Hometown News For Orange County, Texas

Sherlock Breaux in the Creaux's Nest



The years of alleged misconduct by Paxton raise the question: Why now? House leaders have said the committee’s investigation was prompted by a $3.3 million settlement that Paxton reached with the whistleblowers in February. Paxton needed the Legislature to approve the use of state funds to settle the lawsuit — and quickly encountered resistance. House Speaker Dade Phelan was the first Republican in the Legislature to come out against using taxpayer dollars to pay for the settlement. Republicans have chosen to remain largely silent during years of alleged misconduct and lawbreaking by the attorney general. Now they will have to take a public stand. For nearly a decade, Texas Republicans largely looked the other way as Attorney General Ken Paxton's legal problems piled up. Twenty articles of impeachment have been filed against Paxton, who has closely aligned himself with Donald Trump over the years, but the former president has yet to come to the attorney general’s defense. And in an interview Thursday with WFAA, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick declined to stick up for Paxton, pointing out that he may have to preside over a Senate trial. To send the matter to a trial in the Texas Senate, a majority of the 149-member House must approve a resolution containing the articles of impeachment. While all 64 House Democrats can be expected to vote to impeach Paxton, early reaction among House Republicans was mixed Thursday night and Friday morning. Paxton’s wife is a state senator. She knows about his misdeeds and mistress, this could affect her vote. It will be interesting to see what Sen. Robert Nichols does.



Our Friend Joseph Daniel Payne, Sr., age 90, passed away on May 24, 2023. A memorial service will be held Saturday, June 17, 10:00 a.m. at Ninth and Elm Church of Christ. I was sad to learn of Joe’s passing. In the past, at least three days a week we worked out of the same building on Henrietta, Street, he for Donnie Harmon and me for this newspaper. A visit with Joe was like attending a class. I always learned something new from him, plus I loved his stories. We old folks went underground because of the COVID scare and those years saw our health declining. The Payne family came to Orange about 1940, and Joe graduated from Stark High. Sometime between those years the family lived in San Antonio. One of his neighbors just around the corner was comedian Carol Burnett, who was a couple years younger than Joe. He could recite her home address even in later years. I don’t recall his wife Dee’s maiden name but during the time she and Joe went out together and after their marriage, her father operated the movie theaters in Orange. Joe said he got to see all the movies free, plus he learned to operate the projector. This was in the early 50s when the film would break and had to be spliced together. He learned a lot and recalled a lot about the movies. Dee was an operating room nurse and Joe a car salesman, a good one who was so low pressure Corky Harmon said the customer had to almost ask Joe to please sell him that car. Besides golf, he and Dee played Tournament Bridge. They raised a great family. Our condolences go out to Dee and their offspring. A good man has left us. May he rest in peace. Please see obituary.


After completing the column and turning it in, I learned that my friend Bill Smith had passed away on May 28, at age 93. I didn’t want this issue to go to press without expressing my condolences for the one time publisher of The Penny Record. William Elmer Smith, a native of Wilton, Arkansas, was an old-school KCS railroad locomotive engineer. Bill always reminded me of the old railroad break-man singer, Jimmie Rogers, who sang songs about the time in Bill Smith’s youth, times of the depression. “All around the water tank just waiting for a train.” The song was also about those who got caught trying to free-ride across the country. “Get off, get off you railroad bums and the conductor slammed the boxcar door.” I loved Bill’s railroad stories. He was a good man who did a lot for our little town along with his wife Betty. Bill will be laid to rest at the place of his birth. I’m so thankful I got to know him. The old engineer is gone. May he rest in peace. Please see obituary.


