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March 2009

VOLUME 24 NO. 60 TUESDAY MARCH 31, 2009

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District Judge Responds: District Judge Chap Cain said he does indeed have the authority to rule on cases in the county court at law when requested to do so by County Court at Law Judge Don Taylor. Judge Cain said the difference is when County Judge Phil Fitzgerald dismissed cases on December 31 2008; it was after Judge Don Taylor specifically said the County Judge could not preside over any cases in the County Court at Law. District Judge Chap Cain said Judge Phil Fitzgerald knew he did not have the authority to sit for Judge Taylor in the County Court at Law.

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Trial Set: A new trial date has been set for a local man, Leo Paul Frank Jr, of Raywood, accused of murdering an Iraq war veteran, Quincy Childress. You may remember this case in connection with another that of Rhonda Castilaw, who was arrested, charged with intoxication manslaughter in connection with the Oct. 2008 wreck that killed the murder victim’s father Arthur J. Childress. District Attorney Mike Little said Leo Frank is now scheduled to go to trail Monday April 20 in the 75th District Court of Judge C.T. “Rusty” Hight. Frank is charged in the February 2008 shooting death of Quincy Childress.

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Industrial Accident: A welder, Tim Fregia, was injured Sunday afternoon when an oilfield tank he was repairing exploded. Daisetta Fire Chief Lynn wells said the welder was patching a hole in a salt-water tank in the Varn Grover lease area south of Daisetta when fumes ignited. Lynn Wells said the welder declined treatment and asked to be taken home, but once there, his family took him to the hospital. No word on his condition.

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Social Security OK: David Bowman with the Beaumont office of Social Security said in spite of recognized problems with the economy, social security is in no worse shape than before the down turn. He said while the internet seems even fuller than usual for dire predictions, with adjustments Social Security will remain solvent past the year 2039. If you have questions Social Security representatives are in Liberty the second Wednesday of each month from noon to 3 p.m..

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Funerals: Elizabeth Ann Bolton, 60 of Dayton. Services tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Wells Memorial Chapel in Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.77 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 59 MONDAY, MARCH 30, 2009

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Judges Battle: Two of the most powerful elected officials in Liberty County appear to be at war with one another. Last week, District Judge Chap Cain claimed County Judge Phil Fitzgerald ruled on cases he is not entitled to rule on and should be judged accordingly. Then on Friday, Judge Fitzgerald responded by denying those allegations. Fitzgerald also requested Judge Cain’s immediate resignation, alleging the district judge had ruled on multiple cases that he is not allowed, by law, to hear. As District Judge Chap Cain and County Judge Phil Fitzgerald level accusations at one another, the battle rages on at some of the highest levels of Liberty County judicial leadership.

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Explosion: An apparent lightening strike Friday at a tank battery in the South Liberty Oilfield set off an explosion and fire that destroyed both the tank battery and an 18-wheel, tractor-trailer rig. Liberty firefighters quickly attacked the fire with suppression foam and had it out in less than 45 minutes. No injuries were reported.

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LISD Superintendent: The Liberty ISD board has called a special meeting for tomorrow. The lone agenda item reads “consider and possible action on voluntary separation agreement regarding superintendent”. We are told there will be no word on Dr. Mona Chadwick’s plans until tomorrow’s special meeting.

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Livestock Results: This year’s Houston Livestock Show competition proved a success for a number of local youths. Leading the way were two kids with Dayton 4-H. Jonathan Chachere’s Hereford was named Champion Junior Heifer at the Houston Livestock Show. Also taking top honors was Wesley Walker and his bovine. It was named the show’s Reserve Champion Red Angus.

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Funerals: Helen Dickerson, 86, of Liberty. Services Thursday at 11 a..m. at St. Miles Missionary Baptist under direction of Wells Funeral Service. Victoria Tackett, 63, of Dayton. Services today at 10 a.m. at Sterling in Dayton. Ouida Deckert, 84, of Liberty. Services today at 2 p.m. at Allsion’s in Liberty. R.W. Johnson, 80, of Liberty. Services today at 10 a.m. at Maranatha Church in Mont Belvieu under direction of Navarre of Baytown.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 11.24 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 58 FRIDAY, MARCH 27, 2009

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Liberty Jubilee: Today is the start of the 24th Liberty Jubilee. The courthouse and city hall will close a noon to make way for the food, arts and crafts booths, rides for the kids, public awareness booths and much more. The Liberty Lions Club Fish Fry starts at 5 p.m. on Sam Houston Plaza on the corner of Sam Houston and Main Street. At “dark-thirty” there will be a fireworks display visible from any downtown location. At 8 p.m., the free street dance kicks off with featured entertainer the Jason Cassidy Band. On Saturday, the Jubilee Parade makes its way through down town at 10 a.m... Following the parade, it all swings into high gear with food, fun and entertainment.

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Earp Out of Hospital: A Liberty businessman injured in a knife attack on March 17 at the Empty Pockets Saloon has been released from the hospital. Benny Earp said he is not yet breathing normally and is very sore, but he is much improved. Two men are charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon in the knife attack on Mr. Earp. Brian Dale Rodgers, 35, of Dayton remains in the Liberty County Jail on a $500,000 bond. John Devon Kellebrew, 32, of Dayton is now free on a $100,000 bond after 75th District Judge C.T. “Rusty” Hight reduced the bond from the original $500,000.

