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Centerpoint Energy has contractors installing digital gas meters that can be read from a distance of half a mile away. The City of Orange has been gradually installing digital water meters and Pinehurst has been considering similar meters. The meters mean workers will not have to go into backyards or side yards to check for usage.

Two teenagers were arrested Thursday morning after a resident on West Cypress Avenue returned home to discover that the house was being burglarized. Orange police arrested the men a few blocks away on Pine Avenue, which runs parallel to Cypress. An observant neighbor had called police about two suspicious men running down the street. 17-year-old Revelation Ratorious Demetry Shepherd and 18-year-old Stevin Deandre Austin have been charged with burglary of a habitation. Precinct 1 Judge David Peck set a bond of $25,000 on each of the men.Orange Officer T.P. Pruitt said a woman who lives in the 1200 block of West Cypress went home about 10 a.m. Thursday and saw two men running east from her back yard. Her back door had been kicked in and the door jamb was broken. Officer Pruitt said cell phones, jewelry, watches and a knife stolen from the house were recovered. The house is two blocks west of another Old Orange Historic District house that was burglarized during the day on Tuesday. About $10,800 worth of electronics and jewelry were stolen. No charges have been filed in that burglary.

Hundreds of kids participated in the Annual Orange Easter Egg Hunt Friday morning.  First Baptist Church and others are having hunts Saturday. Check the KOGT Happenings page.
     
Shangri La Botanicla Gardens was the host of the Annual Butterfly Release Friday and as you can see the kids thoroughly enjoyed it.

People getting flood insurance on May 1 or later should be getting the breaks in prices that were approved last month by President Obama and Congress. The changes in rules will offset the drastic increases for many people brought about by the 2012 Biggert-Waters Act. Homeowners who have been paying some of the more expensive rates may eventually get a refund. FEMA will be working to adjust the rates based on new criteria. Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte has been part of a nationwide coalition trying to get the Biggert-Waters Act changed. "It was definitely an effort through the whole U.S., not just here," he said. "You don't have to be on the coast to be hit" with the large flood insurance increases. He said all 50 states have areas that need flood insurance. Bridge City was facing drastic changes because most of the city flooded during Hurricane Ike in 2008. The National Flood Insurance Program was started about 45 years ago with the federal government underwriting flood insurance because private insurers would not cover the costs. The federal government drew flood plain maps in the 1970s to determine rates for flood insurance. Homeowners of houses built before the flood plain maps were paying rates as if they didn't. Under the Biggert-Waters Act, they would be paying prices based on the actual elevation and flood hazard. Most of Bridge City flooded during Hurricane Ike in 2008. That meant many houses were going to see drastic increases in annual flood insurance rates, some up to $10,000 a year. Roccaforte said those rates would affect the growth of the city. For instance, someone who owns a house outright is not required to buy flood insurance. But government-supported mortgages are required to carry flood insurance. Roccaforte said banks were reluctant to loan money for people to buy houses in Bridge City because the flood insurance could make the house too expensive. Under the new changes to Biggert-Waters, the federal government will subsidize the higher costs, saving the homeowners the costs of the higher rates. Roccaforte said the subsidized costs will be only for homesteads. People with second houses or businesses will see gradual increases in flood insurance rates, about 25 percent per year, instead of a one-time jump. Congress approved the Biggert-Waters Act as a way to make up a $24 billion deficit in the Federal Flood Insurance Program. The program had been solvent until 2005 and Hurricane Katrina. The storms and floods since then had sent the program into the deficit. The increased prices were to offset the deficit. Roccaforte said Bridge City is still appealing the new flood plain maps that were drawn in 2012.

Two home burglaries have been reported to Orange police. Tuesday afternoon at 4, the resident at a house in the 1000 block of West Cypress Avenue discovered a break-in at the house. About $10,800 in laptop computers, jewelry and a video game system had been stolen. Then on Wednesday night at 10:12 p.m., a burglary was reported in the 1700 block of Chapman Street. A window was found broken and a laptop computer along with a small amount of cash was missing.

Marriage License: Issued by The Office of Karen Jo Vance, Orange County Clerk For the Week of April 14, 2014 thru April 17, 2014. Darren M Robb and Shalana K Moad, Jason S Cloud and Amanda L Corbell, Jonquail J Lynch and Channing VI Doyle, Forrest H Wilson and Haley E Lyons, Jonathan G Herring and Julie A Atwood, Micah J Jacks and Breanna L Watkins, Josh A Williams and Cassandra D Comeaux.

