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Gulf Copper issues statement on worker's death

PORT ARTHUR -- Gulf Copper has released the following statement on the death of Jose F. Vargas on Wednesday at the firms Central Yard in Port Arthur.

"Gulf Copper & Manufacturing Corporation in Port Arthur, Texas is saddened to report the passing of Jose F. Vargas on Wednesday, March 25, 2015. Mr. Vargas’ death was result of injuries suffered in an accident while working at Gulf Copper's Central yard in Port Arthur, Texas. Mr. Vargas was a valued member of the Gulf Copper team and worked for many years as a combination welder-fitter.

"Gulf Copper is cooperating fully with the authorities to determine the cause and circumstances of this tragic accident and cannot at this time provide details of the ongoing investigation." 


The statement said questions referring to the above statement can be referred to Steve Hale with the firm.

Orange deputies arrest seven in drug warrant search

MAURICEVILLE -- Orange County deputies arrested seven persons on illegal drug charges following a narcotics warrant search at a residence at 9380 Terri Road off of FM 1136 in Mauriceville, on Wednesday around 9PM.   An eighth person in the house was arrested on a bad check issuance warrant.


During the search of the residence, Narcotics Officers seized in excess of five pounds of high-grade marijuana, over 100 ecstasy tablets and numerous psilocybin (hallucinogenic) mushrooms that were packaged for sale.


The persons arrested were:

Justin Scales, W/M, 19 years old from Orange, Texas (still in custody)

  • Possession of Marijuana-Class B -$500 bond
  • Possession of a Controlled Substance- $15,000 bond

Tyler Richard, B/M, 19 year old from Orange, Texas (still in custody)

  • -Possession of Marijuana-Class B -$500 bond
  • -Possession of a Controlled Substance- $15,000 bond

James Truett, W/M, 46 years old from Lake Charles, Louisiana (still in custody)

  • -Possession of Marijuana-Class B -$500 bond
  • -Possession of a Controlled Substance- $15,000 bond

James Montano, W/M, 37 years old from Orange, Texas (still in custody)

  • -Possession of Marijuana-Class B -$500 bond
  • -Possession of a Controlled Substance- $15,000 bond

Jacob Alred, W/M, 19 years old from Orange, Texas (made bail, out of custody)

  • -Possession of Marijuana-Class B -$500 bond
  • -Possession of a Controlled Substance- $15,000 bond

Floyd Winters III, B/M, 38 years old from Orange, Texas (out of custody)

  • -Possession of a Marijuana-Felony 3-$15,000 bond
  • -Possession of a Controlled Substance-Felony 2-$15,000
  • -2nd count of Possession of a Controlled Substance-Felony 2-$15,000
  • -Total bond of $45,000, made bail and no longer in custody.

Robert Hicks, W/M, 42 years old from Orange, Texas (still in custody)

  • -Possession of Marijuana-Class B- $1,000 bond

Justin Williams, W/M, 34 years old from Orange, Texas (out of custody)

  • -Bad Check Issuance-$500 bond, made bail 3-26-15


This search warrant was the product of a month-long joint investigation by the Orange County Sheriff’s Office Special Services Division and the City of Orange Police Department's Narcotics and Major Crimes unit. Sheriff Keith Merritt will continue to dedicate all necessary resources to combat illegal drug activities in our communities.



AAA: Texas gas prices continue slow fall

(COPPELL, TX)-- Drivers in Texas are now paying $2.22 for a gallon of regular unleaded fuel, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. 


KFDM NOTE -- In the chart below,  average regular gas prices in the Beaumont area fell 2 cents to  $2.16 --  54% of the record high for Beaumont -- $4.


That's one penny less than last week and $1.14 less than last year.  Of the major metropolitan areas surveyed in the Lone Star State, drivers in Dallas are paying the most on average at $2.26 per gallon while drivers in Amarillo are paying the least at $2.15 per gallon.  


Across the nation, drivers are paying an average of $2.42, which is the same as one week ago and 20 cents more than the statewide average.


Despite steady gasoline production following a number of regional refinery issues, drivers on the West Coast continue to pay some of the nation’s highest averages for retail gasoline.  Drivers in 38 states are experiencing week-over-week savings at the pump.


Year-over-year price comparisons continue to reflect an overall savings for motorists. The price at the pump is discounted in every state and Washington, D.C., with the majority of states (41) and Washington, D.C. posting savings of $1 or more per gallon. 


Global crude prices continued to tumble with reports of growing supply and the strengthening U.S. dollar. The likelihood of a possible nuclear deal between the West and Iran also has the potential to bring more oil to the global market. 


Additionally, comments by Saudi Arabia's oil minister yesterday indicated that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) would not cut oil production to increase global oil prices, instead electing to let the market self-correct.


The domestic oil market in the U.S is facing similar oversupply dynamics and concerns that rising U.S. production could outpace storage capacity is contributing to lower prices.


