|The Texas Department of Public Safety reports that the large crash Wednesday night on Interstate 10 near Rose City involved five vehicles and left four people dead. Three of the victims, a 62-year-old Vidor woman and two children from Beaumont, were in a 2011 Kia SUV. The other victim, a male, was in 1994 Ford passenger vehicle. DPS Trooper Stephanie Davis said late Thursday morning that the next of kin has not been notified. She said DPS will not release the names of the two children. Judge Derry Dunn pronounced the victims dead at the scene. The accident was about 9:30 p.m. in the westbound traffic lanes. The other vehicles involved in the crash included two 18-wheel truck rigs and a pickup truck. One of the truck rigs burned. Davis said that because of the complexity and severity of the crash, troopers may need a couple of days to determine the factor, or factors that contributed to the fatal crash. Troopers are continuing to gather evidence and witness statements.|
People often joke about school cafeteria food, but at least they're clean in Orange County. County Health Inspector James Scales gave perfect scores to 14 school cafeterias that he inspected during the last part of September. Scales made a total of 34 inspections during the last two weeks of the month and gave a total of 16 scores of 100. He also made two pre-opening inspections. The lowest score was 76 and went to Wienerschnitzel on MacArthur Drive in Pinehurst. The schools with perfect scores are Bridge City Elementary, West Orange-Stark High, Vidor High, Vidor Middle, Orangefield High, Mauriceville Elementary, Little Cypress-Mauriceville High, Tekoa Academy in Orange, North Early Learning Center, Oak Forest Elementary, West Orange-Stark Elementary, Bridge City Intermediate, Mauriceville Middle and St. Mary's School in Orange. Little Caesar's Pizza in Bridge City and Paradise Donuts in Orangefield also received perfect scores. more
At approximately 6:00am Wednesday, there was a two vehicle crash on Highway 87 just north of Deweyville in Newton county. The crash injured two adults and three minor children. According to preliminary reports, a 2003 Pontiac passenger vehicle was northbound on Highway 87 and a 2008 Dodge SUV was southbound on Highway 87. The driver of the Pontiac veered into the southbound traffic lane and struck the Dodge head-on. At this time, it cannot be determined exactly why the driver drove into the southbound lane of the highway. The driver of the Pontiac, 27 year old Tiffany Garrett of Vidor, was transported to St. Elizabeth hospital in critical condition. There were three children in Garrett's vehicle at the time of the crash. The two children that were in the back seat of the vehicle were in car seats and both were transported to St. Elizabeth hospital with unknown injuries. The minor child seated in the front seat of Garrett's vehicle was wearing a seat belt, but sustained serious injuries and was flown by medical helicopter to Hermann Memorial Hospital in Houston. The driver of the Dodge SUV, 29 year old James Witmere of Newton, was transported to St. Elizabeth hospital in Beaumont in critical condition.
The National Weather Service in Lake Charles is expecting a small chance for strong to severe thunderstorms, starting after 12 am Friday. The primary threat will be damaging winds of 50-60 mph. The threat will begin in east Texas, and move across central Louisiana, southeast Texas, and southwest Louisiana.
A 23-year-old man faces misdemeanor charges of evading detention after an incident on Monday afternoon on Strickland Drive. Orange Officer J.H. Kirkpatrick reported that the man ran away as another officer was frisking him for precaution. The man ran around a business parking lot on Ridgemont Drive. Police saw him lying under a parked SUV. Kirkpatrick said the man got out from under the vehicle and went to run again. He surrendered after being threatened with a Taser shock gun. John T. Taylor was taken to the Orange County Jail. Kirkpatrick reported that police went to the site at 1:32 p.m. after a caller reported a man either asleep or passed out in a pickup truck. Kirkpatrick said officers saw the truck parked in the outside lane on Strickland Drive. The man said he was giving the truck back to a friend. Police had him get out of the truck and an officer began frisking him. Kirkpatrick reported the friend came and got the truck after the arrest.