Orange County Health Inspector James Scales spent time this month at schools and gave a bunch of A+ grades. During the first part of April, Scales inspected 25 food businesses or service places, including 13 school cafeterias. All but two cafeterias had perfect scores of 100. The other two still had high scores. West Orange-Stark Middle School had a 97 because of not having a certified food manager on staff. West Orange-Stark Elementary had a 94 because a couple of live roaches were found at the steamers. The school district's director of food services has already had a pest control company treating the area. In addition, the cafeteria needed a certified food manager. The schools with perfect scores were North Early Learning Center, Oak Forest Elementary in Vidor, Vidor Elementary, Mauriceville Elementary, Little Cypress Junior High, Bridge City Intermediate, Orangefield Junior High, Little Cypress Elementary, Bridge City Middle, Vidor Middle, and Vidor High School. More 

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

Staff members from the cities in Orange County, along with County Engineer Clark Slacum, met to discuss how to meet regulations on storm-water drainage in the bayous and the streams. The entities have joined together, along with Lumberton and Hardin County, to hire the engineering firm of Carroll & Blackman to help. The gathering met at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center Wednesday. The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality is setting rules to keep run-off water clean when it is discharged into the bayous and streams. The run-off comes from storm sewers and drainage ditches. Slacum told KOGT's Glenn Earle that the condition of the bayous and streams around the county is "pretty bad." Some of the ways to keep them clean is to prevent silt and topsoil from construction sites running off. In addition, people need to stop dumping hazardous chemicals and oil into the drainage ditches.

An Orange man was arrested Monday on warrants from the Leesville Police Department for allegedly stealing firearms and a vehicle, among other things, according to a release. Ricky J. Ashworth II, 18, was wanted in connection to two separate incidents in late 2013, according to a department release. One incident involved a stolen vehicle, cash and a firearm, while the other incident involved a firearm stolen from a vehicle. According to Thetowntalk, the vehicle eventually was recovered in the Sulphur area, and an investigation between the department, the Sulphur Police Department and the Calcasieu Sheriff's Office led to warrants being issued for Ashworth's arrest. According to the release, Ashworth confessed to both incidents. Ashworth was booked into the Leesville City Jail on two counts of theft of a firearm, simple burglary, theft of more than $500 and theft of a motor vehicle. Bond was set at $12,000.

The Bridge City Chamber of Commerce announced the Students of the Month for March at their monthly networking coffee held at Burger Town. Brittany Dowdle was chosen as the Orangefield Student of the Month and Jayden Trahan was chosen as the Bridge City Student of the Month. Dowdle is ranked 28th out of her class of 121 students with a 3.91 GPA on the OHS scale and is the daughter of Chad and Tracey Dowdle. She has been involved in Student Council, Library Club, InterAct, Band, National Honor Society, Color Guard, Yearbook staff, FCCLA, Meet in the Middle, Education (Ready, Set, Teach), Science UIL, Calculator UIL, News Writing UIL, Headline Writing UIL, TAFE. Dowdle has received Big O Awards for World Geography, BIM, Advanced Journalism, Ready, Set, Teach, and Perfect Attendance. Her community service includes being a volunteer for Shangri La, Band Booster club, Lion’s Club Carnival, school blood drives, Special Olympics, Relay for Life, and Adaptive Sports for Kids. Dowdle plans to attend McNeese State University majoring in nursing. Trahan is ranked 4th in his class of 188 students with a 4.73 GPA on a weighted 4.0 scale and is the son of Ricky and Teri Trahan. He is a member of the National Honor Society, Bridge City High School Marching and Concert Band, UIL Math, Science, Number Sense and Calculator, Academic Team, Chess Club. Trahan has been on the President’s Honor Roll, Sweepstakes Band, Band Vice President and Squad Leader, All-Region Band participant and All-Area Contest Participant. His Community Service includes being an avid participant in Relay for Life Cancer Walk. Trahan plans to pursue a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Lamar University and eventually go to the University of Texas for Aeronautical Engineering.

