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Property taxes are normally due on January 31st but because this year the last day to pay falls on the weekend, the law considers payments timely if paid in the office or postmarked on the next regular business day. The tax office will be accepting payments on Monday, February 2nd, without penalty and interest. Because the February 2 postmark is crucial to avoid penalty and interest, taxpayers need to be aware of the last pick-up time posted for the mail box or have a post office clerk personally stamp the mail. Payments can be made at the Orange Tax Office located at 123 S. 6th Street or the Vidor Tax Office at 155 Wilson. Drop boxes located outside the front entrances are available for “after hour” payments. Tax payers also have the option of paying online by going to www.co.orange.tx.us/taxoffice and clicking on “Tax Records and Tax Payments Online”. The credit card service provider charges a fee of 2.5% of the total tax being paid or $1.50 if paid by an E-Check. Taxpayers who qualify under the homestead exemption of sixty-five or older, disabled, or disabled veteran or their surviving spouses, are eligible to set up a tax payment plan of four equal payments. Please call the office for additional information. For inquires, contact the tax office at (409) 882-7971 or (409) 769-0064

John and Glynis Gothia of Krewe du Bayou were crowned King and Queen of the 2015 Orange Mardi Gras Grande Ball held Saturday at the Orange County Expo Center.  Pageant photos are in the KOGT Photo Gallery. 

Orangefield High School Third Six-Weeks Honor Roll 2014-2015

Filing begins Wednesday to run for city councils and some of the school boards in Orange County. Incumbent council members in Bridge City and Orange have reached term limits in their cities and will not be able to run for re-election this year. In Orange, the single-member district No. 1 spot will be vacant because Theresa Adams Beauchamp has served her limit on terms. Orange is the only city in the county with single-member districts. To run for the position, a person must live within the district, which is generally the west side of Orange. Only people who live in the district may vote for the council member. The mayor's seat, currently held by Jimmy Sims, is also up for election this year. Every resident in the city may vote for the mayor. Bridge City council members Kevin Mott in Place 1 and Robert Simonton Jr. in Place 3 have served their term limits and will not be able to run. The other position open this year is for Place 5 now held by Richard Savoy. iling will end on Friday, February 27 and the election will be Saturday, May 9. Filing is conducted during regular business hours of the entity through the city secretary's office or the office of the school superintendent. Early voting will run April 27 through May 5.

Other positions open this year: Pinehurst City Council: At-large positions now held by Dan Barclay, Dan Mohon and Matt Chandler. Pinehurst does not have term limits.
West Orange City Council: Mayor Roy McDonald and at-large seats held by Mike Trahan and Charles "Chuck" Winter. West Orange does not have term limits.
West Orange-Cove CISD: At-large positions three-year terms are now held by Pete Amy and Eric Mitchell. Nathaniel Colbert was appointed by the school board in July to serve the unexpired term of Mary Kirksey. That unexpired term will also be up for election.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville CISD: Position 2 held by David Jones, Position 4 held by Tammy Rountree and Position 5 held b Don Anderson.
Bridge City ISD: Place 1 held by Lon Hubbard and Place 2 held by Kirk Ellender.
Orangefield and Deweyville school districts have board of trustee elections in November.

Local Weather Radar

Marriage Licenses Issued By The Office of Brandy Robertson, Orange County Clerk For the Week of January 19, 2015 through January 23, 2015. Jesse L. Gardner and Measie M. Thibodeaux, Jeffrey R. Grant and Sarah E. Miller, Joseph P. Mason and Marilyn J. Morvent, Michael R. Ferrell and Bryanna E. McFarland, Joseph M. Powell and Fanci L. Thompson, Van J. Smith and Debra K. Wilburn, Carl D. Graham and Bonnie M. Meehan.

Casey is a long haired dachshund that went missing in West Orange near Western & Westbury. Please help get her home!!! (409) 330-3499 or (409) 330-0331.

West Orange businesswoman Glenda Kinder has passed away at the age of 63. She owned and operated Glenda's Bake-a-Cake for nearly 39 years. Through the years she baked and decorated cakes, cupcakes and cookies for all kinds of occasions from birthdays to weddings, anniversaries and baby showers. She was a self-taught baker and her first shop was a little building next to her house on Austin Street. In 1990, she opened a bakery at 3300 Western Avenue in a professional building behind her residence. The shop has remained at the same address ever since. No arrangements have been announced at this time.

Marriage Licenses Issued By The Office of Brandy Robertson, Orange County Clerk For the Week of January 19, 2015 through January 23, 2015. Jesse L. Gardner and Measie M. Thibodeaux, Jeffrey R. Grant and Sarah E. Miller, Joseph P. Mason and Marilyn J. Morvent, Michael R. Ferrell and Bryanna E. McFarland, Joseph M. Powell and Fanci L. Thompson, Van J. Smith and Debra K. Wilburn, Carl D. Graham and Bonnie M. Meehan.

