AgriLife talks about making a difference, court talks Imelda

Published 9:51 am Saturday, December 14, 2019

By Michael Cole

The Orange Leader


AgriLife hosted a workshop with the Commissioners Court to highlight the positive influence that the County AgriLife extension is making to Orange County.

Judge John Gothia was not in attendance, Commissioner Precinct One Johnny Trahan chaired the workshop and regular session of the court. 

Len Marion, an Orange County Master Gardener and Beekeeper, told the court, “Bees have a major impact on the community as a whole.”

“I would suggest if you want true local honey, to buy it from a local beekeeper,” Marion said. “You might find honey on the store shelves claiming to be local honey, but state law says packaging can claim to be from Texas if all that is from Texas is the packaging.”

He recalled to the court about times he had while collecting hives from odd places in the area.

“I have seen where the cable company has drilled a hole in the wall to run a cable,” he said. “And either they did not seal it, or the homeowner removed it without plugging the hole. Next thing, they have a complete hive in the wall.”

The workshop also focused on the efforts that 4-H makes in the community. 

Kevin Horton, former president of 4-H, said in the workshop, “4-H was good for me. I am not sure where I would be today if I did not have the opportunities given to me by the club.”

Dylan Pyatt, the current 4-H president talked about the importance of the program.

“It opens doors and opportunities for young people,” Pyatt said.

In the regular session, Orange County Emergency Management Coordinator Joel Ardoin gave an update on Tropical Storm Imelda recovery. 

“Orange County has removed 27,700 cubic yards of debris,” Ardoin remarked, “Vidor has collected 36,700 cubic yards of debris.”

The filing deadline passed on December 3, 2019, for filing with FEMA, and the DRC office closed on Tuesday as well. However, people can still file with FEMA 1-800-621-3362, or go to They will have to explain to FEMA as to why they have missed the deadline to file.

Ardoin told the court on the TPC explosion, efforts are starting to scale back, they are trying to install inhibitors which will allow them to start moving product from the Port Arthur plant to Houston and other areas. This will allow them to start rebuilding the plant.

The Court also looked into a request of an Interlocal Agreement between Orange and Lubbock County. The program would provide legal representation for indigent defendants in capital cases where the death penalty is sought. The cost to the county would be $27,036 a year for 2020 and 2021.

“It would be throwing money away if we paid the money and didn’t need it,” Commissioner Precinct 3 Kirk Roccaforte remarked.

“When we are trying to find money to pay for other projects, it seems like a waste,” Commissioner Precinct 2 Theresa Beauchamp added. 

The court voted 4-0 to decline the agreement.