"Lower pump prices compared to last year will likely help many drivers save some money on spring and summer road trips," said AAA Texas/New Mexico Representative Doug Shupe.  "Before any long trip we recommend people make sure their vehicles are properly maintained according to vehicle manufacturer recommendations because that is the best way to maximize the vehicle'€™s fuel efficiency and get you to your destination safely."


To help members and non-members identify quality auto repair shops that can assist in the maintenance and repair of their vehicles, AAA offers the Approved Auto Repair program as a free public service.  AAA-approved repair facilities meet and maintain high professional standards for training, equipment, cleanliness and customer service.


Motorists can look for the Approved Auto Repair sign at local auto repair facilities, or search for a nearby AAA-approved shop online at  AAA Texas branch offices throughout the state can be found by visiting  Follow AAA Texas on Twitter: @AAATexas and Facebook:



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Year Ago 03/26/14


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South Texas State Fair attractions will astound and amaze

BEAUMONT --  The YMBL South Texas State Fair has a stellar lineup of special attractions and entertainments sure to thrill and amaze fairgoers of all ages.

The Flores Family Thrill Show will thrill and amaze with death-defying humans flying through the air. Watch a woman balance precariously on a swaying pole 65 feet above the ground. 

See several motorcyclists drive in the Cage of Death only split seconds from danger. See a motorcycle maneuver on a high wire 80 feet above the ground. The Flores Family Thrill Show has performed nationally in their self-contained state-of-the-art lighting, sound and pyrotechnics show.

Fairgoers will the opportunity to get a photo with the Clydesdales, and a chance to ride with the Clydesdales at the opening ceremony to raise money for the Boys and Girls Club. 

In addition to competing on a national stage, the Express Clydesdales have participated in some of the country's most recognized parades and promotional events, including the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Fiesta Bowl Parade, Orange Bowl Parade, Hollywood Parade, Calgary Stampede Parade, Kentucky Derby Pegasus Parade, the International Finals Rodeo and the Professional Bull Riders World Finals.

For the animal lovers, the Live Stingray Exhibit is sure to please. Guests will learn about stingrays as well as other sea creatures while actually touching or feeding them. 

The Children's Barnyard is another top attraction every year at the Fair and is enjoyed by grown-ups and children alike. There are always some baby animals and birds for the kids to hold and pet. Baby ducks and chickens are the most popular with the youngsters. The Barnyard is maintained and tended by groups of local 4-H and FFA Club members.

The 2015 South Texas State Fair is the 72nd sponsored by the Young Men's Business League, but the story of the Fair in Beaumont goes back many more years. 

The Fair is actually more than 100 years old. Initially called the Beaumont Fair, the annual event became known as the Southeast Texas State Fair, but in 1921 the "east" was dropped and the present name adopted. The YMBL assumed operation of the Fair in 1942.

Since 1957, the South Texas State Fair has attracted an estimated attendance of more than half a million annually from ten counties in Southeast Texas and three Southwest Louisiana parishes. 

Although a "nonprofit" committee of the YMBL, the Fair supports the sponsoring organization with more than 90% of its total revenue which the YMBL shares with the community in direct gifts to local and area charitable organizations, youth projects, civic programs and other efforts to aid the elderly and those in need.

The South Texas State Fair runs from March 26 through April 5. A detailed schedule of Fair events and attractions is available at

Lamar University hosts actor, environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr.

BEAUMONT -- Lamar University hosts American actor and environmentalist Ed Begley, Jr. in the university's Academic Lecture Series, 7:30 p.m., May 5, 2015, in the University Theatre.


The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call (409) 880-8400.


Inspired by the works of his Academy Award-winning father, Begley has appeared in hundreds of films, television shows and stage performances. 


He is best known for his role as Dr. Victor Ehrlich on the television series St. Elsewhere, for which he received six consecutive Emmy Award nominations, and his recent reality shows about green living called Living With Ed on HGTV and Planet Green with his wife Rachelle Carson-Begley.


Since 1970, he has been an environmentalist and strong proponent of electric vehicles, recycling, eco-friendly products and low carbon footprint lifestyles. 


He has been considered an environmental leader in the Hollywood community for many years and has served as chairman of the Environmental Media Association and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and on the boards of numerous environmental groups. 

His work in the environmental community has earned him awards from prestigious environmental groups including the California League of Conservation Voters, the Natural Resources Defense Council, The Coalition for Clean Air, Heal the Bay and the Santa Monica Baykeeper.

He and his family recently documented construction of a LEED Platinum-certified home for "On Begley Street," a Web series produced by Make It Happen Productions.

LEED Certification, or "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design" recognizes best building practices and strategies for construction projects that aim to be as environmentally conscious as possible. 

