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January 2011

VOLUME 26 NO. 20 TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2011

 

Medical ID Theft: According to Patti Nelson, Vice President of ID Theft Solutions of America, the number one identity theft is not financial information, but medical. At the January luncheon of the Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, she said it is the number one theft of identification, and the most difficult to clear up. Ms. Nelson said HIPAA or Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, makes the situation even worse. Once the thieves medical information is mingled with your's, HIPPA laws prevent release of that information, even to you, because they are directed by law not to release the other person's medical information. For information on ID Theft Solutions of America, call 832-860-1786.

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Hard Freeze: The National Weather Service is predicting an artic front to move through our area today, and hang around through the end of the week. A hard freeze watch remains in effect from this evening through Wednesday morning. In addition to the cold temperatures, blustery northerly winds will send wind chill values into the single digits and teens. Residents should begin their preparations for this very cold weather as soon as they can. Remember to take care of plants, pets, pipes and people.

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Houston Marathon: Several Liberty Countians were among the 20,000 plus runners in Sunday's Houston marathon. Topping the field of local contenders was 44-year-old Robert Dunn of Liberty. He finished the long distance race in 3:21:28 for 347 place among the marathoners. The co-owner of BJ Ford in Liberty has now completed more than 50 marathons.

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Chamber Business Expo: Coming up April 7, is the popular Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. Chamber Board Member Sheri Metlin said there is room for 38 businesses to set up inside the Liberty Center at City Hall to showcase their products and services to visitors. The booths are 8 x 8 with a table, chairs and a banner with the business name. That is provided for the vendor fee of $200 for Chamber members and $250 for non-members. For information, call Sheri at 936-336-9001 or the Chamber office at 936-336-5736.

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Obituaries: Patricia Ann Phipps, 69 of Liberty. Graveside services 10 a.m. Wednesday at Hardin Chapel Cemetery.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.89 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 19 MONDAY, JANUARY 31, 2011

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Fitzgerald and Groce Indicted: Former Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald, Former Liberty County Pct. 2 Commissioner Lee Groce and businessman Mark Miksch have been named in a 25-count indictment returned by a federal grand jury. During a press conference Friday morning in Beaumont, U.S. Attorney John Bales alleged that following Hurricane Ike's landfall on September 13, 2008, Fitzgerald and Groce used their elected positions to fraudulently influence and award debris removal contracts to a company in return for sub-contracts being awarded to Fitzgerald's brother-in-law, Mark Miksch. The defendants will make their initial appearance tomorrow in Beaumont before U.S. Magistrate Judge Earl Hines.

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Fitzgerald Responds: Phil Fitzgerald is represented by Beaumont attorney Lum Hawthorne. In a letter of response, the attorney said the former county judge did nothing wrong and will be vindicated in court. Mr. Hawthorne asserts the charges originated with Judge Fitzgerald's political opponents who fed the government information that was incomplete or incorrect. The lawyer also points out that government attorneys refused his offer to speak with them before they presented the case to a grand jury. In conclusion, Lum Hawthorne said his client, Phil Fitzgerald, will be acquitted of all charges.

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Dayton Chamber: The Dayton Chamber of Commerce held its 10th Annual Banquet Friday night. During that gala, they presented a number of awards, including Dayton Industry of the Year - Global Tubing. Small Business of the Year was Pappy's Barbecue. Volunteer of the Year is Louis Mosley. One of the emotional highlights of the evening was the presentation of a special award and plaque to the parents of Army Staff Sgt. Jesse W. Ainsworth. He was killed in Afghanistan on July 10, 2010. Mark McClelland made the special presentation to Sgt. Ainsworth's parents, Margie and Gene Hutchins of Dayton.

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Public Meeting: The City of Liberty will host an informational meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall on the recently completed drainage study for the Oak Forest Subdivision.

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Obituaries: Jimmie L Lee, 86. Service is today at 11 a.m. at Allison Funeral Service of Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.91 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 18 FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011

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Painting at LES: The community is invited to take part in sprucing up Liberty Elementary School at the "Paint the Pig" event on Saturday February 19. L.E.S. Principal Tom Connelly said the plan is for LISD staff members and as many volunteers as possible to tackle the project of painting the hallways at the elementary school. Mr. Connelly said any donations for paint, paint rollers or other painting supplies are welcome, but the biggest need is for folks to do the actual painting. For information on the "Paint the Pig" event Saturday February 19, call LES at 336-3609.

