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Jefferson County Commissioners approve purchase of new electronic voting machines

JEFFERSON COUNTY - Jefferson County Commissioners have approved the purchase of a new electronic voting system the County Clerk says will ensure the integrity of the elections and is scheduled to be in place for the May elections.

Commissioners Court voted 4-0 Monday to buy the Hart Intercivic eSlate machines. County Judge Jeff Branick joined Commissioners Brent Weaver, Michael Sinegal and Eddie Arnold in voting for the new machines. Commissioner Bo Alfred wasn't at the meeting.

The County is buying the machines under a lease-purchase agreement of about $1.7 million. It's a five year agreement, but the state is examining a new system, and it could lead to a buyout of the final two years of the agreement if the state comes up with a new voting system.

The County will receive a $175,000 discount for buying the machines before the end of the year and a possible $75,000 discount in a buy back from ES&S, the company that sold the county the electronic voting machines it's been using for about ten years.

"I think it'll be a good system," County Clerk Carolyn Guidry told KFDM News. "We won't have to worry about the calibration issue. We'll have a lot of voter education on the new system as we approach the May elections. I'm sure we'll have Beaumont and Nederland elections, and others. It's user friendly. Instead of a touch screen it has a wheel. But it's just a training process. They'll get used to that. We're ready to move forward with elections and not compromise the integrity of the elections."

Guidry says her office will ensure voters become trained on the new system.

"Any organization can invite us to bring the machine for voter education and to train and teach," said Guidry. "We'll have our own classes at the courthouse and counting stations. We're excited about it."

Guidry expects Hart to begin delivering the machines in the first part of January.

 

(Previous report) JEFFERSON COUNTY - By Haley Bull

Changes in how you vote may not be far away in Jefferson County.

The November 4 election revealed several problems with the county's voting machines. They include people voting straight ticket for one party or voting for individual candidates and reporting the electronic machine flipped the vote to the other party.

The mounting problems are prompting Jefferson County Commissioner's Court to consider switching to a new system. The goal is to main the integrity of the vote.

Commissioners are considering a $1.7 million proposal to switch to a new company that promises the issues plaguing the past election won't happen again with their machines.

Two of the largest issues the County Clerk's Office reported were vote-flipping due to machines out of calibration and a failure with the scanner reading mail-in ballots, leading to an emergency vendor visit, late results  and voter concerns.

The County Clerk says she'd like to switch to what's called the Hart Intercivic eSlate.

The Texas-based company says 104 other counties in the state also use them. The company proposes a five-year lease to the county that would allow for an upgrade after three years to a new machine now in the certification process.

Poll workers in Commissioner Court got a chance Monday to test the machines during a workshop.

Instead of a touch screen they use scrolling wheels to select choices so the machine doesn't need to be calibrated.

The company says a controller storing the votes is also used for every 12 machines so poll workers only have to close that controller rather than each voting booth, saving time at the end of the night.

"I think it's important because you want to maintain voter integrity," said County Clerk Carolyn Guidry. "You want the voter to feel confident that their votes are being counted and it's always been an issue with ES&S system. It's not a system that I chose to begin with. I don't think we should have purchased to begin with and it's just not a good system for Jefferson County, so I think the change would be real good for the county."

Guidry says she'd like a new system in place by May. The last time the county bought voting machines, about ten years ago, federal funding was available. This time the county would be responsible for the cost.


Update on murder of two NYC police officers

NEW YORK (AP) — A gunman who announced online that he was planning to shoot two "pigs" in retaliation for the police chokehold death of Eric Garner ambushed two officers in a patrol car and shot them to death in broad daylight Saturday before running to a subway station and killing himself, authorities said.

Watch KFDM News for local coverage and reaction to the shootings.

The suspect, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, wrote on an Instagram account: "I'm putting wings on pigs today. They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs," officials said. He used the hashtags Shootthepolice RIPErivGardner (sic) RIPMikeBrown.

Police said he approached the passenger window of a marked police car and opened fire, striking Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in the head. The New York Police Department officers were on special patrol doing crime reduction work in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section of Brooklyn.

"They were, quite simply, assassinated — targeted for their uniform," said Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who looked pale and shaken at a hospital news conference.

Brinsley took off running as officers pursued him down to a nearby subway station, where he shot himself in the head. A silver handgun was recovered at the scene, Bratton said.