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Guns, Drugs and Money: Liberty Sheriff’s Deputies arrested Jason Guillory, age 30, at a residence in the Dayton Lake Estates Subdivision Wednesday morning. Investigators said illegal drugs, a number of guns and $150 in counterfeit money were discovered at the property. Guillory’s bonds total $22,000.

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Benefit: There is a benefit tomorrow in Cleveland for a Tarkington family whose house was destroyed by fire earlier this month. A father and his 1-year-old son also sustained severe burns in the blaze. The benefit is tomorrow from 10:30 until dark at First United Methodist Church on Hwy. 321 in Cleveland with a barbecue and live auction. There also will be a moonwalk, face painting, ice cream sundaes plus root beer and coke floats.

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Funerals: Ernest “Ernie” Cheselka, 78, of Liberty. Services at a later date at Pace-Stancil in Dayton. Sarah Mae Jackson, 79, of Double Bayou. Services are tomorrow at 1 p.m. at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Double Bayou.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.67 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 57 THURSDAY, MARCH 26, 2009

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Burglary Suspect: A Hull man, Randy Don Nugent, 27, was arrested Monday morning following a traffic stop in Liberty. Liberty Police Officer Aaron Venegas saw the vehicle was crammed full of power tools and landscaping equipment all marked “Property of Hardin ISD”. A check with Hardin ISD confirmed one of their buildings had been burglarized. Liberty County Sheriffs Department Corporal Hugh Bishop said Nugent was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia allegedly found in the vehicle. He is under investigation for the Hardin school burglary.

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Tax Break: Local Certified Public Accountant Byron Swaim said a tax credit that allows college students or their parents to deduct a percentage of tuition costs for the first two years of college from their federal income tax has been expanded. He said the tuition deduction has been increased to a maximum $2,500, a substantial increase over previous years.

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Jubilee: Friday at noon marks the start of the 24th annual Liberty Jubilee. The downtown area will be alive with arts & crafts booths, food booths, live entertainment and much more. The Liberty Lion’s Club Fish Fry Dinner, the fireworks display and free street dance are all tomorrow. On Saturday, the parade starts at 10 a.m. followed by live music, a balloon release, kid’s rides and games and more. For information on any of the jubilee events, call 936 336 3684.

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Offices Closed: Both Liberty City Hall and the Liberty County Court house will close at noon tomorrow for the Liberty Jubilee Celebration.

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New City Secretary: The City of Dayton has hired Melinda Soliday as city secretary. She and her husband Charles make their home in the Dayton area.

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Ground Breaking: It was a large crowd that turned out yesterday morning to celebrate the official ground breaking for the new Dayton Library / Community Center. Mayor Steve Stephens said in his remarks to the crowd that it was a step in the right direction for making Dayton a place where people want to come, to visit, do business and live.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.91 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 56 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25, 2009

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Commissioners Court: During yesterday’s meeting of Liberty County Commissioners, County Judge Phil Fitzgerald asked county attorney Wes Hinch about a conversation held between Hinch and District Judge Chap Cain as it related to an open records request. Wes Hinch answered that Judge Cain said basically it was another Janet Harrelson type matter of tampering with and filing government documents and County Judge Phil Fitzgerald should be judged accordingly. At one point, it was asked if the discussion was an agenda item and the county judge replied it had to do with county finances.

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Mills Benefit: There is a benefit this Saturday in Cleveland for a Tarkington family whose house was destroyed by fire on March 8. Bryan Mills, 24, and his 1-year-old child, Dylan, both received severe burns in that blaze. The dad is still in a Houston-area hospital, and the boy is being treated at the LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. The Mills family benefit is Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until dark at First United Methodist Church on S.H. 321 in Cleveland.

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All-District: Five Liberty High School basketball players and their coach have been named to the 22-3A All-District team. Panthers coach Josh Jones was named Coach of the Year by the district’s other coaches. Liberty senior Steve Guillory was selected as the district’s Offensive Player of the Year. Senior Arlando Senegal was named to the District 22-3A first team.

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Recycling: The City of Liberty, in partnership with John Hebert Distributing, is sponsoring a Tire Recycling Day on Saturday, April 4. Help clean up the community by taking old tires to the John Hebert distributorship on Highway 90 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.. There is no charge for this disposal, but the service is for individuals. No businesses. For information, call 336-7361.

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Eagle Scout: Nicholas Rashall has attained the rank of Eagle Scout. That is the highest level a Boy Scout can earn. He is the son of Liberty dentist Dr. Gregory and Lisa Rashall.

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Funerals: Tammy Robinson of Waco. Service 2 p.m. today at Linney Cemetery in Dayton. Melvin “Mano” Tabers, 55, of Liberty. Service 11 a.m. today at Pace-Stancil in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.98 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 55 TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 2009

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Ground Breaking: The City of Dayton is holding an event tomorrow a long time coming. It’s the official ground breaking for the new Library / Community Center tomorrow at 10 a.m. The combined cost of the building and road upgrades is $14 million made possible by a bond vote of the citizens last year. City Manager David Douglas said the parking lots and street projects are completed and projected completion date for the 46,000 square foot building is November of this year. However, in a real world, it could be January 2010. The groundbreaking ceremony is at 801 South Cleveland Street in Dayton. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

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Chambers Co. Deputy Indicted: A Chambers County Grand jury indicted a Chambers County Sheriffs Deputy on March 15 for sexual activity with a person in custody. Ronald DeCarlo turned himself in to the sheriff’s office the same day as the indictment. Other similar allegations are being investigated.