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Oak Forest Drainage Meeting: The City of Liberty will hold an informational meeting this coming Tuesday on the drainage study for the Oak Forest subdivision recently completed. City Manager Gary Broz said the city participated in the study to provide information on what the City of Liberty and the residents of Oak Forest can do to help alleviate flooding in that subdivision. The meeting is Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. at Liberty City Hall. For information, call 336-7361.

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Wall of Fame: Time is running short to nominate someone for the Dayton ISD "Wall of Fame". Established in 1999, the "Wall of Fame" salutes special educators who have contributed to the education of youth in the district. The deadline to nominate someone for the "Wall of Fame" is Tuesday, February 1. Nomination forms are available on the districts website, all Dayton campus offices and at the administration building. For more information, call 936-258-2667.

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Tax Office: The Liberty County Tax Office will be open until 6 p.m both today and Monday for people to pay their property tax by the January 31st deadline.

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Obituaries: Toni Rochelle Bederka, 55 of Dayton. Services tomorrow at 3 p.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. Cinderella "Peggy" Burris, 91 of Baytown. Services are tomorrow at 11 a.m. Washington Chapel M.B. Church on Jones Rd. in Baytown. Jane Ann Brandl, 63 of Hardin. Services tomorrow 2 p.m. at Hardin United Methodist Church. Mary Yvonne Evans, 75 of Mont Belvieu. Graveside services tomorrow 2 p.m. in Palms Memorial Park in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.94 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 17 THURSDAY, JANUARY 27, 2011

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Fitzgerald Indicted: KSHN learned late Wednesday afternoon that former Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald has been indicted in Federal District Court in Beaumont. Mr. Fitzgerald confirmed he got a phone call from the Federal District Court that he was indicted and he looks forward to getting these issues resolved. He did not know if there were one or more charges against him. We confirmed elsewhere that a federal judge sealed the indictment until a press conference scheduled for tomorrow. That is when details of the indictment and any charges will be revealed.

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Stewart to Retire: Jerry Stewart, Dayton Bronco head football coach for the past 15 seasons, has submitted his letter of retirement, effective at the end of this school year. It was a surprise but he made it clear to KSHN Radio, he is not shopping for a new job. He said the Dayton Bronco coaching job would be his last coaching job. Coach Stewart asked the Dayton Trustees to allow him to stay on as part time athletic director in Dayton and that request was granted.

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Dayton Superintendent: At the Tuesday night meeting of the Dayton School Board of Trustees, Superintendent Mike Kuhrt's contract was extended for a year. According to Superintendent Mike Kurht, his salary and benefits, at $149,960 remain the same. Mike Kuhrt joined the Dayton Independent School District in May 2010.

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Dayton City Council: At their Monday meeting, the Dayton City Council approved the purchase of $9,993 for new Christmas decorations for the city. The decorations are mostly banners to display over city streets. Dayton City Council member Bill Gay commented he was "offended" by the banners that had been selected. Mr. Gay said the banners all said phrases like "Happy Holidays", "Seasons Greetings", or "Happy Hanukah". He felt some of them should say something about the birth of Jesus Christ. Dayton City Manager David Douglas said the banners were chosen from what was available in the market place and offered to do more shopping for different banners.

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Obituaries: Lillian Hazel Morse, 83 of Saratoga. Services tomorrow 10 a.m. at West End Baptist Church in Saratoga.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.96 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 16 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2011

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Dayton City Council: There was very little discussion Monday night before the Dayton City Council voted unanimously to ban the sale of so-called "synthetic marijuana". We have reported the crowing concerns statewide and nationwide of these incense products with names like "K-2" and "Spice". Dayton Police Chief Pete Douzat addressed council at Monday's meeting urging the passage of the ordinance banning the products. Smoking them is said to give the user a marijuana like "high", but experts say the chemical make up of these incense product make them a dangerous health risk to the user.

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Tax Office Hours: Don't forget, property taxes are due this coming Monday. Liberty County Tax Assessor/Collector Mark McClelland said after that date, penalty fees will be added. According to Mr. McClelland, the tax office at both the courthouse in Liberty and the Cleveland Annex will be open extended hours Friday and Monday. The offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. to accept your payments or provide other assistance.

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T.V.E Honored: Fresh off one of its best years, the Trinity Valley Exposition Fair and Rodeo took six statewide honors in six out of the seven categories in which they were judged. This is for towns under 50,000 populations. Each year some members of the board and staff attend the annual Texas Association of Fairs and Events. That is a trade show and convention. The T.V.E. entered seven categories taking first place statewide trophies in two of them.

