The Associated Press in 2016 released a report compiled by the Austin American Statesman stating that Hispanics and Latinos are largely underrepresented politically across Texas.The American Statesman reported more than 1.3 million Hispanics in Texas live in cities or counties with no Hispanic representation on their city council or commissioners court. Disparities remain high even when accounting for non-citizens.This is very much the case for Jefferson County as well where Hispanics and Latinos make up 20 percent of the population yet do not have representation on the Jefferson County Commissioners Court. Equally as concerning is the city of Port Arthur, where Hispanics and Latinos make up 33 percent of the population yet have not seen a consistent Hispanic presence elected to the City Council for a number of years.Across Mid County communities, Groves has the highest population of Hispanics and Latinos at 4 percent. Yet Hispanics and Latinos have zero representation there, as well.Representation of all ethnic groups across local government is important to ensure all citizens have a voice. Representation in local government needs to change as communities grow and as their demographics change. City-data.com states that the current ethnic makeup of Port Arthur shows African Americans represents 38 percent of the population, Hispanics are at 33 percent and White/Caucasians are at 21 percent.That is vastly different from 2000, when African Americans represented 44 percent of the population, White/Caucasians were at 32 percent and Hispanics at 17 percent.Back in the 1980s, when white/Caucasian ethnicity was much higher that other ethnic groups in Port Arthur, a change was made at the local government level to increase the number of city council seats to nine. This added two citywide seats and two overlapping district seats. The mindset was to allow ethnic groups with lower population numbers an opportunity to acquire equal representation on local government councils.Fast forward to today, where out of the nine seats on The Port Arthur City Council, eight are held by people of African American ethnicity. There are zero Hispanic/Latinos as well as zero white/Caucasians. So why is it that? Why do Hispanics and Latinos stay away from consistently being a part of local government?The most obvious reason is our lack of voter turnout, which continues year in and year out. When you have a 4 percent voter turnout on a regular basis, candidates are basically relying on the registered voters to whom they reach out and entice to the polls. They are not reaching out beyond that.In simple terms, they only want the voters who will get them elected — voters they know will show up to the polls.Voter turnout will only get worse if eligible individuals don’t vote consistently. They will become structurally excluded from the political process. That means candidates will not campaign for an individual’s vote if that person is not a regular voter.The Austin American Statesman report also suggests a few reasons for this lack of presence and representation. Texas laws have made registering to vote more difficult, redistricting efforts were designed to dilute Hispanic influence and there is a perceived abandonment of Hispanic voters by statewide political parties.To increase Latino representation among local governments, reports suggest, they need to feel more engaged. They need to have a stake in it. They want to have an equal place in society.But many feel they do not, are overlooked and do not have a voice. They need to see that change will be beneficial and that their voice is just as important as every other legal citizen.Latinos are a highly supportive group with strong family ties. Those ties are also very strong for leaders that will push for issues they feel are important to their culture and families.Find a candidate or candidates who can push for the issues important to the Hispanic and Latino population and change in the lack of political representation here would come now, not later.