10 Years Ago-2013

The 50th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s death will bring months of tributes, ending with the saddest of all November anniversaries on November 22. Many speeches, books, magazines, news stories, television specials and admirers will pay tribute to the forever youthful president who inspired millions and was cut down in his prime in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963. He’s frozen in the minds of all of us who recall the event. To some degree, the JFK legacy has affected some presidents who followed him. That includes President Obama, whose name will be invoked in three anniversaries to be celebrated next month, June 10, June 16, and a trip Obama will make to Berlin ahead of the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s “Ich bin cin Berliner” speech. Get ready to know JFK again. (Editor’s note: To us old enough, Kennedy and his murder 60 years ago, was brought into our homes by television just minutes after the fact. That vision has never left our consciousness. You can also expect the conspiracy theorists to come with a slew of books. Forgotten in the six month celebration will be that Nov. 22 which also marks 60 years since LBJ become United States president.*****Our friend Mildred Lemoine, who is Judge Janice’s sister, has been in a Houston hospital since February, nearly four months. (Mildred and Janice are both gone now.) *****This Saturday, June 1, from 12 noon to 4 p.m., Todd Landry, at Big Daddy‘s Crawfish, Bessie Heights Road in Bridge City, is having a big customer appreciation day. All proceeds will go to the “Cure Starts Now Foundation.” Come out and join the fun. Live music--boiled crawfish, only $10 with corn and potatoes and a Christian, family atmosphere. Fill up on fun and crawfish for a good cause.*****A few folks celebrating their special day. May 29 marks the birthday of two pretty good ole boys. The eldest first, longtime newsman Glenn Earl, who helped pioneer NBC affiliate television Channel 4, has spent the last few years in radio.*****Longtime peace officer, former Orange police chief and former acting city manager, Sam Kittrell, once our “Person of the Year,” is now part time employee, full time chief of Pine Forest.***May 30 is a very important day in the Dunn family. It’s the day Roy and Phyl’s first grandchild and Mark’s first daughter came along. Happy birthday to Dr. Amber Dunn. ***Also celebrating on this day is longtime friend, Bridge City dentist, Dr. David Olson. The two doctors share their birthday with Wynonna Judd, who turns 49.***May 31, finds Ronda Wilson, Florence Evans, Jeannette Foster and Brooke Edwards sharing their birthday with Joe Namath, former New York Jet quarterback, who turns 70. Clint Eastwood also shares this date and will be 83.***June 1 is a special day for Linda Wolfford, Shirley Griffin, Rollie Cardner and Claudia Lyon.***Celebrating on June 2 are Kayla Hickey, Miranda McClure, John Gifford, Julie Lummus, Peter Modica Jr. and Moma Aven.***June 3 finds Herman Dupuis and Harold Trantham celebrating.***On June 4, Sanda Hoke has another birthday as does Glenn Fisher, Aaron McNeil and Donna Rogers. They share birthdays with Angelina Jolie, who turned 38.*****The Wednesday Lunch Bunch will dine at Novrozsky’s this week and will be at Robert’s next week when Roy celebrates his 79th birthday.

24 Years Ago-1999

 Attorney Sharon Bearden held his annual bar party last week outside, behind he and Wayne Peveto‘s office building. Pickup trucks were used for sitting. Lawyer friends accused Bearden of making a windfall he wasn’t telling about. Sharon is known to be the most conservative liberal in these parts. Come December he will be saving a bunch when he quits sending money to Texas Tech. That’s where Jim Sharon is attending law school. *****While Judge Pat Clark is home recovering, a lady district judge from Houston, named Judge Dunn, will take his place. Two Judge Dunn’s at the courthouse this week,*****Jon and Lisa Drago now run the Drago True Value Hardware in Bridge City,*****Lester “Buckshot” Winfree was named “Small Businessman of the year” by the Bridge City Chamber and Scored Chapter 521. He owns Winfree Rice and Cattle Company. The son of Lawrence and Gladys Winfree was born June 24, 1939.*****In the 4A baseball playoffs, after LCM lost game 1 at home 5-4, senior left-hander Josh Grey pitched a shutout in game 2 to give the Bears a 6-0 win and another chance in the playoffs. The Bears dealt the death blow to Carthage’s hopes in game 3 with an 11-5 victory. Grey pitched three scoreless innings. The Bears meet Brenham next in the quarter finals.*****Meanwhile, the Orangefield Bobcats squeezed by Huntington 5-4. Jeff Smith is Bobcat coach. They play powerful Lufkin Hudson next in a winner take all game. Orangefield was District 23-3A champions.


49 Years Ago-1974

Granny Harper’s birthday was celebrated in style with a big gumbo--35 gallons. The whole gang showed up at Millie’s Harper Valley place in Mauriceville. These are great folks. *****Jack King is elected zone chairman of the Lions Club at the district convention in Galveston.*****Wally Fowler, gospel singer, formerly with the Oak Ridge Quartet, visits Orange. He and Roy Dunn spend a day exchanging stories about when they both traveled with Dudley J. LeBlanc’s Hadacol Caravan. Wally was at the height of his career and many of his songs were recorded by other artists. He was the first to bring Hank Williams to Nashville and was responsible for much of Eddie Arnold’s success. Fowler gave Roy an autographed copy of his new album, “Jesus.”*****The McCullums open a music store on short Sixth Street in downtown Orange.*****Plans are all made for the big annual Water Festival to be held next weekend.*****Orange Rainbow Assembly No. 48 installs officers. Alicia Annette Young is installed as Worthy Advisor; DeDe Phillips, Worthy Associate; Kellie Hogg, Charity; Sunny Phillips, Hope; Kim McCauley, Faith; Hostesses, Vivian Powell, Theda Ladd, Maxine Williams, Carolyn Calvo and Betty Hinson.*****Coach Arien “Bubba” Moye, WO trainer, is leaving. Coach Glen Green says, “We’ll miss him.”*****Debbie Hawks will wed Duane Johnson on June 1.*****Romona Dillard will say her vows with Roger Percy on May 31. *****Staci and Christy Segura celebrate birthdays together May 26. They are four and one.


