The Record Newspapers - Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

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By Sherlock Breaux
For the Record 

Sherlock Breaux in the Creaux's Nest


Last updated 4/20/2021 at 8:36pm




Dave Rodgers

Justice took a lunch break in Orange Wednesday to honor the longtime leadership of retiring West Orange Mayor Roy McDonald. No fewer than eight Orange County judges, three county commissioners, one current and one past neighboring mayor and a rondo lawyer or two came to Wednesday Lunch Bunch on April 14 to honor retiring West Orange Mayor Roy McDonald. Roy Dunn, owner and publisher of The Record Newspapers, called the first meeting in 13 months for the Lunch Bunch to surprise McDonald, West Orange's mayor since 1995, as The Penny Record/County Record Person of the Year. The luncheon gathering, the first since the COVID-19 lockdown in March of 2020, was a joyous occasion for all present in the meeting room at Robert's Steakhouse and Meat Market, some of whom who had not seen one another in a year. McDonald joked that the room was full of bigger "celebrities" than himself and choked up when presented the award by 163rd District Court Judge Rex Peveto. He said his family deserved to share the honor as they allowed him to serve his community both in elected office and civic volunteerism. Peveto, who recalled joining McDonald, his wife LaVerne, and children T-Roy and Beverley, on a cross-country vacation road trip when he was a youngster. McDonald was West Orange City Attorney until he won election to his current job last year. Retired County Judge Carl Thibodeaux, who was twice named Person of the Year, topped the remaining roster of judges. "Tib" was West Orange mayor when McDonald was elected to City Council in 1987 and is now Municipal Judge for West Orange. Current County Judge John Gothia sat next to Thibodeaux at the head table, and County Commissioners Johnny Trahan, Kirk Roccaforte and Theresa Beauchamp were among the three dozen people sharing the celebration. All four Orange County Justices of the Peace attended -- Hershel Stagner, Jr., Pct. 1; Chad Jenkins, Pct. 2; Joy Dubose-Simonton, Pct. 3; Rodney Price, Pct. 4 -- as well as former JP Derry Dunn, who is now is a Pinehurst Municipal Judge. Bridge City Mayor David Rutledge and his wife, school board member Rebecca Rutledge, dined with Mayor McDonald, as did former Orange Mayor Essie Bellfield. Recently retired Orange City Attorney Jack Smith, The Record's Person of the Year for 2019, was there, as were County Tax Assessor-Collector Karen Fisher and County Treasurer Christy Khoury. Gothia followed up Peveto's presentation of the Person of the Year Plaque with a proclamation from Commissioners Court honoring McDonald. He also presented one from Texas House Speaker Dade Phelan, Orange County's State Rep. Lanie Brown of U.S. Representative Brian Babin's office and a West Orange resident, lauded McDonald, a DuPont retiree and ordained deacon at his church, for his low-key humanitarian work for his neighbors. Then she read from the Congressional Record a short speech honoring McDonald that Rep. Babin had given on the floor of the House of Representatives earlier Wednesday. Wednesday Lunch Bunch has been a mostly-weekly happening in Orange for decades now, with community leaders and just regular folks getting together to visit over lunch at different local restaurants. Dunn, who also celebrated the 62nd anniversary of The Penny Record Wednesday, polled the group and it was agreed the next meeting would be held May 19 at Robert's.


The jury reached a verdict Tuesday at the murder trial of former Officer Derek Chauvin in the death of George Floyd, the Black man who was pinned to the pavement with a knee on his neck in a case that set off a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S. The jury, made up of six white people and six Black or multiracial people, weighed charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, with convictions on some, none or all of the charges possible. The most serious charge carries up to 40 years in prison. Percy Foreman, Racehorse Haynes or even Bearden could have won this case.


We were surprised and sorry to learn of the passing of Shannah Lynn Heard, age 62, April 8. Funeral service was held April 12, at McDonald Memorial Baptist Church. She was the daughter of our friends John and Linda Heard, who had taken care of their lovely daughter through a long illness. Our condolences to her siblings and family. Shannah is home now. May she rest in peace. Please see obituary.


