BRIDGE CITY — Aaron Brannen became the first modern-day Bridge City athlete to ever secure three UIL gold medals in one school year. Adding the mile run on Saturday to Friday’s two-mile and last fall’s cross country Class 3A state championships, Brannen cruised home to victory in the boys 1,600-meter run by slightly more than a full three seconds. It’s not that blistering time which his coach Rick Miller would have wished — sub-4:20 — but a 4:25.34 more than enabled Brannen to have breathing room from challengers Brad Mullens of Waco Robinson (4:28.35) and Mitchell Driver of Princeton (4:29.25). The seeds in Aaron’s gold-rush pursuit were planted here a year ago at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the UT-Austin campus when the dark-haired, freckle-faced junior with braces had to settle for silver medals in both the mile and two-mile. That experience taught Brannen a valuable lesson — that coming to the 95th annual University Interscholastic League state track and field championships was all about winning and nothing else. Such analysis played into Aaron’s race strategy in Friday morning’s 3,200 meters and Saturday afternoon’s 1,600 meters. The idea of winning also caused the West Orange-Stark quartet of Jacoby Franks, Jerrod Lewis, Earl Thomas and a weakened Kenneth Beasley to feel somewhat disappointed even though it combined for a season-best bronze medal time of 1:27.92. Beasley had not practiced at all for the past two weeks after being hospitalized shortly after the 3A regional meet due to pneumonia. A stronger, sharper Beasley arguably would have been hard-pressed to defeat state champ Cuero’s time of 1:26.50 but Beasley would have been able to have held off silver medalist Daingerfield’s late charge (1:27.89). “I got a lot of recovery time and I felt good,” Brannen said after overtaking the pack midway into the third of four laps. “We had two runners go out very fast but I stayed with my pace. I knew I had the kick to come around and win. My throat was dry but it didn’t seem to slow me down any. “I knew those two would slow down and I knew Mullens would be strong at the end.” The victory also enabled Brannen’s outstanding instructor to retire from coaching on top. Twelve-year distance-running tutor Rick Miller announced that he intended to remain at the high school as a science teacher but to stop coaching distance runners in track as well as cross country. “Aaron ran a smart race,” Miller said. “He didn’t get that 4:20 but he could have if he had been pushed. I just want those kids to know how privileged I’ve been to be a part of this. Those kids came out every morning and pushed Aaron to work for this. They’ve all been important in supporting him.” Brannen’s consistency was evidenced in his quarter-mile splits of 66, 66, 67 and 66.3. He stood in sixth place just two seconds off the pace after one lap and remained two seconds back in fourth place at the halfway point. Midway into the third lap (1,000 meters), he took over the race with a cushion of eight meters after three laps. The margin bulged to 20 on the victory lap. “I’m happy with my performance,” he said. “I got spiked at the very start of the race but it didn’t matter that much. I had worked hard all season.” The final chapter was slightly disappointing for Beasley, the University of Texas football signee, who gallantly fought off pneumonia in his final high school track performance. Teammate Earl Thomas ran a strong wind 21.7 into a fierce south wind, but Daingerfield overtook Beasley just before the finish line, causing WO-S to settle for third. “I think it took a big toll,” WO-S first-year coach Toby Foreman said of Beasley. “It definitely showed at the end. He was throwing up most of the weekend. When he got the stick, you could tell it wasn’t him.” The Mustangs still managed to lower their previous season-best (1:28.82 at regionals) by nearly a full second. Foreman indicated that Thomas, a junior, was the first WO-S athlete ever to earn three bronze state medals (for football, basketball and track and field) in one school year.