"This may be my final post," Brinsley wrote in the Instagram post that included an image of a silver handgun. The post had more than 200 likes.

Bratton confirmed that the suspect made very serious "anti-police" statements online but did not get into specifics of the posts. He said they were trying to figure out why Brinsley had chosen to kill the officers. Two city officials with direct knowledge of the case confirmed the posts to The Associated Press. The officials, a senior city official and a law enforcement official, were not authorized to speak publicly on the topic and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The shootings come at a tense time; Police in New York and nationwide are being criticized for their tactics, following the July death of Garner, who was stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Amateur video captured an officer wrapping his arm around Garner's neck and wrestling him to the ground. Garner was heard gasping, "I can't breathe" before he lost consciousness and later died.

Demonstrators around the country have staged die-ins and other protests since a grand jury decided Dec. 3 not to indict the officer in Garner's death, a decision that closely followed a Missouri grand jury's refusal to indict a white officer in the fatal shooting of Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old. Bratton said they were investigating whether the suspect had attended any rallies or demonstrations.

Brinsley was black; the officers were Asian and Hispanic, police said.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said Garner's family had no connection to the suspect and denounced the violence.

"Any use of the names of Eric Garner and Michael Brown in connection with any violence or killing of police, is reprehensible and against the pursuit of justice in both cases," Sharpton said.

Brown's family also released a statement condemning the shooting. "We must work together to bring peace to our communities," the statement says. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officers' families during this incredibly difficult time."

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the killing of the officers in the nation's largest department strikes at the heart of the city.

"Our city is in mourning. Our hearts are heavy," said de Blasio, who spoke softly with moist eyes. "It is an attack on all of us."

Scores of officers in uniform lined up three rows deep lined the hospital driveway and stretched into the street, their hands raised in a silent salute, as two ambulances bore the slain officers' bodies away. The mayor ordered flags at half-staff.

In a statement Saturday night, Attorney General Eric Holder condemned the shooting deaths as senseless and "an unspeakable act of barbarism." President Barack Obama, in a statement issued while he's vacationing in Hawaii, said he unconditionally condemns the slayings.

"The officers who serve and protect our communities risk their own safety for ours every single day — and they deserve our respect and gratitude every single day," Obama said. "Tonight, I ask people to reject violence and words that harm, and turn to words that heal — prayer, patient dialogue, and sympathy for the friends and family of the fallen."

Early Saturday, Bratton said, Brinsley went to the home of a former girlfriend in the Baltimore area and shot and wounded her. Police there said they noticed Brinsley posting to the woman's Instagram account about a threat to New York officers. Baltimore-area officials sent a warning to New York City police, who received it around the time of the shooting, Bratton said.

Criminal records show Brinsley has a history of arrests on various charges in Georgia, including robbery, shoplifting, carrying a concealed weapon, disorderly conduct and obstruction of a law enforcement officer. Bratton said his last-known address was Georgia, but he had some ties in Brooklyn.

A block from the shooting site, a line of about eight police officers stood with a German shepherd blocking the taped-off street. Officer Ramos was married with a 13-year-old son, police said. He had been on the job since 2012. Liu had been on the job for seven years and got married two months ago, Bratton said.

"Both officers paid the ultimate sacrifice today while protecting the communities they serve," he said.

Rosie Orengo, a friend of Ramos, said he was heavily involved in their church and encouraged others in their marriages.

"He was an amazing man. He was the best father and husband and friend," she said. "Our peace is knowing that he's OK, and we'll see him in heaven."

The president of the police officers union, Patrick Lynch, and de Blasio have been locked in a public battle over treatment of officers following the grand jury's decision. Just days ago, Lynch suggested police officers sign a petition that demanded the mayor not attend their funerals should they die on the job. On Saturday, some officers turned their backs on de Blasio as he walked into the hospital. At a news conference, Lynch said there is "blood on many hands" tonight, explicitly blaming the mayor and protesters.

The last shooting death of an NYPD officer came in December 2011, when 22-year veteran Peter Figoski was shot in the face while responding to a report of a break-in at a Brooklyn apartment. The triggerman, Lamont Pride, was convicted of murder and sentenced in 2013 to 45 years to life in prison.