Orange narcotics officers arrested two people at a house on Riverside Drive Monday night. A man was arrested for felony possession of a controlled substance and a woman was arrested for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia. According to the police report, Sgt. Jason Laughlin and Sgt. J.C. Steele went for a "knock and talk" at a house in the 2300 block of Riverside at 9 p.m. The back door was open and a man said the person they were looking for was inside. The officers noticed the occupant of the house had a light in his pocket along with a rock of crack cocaine. A woman was trying to hide a glass pipe used for smoking crack. Larry Wayne Stevens was arrested for felony possession and Doris Michelle Provost was arrested for misdemeanor possession of paraphernalia.
In other police reports, a resident in the 4300 block of Rue Des Fleurs discovered Monday morning that someone had gotten into his parked pickup truck and stole a Glock pistol.
|Groundbreaking for the new Little Cypress Junior High School took place Tuesday morning. The estimated cost for the new facility is $13.5 million. Superintendent Dr. Pauline Hargrove of the Little Cypress-Mauriceville Consolidated Independent School District said everyone in the district is thrilled with the groundbreaking ceremony. Dr. Hargrove explained the new junior high facility will have all the school under one roof connecting the current gym and cafeteria buildings with the new classroom building which will be built. The gym already has new bleachers and the floor has been redone while the cafeteria will also get a major facelift. Dr. Hargrove said, “It is an exciting time for all of us.” Greg Perry is the assistant superintendent for the LC-M schools. Perry indicated the time frame for the completion of the new Junior High facility is between 18 and 24 months starting with the demolition of the 100 building the first week of October. Perry added, “The rest of this school year, all of next school year, and then hopefully by that next summer we can be moving into the new building.” Daniels Construction is the contractor for the project. Daniels also built the new Little Cypress Intermediate School and the new facility at the Mauriceville Middle School for the district.|
- More than 20 years ago, a mayoral candidate in the City of Orange complained that the city had one of the highest property tax rates in the state of Texas. That wasn't true years ago, even though that thought is often repeated today. Orange has the third-highest tax rate in Orange County, or the fourth if you count the City of Port Arthur, which has some of the land in the Bridge City area. Port Arthur's rate is 79.2 cents per $100 valuation on property. Vidor's rate is 73.2 cents per $100 valuation. Pinehurst has 69.8 cents per $100 valuation. Orange now has 68.1 cents per $100 valuation. That rate also covers the county's only full-time professional fire department. Bridge City jumps down with 48.7 cents per $100 tax rate and West Orange has 42.5 cents per $100. However, city taxes aren't the only tax bill due for some city-style services. Bridge City residents also pay a property tax of 10 cents per $100 of valuation for Orange County Emergency Services District No. 2 to provide fire and rescue service. That would make a total rate of 58.7 cents per $100. Vidor not only has the highest city property tax, but residents there also pay property taxes for water and sewer, along with fire protection. The Orange County Water and Improvement District No. 1, which provides water and sewer service to Vidor city residents and those outside the city, has a tax rate this year of 42.3 cents per $100. The Orange County Emergency Services District No. 1 with fire protection in Vidor has 10 cents per $100 valuation tax rate. Add those extra taxes together and Vidor residences pay $1.25 per $100 valuation.
- Monthly bills covering water-sewer and garbage services have West Orange at the highest average residential charges with $99.97. Orange has a total of $93.81, with Pinehurst at $79.15, Vidor at $74.80 and Bridge City at $63.70.
- The cities have comparable garbage pick-up rates. Vidor has the only city-operated sanitation department and the other cities contract pickup services. In Vidor, residential users pay $17 per month for garbage. West Orange uses Waste Management and households pay $20 a month. Bridge City has Allied Waste and is the only city with recycling included. The monthly household rate there is $18.85 a month. That city also adds $4 for a street reconstruction fee to each monthly bill. Pinehurst contracts with Republican Services and pays $22.65 for twice-a-week garbage pickup. Other cities have once-a-week pickup. West Orange uses Waste Management for garbage and charges residents $20 a month. Orange also uses Waste Management. The new rates that start Wednesday will be $22.94 a month.
