The following column from the Best of West collection was originally published in the Port Arthur News on March 23, 1989. These are the days of wine and roses for Jim Nantz, a fact CBS’ 30-year-old prodigy acknowledges with both enthusiasm and a humbleness that belies the ego one expects from a network star. Nantz is in the middle week of anchoring CBS’ NCAA basketball coverage. Shortly after a champion is crowned in Seattle, he’ll head to Augusta, Ga., to man the most prestigious TV role in golf — hosting CBS’ coverage of the Masters from Butler cabin near the 18th hole. What’s more, he’s even getting paid. Handsomely. “I don’t see how it could get much better,” Nantz says. “This is the best stretch of the year for me. About the only thing that excites me more than the NCAA tournament is the Masters. This is what I dreamed and fantasized about doing as a kid. It’s still hard to believe it’s happened so fast.” Nantz’s career is of more than passing interest in these parts because of his sterling performance as emcee at last year’s Jimmy Johnson National Championship Roast. He not only made many friends during a brief visit, he’s mentioned Port Arthur favorably from his network platform. It’s the kind of advertising money can’t buy. Unfortunately, a CBS assignment will prevent the University of Houston graduate from returning to emcee the upcoming Bum Phillips Roast. He’ll be here in spirit, however, and will be represented at the dinner by a group of scholar-athletes yet to be determined. Nantz, you see, recently received an award from an organization called “Sez Who?” for one of his lines during the Johnson Roast. Sez Who? editor Rich Bysina annually picks out the top ten humorous sports quotes of the year and rewards the winners with a $100 check to go to the charity of his choice. Much to Nantz’s surprise a couple of weeks ago, he found a check in the mail, along with an explanation from Bysina. The selected quote — “The only time Jimmy didn’t run up the score was 27 years ago when he took the SAT” — has been widely circulated since it was first uttered. It’s appeared in publications like Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and USA Today. “I’d never heard of Sez Who?, Nantz said. “But it was obvious from looking over the other quotes in the top 10 that the guy had put a lot of work into it. Some of the other winners were David Letterman, Jack Kemp and Frank Layden. That’s pretty good company.” Nantz knew right away what he would do with the check. “It came about because of the Jimmy Johnson Roast, so I want to give it to your charity — The Port Arthur Historical Society,” he said. “I don’t think I had a day in 1988 to top the one in Port Arthur,” Nantz added. “From start to finish, it was fantastic. I’m prejudiced because I was the emcee, but I’ve never been around a better roast than that one. I’ll always remember the fellowship and the friendliness of the people involved.” A couple of days later Nantz called back to say he was also sending a personal check for $100. He and his wife wanted the money used to purchase roast tickets for the top male and female scholar athletes in Port Arthur. “I hope these donations in some small way give a deserving male and female athlete a very special night,” Nantz wrote in a letter accompanying the checks. “I’m grateful to the Port Arthur community for the way it supported last year’s memorable night. “I’m also impressed how the people have not forgotten their own. There is a lot of pride in Port Arthur.” A bit of irony surrounds Nantz’s feelings for Port Arthur. It involves the fact his good friend, the roast chairman and author of this column, waited too long to check into hole-in-one insurance so that a car could be given away to anyone making an ace in the golf tournament preceding the roast. Naturally, Nantz sank his first ever hole-in-one on the 8th hole at Port Arthur Country Club. The roast chairman, playing on the same team, experienced both elation and despair as Nantz’s 7-iron shot disappeared from sight. “I could have used the car,” he said, without rubbing it in. “But to tell you the truth, I got a lot of mileage from the hole in one. The word got around pretty quick. Somebody was always mentioning it when I was doing a tournament on the PGA Tour.” Nantz will be back on the air Thursday night when CBS resumes its coverage of the Road to the Final Four. You’ll see him before, during the half and following KFDM’s telecasts of the Oklahoma-Virginia and North Carolina-Michigan games. If Nantz looks more relaxed than last weekend, it’s for good reason. With the field trimmed to 16 teams, and only four games each night, the demands as studio host are mild compared to last weekend’s wild scramble that put him constantly under the gun as CBS shifted in and out of various telecasts. “The best way I can describe what it was like last weekend is to tell you what Brent Musberger told me before my first year of the NCAA opening weekend,” Nantz said. “Brent told me, ‘Good luck. Of all the sports assignments I’ve had, this is the most difficult.’ I have to agree.” Nantz isn’t complaining. Not hardly. Not when he’s living out a childhood fantasy. And, trite as it might sound, a fantasy that couldn’t have been fulfilled for a nicer guy. Port Arthur News sports editor Bob West can be e-mailed at [email protected]