___

Associated Press writers Jonathan Lemire and Tom McElroy in New York, Juliet Linderman in Baltimore and Josh Lederman in Honolulu contributed to this report.

Remembering Joe Tortorice, Sr.

BEAUMONT - From Broussard's

Joseph “Joe” Vincent Tortorice, Sr., 90, of Beaumont, died Saturday, December 20, 2014. The incredible story of Joseph V. Tortorice, Sr., (Pop) began on 12 September 1924 in Plaquemine, Louisiana with his birth to Salvatore and Rosa Tortorice. Salvatore had immigrated from Gibellina, Sicily in 1895 and had begun a grocery business after his marriage.  Pop grew up as the fifth of seven children. His siblings were John, Vic, Jake, Mary, Charles and Frances.

The family moved to Beaumont soon after his birth when his father had the opportunity to open a small café in partnership with a relative. He witnessed work ethic at an early age as his father would catch the bus each day and return late at night.

The children were raised in a loving household.  His oldest brother “Johnny” would go on to become a Catholic priest.  All of the boys were great athletes.  Pop was once named to the All City teams in football, baseball and basketball.  Even later in life, his athletic ability was evident in the game of golf as he “shot” below his age over 20 times, a very difficult accomplishment.

As a junior in high school he enlisted in the United States Army to fight for our country in World War II. He trained at Fort Lewis in Washington before sailing to England out of New York aboard the USS Fair Isle. He had been assigned to the 17th Signal Corps Battalion of the U.S. First Army. This unit would play a key role as the allies advanced across Europe.

During the convoy crossing of the Atlantic, German U-boats sunk one of their ships.  Later that day, Nazi radio erroneously announced that the Fair Isle had been sunk and that it was a key target so as to destroy this communications capability.  In truth, Germany had sunk the wrong ship and Pop arrived in Bristol, England on 21 October 1943.

It was in England that he trained for the greatest military operation in the history of the world – the Normandy Invasion.  And on June 9, 1944 he came ashore in France at Omaha Beach.  His unit would then proceed through France, Holland, Belgium, the Ardennes Forest, the Battle of the Bulge and on into Germany.

He was a communication specialist and spoke many times of connecting phone calls for General Dwight Eisenhower to General Omar Bradley.  He ended the war in Weimar, Germany and was one of the first soldiers to enter Buchenwald Concentration Camp./   After 21 months overseas, he returned home and re-entered high school as a senior. As a war veteran, he said the nuns so revered him that he “didn’t have to crack a book”.

There he met the love of his life – Margaret Rose Montalbano.  He called her the “pick of the litter”.  They would spend a beautiful lifetime together raising four children; Joey, Judy, Pinky, “and Suzanne”.  His family was his life and he focused on loving, teaching, providing and protecting his wife and children./   Judy became a well-respected nurse and married Larry McFarland. They have three children, Amy, Cody, and Lindsey; and three grandchildren; Addie, Landon, and Brady.

Pinky earned a degree in Computer Science and married Bill Carden. They have four children, Polly, Katy, Tre, and Leesa; and three grandchildren, Emma, Charles, and Rosabelle.

Suzanne also became an LVN and married Dave Jones. They have five children, Julie, Ross, Charlie, Hunter, and Taylor; and one grandchild, Poppy Rose./   Joey attended Texas A&M, spent four years in the Corps of Cadets, met and married “Shelley Bill” Schoolfield. They have three children Jay, Rob, and Ashley; and nine grandchildren, Joseph IV, Luke, Lainey, Robert, Josephine, Mary Margeret, Georgia, Olivia, and Maceo.

After the war, Pop began his career as a salesman for a wholesale grocery company. His love of people and ability to build lasting relationships enabled him to buy a grocery store owned by an elderly couple. Fruitland Grocery became the opportunity that allowed his passion and persistence to flourish. Over time he expanded his holdings to four grocery stores, two laundromats, two drycleaners and one little sandwich shop, J’s BBQ and Washateria.

And it was out of that little sandwich shop that Jason’s Deli was born. Pop financed and guided his son Joey in the opening of the first deli at Gateway Shopping Center. As the years passed, he became an inspiration to the people of the Jason’s Deli Company. His ability to encourage others became a cornerstone of the culture of Jason’s Deli.  Today, the brand is in 29 states with 253 locations, and is considered one of the top ten Fast-Casual concepts in the nation by Forbes Magazine.

