People who grew up in Orange often lament about the loss of old buildings and houses through the decades. Now, a non-profit group has been formed to support the preservation of historic and cultural settings in Orange and Orange County. The Internal Revenue Service has approved the tax-exempt status for Historic Orange Preservation Empowerment, or HOPE. Founder Leslie Barras, a lawyer and historian who lives in the Old Orange Historic District, said the tax-exempt status will allow the group to get grants and tax-deductible donations. She said the group will "support, facilitate, and improve the economic, cultural, aesthetic, historic, social and environment setting, well-being, and quality of life." She said the group will first focus on the Orange Historic District. “We want people to think of this neighborhood as ‘HOPEtown rather than ‘Old Town,’” she said. The group will look for ways to help homeowners keep up with maintenance and repair of their historic homes, she added. “Most of HOPEtown’s homes were built to last, using materials that cannot be replaced today. More and more buyers seek homes, like these, that have a unique historic character.” Former Orange City Councilwoman Annette Pernell is on the board of the group. She and her husband moved to Orange several years after being attracted to an old house with a ‘For Sale’ sign. They now live in another old house. “There is a lot of education needed on the value of historic buildings and neighborhoods,” she said. “It would be an injustice to those who worked hard to get these homes built, just to watch them be torn down needlessly and unnecessarily.” Another board member is Kevin McAdams, a retired IT professional with experience developing Historic District Architectural Guidelines in Louisville, Kentucky. He, too, lives in the historic district. “Orange’s historic fabric and architectural treasures are irreplaceable but overlooked. HOPE will help fix that,” he said. Pernell said that people often look at the old houses and immediately think “this house is a money pit and this area is too run-down.” She said those ideas are true, to a point. “But was we educate ourselves and others of the significance of having a thriving historic district, we also bring more light to our city and the beauty that is hidden within,” she said. She considers herself one of the “keepers” of her unique, historic home. “It’s our job to keep it well maintained so it can be passed on for another generation to enjoy,” she said. The organization’s mailing address is P.O. Box 1202, Orange, TX, 77631. More information is available through Barras at lebarras@gmail.com.

A loose calf on Highway 87 South near FM 105 Tuesday night caused two vehicles to wreck and sent two people to the hospital. Orange Police Officer Isaac Henry said an eastbound SUV first hit the calf. The collision sent the calf airborne and then a westbound car hit it. 56-year-old Janice King Bottley was the first person to hit the calf. It happened about 11 p.m. She was driving a Hyundai Santa Fe in the outside eastbound lane of the highway. Acadian Ambulance Service took her to Baptist Hospital Orange with non-life-threatening injuries. Then a Nissan Altima driven westbound by 23-year-old Caleb Meadows collided with the calf. A passenger in the car, 18-year-old Kearsten Ashley Temple, was taken by private car to Baptist Hospital Orange.

Last chance to pre-register for “Back to School Orange County” Pre-registration for the “Back to School Orange County” event goes through Thurs. July 31. Parents and guardians can sign up for school supplies for their children at Orange Christian Services, 2518 W. Park Ave in Orange (409-886-0938). Citizens must bring proof of children’s enrollment in an Orange County School such as a student ID, report card or letter from school. Last year, the Christian community gave out 1,000 bags of supplies, free haircuts and books along with providing immunizations. This year there are 1,200 packets for 1,200 children. This year’s “Back to School Orange County” event will be held at Lamar Orange Student Center 9 a.m. till noon. Only pre-registered children are guaranteed to receive a packet and on the day of the event parents and guardians must have their children with them. For more information visit BacktoschoolOrange.org or Facebook: BacktoSchoolOrange.

Austin Developer Michael Wray and his company have worked out a new proposal with the City of Orange for turning the Southern Printers Building into shops and loft apartments. The Orange City Council will have a joint meeting with the city's Economic Development Corporation to discuss the new proposal and vote whether to pay $350,000 for the project. The money will be paid to the company, Brazos Urban, as reimbursements for work already completed. Then the company will repay the city $75,000 of that amount within five years. The total amount for the Economic Development Corporation to pay would end up being $275,000. The total Southern Printers Building project is estimated to be $957,000. The proposal also includes allowing Brazos Urban to buy a vacant lot on the northwest corner of Fifth Street. The lot is a little more than a tenth of an acre. The price will be for the value listed by the Orange County Appraisal District ($29,000) or a broker's price opinion. The Economic Development Corporation bought the land several years ago so it would be available for commercial projects in the future. Economic Development Corporation money comes from a special sales tax that Orange voters approved 12 years ago, and not from the general property taxes. The joint meeting with Wray will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday, August 5, in the Council Auditorium next to the Orange Public Library. Wray is a native of Orange and graduated from West Orange-Stark High School. He and his companies have been involved in downtown development projects in Texas cities, including Waco and Houston. His project in Orange with Economic Development Corporation incentives was made public in May. After a number of questions were raised by citizens, Wray held a public meeting to explain the project and give answers. The city and Wray have worked out a new incentive package. One thing removed is for the city to pay for Wray to buy the Southern Printers Building, which is now owned by Aras Development. Wray plans to put a restaurant and shops on the downstairs of the two-story building. The upstairs will be turned into six loft-style apartments. Parking will be in the back of the building. Under the new plan, the Economic Development Corporation will reimburse Brazos Urban $200,000 for the infrastructure improvements to the first floor and $150,000 for the infrastructure improvements to the second floor. The reimbursement will be made pro rata as progress draws. The work will be certified by city officials or a third-party inspector.