- For a survey of water and sewer service bills, KOGT requested charges for 5,000 gallons a month, which would be an average family. West Orange, like Vidor, does not have a city-owned water and sewer department. The Orange County Water and Improvements District No. 2 serves West Orange, though the district does not charge a property tax. The total rate for 5,000 gallons is $79.97. The water district for Vidor charges $57.80. Bridge City’s rate is $58.26. Pinehurst’s rate is $56.50, while Orange’s new rate is $70.87.
Orange County Building Permits for August 2014
Orange police said the pedestrian who was killed on 16th Street Saturday night was 50-year-old Richard Greer Lindley of West Orange. The name was not made public until this afternoon because police had not been able to locate next of kin.
The accident was at 8:37 p.m. by the 16th Street intersection with Sholars Avenue. Officer M.T. Roush reported that a 2007 Dodge Charger driven by a 23-year-old man from Cheyenne, Wyoming, was traveling southbound on 16th Street in the inside lane. Lindley was standing by Superior Tire and Service on the west side of 16th Street and tried to run across the roadway. The Charger struck him as he ran in front of it.
Acadian Ambulance treated Lindley at the scene until a medical helicopter arrived to take him to Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, where he died. The driver and two passengers were not injured and no citations were issued.
|Kindergarteners, at Orangefield Elementary, concluded the week with the annual “Hat Parade”. Students were asked to design and/or wear a hat to school because “H” was the letter of the week.
Sunshine Copeland received a $2,500 grant from the Dollar General Literacy Foundation. The money will be used to purchase e-books and audiobooks for Orangefield Elementary.
|Lindsey Lewis of Orange had been recognized by Texas A&M as a Distinguished Student following a summer semester that saw her GPR range between 3.50 to 3.74 from a possible 4.0.|
Pinehurst Police Briefs for September 2014
The City of Orange is working to fill two vacant positions that are in the public eye. One is director of planning and community development and the other is for the coordinator for the Convention and Visitors Bureau. Longtime planning director Jimmie Lewis recently retired from the city and took a position with the Southeast Texas Regional Planning Commission. Taylor Warner with the Convention and Visitors Bureau resigned for another job. City Manager Dr. Shawn Oubre said he has received about 15 applicants for the planning and development job and will sort through them. Eventually, he will interview three or four people. The city's website has job descriptions. The planning and development director needs a bachelor's degree in public administration, urban planning or a related field, with at least three years of experience in planning and code enforcement. The person filling the position will also need to be certified in economic development, or get the certification within 18 months of taking the job with the city. Oubre said he has no timeline to fill the position because it is important to get the right fit between the city and the new director. Economic Development Director Jay Trahan, who supervises the Convention and Visitors Bureau, is handling the hiring of the new CVB director, Dr. Oubre said. The city’s website says the qualifications include a high school diploma along with a bachelor’s degree in marketing or equivalent experience.
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Commissioners’ Court postponed this afternoon setting an appeals hearing for Vidor land developer Sonny Stevenson. The county filed a lawsuit against Stevenson and his Parkwood Land Company according to County Judge Carl Thibodeaux after Stevenson requested a permit back in June to develop property just north of Interstate 10. The permit was denied by County Code Compliance Officer Joel Ardoin because of fill material Stevenson used in a floodway. Judge Thibodeaux said he thinks Stevenson is breaking FEMA rules, and now the county has to enforce the FEMA rules. Stevenson is requesting an appeal hearing from either the Commissioners’ Court or an appointed committee. Judge Thibodeaux says FEMA could penalize Orange County if it did not make sure the area was returned to its original state by cutting all of Orange County’s national flood insurance program. Commissioner Jody Crump is attending training and missed the meeting. The property in question is in Crump’s precinct. Thibodeaux indicated he would like to have the full Commissioners’ Court present and hear what each would want on an important matter like a lawsuit. The commissioners approved the new contract with the South East Texas Regional Planning Commission for the transportation vehicles used by the county. Transportation Department Director Donna Minter told the court the contract is similar, but for less money than last years’ contract. Minter said the contract is for $360,501 which $26,293 less than previously awarded by the commission. Commissioner John Banken asked why the funds were lowered, and Minter with Judge Thibodeaux responded that the vehicles are part of a federal program and that federal dollars had probably been cut and the commission just passed the reduction on to the county.