Pop retired in 1990 and he and Margaret spent their golden years traveling and enjoying one of their great loves – their beach house – the T-Box at Emerald Beach. He took up fishing and became known as the King of the Bay for his knack for catching many speckled trout.  The T-Box became the site of an annual beach party for the families of Joey and Aggie Buddies. These boys would become second sons to Pop as his love for A&M matched his spirit for life.

His enthusiasm and ability to inspire others was built throughout his lifetime by his faith.  Each summer he, Joey, Russ Mason, his sons-in-laws, and grandsons attended the Manresa Jesuit Retreat in Convent, Louisiana.  For seventeen years, he developed relationships with the Jesuits while enjoying the Southern Louisiana cuisine.  His eating was classified as “out of control” at times!  His friend, Father Edward Romagosa, always told him to not hold on to life too tightly and to “Let it go” when he needs to.  These became his final earthly words.

As he grew older, Pop began to face more health issues.  His relationship with his nephew, Dr. Al Brady, became one of mutual love as Al watched over him for the past thirty-three years.  His case became somewhat complex as Al referred him to a world renowned heart specialist, Dr. Reynolds Delgado, who truly prolonged his life. Dr. Delgado was so inspired by Pop’s determination, that he invented a new heart device for patients dealing with the issues similar to Pop.  It should be on the market in 2016 and will help thousands of patients throughout the world for years to come.

His life story would not be complete without mentioning his love for nephews, RC and Tony.  He would have many happy moments over latte with them. They would also, together, gripe about the Aggie football team.

Pop made us all promise to continue making Italian sausage for the holidays and planting Cucuzza on St. Joseph’s Day.

Pop’s friendship with Monsignor Jerry McGrath became a symbiotic relationship between the two men.  Father Jerry provided unconditional love and support in these last years.

Also, a special mention should be made of his caregivers and the role he played in their lives; Celia, Joy, Tchet, Fei, Esper, Lovely, Amor and his granddaughter, Julie.  He became a second father to them./     In his words, he was a simple man, who loved his family and “did it my way”./    In closing, the following is an excerpt written to the Jason’s Deli Company by his grandson, Rob:

Deli Family,

I am deeply saddened to tell you this news.  Big Joe went to see the Lord this afternoon. He passed in peace with his wife and kids at his side.

Big Joe had a zest for life that kept him alive and active for decades longer than his body allowed for.  That spirit inspired us on a daily basis, especially in his passing.  He was at peace in recent weeks but the man never, ever gave up fighting.  He had a will to fight and to live; not for himself but for his family.  He literally hung on these last months for the sake of others and it was only when they were all at peace was he willing to accept the inevitable passing from this earthly world and to go see the Lord.  "Perseverance" is a cliche that we hear all the time but it is infinitely easier said than done.  Anyone that has endured medical issues knows how utterly exhausting it is to go through all the poking, prodding, doctors visits, waiting, testing, giving blood, side-effects, etc, etc that come with fighting through an ordeal like this.  That is damn hard and Big Joe did it for decades with a smile on his face.  He did it not only because he had an amazing will to live but because that's what you do in service of others.  You owe it to them.  You owe it to yourself but more importantly, you owe it to your family and friends.  But few are able to persevere like he did.   He did for us.  What an ultimate act of Servant Leadership.  He kept that spirit and his wit all the way to the end; even in recent days.  He was sharp as a tack.  His mind was willing but his body was not able.  Big Joe was not only the Patriarch of our family but also that of the company.  He is responsible for the birth of this great organization and I know he touched many of the people in it.   He was an inspiration to me.  Let him continue to be so for all of us.

A gathering of Mr. Tortorice’s family and friends will begin at 4:00 p.m., with his Christian Vigil at 7:00 p.m., Monday, December 22, 2014, at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, 700 Jefferson, Beaumont. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m., Tuesday, December 23, 2014, at St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica, with his entombment to follow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Beaumont, under the direction of Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Anthony Cathedral Basilica School, 850 Forsythe, Beaumont, Texas 77701 or to St. Anne Catholic School, 375 North 11th Street, Beaumont, Texas 77702.  