Bill Cosby is one of the world's most famous storytellers. He didn't need a story, though, to describe his meals in Orange. “This is absolute perfection," were his words for the Chilean sea bass and a side of asparagus with shallots, garlic, ginger and red bell pepper from Chef David Claybar, owner of The Old Orange Cafe. Cosby, pictured with David and Jennifer Claybar, was in Orange last week for two sold-out performances at the Lutcher Theater. Negotiations for a chef to cook for Cosby are part of the entertainer's theater appearances. Claybar Tuesday talked with Gary Stelly on KOGT's Morning Show about cooking for Cos. "Bill Cosby's diet is probably the most important thing in his life," Claybar said. His lifestyle has "all things organic and all natural." Personnel at the theater contacted Claybar concerning whether he could prepare the food according to the star’s specifications. The chef spent months emailing back and forth with Cosby's agent to get an acceptable menu with specific foods and recipes. Last Thursday and Friday, Claybar took equipment to the theater to prepare the food on-site, one of the instructions. “He did not want anything in a to-go box,” Claybar said. Cosby’s wife is also involved in the 77-year-old star’s menu. The instructions specify no butter, salt or margarine in his food. That’s not something Claybar usually does. “I’m a big fan of butter, salt and margarine,” he told Stelly. In addition to the personally-prepared meal, Cosby also has a “green drink” and a smoothie. The green drink is prepared in a juicer with about 15 different items. Claybar said he had to go to Asian and Indian specialty stores to get some of the ingredients. It’s a drink, “high in antioxidants and chlorophyll and very healthy items,” he said. The chef tasted the green drink and said it’s not something he would drink. Claybar had gathered ingredients for a varied menu, but Cosby enjoyed the sea bass and asparagus so much that he ordered it the second day. The foods must be working. “He’s in great health,” Claybar said. However, Cosby is now visually impaired. The chef watched the comedian off-stage on Thursday and then sat in the audience on Friday. Backstage, he listened and laughed to Cosby’s stories about his home life, Las Vegas and Sammy Davis Jr. “He’s a neat man, full of wisdom,” Claybar said. Cosby played the father in, "The Cosby Show" the most popular TV sit-com of the 1980s. His fans are familiar with his gestures like rolling his eyes back in his head and putting his head in his hands. “That’s all him,” Claybar said.

The county’s Expo Center is becoming a popular place to hold wedding receptions, trade shows, dances, and educational events. Sabrina Gray, event coordinator, for the Expo Center says there is a good chance an activity will be booked in the ball room every weekend in 2015. Gray adds the ball room does need a sound system and more lighting. Many of the groups asking to use the Expo Center’s ball room require an audio-visual system for showing displays according to Gray. Groups have also requested more lighting for the dance floor, disc jockey’s booth, and for taking photographs during reunions and other party type events. Gray plans to ask for an audio-visual system and additional lighting in the ball room of the Expo Center during the budget discussions by Commissioners’ Court which start in August.

A 6-year-old boy was taken to a Beaumont hospital Sunday evening after he was hit by a car in the 9700 block of FM 105 at Kibodeaux Road in Orangefield. Orange police report the accident was at 5:11 p.m. The driver of a 2014 Nissan Rogue was driving westbound on FM 105 when the child went into the roadway. Detective Captain Cliff Hargrave said the child was holding the hand of an adult, but let go. The driver turned to the right to avoid the child, but the driver's side door and boy collided. Acadian Ambulance Service took Noah Abshire to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital.

More night lane closings are scheduled for Interstate 10 construction in Orange at Simmons Drive (Business 90). The Texas Department of Transportation will close the right, westbound lane of the interstate from Simmons Drive westward for two miles Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. The lane closings will be for shoulder reconstruction.

TxDOT is assisting the County by developing a project to renovate the County’s swing bridge on East Roundbunch. There will be a temporary daytime closure of the bridge on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (Aug. 5, 6 & 7). This closure is necessary to allow the Engineering Consultant to collect soil boring information required to design the foundation. The bridge will be open for traffic each night. During the time the bridge is closed traffic will need to use an alternate route.