On June 7, the Wednesday Lunch Bunch will gather at Robert’s to celebrate a reunion and also to observe Roy Dunn’s 89th birthday. He was one of the founders, along with Judge Grover Halliburton and Judge Claude Wimberly. Dunn celebrated his 69th and 79th birthdays with the Bunch. Robert’s has photos of the past reunion events. A group photo is planned. Pass the word, old or new, everyone is welcome. This will be the first opportunity for some to meet in over two years. All WWII Veterans are invited and will be the guest of the Lunch Bunch. It’s one of the Bunch’s ways to show appreciation to these great men. Y’all come.


With Father Jim Sichko, a stop in Orange came first before flying off to Rome to meet again with Pope Francis. Father Sichko, who grew up here, came back for three special masses to mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination. Last week's County Record featured a story about the famous priest's homecoming and the three masses. At St. Mary Catholic Church, where Father Sichko grew up, the parish priest Father Antony Paulose held up a copy of the paper from the pulpit showing off the article about Father Sichko and how he has brought the pope bourbon. Pope Francis appoint Father Sichko as a special Papal Minster of Mercy.*****Memorial Day weekend kicked off the summer season and traveling for a number of people. Felica Conway and son Noah visited San Antonio, taking in the sights and restaurants.***Gary and Allisha Bonneaux hopped a plane to Orlando and made sure they drank lots of butter beer at Universal's Harry Potter park.***Orange City Councilor Caroline Hennigan and husband, Mike, hosted a crew at their Crystal Beach house that included fellow City Councilor Paul Burch with husband, Raul, plus Tammy and Greg Guillotte.***County Commissioner Johnny Trahan and wife, Becky, had their friends and family up to their lake house, including their daughter and son-in-law, Cody and Michal Tant. Little grandson Case likes the water, but not the mud***Longtime friends Rosalie Eason and Cindy Claybar enjoyed their family time at Lake Sam Rayburn.***Hammon and Glenda Thompson went to see their grands in Cypress, then took in an Astros game at Minute Maid Park.***Country music songwriting legend Dean Dillon performed at The Oaks in Vidor on Friday with the crowd including Rodney and Dr. Amy Townsend, and Gary and Angie Stelly.*****Lots of graduation ceremonies were held for the high schools across the county last week. Margie Stephens reports she made it through the ceremony at Bridge City High without tears as granddaughter Jacelyn Duval walked across the stage for her diploma.***Probably no one in the county is prouder than Bianca Garrett as her daughter, T'Era graduated from West Orange-Stark. T'Era was a star athlete and is going to Blinn College on a softball scholarship. In addition, T'Era was a member of the National Honor Society and prom queen this year.*****The extended Colburn family attended the reception opening at Heritage House Museum's "On the Water, Our Favorite Pastime" exhibit. Karen Colburn, the widow of the late fishing guide and Record newspapers columnist Dickie Colburn, loaned some of his fishing collection for the exhibit, timed to go with the big Bassmasters Elite tournament this week. Dickie's brother, Jeep and wife, Carolyn, came, as did his sister, Pauline Hargrove. Angler extraordinaire Russell Bottley stopped by, as did the Record's Dan Perrine with wife, Marcia, and son, Matthew. Orange chamber president Ida Schossow took in the local history that includes the 1950s ski team the Aqua Demons and Debs. Shari Spradling, whose late parents Hubert and Margaret Spradling, who started the group, loaned some of her collection. Museum Director Charlotte Alford oversaw the exhibit and refreshments. Museum board members Kimberly Manning, Peggy Wells, and Geralyn Vine helped to set up the exhibit. Board member Lori Ardoin greeted guests during the reception and marveled at displays. Of course, everyone has a fishing or boating story to tell.*****Jacque Phelps celebrated her 95th birthday this past week as the end of May seems to have been a popular time to have babies. Lots of people were blowing out candles.***JoJo Harris of Farmers Mercantile marked the big 5-0 and as a birthday wish, collected donations for the Special Angels Rodeo for special needs children and adults. It's the Harris family's gift to Orange.*** State District Judge Rex Peveto finished another trip around the sun.***Others with birthdays included MaQuettia Ledet, Eric Nies, Kelly Morphew, Doug Combs, Benitris Edwards, Lisa Moore, Angie Claybar, and Cindy Gunn. Cassie Grizzaffi turned 17, while Allie Allbritton is now 19. Emma Rodriguez is turning into a big girl with her fifth birthday.*****Anniversaries this past week  included Barry and Mauren Bates celebrating No. 22, and Babette and Mark Philpott with another year.*****Phillip Welch has nothing but praise for his new county commissioner Chris Sowell. “That guy gets the job done,” says Phillip.*****Since retiring former sheriff Keith Merritt and Marlene have been busy helping their boys. One is starting a new business in Midland-Odessa, the other building a new home at Sam Rayburn. Hope to see the Merritt’s soon.



