There is a story behind every brick and board that comprise the walkways at Shangri La Botanical Gardens. Each is made up of recycled items and have served purposes other than their present day settings in trails. Wednesday, students from area schools trotted among the “greenest place in Texas” for an Earth Day field trip. Ridgewood Elementary First Graders toured the botanical gardens, peered through the bird blinds and took an educational walk through several of the gardens historical greenhouses. “It was very beautiful,” Ridgewood Elementary Principal Julie Gauthier said, following the trip. “I’ve heard a lot about the place and to actually see it was very neat for the kids and I. We wanted our students to see how beautiful nature, and environment, can all be and how important it is to take care of both of them — especially on Earth Day.” “It really means more to us to see something that impressive so close to home.” Shangri La Botanical Gardens and Nature Center is the first project in Texas and the 50th project in the world to earn the U.S. Green Building Council’s Platinum certification for LEED®-NC, which verifies the design and construction of Shangri La reached the highest green building and performance measures. Tuesday, Shangri La received yet another acknowledgment for its environmental achievements, being selected by The American Institute of Architects (AIA) and its Committee on the Environment (COTE) as one of the world’s top 10 projects exhibiting sustainable architecture and green design solutions. “Our goal from the very beginning of this project was to be as earth friendly as possible,” said Michael Hoke, Managing Director of Shangri La. “Through the vision and support of the Stark Foundation and the innovation of our architects and many others, we have achieved our goal. Now it is up to us to use the wonderful resources of Shangri La to meet our mission of Mentoring Children of All Ages to Be Kind to Their World.” Gauthier said she was impressed at how well organized and informative the volunteers at Shangri La were throughout her school’s field trip. Even before the students stepped off the buses, Ridgewood Elementary teachers had prepared their students for what they were to expect by utilizing Shangri La’s online teaching resources. “They knew what type of flowers the gardens had for them to see, which type of insects inhabited the park,” Gauthier said. “They were given a very thorough introduction to Shangri La before we even got there.” “Of course, for Earth Day, our teachers all over the campus always cover environmental topics with the students.” Shangri La Volunteer Gail Batchelor, who served as the Ridgewood Elementary tour guide, says introducing environmentally-friendly steps to children at a young age is vital to their understanding of their importance. “Kids need to start young to understand about reducing waste, reusing and recycling,” Batchelor said. “Things like turning off the water and not wasting water when they’re brushing their teeth — anything we can do to keep our environment from being used up before we’re used up.” “If they can learn little by little about recycling — if we can make a difference and make them curious about it all then we’ve done our job.” Gauthier called the school’s Earth Day trip a success, saying the ease and uniqueness of the gardens are already having her plan for next year’s Earth Day trip. “The students all loved it,” Gauthier said. “It was a little hot, but they were all very impressed with the trails and the flowers and all the birds they saw. We’re definitely scheduling another trip.” Batchelor, who spent much of Wednesday giving tours to other school’s beside Ridgewood, said its important to emphasize the importance of being eco-friendly, but that it shouldn’t be a one-day way of thinking. “I think it’s important any day because I think every day should be earth day,” Batchelor said. [email protected]
For the rest of the night the Pirates could not catch a break while the Panthers strung together 21 unanswered points on only three possessions. The Pirate offenses only picked up three first downs on their final five possessions as the Panthers went on to win 41-21.Next week the Pirates will travel to Lumberton. The Pirates (2-3, 0-2) were led by Sage Smith as he contributed big plays on both sides of the ball. Smith rushed for 130 yards on 19 carries and produced a 52-yard pick six on defense. Jeremy Stephenson also had a big night adding 67 yards and two rushing touchdowns.After both teams offenses were quickly run off the field on their first possessions, the Panthers (1-4, 1-1) got on the board first just four minutes into the game when Boyd completed a 12-yard pass to Ceasar. The snap on the point after was a little wild and the Pirates’ Marcus Moore took down the place holder before he could find any options.After both teams traded another series, the Panthers found themselves just 13 yards away from