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LCWA: The Liberty County Workforce Academy is looking for graduates. Director Tim Gassiott said on April 8 they will hold an open house to highlight the program to many public officials and would like to have some graduates to show how the program has affected their lives. If you are a LCWA graduate or know someone who is, contact Director Tim Gassiott at 936 258 2510 ext. 4115. Or email, tgassiott@daytonisd.com

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FM 1409: According to TX Dot Spokesman Mark Shepherd, the $3.6 million project at Dead Man’s Curve on FM 1409 should be completed by July of this year. The project to widen the bridge and to the extent possible, straighten the deadly curve began in April 2008.

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Mobile Office: The mobile office of Congressman Kevin Brady will be in Liberty County tomorrow at the Hardin High School from 4-5 p.m. and Tarkington on Thursday at Rice Library on FM 163 from 9-10 a.m. Caseworkers will be on hand to help with issues such as Social Security, Medicare, IRS, immigration and more. For information, call 877 441 5700.

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Funerals: Emma Lou Crocker Noack, 82 of Dayton. Services today 10 a.m. at Simmons Bottom Assembly of God Church.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 13.25 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 54 MONDAY, MARCH 23, 2009

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Taylor overrules Fitzgerald: Liberty County Court-At-Law Judge Don Taylor Friday issued a ruling declaring the dismissal of five cases by County Judge Phil Fitzgerald back on December 31 to be void. We have reported several times on these cases. One case, a driving while intoxicated charge against well-known local attorney Glen Vickery, was also featured on a Houston news report implying Judge Fitzgerald overstepped his authority. Now, Judge Taylor has ruled the five cases remain active on his court-at-law docket.

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Dayton Educators Accused: Two Dayton educators, Leonard “Ray” Law and Amy Law, were placed on administrative leave last week following allegations of family violence. The action centers on accusations that the couple beat their 16-year-old son with a skateboard after the boy was caught smoking in the bathroom of the family home in Crosby. Dayton Superintendent Greg Hayman said school district officials are conducting their own review into these allegations. The Harris County District Attorney’s Office is also investigating.

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House Fire: A house in the Knight’s Forest Subdivision was destroyed by fire Friday night. Hardin VFD Deputy Chief James Redding said volunteer firefighters from Hardin, Liberty and Daisetta responded to the house fire on County Road 2517 around 9:20 p.m. Friday. Deputy Chief Redding said the fire is suspicious in nature because no electricity was connected on the property, which has not be used in months. As a result, Liberty County Sheriff’s Department is investigating.

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Liberty Jubilee: The always popular Liberty Jubilee is this Friday and Saturday. The 24th annual event will bring lots of food, music and fun to downtown Liberty. Billed as a festival for the whole family, the truth is many of the activities are specifically aimed at kids. Since construction work is taking place at the Humphrey’s Cultural Center, the kid’s play area will be on City Hall grounds. Tickets are twenty-five cents each, and the various children’s activities require three or four tickets for admission.

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Funerals: Melba Lorene Gunn Lyons, 80 of Hardin. Services were held yesterday.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 6,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 15.35 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 53 FRIDAY, MARCH 20, 2009

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Texas Budget: State Representative John Otto said he hoped much of the $17 billion economic federal stimulus money might be utilized without any strings obligating taxpayers to future costs. Otto said a drop in revenue estimates for the next two years plus an unexpected problem transferring money from the state’s permanent school fund for public education means that money could definitely come in handy. However, Rep. Otto said trying to sort how much of those billions are obligation free could take lawmakers into a special legislative session.

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Child Porn Arrest: A Chambers County man, David Wayne Garvey, 50 of Beach City, was arrested March 12, charged with possession of child pornography following an 18-month long investigation by the Texas Attorney Generals office, Cyber Crimes unit.

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Jubilee: The 24th Annual Liberty Jubilee is just one week away. The family festival is next Friday and Saturday in downtown Liberty. Friday’s events include arts & crafts booths, food booths, the Lion’s Club Fish Fry, fireworks display just after dark and a free street dance at 8 p.m. with music of the Jason Cassidy Band. The Jubilee continues next Saturday with even more fun activities. For information, call Liberty City Hall at 936-336-3684.

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Email: An email that is circulating is making some people a little nervous about the future of the Texas homestead tax cap for residents age 65 and over. The email claims a vote will come up in May for an amendment to the constitution doing away with the homestead tax cap. The truth is, no such amendment is at issue, no vote on the matter is being planned. State Representative John Otto said he has also received similar emails and wanted to assure Texans the email is wrong.

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Wild Game Dinner: First Baptist Church of Liberty is holding a community wide wild game dinner tomorrow evening. The free event includes tasty treats, door prizes and a special guest, Lynn Burkhead from ESPN TV Sports Outdoors. The dinner will include moose to elk, and from turkey to snake. The dinner starts at 6 p.m. in the activities building. For information, call the church at 336-6881.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 14,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 16.33 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 52 THURSDAY, MARCH 19, 2009

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Cases Dismissed: Liberty County Attorney Wes Hinch has started an investigation in to whether County Judge Phil Fitzgerald had the authority to rule on the cases presented to him for dismissal by assistant county attorney Tommy Chambers. Nine cases were presented for dismissal on December 31, 2008. Judge Fitzgerald dismissed five of the nine including one against local attorney Glenn Vickery. That case had originally been set to appear before county court at law Judge Don Taylor. Whether the county judge has the authority to dismiss those cases has been questioned. County Attorney Wes Hinch said his office look into whether anything improper occurred.

