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Early voting for the Nov. 4 general election started Monday. In Orange County, voters in Precinct 2 will also have a wet-dry option to sell alcoholic beverages. People in the Bridge City ISD will have a school bond issue for new buildings and improvements. In the Vidor area, residents in the Orange County Emergency Services District No. will vote on implementing a sales tax. Voting hours and days will differ at the four sites. Early voting at the Mauriceville First Baptist Church is the only site without extended voting hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. In addition, the early voting site in Orange, long held at the Orange Public Library, has been changed. That site will now be at the old West Orange-Cove administration building at 505 N. 15th Street (behind Wells-Fargo bank.)
The contested local races include District 36 U.S. House of Representatives: Republican Brian Babin of Woodville and Democrat Michael Cole of Orange. (No incumbent running.)
District 21 State Representative: Republican Dade Phelan of Port Neches and Democrat Gavin Bruney of Nederland. (No incumbent running.)
Orange County Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace: Republican David Peck (incumbent) and Democrat Gail Barnett Shaw.
Orange County Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace: Republican Joy Dubose-Simonton and Democrat Janice Menard (incumbent).
Early voting sites and times (Registered Orange County voters may go to any site.)
Former West Orange-Cove CISD Administration Building, 505 15th Street in Orange:
Monday Oct. 20 through Friday Oct.24: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday Oct. 25: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Sunday Oct. 26: 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
Monday Oct. 27 through Friday Oct. 31: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Bridge City Public Works Building
Monday Oct. 20 through Saturday Oct. 25: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday Oct. 27 through Friday Oct. 31: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

First Baptist Church Mauriceville
Monday Oct. 20 through Saturday Oct. 25: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday Oct. 27 through Friday Oct. 31: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Raymond Gould Community Center in Vidor
Monday Oct. 20 through Saturday Oct. 25: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Monday Oct. 27 through Friday Oct. 31: 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

On Saturday, October 18, 2014, around 2:20 a.m., an Orange County Sheriff’s Patrol Deputy on patrol in the area of Tulane Road and Avenue B in Orange, stopped a maroon 2007 Chrysler minivan for Defective Equipment. As the Deputy made contact with the driver, who was the sole occupant, he noticed the man was overly nervous. He had the driver exit his vehicle and obtained consent to search the man’s vehicle and person. The Deputy found numerous small plastic baggies used to divide drugs into smaller amounts for distribution. The Deputy also located approximately 5.3 grams of crystal methamphetamine hidden inside the vehicle. The driver, identified as 45 year old Jimmy Oathoudt, a white male from Orange, Texas, was placed under arrest for Possession/Delivery of a Controlled Substance, a 1st Degree Felony. He was transported to the Orange County Jail where he was arraigned later that same morning and his bond was set by Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Judge Janice Menard at $5,000.00. Oathoudt was released once he was able to make bond around 10:45 a.m. on Saturday, October 18, 2014.

This little guy was found at 1615 Lansing St. off of Burnett in West Orange. Has a collar, but no contact info. Call 313.3245.
The  Deweyville High School Band received a One at Saturday's marching contest for what we're told is the first time in school history. BC, LCM and Vidor also received a One with outstanding performances. Orangefield received a Two.  WOS did not participate.  See more photos from our OC schools in the KOGT Photo Gallery.