a second touchdown after recovering a Pirate fumble. Just three plays later Boyd found the end zone on a three yard run. The Panthers converted the two point conversion for a 14-0 lead with 10:33 remaining in the second quarter. With just four minutes left in the first half the Pirate offense began to show its first signs of life. After taking over on the Panther 22 yard line, they strung together a nine-play drive that was capped off with a thee yard run from Jeremy Stephenson. Sage Smith contributed 37 yards rushing on the drive on just three carries. Michael Tamayo’s kick moved the score to 14-7 with only 55 seconds until the halftime buzzer.On the following drive the Panthers were looking to regain some momentum going into the half until the Pirates Sage Smith jumped the route to intercept the ball behind the line of scrimmage. Smith took it 52 yards to the house with no one giving chase. Tamayo’s kick tied the game at 14 with nine seconds until half time.After the Pirates went three and out to start the second half ,the Panthers set up on the Pirates 19-yard line. On the second play of the drive Boyd dumped the ball off to Rodney Randal on a screen pass that resulted in an 83 yard touchdown pass. The Panthers would fail on the 2-point conversion attempt leaving the score at 20-14.The Pirates answered right back on the following possession as Jeremy Stephenson found the end zone after a 20 yard tote. Tamayo’s kick gave the Pirates their only lead of the night with 7:17 remaining in the third quarter. The Vidor Pirates were not able to find their first district win Friday night against the Ozen Panthers as they lost 41-21.The Pirates had a 21-20 lead midway through the third quarter but the craftiness of Josh Boyd helped the Panthers score 21 unanswered points to seal the victory. Boyd was the heart of the Panthers offense as it seemed that no one could get a grip on him to bring him to the turf. Boyd rushed for 194 yards, with many of those yards coming off of broken plays. Boyd also was able to find seven different receivers to total 210 yards passing.
By Ronald C. Spooner Recently, News publisher Rick Macke and former State Sen. Carl Parker wrote columns expressing the need for Port Arthur to “move forward” commensurate with its many assets and its under developed — or undeveloped — potential. Hence, the question: What or who caused the decline in the first place, and apparently continues to hinder Port Arthur’s moving forward?Among the first questions we must answer are (1) what did Port Arthur do and look like during its glory days, and what could moving Port Arthur forward look like in the future if we could actually get something constructive going in that direction? Specifically, what things are we talking about? Without considering the causes (We’ll deal with those later), what are the problems that need fixing? And, lastly, what would the solutions look like after all problems have been properly addressed?The people of Port Arthur have not changed. They still come into this world as babes needing to be nourished, loved and taught, having the ability to respond to that nourishment, love, and proper instructions with not only feelings of self-worth but with commitments to being the best person, the best prepared and most confident persons, and the most productive persons they can be in terms of their ability to succeed, when they desire successful futures badly enough to work hard enough to get it.What, then, went wrong? What needs to be done? And most troubling what can be done? Unfortunately, these three questions are so linked that what went wrong likely will continue to hinder any chances of returning Port Arthur to its best or hoped-for days. The vision for such a future must first recognize and then acknowledge reasons for Port Arthur’s decline. These reasons must either be eliminated or ways found to succeed despite the what and who that caused and continue to sustain the decline.Contrary to the opinions expressed by others about selecting the right people to serve on a committee to plan Port Arthur’s turnaround, I believe the elected officials of PAISD, the city of Port Arthur, Jefferson County and perhaps the Economic Development Commission should serve of that committee. They include the elected leaders of Port Arthur, citizens who expressed a desire to serve the patrons of Port Arthur, the ones the majority of the voting public trusted to look out for their best interest, which is what is at stake They are the people most responsible to the citizens of Port Arthur, and are the only ones voters can hold accountable, either rewarding them with re-election for Port Arthur’s successful turnaround or punishing them with rejection if their efforts result in failure.Both Rich Macke and Sen. Carl Parker seem to believe that 12 is the right number of members for the committee. Who will select committee members is equally debatable, as would be the way the chairman