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On Wednesday, March 25, 2015, around 9:00 PM, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office conducted a narcotics search warrant at a residence located at 9380 Terri Road off of FM 1136 in Mauriceville, Texas. During the search of the residence, Narcotics Officers seized in excess of five pounds of high-grade marihuana, over 100 ecstasy tablets and numerous psilocybin (hallucinogenic) mushrooms that were packaged for sale. A total of eight persons were arrested during the warrant for possession of marihuana and possession of a controlled substance, and one person was arrested for outstanding warrants.

Deweyville is still under a flood warning and the National Weather Service is now predicting the river will crest Monday at 26 feet. On Thursday morning, the level was at 25.7 feet. Flood level is 24 feet. Roads in the Indian Lake and River Oaks areas are prone to flooding at 26 feet. Flooding could also occur in river access roads in northeast Orange County.
 
A 19-year-old driving a large sedan was given a ticket for failure to stop and render aid after Orange police said she hit the back of a motorcycle on an Interstate 10 access road. The driver of the motorcycle, 39-year-old Cambridge Courtney Kelly of Orange, was taken by Acadian Ambulance to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont with a knee injury and some cuts and bruises.  The accident was about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 2400 block of Lutcher Drive near the Toyota dealership. Officer Holland reported that a Ford Five Hundred was traveling westbound in the outside lane. The sedan hit the rear of the motorcycle, causing Kelly to fall off. The sedan traveled away and the driver did not stop. Holland said Alia Ronetria Roberts of Orange was given a citation for failure to stop and render aid.
 
Orange police have filed burglary charges against 32-year-old Ronald Rice of Orange in connection with taking a yard trimmer from a storage shed. The theft was reported Sunday by the resident of a house on Golden Oak Drive. A surveillance camera captured a photograph of a man taking the equipment. Detectives asked KOGT to publish the picture for help in identifying the man. Captain Cliff Hargrave said 10 to 12 people called police after the picture appeared on the website Tuesday morning. Late Wednesday afternoon Captain Hargrave said Rice has not been arrested. Anyone with information about where he is should contact the police department at 883-1026.

Wayne Thomas Guidry, director of curriculum with the West Orange-Cove CISD, will become the new District 2 council member of the Orange City Council. Guidry is the only person to file for the special election to fill the unexpired term of Tommy Ferguson. Ferguson is running for mayor and will have to relinquish the District 2 seat whether he wins or loses. Ferguson will serve until May 9 when the special election was set for the same time as the general City Council election. Guidry will take the oath of office in May with the newly-elected mayor and other council member.

Two people who live in the neighborhood by Solomon Johnson Park told the Orange City Council they don't want more basketball courts near their houses. Ruby Richard, who lives on Second Street, said the courts should be moved to the nearby Navy Park, which is larger. She said the corner at Second and Turret streets is hard to travel because of the traffic caused by one basketball court. When the city adds two more courts, the traffic will be worst. Susie Murray, who lives next to the park on First Street, said her husband is a Viet Nam veteran who has post traumatic stress disorder. Noises like firecrackers and gunshots trigger his stress, she said. The one basketball court already draws loud noises, profanity and gambling, she said. Murray also said Solomon Johnson Park does not have parking. People drawn to the additional basketball courts will end up parking at the Orange Trade Days site, the former Weingarten's shopping center, across the street. She said the owner of the property does not want people parking there and he will be calling police to have the cars moved. more

On Tuesday March 24, 2015 at 3:55 p.m., the Pinehurst Police Department responded to the 2400 blk. of Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. in reference to an accident involving a pickup truck and motorcycle. The accident occurred in front of Pinehurst City Hall and Police Department. David Matthew Lester, 38, of Pinehurst, was traveling Southbound in the 2400 Block of Martin Luther King Jr. Drive on a 2007 Ducati motorcycle. Raymond Arthur, 78, also of Pinehurst, was traveling Westbound on Pheasant Dr., in a 2004 GMC pickup truck. Mr. Arthur failed to yield right of way at the intersection of Martin Luther King Jr. Dr. and Pheasant Drive and drove in front of Mr. Lester. The motorcycle and driver struck the right rear portion of the pickup truck. Mr. Lester, who appeared to have serious injuries was transported by Acadian Ambulance to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital where he is listed in stable condition in ICU. Mr. Arthur was issued a citation for failure to yield right of way. The Pinehurst Volunteer Fire Department responded and assisted in the accident. Incidentally, Pinehurst Police dispatcher, Leslie Werner, who is a certified paramedic and was on a break, was able to walk across the parking lot and assist in stabilizing the patient.