Bridge City High School sent 12 delegates to the Texas Association of Student Councils Annual Conference held in Arlington, Texas, April 12-15. Over 5,000 student leaders participated in training and breakout sessions to learn how to better serve their schools as well as their communities. Pictured(l to r) Kaitlyn Louvier, Jannet Tran, Ashley Cisneros, Ashleigh Fukuda, Colton Huebel, Karley Worthington, Colton Cockrell, Kelly Zoch, Windsor Nguyen, Marsha Tran, Josh Khoury, and Kellyn Cormier.

Construction on new public housing apartments on Sikes Road and Velma Jeter should begin in the summer. Housing Authority Director LaNita Brown said residents at the old Velma Jeter complex off Allie Payne Road have been given notice to relocate. Demolition of the houses on the site now should start in June.
Brown gave updates on progress to the housing authority's board of directors Tuesday. She said the housing authority has had the closing on the Velma Jeter and Sikes Road projects. The closing date for the new Pine Grove apartments will be in May.
The housing authority is using federal hurricane recovery grants, along with special bond financing, to replace old apartments, some more than 60 years old. Some of the old Arthur Robinson apartments off Burton Avenue in East Orange will be demolished. Those replacement units will be built on Sikes Road off Martin Luther King Jr. Drive north of Interstate 10. Residents nearby, including an affluent subdivision, have protested and fought against the new location. None of the protesters attended the meeting Tuesday.
Guy Goodson, the attorney for the housing authority, said the Texas General Land Office has approved another $1.75 million to the housing authority for the Pine Grove apartments. Those apartments on West Park Avenue near Adams Bayou will also be demolished for new units.
The construction date on Pine Grove had to be delayed as the housing authority needed to get more money. The General Land Office has been distributing the hurricane recovery grants.
The I-Tex Group of Port Arthur will be the construction contractor for all the new apartments. The company also manages the housing authority's James Zay Roberts apartments that opened two years ago at part of the Arthur Robinson grounds.
During the meeting Tuesday, Board Chair Mike Combs suggested that the board consider banning smoking inside the new apartments when they open. “I’m not opposed to smoking. That’s everyone’s personal decision,” Combs said. But he doesn’t allow people to smoke inside his house and he thinks no one should smoke inside the apartments that “will be new, clean and never been smoked in.” Board member Patricia Coppage said people smoking outside may leave trash and litter on the grounds. Another suggestion included perhaps setting up smoking and non-smoking apartment units. The board will consider the smoking situation at future meetings.

Schnauzer found at Bridge City Middle School.  Contact Ashley
 Thomas [ashleythomas08@yahoo.com] if it is yours.

Zeus is missing from Hi Ho addition at Basset and Grouse.
 He doesn't have a collar on. Call Matt at 998-1917.

The 4-22-14 agendas for the Orange Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the City of Orange Council Meeting are both now online at www.orangetexas.net.

A 17-year-old girl was injured Monday afternoon when she lost control of her car on FM 1130 during the rain and hit a tree. Orange police report that Kelsey Henry was taken to a hospital by Acadian Ambulance. The accident was about 3:20 p.m. in the 10000 block of FM 1130 near Meadowlark Road. Officer M.C. Bernard said the accident was on a curve and the driver could not control the speed in the weather conditions. He said the driver lost control and the Ford Taurus begin spinning. The car then went off the roadway and hit a tree.

Orange County continues to be down in the collection of sales taxes during the first three months of the year. The Texas Comptroller's Office reports that the county is getting $349,500 in sales taxes this month. That's up about 3.4 percent from the same month last year. However, for the year to date the county is down $138,260, a decrease of 8.66 percent. For the year to date, the county has received $1.46 million.
The City of Orange is getting $267,460 this month, an increase from last year. However, the city is down $52,800 for the first three months. The city so far this year has collected $1.13 million.
Bridge City is up $30,000 for the year so far. The city is getting $90,400 this month and has $427,000 for the year.
Pinehurst had a slight increase of $516 for the month compared to the same time last year. The city is getting $53,140. The city is down for the year by $4,800 with a total of $230,596.
Vidor is getting $180,100, about $2,500 more than the same month in 2013. The city so far this year has received almost $810,000, almost 12 percent more than the same period last year.
West Orange has been having increases. The city is up $7,730 for the year and up $2,700 for the month. West Orange has the lowest sales tax rate of 1.25 percent. The other cities have a rate of 1.5 percent. The county has .5 percent, or half a cent per dollar.

The Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District’s board of trustees met Monday night. Superintendent Dr. Pauline Hargrove commented during her report to the school board on the consequences for students involved in an alcohol related incident the night of the high school prom earlier this month. Dr. Hargrove said the students will not be addressed under the Student Code of Conduct because the incident was not at a school related event. The students will be addressed through their UIL activities and their position in those activities by the school district’s Activities Administrative Teams Committee according to Dr. Hargrove. The committee looks at what the by-laws are of the UIL activity and the constitutions the students have signed to be a member of that activity outlining the conduct the students will uphold as leaders in the community. Sponsors of the organization the student is involved in will make a recommendation to the committee which then discusses it together. As a result there could be a variety of consequences taking place depending on what the organization might be. Community service or limiting the activities the student is allowed to participate in are possible consequences assigned by the committee. Students involved in athletics come under the specific guidelines prescribed by their individual coaches and which the students and their parents have signed. Dr. Hargrove emphasized each student’s involvement in the incident will be addressed, and the students will be held accountable. The Activities Administrative Teams Committee will meet individually with the students involved, as well as the sponsors of the UIL organization the student participates in, and parents are welcome to attend the meeting.

Orange County Sheriff's logs April 9-15

On Friday at 6:30 p.m. Pinehurst Police Officer J. Trussell received a report of a naked man exposing himself to passersby outside of a residence in the 600 block of 28th Street in Pinehurst. Chief Fred R. Hanauer III, who happened to be in the 3000 block of MacArthur Drive when the incident was reported, arrived approximately 1 minute later and located a 49 year-old white male sitting nude in his vehicle which was parked near the roadway. Chief Hanauer recognized the man on sight as a registered sex offender who lives at that address. Hanauer interviewed witnesses who stated that the subject was walking near the roadway in the front yard of his residence totally nude when the incident was first reported and had exposed himself to a white female and her 6 children, ages 3 to 9, as they arrived at a residence on 28th Street. The white male, 49 year old Mark Dewey Martinez, was placed under arrest for Indecency with a Child and transported to the Orange County Jail where he was given a $25,000.00 bond. He has since been released after posting that bond. Indecency With a Child/Exposure is a 3rd degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The West Orange-Cove, Orangefield and Vidor school districts will have classes on Good Friday as a make-up day from the winter. In Deweyville, students will not go to school but teachers will have an in-service work day. Little Cypress-Mauriceville and Bridge City will have their regularly scheduled holiday Friday. Both the districts holding classes will have early-release days. At West Orange-Cove, North Early Learning Center and the elementary school will get out at 11 a.m. The alternative academic center will be released at 11:30 a.m. The middle school and high school will get out at noon. Orangefield Elementary will be released at 1:15 p.m. and then the junior high and high school will get out at 1:20 p.m. On Friday in Vidor, there will be an early dismissal with elementary at 11:45 and secondary at 12:15. Regular class schedules will resume on Monday, April 21. The Orange County Courthouse and county offices will be closed for Good Friday, along with city offices in Orange, West Orange, Pinehurst, Bridge City and Vidor. West Orange City Hall will also be closed on Monday.

Orange Lions Club member Randall Morris, center, received the Lions Club International Presidential Medal Award, the 2nd highest award given by Lion Clubs International, at the District Convention this past weekend in San Augustine. Morris received the award for his 40yrs of Lions service in his club, Community, District, State and International. Past International Director Beverly Stebbins and District Governor Waldo Dacheau presented the award.

The community is invited to Open House Tours of the West Orange – Cove Educational Service Center (ESC) on Thursday, April 24. Open House Tours will be conducted by WOCCISD Superintendent James Colbert on April 24 at 9 a.m., 1 p.m., and 5 p.m. “We are excited to be concluding all of the projects that we committed to when we asked for taxpayer support in passing the Qualified School Construction Bond. This Open House gives us an opportunity to share information regarding the end results of the projects and to also showcase our Educational Service Center. I look forward to taking visitors on tours of this facility,” Colbert said. The ESC Open House Tours will also include many before and after photo summaries of other 2011 Qualified School Construction Bond projects. The Educational Service Center, located at 902 W. Park, is the former Anderson Elementary campus. With funds publicly approved through the 2011 Qualified School Construction Bond, the ESC building was renovated to house all WOC administrative services including Special Education, Food Service, Maintenance, and Technology. ESC Open House public parking is located on the Park Street side of the building.