of the committee is to be selected — and the authority that person would have to dictate the direction of the committee. Certainly, Mr. Macke’s appointment to the chairman position would be inappropriate, given his expressed desire to see the city returned to Port Arthur’s former days and the old ways, ways that limited black citizens to one member at a time to serve on the school board and city council. Most of the times, the black representative elected was not the black community’s choice. That system proved not to be a way to sustain the glory days, and it certainly is no way to move forward toward their return. Also, Mr. Macke — and, at least, one of the voters he probably would like appointed to the committee — seem to believe that because Senators from the states of Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico will likely have to vote on bills that will affect people who live in Texas, Texans should have the right to help determine those Senators by voting in those state’s elections.The establishment of single-member districts in Port Arthur, while finally giving black voters a chance to elect representatives from their own communities, gave them — and all Port Arthur residents — input into the City’s needs and elections. The new system allowed for the election of two at-large positions and two expanded single-member districts, both of which provided opportunities for voters in different parts of the city to vote for or against candidates who resided outside their own districts or communities, based on those candidates’ ideas about governing the city and protecting the city’s future.It is unfortunate that the citizens of Port Arthur did not see the need to have single-member districts adopted for PAISD. Two attempts were made by me: once as a member of the school board and once after having decided not to seek re-election. The suggestion was to superpose the city of Port Arthur’s districts on the school district since the city and school district occupied mostly the same land and residents. The proposals were rejected both times by the board and received no support from Port Arthur voters — including those who had fought so hard to have the old city’s election system changed.It is within that culture of residential indifference — and little or no community-wide dialog among community leaders — that Port Arthur will attempt to find another way (a better way) to pursue, perfect and preserve another better day.Ronald C. Spooner of Port Arthur is a retired educator. Contact him at [email protected]
Visitation for family and friends will be on Friday, June 10, 2016 from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM with a rosary to be prayed at 6:00 PM at Clayton Thompson Funeral Home in Groves. Service to honor Michael’s life will be at 10:00 AM Saturday, June 11, 2016 in the Thompson Memorial Chapel at Clayton Thompson. Entombment will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Park. Michael Dale Tillman, 63, of Port Arthur, Texas passed away on Wednesday, June 8, 2016 at the Medical Center of Southeast Texas.He was born on February 8, 1953 to Lois Davis Tillman and Harmon Edward Tillman in Sulphur, Louisiana. Michael has been a resident of the area for 40 years. He retired as General Manager (Floating) for Pizza Inn Restaurants with the last one being Pizza Inn in Port Neches. He was a member of the Catholic faith. He is also survived by his two sisters, Karen Bruce and husband, John of Sulphur, LA., Sandy Carver and husband, William of DeRidder, LA., two brothers, Gary Tillman of Alexandria, LA. and Danny Tillman and wife, Michele of Sulphur, LA. along with numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father, his loving wife, Sharon Marie Tillman who passed away in March, his grandchild, Baby Loya.Michael is survived by his daughters, Tracy Ann Fontenot and husband, Joseph of Lake Charles, LA., Jeanetta Sue Loya and husband, Ismael of Port Arthur, his sons, Timothy Scott Tillman of Winchester, Kentucky, Michael Allan Tillman of Port Arthur, Carl David Walton and wife, Pamela of Erath, LA., his mother, Lois Davis Tillman of Sulphur, LA. and his thirteen grandchildren.
Louis Calvin Davis, 66, of Port Arthur passed away Friday, September 30, 2016. A native and lifelong resident of Port Arthur, Louis was baptized at First Sixth Street Baptist Church. He was a 1968 graduate of Lincoln High School. Louis is survived by his wife, Bernice; four children, Felicia January (Melvin), Louis Jr. (LaKisher), Eric (DeShawna) and Tevin Turner; his sister, Brenda Jones (Don); 6 grandchildren; his mother-in-law, Alma Everfield; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.Funeral service will be 10 a.m. Saturday, October 8, 2016 at First Sixth Street Baptist Church with visitation from 8 a.m. until service time. Rev. Kalan Gardner, Sr. will officiate. Burial will follow in Greenlawn Memorial Park under the direction of Gabriel Funeral Home.