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Dayton School Board: The Dayton School Board Tuesday night gave their blessing to two items relating to the historic Rosenwald School building located on the Colbert Elementary campus. The 1927 Rosenwald School is the original part of the old 1952 Colbert building, which was built around the original school. The rest of the structure was torn down last year, leaving the historic building exposed for the first time in more than 50 years. The school board approved an inter-local use of premises agreement with the Colbert Rosenwald Corporation that gives them access to the building. The board also approved a $39,000 contract with Arnold Builders to roof the building.

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Liberty City Council: The Liberty City Council discussed a proposed ordinance that would allow the Liberty Fire Department to bill for fire calls. Fire Chief Fred Collins said it has become a common practice for fire departments to recoup money spent by billing the insurance companies. Collins said the ordinance would only bill those who had insurance coverage. Several council members felt that billing those with insurance and not those without, was discriminating. Council decided to table the ordinance until some changes could be made.

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Baseball/Softball: Our 2009 baseball/softball broadcast season continues Friday night with Dayton girls’ softball team taking on Goose Creek Memorial from Baytown in Dayton. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. our broadcast begins at 5:50 p.m.

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Jubilee: This Friday is the deadline to sign up for the Liberty Jubilee Parade set for March 28. Call 336 3684.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 14,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 15.01 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 5 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 18, 2009

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Stabbing: A late night attack at a local tavern sent Liberty businessman Benny Earp to Memorial Herman Hospital. He is said to be in stable condition despite several stab wounds to the back. Benny Earp was the owner of the Liberty Sonic fast food restaurant before selling last year. Liberty Police interim chief Ricky Skarpa said two suspects, Ryan Dale Rogers, 35, and John Devon Kellebrew, 32, both from Dayton, are under arrest charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. JP Bobby Rader set bond at $500,000 each with very restrictive conditions should they make bail.

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Aggravated Robbery: Two women are under arrest charged with aggravated robbery in connection with an early Monday morning armed robbery of a game room just south of Cleveland on Hwy. 321. Liberty County Sheriffs Corporal Hugh Bishop said Lora Matlock displayed a weapon and robbed the operators of the 321 Game Room of more than $18,000 in cash. Outside, her sister and apparent accomplice, Kathryn Matlock-Ramadan, waited in a get away car. In less than ten minutes, Liberty County sheriff’s deputies stopped the two women, recovering the money and a handgun. They are each being held on $250,000 bond charged with aggravated robbery.

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Dayton City Council: New federal economic stimulus dollars dominated Monday night’s meeting of Dayton City Council. Council authorized Mayor Steve Stephens to sign two agreements with the O’Malley Engineering Company. One for shovel-ready sewer project and the other for shovel-ready water projects. City Manager David Douglas said guidelines on those economic stimulus funds give a high priority to projects that are ready to go right now, and this agreement should give Dayton a leg up on other cities competing for those same federal dollars. ****************************************************

School Board Elections: In Devers ISD, incumbents Robert Kirkland and Waldon Guillory will face challenger Tommy McIntosh in at-large voting. In Hull-Daisetta ISD, place 6, the candidates are Jenna Brett, James May, and Aubrey Fregia Jr.

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Funerals: Elsie Violet Sturge Dingley, 94 of Mont Belvieu. Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Memory Gardens Cemetery in Baytown.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 12,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 13.56 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 50 TUESDAY, MARCH 17, 2009

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New Cleveland Police Chief: The City of Cleveland has hired Mark Bradshaw to be its new police chief. The 24-year veteran of the Humble Police Department takes over the “top cop” position in Cleveland on Monday. He and his wife have lived in Cleveland for the past 15 years. Retiring Chief Ike Hines’ final day is next Tuesday. A citywide reception to welcome new Police Chief Mark Bradshaw will be held before Monday’s City Council meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. at Cleveland City Hall.

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Burn Ban Lifted: With the recommendation of the Texas Forest Service, Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald yesterday lifted the burn ban for the unincorporated areas of Liberty County. Remember, outdoor burning must comply with Texas Commission on Environmental Quality regulations.

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Voter Registration: Liberty County Voter Registrar Mark McClelland is reminding area folks the deadline to register to vote in the upcoming May 9 election is April 9. There are no statewide or national elections that day, but area cities, school boards and hospital districts will hold elections. Early voting is April 27 through May 5.

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Blood Drives: Donating blood can save three lives, and there are several opportunities coming up to give this gift of life. There is a blood drive Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Schlumberger on Industrial Road in Liberty. A platelet drive is Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m. in the FLNB Community Room. Then, on Monday, folks can donate from 4 to 8 p.m. at Liberty Church of Christ. For information or a platelet appointment, call 936-298-2689.

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H-D ISD Race: The Hull-Daisetta School Board race is one of the most crowded contests in the upcoming May 9 elections. In the Place 3 school board race, Andrew McCreight faces challenger Noah Espree Jr. Place 4 pits Inez Echols against David Meadows. In the Position 5 contest, incumbent Anna Lou Warren and newcomer Vincent Espree are seeking election. Then, Jenna Brett, James May and Waldon Guillory are all vying for the unexpired Position 6 seat.