10 years Ago-2011

The moon is big and bright after being full Monday night. Good Friday and Easter arrives this weekend. The drought I talked about a few weeks ago gets worse by the day and no relief is in sight. Family gardens will suffer and crop yields will be off if rain doesn't come soon. People should have sense enough not to burn with the dry, windy conditions but believe it or not, some people wait to see if Judge Thibodeaux will tell them not to. Some media outlets just loves the burn ban issue, it's always top of the news. Over one million acres have burned in Texas and more will burn. Lets not let it be in Orange County.*****Governor Rick Perry appointed Courtney Burch Arkeen district judge of the 128th District Court. History was made as she became the first woman judge above justice of the peace in county history. Her appointment wasn't a surprise, she had the inside track. All appointments are political and she was well connected. Regardless it is a good appointment. Judge Arkeen is not only a very attractive lady; she's also very intelligent. What she lacks in experience she will make up quickly. In almost every case, the lawyers I polled said that Courtney was a good choice and she will be an excellent judge. She was appointed to fill Judge Clark's unexpired term and will eventually have to run for the office. Personally, I believe it would be a mistake to challenge her.*****Congrats to Judge Courtney and best wishes. ***** The Tea Party goes so far to the right that they have fallen off the cliff; they threaten the Republican Party not to compromise. The very nature of government is compromised, from the Court House to the White House. Meanwhile Donald Trump is marveling in his newfound Tea Party popularity, stealing the lime light from Sarah Palin. Neither is really running for president, popularity is their goose that lays the golden egg so they feed it all the corn it can take. On the other hand, ego might get the best of the Donald and he'll run as an Independent. Either way he's an obstructionist to the Republican Party and the Democrats love it. ***** We were saddened to learn about the death of Joe LaGrappe, age 76, who passed away Tuesday, April 13. Joe was a good man, always willing to help anyone who needed help. Joe was the kind of fellow who found the good in people. We had known him many years, even before his wife Mary Hebert and his young daughter Ann drowned at the lake 50 years ago. His mother Eunice was a recognized poet and some of her works are still around. I run into some of her poems from time to time. Several years ago Joe married Barbara and they shared many good years. Joe was a good friend and I'll never forget his kindness. Service was held Monday, April 18, at St. Henry Catholic Church.*****Can you believe April 21 marks one year since Mickey McNamara, 76, was murdered at his office. It's also been a year since Joe Grossman, 91, died on the same day. *****Gen. Douglas MacArthur made his famous quote to congress 60 years ago, April 19, 1951, after President Harry S. Truman relieved him of his command. MacArthur said, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."****** April 20th marks one year since the BP Gulf explosion and oil spill. The blowout killed 11 Deepwater Horizon rig workers and unleashed the nation's worse oil spill leading the government to halt deepwater drilling for five months and brought new offshore regulations. Companies must now prove they have plans and equipment in place to prevent another disaster in the Gulf. ***** Happy 51st. wedding anniversary to our longtime friends Lou and Kathy Garriga who celebrate on April 23. (Editor's note: Lou has since passed away.)***** Judge Janice Menard set a $500,000 bond on Horace Dempsey, 18, charged with aggravated assault of his grandmother, Sylvia Vaughns, age 51. He nearly beat her to death, stole her car and took his girlfriend and her two-month old baby for a joy ride to Miami where he was arrested. Anyone who would beat a woman is sorry but to nearly kill your grandmother is the worse kind of low life.***** On Wednesday, April 20, a new head coach was hired at West Orange-Stark. Coach Cornel Thompson has the job.***** Former Bridge City baseball stars Casey Jackson and Eric Matthews were spotted at the Bridge City Silsbee game. Casey is attending the police academy and Eric is a Lamar student. *****Congrats to Denise Simmons, named Bridge City Chamber "Employee of the Month," and to "Just for Kids Day Care," chosen "Business of the Month."*