Next UpThen came that August storm, which battered the Texas coast from Corpus Christi to Orange. Across 41 Texas counties, Hurricane and Tropical Storm Harvey dumped rainfall in record-breaking, relentless amounts. Damages to infrastructure and personal property, much of it located outside recognized flood zones, was astounding.Jefferson County knows this better than anyone. A study of Federal Emergency Management Agency applications for assistance showed need was greatest in a Port Arthur zip code. More households suffered property damage than didn’t in our community.Our countrymen in New York and New Jersey have not forgotten that U.S. Sens. John Cornyn and Ted Cruz opposed big aid to those states after Superstorm Sandy in 2012. So it can’t be easy for either of them to wander Capitol Hill, palms upward, telling their colleagues, “No, we need more.” Pity those stalwart fiscal conservatives who represent Texas in Washington.We usually count ourselves among their allies, and fully appreciate how profligate spending imperils our country every day. Indeed it is. It’s one thing to argue in Washington, D.C., the fine points of financial help for devastated counties a half-country away. It’s quite another for people to be marooned in hotel rooms, out of their homes and not sure of their next step as they await action from their national leaders.U.S. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Friendwood, in making the case for more aid last fall in the House, contended that Harvey and related flooding ranked as the second-most costly natural disaster after only Fukushima in Japan.“The people of Texas need and deserve federal assistance for long-term flood mitigation, which this request does not sufficiently provide,” he said.Abbott said about 61 percent of aid in Texas would go toward flood control, about a third to housing. The rest would go to hazard mitigation, roadways and water services projects.Texas should complement its pitch for aid with commitment to planning and development reform. Too many Texas homes were destroyed in areas where little heed was paid to flood threats.If we want help, we ought to earn it by learning from those past mistakes. Yet we do. Gov. Greg Abbott’s Commission to Rebuild Texas makes a compelling case that the Texas coast must be rebuilt, that it is too valuable to America to shortchange or ignore.The U.S. House of Representatives showed its understanding of the need by upping federal disaster aid packages within the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.On the Senate floor, Cornyn lamented the lag time between disaster and response.“The House passed an $81 billion relief package at the end of last year, and here we are a couple of months later before we actually are acting on this disaster relief package,” he said. “It’s long overdue.”
An average Texan in the poorest 20% of households might expect to pay around $1,200 per year in sales taxes, while an average Texan in the richest 20% of households might expect to pay $4,900, according to an analysis of comptroller estimates for 2021 tax collections.By comparison, an average Texan in the poorest 20% of households might expect to pay around $1,000 per year in school district property taxes, while an average Texan in the richest 20% of households might expect to pay $5,800.A Texas Tribune analysis of state tax data found that increasing the sales tax to buy down property tax rates would likely raise the percentage of income that the bottom 80% of Texans spend on taxes. Only the top 20% of Texans — those in households earning more than about $150,000 — would probably see a reduction in the percentage of their income that they pay in taxes. The analysis assumes that raising the sales tax rate would not significantly change Texans’ consumption patterns.Still, many conservatives consider regressive taxes like the sales tax to be equitable because everyone, regardless of income level, pays the same tax rate.“I’m trying to shift from a property tax system to a consumption tax system so you control what you pay,” Abbott recently wrote on Twitter.Another feature of the sales tax versus property tax debate is whether consumers or businesses should pay more. The sales tax burden is mostly borne by everyday consumers, whereas businesses shoulder more of the state’s overall property tax bill.With two-thirds of each legislative chamber needed to pass the sales tax swap resolution, Republican leaders need to get Democrats on board. And Democrats oppose hiking a regressive tax on the grounds that it would unnecessarily burden low-income Texans while benefiting the highest-income Texans, especially if the proposal does not yield any additional revenue for public programs.