Most you have probably never given a second thought to who has won the I Beat Bob West contest the most times. I’ve wondered periodically but never gave it much thought until a fellow named Joel Pinnt from Nederland e-mailed me about it last winter. Pinnt, who is a transplanted Nebraska Cornhusker, forced me to ruefully admit that I really hadn’t kept year-to-year records on the contest results. He then blew me away by offering to pour through 24 years of newspaper microfilm to put together a history I could use as I saw fit. With the contest’s 25th anniversary kicking off today, this is the perfect time to take a walk down memory lane with all you folks who have participated religiously over the years. And, hopefully, to encourage potential newcomers to flip over to page 3B and fill in picks for week one. The contest began in 1982, at the suggestion of then Port Arthur News publisher Harry Wood. I wasn’t all that crazy about it at first, but when I saw how much interest it generated my only lament was that I couldn’t claim the idea as my own. Over the years we’ve tinkered slightly with the format, such as going through a period where we included a “guest expert” on our newspaper panel. Those guests included the likes of Bum Phillips, Jimmy Johnson, Billy Tubbs, Greg Davis, Little Joe Washington and golfer Bruce Lietzke. I’d call them or fax them the list of games and they would send back their selections. One December we even worked Santa Claus, complete with the requisite mug shot at the top, into Beat Bob. He does a lot better job delivering toys than picking winners. The idea from the beginning was for readers to have a shot at prizes and publicity by beating me and posting the best overall record of the week. Finishing in the top 10 has usually been worth a cap monogrammed with “I Beat Bob West” and “Port Arthur News.” The best record, provided it Beat Bob, has been good for helmet clocks, windbreakers, windshirts and travel bags. Our nicest gifts, in my opinion, were Dallas Cowboys and Houston Oilers helmet clocks featuring likenesses of Jimmy Johnson and Bum Phillips. One year the top prize was a clock shaped in the state of Texas, with a photo of then Gov. Ann Richards. Another time, when Billy Tubbs was at Oklahoma, we gave basketball shaped clocks adorned with Tubbs’ mug. As a bonus, the weekly winner earned the bragging rights of having his/her name and record listed in the newspaper with the following week’s games. Our most famous winner is probably Minnesota Twins outfielder Lew Ford, who won while he was playing football at Port Neches-Groves. Another time, Lew and his brother Shelby tied for the best record and were still tied after the tiebreaker. Shelby won the playoff the following week. For good measure, their dad, Buck Ford, also made it to the winner’s circle. The most prolific winner has been Port Arthuran Stan Norman, who has been five times a champion. Norman won the that very first year of 1982, then didn’t win again until 1998. He also had winning weeks in 2000, 2002 and 2005. Close behind for bragging rights is Pinnt, who had wins in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2005. E.E. Booker of Groves also claimed the top prize four times. His wins were in 1987, 1990, 1993 and 1999. A handful of others — Jerry Broussard, Bob Carlos, Jeff Coward, the late Ford Freeman, Mike Tarver and Tom Wooley — had threepeats. Twenty five others have won twice. Among the quirks of the contest is the fact that winning records have ranged anywhere from 14-6 to 20-0. Aside from one crazy week in 1983, when 23 different players posted 20-0 marks and Ronnie Barrow won on the tiebreaker, only four other players — David Gough in 1984, Booker in 1987, Dana Stansbury in 1993 and Bonita Fisher in 1998 — have sailed through 20-0. Three others — A.S. Perales (1986) J.D. Evans (2002) and Keith Morvant (2005) — won with 15-0 records. Lots of players have gone 19-1 or 18-2 and lost out on the big prize, usually on the tiebreaker. Sad to say, the contest’s namesake has never posted a perfect record. He has, however, had the best overall record four times, meaning no prizes were distributed that week. Also noteworthy was Ryan Carlos winning back-to-back in 1988, Michelle Plokhooy tying for first in week one of 1988, then winning outright the next week and Bevil Deckert tying with his 14-year-old son Brandon in 1989 and winning the tiebreaker. Also, in 2005, Jeff Keeney won in week one and his 17-year-old daughter, Miranda, won in week four. No to be outdone the Garcias — Maurice and 17-year-old daughter Yjaira — won in weeks five and seven. All total, there have been 246 top-prize winners and roughly 2,500 I Beat Bob West caps passed out. The winners have ranged from A (Ricci Anderson) to Z (Beverly Zerko). The only letters in the alphabet without a winner are O, U and X. As part of the 25th anniversary, we’ll be running the names of past winners each week in alphabetical order. Check ‘em out to see how many you know. Perhaps the most eye-opening history lesson from all of Pinnt’s research was seeing how many schools from that very first contest in 1982 no longer exist. Seven high schools — TJ, Lincoln, Stephen F. Austin, Bishop Byrne, French, South Park and Beaumont-Charlton-Pollard have closed their doors. Add on Lamar University, which dropped football after the 1988 season, and the Houston Oilers, who moved to Tennessee in 1996, and that’s nine teams no longer playing. That’s stunning. Oh, well, it’s time to look ahead. Good luck to all you prognosticators in 2006. I have a feeling you’re going to need it to beat the guy whose mug runs with this column. Sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at [email protected] His Sportsrap radio show is moving to Wednesday’s (Sept. 6) at 8:05 p.m. on KLVI (560-AM)
Several inmates were injured following simultaneous fights at the U.S. Penitentiary early Tuesday morning. About 7:45 a.m. June 15, a fight ensued began at the recreation yard at the federal Correctional Complex. At around the same time, several additional fights began throughout the institution. Several inmates were treated for minor injuries in the Health Services Department at the complex.Additional staff from the complex responded to the institution and the incidents were immediately contained, according to a press release from the Office of the Warden.“The institution is secure and at no time was there a threat to public safety,” according to the press release. “We are currently investigating the circumstances surrounding this incident.”