Of the many levels of certification, Platinum is the highest attainable. Not only is the Begley home LEED Platinum certified, it strives to be "America's Greenest House" and the entire construction process was featured in the "On Begley Street" series.

The couple's new 3,800 square foot house, is at Net Zero for electric and water use --; that is, it produces as much energy and water as it consumes. 

The house incorporates the latest in energy saving features, including 12 inches of insulation in the walls, energy efficient windows and doors, passive solar design, a solar-thermal water heating system, and a large array of solar thermal panels. 

The house collects rainfall and gray water in a 10,000-gallon underground cistern that will be used for the garden and landscaping.

The project took the couple longer than expected. At first planning to renovate their 1930s vintage home, their plans changed to new construction. Before starting, they diligently recycled all the materials in the old home before beginning work on the new home that is made largely of recycled materials.

The Lamar University Academic Lecture Series, sponsored by the students, brings a significant element to the university experience by allowing Lamar's academic community to offer two lectures each year featuring prominent speakers from disciplines represented by each of the university's colleges. 

Previous speakers include astronaut Sally Ride, entrepreneur Jerry Greenfield, journalist Tony Snow, professional basketball player Bob Love, author Sarah Vowell, freedom writer Manuel Scott, author Erik Qualman, and choreographer Judith Jamison.

Sulphur police ask help to find USA Super Stop robber

SULPHUR -- Sulphur police are asking the public's help to find a man who robbed the USA Super Stop, 21701 Beglis Parkway, Wednesday about 1:30 pm. 

Police said the white man entered the store and demanded money from the clerk.After he reached over the counter and grabbed an undisclosed amount of money, the robber fled in a maroon GMC step side pickup truck, which was later found to be stolen.

The robber was wearing a black, long sleeve shirt, camouflage shorts, a black hat, and dark colored work gloves.

If anyone has any information regarding this robbery or can identify the man in the pictures, please call the Calcasieu Parish Sheriff' Office at 491-4539.

U.S. House passes bi-partisan Medicare bill

WASHINGTON (AP) -- In uncommon bipartisan harmony, the House approved a $214 billion bill on Thursday permanently blocking physician Medicare cuts, moving Congress closer to resolving a problem that has plagued it for years.

The lopsided 392-37 vote shifted pressure onto the Senate, where its prospects have brightened as Democrats have muffled their criticism and President Barack Obama has embraced the bill. But with some conservatives also balking at the legislation, its fate there remained murky.

Thursday's House vote came on a package that bore victories for Republicans and Democrats alike and was negotiated by the chamber's two chief antagonists, Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi. That unity contrasted vividly with the usual partisan duels that hamper most congressional efforts on budget, health and other major policies.

The vote even gave House GOP leaders a respite from the large-scale rebellions they frequently face from tea party conservatives, including on a measure last month that prevented a Homeland Security Department shutdown. Republicans backed the Medicare bill 212-33, while Democrats tilted "yes" by 180-4.

The bill contains funds for health care programs for children and low-income people that Democrats touted as victories. Republicans won long-term strengthening of Medicare's finances, including cost increases for higher-income recipients.

Buoyed by such incentives, House members more accustomed to gridlock found themselves with little to argue about. Instead, they praised the bill and each other - one Republican even wished Pelosi, D-Calif., a happy birthday - as they all but marveled that they had united to address a persistent problem.

"I just want to say to the American people, don't look now but we're actually governing," said Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-N.C.

Time was a factor. Congress planned to leave town by week's end for a spring break, and physicians treating Medicare patients face a 21 percent fee cut on April 1 unless lawmakers act. If the Senate doesn't give final approval before recessing, the federal agency that sends checks to doctors could delay processing them until lawmakers return to the Capitol.

Underscoring dissatisfaction by some conservatives Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., said in a Politico column that the bill would add too much to federal deficits and didn't do enough to solve Medicare's financial problems.

Physician groups have long warned that the constant procession of threatened slashes in their Medicare fees could mean fewer doctors would treat the program's elderly recipients.

12-year-old shot self, brother: Officer body cam sound to be released
WEST PALM BEACH (CBS12) -- Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco says the "grief is too overwhelming" for those closest to the investigation into the 12-year-old who shot his brothers before turning the gun on himself. 
One brother, 6-years-old, was killed. The other brother, 16, survived. At a news conference Thursday morning the sheriff, superintendent of schools, and others talked about the deadly shooting. 
The mother of the children was not at home when it happened. After sharing that the mother of the boys is hard working and took care of her kids, the sheriff talked about how the investigation overall is impacting the department and community. 
He said first responders arrived to find a "horrible scene". They had no idea minors were involved and first heard the 16-year-old screaming, "I've been shot." 
Police still aren't saying how the kids got the gun, but they did reveal that the first responding officer was wearing a body camera. 
Sheriff Nocco says they will release some audio from that body cam.
 There are crisis managers at the schools where those boys were students. 

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