“When your ‘property tax relief’ bill ends up raising taxes on the majority of Texans, it isn’t relief, it’s just bad policy,” state Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, D-San Antonio, tweeted last week after Republican leadership unveiled the policy proposal as a new priority.Some fiscal conservatives have joined Democrats in opposition to a higher sales tax because they don’t want the state to raise any taxes, concerned it could dissuade business owners from relocating to Texas. “The proposed sales tax hike would take the state in the wrong and opposite direction by imposing an overall increase in the state tax burden,” said Grover Norquist, president of conservative anti-tax advocacy group Americans for Tax Reform, in a letter to House lawmakers.On Tuesday, state Sen. Paul Bettencourt, R-Houston, said there was not “a tremendous appetite over here in the Senate for that proposal.”“Whether it’s income tax, property tax, sales tax or whatever tax, I’m not voting for an increase,” he told Lubbock radio host Chad Hasty. Later Tuesday, Bettencourt walked back his comments, saying that in the absence of a specific, final measure, he hasn’t taken a position.Republicans have also floated ideas for more modest property tax cuts that would affect Texans’ tax bills in different ways, depending on where they live and how much their homes are worth. The House passed a school finance bill, House Bill 3, that would lower tax rates statewide by 4 cents per $100 valuation and limit school districts with higher rates from increasing them.In addition, Democrats and some Senate Republicans are backing an increase to the mandatory homestead exemption for school district taxes, which would offer similar tax relief for Texans regardless of their home values. But Abbott is opposed to the idea, and he took his criticisms to Twitter on Monday.“We raised the homestead exemption 2 sessions ago & no one feels the benefit of that tax relief because it was eroded by rising appraisals & rates,” he wrote. “Raising the homestead exemption won’t lead to lasting property tax relief.”Emma Platoff contributed reporting.The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues. Texas’ Republican leadership wants to raise the taxes that consumers pay when they go shopping in order to lower the taxes that homeowners and business owners pay on their properties.How would that work?The state sales tax would rise from 6.25% to 7.25%, generating an estimated annual $5 billion in coming years. That would take the total sales tax in most cities to 9.25% because local governments can raise the sales tax an additional 2 percentage points. Supporters say a higher sales tax rate would generate enough revenue to buy down property tax rates by 20 cents per $100 valuation at a time when Texas homeowners and businesses are feeling squeezed by rising bills. By Edgar Walters and Aliyya SwabyThe Texas Tribunetexastribune.org But raising the sales tax would cause poor Texans to pay a higher percentage of their income in taxes while the richest Texans and businesses are most likely to enjoy tax relief under the proposal.To be clear, the proposal faces long odds to becoming law. House and Senate leaders intend to make the change in a constitutional amendment, which would need votes from two-thirds of lawmakers in both chambers to advance. Ratification of the amendment would require voter approval in a statewide election. And Gov. Greg Abbott has said he won’t endorse the measure unless lawmakers also pass bills limiting local property tax increases.The sales tax swap proposal from Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen needs buy-in from conservative lawmakers opposed to the idea of raising any taxes in a year of surplus — and from Democrats wary of a proposal that would shift more tax burden onto low-income Texans.A regressive tax is one that takes a larger percentage of income from poorer people than richer people. Because low-earning people spend a larger share of their income on sales taxes, raising the sales tax rate causes their total tax bills to grow relatively larger. Texas’ sales tax is one of the state’s most regressive ways of earning revenue, according to the Texas Comptroller.
Port Arthur police responded early Friday to a call about a man whose arm was cut during a fight. The victim was located at 1940 11th Ave. at 12:32 a.m., police said in an issued statement. The victim was later transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont where he underwent surgery for the injury, and was listed in critical condition.After searching, officers found the original crime scene and found the suspect behind a business at 4040 Gulfway Drive.He was taken into custody and interviewed by The Criminal Investigative Division.The case remained under investigation Friday morning.
