Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Area actresses to appear in “Ghosties”
Beaumont actress will appear in a spooky film produced in Montgomery. It’s the kind of story I would have loved as a tween. Quantum Storm Productions, in an association with Wolfe Entertainment, began production on the pre-teen adventure “Ghosties – The Witches Spell” starring local Beaumont actresses Ashlyn Redwine and Haley Coker; Katy’s Katelyn Merricks and Emily Thompson; Spring’s Anisah Khan; Sugarlands Jessica Yanker, and actor Tanner Fontana from Dallas.
The girls sneak out of their homes to cemeteries to hunt ghosts. Most ventures end in wasted time, but one parent has ghost-encounter skills.
Director/writer David Quintana reports the film is an extension from two short movies originally filmed in New England in 2006. He is known in Houston for efforts on the Internet series “ANGELIKA5.” The studio is planning a casting call. Pre-teens wanting to try out for a role should first follow the first films progress through their facebook page at www.facebook.com/ghostiesmovie.

Branick a loose cannon
While George Washington calls Bruce Brannick’s writing’s “excruciating,” Texas Chinch Bug refers to them as “foul.” A look on the back cover of the local man’s new book lets the reader know a bit of what he or she is getting into with “Memoirs of a Loose Cannon.”

Friends forever
Do friends know us best? I was reading Lisa Verge Higgins’ “The Proper Care and Maintenance if Friendship” while experiencing some of the emotions characters were facing. In this story, Rachel has died having prepared letters to all her friends asking them to fulfill one last, seemingly uncomfortable wish for her. They think she sent the wrong letters to each other, but turns out, she knew what she was doing.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Will you still quilt me?
Beatles fans, wrap yourselves in memories. The Fabric Store and Sew Much More in Nederland has yards of different Beatles fabrics in the “Yellow Submarine” style. Ann Murphy, an instructor there, said women often make Beatles quilts for their husbands.

Something fishy
James Dalton Taylor, 13 of Hamshire, is such a skilled redfish, trout and bass fisherman that Ninja Angler gear is sponsoring him in tournaments, according to his proud pop, Capt. James Taylor, fishing guide. I met Taylor at Daley’s Hunt ‘N’ Fish Supply, the new sportsman’s paradise store in Port Acres. I haven’t yet met Dalton, who is headed to the 8th grade at Hamshire-Fannett Junior High in a few short weeks.

A Port Arthur Dad
The Corsicana Sun featured children sharing their fathers’ advice on Father’s Day. Babbette Samuels, a Pierce Museum docent, is the daughter of Meyer Blankfield.
“He loved music and theater and passed that onto me,” she said in the feature. “He played violin and trumpet and was in the A&M band while in college. After he married and settled, he played violin in the Scottish Rite orchestra in Port Arthur at one time.” His advice: ‘You can always ask, they’re not going to eat you.’ I lost my mother when I was 10; needless to say, I worshipped my Daddy. Sadly, I lost him two months before my 21st birthday,” she said.
If you have a Community Scoop item, send it to ddoiron@panews.com

Monday, June 13, 2011

Cajuns take San Antonio
San Antonio Express-News included words from Port Arthur’s own Jerry Bellot in coverage of the 40th annual Texas Folklife Festival. David Sticker, fiddle player with Jerry Bellot and Cajun Friends, noted people were dancing to their music, even though it seemed like it was 150 degrees this past weekend. Bellot said the band members had to move to make the audience move and have fun. 
“We definitely brought that today,” Bellot said in the posting.

Lincoln Bees draped in memories
I got a sneak peek at purple and gold Afghans adorned with the Lincoln High School Bumblebee that Bernadine Julun-Jacobs will help pass around for the LHS Class of ’76 reunion this weekend at the Robert A. “Bob” Bowers Civic Center.
Look for her with a bunch of Port Arthur area National Black Nurses Association members headed to the group’s 40th anniversary celebration in Indianapolis, Ind. They’re headed to the famous speedway this summer and plan to pose with The News for a News is Everywhere photo.
Readers, don’t forget to pack The News on your summer getaway.