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Funerals: Tina Gail Pratt, 46 of Raywood. Services11 a.m. tomorrow at Sacred Heart Catholic Church - Raywood.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 10,000 CFS-LIBERTY BRIDGE: 11.93 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 49, MONDAY, MARCH 16, 2009

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Reward: A $2,000 reward is being offered for the arrest and formal charging of the person or persons involved in a home burglary on FM 1011 sometime between last Wednesday afternoon and Thursday evening. The homeowner said the thieves made off with jewelry, cash and some unique firearms, including two Ducks Unlimited special edition 20-guage shotguns. Anyone with information is asked to call the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at 936-336-4500.

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Stimulus Rejection: It has been widely reported Texas Governor Rick Perry has turned down about $555 million in federal stimulus money to expand the state’s unemployment insurance program. According to Rep. John Otto of Dayton, the governor and a fellow Republican did the right thing. Rep. Otto said accepting the federal money would have obligated Texas to continue funding the expanded program after the stimulus money runs out. The local representative said that leaves the remainder of the roughly $17 billion in stimulus money the Texas governor has agreed to accept.

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Air Quality: Improving air quality in Liberty County is the topic of a countywide meeting Thursday afternoon. The Houston-Galveston Area Council is responsible for establishing ozone forming reduction projects in an eight-county region that includes both Liberty and Chambers counties. Reportedly, the region is not in compliance with federal air quality standards and must reach attainment by the year 2019 or highway funds could be lost. All government entities and businesses, especially those with several vehicles or equipment, are encouraged to attend Thursday at 1 p.m. at the Emergency Management Office on Beaumont Avenue next to the sheriff’s office in Liberty.

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Arts and Crafts: Some arts and craft booth spaces remain available for the 24th Annual Liberty Jubilee Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28. For information, call Liberty City Hall at 936-336-3684.

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Sam Center: A special exhibit honoring Mirabeau B. Lamar will open at 10 a.m. this Saturday at the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center. A reception recognizing the exhibit’s creator is at 11 a.m. at the Jean and Price Daniel House.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.40 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 48, FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2009

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Possible Shooting: Liberty police are investigating a wreck and possible shooting on Mizell Road Tuesday night around 8:30. Many details remain unknown, but officers responding to that call found two wrecked cars, a third damaged vehicle and a bullet magazine to a high-powered rifle. Six spent rounds match six bullet holes found in one of the vehicles. No arrests so far.

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S. H. 146: The much-anticipated expansion of State Highway 146 from U.S. 90 in Dayton to the Chambers County line will get under way this year. Phase 1, from Highway 90 south to FM 1413, will begin in late May or early June. Then, Phase 2, which goes from FM 1413 to the Chamber County line, should begin by early November. This project will last about 2 ½ years if the weather cooperates. During construction, officials say traffic will mostly flow as usual, but will be slowed for safety.

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Burn Victims: Here is more news on the father and his infant son injured in a Sunday afternoon house fire in the Tarkington area. The dad, 24-year-old Bryan Mills, is in Memorial Hermann Hospital awaiting skin-graft surgery Monday. He will be there for at least two weeks. Dylan, the 1-year-old boy, remains in a Louisiana hospital, listed in critical but stable condition with third- and fourth-degree burns to 84 percent of his body. We are told he will be in the hospital for at least six months.

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Injury Accident: DPS Trooper Jamie Neault said Kerryl Glass, 46, of Dayton eastbound on Hwy 90 Wednesday night at a high rate of speed when her SUV left the roadway, went into a skid and flipped over the guardrail. Dayton volunteer firefighters had to lift the vehicle up the embankment to free the woman trapped inside. She was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston by ground ambulance.

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Ames Mayor Race: Longtime Ames Mayor John White is being challenged for a new term on May 9 by former Ames Mayor Roy E. Rollins. However, questions have been raised about whether Mr. Rollins is a resident of the city. If not, he would be ineligible to run.

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Funeral: Lois Varner Baldwin of Liberty. Services at 11 a.m. at Trinity Valley Baptist Church.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.07 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 47, THURSDAY, MARCH 12, 2009

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Theft Ring: Five teenagers have been arrested in what Liberty County Sheriff’s Department calls a burglary and all-terrain vehicle theft ring. Two 17-year-old Daisetta residents – Joseph Whiddon and Matthew Dees – are charged with burglary of a building. In addition, three Devers-area juveniles also face charges in connection with the ATV thefts. Others charges and arrests are possible. So far, 6 ATV’s have been recovered.

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DCDC: The Dayton Community Development Corporation board voted unanimously Tuesday night to declare an agreement H.I.B. Family Fun Corporation “null and void”. Back in January 2005, DCDC gave a $35,000 grant to HIB. It was contingent on several key items being completed over a period of time. One of those items was a statement of proof of financial responsibility. That statement has not been provided, and the board declared a recent extension null and void. The DCDC has not decided if it will take legal steps to have the corporation pay back the $35,000 grant.

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18-Wheeler Wreck: No injuries but a big mess resulted from an accident early Tuesday morning when an 18-wheel tractor-trailer rig lost its load of oil sludge in a ditch on FM 563 near the Chambers Co. Line. DPS Trooper Boyd Lamb said the truck’s driver took evasive action to avoid collision with an oncoming car in the truck’s lane. That right turn snapped the cable holding the tank behind the big rig and spilled a large amount of sludge.