GROVES — First Baptist Church Groves is hosting The Erwins for two free concerts on Sunday.The shows start at 10:40 a.m. and 6 p.m. Sunday at the church, 4000 Grant Ave., located at the corner of Grant and 39th streets. “There is something captivating about the blending and swelling of sibling harmony,” a church release says. “When that is combined with pure talent and a servant’s heart for people, you have the incomparable ministry of The Erwins.”The Erwins started singing as soon as they were each able to talk. Appearing over 270 dates a year with their mother and father, who have been in full-time evangelism for 44 years, they have been traveling full-time their entire life singing in concerts, revivals and conferences all across the country. Three of the four siblings, Keith, Kody and Kris, performed as a trio until 2013, when the group announced that their little sister, Katie, would be joining the group full-time on stage officially making them a Mixed Group. “Singing is all we know and all we want to do,” Keith Erwin said. “It’s our life and our joy to serve the Lord with the voices He has given us. We will gladly go through any door He chooses to open, no matter how big or small. We know the Lord doesn’t need us, but He chooses to use us, and for that we are thankful.”To learn more, visit the Erwins’ ministry link at erwinministries.com or call the church at 409-962-4461.
This adaptation skillfully compresses the novel while including milestones penned by Louisa May Alcott 140 years ago.Tickets are available at palt.org or by calling 409-727-PALT.The theater is located 4701 Jimmy Johnson Blvd., near the intersection with Twin City Highway, in Port Arthur.General Admission tickets are $12, seniors/teachers/active-duty military are $10 and students are $7. Port Arthur Little Theatre’s next production, “Little Women,” takes the stage for six shows, beginning Feb. 21.Share this timeless and enduring classic about the March sisters’ journey from childhood to maturity during the American Civil War.Audiences of all generations will enjoy acquainting — or reacquainting — themselves with the sisters: Meg, the eldest; Jo, the high-spirited tomboy; Amy, the self-centered beauty; and gentle Beth, as well as their beloved Marmee and Father.Together the March family learns to endure good times and bad as they share the joys and pains of growing up. The curtain lifts at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 2:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Hellerstedt said the spike in cases puts Texas “at a very crucial point in time.” He called on Texans “to recover what I feel is a sense of community,” when people seemed more agreeable to making sacrifices to limit the virus spread.Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management, said the state is in good shape when it comes to personal protective equipment, or PPE for short.“We pushed out over 62 million masks to health care workers and first responders across the state. We have about 24 million in our warehouse inventory with another 96 million in route,” he said. “So for PPE shortages or concerns that are out there we need to make sure we are sharing those facts. There’s plenty of PPE in our inventory at this time. That’s one of the few times you’ve heard me say that.”Abbott, meanwhile, alluded to the recent mandates by some local and county officials that businesses require customers to wear masks. But he remained steady in his position that a statewide mask-wearing order is not needed in Texas, where case levels vary from one region to another.“What may be true in Austin, Texas, is different in Austin County,” he said. “And we need to have latitude for that differentiation.”Abbott said he spoke last week with several hospital officials from around the state, including the urban centers were caseloads are the highest.“I was assured and reassured consistently by all the CEOs in all regions in the entire state of Texas they have the capability, the flexibility to ensure that anybody who tests positive for COVID-19 would have a bed available,” he said.Looking ahead to the Fourth of July holiday, Abbott said local officials have the authority to limit gatherings if they see the need. Several local officials are doing just that, he added.“The good news is, we are already seeing responses from local officials,” Abbott said.Abbott also addressed recorded comments from staff members from the conservative advocacy group Empower Texans where they had mocked in sometimes vulgar language Abbott’s disability that requires him to use a wheelchair while deriding his response to the pandemic.“It reveals a lot about an organization whose morals and character that they would use vulgarity to talk about someone in a wheelchair,” Abbott said. “I think the public should judge that organization and the positions it takes through the lens of the people who act that way.” Abbott aggressively endorsed the use of masks by people in public settings. He mentioned an unnamed person in the hospitality industry who was did not want to wear a mask and said he told the person that doing so could make the difference between keeping his business operating or perhaps closing down.The governor said the man came away convinced.“When you go out, you should wear a face covering or mask,” Abbott said, adding later, “I also know that wearing a mask will help us keep Texas open.”He said the more aggressive tone on masks now is because of the spike. No need to push it, he said, when the trend lines were flattening. Then came spikes on all three charts.“To state the obvious, COVID-19 is now spreading at an unacceptable rate in Texas,” Abbott said, adding later “If those spikes continue, additional measures are going to be necessary.”But he said he has no immediate plans for a second shutdown of businesses, saying “closing down Texas again will always be the last option.” AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott arrived at Monday’s news conference wearing a red, white and blue mask.He was joined by Dr. John Hellersted, his medical point person for the pandemic, and head of the Texas Department of State Health Services, physician and former state Rep. John Zerwas, who is executive vice chancellor for health affairs of the University of Texas System and an Abbott adviser, as well as Nim Kidd, chief of the Texas Division of Emergency Management.Behind them were large charts showing trend lines for hospitalization, daily new cases and the positivity rate. All showed a flattening until about Memorial Day.