22 Years Ago-1999

Last week, Judge Pat Clark had heart surgery in Houston, proof that he has a heart. He had a valve connecting to his heart that was leaking. They fixed the leak; he's doing fine and coming home this week. He is supposed to be off the bench six weeks. What Judge Pat wants worse is his ever present pipe and a bag of tobacco. Meanwhile, Judge Pat's son-in-law, Bruce Aven, hit a homerun for the Florida Marlins. Bruce is hitting .364 for the major league team.*****Fourteen years old Jenna Dunn is visiting folks in Bridge City while on spring break from Marian High School, in Framingham, Mass. She brought a classmate, Michelle Hefroan, who is enjoying her first trip to Texas and eating crawfish and Cajun food. The girls are visiting the Mark and Roy Dunn's and sister Amber Dunn. *****Bridge City fireman David Sherman is named "Firefighter of the Year," at the annual banquet and awards ceremony. Firefighter Carroll Leblanc was roasted. Ladies Auxiliary president, Melinda Morse, presented service pins to Shalinda Land for 5 years of service, Robert Mann, 10 years and Leblanc, 20 years service. Jeff Daigle was presented a gift. *****National attention was focused on Orangefield High School when ESPN and other national media carried the news that Eric Eshbach had set an all-time national high school pole-vaulting record with a vault of 17-9-3/4. To put the vault in perspective, Kyle White, from 4-A PN-G, is representing District 20-4A with a 13-6 jump. That's 4 feet, 3 inches less than Eric's. (Editor's note: I may be wrong but I believe at the state meet he won with an 18 foot jump, but I'm not positive.) A good lick and a boo-boo. The Dallas Cowboys picked A&M Lombardi award winner, Dat Nguyen and Mike Ditka and the New Orleans Saints traded almost the whole team to get Ricky Williams. (Editor's note: That did turn out to be a boo-boo. *****Bridge City coach Les Johnson issues a farewell statement. Excerpts from the statement went like this, "Special thanks to Roy Dunn, Mark Dunn and The Penny Record for their support of Cardinal athletics. Thanks to the business community for its fund raising support. A special thanks to Debbie Gregg and Lisa Faulk for designing and making the Cardinal flag and to Carolyn Ward for gathering the 1966 state championship football team. Above all, I want to thank all the athletes' parents. Bridge City football fans won't soon forget Bryan Bock, John Hoffpauir, Sam Carpenter, Jason Menard, Chad Hanks, Dathan Juneau, Jeremy Stolfa, Brian Finley, Taran Hebert, Jeremy Buckley, Nick Watson, Rhett Sanders, Curt Lucia, Joey Anderson, Zach Jeter, Daniel Kibodeaux, Brad Miller and Joey Platt. Also thanks to Kerry Strong, Colby Doucet, Jared Williams, Chris Collins, Toby and Trey Latiolais, Terry McGee, Joey Hebert, Matt Comer, Dustin Dennam, Kevin Norwood, Jeremy Simmons, Johnny Montagne, Clayton Harrison, Kevin Berry, Tony Lute, Chris Kennedy, Eric Bramblett, Bryan Wiggins and kickers Raun Bryant and Dom Colletti. It's impossible to name all of the fine young men and great athletes I've ever worked with over the last four years. I wish new head coach Conway success here. We started something good, we are proud of the great seasons and the progress we made with the program in the past four years." (Editor's note: A bunch of baseball parents and a new superintendent did coach Johnson in. Football was dead and the stands empty before he came to Bridge City. *****William "Billy" Bishop passed away last week at age 50. Survivors include his parents Earl and June, daughter Heather and three brothers Mike "BooBoo," Rick and Randall and sister Terry. Billy was a longtime volunteer fireman. 


Our friend Pat Pate, widow of Att. H.D. Pate, having sold her home, gave us a call Sunday. She was on the road to her sister's outside of Tyler where she will stay until she finds a home of her own. She was sad about leaving Bridge City. She loved it and had made many friends who she will miss dearly. She had no relatives in this area and has her sister and a son in the Fort Worth area. We care so much for this wonderful lady and her friendship over all the years. We miss her already. *****I have wondered what became of Misty Songe, who was a branch manager for Verizon and often attended the Lunch Bunch gatherings. I have now learned that she is a candidate for mayor of Vidor. ***** Speaking of voting, absentee voting for city and school races started April 19. Local races are very important. Not enough people take the local races seriously enough. Please make the effort and vote. Be one who is counted. *****Special thanks to Judge Chad Jenkins for the deer sausage. He killed it, dressed it, stuffed it in casing and smoked it and we now will get to enjoy it. *****Folks celebrating birthdays in the next few days. April 21: Bonnie Short, Dana Hall, Christian Dubose, Courtney Williams all celebrate. Harry's Appliance celebrates its 58th anniversary of being in business in Orange. *****April 22: James Gordon, Allison Rendall have birthdays today. This is also Earth Day.*****April 23: Rev. Paul Zoch, Jason Smalley, Jeremie Breaux, Kathie Stephson and Lacy Rutledge celebrate.*****April 24: Capt. Dickie Colburn, Allison Small, Sean Edgerton have birthdays on this day. It is also the day in 1988 that singer Roy Orbison died. *****April 25: Celebrating on this day are Jeff Fisette and Marriet Litton. *****April 26: Celebrating on this day is Susanne Parker, Kristin Hodge and Christi Goodyear. *****April 27: Gus Harris, Mike Cain, Chelsea Ballard all celebrate. On this date, 183 years ago, Santa Anna surrendered to Sam Houston in 1836. "Remember the Alamo" became the battle cry at San Jacinto. *