Schools across the county continue to have clean cafeterias. During the first part of October, Orange County Health Inspector James Scales went to seven school cafeterias and all received perfect scores. He inspected a total of 11 food businesses, including a pre-opening for the Bridge City Heritage Festival, which he did not score. Only two restaurants did not receive perfect scores. They were Sun Wok Chinese Food on Texas Avenue in Bridge City and Kim Wah Buffet on Strickland Drive in Orange. The perfect schools were Little Cypress Elementary and Junior High, Community Christian School in Orange, Orangefield Junior High, Vidor Elementary, Pine Forest Elementary in Vidor, and Bridge City High. LaQuinta Inn and Suites on South Highway 62 in Orange also received a perfect score.
Kim Wah Buffet received a 78. Scales gave demerits for an employee drink without a lid, no dates on foods in the cooler and freezer, a box of molded lemons in a walk-in cooler. In addition, foods in the cooler and freezer needed to be covered. Boxes of crab were found defrosting on storage shelves. Several flies were found and fly traps were hanging from ceiling. The floors throughout the restaurant needed to be cleaned of old foods, and the shelves inside the walk-in cooler were rusted.
Sun Wok in Bridge City had a score of 68. Scales reported that fried chicken and eggrolls were not at proper temperatures. Mice feces were found on storage shelves. Dates were needed on the foods in the cooler and freezer and the foods needed to be covered. He found foods stored inside a cardboard box without a liner. The hand-washing station was broken. Water was dripping into a bucket from the cooler motor. Air vents, storage shelves, containers and floors needed to be cleaned of old foods. Storage shelves were starting to rust and needed to be repaired or replaces. In addition, broken and unused equipment needed to be removed from the site.

At approximately 1:45am, the Texas Department of Public Safety received a call of a motorcycle crash on Interstate 10 at FM 1136 in Orange County. Upon arrival at the crash scene, Troopers determined that a second vehicle was involved in this fatal crash. Eastbound lanes of Interstate 10 were closed for a short period of time, but have since reopened. A 1982 Honda motorcycle was traveling eastbound on Interstate 10 in the outside (slow) traffic lane. The motorcycle was apparently struck from behind by an unknown vehicle. The driver of the motorcycle, a 56 year old man from Orange, was pronounced dead at the scene. The name of the deceased will not be released until the next of kin has been notified. At this time, all information is preliminary and DPS is working to determine the make and model of the second vehicle involved in this fatal crash.

Little ones enjoy the model train display at the "Depot Day at the Pavilion" Saturday.  Organizers are trying to raise $600,000 to restore the old train depot on Green Ave.

On Friday, October 17, 2014 about 10:28p.m., Officers of the Vidor Police Department were directing traffic immediately after the Vidor Homecoming game at the intersection of South Main at Orange Street. Three Officers were in the intersection, wearing reflective gear and using flashlights. Officer Thomas Meadows was working and controlling the flow of northbound traffic from South Main. Officer Meadows was struck by a vehicle driven by a 78 year old Vidor woman who did not stop at his request. Officer Meadows was thrown on top of the car and rolled off. He received injuries to his head, scrapes to his arms and hands. He was transported to Baptist Hospital in Beaumont by Acadian Ambulance. Officer Meadows was later released from the hospital and expected to return to work in a couple of days. The investigation is being conducted by the Texas Department of Public Safety and is ongoing at this time. “This is one of the hazards Police Officers face in the line of duty, we are very fortunate Officer Meadows escaped with minor injuries. We look forward to seeing him back on the street in no time,” said Chief of Police Dave Shows.

The BCHS Cheerleaders hosted 107 Future Cardinal Cheerleaders at their annual Cheer Clinic Saturday. They will be cheering at Friday nights pre-game when the Cardinals take on the Huffman Falcons.
Before Friday's game, Little Cypress-Mauriceville crowned Ethan Reed and Sophie Braud Homecoming King and Queen.

The Bears beat Bridge City 34-7 to improve to 4-0 in district.

See more scores on the Sports Page.

More photos in the KOGT Photo Gallery


Should they carry "Cast Your Vote" in this weeks poll

There was a fatal crash that occurred at approximately 8:50pm on October 16, 2014 on Dempsey Drive in Orange County. The driver of a 1999 Pontiac passenger vehicle was traveling west on Dempsey Drive at an unsafe speed. The vehicle began to spin and left the roadway on the north side of Dempsey Drive. The vehicle continued into a ditch and rolled several times through a barbed wire fence. As the vehicle rolled, the driver was ejected and was partially pinned under the vehicle when it came to rest. The driver, 49 year old James Edward McCorvy Jr. of Orange, was pronounced dead at the crash scene by Judge Janice Menard.