The annual Pinehurst Spring Cleanup Day is scheduled for Saturday, April 11. The Pinehurst City Council met Tuesday evening and approved the second Saturday in April for the citywide cleanup day. The city will accept trash and items to be thrown away between 8:00 AM to 12 Noon on April 11 in front of the old Parker Lumber store. The committee appointed to help find a new City Administrator updated the council during the meeting. The committee has reviewed the original 23 applications for the position and has reduced the list to the top six applicants. The committee intends to interview those six candidates Thursday and Friday. The final two or three applicants will be chosen by the committee and presented to the Council. The City Council will interview the finalists and make the decision on the new city administrator, possibly as early as the next Pinehurst City Council meeting on April 14. Sandersen, Knox and Company presented their 2013-2014 city audit Tuesday evening which the council accepted.

As people were walking in the spring sunshine Monday at Northway Park, an armed man was robbing the convenience store across the street. Orange police report that the store at 4710 Meeks Drive, the intersection with Clark Lane, was robbed at 12:30 p.m. Monday. Detective Captain Cliff Hargrave said a man with a pistol went into the store, demanded money and ran away after getting cash. The robber was described as a black man wearing a black shirt, dark long pants and a black bandana over his face.

Budgets were the primary topics of discussion for the Commissioners Court Monday. Then speaking of primary Commissioner David Dubose of Precinct One said he would not be running again in another primary as he announced at the end of the meeting he would not be running for County Commissioner in the next election. Dubose stated he made the announcement this early so that anyone interested in running for the position would have the opportunity to begin getting ready to run for this office. Dubose would not elaborate, but did say the reason he was not running again was personal. The Road and Bridge budget will be discussed further at a public hearing in the next week or so. County Engineer Clark Slacum wants to revise the county’s policy for building culverts and driveways. County Judge Brint Carlton said the county is losing money with every culvert it builds under a policy that dates back to 2005. Carlton informed that the county only charges $200 to build a driveway or culvert, but the cost to the county is closer to $600 in material and labor. The county’s fee is also so inexpensive it takes business away from commercial contractors that cannot match that price. Carlton observed, “Orange County cannot continue to use the same policy if it loses money every time it does something.” The commissioners approved calling a public hearing possibly next week to discuss the options that Slacum is proposing to implement. A date for the public hearing was not set. Human Resources Director Minnie Hightower was approved to post for a position of a clerk in her department with the stipulation that after the six to ten weeks to receive applications the court could still deny filling the position because of next year’s budget. The court allowed Justice of the Peace Precinct One David Peck to pay two employees at a level 5 since it was within his budget, but again with the stipulation that come the next year’s budget it may rescind the higher funding for those positions. Commissioners approved the Mosquito Control District to purchase three budgeted capital outlay items and the Expo Center to purchase five budgeted items for conventions that the county can rent to persons using the facility.

