News

Tue
16
Jan

Harvey hotel vouchers extended

Eligible Hurricane Harvey survivors receiving Transitional Shelter Assistance (TSA) may receive an extension to stay temporarily in hotels while they look for an alternative place to live. The new extension is through March 12, 2018. The previous extension was through Tuesday, January 16, 2018.

According to a FEMA New Release, disaster survivors with a continuing need for the hotel sheltering program will receive a phone call, email, and/or text message advising them if they have continued eligibility for assistance through a participating hotel. There will be a mid-term eligibility review on February 20, 2018.

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Tue
16
Jan

Churches now eligible for FEMA flood assistance

The City of Vidor emergency management coordinator, Aleta Cappen, said last week that FEMA recently announced a change in their policy now allows churches to become eligible for disaster assistance as community centers, without regard to their secular or religious nature.

According to a January 2nd, 2018 Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) news release, “The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced today that private nonprofit houses of worship are now eligible for disaster assistance as community centers, without regard to their secular or religious nature.

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Tue
16
Jan

Victim struck by car is recovering

A man from Vidor who was hit by a car as he crossed a street is recovering from the injuries he received in the collision.

According to Vidor Police Chief Rod Carroll, at about 3:12 p.m. on Saturday, January 13th, Vidor Police officers were dispatched to the scene of an automobile/pedestrian crash that had occurred in the 1300 block of North Main Street.

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Tue
16
Jan

Sleet and freezing rain threaten highway bridges

Vidor schools close for bad weather

By George Garza

The combination of rain combined with freezing temperatures created sleet and some snow in Vidor on Tuesday that coated highway and roadway bridges with a layer of ice. Texas Department of Transportation crews worked feverishly to spread sand on freeway bridges to keep traffic moving, at least slowly, as temperatures dropped below thirtytwo degrees at around 9:00 a.m.

At about 9:30 p.m. on Monday night the Vidor Independent School District issued an advisory to parents that all classes and activities scheduled for Tuesday, January 16th would be cancelled with school resuming on Wednesday, January 17th unless otherwise notified. The school district advisory said the “Due to the strong probability of dangerous weather… Vidor ISD will cancel school for Tuesday…”

Tue
16
Jan

Long-term storm recovery group forming

By George Garza

The first organizational meeting of an Orange County Hurricane Harvey Long-term recovery group was held at the Orange County Convention and Expo Center last Thursday night. About 100 civic, religious leaders and others interested in making a durable commitment to helping people in our community return to their pre-storm situation and to prepare for the next disaster to befall our area, sat down with members of the National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (NVOAD) to discuss the why, how and who of long term disaster recovery.

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Thu
11
Jan

Vidor freeway crash fatal

By George Garza

 

A man from Nederland, TX died in Vidor when he crashed into a freeway barrier wall early on Wednesday morning.

 

According to a Texas Department of Public Safety news release, Jeremy Michael Martinez, 37, of Nederland, was pronounced deceased by Orange County Precinct #3 Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose-Simonton following a one vehicle crash on Interstate 10 in Orange County on January 10, 2018.

 

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Thu
11
Jan

County nears end of storm debris collection

By George Garza

 

Although much storm debris from Hurricane Harvey remains stored at the closed Orange County Landfill awaiting transfer to other waste disposal sites, the neighborhood collection of storm debris will soon be drawing to a close. And with that end, the daily operations of the Orange County Citizens Collection Station will cease.

 

During his report to the Orange County Commissioners’ Court this week, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Ralph Valenciano told commissioners that ninety-nine percent of Hurricane Harvey storm debris placed out along county roads has been collected and ninety-eight percent of the Hurricane Harvey household hazardous waste has been collected throughout Orange County.

 

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Thu
11
Jan

County sales soar as residents rebuild and replace after Harvey

By George Garza

 

Just as local governments closed out 2017 with hefty increases in sales tax allocations, 2018 continued the trend as Orange Countians repair, replace and rebuild that which Harvey damaged or destroyed. Increases ranged from 11 percent in West Orange to almost 67 percent in Pine Forest with dollar amounts ranging from $443,000 for Orange County to $10,000 for Pine Forest. The sales tax is a major component of most local government’s budgets accounting for close to half of all revenue for many.

 

Texas imposes a 6.25 percent state sales and use tax on all retail sales, leases and rentals of most goods, as well as taxable services. Local taxing jurisdictions (cities, counties, special purpose districts and transit authorities) can also impose up to 2 percent sales and use tax for a maximum combined rate of 8.25 percent.

 

 

Thu
11
Jan

Pine Forest reinstates Municipal Court

By George Garza

 

Since November of 2017 the City of Pine Forest City Council has been discussing its existing city ordinances and how to enforce them.

 

“We need to consider reinstating the court, “ said Pine Forest Mayor Cathy Nagel to the council during that November meeting. “We are facing some situations that are starting to arise because of the hurricane have the potential of lowering property values in this city…”

 

Among the many reasons for reinstating the City’s Municipal Court the Mayor pointed to substandard manufactured homes being moved into the city, flooded out homes being sold off unrepaired to absentee owners and other flooded out homes being abandoned without repair or demolition.

 

 

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Tue
09
Jan

Alleged drunk driver steals trooper’s black and white

By George Garza

 

An alleged drunk driver arrested in Orange led Texas Department of Public Safety and other police officers on a thirty four mile chase through Starks, Sulphur and Lake Charles, LA before crashing out on a notorious “S” curve in Lake Charles. And he did it all in a black and white TXDPS patrol car with lights flashing with his hands cuffed together in front of him. According to a Texas Department of Public Safety news release, early Sunday morning, a Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS)

 

Trooper arrested an alleged intoxicated driver. The suspect later fled from the scene in the patrol vehicle, crashing a short time later, and was taken in custody by law enforcement.

 

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