KATY — The Lamar Cardinals knew when and where they will be playing next. Friday afternoon they found out who they would be playing.The Cardinals (22-6 overall, 17-1 Southland Conference), who are the No. 1 seed in the Southland Conference Tournament, will face the fourth-seeded Nicholls State Colonels in the tournament semifinals at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Leonard E. Merrell Center in Katy. LU, which received an automatic berth in the semifinals as the top seed, faces Nicholls (17-13, 11-7) for the second time this season. The Cardinals were 76-61 winners at Nicholls on Jan. 24.Nicholls, which had a first-round bye, held on for a 61-59 win over fifth-seeded Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in Friday’s second-round game. Saturday’s other semifinal sees second-seeded Stephen F. Austin taking on third-seeded Central Arkansas at 3:30 p.m. The Cardinals, who were outright Southland Conference regular-season champions for the first time in program history, are making their 13th straight appearance in the SLC Tournament as they seek their first tourney title since 2010. LU is just one two teams, joining Stephen F. Austin, who have been in the tournament every season since the conference moved the tourney to Katy.“I think that speaks well for our program,” Harmony said. “We try to put out a good product every season. That’s a credit to everyone involved.”The Cardinals are guaranteed to be going to a national postseason tournament for the third time in Harmony’s five seasons at LU. Winning the conference tournament would give LU an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. If the Cardinals are not selected for the NCAA Tournament, they are assured of a spot in the Women’s National Invitational Tournament as a result of being the conference’s regular-season champion.“We don’t have to worry about seeing if we’re going to a tournament,” Harmony said. “The NCAA and WNIT are both prestigious tournaments. It is a relief to know that we are going somewhere.” The tournament’s championship game is scheduled for noon Sunday.LU has been idle since Saturday when it ended the regular season with an 81-72 victory at McNeese State to secure the outright title. LU coach Robin Harmony hopes the added rest will prove to be beneficial for the Cardinals.“It’s good to have the two byes because you’re guaranteed to be in the semifinals,” Harmony said. “You can give your kinds a couple of days off that normally you can’t do. At this point of the season, an hour and a half of practice; in and out. We already know what everyone is going to do. We know our stuff. It’s to stay fresh and stay in shape.” ALL-TIME SERIESThe Cardinals and Colonels have met 39 times, with LU winning 24 of those contests.ON THE AIR AND ONLINEAll LU postseason games will be broadcast on KLVI-AM 560, with Harold Mann providing the play-by-play. Saturday’s semifinal game will be streamed online on ESPN3. Sunday’s championship game will be televised on the CBS Sports Network (DirecTV 221, Dish Network 158, Verizon Fios 94 and 594, Spectrum 315).SLC TOURNAMENT TICKETSTickets are available on game day at the Merrell Center. LU fans who purchase game-day tickets at the Merrell Center are encouraged to purchase their tickets from the LU ticket window.
Vavasseur must register as a sex offender for 10 years. BEAUMONT — Judge Raquel West has sentenced Kirt Vavasseur, 32, to 15 years in prison for second-degree online solicitation of a minor.Vavasseur was also sentenced concurrently to 10 years in the Institutional Division in the Texas Department of Criminal Justice on three other charges of online solicitation related to the same investigation.In an issued statement, the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office said that shortly before Halloween 2017, law enforcement assigned to the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force conducted Operation “Trick or Treat” to target individuals attempting to prey on children over the internet. A task force member posed online as a 14-year-old girl named “Jane” and Vavasseur contacted her. Vavasseur told “Jane” he was 16 and not long into their conversation, Vavasseur sent “Jane” four pictures of himself and his genitals. Over the next month, they exchanged sexually explicit messages and he asked her to meet him in person.On Nov. 27, Vavasseur made plans with “Jane” to meet at a store in Fannett where law enforcement identified him and later arrested him on four charges of online solicitation of a minor.Three of the cases were third-degree felonies, with a range of punishment of two to 10 years in TDC. The fourth case was a second-degree felony with a punishment range of two to 20 years TDC because of Vavasseur’s attempt to meet with “Jane.”
Next UpTroopers said a 2015 Ford truck, driven by Adam Musslewhite, 38, of Kirbyville was northbound on FM 105 near the intersection with West Circle Road, Vidor, when a 56-year-old woman walking in the middle of the roadway walked into the Ford’s path.Justice of the Peace Joy Dubose pronounced the victim dead at the scene. The victim’s name won’t be released until her next of kin is notified, Troopers said.Musslewhite was not injured, Troopers said. All information is preliminary as Troopers continue to investigate this fatal crash, the issued release said.. Staff reportA Vidor woman was killed early Monday when, according to initial reports, she walked into the path of a pickup truck.Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers said in an issued statement that the call about an auto-pedestrian collision came at 5:45 a.m.