Police departments on alert after NY cop killings


NEW YORK (AP) -- Big-city police departments and union leaders around the country are warning the rank and file to wear bulletproof vests and avoid making inflammatory posts on social media in the days after a man ambushed two officers and shot them to death inside their patrol car.


The killings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Saturday afternoon in Brooklyn heightened fears about the safety of law enforcement officials nationwide. The gunman, 28-year-old Ismaaiyl Brinsley, had vowed in an Instagram post to put "wings on pigs" as retaliation for the deaths of black men at the hands of white police.


Brinsley was black; the slain New York Police Department officers were Hispanic and Asian.


Officials in New York investigated at least a dozen threats against police since the shootings, and one man was arrested at a Manhattan precinct after he walked in and said: "If I punch you in the face, how long would I go to jail?" and refused to leave.


Investigators are trying to determine if Brinsley had taken part in any protests over the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, whose names he invoked in his online threat, or simply latched onto the cause for the final act in a violent rampage.


The killings come at a tense time as police nationwide are being criticized following Garner's death in a New York officer's chokehold and Brown's fatal shooting in Ferguson, Missouri. Protests erupted in recent weeks after grand juries declined to charge the officers involved.


After the officers' killings, a union-generated message at the 35,000-officer NYPD warned officers that they should respond to every radio call with two cars - "no matter what the opinion of the patrol supervisor" - and not make arrests "unless absolutely necessary." The president of the detectives' union told members in a letter to work in threes when out on the street, wear bulletproof vests and keep aware of their surroundings.


Another directive warned officers in Newark, New Jersey, not to patrol alone and to avoid people looking for confrontations. At the same time, a memo from an NYPD chief asked officers to limit their comments "via all venues, including social media, to expressions of sorrow and condolence."


In Philadelphia, Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey urged the leaders of protests over the deaths of Garner and Brown to "call for calm and not let this escalate any further." In Boston, Police Commissioner William Evans said police issued an alert warning officers about the New York City killings and added that the department had issued several alerts following the Ferguson grand jury's decision.


At a news conference in New York on Sunday, Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce detailed Brinsley's long criminal record, hatred for police and the government and apparent history of mental instability that included an attempt to hang himself a year ago.


Brinsley had at least 19 arrests in Georgia and Ohio, spent two years in prison for gun possession and had a troubled childhood so violent that his mother was afraid of him, police said. He ranted online about authority figures and expressed "self-despair and anger at himself and where his life was," Boyce said.


Hours before shooting the officers, Brinsley had shot and wounded his ex-girlfriend, Shaneka Thompson, at her home in Baltimore.


"He shot me! I don't want to die. I don't want to die," Thompson screamed, according to neighbor Yevette Seay. She told The Associated Press she called 911 as Thompson lay on the floor, clutching her stomach. Authorities have said Thompson is expected to survive.


After leaving Baltimore, authorities said, Brinsley took a bus north to New York City and used Thompson's phone to write on Instagram: "They take 1 of ours, let's take 2 of theirs." He ended the post with references to the Brown and Garner cases.


Once in New York and shortly before he opened fire on the officers, Brinsley walked up to people on the street and asked them to follow him on Instagram, then told them, "Watch what I'm going to do," Boyce said. Then Brinsley approached the squad car and fired four shots, killing the policemen. He ran into the subway station and committed suicide.


The shootings also deepened acrimony between rank-and-file police and Mayor Bill de Blasio. Their union president recently suggested officers sign a petition telling the mayor not to attend their funerals if they died on duty, and some officers turned their backs on de Blasio Saturday as he walked through the hospital where Liu and Ramos had been taken.


Police Commissioner William Bratton said Monday on NBC's "Today" show that he didn't consider that gesture appropriate, "but it's reflective of the anger of some" police officers. The mayor has lost some officers' confidence, Bratton said, but he suggested that recent pension changes and ongoing contract negotiations also had contributed to the uneasy atmosphere.


One of Ramos' relatives said the family would welcome a visit from the mayor, who visited both officers' families at the hospital Saturday but did not see them Sunday.


"If he wants to come and show support, by all means, we'll accept that," said Ramos' cousin Ronnie Gonzalez.


Ramos' 13-year-old son, Jaden, said in a Facebook post that Saturday was the worst day of his life.


"Today I had to say bye to my father," Jaden wrote. "He was the best father I could ask for. It's horrible that someone gets shot dead just for being a police officer. Everyone says they hate cops but they are the people that they call for help."