A boil water notice has been lifted for some customers in the Mauriceville Municipal Utility District. Corrective actions were taken to restore adequate pressure, disinfectant levels, and improve bacteriological quality as of Tuesday afternoon. A main break Saturday on FM 1130 just past Zavalla Road caused the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to require the boil water notice for customers between Zavalla Road to Stallion Road. Again the boil water notice has been lifted for those customers in the Mauriceville Municipal Utility District.

As the Lutcher Theater prepares for their 2014-2015, 35th Anniversary Celebration Season, the Lutcher Theater Service Guild is seeking individuals interested in volunteering their time and talents to help promote and support the Lutcher Theater and the arts in our community. This season’s membership drive is to be held Sunday, August 3rd, at 3:00 PM on the Lutcher Theater third floor lobby. The drive is open to the public and all are invited for refreshments and information about committees and membership requirements. The Service Guild is a non-profit organization whose main objective is to support the Lutcher Theater’s performing arts series. Annually the theater provides entertainment to approximately 30,000 adults and children and the Guild helps to facilitate Lutcher events in a variety of ways. Annual dues for members are $10.00 and are used to support guild activities. For more information about the membership drive, the Service Guild or the Lutcher’s upcoming season please call 409-886-5535 or visit them online at www.lutcher.org

Lamar State College - Orange has partnered with DuPont De Nemours and Co. Inc. to provide custom training for over 500 new and incumbent employees at the Sabine River Works location in Orange. The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) awarded a $728,937 grant from the Skills Development Fund to assist in the training. The technical training will allow DuPont’s junior workforce to learn the trades and best practices of the senior retiring workforce. Included in the training are first line production supervisors, general operators and fire brigade firefighters. Workers will earn an average hourly wage of $35.37 once training has been completed. TWC Commissioner Representing Employers, Hope Andrade, visited the campus of LSC-O to offer words of praise and encouragement to all involved who worked diligently to bring the partnership to fruition. The commissioner also acknowledged the need for this type of training to better equip employees for successful employment as well as a promising future in the community.

Precinct 1 Judge David Peck has set a bond of $150,000 on a 28-year-old man charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. The man told Orange police he met the 12-year-old girl on an Internet dating site and she told him she was 18. Sgt. Robert Estrello said the man talked to the girl on the phone and on Skype for two days. On Sunday, he picked her up at a residence in rural Orange County and took her to a house in the 1200 block of DuPont Drive. Sgt. Estrello said the man had sex with the girl. The girl's brother then contacted him and said the girl was only 12. An Orange County sheriff’s deputy about 6:30 p.m. Sunday went to the DuPont Drive house, which is in the city of Orange. The deputy notified Orange police, who arrested Dustin Michael Voegele. The charge is a first degree felony with a punishment of five to 99 years, or life, in prison along with a maximum fine of $10,000.

Two out of 14 structures were spared orders of demolition by the West Orange City Council Monday evening. The owners of all 14 structures had been given 30 days in June to get into compliance with city codes. West Orange Mayor Roy McDonald says two of the structures are now in compliance. McDonald adds that all the owners were given the same opportunity to do repairs and improvements to plumbing, electrical, and structural support of the residences to get them into compliance, and these two did the work to pass the inspection of building inspector Dean Fuller. The two residences now in compliance are at 114 Davis and 221 Linda. The orders of demolition allow West Orange to enter the residences to look for asbestos and lead paint which will need to be removed before demolition. The city will then go out for bids to find a contractor to perform the demolitions. A federal disaster grant pays for the demolitions. The program is being handled on the state level by the General Land Office which must give its approval on any action taken by West Orange.

The 8-5-14 agenda for the City of Orange Special Call Joint meeting of Council and EDC is now online at www.orangetexas.net.  

Commissioners’ Court approved Monday renewing a contract between the Orange County Jail and Lamar State College Orange to allow the Nursing Department to conduct educational studies at the jail’s infirmary. Commissioner Jody Crump asked Sheriff Keith Merritt if the Sheriff’s Office employs any of the students in the jail. Sheriff Merritt said no that his office does not employ any Lamar students in the jail’s infirmary. The approved contract is a general contract used by Lamar’s Nursing Department for similar studies with hospitals and doctors’ offices where some of the students are employed. Event Coordinator Sabrina Gray spoke to commissioners and is optimistic she will be scheduling events every weekend in 2015 at the Expo Center. The court held its weekly meeting in the morning Monday so Commissioner John Banken could travel to attend mandatory training at the University of Texas in Austin. Banken said the training is a construction management course that will help him learn how to better manage large construction projects.

The West Orange City Council will host a Town Hall meeting on Thursday, July 31 from 5-6pm inside the WO Community Center to discuss existing and future ordinances pertaining to residential rental property within the city. This meeting is for informational purposes only; no action will be taken. The public is invited to attend.