Dana Hill, Virginia McNair, Scott Fisher, Allison Rendall, Glen Prince, Linda Robinson, Samantha Briggs, Shaun McAlpin, Robert Schilicher, Peggy Granger, Crystal McCarthy, Glenn Jeter, Louise Savoy, Roberto Deleon, Julie Williams, Luke Domas, Stephen Russell, John Applebach, Rosalyn Hollingsworth, Tim Batchelor, Ferrel Ashby.


April 21, U.K.'s Queen Elizabeth II, 95; Football Player Tony Romo, 41; Actor James McAvoy, 42.*****April 22, Actors Jack Nicholson, 84; Jeffrey Dean Morgan, 55; Amanda Mealing, 53.*****April 23, Wrestler John Cana, 44; Comedian George Lopez, 60; Actor Valerie Bertinellie, 61.*****April 24, Pop Singers Kelly Clarkson, 39 and Barbara Steisand, 79; Actor Shirley MacLaine, 87.*****April 25, Actors Al Pacino, 81; Renee Zellweger, 52 and Sara Paxton, 33.*****April 26, Actors Channing Tatum, 41 and Kevin James, 56.*****April 27, Actors William Moseley, 34; Jenna Coleman, 35 and Tess Daly, 52.


I got an email from cussin Sostan. He say, Tee-Man Comeaux's wife Ella Mae passed away da utta day. Tee-Man was home alone and didn't know what to do him. After feeling for her pulse and finding none, he call 9-11. Da operator answer da phone and he say, "Lookie here, my wife Ella Mae, she done died her."

Da operator say, "Okay Mr. Comeaux, I'll send some one rat out me. Where you live hanh?"

Tee-Man say, "Mais, I live at da end of Eucalyptus Road me."

"Can you spell dat for me please," da dispatcher axe.

Tee-Man don't say nuttin for a long time, den he finally say, "Look here, how about if I drag Ella Mae over to Oak St. and you can pick her up dere?"


Bits and Pieces at Lunch Bunch: Mayor Roy McDonald wasn't only surprised to be chosen as "Person of the Year," but was also elated. Roy is a generous, good man, with a great family. Son Troy and daughter Beverley are good looking people. They take after Ms. LaVerne, a pretty lady. Roy must have had a great story. *** It was good to see so many of our friends. Bridge City's first police chief Wilson Roberts was in attendance accompanied by his wife V.J.***Richard Spector, who celebrated a birthday Monday, April 19, brought Ms. Essie Bellfield, the oldest in attendance. Essie, the first Black and only woman mayor of Orange, was with her daughter, pretty Magna Barnett. ***I'm always impressed by teacher Windee Jenkins, who has that fresh, western look. A pretty ginger, who could be the mom on "The Little House on the Prairie," already has the cast with Chad and those three fine boys. They're a unique family, cowboys with old time values. Judge Jenkins is also a cattle auctioneer, the icing on the cake of a well-rounded family that I find special.*****Some of the country's finest people came to honor Mayor McDonald and break bread with their friends. We missed those who couldn't attend like 99-year-old Cedric and Cherry Stout who feared traveling in the rain, also our buddy, a great guy to be around, Lamar Orange President Dr. Tom Johnson, who was out of town. I'm not sure what happened to our friends Marlene and Keith Merritt and Keith Wallace, but just wanted them to know we missed them. Thanks to the large group of great folks who showed up.***The next Lunch Bunch gathering will be held at Robert's on Wednesday, May 19. We hope to have a special surprise.*****Dave Rodgers' roundup of the event posted our website is being repeated in this column. Special thanks to Pam Scales Honeycutt, who was responsible for notifying everyone. ***We heard a lot of praise from West Orange folks for Police Chief Mike Stelly. In fact, Mayor McDonald said that Stelly's help filling in wherever needed made him a better mayor.*****My time is up, thanks for yours. Take care, stay safe and God bless.


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