Community makes hurricane experiences into art
Charles Gongre snapped a photo of a half-submerged ship in a post-hurricane scenario. It’s his “Tropical (Im)Pression,” on view at Museum of the Gulf Coast. A display of images from the public shows emotional scenes of damage from Hurricanes Rita and Ike. Catch it now, it’s up through July 24, and will be gone before our current hurricane season is over.
One forward thinking photographer framed up a yellow Port Arthur News box at Lamar State College-Port Arthur filled papers bearing a forewarning headline.
Other photos include a series of how Faggard’s Store at the beach fared through Carla and Ike; Portia Levingston’s image of a barge on Texas 73; and Pet Anselmo’s row of snapped pine trees.
For more information call 409-982-7000 or visit museumofthegulfcoast.org

Friday, June 10, 2011

A tres leches tale for Sunday morning
Nobody stopped me from eating fish and ice cream for breakfast in San Antonio.
To be more specific, I attended a fantastic conference brunch at the Westin Riverwalk featuring lox, a favorite of mine. Representatives from Columbus, Ohio, where next year’s conference will be, flew in local waffles made with beet sugar and offered them topped with a variety of Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams from their fair city. Salty caramel with an amazing cool-yet-burnt flavor was my favorite, but I also tried and enjoyed Ugandan vanilla bean and strawberry buttermilk.
This brunch featured about 15 other things, but I actually went back for more fish and ice cream. What a crazy, memorable combo. I praised the flavors to the Columbus fellow in the elevator, and he said they brought Jeni’s “tame” flavors. He mentioned a goat’s milk and fig deal and cucumber is mentioned in her press coverage.

Pass the La Crème
A little goes a long way with what’s billed as the first all-dairy, flavored creamer available nationally. Since February
LALA has been pitching this yummy natural stuff that has the goods of calcium, protein and Vitamin D. It is lactose free and contains no artificial hormones. Unlike non-dairy creamers, it contains no trans fats.
So what do you need to know? Start by asking yourself, “Will it be French or Cinnamon Vanilla today?” I’d pick hazelnut every day, but there’s original for others.

Just a little bit will make your summer fruit into a rich dessert. You can cook with this stuff, or whip up a variety of adult beverages. Here’s one that could go either way:
Shots Shaken, Not Stirred
1/2 cup cold-brewed coffee
1/2 cup French Vanilla real dairy creamer
Shaved chocolate as garnish
Place coffee and the real dairy creamer in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake vigorously, and then strain the ingredients into double shot glasses. Garnish with shaved chocolate. Serves 4. For an older crowd, substitute a 1/2 cup of Kahlua for the cold-brewed coffee.

A cold one, low cal
If you order the white sauce at an Asian restaurant and appreciate subtle flavors, Artic Zero could be your go-to treat. It’s sure to be the talk of the summer as the first 150 calorie pint of all natural ice cream. Of course, that could open the door for crazy toppings, so be careful.
Mint Chocolate Cookie, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Vanilla Maple, Coffee, and Cookies and Cream, Chocolate, Strawberry and Pumpkin. I tried several of these and found them very light. I think some fresh fruit would add to the experience. Makers want consumers to know you can pronounce the ingredients and the product is gluten free, lactose intolerant friendly, low sugar, low glycemic and suitable for type 2 diabetics.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Babe, Port Arthur’s ‘Wonder Girl’
Everyone around here ought to know about the Olympic and golfing achievements of our Babe, and author Don Van Natta Jr. is alerting the rest of the world in his new book, “Wonder Girl: The Magnificent Sporting Life of Babe Didrickson Zaharias.”
The daughter of “penniless” Norwegian immigrants to Port Arthur became famous for what she could do and a robust personality.

Take a Chance at TAM
Jayne Smith notes the Harmony Exporters chorus will take the stage at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, June 12, for the Second Sunday program at Texas Artists Museum, Cultural Center Drive. I got a singing Valentine from these guys that I will never forget.
My duck-painting buddy Don Chance will have work on display along with wood carvings by M.E. “Bunkie” Stephens. A reception will follow the Second Sunday program, at 3:15 p.m. Cal Gaspard, who is the Foyer Featured Artist of the month.
Forms are ready for ArtSmart for children. Call -983-4881 Tuesday through Saturday for details.

Bubbly for the children
Science gets blown away thanks to the Texas Energy Museum. The Museum and the Beaumont Public Library Services Willard Branch Library will present Bubble Day from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the North End Community Center, 3580 E. Lucas Drive. Children will subtly learn science as they test bubble sizes, strength and color while discovering the physics of soap bubbles. Fun will include bubble walls, making bubbles inside of bubbles and being surrounded by a bubble. It’s free and designed for up-and-blowing scientists aged 3 to 8. For more information, call the museum at 409-833-5100.
Island time is everywhere

“Padre Island” Time is Trip Hunt’s 5th CD and features 22 songs recently recorded in Austin and Rockport. With thinking man’s tunes covering everything from an Irish lilt and guardian angels to a “Lonely Night in Austin” and inconvenient truths. There’s a little something called “Jamaican Me Crazy.”
I think this guy is like the Jerry Diaz of Padre.

Cayman Night in Port Arthur
Both Diaz and Hunt, mentioned above, play music that would fit right in with Cayman Night, but the Barefoot Man already has the gig.