A few folks celebrating birthdays in the next few days. May 31: Nelda Sanguine, Haley Duhon, Brad Spooner, Rebecca Cartwright, Jeannette Foster, Macey Joubert.*****June 1: Gabrielle Smith, Linda Wolfford, Shirley Griffin, Rollie Gardner.*****June 2: Shilo Carr, Debbie Crews, Peter Modica Jr., Julie Lummus, Kayla Hickey, Miranda McClure.*****June 3: Tanya Thibodeaux-Molley, Herman Dupuis, David Lopez, Harold Trantham.*****June 4: Barbara Hangman, Brittany Yu, Glenn Fisher, Paige Ousley, Jade Ousley, Sandra Hoke, Donna Benefield.*****June 5: Tim Hughes, Joyce Dowdle, Roy Dunn, Carrie Prouse, Trey Wild, Chris Andes, Matt Ortega, Hunter Puckett, Brenda Howard, Gena Guyote.*****June 6: Sonia Smith, Amanda Rainwater, Ryan Gunstream, Lorrie LeBlanc, Ed Worthy Jr., Sherilyn Brister, Gail Griffith, Kelsey Miller. (Note: To announce birthdays or anniversaries please call 409-886-7183 or email therecordlive.com.) No Charge.



Every night right after it got dark Leroy Desomeaux, a bird lover, would go out in da backyard and hoot like an owl, hoping to attract one. After a few days, Leroy’s plan worked. One night an owl, wit a deep voice, started answering him. For a year, every night Leroy an dat owl hooted back and forth to one an utta. Leroy him, even kept a log of dere nightly conversations.

Leroy tought he was on da verge of a breakthrough in interspecies communication wen his wife, Marie, had a chat wit her neighbor Mary Lou.

“My husband Leroy him, spends his night calling out to da owls,” Marie said.

“Mais, dat’s odd, so does my husband Sustan. For bout a year, every night he talks to an owl him.”



The Soldier's Truth:

Ernie Pyle and the Story of World War II

A beautiful reckoning with the life and work of the legendary journalist Ernie Pyle, who gave World War II a human face for millions of Americans even as he wrestled with his own demons At the height of his fame and influence during World War II, Ernie Pyle's nationally syndicated dispatches from combat zones shaped America's understanding of what the war felt like to ordinary soldiers, as no writer's work had before or has since. From the beaches of Anzio to the beaches of Normandy, and on to the war in the Pacific, where he would meet his end, Ernie Pyle had a genius for connecting with his beloved dogfaced grunts. A humble man, himself plagued by melancholy and tortured by marriage to a partner whose mental health struggles were much more acute than his own. While never defeatist, his stories left no doubt as to the heavy weight of the burden soldiers carried. In The Soldier's Truth, acclaimed writer David Chrisinger brings Pyle's journey to vivid life in all its heroism and pathos. Drawing on access to all of Pyle's personal correspondence, his book captures every dramatic turn of Pyle's war. A moving tribute to an ordinary American hero whose impact on the war is still too little understood, and a powerful account of that war's impact and how it is remembered, The Soldier's Truth takes its place among the essential contributions to our perception of war and how we make sense of it. My thoughts turn to my many WWII friends now gone. A great book to collect, to pass on to the next generation, far removed from Granddad’s great war. ***** Take care and God bless.


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