|St. Mary Catholic School announces Jessie Pham of Groves as the winner for the football fundraiser raffle ticket sale. This prize included two Dallas Cowboy vs Houston Texans tickets, two nights at the Dallas Hilton Gardens and a $500 Visa cash card for meals and expenses. Father Daleo drew her winning ticket during Mass at St. Mary Catholic Church. The winning ticket was sold by Mrs. Wanda Simar, St. Mary Catholic School alumni and faithful supporter.|
|Orangefield Senior Morgan Worthy, escorted by her dad John, was crowned Homecoming Queen Friday night. The Bobcats capped the night with a 26-20 win against the Newton Eagles to improve to 3-2 on the season.|
At approximately 8:45pm Saturday night, there was an auto-pedestrian crash on Highway 90 near Keith Road in Jefferson county that killed a Vidor man. The pedestrian was walking eastbound on Highway 90 near Keith Road when he was struck from behind by a 2009 Nissan SUV. From the evidence, it appears that the pedestrian was walking in the outside lane (slow lane) of Highway 90 when he was struck. This portion of the highway is in rural Jefferson county and is not lit with street lights. The pedestrian was 41 year old Jerry Wilson of Vidor. Wilson was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Nissan was a 67 year old woman from Beaumont. There are no confirmed injuries to her or her passenger.
Two middle-aged brothers fought each other Friday morning at their father's house during an argument about pain pills. Orange police report that 51-year-old Michael Allen Parrish suffered a broken hand after hitting his 46-year-old brother, Jack Parrish. Officer Patrick McDonald reported police got a 911 call to a house in the 6700 block of Guy Lane at 10:24 a.m. Friday. McDonald said Officer Howard DeVault had handcuffed the two and confiscated a kitchen steak knife, which Michael said he had picked up but didn't use. Both brothers blamed each other on starting the fight and said they wanted to file charges against each other. McDonald said Jack was taken to the Orange County Jail for Class A misdemeanor assault. Michael was dropped off at the local hospital for treatment to his hand. Police said the brothers live with their 72-year-old father.
Orange police at 10:24 a.m. Friday arrested a man who escaped about eight hours earlier from a patrol car while wearing handcuffs. 34-year-old Joshua Melvin Harper was arrested at a house in the 400 block of Cypress Avenue, a block north of the Orange Post Office. Captain Cliff Hargrave said Harper was still wearing the handcuffs but had managed to shift his cuffed hands to his front. The cuffs had been placed on his hands behind his back. Police arrested Harper about 2 a.m. for possession of a stolen vehicle. The vehicle had been broken down in the 1700 block of 16th Street. When officers checked the car, they discovered that it was reported stolen from Freestone County, where Harper was listed as a residence. Hargrave said Harper is from Orange and police had word that he had been staying at the house on Cypress Avenue. Officers were watching the house and asked neighbors for help in looking out for the escapee. He said a neighbor called police after spotting him. The captain said Harper is not considered dangerous.
|We are trying to reunite this sweet dog with his owners. He showed up near 105 and 1442. Please call 988-4287 if this is your dog.|
Marriage Licenses Issued By The Office of Karen Jo Vance, Orange County Clerk For the Week of September 22, 2014 through September 26, 2014. Jason D. Willis and Brandi L. Authement, Michael C. Harris and Heather A. Flores, Anthony T. Marze and Amber M. Jackson, Luther J. Bennett and Kristin M. Wise, Joseph R. Ardoin and Shanna M. Strong,
Francisco Tays Jr. and Eryn M. Lucas, John Roy and Birdie L. Landry, Kevin M. Staudenmier and Honey A. Cato, Chase M. Kirkland and Thom T. Tran, Joshua G. Taylor and Regan M. Slovak.
