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At approximately 5:45am, there was a three vehicle crash on Highway 87 just North of Highway 12 in Newton county. The Texas Department of Public Safety can confirm that one person was killed and two others were transported to St. Elizabeth hospital in Beaumont. A Dodge truck was traveling northbound on Highway 87 when a Chevrolet 2-door passenger vehicle approached the Dodge truck from the rear. The driver of the Chevrolet went to pass the Dodge truck in a curve, which is a no passing zone. As the Chevrolet vehicle began to pass in the curve, there was a Ford truck traveling southbound on Highway 87. The driver of the Chevrolet vehicle veered back into the northbound lane and lost control of the vehicle. The driver over-corrected which sent the vehicle back into the southbound traffic lane, striking the Ford truck. After colliding with the Ford truck, the Chevrolet continued back into the northbound lane and struck the Dodge truck. Both the north and southbound traffic lanes of Highway 87 were closed for approximately 3 hours. The name of the deceased and those injured will not be released by DPS until next of kin notifications have been made to the respective families.

DuPont will be spending $100 million to expand the Sabine River Works plant in Orange. The company made the announcement Tuesday. According to a press release, the expansion will increase the plantís capacity to produce ethylene copolymers. The plastic material is used in food packaging and demand for the product has increased. The announcement comes a month after the Invista plant received city approval to seek a state investment zone designation for a $250 million investment in its plant. The DuPont plant has about 900 employees. The Invista plant was originally part of DuPont's Sabine River Works but was sold 14 years ago when DuPont eliminated its fiber division. Invista has about 500 employees. Sabine River Works has been in operations since 1946. SRW Manager and Global Manufacturing Director Bobby Laughlin told KOGT, ďDuPontís increase in ethylene copolymers capacity at its Texas manufacturing facilities illustrates our commitment to the business and to the community. Investing in manufacturing here also helps provide long-term stability to the community. The main reasons for expansion at this time are we want to increase production of our specialty polymers which are high value and highly differentiated, and we are supporting our customersí growth in their markets. This expansion is good for DuPont, and will further drive economic growth for the Orange community.Ē

A 32-year-old Orange man has pleaded guilty to child pornography charges in the Eastern District of Texas. Jason Ryan Bickham pleaded guilty to possession of child pornography on Sep. 17, 2014 before U.S. Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn. According to information presented in court, law enforcement authorities were alerted by a citizen that Bickham had images containing child pornography on his cellular phone. Bickham provided officers consent to search the phone. A forensic analysis of Bickhamís phone revealed multiple images and videos of child pornography. Bickham was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 4, 2014. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice. Bickham faces up to 20 years in federal prison. A sentencing date has not been set.

A woman from Orange is mad at Pinehurst for cutting down trees that she helped plant more than a decade ago. Sandra Cash, a longtime member of the Keep Orange County Beautiful Committee, discovered Wednesday that city workers from Pinehurst cut down several cypress, pine and oak trees in front of the Beall's shopping center on MacArthur Drive. Cash was instrumental in getting public and private grants, including one for $10,000 from the Texas Forest Service, to plant trees along MacArthur Drive. The group had a professional landscape design for the project. Pinehurst City Administrator Joe Parkhurst came to the site after Cash and her husband, Jim Cash, arrived to complain to city workers. more

Click "Cast Your Vote" for the trees or the businesses

Dr. Philip Cantu, who has a now-closed medical practice in Pinehurst, has agreed to voluntarily surrender his Texas medical license. The agreement was made with the Texas Medical Board. According to the Medical Board's website, Dr. Cantu said he has a medical condition which precludes him for practicing medicine with reasonable skill and safety to his patients. The board said Cantu was under investigation for allegations related to his care and treatment of several patients. Federal and local law agents had a search warrant for  Cantu's pain management medical office on July 24. The federal agents confiscated computers and medical records but he has not been charged or indicted on criminal accusations related to the medical practice. A few hours before the federal raid at the office, Cantu had been arrested for assault in Bridge City in connection with an attack on his girlfriend at his residence.

The construction of new houses through a federal hurricane recovery grant continues to lead new construction in Orange. During August, the city issued building permits for four new hurricane recovery houses worth a total of $397,500. The houses are only for low-income homeowners whose residences were heavily damaged by hurricanes. A new billboard was the other major construction. M&H Outdoor installed an $80,000 billboard at 4090 Interstate 10. Superfood Mart and Laundry on 37th Street received a permit for a $15,000 new roof. Two residential permits for re-roofing were issued for a total of $20,000. Conrad Shipyard on Market Street got a $21,000 new fence. One permit for a residential fence worth $1,000 was issued. Four air conditioning-heating systems were installed for commercial businesses at a total of $22,400, with the largest $15,000 to Sabine River Ford for the new construction. Five residential permits with a total of $22,850 were issued for residential air conditioning-heating. One swimming pool permit was issued for the 3300 block of Montrose Street with the pool valued at $45,900. August was the first time the city issued permits for temporary banner signs. City Council and the Planning and Zoning Commission recently approved new regulations for businesses using temporary banners for signs and advertising. The city issued four permits for banner signs. The city is not charging a fee to get a banner sign permit.