The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and the International Seafarer’s Center will host the 6th annual Cayman Night in Port Arthur from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center, on Lakeshore Drive, at Lamar State College-Port Arthur, 1500 Procter St. Barefoot Man and Band of The Caymans will perform in honor of the more than 500 Caymanians living in the Port Arthur, Texas area. Go to www.caymannight.com for more details.

Gripping summer snacks
Road trips call for bags of snacks that ought to stay fresh throughout the journey. The Gripstic handles your chips as well as your frozen spinach. Run colorful plastic rods under the fold of you bag of coffee, cereal, etc., and another groove of plastic makes a tight seal. Bed Bath & Beyond and Kroger are two area stops for these goodies. They are a neat freak’s dream, because Gripstic helps bags stack up nicely in the pantry or fridge. ddoiron@panews.com

Thursday, June 2, 2011

‘Texas Highways’ has eye for Port Arthur
A bit of boudain or a spicy Vietnamese sandwich, a juke box sampling of musical greats at Museum of the Gulf Coast and a gator sighting at Bessie Height are among journey highlights Dan Oko writes about in June’s “Texas Highways” magazine. The 10-page Texas Upper Coast spread includes Ben DeSoto’s photographs of the Gambusia Natuare Trail, The Rainbow Bridge at sunset and the splendor of Shangri La Botanical Gardens.

Tait style
Lone Star girls can wear their state on their sleeve, as it were, with Texas charms of local and state mascots, the Texas flag, cowboy boots, cowboy hat, Ranger Star, the Longhorn, etc. It’s a Zi Zi thing.
Lynn Tait, of Port Neches, was recently named the National Sales Director for ZiZi Jewelry. ZiZi Jewelry is an international company wholesaling European-style charms. The founder of the company, Bridged Lott, is an artist who recently moved to the United States from Puerto Vallarta.
Texas was the first state in the country to carry this line and by the end of June, will have 15 stores in Texas carrying the ZiZi line, Tate said.
Tait retired from Valero Refinery after almost 37 years of employment to take on this position. ZiZi Jewelry will display jewelry at the upcoming Dallas Market June 23 – June 26. Look for a new line, as well as new charm designs.

Cayman Night in Port Arthur
Feel the breeze? The Greater Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce and the International Seafarer’s Center will host the 6th annual Cayman Night in Port Arthur from 6 to 11 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Carl A. Parker Multipurpose Center, on Lakeshore Drive, at Lamar State College-Port Arthur, 1500 Procter St. Barefoot Man and Band of The Caymans will perform in honor of the more than 500 Caymanians living in the Port Arthur, Texas area. www.caymannight.com, www.visitportarthurtx.com
Get your 2-D, 3-D art ready
Entries are being accepted for The Alternative Show at The Art Studio Inc., 720 Franklin St. in Beaumont. I’ve done this and it was fun. Any artist of any age can enter up to three works. 2-D work must be ready to hang from one hook. 3-D work must be stable and stand on its own. All artists must fill out entry applications, available at The Art Studio. Entries will be accepted from 2 to 5 p.m. June 1-2. The show will open from 7 to 10 p.m. June 4 and will remain on display through June 25.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Billingsley back in books
“A Good Man is Hard to Find,” says ReShonda Tate Billingsley. It’s the title of her just-out book about an affair spiced with danger halfway around the world. The former area anchor is a prolific writer of faith-based novels, so read up. Her next one, “Say Amern, Again,” is due out this summer.

Very clever, my husband noted when he saw the words “navy,” “black,” “brown,” etc. were marked at the toe of oh-so-comfortable socks. Matching socks pre-dawn in the bedroom is a problem solved. Some try to beat the system by owning just one color, but fashion sometimes dictates variety. Kudos to Susan and Michael James, for founding Smarty Toes and solving spousal sock controversy before it starts. Now husbands and wives don’t have to argue on the sock color issue.
Good socks are a luxury men and women deserve. Blacksocks.com has an amazing assortment of high-quality wares including a “shorty” for athletes.
Ozone’s collection includes a novelty men of Southeast Texas should love. The design of the sock looks like a knife is strapped to the wearer’s calf.

If tomorrow weren’t a holiday, you might be packing a school lunch for Monday. I woke up to find a sticky note on the bathroom mirror with one word: “Delicious.” My college-age daughter can’t get over how much she liked Organic Mashups, a squeez-out fruit and veggie smoothie from Revolution Foods that’s designed for little kids. Carroty Chop, Blueberry Blitz and Beetbox Berry has a kind of applesauce consistency and is colorfully packaged for lunch boxes so children will ask for it, instead of sugary processed stuff. My daughter is studying to be a dietician, so I follow her advice. She had a Mashups as a late-night snack. I followed up with a breakfast squeeze.