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) presented the Garmon family of Orange with their annual Library Family of the Year award at the Orange Public Library Saturday morning. Jeff and Tammy Garmon with their three children Patrick, Aidan, and Emma love to read on lots of different subjects. The Garmons home school their three children and will frequently leave the library with as many 50 books a week. They know all the librarians by name and started going to the library when their children were very young because it was free which became a habit. Janelle Ramsey of AAUW presented the Garmons with a plaque signifying them as the Library Family of the Year and a $25 gift certificate to a local book store. The AAUW has awarded a Library Family of the Year for over 20 years, and plaques listing the names of each family is kept at the library.
 
Community Christian School inducted new members into their National Honor Society and National Junior Honor Society. They are: Tristen M. Anding, Emily C. Breaux, Caitlyn R. Clark, Keleigh M. Dempsey, Emily M. Due, Rebecca L. Tibbitts.
   

Friday, three LCM Administrators were honored by their professional organization as Principals and Assistant Principal of the Year for the Southeast Texas area. Todd Loupe, Principal of Mauriceville Middle School was named Middle School Principal of the Year, Kim Cox, MMS Assistant Principal was named Middle School Assistant Principal of the Year and Dr. Terri Estes of Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School was named High School Principal of the Year. According to the Texas Association of Secondary School Principals, the group seeks to recognize exemplary performance among campus level administrators in Texas. The three from LCM were selected by their peers from several others nominated from across the Region 5 service area.

Local Weather Radar

Diana Pham, a student at Bridge City High School, was named the top winner of the Fifth Annual Art Contest at Lamar State College-Port Arthur. Pham’s piece, “Holding Aces,” led a field of 19 entries that earned accolades from a panel of judges at LSC-PA. The first place award came with a check for $500. West Brook High School student Digneris Escalona’s portrait of Janis Joplin, entitled “Pearl,” won second place and $250, while third place went to Bettye Crochet of Orangefield High School for her work, “Galactic Encounters of the Hairless Feline.” She won $100 for her efforts. Earning honorable mention ribbons were: BCHS: Wade Howard for “Raw Power,” Linda Pham for “Life on the Edge,” and Merideth Brumfield for “Frank;” Vidor HS: Breanna Workman for “Yesterday and Today;” Orangefield HS: Joseph Winfree for “The Kneenapede;” The contest is directed by LSC-PA Art Instructor Grace Megnet.

Community Christian School's first ever high school First Robotics Championship (FRC) team, Flare, competed in the 2014 Lone Star Regional Tournament April 4-6, 2014 in Houston at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Team Flare, Rookie Team Number 5287, won the 2014 Lone Star Rookie Inspiration Award. Team members included students and adults (mentors) who came together to learn and promote Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) education. This year's sport was called Aerial Assist. The name "Flare" was chosen to promote Southeast Texas. Flare represents engineering, design, oil and chemical companies in Orange and Southeast Texas. FRC Team Flare, 5287, gives special thanks to sponsors who made this dream come true. Sponsors include: Texas Workforce Commission, Greater Texas Foundation, Above Signs And Glass, and Community Christian School. Picture: Bottom row left to right: Marcus "MJ" Delarosa 9th gr., Coach Anna Delarosa Anderson, Marissa Gray 11th gr., Alayna Bergeron 11th gr., Christion Rivas 9th gr. Second row: Mentor Robert Anderson, Mentor Ledena Howard, Skylar Menard 10th gr., Nathan Rose 9th gr., Patrick Riley 9th gr., Josh Howard 9th gr. Last row: Mentor Steve Howard, Justin Meaux 9th gr.
Not shown: Mentor Michael Breaux, Mechanical Engineer at Dupont; Mentor Steve Howard from Dupont, Mentor David Wagner from CCS and Mentor Lorelei Jackson from CCS. Also not shown is a very important member of the team: FUEGO - the robot.

A jury Thursday gave 44-year-old Curtis Nathaniel Bullman a life sentence in prison without parole for the continuous sexual abuse of a young child. District Attorney John Kimbrough said Bullman has tested positive for HIV. He said the victim has not tested positive for HIV but the testing must be continued for a few years. Bullman had lived in Pinehurst but moved to Spartanburg, S.C. He was arrested there last year after the charges were filed. He was accused of sexually assaulting a girl beginning when she was 8 years old. The girl was 15 years old when he was arrested last May. Kimbrough said the charge of continuous sexual assault means the assault was repeated for a minimum of 30 days. State law holds that a person convicted of the offense is not eligible for parole; so Bullman will be in prison for the rest of his life. Assistant District Attorney Phillip Smith was the prosecutor. Detective Lauren Kemp with the Orange County Sheriff's Office was the lead investigator. The trial was held before Judge Courtney Arkeen in the 128th District Court.