Marriage License: Issued by The Office of Karen Jo Vance, Orange County Clerk For the week of October 13, 2014 thru October 17, 2014. Matthew P. Johnson and Nicole E. Wellons, Cody B. Mills and Chelsea N. Gee, Thomas D. Threet and Charla S. Broxson, Joe C. Jones and Lisa N. Barnett, David W. Kelly and Cynthia J. LeFloor, Cody R. Clark and Cassie K. Reeves, Michael T. Humphrey and Haley N. Shriner, Blake A. Holst and Ashley N. Kovatch, Jorge L. Perez Jr. and Abigail Moreno.

ALIEN INVASION!!!  Aliens have taken over Orangefield Elementary! The first grade classes dressed up like aliens to celebrate the ending of their unit on the solar system.

On Thursday, Oct. 16 at 4:30 p.m., a disturbance was reported in the parking lot of the Pinehurst City Hall located at 2497 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Officers L. Roff and K. Norton responded from the police department next door with the assistance of Chief Fred R. Hanauer III. During the course of the investigation Chief Hanauer gained consent to search the vehicle occupied by a white male and white female. The female, identified as Bridget Kaye Freeland, 40 years of age who lists a Deweyville address, was found to be in possession of a controlled substance believed to be crystal methamphetamine. The white male, who initially gave several false names, was eventually identified as Larry Paul Landry, 35 years of age. He is a registered sex offender who lists a Louisiana address. He was arrested for Failure to identify. Freeland was arrested for Possession of a controlled Substance, Penalty Group 1 which is a state jail felony. Both were transported to the Orange County Jail. If convicted, Freeland faces up to 2 years in a state jail and up to a $10,000 fine. A bond of $2500 was assessed for the possession charge. Incidentally, Freeland had initially arrived to the Pinehurst City Hall to pay fines to the Pinehurst Municipal Court on unrelated charges of Fail to Maintain Liability Insurance and Failure to Appear.

At approximately 4:30pm, there was a three vehicle crash on Interstate 10 near Highway 12 in Orange County. The crash involved two passenger vehicles and a truck tractor. The eastbound lanes of Interstate10 near Highway 12 are closed and traffic is being diverted onto the service road. There was a diesel spill and Hazmat crews were on the scene for several hours. According to the investigating Trooper, a 2008 Pontiac passenger vehicle was eastbound on Interstate 10 and took an exit ramp. The driver of the Pontiac disregarded an official traffic control device (crossed double white lines) as she exited the highway and struck a 2004 Toyota passenger vehicle that was traveling on the service road. This collision caused the Toyota to spin and skid back onto the Interstate where it was struck by a 2003 Freightliner truck tractor. The impact between the Toyota and truck tractor dislodged the fuel tank from the commercial motor vehicle. An undetermined amount of diesel was spilled from the fuel tank. The driver of the Toyota, 53 year old Jaliene Duhon of Orange, was transported to St. Elizabeth hospital with non life-threatening injuries. The two passengers in the Toyota were both minors and they were not injured. The driver of the Freightliner, Barry Helton of North Carolina, was not injured. The driver of the Pontiac, 16 year old Emily Abrams of Vidor, was not injured. Abrams was issued a citation for Disregarding an Official Traffic Control Device (Crossing Double White Lines).

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

A 23-year-old man escaped through his bedroom window to call police during a home-invasion early Thursday morning on Sixth Street in Orange. The three men who broke down the front door to get inside ran away. A 73-year-old woman, who is the grandmother of the man who escaped, was not injured. Orange Police Detective Captain Cliff Hargrave said the invasion was about 4:50 a.m. at a house in the 1100 block of Sixth Street. The noise woke up the two people in the house. The invaders were banging down the door of the 23-year-old's bedroom when he got out of the window. He ran to a neighbor's house to get help. Hargrave said police do not have suspects at this time.