 - A robber with a knife woke a sleeping couple early Monday morning inside a house on Lilac Street in Roselawn. However, the robbery attempt at 3:20 a.m. failed when the man in the house tricked the crook. Orange Police Captain Cliff Hargrave said the resident told the intruder that his wallet was in the kitchen. The two went to the kitchen, where the resident grabbed a knife and pulled it on the robber, who then ran off.
 - A snatch-and-grab thief stole an iPad from an autistic youth who was playing on his grandmother's front porch. The grandmother called Orange police a little before noon Friday to her house in the 1400 block of Burton Avenue. The grandson had been sitting on the porch playing on his gray iPad when the thief struck.
 - The Orange fire marshal is investigating a car fire as arson. The Dodge Magnum at a house in the 2800 block of 20th Street was found in flames about four hours after the owner found a car burglar inside of it. Orange Police Officer J.L. Goins said the car's owner came home at 2:25 a.m. Saturday and saw a man inside the car. The burglar had broken a window to get inside. The owner and burglar got into a fight. The car's owner said the burglar ran away and was threatening him. Then about 6:30 a.m., the owner's uncle called him to tell him the car was on fire. Flames were coming out of the car when the Orange Fire Department arrived.
 - Two burglaries were reported to Orange police on Sunday. A woman living in the 3500 block of Ridgemont Drive called at 5:46 a.m. She said was at work when her mother called to tell her the front door to her house was open. Apparently someone kicked the door in and stole a TV. Then at 6:39 p.m.  Sunday a resident in the 2400 block of Golden Oak Drive called to report that someone got into his backyard storage building and stole an Echo straight-shaft trimmer.  If you recognize the man in the photo please call Orange Police at 883-1026. Damaged properties reported during the weekend included a broken rear window on an SUV at 610 Burton Avenue reported at 4:24 a.m. Friday. A man staying at Studio 6 hotel at 2502 Highway 62 discovered at 8:54 a.m. that someone during the night had smashed the rear window and windshield on his car. In addition, dents were on the passenger and driver's side doors. Friday afternoon at 5:56 p.m., a real estate agent discovered that two window panes and a screen were broken at a house in the 500 block of Hydrangea. Nothing was reported missing.

Lane Brings "A" Game

Chris Lane went wire to wire to win his seventh Bassmasters Tournament Sunday.  He brought in 10-6 on the final day of the Sabine River Challenge to finish with an even 50 pounds to win the four day event and a check for $100,000.

It got interesting for the Elite from Guntersville, Alabama when he ran out of the bait, a new design called a drop dead craw.  So he had to use a different color which he doctored to make it look like the ones he was catching fish with.

The final results of the top twelve are on the KOGT Sports page and there are more photos from the Challenge in the KOGT Photo Gallery.

Way to go Orange!
Even with Saturday's rain, Bassmaster says the crowd was 33,738
besting the 2013 attendance.  A salute to the organizers, sponsors, and volunteers.  And thanks to everyone from outside of Orange for attending the Orange County River Festival.

Lamar State College-Orange will be presenting the Distinguished Lecture Series at Lutcher Theater on March 26, at 6:30 p.m. This year’s distinguished lecturer is Jessica Buchanan, humanitarian aid worker and co-author of “Impossible Odds: The Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue By SEAL Team Six”. Jessica Buchanan was born in Portland, Oregon, but spent her formative years growing up outside of Cincinnati, Ohio.  In 2003, Buchanan moved to the greater Philadelphia area to pursue a degree in education, and she began to travel during her summer months, teaching and volunteering in Honduras, South Sudan and Rwanda. She secured a student teaching position at an international school based in Nairobi, Kenya, The Rosslyn Academy and was offered a full time teaching position at that school, which she happily accepted. She later moved to Hargeisa, Somaliland, where she was offered a job as the education advisor for the Danish Demining Group, the mine action unit of the Danish Refugee Council. more

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

Forty percent of the food service establishments inspected during the first part of March received perfect health scores. County Health Inspector James Scales went to 15 places with six getting a score of 100. Four of those were schools, one was a day care center and one was a restaurant. The lowest score was a 79 and went to a convenience store in Orange. The schools with perfect scores were Little Cypress Junior High, West Orange-Stark High School, Oak Forest Elementary in Vidor and Vidor Elementary. Also getting perfect scores were the Once Upon a Time Child Care in Bridge City and the Gumbo Hut in Bridge City. Scales also made an unscored pre-opening inspection for the Cardin Snow Cone Stand on West Roundbunch Road in Bridge City. Other scores and demerits were


Orange, Texas loves their bass fishing and Bassmaster Elites.  A great crowd despite the rainy, muddy conditions came out to see who made the Top 12 (see KOGT Sports page). A few fishermen said there are places they don't see this many fans when the sun is shining.  Unfortunately the Tracy Byrd concert had to be cancelled. Find more photos in the KOGT Photo Gallery
   
Area city crews had to close streets around the Orange County area on Saturday.  Orange County was under a flood warning until 5pm.  We received between 6-7 inches of rain.
   