The director of the Lutcher Theater is asking the Orange City Council to reconsider its decision to cut off the theater from getting money from the city's hotel occupancy tax. Jim Clark sent letters to Mayor Jimmy Sims and other council members late last week. On Tuesday, September 9, the City Council, acting on a recommendation from the city staff, voted to cut $31,163 from the Southeast Texas Arts Councilís request. Last year, the city gave the arts council $50,000 from the hotel money. The arts council then granted the theater $30,000 to help pay for performances. Arts Council Director Sue Bard told the council about how SETAC gives money to Orange groups, with the bulk of it going to the theater.
In the letter, Clark points out that the state law requires the income from the hotel occupancy tax to go to activities that support more visitors to stay overnight in local hotels. He said that artists performing at the theater in 2013 alone rented more than 800 hotel rooms with many of the rooms rented for multiple nights.
The cut in the support for the Lutcher Theater comes after a dispute between the Stark Foundation and the city. At one time, the city council considered suing the foundation because of a dispute about the riverfront park development. The city returned a grant check from the foundation.
Clark said the Stark Foundation supports the theater by paying for the building and maintenance, along with the staff. Grants, along with corporate and private donations, pay for the performances. He said the Lutcher Theater, Inc., is a separate non-profit corporation from the foundation. The theater group pays for the performances and is governed by a local board of directors.
The City Council last week approved spending a total of $565,000 from the hotel tax fund in the 2015 budget that starts October 1. Most of the hotel tax budget, $378,000, is used to pay for the city's Convention and Visitors Bureau. The hotel tax fund is expected to have reserves of $915,000 at the end of the budget year.
Clark said the theater last year had 24,000 people attending evening events, 12,000 students from Texas and Louisiana attending the Children's Series, and 14,000 people attending dance recitals, graduations and lecture. He attached to his letter to Mayor Sims a list of statistics on the hometowns of theater patrons. He pointed out that many of the ones from out of town spend a night in a local hotel, shop at local businesses and eat at local restaurants. The information includes that the Luther Theater, Inc., has raised and spent more than $15 million to bring entertainment to Orange since it opened in 1980. More than 836,400 people have attended Lutcher Theater events in downtown in the past 33 years.

The Greater Orange Area Chamber of Commerce has partnered with the Bridge City and Vidor Chambers of Commerce and launched a ďShop Orange CountyĒ campaign. This campaign is designed to educate our local citizens about the many advantages to keeping our local dollars with our county retailers. This multipart series will focus on the different advantages that shopping locally will bring to our community. more

The City of Vidor will be hosting a Trash Off on Saturday, September 20 beginning at 7 am, at 155 Watts Street. Any resident of the City of Vidor or any residential customer of the City of Vidor sanitation department may use the roll-off dumpsters for free, with the exception of no contractors or commercial accounts. The normal rules for what is accepted at the City dumpsters apply so no hazardous waste such as motor oil, chemicals, paints, tires, etc. There will be a dumpster to collect metal recyclables and the limb yard will be open for yard debris. Due to the overwhelming response of the Trash Off in May, there will be a restriction of one visit per address. Anyone wanting to dump must show a proof of residency inside the incorporated city limits of the City of Vidor, such as a driverís license. Residential customers living outside the city limits must bring a current City of Vidor sanitation bill. The dumpsters will stay open as long as there is room or until 3 pm, whichever comes first. Anyone wanting to use the dumpsters or limb yard that day should enter Watts Street from East Railroad Street, adjacent to the Vidor Police Department. For Saturday only, Watts Street will be a one way street, and the only traffic allowed will be those who are participating in the trash off. Volunteers from the Vidor Beautification Task Force and other groups will be directing traffic and assisting as needed. For more information, please contact Carrie Box, Sanitation Secretary, at 409-769-5473 ext. 132.