A man returning home from work at 7:30 a.m. Thursday discovered a break-in at his house in the same block where the home invasion had occurred. The man told police that when he was walking down the hall, he noticed a window blind pulled out and broken glass in a bedroom. Police found a brick used to break the glass on a bed. Missing items included cash, a Sony Playstation 3 and a Nintendo Wii.

Five people were injured and taken to hospitals Tuesday morning after two cars crashed into the back of a Waste Management garbage truck. Orange police report that the two workers jumped off the back of the truck before the first car hit the truck. However, they were injured when they fell. Orange Police Officer Patrick McDonald reported that the sun was shining into cars going in the direction where the two cars were traveling. The accident was at 7:30 a.m.  in the 5200 block of Old Highway 90. McDonald said the garbage truck was stopped at 5213 Old Highway 90 with its yellow lights flashing. A 2011 Ford Taurus driven by 47-year-old Geraldine Beasley of Orange crashed into the back of the truck. The Taurus pulled over to the side and then a 2012 Honda Accord driven by 20-year-old Jordan Kayla Watson of Orangefield hit the back of the garbage truck. Both cars were heavily damaged. The driver of the garbage truck, 42-year-old Derrick Gerard Woods, was taken by private car to Baptist Hospital in Beaumont. The two men on the back of the truck, 29-year-old John Lavell Estelle and 51-year-old Reginald Gipson, were taken by Acadian Ambulance to Baptist in Beaumont. Beasley was taken by Acadian to Baptist Hospital in Orange and Acadian took Watson to Baptist in Beaumont. Police described the injuries as non-incapacitating.

DuPont is appointing Janet Schepcoff as the new site manager at Sabine River Works, replacing Bobby Laughlin who has been appointed to global manufacturing director for the company’s Packaging & Industrial Polymers business. Schepcoff, former site manager at the DuPont Circleville, Ohio facility, is returning to Texas where she previously served at several manufacturing plants in numerous leadership roles. “The diversity and talent among our employees at Sabine River Works is inspiring, and it’s my privilege to be a member of this DuPont family that values safety, environmental stewardship, high ethical behavior and respect for people in every task performed and action taken,” said Schepcoff. “Bobby continues to be a valued mentor, as he is for many DuPont leaders, and I plan to continue the excellent work he has done at the site and to be fully engaged with our Orange community leaders.”  more

One month the sales tax receipts for the City of Orange look way up. The next month, the figures appear way down, at least based on the percentages issued monthly by the Texas Comptroller's Office. However, in the greater Orange area of three cities, Orange, Pinehurst and West Orange, sales have been stagnant for a while. The percentage swings come from mistakes in reporting which city gets the appropriate sales tax returns. "We mainly attribute it (the mistakes) to the same zip code," West Orange City Administrator Mike Stelly said. Not only do the three cities have the same zip code, postal addresses in the three cities all are written "Orange, Texas, 77630." more

The City of Orange Economic Development Corporation board approved the contract for cash incentives for a private investor remodeling the old Southern Printers Building in downtown.
The board voted Tuesday morning on the official contract with Brazos Southern Printers under the auspices of Brazos Urban development based in Austin. City Economic Development Director Jay Trahan said the city's signed contract will be the basis for the bank loans on the renovation. The total project is estimated to cost nearly $1 million. Developer Michael Wray will sign the loans for the purchase of the property and construction on the building before work begins, according to Trahan.
The economic development corporation is giving a total of $350,000 in cash to the project. The plans are to turn the downstairs into a restaurant, coffee lounge and shops. The upstairs will be remodeled into six loft-style apartments. The city will pay the money in increments based on construction work that is completed. After five years, the company will give $50,000 back to the city.
The city's economic development money comes from a special sales tax voters approved a decade ago.