At the Day Two weigh-in of the Bassmaster Elite "Sabine River Challenge" Cliff Crochet "The Cajun Baby" was presented with some crocheted shorts that someone made him.  Crochet was asked if he'd wear them fishing and he replied that he would wear them to the launch but then it would be time to get serious as the field of 113 was cut to 53 for Saturday.  The top 12 on Saturday will advance to Sunday.

The City of Orange is experiencing a possible scam for the inspection of fire extinguishers and fire alarms.  There have been two separate incidents where someone has posed as a person of authority.  The first incident was at a business in the 1100 block of 16th  where a man posed as a representative from the State Fire Marshal’s office and was there to inspect the fire alarm.  The second incident occurred at a business in the 2700 block of 16th where a man posed as a  representative from the Orange Fire Department wanting to inspect the fire extinguishers.  At the incident in the 2700 block of 16th the person told the clerk that he was there to inspect the extinguishers and for the extinguishers that were out of date and needed to be re-inspected, he could take care of them for a price of $29.95.  In the case of the business in the 1100 block of 16th, this person posed a an authority from the State Fire Marshal’s office.  In the event the State Fire Marshal comes to conduct an inspection of your business, which is rare, they will not be inspecting just the fire alarm panel and/or fire extinguishers.  The Orange Fire Department does conduct fire inspections but they will be easily identified by their uniform and will be in an official City of Orange Fire Department vehicle.  The Orange Fire Department does not perform inspections on outdated fire extinguisher or fire alarms and does not charge a fee for inspecting the business. Inspections of fire extinguishers and fire alarms must be performed by a state licensed inspector. The state licensed inspectors are required to have their license on them at all times.   In the event this person stops by your business and attempts to conduct an inspection please inform the authorities and try to get a physical description of the subject, his vehicle and direction of travel.   If you have any information on this person please contact the Orange Police Department at 409-883-1026 or the Orange Fire Department at 409-883-1050.  Update: The company is out of Converse, Texas called Alonzo Fire Suppression Services. They are licensed with the State Fire Marshal’s office, but they do not have a permit to operate within the City of Orange. If you encounter this vender, you are welcomed to contact Battalion Chief John Bilbo, Fire Marshal for the City of Orange at 409-988-7360 or 409-883-1050, prior to allowing him to conduct business at their property. The Orange Fire Department mailed letters to local business last week in reference to upcoming fire inspections. This vendor is not associated with nor indorsed, by the Orange Fire Department to conduct fire alarm and or fire extinguisher inspections.

Marriage Licenses Issued By The Office of Brandy Robertson, Orange County Clerk For the Week of March 16, 2015 through March 20, 2015. Arlis W. Jones, Jr. and Heather N. Pitts, Sentrel D. Griffin and Trameka S. Mitchell, Julian A. Hayes and Brittany E. Mitchell, Jarrod W. Kelley and Shelby L. Gobble, Dustin S. H. Morgan and Jenny L. Swarers, William D. Lakey and Kaitlyn M. LaBouve, Logan T. Holland and Jennifer L. McFarlain, Christopher A. Anthony and Heather R. Harmon, Shon A. Craig and Brandy L. Butler, Kevin S. Picard and Tonie P. Miller, Cody J. Simon and Sarah A. Landry, Matthew F. Bollenbacher and Pamela M. Casteel, Steven R. Laffoon, Sr. and Rhonda A. Smith, Murphy Burch, Jr. and Amy C. Lindenberg, Nathan D. Davis and Julie D. Willey, Dario A. Ibarra Ramirez and Nancy Delafuente, Joshua W. Moore and Nicole T. Nagel, James D. Mulvey and Rosemary H. Smith, Pedro M. Pascascio and Teodora R. Davila.