Nancy “Sue” May Franke, 81, of Nederland, died Monday, October 24, 2016. She was born on May 2, 1935, in Nederland, to Lena Rae Wooten and John Jefferson May.Nancy was a member of Nederland Historical Society. She enjoyed spending time with NHS Class of ’52 friends. Nancy will be remembered as a humble, merciful, and loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend. A gathering of Mrs. Franke’s family and friends will be from 5:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m., Tuesday, October 25, 2016, at Broussard’s, 505 North 12th Street, Nederland. Her graveside service will be 2:00 p.m., Wednesday, October 26, 2016, at Oak Bluff Memorial Park, 101 Block Street, Port Neches. Survivors include her husband of sixty-two years, Robert Franke of Nederland; sons, Bruce Franke and his companion, Debbie Smith, of Cedar Park and John Franke and his wife, Becky, of Liberty; three grandchildren, Krystal Franke, Joshua Franke and his wife, Amanda, and Jayden Franke; six great-grandchildren; and special friends, Carol Culp and Caroline Nichols.She was preceded in death by her parents. Memorial Contributions for Mrs. Franke may be made to American Heart Association, P.O. Box 841125, Dallas, Texas 75284, Church of the Living Waters, P.O. 7820 Beaumont, Texas 77726-7820, or a charity of choice.Complete and updated information may be found at: broussards1889.com.
Special to The News:Scott Street believes so much in teaching young people to help other people he wrote a textbook about it.His “Life Skills for Student-Athletes,” published by McGraw-Hill in 2006, is used as a teaching resource in colleges around the country. “I’ve always been involved personally in giving back to communities,” said Street, Director of Athletics at Lamar State College Port Arthur since 2010. “Certainly, at colleges and universities, giving back has always been an important thing.“I believe that student-athletes should learn about volunteering and mentoring. If we can instill it now at their age, hopefully it lasts a lifetime going forward.”Street’s stressing good works, exemplified by the more than 1,500 hours of volunteer community service by LSCPA student-athletes in the last school year, was recognized Thursday when he received the Julie and Ben Community Service Award in a short ceremony at Lamar University in Beaumont. Street was athletic director at the University of Texas-Pan American for 2005-08 and interim AD for a year at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi before coming to Port Arthur. He has more than 25 years’ experience in intercollegiate athletics.An athletic trainer for Wake Forest University for nine years before moving into administration, Street has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Iowa, a master’s of science degree from Mankato State University and an MBA from Wake Forest.Street is a board member of the YMCA of Southeast Texas and Junior Achievement. He was chair of the United Way of Mid and South Jefferson County’s Appropriations Committee in 2015; he has been a board member for the National Athletic Trainers Association.He is active in the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce, the Port Arthur Rotary Club and is on the Advisory Council for the Port Arthur Independent School District.LSCPA Athletic Department student-athletes and staffers have participated in raising $35,000 for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, collected eyeglasses for the Lions Club, boxed canned goods for the Rotary Club holiday drive, served Thanksgiving dinner at a nursing home, made sandwiches twice a month at the Port Arthur Hospitality Center, assisted with the Alzheimer’s Walk and several fundraising 5K and 10K running events. They have helped with elementary school reading programs and presented sports clinics at the YMCA.Street said it’s always fun to see how the teenagers and young adults representing LSCPA Athletics mature in their outlook toward helping others.“The first time they go out with us for a service project, they say, ‘Aw, do we really have to go?’” Street said. “The second time, they say, ‘That wasn’t so bad,’ and the third time, they’re asking ‘When can we go back?’”Street joins 21 other LSCPA winners of the Rogers Community Service Award. In chronological order of recognition, they are:Marie Snider, Tom Neal, Dr. Charles Gongre, Bill Worsham, Dr. Beverly Parker, Peter Katrude, Jimmet Lawrence, Dr. Jeffrey L. Haven, Mavis Triebel, Dr. Janis Hutchins and Terry Jackson.Also, Linda Tait, Conrad Cooper, Dr. Barbara Huval, Dr. Laura Stafford, Janet R. Hamilton, Mary Wickland, Andrea Rodriguez, Cindy Guidry, Amanda Smith and Adriane Champagne. The Rogers Family set up an endowment in 1979 to annually provide a $1,000 cash award to a member of the Lamar University faculty or staff who made a significant contribution to public service in Southeast Texas. The award was expanded a decade later to recognize four annual winners, one representing each of the four regional campuses carrying the Lamar name.Dr. Freddie Titus was this year’s award recipient from Lamar University, Sherry Kilgore the winner for Lamar Institute of Technology and Charlotte Chiasson won for Lamar State College-Orange.“As long as I’ve known Scott he has been busy volunteering in the community and, most importantly, developing the next generation of community volunteers,” Lamar State College Port Arthur President Dr. Betty Reynard said as she presented Street to a group of about 100 past winners and family members at the University Reception Center atop the John and Mary Gray Library.“Scott takes volunteerism to the core of his being,” Dr. Reynard, a past winner of the award, said of Street. “He expects the students he helps manage on our sports teams to be involved in the community, and he’s been very successful at it.”