Burglars escaped from Orange police during a break-in early Friday morning at Seven-O-Industrial at 87 W. Main Street. Security guards at nearby Signal International shipyard called police at 4:42 a.m. because they heard noises in the building. Officer T.P. Pruitt said police arrived with their lights out and walked around the building. A guard yelled “He’s running” and Pruitt saw a white pickup truck with a man in the back bed go through a closed gate and drive west on Main. Pruitt followed but lost sight of the truck. Four, 200-foot welding leads had been stolen. The burglars got inside by cutting a lock on a gate. Inside the gate, a lock on the back of a van had been cut, but police arrived before anything was stolen. Pruitt said the truck appeared to be a four-door Ford F-250 with a Louisiana license plate.

Bridge City ISD would like to invite all Parents and Community members to a Community Meeting on Thursday July 31st at Bridge City High School Cafeteria at 6:00 pm. This Community Meeting will be for the discussion of a potential Bond Election for the construction of an Academic, Fine Arts and Athletic Facility as well as renovations to existing facilities. This is an important meeting as we work together to promote the continued success of our students at Bridge City ISD.

A woman who says her boyfriend kidnapped her jumped out of a car at Allie Payne Road and Meeks Drive and sought help at the fire station. Orange police were called to the station, 1901 Allie Payne Road, about 4 p.m. Friday. Detective Captain Cliff Hargrave said the woman told officers her boyfriend forced her into a car and drove her to a wooded area. The man beat her and threatened to kill her. As he was driving with her, she escaped when he stopped at the intersection. Captain Hargrave said Monday afternoon that the suspect has not been found.

A helpful man turned out to be a thief. A woman called Orange police at 9:45 p.m. Friday from a restaurant in the 1700 block of 16th Street. She had parked in the back of the restaurant and the lot was crowded. A man helped guide her in backing up her car. When she rolled down her window to thank him, he reached inside, grabbed her purse and then ran off. She had an iPhone inside the purse. She described the man as black, about 5-feet, 6-inches tall and age 20 to 30 years. He was wearing a gray shirt, black shorts and a light-colored ball cap.

The Orange Fire Department extinguished a fire in a house on Green Avenue Monday morning a block from Simmons Drive. Battalion Chief Joe Mires says the call was received at Station 1 of the Fire Department at 6:20. Smoke could be seen by the fire fighters in Ladder Truck 1 as they turned onto Green Avenue from 8th Street. Mires states the fire was concentrated in the attic portion of the structure, and the cause is still being tracked down at this time. No one was in the structure at the time the fire fighters arrived. The structure previously served as the office of former County Judge Grover Halliburton. Mires believes the last owner was an insurance company, but the structure may have been vacant recently.

Bridge City ISD was one of eight schools in the country to receive $1000 in the Champions for Kids contest. CFK joined forces with Kellogg Company and Diamond Foods to collect breakfast food items for school-aged children during an April SIMPLE Giving promotional period. The program launched in participating Walmart stores during April, with a goal of supporting as many children in need as possible. Customers participated by purchasing and donating breakfast food items at local, participating WM stores. All donations will go to children in local schools near each participating store. In addition to the food donations, Champions for Kids is donating four $10,000 awards to the school districts in each Walmart division that collected the most donated items at a single store. Plus, eight $1,000 regional awards are being given to the top collecting school districts of each region. This money can go to providing additional breakfast food items and hunger education in the school district.

Marriage Licenses Issued By The Office of Karen Jo Vance, Orange County Clerk For the Week of July 21, 2014 through July 25, 2014. Donald W. Mosby and Jill M. Williams, Christopher L. Smith and Lacey N. Keown, Kendrick R. Castilaw and Tana M. Kirbow, Tracy L. Caswell Sr. and Sylvia S. Bland, Jerry A. Steele and Cristina G. Lavapie, Jonathan H. Mitchell and Evelyn F. Yancey, Damian R. Trussell and Alicia L. Broussard, Richard D. Mikulich and Carrie J. King.

Taylor Swarers, 18, of Orange, was one of five Regional Winners of the Lovin’ Scoopful Awards for her dedication to serving students with disabilities. Taylor was nominated for her many years of involvement with Project Unify Meet in the Middle Club, an initiative encouraging typically developing and special needs students to develop greater understanding of and appreciation for each other. Taylor has attended conferences with Special Olympics and has recently been asked to briefly speak at the Meet in the Middle Conference in Austin this August. Taylor became certified as an aquatics coach, participated in Unified Track meets and Unified Bocce Tournaments, and been a fan in the stands for our Special Olympics athletes throughout her high school years. She has donated her time and energy to promote inclusion and respect for those without a voice. Taylor plans to continue her dedication to students with disabilities by bringing Meet in the Middle events to a college level as she works towards a degree in speech pathology. She will begin her college career at Lamar State College Orange this Fall.