---

Associated Press writers Colleen Long, Verena Dobnik, Mike Balsamo and Deepti Hajela in New York and Juliet Linderman in Baltimore contributed to this report.

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

Some of the stories we are working on for Noon

TUNE IN TO KFDM NEWS AT NOON:

A homeowner and child were taken to hospital after a Port Arthur home invasion.  

The funeral for the founder of 260-location Jason's Deli chain will be held Tuesday.

Governor Perry to head to Iowa for presidential campaign preliminaries. 

Oil prices go below $60 and gas prices drop for a record 88 consecutive days. Where's the bottom?

A local author has ideas for a perfect stocking stuffer if you are still shopping.


Tune in at Noon for details on these stories, weather and more with Anchor Nicole Murray.

Spindletop Center to have Tobacco-Free Campus, Jan. 1

The Spindletop Center is pleased to announce all Center properties will be completely tobacco-free starting January 1, 2015.

Through the Center’s “Quit for Life” initiative, no tobacco use of any kind or tobacco alternatives, such as clove and electronic cigarettes, will be permitted – inside or outside – of Center owned, leased and shared properties, as of the first of the New Year. This includes parking areas and any vehicles parked within those locations. 

The Spindletop Center is one of a growing number of healthcare organizations across the nation to become tobacco-free. As a leading provider of mental healthcare services in the area, Spindletop’s new tobacco-free policy more strongly reinforces the Center’s vision statement of “promoting healthy living in our community.

“As an institution dedicated to improving the health and wellness of our consumers and community, we must show our commitment and leadership in tangible ways,” said Spindletop’s Tobacco-Free Committee Chairperson Sally Broussard.

“Going tobacco-free has become the standard for many healthcare organizations, and the Spindletop Center is happy to join in this healthy movement through the ‘Quit for Life’ initiative.”

Staying committed to the health and safety of its employees and consumers, Spindletop anticipates many positive long-term effects resulting from its tobacco-free policy including, longer, more healthful lives for consumers and staff, financial savings, less fire hazards and a healthier, more therapeutic environment for people living with mental illness, addiction and/or intellectual disabilities.

In an effort to ease the transition for current smokers, the Center has developed a comprehensive and accessible Tobacco Cessation Program for employees and clients interested in quitting. Through generous grant funding from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, the Center will provide ongoing education, and offer support groups and nicotine-replacement therapy products.


For more information about the “Quit for Life” program, call 1-877-YES-QUIT or visit www.yesquit.org.


The mission of the Spindletop Center is to promote independence, self-advocacy, and recovery for our consumers.


Spindletop Center serves people with mental illness, intellectual and developmental disabilities, substance abuse issues and early childhood developmental delays. The center serves clients in Jefferson, Hardin, Orange and Chambers counties and has campuses in Beaumont, Port Arthur, Orange and Silsbee. To access center services, call (409) 839-1000. For 24-hour mental health crisis hotline services, call 800-937-8097.

How stressed out is your zip code?

Movoto Blog, noted for its "top ten lists," now has a service that will tell you "how stressed out" your zip code is. It ranks all 28,372 zip codes for which data was available.

 

Don't worry. If you live in Texas, and you don't reside in Houston, your zip code is not in the top ten. (777032 in Houston is ranked 8th in stress)

 

We take a jaundiced eye to these types of rankings, but they are fun to use. 

 

We tried the site out with a few zip codes around the area. Here's what we found. (44093, Williamsfield, OH is ranked 1 -- the most stressed zip code in the U.S.)

 

Zip Code RankCity
777025,345Beaumont
7770620,997 Beaumont
7761916,322Groves
776405,859 Port Arthur
7762724,166Nederland
7765722,017 Lumberton
77656 -16,473Silsbee
759513,859Jasper

 

This is how they say they did it --"we analyzed each place using data from the U.S. Census Five Year American Community Survey, in the following eight criteria:

  • Unemployment rate (the higher, the more stress)
  • Median household income (the lower, the more stress)
  • Percent of monthly income spent on rent (the higher, the more stress)
  • Monthly selected homeowner costs as a percent of income (the higher, the more stress)
  • Percent of families below the poverty line (the higher, the more stress)
  • Average commute time (the higher, the more stress)
  • Percent of population without health insurance (the higher, the more stress)
  • Mean usual hours worked per week (the higher, the more stress)"

Go to the site for more details on the the methods they used.