The Texas Senate approved in a preliminary vote Monday its first major anti-abortion bill of the session — a measure that would prohibit state and local governments from partnering with agencies that perform abortions, even if they contract for services not related to the procedure.“I think taxpayers’ dollars should not be used for abortion facilities or their affiliates,” said state Sen. Donna Campbell, who authored the legislation.Senate Bill 22 passed 20 to 11 with Democratic state Sen. Eddie Lucio of Brownsville bucking his party to support the bill. Lucio is the author of another anti-abortion bill, which would ensure abortion providers physically hand a controversial pamphlet detailing alternatives to abortion to women seeking the procedure. “Planned Parenthood is an important part of providing care for many Texas women and their facilities offer services that are essential to maintaining their health,” he said. “If we want to — and I believe all of us want to prevent abortions — the issue should be that we should prevent unwanted and unplanned pregnancies.”Planned Parenthood of South Texas has had 33,918 visits to their clinics in 2017, and only 5% were related to abortion services, according to Sen. Menendez. But Campbell shot the amendment down.Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, worried that the bill would prevent municipalities from contracting with Planned Parenthood to address public health crises like Zika, HIV and STD outbreaks. So, he tried to add an amendment that would create an exception for these cases — but Campbell also shot that down.The state has slashed much of its funding for abortion providers in the last decade. The legislature in 2011 cut the state’s family planning budget by two-thirds in an effort to limit funding for abortion providers like Planned Parenthood. Three years ago, the state kicked Planned Parenthood out of the state’s Medicaid program and cut off $3.1 million in funding —and a federal appeals court upheld that decision in January. However, these efforts only limit state funding—but SB 22 cuts local funding as well.The House State Affairs committee listened to testimony on the House’s version of the bill on Monday. Meanwhile, two other anti-abortion bills, both listed as priorities for Lt. Gov Dan Patrick, are also headed to the full Senate – including a controversial measure regarding the rare case of infants who survive the procedure.Disclosure: Planned Parenthood has been a financial supporter of The Texas Tribune, a nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization that is funded in part by donations from members, foundations and corporate sponsors. Financial supporters play no role in the Tribune’s journalism. Find a complete list of them here.The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Anti-abortion advocates support the measure in part because it would terminate “sweetheart rent deals,” which is just one of the ways local governments partner with abortion providers. Campbell, a New Braunfels Republican, has singled out one key target during the bill’s hearing: Planned Parenthood’s $1-per-year rental agreement with the city of Austin.Meanwhile, abortion rights advocates rail against the bill as an attack on local control. The bill would “tie the hands of cities and counties,” according to Yvonne Gutierrez, executive director for Planned Parenthood Texas Votes. She also worried that the language of SB 22, which would limit “transactions” between the government and abortion providers, is too broad and would target more than just the downtown Austin rental deal.During debate on the bill, San Antonio Democrat state Sen. José Menéndezattempted to add an amendment that would allow local government and abortion providers to contract on certain healthcare services, like long-acting reversible contraception, cervical cancer screening and protection, HIV screenings and testing for sexually transmitted diseases.