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Bridge City approved its new budget for 2014-2015 Tuesday night. The city council adopted the budget which includes a tax rate of 47.8 cents per 100 dollars value. With the current fiscal year coming to a close in the next two weeks Bridge City Mayor Kirk Roccaforte looks back at an eventful year for the city. Roccaforte said the city has improved a whole lot of things especially the moving forward with the appeal of the FEMA flood maps. He mentioned the cityís efforts to get control of the brown water problem Bridge City has experienced and believes the work will continue to resolve the problem. The street repairs completed this year been very nice to do according to Roccaforte. Bridge City also extended its extra-territorial jurisdiction with annexations extending all the way to the Neches River. Road repairs have been done for a large percentage of the streets in Bridge City the last 12 months. Crews are finishing up, but Mayor Pro Tem Danny Cole told City Manager Jerry Jones and the city council he has received some complaints about a few streets in his neighborhood. Cole said the sides of the streets were making it difficult for some people to mow their yards along the edge by the streets on Meadow, Turner, and Morning Glory. Coleís concern was that the road crews have left that area. Jones informed Cole and the council that all the street sides will be cleaned and that they certainly will look at the streets Cole mentioned. Jones has said that between 90 to 95 percent of the streets in Bridge City will have had some work done on them by the end of the year.

Six food businesses or services received perfect health scores during the first half of September. Orange County Health Inspector James Scales visited 17 businesses during the first two weeks. Two of the visits were for pre-opening inspections and Scales did not give scores. Four of the perfect scores went to schools: Little Cypress Intermediate School, Orangefield Elementary, Bridge City Middle School and West Orange-Stark Middle School. Other perfect scores went to Wal-Mart on North Main Street in Vidor and Traditions Daycare on Highway 62 in Orange.  Pre-opening inspections were made at Kimbo's Concessions, 2752 Highway 12 in Mauriceville, and Crystal Seafood, 1609 16th Street. The lowest score for the period was 77 and went to Wok D'Lite on Strickland Drive. Other scores

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The state comptroller's office has announced that statewide, the sales taxes were up 7.5 percent for this August compared to the same time last year. Even Pinehurst had an increase in sales tax collections for August. Pinehurst, which has had steady drops in monthly sales tax receipts, is getting $50,421 this month, an extra $997 in sales taxes from last year. Still the city remains slightly behind in the year-to-date comparisons. Pinehurst, Orange, Bridge City and Vidor have a 1.5 percent sales tax, as does the Orange County Emergency Services District No. 3 for the Little Cypress area. The city of West Orange has a 1.25 percent sales tax while Orange County has a 0.5 percent sales tax. A spokesman for the comptroller's office said unusually large increases or decrease are the result of quarterly payments or because of corrections in past mistakes in which the money was sent to another entity. The receipts for the month and year to date are:
Bridge City: $107,178 for the month, a 20 percent increase. $1.008 million for the year to date, a 9.13 percent increase:
Orange: $296,415 for the month, a 23.4 percent increase. $2.72 million for the year to date, a 5.21 percent increase.
Pinehurst: $50,421 for the month, a 2 percent increase. $522,852 for the year to date, a decrease of 2.7 percent from last year.
Vidor: $187,617 for the month, a 24 percent increase. $1.83 million for the year to date, a 9.92 percent increase.
West Orange: $78,143 for the month, a 4.84 percent increase. $816,587 for the year to date, a 7.33 percent increase.
ESD No. 3: $30,681 for the month and $291,597 for the year to date.
Orange County: $417,300 for the month, a 28.98 percent increase. $3.5 million for the year to date, a 1.83 percent increase.

Tuesday afternoon traffic was slowed on Texas Ave. in Bridge City near Wal-Mart after a Ford pickup pulled out in front of an 18 wheeler.  Fortunately no one was injured according to police.

Last week Commissionerís Court approved a contract for janitorial service to Memberís Building Maintenance for $166,000 to start in October. Monday the court voted to award a revised contract to Membersí Building Maintenance. County Judge Carl Thibodeaux wanted to save the jobs of the 7 or 8 county employees who work as janitors. A compromise was reached where the two janitors with the most seniority would be retained to work at the County Expo Center and the other offices on FM 1442. Judge Thibodeaux made the motion to approve the amended contract saying it was legal to accept a partial bid and asking that the low bidder Memberís Building Maintenance be awarded the contract with exception that the company would not be responsible for cleaning the Expo Center and the building on FM 1442. The court was again split on the vote with Commissioner Owen Burton casting his vote in favor of the motion to amend the contract joining Judge Thibodeaux and Commissioner David Dubose. Opposing the proposed change were Commissioners Jody Crump and John Banken. The amended contract with Memberís Building Maintenance will now be for $127,000.