The West Orange-Cove school board will begin reviewing applications for superintendent on Monday. The meeting will start at 6 p.m. at the Education Service Center, 902 W. Park. The board will go into a closed-door executive session to discuss the applicants. The deadline for applying for the job was January 16. The board's timeline includes naming a lone finalist for the job in early March with the new superintendent to begin at the first of April. Monday's agenda includes a discussion, and possible action, for the contract of interim superintendent Dr. Silvia Martinez. The discussion is allowed in a closed-door session but any action must be made in public.

The January 26th meeting of the West Orange City Council has been cancelled. Their next meeting has been scheduled for Monday, February 9, 2015 beginning at 5:30 p.m. The agenda for this meeting will be posted on Friday prior to the meeting.

Orange firefighters kept an apartment fire contained early Thursday morning to keep the damage minimal. The apartment was vacant and no one had to be evacuated. The fire was reported at 2:20 a.m. at the Autumn Oaks Apartments, 3333 Ridgemont Drive. Deputy Fire Chief Lee Ann Brown said the apartment had previously had a fire and was being remodeled. The Thursday morning fire started in a small hallway closet and firefighters kept most of the damage to the area. Brown said the drywall in the apartment had slight smoke damage.

This weekend, 24 Little Cypress Junior High Choir members attended the Texas Music Educators Association annual Solo and Ensemble contest at Vidor Junior High School. Students prepare and memorize a solo to sing for a single judge who gives them a written comment sheet and a rating. Superior ratings (1st division) also receive a medal that is color coded according to the difficulty of the piece. LCJH had 21 students earn Superior, 1st division ratings and three students received Excellent ratings. For four of the 21, this is the second year to achieve a Superior. Those receiving Superiors include Rachel Belcher, Aidan Croaker, McKenzie Guillory, Haley Votava, Brianna Frenzel, Molly Gericke, Ashten Higginbotham, Reyanna Muse, Maggie Pigg, Julian Purgahn, and Grace Walters – all eighth graders. Superior ratings were also awarded to seventh graders Melanie Cupp, Gianna Gardner, Patti Ibarra, Declan Kendall, Lauren LaCour, AuBree LeJeune, Kayla Lingo, Sydney Peet, Hunter Perkins, and Shelby Smith. The three students who received Excellent ratings for their performance are seventh graders McKenzi Hillin and Zachary Sims and eighth grader Connor Reno. Stephanie Teague is choral director and Michelle Belcher is the accompanist.

An accident between these two vehicles occurred on FM1130 near Ben Mac Rd. Thursday morning at 7am.  Two were transported to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
 
American Airboat in Orange has sent several craft to Montana to help clean a 50,000 gallon oil spill in the Yellowstone River. Airboat crews are helping clean-up teams along the frozen river near Glendive, Montana. "Airboats are able to go right across ice, snow, mud or water," said Faron Floyd, vice president of the business off Interstate 10. The company sent the airboats to Montana and anytime a boat is sent to work, an experienced driver from American Airboat goes with it, he said. The company has sent 16-foot long Air Ranger craft with over 800 horse power.
   
Teachers and students at Little Cypress Intermediate School were greeted Wednesday morning with a bat flying up and down the hallway. Principal Michael Ridout said they were able to capture the winged intruder and released it outside. Before long about a dozen more bats were spotted in the gym and especially in the school’s library. Ridout indicated they found a small opening in a window frame where the bats were apparently getting into the building. A total of 24 bats were caught and put in a small aquarium. The students asked many questions about the bats according to the principal, and the incident served as an impromptu science lesson. Ridout hopes to transfer the bats to the Shangri La Botanical Gardens where they have a bat enclosure much more suitable for the bats than the school’s library.

A Houston man has been charged with capital murder in connection with the January 6 shooting death of a 27-year-old man from Mauriceville who was living in Beaumont. Beaumont police reported that 27-year-old Derrick Allen Phillips was killed in his house in the 1300 block of Central Drive. His roommate called 911 when he woke up from a nap at 4:42 p.m. and found Phillips unresponsive and bleeding. An autopsy showed Phillips, originally from Mauriceville, had been shot in the head. On Tuesday, U.S. Marshals arrested 33-year-old Adam Emanuel Fuller in a Kemah hotel on a theft warrant from Jefferson County along with a parole violation. He was brought back to Jefferson County Jail. Bond on the capital murder charge has been set at $1 million. The bond on the felony theft charge is $150,000. No bond is allowed on a parole violation.