Local Weather Radar

At approximately 9:45am, the Texas Department of Public Safety received a telephone call from a motorist that a vehicle was in the woods on Highway 87 near Deweyville. Troopers were dispatched to the area and discovered a wrecked vehicle in the woods off Highway 87 about five (5) miles north of Deweyville. A 2009 Chevrolet pickup truck was traveling southbound on Highway 87. For an unknown reason, the driver of the Chevrolet drove off the roadway and into the woods. The vehicle struck several trees and turned over onto its side before coming to rest in the woods. Troopers suspect that the driver may have fallen asleep and that the crash occurred sometime after 2:00am this morning. The driver of the Chevrolet, 25 year old Jared Jordan of Buna, was pronounced dead at the scene by Judge Dana Ashmore.

A construction worker on the Rainbow Bridge spotted a body about 12:40 Thursday afternoon on a beach below the bridge. Orange County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Clint Hodgkinson said the body is likely that of a man who was reported missing on March 6 after an abandoned pickup truck was found on the top of the Veterans Memorial Bridge. A positive identification has not been made. Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose-Simonton ordered an autopsy and the body has been taken to the Jefferson County Morgue. Several agencies, including the U.S. Coast Guard, searched the area under the Veterans Bridge after the abandoned truck was reported at 2:30 a.m. March 6. The owner of the truck was a Port Arthur resident. Authorities searched all day using sonar equipment but never found a body.

 

Fees at the citizens’ collection station at the landfill could be going up in the near future. Clark Slacum the county engineer oversees the collection station at the Orange County landfill and says the company that disposes of the debris collected has changed to Republic Services. The change in companies has also seen an increase in fees charged for emptying the dumpsters citizens use to dispose of their items. The current fee charged citizens to use the landfill is $20. Slacum met with the Commissioners Court this week in a budget workshop and was given the go ahead to bring a request to Commissioners Court to raise the fee charged citizens to use the collection station to $30. Annually the Orange County Road and Bridge Department constructs about 350 culverts and driveways. County Engineer Slacum says his department is losing money to the amount of several hundred thousand dollars every year between the cost of material and man hours compared to the fee charged citizens for doing the work. Slacum indicates the county currently charges $200 for the average sized driveway. Many commercial contractors charge several times that when constructing an entrance to a new property, which is why many citizens request the county to do it. Slacum updated the Commissioners Court of the deficit during the budget workshop this week. Slacum believes to break even his department would need to charge $600 to build culverts and driveways. He added the money saved in one year would be close to the amount needed to purchase a new chip spreader or maybe even a Gradall. New models of both pieces of equipment are very much needed in the Road and Bridge Department.

Bridge City is moving forward to do up to 12 projects in the city this year. The city council was scheduled to meet last night, but a quorum was not present and the meeting was rescheduled for next Tuesday evening. The city council is expected to approve hiring the bond attorney to renew $3.5 million in bonds which will pay for the projects. City Manager Jerry Jones has presented the city council with the top priorities for work to be done. At the top of the list is installing filters in the city water system which should greatly reduce the brown water that was such a problem in Bridge City last year. Other projects Jones is recommending include laying 12 inch water lines from FM 408 to Sunnyside to tie into existing lines, repainting the city’s water tank on FM 408, and moving the Bridge City Police Station from its current location on Texas Avenue or Highway 87 to the location of the city hall on Rachal.

The committee appointed to review the 23 applications for Pinehurst City Administrator met Wednesday morning at the city hall. Joe Parkhurst is on the committee and reported the field has been narrowed for finding his replacement. After about two hours the committee reduced the number of applicants still eligible to six. Parkhurst stated the committee hopes to contact the remaining six to interview over the next week, and then present the whole city council with two or three candidates that it could interview in a closed session before making a final decision on the new city administrator. Parkhurst estimated about three weeks to have all this done. Parkhurst said he is retiring in the near future as the Pinehurst City Administrator, but added he would stay on the job to help select and train his replacement. Joining him on the committee are City Secretary Debbie Cormier, Mayor Pro Tem Dan Barclay and Alderman Dan Mohon.

Bob Hall Road in Orange is closed where it runs under Interstate 10.  TxDOT says it will be closed approximately 90 days.
 

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