinvestment zone and possible tax abatements to certain businesses the county would be locked into tax revenues that would limit future commissioners’ courts. Real Estate broker Jimmy Smith thinks Vidor is booming now and the loop will boost the tax revenues for the Vidor area and all of Orange County predicting with the pipeline coming to Orange County that there could be 20,000 new homes in the near future on that end of the county. Commissioners heard the public comments concerning the proposed FM 299 and the establishment of a TRZ for the Vidor Loop. Commissioner Jody Crump who requested the public hearing was pleased with the citizens’ input. Crump said there positive and negative comments, but from those comments the court heard Monday in this public hearing the court can make decision when the matter comes up as an agenda item possibly at the December 29 meeting. Commissioner David Dubose asked several questions of Duane Gordy who is involved in establishing the Transportation Reinvestment Zone around the proposed loop in Vidor. Dubose also felt the hearing went well it was a fact gathering opportunity for the county and the commissioners. A bunch of questions were asked, a bunch of answers were given, and Dubose added they will see what happens. Gordy admitted that many of the numbers for return on investment need revision, and Gordy told the commissioners he will take to a week or 2 to rework the numbers and get to the court with the new figures. No action was taken Monday since it was just a public hearing. During the commissioners’ regular meeting Monday afternoon they approved paying bills amounting to about $375,000 and approved accepting a bid for purchasing delinquent county property on Crepe Myrtle in Bridge City for $2,350. Tax Assessor-Collector Lynda Gunstream presented her report of October collections of taxes for the county and gave a reminder that Texas is going to one sticker for vehicle wind shields in 2015. More information is available at the Tax Office at the courthouse or at  -Dan Perrine, KOGT-

Turkey?  "Cast Your Vote" in this weeks poll

The City Council in West Orange approved establishing a reinvestment zone for a portion of Foreman Road Monday night.  The zone will be the area of a new facility being built by Southeast Texas Industries (STI) according to County Economic Development Director Bobby Fillyaw.  Because the STI facility will be in the city limits of West Orange, Fillyaw told the city council the establishment of the reinvestment zone should come from the city as oppose to the county, but West Orange would not be obligated to any other actions, however, the establishing of the reinvestment zone would allow Orange County to move forward with its plans for that particular project.  In other business the council approved bid specifications for contractors to use when bidding on the demolition of several structures in West Orange that have been condemned by the council.  The city will advertise for bids on November 30, and a pre-bid meeting is scheduled for December 9 at which time interested contractors will receive copies of the 200-page specifications.  Mike Stelly public works director with West Orange says the bids will be opened on December 16.

A Vidor man and a Mauriceville man are facing disorderly conduct charges after they used their vehicles to fight each other on Interstate 10 Friday. Orange police received five 911 calls about the two eastbound vehicles. Officer S.V. Ward reported the vehicles were first reported near FM 1442 about 1:15 p.m. The two vehicles continued the disputed into Orange, refusing to stop for officers in patrol cars. Officer Ward said the two vehicles pulled in front of each other and put on their brakes. They also used the highway shoulder to pass other vehicles on the interstate. Officer Ward said the two vehicles stopped at 510 Third Street by the Orange Villa Nursing Home. Two men got out of the vehicles and were fighting. Ward said the language they were using shocked the nursing home residents. Justin Lee Gilley of Vidor was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct. He also faces a misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia. Officer Ward reported recovering a glass pipe used for smoking drugs. Jacob Kyle Salvaggio of Mauriceville was arrested for misdemeanor disorderly conduct.

Late Friday night, police arrested a 52-year-old man for deadly conduct after shots were fired in a house on North 10th Street near Interstate 10. Officer Byrun Perry reported that police were called to the 2600 block of North 10th about 11 p.m. He said a man and wife had been fighting. The woman left and the man fired a revolver around the house. When the ammunition ran out of the revolver, he picked up a rifle and fired it at the front door frame. Troy Sims was arrested for the misdemeanor charge. Police took two pistols, a rifle and a shotgun for safe keeping.

Police Captain Keith Longlois and outdoor guide Captain Chuck Uzzle were out for duck on Saturday when they got a truck, a stolen one. Longlois wrote a report for the Orange Police Department about how they found some teenage runaways from a home in Baytown with a stolen truck. Longlois said he and Uzzle were driving in Louisiana near Johnsons Bayou Saturday morning when they saw five youth walking on the highway after they passed a stalled Ford F 350 with its hood up. They drove the youth to the store on the Texas side when Longlois decided to question the teens. One admitted that they had run away and had stolen the truck. Port Arthur police and Cameron Parish Sheriff’s Department dealt with the teens and the truck.

Orange police investigated three burglaries in recent days. A resident in the 400 block Schley on Friday reported that a Playstation 4 and two controllers had been stolen. An alarm Friday at 6 p.m. called officers to a residence in the 3600 block of Ridgemont Drive. Police discovered that someone had forced open a back door. Drawers and cabinets in the kitchen and bedroom had been opened. The sofa in the living room had been turned over. However, the owner could not find anything missing. Sunday afternoon, a burglary was reported at an apartment on 37th Street. The tenant had a DVD player, a 32-inch TV and a Nextbook stolen.