Bridge City's Homecoming Week festivities are underway, culminating with a football game on Friday against Liberty. 2014 Homecoming Court- Standing: Freshmen, Abby Faulk, Junior, Delaney Voegeli, Senior, Hannah Faulk, Senior, Kelly Zoch, Junior, Bailee Bacon, Sophomore, Hannah Hall. Seated: Freshmen, Halle Huckabay, Senior, Malorie Becker, Senior, Kellyn Cormier, Freshmen, Tori Aras.
September and October have been declared as Ovarian and Breast Cancer Awareness months in Orange County by the Commissionersí Court. Christina Morris with the Julie Rogers Gift of Life spoke to the commissioners about the main goal of the Gift of Life Program is to prevent ovarian and breast cancer. The Court also recognized Monday, September 15, as Julie Rogers Gift of Life Program Day.

As the sun began to rise in Orange on September 13, the wind was coming in from the northeast. But if the citizens were thinking they might be getting a fall cool front, they were wrong. That Wednesday ended as the most deadly day in local history as a hurricane with winds blew more than 100 miles per hour landed in the small town that was already suffering from a loss of local men after the Civil War. The year was 1865. The Texas Hurricane History by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says that 25 people died in Orange, killed mostly by falling debris and flying timbers. The town was leveled with 196 of 200 homes demolished. more

Socks is a 9 lb Peekapoo. He is missing from his home in Mauriceville since Friday 9/12/2014 at 10:30 pm. Please contact Robert or Gayle at 409 422 9760.

Bridge City seems to be getting a handle on the brown water problem. The first week of September the city received only a few calls on the colored water. City Manager Jerry Jones reports a similar low volume of complaints during the second week of the month. Jones says the city has corrected the calibrations on all the pumps, is still flushing the system, and looping the lines. Jones believes the ultimate solution to the brown water will be installing a filter on the Bridge City water system. Jones points out the filtering systems are very expensive, and he is looking for ways to fund one of those. Jones adds that if Bridge City can find a grant to pay for a filtering system theyíll go ahead and do that. The purchasing of a filtering system is not in Bridge Cityís proposed 2014-2015 budget which is scheduled for approval on Tuesday. That is why Jones is looking to find grant money to pay for the filtering system.

Marriage Licenses Issued By The Office of Karen Jo Vance, Orange County Clerk For the Week of September 8, 2014 through September 12, 2014. William M. Brocato Jr. and Candice D. Cline, Gregory B. Peveto and LaDonna G. Hollier, Shane R. Wilson and Autumn N. Seamann, James R. Venable and Christena M. Johnson, Anthony C. Kasko and Jennifer M. Gibson, Mark W. McNeil and Betty D. Buonomo, Gage B. Weldon and Jessica R. Stone, Elliott S. Perry III and Callie E. Terry, Daryl L. Johnson and Valerie M. LaCour, Cody J. Fontenot and Ashleigh Touchet, Bobby J. Turner and Leaundrea L. Simuel, Chaise M. Russell and Kaitlin D. Dewitt, Marshall C. Jones and Alyssa R. Ford, Brian B. Jemmott and Victorine M. Fotabong, Johnny H. Watson and Karla D. Crain, Jason M. Broussard and Christa L. Hunter, Tyler D. Hall and Amy D. Shivers, Randall P. Walvoord and Sharlett L. Reinke, Darren R. Craig and Chace R. Cannon, James J. Valdez and Pennie L. Hyde, Robert L. Villanueva and Jennifer L. Orta, Thomas E. Blacketer and Mellisa A. Bradshaw.

   
Orangefield High School senior, Kristen Blanke, has been named as a semifinalist in the 2015 National Merit Scholarship Program.

The Orange County Hotel Occupancy Tax Committee met on Wednesday, September 3, 2014 to review fourteen qualified applications for funding from the Countyís Hotel Occupancy Tax fund.  The applications totaled $215,890.  The Committee, however, pared down the requested funds to a total of $75,400.  The Committee will hold a public hearing on Thursday, September 18th at the Orange County Commissionerís Courtroom, 123 6th Street, Orange, Texas at 10:00 a.m.  The Committee will hear from the entities making application for the funds and from any interested party wishing to comment on the expenditure of the funds. Once the hearing is completed, the Committee will make a formal recommendation to the County Commissionerís Court for expenditure of the funds.  The final decision for spending the funds will be made by the Commissioners at that time.  This funding cycle is for the 2013-2014 fiscal years.  more

2014 Atlantic Hurricane Names
Arthur
Bertha
Cristobal
Dolly
Edouard
Fay
Gonzalo
Hanna
Isaias
Josephine
Kyle
 
Laura
Marco
Nana
Omar
Paulette
Rene
Sally
Teddy
Vicky
Wilfred

 

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