Kamden Grant sent Rene Cunningham across the plate on a grounder in the fourth to narrow the Bulldogs’ deficit to 6-3, but the Eagles responded with three more runs in the bottom half.Another Nederland error allowed River Orsak to reach and Rex Thompson to score. Turnbough then hit a grounder that drove home a run, and Orsak came home on a passed ball.Brian Davila, Landon Hiltz, Wade Butler and Cunningham also had hits for the Bulldogs. Connor Dunham and Orsak each batted 2 for 4 for the Eagles.Gregory struck out three and allowed six runs (three earned) on seven hits in three innings. Three runs (none earned) were charged to Mares, who held the Eagles to one hit the rest of the way. This roundup will be updated. Nederland will host the rematch Friday.Brock Holton hit a two-run double in the top of the first for Nederland, but Trevor Turnbough smashed a two-run home run in the bottom of the inning off Noah Gregory to even the score.Four errors plagued the Bulldogs on Tuesday. One miscue allowed Turnbough to load the bases in the third with no outs, and Cameron Cauley took advantage with a sacrifice fly to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead. Gregory struck out Camden Guarnere for the second out, but Simon Larranaga homered down the left-field line to extend the lead. LCM 7, Hamshire-Fannett 4In Hamshire, the Bears overcame a 3-0 first-inning deficit with five runs in the second and totaled 10 hits in defeating the Longhorns (10-16, 4-6 in 22-4A).Jacob Garza went 2 for 3 (both doubles), drove in two runs and scored two of his own in a loss. Hamshire-Fannett finished with eight hits.Sabine Pass (8-10, 5-9 in 24-2A) will take on West Hardin at noon Saturday for the fourth and final baseball playoff seed from District 24-2A.• Dayton 3, Memorial 0In Port Arthur, the Titans (5-13, 2-9 in 21-5A) got 3-for-3 hitting from Miguel Samudio and 2-for-3 batting from Johan Nakao, but couldn’t get “the big hit,” as coach Jessie Riojas described, to tie or take the lead against the Broncos.The shutout spoiled senior night for the Titans, who will close the season Friday at Dayton. PNG 7, Vidor 5In Vidor, the Indians (15-12-1, 8-3 in 21-5A) avoided a stunning loss by scoring four runs in the seventh inning, more than erasing a 4-3 deficit.Carson Roccaforte connected with a one-run double and Ryan Sosa drove in two with his own double to put the Indians ahead. A Vidor error allowed Khristian Curtis to reach on error and another PNG run.A passed ball in the bottom of the seventh allowed Vidor to score, but Austin Schaper delivered his fourth strikeout in two innings to earn the win.Starter Roccaforte gave up three earned runs on seven hits but struck out four in five innings. He was the Indians’ only multiple hitter, going 2 for 4.Reece Mancera, Blake Bost and Schaper also had hits for the Indians.Robbie McLemore and Braiden Baker each went 2 for 4 for Vidor. Staff reportsNederland tried to set the tone for a district championship clinch. Barbers Hill stormed back. Now, the two teams’ next game will be for all the District 21-5A marbles.Barbers Hill beat Nederland 9-3 Tuesday in Mont Belvieu to deny the Bulldogs (16-8-2, 10-1 in 21-5A) — at least until Friday — a second straight district championship. The loss also ended a 13-game winning streak and 14-game unbeaten streak for Nederland, which had last lost March 8 to Carthage, 8-2.
Cecille Anne Collins, age 94 passed away peacefully on February 26, 2020 in San Antonio, Texas with family members at her side.After graduating from high school in Sunburst, Montana she was married to Robert E. Collins, Sr. who worked for Texaco Inc. and they then proceeded to move to Port Neches, Texas where Cecille Anne and Bob raised three children, one son Robert E. Collins, Jr. and two daughters, Judy Vaughn and Janice Buckley.Cecille Anne and Bob enjoyed playing bridge with many friends for many years.They were members of St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Port Neches for over 50 years. Next UpFollowing the death of her husband, Cecille moved to live in San Antonio, Texas to be near her daughter Janice Buckley and her husband Ron who helped greatly in taking care of Cecille Anne.Cecille Anne was proceeded in death by her husband Robert E. Collins, Sr., her mother Iva Doggett, her father Ralph Doggett, and two brothers and three sisters.Cecille Anne is survived by three children, Robert E. Collins, Jr (Dot), Judy Vaughn (Andy), and Janice Buckley (Ron).Cecille Anne is further survived by three grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren. Visitation is Sunday, March 1, 2020 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Melancon’s Funeral Home, 1605 Avenue H, Nederland, TX 77627.Funeral Service are Monday, March 2, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Port Neches.Interment will follow at Oak Bluff Memorial Park in Port Neches.