Orange's Art in the Park will return to Stark Park this year because of the Bassmaster Elite tournament. City of Orange Economic Director Jay Trahan said an agreement with the Stark Foundation has been signed for the event to be at the park on Green Avenue. The foundation will tie in activities at the Stark Museum of Art and the Stark House on Saturday March 21 during the festival. The Stark Cultural Venues is presenting the Bassmaster Elite Sabine River Challenge in Orange from March 19 through March 22. The City of Orange Convention and Visitors Bureau sponsors the annual Art in the Park festival. The festival was moved to the city's new Riverfront Pavilion in 2014. Citizens circulated petitions to move the event back to Stark Park. Trahan said the festival will go back to the Riverfront Pavilion next year. Art in the Park will also have live entertainment. Bassmaster events will be held at the city's Boat Ramp off Simmons Drive. The Bassmaster Elite Sabine River Challenge was held in 2013 with a carnival and performance stage at the Boat Ramp. The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce reports that big-name country stars will perform on the grounds at the Boat Ramp. Dustin Lynch will play Thursday night and Tracy Byrd will perform on Saturday night. The Lutcher Theater in downtown will have a laser show on Friday night.

The Commissioners Court met Tuesday without County Judge Brint Carlton who was handling Air Force Reserve duties.  The judge’s absence resulted in a true split vote as the commissioners were divided on allowing the Assistant County Auditor to attend training in Lubbock.  County Auditor Mary Johnson requested the unbudgeted training for her assistant so she could be trained in software which only Johnson is adept at using and also for the assistant to learn how to be a report writer.  Commissioners David Dubose and Barry Burton voted to allow the travel costs which amounted to about $700.  Commissioners John Banken and Jody Crump were against it.  Assistant County Attorney Doug Manning was asked what the result is if a vote is split.  Manning replied, “If it’s a tie vote, it does not pass.”  The commissioners did approve travel for County Judge Carlton and for Risk Management Coordinator Missy Pillsbury to attend training conferences which were both budgeted items.  Commissioners approved the Sheriff’s Office to purchase a new EKG Machine and a rapid response Urinalysis Analyzer, both valued at over $500.  Sheriff Keith Merritt did request that the purchase of three heavy duty chairs be removed from his list of capital outlay purchases.  Merritt will request the purchase of three less expensive chairs which are under $500 each the capital outlay minimum at next week’s Commissioners Court meeting.
Reading tax statements are seldom fun.  Not getting a tax statement for over a decade and then getting one can really be a pain.  Vidor businessman Gary Biehslich has been charged over $800 in penalties, interest, and attorney’s fees associated with property that he did not get a tax statement from 1998 to 2013.  Biehslich says he does not mind paying the tax on the property and is only asking the Commissioners Court to waive the penalty and interest he is being charged since the Appraisal District has admitted it was their fault he did not get a statement.  Attorney Steve Bird with the Orange County Taxing Jurisdictions says the tax laws read the tax payer is responsible for keeping up with their property and the maximum time that could be waived is up to 181 days.  Commissioner John Banken requested the court table the decision at least until next week.  Banken admitted he was confused by the situation, was not comfortable making a decision until hearing more from the county’s attorney, and for fairness to the citizen asked for further study on the matter.  The commissioners unanimously approved tabling the item until their next meeting.

Orange Fire Chief David Frenzel said the two employees at the city's animal shelter have been disciplined for not following the city's policy regarding keeping stray animals for at least 72 hours. On December 23, the city picked up a mother dog and 11 puppies after a property owner had complained about them being under a building, he said. The employees at the animal shelter made a joint decision to euthanize the mother and litter about two hours after they were picked up. The owners came looking for the dogs about four hours after they were picked up. Frenzel, who supervises the animal shelter, said he has been over the animal shelter for 20 years and this is the first time something like this has happened. He said the two animal shelter workers are compassionate for animals and they made a joint decision for the mother and pups. The two employees still have their jobs but were disciplined with a record of the incident in their personnel records.

Bridge City High School Honor Roll for third six weeks

Alex Borel, a member of the LCM Battlin’ Bear Band will perform with the Texas All-State Band in San Antonio, Saturday, February 14, 2015 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center as part of the 2015 Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention. He was chosen for this prestigious honor through a competitive process held this year across the state at District, Region, and Area levels. Alex is a student of Michael Prejean and plays at school under the direction of Steve Schoppert who is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, an 11,000+ member organization headquartered in Austin. This is Alex’s first time to perform as a member of a TMEA All-State organization. Alex is the son of Ron and Kelley Borel. High school students selected to perform in the All-State concerts have competed through several levels of auditions beginning in the fall of 2014 to qualify at the state level. All-State is the highest honor a Texas music student can receive. Over 1,600 students are selected through a process that begins with over 60,000 students from around the state vying for this honor to perform in one of 15 ensembles (bands, orchestras, and choirs).