Little Cypress-Mauriceville High School students in Terry Morris’ classes had the opportunity to hear from someone who had been in their seats, literally, not too long ago. Dr. Meagan Pollock, 2001 LCM alumni and member of the LCM T-STEM Advisory Board, took the opportunity to share her story with the students. Dr. Pollock is a former National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow, with a PhD in engineering education from Purdue University. She worked as an engineer for Texas Instruments, including three co-op rotations, before returning to school to earn her doctorate. She has earned a BS in computer science, with a minor in mathematics, from Texas Woman’s University (graduated cum laude and from the Honors Scholar Program) and an MS in electrical engineering from Texas Tech University as a part of the Program for Semiconductor Product Engineering. Recently, Dr. Pollock was named the Director of Professional Development for the National Alliance for Partnerships in Equity. In this role, Dr. Pollock will develop programs and products that help educators, administrators, and counselors improve equity in the classroom, ultimately to increase the participation of women and minorities in high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand careers. Dr. Pollock encouraged all students to consider a career in a STEM field. Along with discussions about what careers the students were considering, Dr. Pollock talked about the school being named a T-STEM Academy and how that is a positive, no matter what field of study is followed. Dr. Pollock talked to them about the importance of STEM careers and the demand for these high-skill, high-wage jobs. She suggested sites to help students explore the offerings of the STEM world. The website sciencebuddies.org has a tab that lists science careers, their descriptions and courses to take in high school to prepare you for those careers. It also has everything from science project ideas to “Ask an Expert” and links for teachers and parents. She also suggested bls.gov, the website of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which also has student and teacher resources. According to Dr. Terri Estes, LCM Principal, “We are extremely fortunate to have someone of Dr. Pollock’s experience and expertise come to talk to our students. Her position at the National Alliance for Partnership in Equity provides her with a unique perspective on the changes coming in the global economy. Her support on our Advisory Board is invaluable. The fact that she is an LCM graduate and Orange native gives her the added benefit of understanding our school and community. Dr. Pollock is a wonderful role model for our students.”
On Thursday, September 25, 2014, around 7:10 p.m., Orange County Sheriff’s Narcotics Deputies were patrolling the area of Lakeview Road near the intersection of Neches Road in the Lakeview area of Orange County, Texas, when they observed a brown Chevy truck pulling a trailer that did not have a license plate. There was also a Pontiac car on the trailer. The Deputies stopped the truck for the traffic violation and obtained consent to search the vehicles. Upon searching the car on the trailer, Deputies located approximately 34 grams of methamphetamine in a plastic bag inside the car. Both the driver and passenger in the truck were arrested for Possession of a Controlled Substance, a 2nd Degree Felony, and transported to the Orange County Jail to be booked. The driver was identified as 39 year old Michael Durr (left) of Vidor. The passenger was identified as 40 year old Robert Droddy, also of Vidor. The two men were arraigned by Justice of the Peace Precinct #1 Judge David Peck on Friday morning. Each was given a bond of $1,500.
The property at 3438 Martin Street in Pinehurst will not be standing much longer. Code Enforcement Officer Harry Vine said he spoke to the family of the elderly lady who owns the property about turning it over to Pinehurst. Vine reported that the family turned the request down. Back on June 20, Vine gave a 30-day notice of possible condemnation. The house is riddled with termites, stripped of all the wiring, and has been a haven for vagrants and drug users. Vine indicated there has been no improvement which means the house will come down. Vine asked the council for permission to have the structure torn down on this year’s budget. The Pinehurst City Council approved Vine’s request for the demolition of the structure on Martin which will cost $3200 and is covered in his budget for this fiscal year which ends on September 30. The demolition is scheduled for the end of this month.
Hotel tax revenues for fiscal year 2013-2014 were awarded by the Orange County Commissioners’ Court. Economic Development Director Bobby Fillyaw presented the list to the court based on the recommendations of the Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee which met on September 18. The committee requested applications for Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funds in July and August, and after receiving the applications the committee pared the application requests down. The committee awarded 13 out of 14 requestors money from the county’s HOT funds. Almost $216,000 were requested by the 14 requesting funds, while the committee awarded just over $75,000.
|Demolition has started on the old Pine Grove public housing complex on Park Avenue. The Housing Authority of the City of Orange has hurricane recovery grants to replace old apartments with new housing. The site will get 66 new units for low to moderate income families. The Pine Grove apartments were built in the late 1940s and in the days of segregation housed white-only tenants. The federal government established the Pine Grove Camp at the site during World War II when dozens of trailer houses were set up to house workers who moved to Orange for the defense shipbuilding effort.|