School kids, teachers and staff will likely be giving thanks for a week of vacation. All public schools in Orange County along with Community Christian School will be dismissed Friday for the whole Thanksgiving week. Classes won't start until December 1. The school districts out for a week are Bridge City, Deweyville, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Orangefield, Vidor and West Orange-Cove. St. Mary School will have classes on Monday and Tuesday. The school's vacation will be Wednesday through Friday.  Pictured are Thanksgiving classes from Bridge City and Orangefield Elementary.
So What Was The Holdup On Park Ave. Friday??

Police had to block off part of Park Ave. for hours Friday after tree cutters didn't have the proper equipment to cut down this extra large dead tree.  But they had already cut the tree 75% of the way and it was left teetering in a stiff wind while threatening to fall on several homes near Park and 20th St.  Another tree service had to be summoned and dropped the tree after sundown.


Grace Lutheran Church, along with the Southeast Texas Model Railroad Club would like to invite you to National Model Railroad Open House at the church on Saturday November 29 and Sunday November 30. Times will be from 10 am to 5 pm on Saturday and Noon to 4 pm on Sunday. There will also be five (5) other area layouts open on Saturday and two of those layouts will be open on Sunday at the same times. The area layouts are: Steve Barkley’s Northern Pacific layout in Beaumont, Mickey Taylors Port Taylor & Pacific layout in Bridge City, Dave Cummings N and G scale layouts in Groves, Tommy Drake and Albert Klehn - N scale layouts at Old First Orange Baptist Church in Orange, and George Barnes Union Pacific layout near Mauriceville will all be open on Saturday. Mickey Taylor, Tommy Drake, and Albert Klehn will also have their layouts open on Sunday. Anthony Sava will be on hand at Grace Lutheran Church with his ever popular Lego Train layout on both Saturday and Sunday. The Lego Trains are becoming a big attraction for this weekend and many different types of Lego trains will be here to watch. All of these layouts are included in the Houston Fall Tour of Model Railroads. Check out for more information. Come enjoy the magical world of miniature trains, with wonderful scenery and track plans. See the buildings and towns as the trains run through them. There will be both passenger and freight trains running on all the layouts; bring the kids to see Thomas the Tank Engine run on the different layouts.

Found on Teal Road. Contact to get her back or adopt her is 540-0299.
The Kiwanis Club of Orange, Texas is proud to present “A Traditional Bluegrass Gospel Music Review” fundraiser featuring the Marksmen Quartet. The concert will be held Monday, December 15, 2014, at 7 p.m. at the LCM High School Auditorium. For more than thirty years The Marksmen Quartet has become one of the top bluegrass gospel groups in the nation. They have been voted Country Gospel Group of the Year by the Texas Gospel Music Association and have been inducted into the Texas Gospel Music Hall of Fame. Tickets for the show are $11.  Kiwanis Club fundraisers support projects including the Backpack Program, local Key Clubs, the Orange Christmas Parade, and college scholarships for local high school students. Come listen to the sweet sounds of the Marksmen Quartet while supporting our wonderful community! For more information about the quartet and samples of their music, visit

Local Weather Radar

Bridge City High School Principal’s Honor Roll

The old Pine Grove housing project is gone. The site along West Park Avenue is scraped clean of all buildings. Only a couple of large oak trees remain. The board of the Orange Housing Authority on Tuesday received updates on construction of three new apartment complexes replacing old ones. The next step for the Pine Grove site will be the installation of underground utilities and earthwork preparations for laying the foundations for eight new buildings with a total 66 apartments. At this time, the completion date is set for September. Buildings at the Sikes Road complex are way under construction for four buildings with a total of 70 apartments. Some of the buildings will have three stories. Already, windows, doors and siding are going up in building No. 1. The first building is targeted to be finished in late February and the last building in early April. The former Velma Jeter apartments on Allie Payne Road have also been demolished. Because of the recent rains, installation of the underground utilities and the earthwork has not been finished. Contractors expect to begin pouring foundations in about two weeks. That new complex will have 10 buildings for 80 units plus a club building.  The complex is expected to be completed in late May.

Bridge City-Orangefield Rotary Club recognized Bridge City's Haley Hodkinson and Orangefield's Claire Trawhon as the Students Of The Month for November. Parents are Krissy Reese and Clint Hodgkinson. She plans on pursuing a degree in nursing from Lamar and specializing in pediatrics.Claire has been accepted to Texas A&M University and plans to pursue a degree psychology. She is the daughter of Bridget Trawhon and Troy Trawhon.

West Orange-Stark Middle School & High School 2nd 6-Weeks Honor Roll

The Texas Department of Transportation is closing alternating lanes on the Veterans Memorial Bridge for maintenance work. The closings are set to go on through the middle of March depending on weather.
Eastbound traffic on Highway 87, also known as Highway 73, uses the Veterans Memorial Bridge to travel from Jefferson County to Orange County. Alternating left and right closures on the bridge will be daily from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
TxDOT is also building a new bridge on Interstate 10 at the Neches River. A TxDOT spokesman on Tuesday reported that the work has been delayed because of unexpected debris in the riverbed. Also, concrete work has been affected by the cold weather.
The eastbound lanes from Beaumont to Orange County are now targeted to be open at the estimated date of April 9th. During the summer, engineers hoped the eastbound lanes would be open this month.
TxDOT will closed the eastbound Interstate 10 entrance ramp from downtown Beaumont beginning January 23. The closing has been delayed until after the holiday season.
The westbound Interstate 10 exit ramp to go downtown Beaumont is set to be closed on April 10.
The final new bridge construction is targeted to be finished in August 2016.

2014 Atlantic Hurricane Names
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