Orange County Sheriff's Calls October 8-14

For over 60 years maps and surveys have shown a road named Austin Street running through a pasture near the corner of Western Avenue and Foreman Road in West Orange. The 12-acre property is owned by Mark Brown and his sister Ann. The problem is there is no road, but Brown said the presumed right-of-way for the road has limited commercial development of the property. Brown pointed out that since 1947 a mysterious road and legal description was shown running through the middle of the property, and this was a good opportunity to ask the West Orange City Council to remove the road from all official documents and records. He thanked the city council for being willing to help clean up the deed and survey records, and believes they can do more with the property in the future than just put cows on it. Sam Willey who has worked in the right-of-way office for the Texas Department of Transportation for years assisted Mark and Ann in their successful appeal to have the City of West Orange abandon the right-of-way through their property.

Members of the Orange City Council praised the city staff for revising the 2015 grants using the city's hotel occupancy tax income. Last month, the council instructed the staff to change some of the allocations previously approved.
The city will now give more to the Southeast Texas Arts Council and the Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce than was originally budgeted. City Economic Development Director Jay Trahan, who oversees the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the additional grant money is being taken from the original budget for advertising and not from the fund's reserves. The tax is paid by people who stay in the local hotels. State law restricts the ways the money can be spent. The tax income must be spent to promote tourism or for the arts and historical preservation. Council agreed to give $30,000 to the Southeast Texas Arts Council plus another $2,500 for the arts council's tourism magazine. The Chamber of Commerce will get $65,000. Previously, the city staff had recommended giving the chamber $40,000. Council members in October said they wanted to give more to support the national Bass Masters fishing tournament in March.
The grant to the chamber is divided into $8,000 for the Do It in Orange Fishing Classic, $12,000 for Mardi Gras, $40,000 for the national fishing tournament, and $5,000 for the Sabine Riverfront Festival.
The allocations are $30,000 for the Heritage House Museum, $15,000 to the Friends of the Orange Depot for restoration, $3,000 to the Gulf Coast Cajun Association for advertising its annual festival in Orange, and $2,500 to Orange Trade Days for advertising.
In other business Tuesday, the council approved renewing a contract with consultant Tim Richardson of Washington, D.C., to continue representing the city in getting money for damages from the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre said the Sabine River Authority and the Port of Orange are helping to pay most of the fee and each city in the county, along with the county, are paying pro-rated amounts. The city's cost is about $800 a month. Oubre said the group hopes to get enough recovery money to pay for a countywide sewer and wastewater system. Councilwoman Essie Bellfield asked if someone local could do the work rather than someone in Washington. Oubre said Richardson used to work for a U.S. senator and is an expert through his work getting damages money from the Exxon Valdez spill in Alaska 25 years ago.
The council also agreed to pay $1,800 for a fine from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for violating parts of the Texas Health and Safety Code at the city water facilities. Oubre said the city's drinking water had no problems. The violations included items like litter around a fence at a water tower and a small hole in the fence at a tower.

An increase in the attendance rates in the West Orange – Cove school system is resulting in a positive academic impact upon the District. West Orange – Stark Middle School has experienced the largest rise in daily attendance, increasing from 93.22 percent in 2010 to 97.25 percent this year.  District-wide the attendance increase is from 94 percent in 2010 to 95.43 percent as of Oct. 9 of this year, an increase of almost 1.5%. Other campuses have also shown improvement. North Early Learning Center has increased from 91.60 percent to 95.94 percent. High School and Elementary School growth has been upward, but smaller. West Orange – Stark High School has improved attendance from 93.77 percent in 2010 to 94.01 percent this year; while WO-S Elementary’s attendance has moved from 95.21 to 95.34 percent. more

Firestone Polymers has partnered with Lamar State College-Orange to provide job training using a $307,374 Skills Development Fund grant from the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). The grant will be used to custom train 167 new and incumbent workers with needed skills to transition from contract technicians to permanent employees which will help improve its processes and develop frontline leaders. Those trained will include production and equipment operators, industrial machine mechanics, and warehouse operators. Upon completion of training, the workers will earn an average hourly wage of $31.60. "I am very pleased that our partnership with Firestone resulted in this grant,” said LSC-O President Mike Shahan. “This training program will help keep our Firestone facility competitive and will strengthen our Orange County economy. It is a great example of the college's commitment to community service."