Chad Pitre, Sr. of Port Arthur, Texas died Monday, June 20, 2016 at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, Texas. He was a native of Opelousas, Louisiana. Chad was a member of Christian Faith Baptist Church where he was a member of the Men of Valor and an assistant coach for the church’s basketball team. Next Up The funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 25, 2016 at Christian Faith Baptist Church with Rev. Albert Moses, Jr. officiating. The visitation will be from 9:00 AM until service time. Burial will follow in Live Oak Cemetery under the direction of Gabriel Funeral Home.Chad is survived by his devoted wife, Tenekwa Alexander Pitre; mother, Mary Pitre; five children, Chad Pitre, Jr., Omyrin Pitre, Chazlyn Pitre, Kevin Martin, Jr. and Keanah Martin and one grandson, Kaleb Pitre. He is also survived by three sisters, and six brothers along with other relatives, in-laws and friends.
Beaumont police arrested a 15-year-old girl late Friday, charging her with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.The arrest was connected to a robbery in which a victim’s vehicle was taken at gunpoint at 4115 Jeanette in Beaumont. The juvenile was arrested but detectives will continue to investigate the incident and more charges may be filed. The juvenile suspect was transported to Minnie Rogers and released to their custody. Police said in an issued statement that the victim told police an unknown juvenile approached her, displayed a firearm and demanded her vehicle. He then took the vehicle and fled.Police located the vehicle 22 minutes later at the Pine Club Apartments, 5015 Pine St. A female juvenile was behind the wheel.
During each contest level, five adjudicators listened to the recordings and ranked the bands. Central advanced in all three levels, culminating in the 12th-place state finish.As part of the TMEA Honor Band process, middle schools were required to submit three selections, including one march, from recordings of competitive concert or festival performances in the current year.Central’s music selections were Aces of the Air by K.L. King, The Steppes of Russia by Elliot Del Borgo and Blue Ridge Saga by James Swearingen. Central’s submission came from performances that took place in April and May. The Central Middle School Symphonic Band from Nederland placed 12th among 2C middle schools at the state level of the TMEA Honor Band taping competition.In an issued statement, the school said this is a competitive band competition held every two years by classification and includes the best bands from across Texas.Hundreds of middle school bands competed in three tiers: region, area and state. The competition began at the region level, which was held during the first week of June. Only the first- and second-place bands were allowed to advance to the next tier. The area competition took place during the last week of June and the state competition was held in late July. Directors for the band are Eric Rose and Jonathan Blake.Special to The News
The lowest price in the state today is $1.25/g while the highest is $2.54/g, a difference of $1.29/g.The national average price of gasoline has fallen 10.1 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $1.97/g today.The national average is down 45.5 cents per gallon from a month ago and stands 72.7 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.“Motorists should continue to be vigilant if they need to fill their tanks- bring hand sanitizer and potentially wipes, but also shop around as the gap between station widens to historic levels,” DeHaan said. Gas prices in Texas are 38.0 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand 71.0 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.“With the nation continuing to be under siege from the coronavirus and millions staying parked at home, there’s quite a bit more downside that’s in the pipeline coming in the weeks ahead,” DeHaan said. “We could easily see the national average fall 50 cents to a dollar per gallon, while pricey states like California will see the biggest drops to come, playing catch up to the drop that has seen twenty nine states average gas prices fall under $2.”According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Texas is priced at $1.25/g today while the most expensive is $2.54/g, a difference of $1.29/g. Today is the 38th straight day the national average gas price has fallen, and the first week of the national average being under $2/gal for the first time in over four years.Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy, said motorists continue to park their cars and shelter in place, leading to an unprecedented drop never before seen in U.S. gasoline demand, “causing prices to sink like a rock.”Texas gas prices have fallen 10.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.75/g today, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 13,114 stations. Historical gasoline prices in Texas and the national average going back ten years:March 30, 2019: $2.46/g (U.S. Average: $2.70/g)March 30, 2018: $2.41/g (U.S. Average: $2.65/g)March 30, 2017: $2.11/g (U.S. Average: $2.32/g)March 30, 2016: $1.89/g (U.S. Average: $2.05/g)March 30, 2015: $2.21/g (U.S. Average: $2.42/g)March 30, 2014: $3.36/g (U.S. Average: $3.55/g)March 30, 2013: $3.52/g (U.S. Average: $3.64/g)March 30, 2012: $3.82/g (U.S. Average: $3.93/g)March 30, 2011: $3.50/g (U.S. Average: $3.60/g)March 30, 2010: $2.66/g (U.S. Average: $2.78/g)Neighboring areas and their current gas prices:• Midland Odessa – $1.88/g, down 12.0 cents per gallon from last week’s $2.00/g.• San Antonio – $1.66/g, down 9.2 cents per gallon from last week’s $1.76/g.• Austin – $1.70/g, down 8.6 cents per gallon from last week’s $1.79/g.