The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce has named Julie Agee, Registrar/PEIMS Secretary at Orangefield High School, as the Employee of the Month for January 2015. Julie is married to Jerry Agee and they have 3 daughters and 1 son-in-law; Savannah, Jeri, Shelby Storment and USMC Sgt. Daniel Storment. She is a graduate of St. Mary Catholic School and West Orange – Stark High School with a Bachelor of Science in Corporate Communication from Lamar University. As a member of St. Helen Catholic Church, Julie serves as a facilitator for 11th/ 12th grade religious education. Julie said, “I enjoy service opportunities and supporting our local businesses and communities. As far as my job, I never planned to work in the field of education. However, I’m not surprised this is where my path led. My values were most influenced, not only by my parents, but by strong and passionate teachers throughout my educational career. My hope is to carry on their legacy of helping others achieve success through hard work and integrity.”

The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce announced the Students of the Month for January at their Monthly Networking Coffee on January 13th at Orangefield Cormier Museum hosted by Orangefield ISD. Bree Newsom was chosen as the Bridge City High School Student of the Month and Kristen Blanke was chosen as the Orangefield High School Student of the Month. Newsom is the daughter of Daniel and Renee Newsom. Bree is ranked 11 of 187 with a GPA of 4.37. Bree’s awards and honors include Presidential Honor Roll; Honors Chemistry, Physics and Algebra II; AP English III and IV and United States History; Rotary Youth Leadership Award; and All Region Choir Member. When asked about her future plans, Bree said “I plan to attend Texas A&M University in the fall of 2015 to pursue and education as a communications major. With this degree, I hope to one day become a human resource manager for a company of some kind so I can put my various problem solving skill sets to good use.” Blanke, is the daughter of John and Marla Blanke. She is ranked number 1 out of 136 with a 4.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale. Kristen’s clubs and organizations include: President of the National Honor Society; Vice President of the Texas Association of Future Educators; Class president; and Participates in Volleyball and Track. After graduation, Kristen will attend Texas A&M University and study business.

A door opened and people stepped into the dusty brick space of broken windows and cracked wooden molding. The group was not made of archeologists, but part of an architectural team ready to restore the century-old Southern Pacific Depot in downtown Orange. Nina Rivers with Architectural Alliance of Beaumont said they went to measure things like windows and molding as part of the preliminary phase of the restoration. A year ago, the non-profit group Friends of the Orange Depot announced that the long-vacant and decaying depot had been purchased. The group set out to raise $600,000 for the restoration. By November the Friends had raised more than half that amount. Restoration work could begin at the $400,000 mark and the group is now close. Basically, it was the first time the team had been inside. The city of Orange boarded up the depot almost five years ago to keep vagrants out. When the non-profit group bought it, a hole in the roof was sending rain into the interior. Volunteers fixed that. Rivers said part of an original desk attached to a wall is still standing, but the drawers are missing. It's in the Queen Anne style. The desk will be among the items restored. Rivers said a date hasn't been set for work to begin.

The Orange Rotary Club is honored to present An Evening of Classical Music with Francesco Attesti and Matteo Galli. Francesco Attesti is an Italian pianist of international acclaim. The epitome of Francesco’s collaborative work to date is his performance with the Czech Chamber Philharmonic Orchestra of Prague, performing the European premiere of “Chiavi in Mano” by the Pulitzer Prize winning composer Yehudi Wyner. Francesco is a Paul Harris Fellow and member of the Rotary Club Cortona Valdichiana, District 2071 in Italy. Matteo Galli is the chief organist at the St. Maria presso St. Satiro Basilica in Milan, where he is also the artistic supervisor and where he attends to the musical and concert planning furthered directly by the Basilica or in relationship with the most important musical Authorities of Milan. Together, in 2007, these two published the first recording of Verdi’s Requiem, transcribed for piano and organ, on the “Le Voci della Citta” label. The benefit concert will be at the First Presbyterian Church in Orange, Texas on Monday, February 9, 2015 at 6:00 PM. Tickets can be purchased for $25 at the office of Steirman, Whitfield & Co. All proceeds from the concert will go towards the Orange Rotary Club’s community service projects.

Get Your Gumbo Ready!

Gumbo Contest for Project Graduations at Orangefield, Little Cypress-Mauriceville, Bridge City, West Orange-Stark, Vidor, and Deweyville.  Click on picture to the right for more information.

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

Ninety Lamar State College-Orange Students, 76 from Texas and 14 from Louisiana, have been named to the president’s list for the fall 2014 semester. An additional 152 Texas and 17 Louisiana students made the dean’s list. The president’s list includes those students who have attended full-time during the semester, having completed 12 or more hours at LSC-O, and who have earned 4.0 semester grade point averages.  The dean’s list, which is announced by the dean of instruction, is comprised of full-time students who earned GPAs of 3.4 and above. List

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