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Arts and Crafts: Some arts and craft booth spaces remain available for the 24th Annual Liberty Jubilee Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28. Call Liberty City Hall at 936-336-3684 for more information.

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Refuge Employment: Trinity River Wildlife Refuge is seeking summer employment applications from teens, ages 15 and 18, for two positions through the Youth Conservation Corps Program. Two crew members will be hired to work 40 hours a week from June 15 through August 7. For applications or information, call the refuge office at 936-336-9786.

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Funeral: Eva Sue Hatcher, 73, of Hull. Service is 2 p.m. today at Allison Funeral Service.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.54 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 46, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11, 2009

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Burn Ban: Liberty County remains under a burn ban after commissioners voted unanimously Tuesday to continue prohibiting outdoor burning in unincorporated areas. Of course, outdoor burning is prohibited within cities by city ordinance. Of note, Chambers County also has a burn ban in place.

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Two Hurt in Wreck: DPS Trooper Nathanial Godfrey said 18-year-old Randy Henry was driving his SUV too fast down C.R. 2726 Sunday afternoon. Trooper Godfrey said the vehicle went into a side skid and rolled. Krystal Chapman, 22, and Heather Robinson, age 15, were apparently standing up in the vehicle, halfway out of the sunroof at the time. Both were airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital, now reported to be in stable but serious condition. The driver, Randy Henry, suffered minor injuries. Three other teens in the vehicle were not hurt.

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Elections: Area elections are May 9. In the city of Hardin, incumbent mayor Lee Miller is unopposed. Councilwoman Elizabeth Lozano is the only candidate for Place 5, and newcomer Julie Terry has no competition for Place 1. Although none of the candidates has an opponent, a May 9 election is still required because the city of Hardin is asking voters to approve a 1 percent city sales tax. Early voting is April 27-May 5.

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Wild Game: First Baptist Church of Liberty is hosting a free communitywide wild game dinner on Saturday, March 21, at 6 p.m. in the activities building. The event includes tasty treats, door prizes and a special guest – Lynn Burkhead of ESPN Outdoors. The menu includes 34 dishes, desserts and sides.

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Eagle Band: The popular Invincible Eagle Band will be performing at the 24th Annual Liberty Jubilee in just a couple of weeks. Two rehearsals are set for Monday, March 16, and Thursday, March 26, at 6 p.m. at the Liberty Middle School Band Hall on Jefferson Drive. Anyone interested in joining the community band should call Jim Sterling at 936-336-5464.

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Funeral: Gene Larry Trammell, 65 of Crosby. Service is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Pace-Stancil Dayton. Robert Eugene Ishmael, 66, of Liberty. Service is Thursday at 2 p.m. at God’s Word in Action in Dayton under direction of Allison’s.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.67 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 46, TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2009

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House Fire: A 1-year-old remains in critical but stable condition after sustaining severe burns Sunday afternoon in a house fire on FM 2236 in the Tarkington area. Firefighters said the child’s father, Bryan Mills, rescued the boy from the fire. The father is in Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, and the boy was flown by air ambulance to LSU Health Sciences Center in Shreveport, Louisiana. Their large home may be a total loss because of extensive fire, smoke and water damage.

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Employment Outlook: The Houston and Beaumont markets will continue to outpace the rest of the country when it comes to maintaining and even increasing employee numbers during the second quarter. According to the Manpower Employment Outlook, 26 percent of businesses in the Houston market and 20 percent of Beaumont-area businesses plan to hire more employees between April and June of this year.

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Dayton Elections: Dayton Mayor Steve Stephens is unopposed in the upcoming May 9 elections. However, there are three candidates in the race for two open spots on Dayton City Council. They are incumbents Barbara Zaruba and Haywood “Frosty” Pruitt plus former DCDC board chair Jay Knight.

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Firefighter Training: Firefighters from the departments of Tarkington, Cleveland, Cypress Lakes, Dayton, Highway 321, Livingston and Plum Grove received valuable training Saturday. The firefighters trained on shuttling water from remote locations to a fire. This is vital in rural areas where fire hydrants aren’t easily accessible.

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Mobile Office: Congressman Kevin Brady said his mobile office will be in Liberty County March 25 from 4 to 5 p.m. at Hardin High School and again on March 26 from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Tarkington library. Congressional caseworkers will be at both locations to help people with government problems.

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Funeral: Edward E. Vrana Sr, 81, of Dayton. Services are 10 a.m. today at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. Douglas Williamson, 62, of Silsbee. Services 2 p.m. today at Farmer Funeral Home in Silsbee. Peggy Graves, 75, of Hull. Services at a later date with Pace-Stancil in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.29 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 45, MONDAY, MARCH 9, 2009

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Investigation: Houston Channel 13 TV news reporter Wayne Dolcefino is investigating allegations of wrongdoing by County Judge Phil Fitzgerald. The Houston reporter has requested copies of documents related to county contracts for Hurricane debris removal. He also has obtained copies of paperwork relating to criminal cases pending in the County Court at Law that were dismissed on December 31, 2008. There were nine cases dismissed by Judge Fitzgerald on the final day of 2008, and one included a driving while intoxicated charge against a prominent local attorney. Some question if the county judge had the legal right to dismiss the cases, but Judge Fitzgerald says the Texas Constitution grants county judges that right. We are told at least one of those cases was dropped for lack of evidence. KSHN’s investigation has disclosed no evidence of wrongdoing so far..