Cases of COVID-19 in Jefferson County jumped more than 50 in the past week, but the local increase in Mid-County and Port Arthur was considerably less.There were 327 coronavirus cases on May 3 in Jefferson County, according to the Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center. That number jumped to 381 over the weekend.Locally, cases in Groves jumped from seven to nine from May 3 to May 10.Over that same period, cases in Port Neches went from six to seven, cases in Port Arthur went from 46 to 48 and cases in Nederland stayed at 14. Texas health officials on Sunday reported more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus and 39 additional deaths due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.A total of 38,869 confirmed cases and 1,088 deaths were reported by the Texas Department of State Health Services, an increase from 37,860 cases and 1,049 deaths reported on Saturday.The true numbers are likely higher, health officials say, because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick. Barbershops and hair salons were allowed to start reopening in Texas on Friday. Restaurants and retailers in the state were allowed to begin reopening with limited capacity before last week.For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.
Patrick Brannon, 51, of Port Arthur, TX died Monday, July 27, 2020. Services are pending at Hannah Funeral Home, Inc.James Armond England, 78, of Port Neches, Texas passed away July 26, 2020. Services are under the direction of Melancon’s Funeral Home in Nederland.Patrick James Duhon, 67, of Nederland, Texas passed away July 25, 2020. Services are under the direction of Melancon’s Funeral Home in Nederland.William H. Hargrave, 86, of Groves, Texas, died Monday, July 27, 2020. Services pending with Levingston Funeral Home – Groves, TX. John Anthony LaSalle, 79, of Beaumont, died Wednesday, July 22, 2020. Broussard’s, 2000 McFaddin Avenue, Beaumont.Patricia Bennett, 76, of Port Arthur, TX died Saturday, July 25, 2020. Services are pending at Hannah Funeral Home, Inc.Deloris Malbreau, 70, of Port Arthur, TX died Sunday, July 26, 2020. Services are pending at Hannah Funeral Home, Inc. Jeremy Scott Welch, 40, of Groves passed away on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 in Port Arthur, Clayton Thompson Funeral Home in Groves.Sadie DeJohn, 94, of Port Arthur passed away on Monday, July 27, 2020 at Focused Care Nursing Home in Orange, Clayton Thompson Funeral Home in Groves.Richard Haynes, 69, of Port Arthur, TX died Monday, July 27, 2020. Services are pending at Hannah Funeral Home, Inc. Shirley Johnson, 85, of Port Arthur died Friday, July 24, 2020. Funeral arrangements are pending at Gabriel Funeral Home.Adeline Sampson, 68, of Port Arthur died Sunday, July 26, 2020. Funeral arrangements are pending at Gabriel Funeral Home.Georick Rivers, 41, of San Angelo, Texas died Thursday, July 23, 2020. Funeral arrangements are pending at Gabriel Funeral Home.Jordan Andrew Tabor, 23, of Port Neches, Texas, died July 26, 2020. Services pending with Levingston Funeral Home – Port Neches.
Mason has been seen on Broadway in Wonderland, Hairspray, Mamma Mia!, Sunset Boulevard, Jerome Robbins’ Broadway and Play Me a Country Song. Jacoby received a Tony nomination for Show Boat. He also starred in the original Broadway productions of Ragtime and Elf. His other Broadway credits include The Phantom of the Opera, Grand Hotel and Sweet Charity. In addition to Mason and Jacoby, the cast of Snapshots will feature Broadway alums Elizabeth Stanley (Company) as Susan and Matthew Scott (Jersey Boys) as Daniel, as well as Ephie Aardema as Susie and Dan DeLuca as Danny. Conceived by Michael Scheman and book writer David Stern (The Scottsboro Boys), Snapshots blends some of the best-loved music from Schwartz’s Broadway shows, including Wicked, Pippin and Godspell, along with some of his lesser-known tunes. The musical follows Sue (Mason) and Dan (Jacoby), a couple who, after 20 years of marriage, have drifted apart. Together they discover a box of photographs which leads them to relive the memories of their past selves captured in the snapshots. Karen Mason and Tony nominee Mark Jacoby will lead the cast of the Goodspeed Musicals production of Snapshots: A Musical Scrapbook, a new work that borrows from the catalogue of composer Stephen Schwartz. Directed by Daniel Goldstein (who helmed the recent Broadway revival of Schwartz’s Godspell), performances of the romantic comedy will begin October 24 at the Norma Terris Theatre in Chester, CT. View Comments