The Bridge City Middle School Math and Science Team competed in San Antonio at the State Math competition. The team won 6th place Number Sense, 2nd place Calculator and 5th place Science.  The team finished third in Class 3A. They are  coached by Leah Busby.

First Presbyterian Church has adjusted its plan for an attached boiler room and has tentative approval from the Orange Historical Preservation Commission. In March, the preservation commission rejected a church plan to add a metal building to the back of the 1912 pink granite sanctuary. The proposed metal building would be easily visible from Eighth Street where the church has a driveway and grounds. The main building is in the Greek-revival style and has a stained glass dome of 16 angel panels. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In the 1990s, the Orange City Council set a Historical District and any changes to the exterior of a building must be approved by the special preservation commission. Members of the commission are appointed by City Council. Presbyterian representative Jim King went before the commission Tuesday and said the church could put a coating called IEB on the exterior of the metal building to resemble stucco. The coating would blend with the color of the granite and be scored to resemble the granite blocks. The preservation commissioners agreed to the new exterior look but wants some adjustments to the slope of the roof. King will return in May with those adjustments. After the Historical Preservation Commission approves the plans, the city will issue a building permit. In April, King said the old boiler was in the basement and that flooded during Hurricane Ike. The new boiler will be in the exterior building addition and installed above flood level.

Armed with paper pickers, grabbers, and trash bags, Top Teens of America volunteered to pick up trash on their adopted highway, Simmons Drive in Orange, Texas; on Saturday in honor of National Clean Up Day. Pictured from left: Kayla Thibodeaux, Danielle Gyasi, Delisia Hunter, Demaric Judge, Keyshawn Holeman, and Diamond Judge. The Top Teens of America is sponsored by Top Ladies of Distinction, Inc. Advisor: Dorothy Brandon and Deborah Mitchell.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has assessed a fine of $66,626 against the City of Bridge City for violations at the sewer treatment plant. KOGT's Glenn Earle reports that the fine could have been $86,000 but was lowered. TCEQ reports that the city had sludge three to eight inches thick around the area of the treatment plant's discharge point. City Manager Jerry Jones said the city was aware of the problems because the treatment plant had extensive damage during Hurricane Ike in 2008. The TCEQ cited the violations the year after the storm as the city was waiting for federal hurricane recovery grants to repair the system. Jones described the situation as a "Catch 22" because the government wanted the plant fixed but the city didn't have the money and needed the government money.

The president of the Stark Foundation thanked the Orange City Council for the quick emergency response to the March 24 fire at the former First Baptist Church, now owned by the foundation. However, Walter Riedel pointed out that if the fire had been a few weeks earlier, the outcome might not have been minimal. He said two of the Orange Fire Department's engines were in Houston for repairs. The two engines are at least 20 years old and need replacing. Riedel also thanked the person driving by the church who saw the fire at the top of the dome. The person called 911. Riedel's thanks include Police Chief Lane Martin and the dispatchers and police officers who responded. The thanks were also extended to Fire Chief David Frenzel and the firefighters who went to the top of the dome in conditions that were "extremely dangerous," Riedel said. The fire department has a new ladder truck that was used to point a steady, high-pressure stream of water directly on the dome. Riedel said that state-of-the art equipment was vital in limiting the damage to the historic building. He encouraged the city to keep up equipment. KOGT's Glenn Earle reports that Riedel said the foundation has more than $68 million in property in the city with items inside the buildings worth four to five times that much. In other business, the council approved annexing land along Martin Luther King Jr. Drive where the First Baptist Church relocated and built a new complex. The church had requested the annexation. Also, two council members were reluctant to approve items that are usually routine. The council was asked to approve three items related to federal fair housing policies. Cities and counties accepting federal grants are asked once a year to adopt the policies. Earle reports that council members Theresa Beauchamp and Tommy Ferguson voted against the items even though City Manager Shawn Oubre told them the opposition could hurt the city's federal grants, including the one that paid for the new Central Fire Station. Beauchamp told Earle that she couldn't vote for the items because "everything we are building is (for) low income."

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