Mathews, 33, was sentenced this week to six years in jail for his multiple impersonations as a peace officer, fire marshal, Marine veteran, emergency medical technician, firefighter and constable.Judge John Stevens on Monday imposed sentence on Matthews, who pleaded guilty in 2017.At times during Harvey rescue efforts, Matthews wore a Houston Fire Department shirt, carried handcuffs and wore a holstered handgun. His personal vehicle, a black Chevrolet Impala with emergency lights in the front windshield, appeared to be an unmarked police vehicle. Staff reportBEAUMONT — For David Roy Matthews Jr., the aftermath of Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey last September provided the perfect backdrop for posing as a first-responder.But Texas law enforcement and the state courts didn’t play along. “We would like to recognize the excellent work of the DPS Troopers, who were dispatched from other regions of Texas to assist Jefferson County law enforcement during a very difficult time for our community,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael Morgan, who prosecuted the case. Prosecutors said Matthews responded to several fire and EMS calls during Harvey while driving county vehicles and fire trucks, endangering the public and other emergency personnel.They said alert DPS troopers on special assignment to Jefferson County observed Matthews and became suspicious, discussed their suspicions with other officials who had worked with Matthews, and after questioning him and conducting a background check, discovered Matthews had a prior arrest in Jefferson Davis Parish, Louisiana, for false personation of a peace officer.
Idell is survived by her three sons, Tim Johnson and his wife, Laura of Groves; Benny Johnson and his wife, Terry of Beaumont; KevinJohnson and his wife, Renee of Katy, her thirteen grandchildren, Kimberly, Aaron, Jason, Danny, Melissa, Tommy, Suzette, Justin, Misty,Clint, Charlsye, Douglas and Kelsey, seventeen great grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.She is also survived by her sister, Audrey Hebert of Groves along with several nieces and nephews.Visitation will be on Monday, October 26, 2020 from 9:00 AM till 10:00 AM at Clayton Thompson Funeral Home in Groves.Service to honor Idell’s life will be at 10:00 AM Monday in the Thompson Memorial Chapel at Clayton Thompson. Idell Johnson, 93, of Groves passed away on Wednesday, October 21, 2020 at her home in Katy, Texas.She was born on December 26, 1926 in Turkey Creek, Louisiana to her parents, Nathan Deville and Eula Ardoin DeVille.Idell was a graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School in 1943. Next UpShe was a longtime resident of Port Arthur before moving back to her home town of Turkey Creek Louisiana following the retirement of her late husband, following his death she moved to Groves for the last 23 years.Idell was a devoted homemaker in raising her four sons along with her husband, Douglas.She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband, Douglas Johnson and her son, Nathan “N. L.” Johnson. Graveside service will be at 3:00 PM Monday at Turkey Creek Cemetery in Turkey Creek, Louisiana.Due to the Covid 19 crisis we are currently in, all visitors are required to wear face mask or covering and practice social distancing as mandated by state and county officials.
Neches Federal Credit Union raised $2,252 this week to support the Wounded Warrior Family Support. The funds were raised by way of a virtual walk/bike/run that the credit union hosted Wednesday.The event was promoted and hosted internally by Neches FCU, and employees were encouraged to ride their bike, walk or run.Every donation contributed by the Neches FCU team was matched by the credit union.Nearly 200 participants from Neches FCU participated in the virtual event and were encouraged to post their picture on Neches FCU’s Facebook page using the hashtag #NechesWalksForVets.