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Elections: Today is the final day to file as a candidate for local city council, school board or hospital district elections. Anyone who lives within the city limits or boundaries of a school or hospital district, who is eligible by state law, can register at their city hall or administration building. The hospital district office is located at the corner of Webster and Fannin in Liberty. Early voting is April 27 through May 5. Election day is May 9.

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Hardin Facilities: Hardin ISD school board has authorized Superintendent Bob Parker to gather information on financing upgrades and improvements to the Hardin football stadium plus the baseball and softball fields. The overall cost could be as much as $1.5 million, which includes field turf for the football playing surface. Parker said the district might have to spread the work out over several years.

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Fire Destroys House: Fire destroyed a singlewide mobile home and nearby storage shed Saturday on C.R. 2146, located off FM 787 in far North Liberty County. Officials say the fire started with cleaning solvents stored in the shed exploded around 11:15 Saturday night. The North Liberty County fire volunteers called for mutual aid, and the Woodpecker, Hardin and South Polk County volunteer fire departments responded. No one was hurt.

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Funeral: Ethel Mettlen, 84, of Hardin. Services tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Jordan Cemetery under direction of Faith and Family.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.36 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 44, FRIDAY, MARCH 6, 2009

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Training Repayment: A policy change in the City of Dayton will require employees to reimburse the city for the cost of training received, if the employee leaves the city within 6 months of the training. Some city employees, such as police officers, who are required by state mandate to get a certain number of hours each year to maintain their employment, would be exempt from the requirement. City Manager David Douglas said there have been several instances recently of people hired by the city who received training courses paid for by the city then suddenly quit because that training qualified them for a better job somewhere else.

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Elections: Monday is the last day those who want to seek election to their local city council, hospital district or school board. Anyone who lives within the city limits or the boundaries of a school or hospital district, who is eligible by state law, can sigh up as a candidate through Monday. Registration is taking place at the various city hall buildings, school district administration offices, and the hospital district office. Election Day is May 9.

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Airport: Construction projects at the Liberty Municipal Airport will soon get under way that includes both capital improvement and repairs from storm damage. Avon Moore, Airport Supervisor said the city has received two grants totaling more that $1.5 million for projects including replacement of runway lights, improved drainage and other improvements. The clean up following last years hurricane continues with the rebuilding of several damaged and destroyed hangers still to come.

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Guys and Dolls: This weekend is the last chance to catch the Valley Players production of “Guys and Dolls”. Tonight and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m. with a Sunday matinee at 2 p.m. Tickets are $10. Call 336 3719 for reservations.

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Spring Forward: This weekend marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time. The time change officially begins at 2 a.m. Sunday, however most folks prefer to set their clock ahead one hour before going to bed Saturday evening. Officials also remind us it is a good time to replace batteries in smoke detectors.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.14 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 43, THURSDAY, MARCH 5, 2009

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Fire: A small rent house on FM 160 was gutted by fire Tuesday night shortly before midnight. Both the City of Liberty and Hull-Daisetta fire departments teamed up to extinguish the fire, but the one bedroom home was gutted and its contents mostly destroyed. The resident, Melinda Sims said she and her two children had a space heater in the house that she intended to turn off when she left to visit friends, but may have overlooked it.

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Burn Ban: Yesterday, Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald issued a burn ban into effect for all unincorporated areas of Liberty County. Dry, windy conditions are favorable for a fire to get out of control easily. This order will remain in effect until the next commissioner’s court meeting at which time commissioners will determine whether to extend of lift the ban.

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Dayton Sells: Dayton City Council Monday night approved an agreement to sell the leasehold rights to the Jones Public Library to the Dayton School District. City Manager David Douglas said once the new Library and Civic center complex is completed, Dayton ISD would get the Jones Library building and property back at a cost of $200,000 to be paid by the school district to the city.

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Dr. Brown Improved: The condition of local physician Reese Brown is reported to be greatly improved following serious injuries he suffered last Friday at his family ranch in Richland, TX. Information from family members indicates Dr. Brown is out of bed, sitting up in a chair and talking with visitors. He was airlifted to Dallas’ Parkland Hospital following the accident and family members say he is looking forward to being transferred soon to a hospital in this area, or maybe even be allowed to come home.

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Paws for Love: The “Paws 4 Love” group is holding an informational workshop Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Devers United Methodist Church. Pet Therapy can make a big difference for young children, the elderly and others dealing with severe illness or depression. Liberty County pet owners can volunteer their time and their well-disciplined pets to area nursing homes, hospitals and schools. To learn more about the workshop, call 936 549 7613.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.04 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 42, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 4, 2009

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Dayton City Council: There was a lengthy discussion at Monday night’s Dayton City Council meeting on a proposed ordinance to ban the practice of wearing one’s pants down below the end of the spine. Call it “sagging” or plain ol’ baggy pants. Dayton Mayor Steve Stephens first proposed an ordinance be considered because he and other citizens he talked to found the showing of underwear by - mostly - teenaged males to be indecent. While everyone who spoke at the meeting agreed the practice was offensive, most felt it was not council’s job to tell Dayton citizens how to dress. The proposal to outlaw low-slung pants died for lack of a motion.