The West Orange - Cove CISD District-wide PTA held a “Golden Apple Award Winner” luncheon for the WO-S Academic Alternative Center recently. The campus reported 100 percent of school staff members have joined the WOCCISD District-wide PTA for the 2014-2015 school year. The PTA also provided a basket of snacks for the teacher lunchroom, as well as needed school supplies for the campus. PTA President Linda Bryant said, “Texas PTA is inviting not only parents and teachers, but community members of all walks of life to “Back the Future” by becoming a PTA member and joining in the celebration of the start of the 2014-2015 school year. PTA members present a basket of items to WOS Academic Alternative Coordinator (AAC) Beverly Robinson. Pictured are AAC teacher Tina LeDesma, WOCCISD PTA President Linda Bryant, Beverly Robinson, AAC Teacher Donna Enard, PTA Secretary Ebonie Landry, and WO-S Middle School Campus PTA representative Inez Hodge-Steverson.

A fire at the apartments on Ridgemont Drive early Tuesday morning caused heavy damage in a vacant section. Deputy Chief Lee Anne Brown with the Orange Fire Department said firefighters received the call at 2:30 a.m. and arrived to find flames with heavy smoke coming out of the second floor of the section. No occupied units were affected and no residents had to be evacuated. Brown said firefighters used defensive tactics to attack the blaze and had it under control in 45 minutes. They remained at the scene for several hours. She said the section was being renovated. At this time, officials do not know the cause of the fire.

The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce announced the Students of the Month for October at their Monthly Networking Coffee on October 14, 2014 at Tiger Rock Martial Arts.  Emily McCall was chosen as the Orangefield High School Student of the Month and Erik Harvey was chosen as the Bridge City High School Student of the Month. more

Frank Tims Jr. said he was blessed to have not been injured when a large tree fell across the SUV he was driving on Park Avenue. The tree blew across the roadway during gusty winds before Monday's cold front. The tree was on public right of way along Shangri La between Link and Burton avenues.

The Orange Police Association and the city have a three-year contract agreement that will include some reorganization in the police department. City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre said Monday that members of the police group approved the proposal during the weekend. Under the reorganization, the police department will add a position of lieutenant. Currently each patrol shift has two on-duty captains. Each shift in the future will have one captain and one lieutenant. The new contract includes a 2.5 percent pay increase for the 2015 budget year, a 2.75 percent increase for the next year and then a 2.75 percent increase for the third year. In addition, the city will help pay some of the costs for bullet-proof vests to offset the price increase for the vests, which are part of standard police equipment. Oubre said the city and the firefighters are close to agreeing to terms for a new contract.

West Orange is working to clear up properties that were damaged in hurricanes or have just been left derelict for some time. Monday evening the West Orange City Council heard from Pete Amy who has two properties on Boston Street that are scheduled for demolition if they are not restored to comply with city codes. Amy has been working to get both back to code and requested another 90 days to complete the work. Amy said he is making progress on the property at 803 Boston, but there is still work to be done at 801 Boston. Amy told the city council he did not think he would need the full 90 days, but that he is not sure the work would be completed in the next 30 days. The City Council recognized the progress being made by Amy, but said he still has until November 9 to get into compliance. There is another city council meeting on October 27, and the council said they could reconsider granting the 90-day extension then. The council unanimously approved taking Amy’s two properties and two properties on Houston Street off of the disaster grant listing properties to be demolished. Mayor Roy McDonald explained the reason for the council’s decision was Amy is making every effort to get his properties into compliance and the owner of the properties on Houston Street has entered into a grant with the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission to have both of his properties completely redone. Mayor McDonald pointed out that this will allow the city to add other properties to the demolition grant that needed to be on the list to start with. The Council authorized the abandonment of Memphis Street which the Orange County Housing Authority wants to develop as the Whispering Oaks housing project.

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