 

They also have a "Best Places to Live In Texas" list. We're glad they broke this out by state instead of a national list, because it's pretty obvious Texas towns would all be at the top of a national list, right?

 

In our area, Port Neches placed highest on the list at 97. Lumberton is the next local city at number 113. Groves weight in at 159. Baytown is 174, Beaumont is 197, Orange is 205m Vidor is 213, Port Arthur is 223. We may have missed a few as we scanned the list.

 

We didn't look at the methodology for this list -- they tend to be "in the eye of the beholder."

 

These Are The Most Stressed Out ZIP Codes In America is at http://www.movoto.com/blog/top-ten/most-stressed-zip-codes/

Gas Buddy reports prices continue dropping

SOUTHEAST TEXAS - Consumers are finding gasoline prices down to $2.05 a gallon at some service station/convenience stores in Southeast Texas, according to postings on www.GasBuddy.com.

Drivers say the price of regular unleaded is $2.05 at the Sunshine convenience store on West Port Arthur Road and 58th Street.

It was $2.06 a gallon at Fuel Depot on West Port Arthur Road near Norma Street.

In Beaumont the posted low was $2.09 a gallon at Step N Go on Calder at 7th and Global at Louisiana and 7th.

The posted low price for regular unleaded in Orange was $2.19 at a number of locations.

 

Average retail gasoline prices in Texas have fallen 11.9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.19/g yesterday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 13,114 gas outlets in Texas. This compares with the national average that has fallen 10.8 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.42/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com. 

Including the change in gas prices in Texas during the past week, prices yesterday were 84.4 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 44.1 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 41.1 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 80.4 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago. 

“As Americans take to the road for Christmas travel, they've all been given a gift that keeps on giving: falling gas prices,” said Patrick DeHaan, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy. “Americans are saving over $13 million dollars an hour versus gas prices a year ago- adding up to over $315 million every day. Big declines were witnessed in Montana, Michigan, Indiana, Idaho, and Ohio, where average prices fell over 20 cents on average just in the last seven days but everyone has been a winner." 

"Just in the last 24 hours, the national average has declined nearly 7c/gallon, one of the largest single day decreases ever. However, I'm worried the decline may soon begin slowing- oil prices have held in the mid-$50s, and the concrete may be setting in. If it does, and oil prices fail to drop below $50/bbl, gas prices likely won't drop more than another 10-20 cents per gallon. Either way, a sneak peak at our soon to be released 2015 gas price forecast reveals a yearly national average far lower than what we saw this year," DeHaan said.

About www.GasBuddy.com  

GasBuddy is the premiere source for real-time local gas prices. Founded in 2000, GasBuddy.com developed as an initiative to provide consumers access to local, current gas prices. Through the GasBuddy.com website and the free GasBuddy mobile app, users can find and share gas prices with fellow drivers, saving big money at the pump.

Update on PA home invasion robbery that injures homeowner, teen

PORT ARTHUR - Port Arthur Police are investigating a home invasion robbery that injured a homeowner and a teenager.

Investigators say at 9:09 p.m. Sunday, December 21, the Port Arthur Police Department received a call of a robbery that had just occurred at a home in the 2800 block of 15th Street.

Officers found that two men had forced their way into a home. They used a weapon to assault the homeowner and a teenager. The victims received blunt force trauma. The attackers took cash from the home and ran away.

The homeowner and the child were transported to Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth in Beaumont by an EMS unit. They're injuries aren't believed to be life threatening.

Officers searched the area but didn't find the attackers.

If you have information about the home invasion robbery call Port Arthur Police or Crime Stoppers at 833-TIPS.

Home invasion robbery sends one person to hospital
PORT ARTHUR - Port Arthur Police said they are looking for two men responsible for injuring a homeowner during a home invasion robbery Sunday night.

About 9 p.m., officers said two young men knocked on a door in 2800 block of 15th St. in Port Arthur. When the homeowners opened the door, the men forced their way inside and struck the homeowner in the head with a weapon and escaped with cash.

Police said the homeowner was taken to Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth with injuries believed to be non-life threatening.

Stay with KFDM News for updates.

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