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DCDC: The Dayton Community Development Corporation has hired a new executive director. Monday night the board unanimously approved the appointment of Chris Potter as their new director. A native of Crandall, TX Chris Potter most recently served as President and CEO of the Athens Economic Development Organization. Prior to that, he spent 8 years as Director of Marketing with the McKinney Economic Development Corporation, with 5 years prior to that held in a similar position with the city of Ennis.

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Arrest: We reported last week on the arrest of two men in Ames following a brief foot chase with Liberty County Sheriffs Deputies. Two men were arrested, 28-year-old Tyree Patterson of Liberty was charged with assault. He remains jailed in lieu of $2,000 bond. Orrin Tyler Hebert 21 of Houston was arrested and charged with evading arrest and unlawful handgun possession. Orrin Hebert posted bond and was released.

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Blood Drives: Life Share Blood Center Coordinator Dorothy Nettles said there is always a need for blood and only five out of every 60 people eligible to donate actually give blood. During the month of March, there are 10 opportunities to donate in South Liberty County. The first is tomorrow from 2-6 p.m. at FLNB Dayton Financial Center. The following Thursday, folks can donate from 2-6 p.m. in the community room at FLNB in Liberty. For information, call Dorothy Nettles at 936 298 2689.

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Funerals: Jewel Hubert Street, 83 of Cleveland. Services 11 a.m. at Neal Funeral Home in Cleveland.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.10 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 41, TUESDAY, MARCH 3, 2009

Arrested Again: A Liberty man, Chris Keaton, arrested in January in connection with two Hardin burglaries is back in jail, this time for allegedly committing another burglary in Liberty Friday night. Liberty Police Detective Kenneth Taylor said police found Christopher Lee Keaton, 33, in a utility room adjoining a home in Liberty after a neighbor reporting seeing a man trying to kick in the front door of the residence. Lt. Taylor said an elderly resident was home during the break-in.

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Stumps Prom: Liberty High School is ranked 6th in the nation for total number of votes in the “Proms Across America” competition, and remains number one in Texas. The top three vote getting schools across the country will win $6,000 in prom supplies and DJ services, while the remaining 47 top schools in number of votes will get $1,000 in prom supplies. To vote for Liberty High School, go to www.stumpsprom.com, scroll down to the Proms across America link. From there, scroll to Texas, find Liberty High School, click it, and go to the bottom and hit vote. It is essential to press the vote button for it to count. Voting ends March 13th. Remember you can vote one time per day, everyday, from every computer you can find.

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Time Change: Here’s an advance reminder, next Sunday morning, March 8th is the beginning of daylight saving time. That’s when clocks need to be moved ahead one hour. Officially, the time change is a 2 A.M. Sunday, however most like to do the deed before retiring Saturday night. Remember spring forward! Experts also advise use the time change date as a reminder to change the batteries in all smoke detectors.

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Grant Plants Garden: The Liberty Education Foundation is designed to help fund education projects not funded through the district budget. One of those projects is a garden planted at Liberty Elementary School by the 3rd grade class of bilingual teacher Catherine Bonillas. With the money from the foundation, she said they were able to build six garden plots, with 8 teachers involved in planting gardens with their classes.

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Funerals: Elmer Janacek, 81 of Liberty. Funeral mass 10 a.m. tomorrow at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Liberty. Mary Lois Somers Martin, 79 of Humble. Services today at 10 a.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.09 ASL*

VOLUME 24 NO. 40, MONDAY, MARCH 2, 2009

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Dr. Brown Injured: Well-known Liberty physician Dr. Reese Brown suffered serious injuries Friday while working on his old family farm near Corsicana. Dr. Brown’s clothing became entangled in a post-hole auger inflicting serious injuries. They included a compound fracture to his arm, lacerations to his head, eight broken ribs and a collapsed lung. He underwent two surgeries at Parkland Hospital in Dallas over the weekend. His family says he is now able to communicate with a pad and pen.

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Road Work: Texas Department of Transportation has awarded $17 million for highway safety projects in the eight-county Beaumont District. The state’s safety bond program awards money to projects having the greatest potential for reducing wrecks. The work in Liberty County includes extending shoulders on both FM 1011 and FM 2797.

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Elections: All area cities, school and hospital district boards will hold elections on May 9. Those eligible under state law have until next Monday to sign up as a candidate. Early voting is April 27 - May 5. As of Friday, the Liberty ISD board race was the only one with enough candidates to require an election.

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Pants Ordinance: Tonight, Dayton City Council will consider banning pants that expose a person’s underwear. The new ordinance would make wearing such pants a Class C misdemeanor punishable by fines. Council will meet tonight at 7 at Dayton City Hall, and it is open to the public.

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Photo Contest: Liberty Jubilee is March 27-29. That means its time for amateur photographers to enter their best works in the annual Jubilee Photo Contest. Categories in the show include landscape, people, nature, and art photography. Other classes are botanical, children, plus black and white. Entry forms and rules are available at Liberty City Hall. For information, call Marsha Rader at 936-336-2026 or April Reiss at 936-336-7361.

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Funerals: William Pinkin Powell, 85, of Hull. Service 2 p.m. today at Lighthouse Church of Moss Hill under direction of Faith and Family Funeral Service. Sylvia L. Campbell, 82, of Liberty. Services 2 p.m. Tuesday at Pace-Stancil of Dayton. Visitation is 5 to 9 p.m. today at the funeral home.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS - LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.04 ASL*

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