Next UpThe individual is an African American female between the age range of 60 and 65.It is undetermined at this time whether the individual had underlying health conditions, health department officials said. “We emphasize again that COVID-19 is a very serious disease,” a health department release stated. “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.” A Port Arthur woman has died as a result of the COVID-19 virus, health officials announced Monday afternoon.“It is with great sadness” that the City of Port Arthur Health Department reported the sixth COVID-19-related death of a resident of Port Arthur. Health officials say 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.The Port Arthur Health Department strongly advises at-risk individuals to minimize contact with others who are ill, practice social distancing and wear mask when in public.
Police say the crash occurred at 4:13 a.m. Friday, with poor visibility believed to have been a factor because of foggy weather conditions.The motorcyclist’s injuries were severe and ultimately proved fatal, police said. The driver of the motorcycle was identified as Nathan Keith McCarver, 39, of Orange. A motorcyclist was killed Friday morning in Port Arthur following a collision, authorities said.According to the Port Arthur Police Department, a truck and motorcycle were travelling in opposite directions at 1800 block of South MLK Drive/Texas 82 on Pleasure Island when the collision took place. There has been no indication from authorities as to who was at fault.PAPD’s forensic unit responded to collect evidence and photographically document the scene. The fatal crash is still under investigation. Police did not release information on the condition of the second motorist or if other people were involved. The initial information is all that is being released at this time, police said.
The company has also helped hundreds of residents and students learn critical professional skills like career planning and resume writing, hosted small business development courses and sponsored scholarships for local high school graduates to train in process technology and compete for the more than 200 permanent careers the project will create.“Helping our community benefit from our project and grow alongside our company is more important now than ever,” said Sean Ryan, President of Golden Pass LNG, “As we make progress, we will continue to explore and develop solutions to make sure our neighbors are successful too.”The project is in the second year of a five-year build, and Golden Pass will continue to make sure residents can take advantage of the many more opportunities ahead. Business owners interested in working on the Golden Pass project should visit goldenpasslng.com/vendors, where they can join the more than 400 businesses that have registered for local priority and mark their interest in specific scopes of work. Local residents interested in construction jobs with CCZJV or jobs with Golden Pass should visit goldenpasslng.com/work-with-us to find information about job openings and hiring timelines.Golden Pass LNG, owned by affiliates of Qatar Petroleum (70 percent) and Exxon Mobil Corporation (30 percent), is constructing a project to add liquefaction and export capabilities to its existing liquefied natural gas terminal in Sabine Pass and the associated 69-mile pipeline. The project’s estimated send out capacity will be around 16 million tons of LNG per year. The facility is expected to be operational in 2024. SABINE PASS — While Southeast Texas perseveres through the COVID-19 crisis, many companies and residents are getting a boost from opportunity brought to the area by the Golden Pass LNG export project.The project’s EPC contractor CCZJV has committed over $245 million to more than 150 local businesses so far, and more than 650 local residents are working on the construction site. The project’s total payroll to local residents since project inception is over $31 million. And there are still years of opportunity ahead.“These successes are a result of Golden Pass LNG’s commitment to including local residents and business owners in the growth brought to the area by its $10 billion project to construct liquefied natural gas export facilities at the company’s existing Sabine Pass terminal,” Golden Prass wrote in a news release.