The Port Arthur Health Department reported Monday afternoon the first COVID-19 related death of a Port Arthur resident.Authorities said the male victim was between the ages of 45 and 50 and had underlying health issues.“He had no known travel history,” a health department release said. “He [was] presented to the hospital with known COVID-19 symptoms and passed away during his hospitalization.” Among the other counties: Orange County has reported 29, Jasper County three, Tyler County two and Newton County one.While 80 percent of individuals who contract COVID-19 will have mild to moderate symptoms and fully recover, they may spread the disease to people who are at high risk. Authorities said the death is an “important reminder” that COVID-19 is a very serious disease.The Southeast Texas Regional Emergency Operations Center has counted 78 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 17 of which are in Port Arthur. Beaumont has the most in the six-county area with 48, Nederland has recorded six, Groves and the China/Nome area each have three, and Fannett/LaBelle has one.Three citizens of Jefferson County have died from coronavirus. The other death in the area came from Hardin County, which has 31 confirmed cases. The elderly and people with underlying health conditions or weakened immune systems are at a much higher risk for developing serious complications from COVID-19.This tragic loss emphasizes the importance of taking all protective measures available to stop the spread of COVID-19, authorities said, imploring the community to follow the directives of the federal government, Office of the Governor of Texas, Jefferson County, and the city of Port Arthur.
Jennie Lee Charles Bradley was born on August 12, 1933 in Rayne, Louisiana to Betha Lyons Dugas and John Charles.She accepted Jesus Christ at an early age as her Lord and Savior in the Shrine of Our Mother of Mercy Church in Rayne, LA.After moving to Port Arthur she attended Lincoln High School. Next UpOn April 2, 1948 she married Harry Charles Bradley and remained at his side 64 years until his death.This union was blessed with 11 children.After marriage she became a member of Rock Island Missionary Baptist Church, Solid Rock Baptist Church and served the remainder of her life at Greater True Vine Church under the leadership of Pastor Jarrod Phillips. She faithfully served in the Deaconess, Usher, Pastor’s Anniversary, Women’s and Culinary Ministries and wherever her heart chose to serve.She was also a beloved member of the community and an active member in several civic and social organizations.On Thursday, April 16, 2020, she answered the call of her heavenly Father.She was also preceded in death by her son Daryl Leon Bradley. Those who remain to cherish her memories are children, Ronald Bradley (Gloria), Delbert Bradley, Debra Phillips, Elwyn Bradley, and Veoletta Hadley (Tommy) all of Port Arthur, TX; Felecia Trahan (Robert) and Gerhart Bradley of Beaumont, TX; Tina Mitchell of Seabrook,TX; Vanessa Hodge (Roosevelt) and Sandra Norman (L. C.) of Katy, TX; a sister Ethell Dillard of Rialto, CA; cousin Margaret Mouton of Rayne, LA; a foster son, Clay Roy; 26 grandchildren; 44 great-grandchildren; 13 great-great grandchildren and a host of other family members and lifelong friends.Private graveside service will be held on Wednesday at Greenlawn Memorial Park under the direction of Hannah Funeral Home.
The victim told first responders he felt pain and “remembers his body feeling cold” after waking up and seeing paramedics surround him while he was still on the floor.The father was taken by Acadian EMS to CHRISTUS Southeast Texas-St. Elizabethin Beaumont, where it was discovered he sustained a pelvic fracture. A Jefferson County grand jury has indicted a 41-year-old Port Arthur man for pushing his 90-year-old father backward, leading to a pelvic fracture.According to the probable cause affidavit, Farnzo Martin III and his father were at their home in the 800 block of Dewalt Avenue at approximately 1 a.m. Oct. 18, 2019, when the father asked his son if he knew where the vinegar was so he could rub it on his leg.The accused reportedly became angry and ran toward his father and pushed him, causing him to fall backward on the floor, authorities said. Farnzo Martin III was arrested March 3 on a charge of injury to an elderly individual.He remains jailed on a $100,000 bond.