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Hospital District: The Liberty Co. Hospital District Board Monday night officially called for a board of directors election to be held May 14. The seats up for election this year are for Board President Bruce Stratton and Board Members Jo Ann Smith and Paul Henry.

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Obituaries: Melba Doris Wolfean, 98 of Anahuac. Services tomorrow 10 a.m. First United Methodist Church of Anahuac. Brenda Lee VanDeventer Gilliland, 53 of Liberty. Services today at 10 a.m. at Allison Funeral Service. Dub Wingo, 81 of Dayton. Services today 10 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Batson.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.95 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 15 TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011

Correction: Here is a correction to part of a report we aired. In our report on legal action taken by ousted former Liberty County Treasurer Janet Harrelson, we quoted County Attorney Wes Hinch as saying she had filed a petition asking to sue Liberty County and John Archer. We incorrectly state that same legal document is not itself a lawsuit. The petition is in fact a lawsuit against the county and John Archer seeking unspecified damages. We apologize for the error. It was made due to our misunderstanding of the legal terminology involved.

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Direct Deposit: For those who still receive their Social Security check through the mail, they must switch from paper to electronic pay by March of 2013. Those entering new to the Social Security rolls after May 1 this year, will be required to use direct deposit or, what's called a direct express card. David Bowman, representative with the Beaumont office of Social Security said to sign up for direct deposit, call the Social Security office in Beaumont toll free at 866-613-2864 or nationally 800-772-1213. You will need your bank account and routing number. Remember, it is ok to give that banking information to Social Security when you contact them, but never share that information if someone contacts you.

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LISD Superintendent Contract: Liberty Independent School District trustees gave Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Lusignolo a vote of confidence at last Tuesday's board meeting. Following an annual evaluation, the board voted unanimously to extend Dr. Lusignolo's contract for a year. Assistant Superintendent Randy Gunter said the superintendent receives total compensation of $117,619 a year including salary, and an auto and cell phone allowance.

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Wall of Fame: The Dayton ISD Wall of Fame nomination deadline is next Tuesday. Established in 1999, the "Wall of Fame" salutes special educators who have contributed mightily to the education of youth in the district. Nomination forms are available on the district's website, at all Dayton campus offices, and at the administration building. To access the district's website, go to www.kshn.com and click on the schools link.

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Obituaries: Thomas Edward Collins¸ 68 of Crosby. Services tomorrow at 2 p.m. Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.67 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 14 MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2011

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Suspect Pulls Gun: DPS Trooper Nathan Godfrey was involved in a life-or-death struggle with a DWI suspect accused of pulling a gun during a traffic stop after 11 p.m. Saturday on FM 1008 in downtown Dayton. The trooper eventually pepper-sprayed suspect Robert Sturidvant of Harris County. The lawman was able to wrestle the gun away. While being treated by EMS, Mr. Sturidvant stopped breathing. The 50-year-old man was stabilized and then taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston by air ambulance. Robert Sturidvant now faces charges of DWI, assault on a police officer and others.

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Janet Harrelson Back in the News: A former Liberty County elected official has filed a petition to sue Liberty County claiming she was unlawfully removed from office. Back in 2002, the newly elected treasurer, Janet Harrelson, was blocked from being sworn in when she came under suspicion of abusing her rights as an elected official. Later, Ms. Harrelson was convicted on four counts. Two were overturned on appeal while the other two were upheld by a higher court. Now, Janet Harrelson is seeking permission to file suit against Liberty County and former Democrat Party Chair John Archer over her removal. Liberty County Attorney Wes Hinch said the big question at the moment is whether or not the statute of limitations for this type of suit ran out years ago. So far, no suit has been filed.

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Property Taxes: Property taxes are due next Monday. Liberty County Tax Assessor/Collector Mark McClelland said after that date a penalty will be added. It is the taxpayer's responsibility to make certain they have all taxable property statements and then pay their property taxes on time. For property tax information, call the tax office at 936-336-4633.

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Chamber Banquet: Dayton Chamber of Commerce will hold its 10th Annual Banquet this Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Dayton Community Center. Keynote speaker is U.S. Congressman Ted Poe. For tickets, call the Dayton Chamber at 936-257-2393.

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Obituaries: Martha Dean Bock, 67, of Rye. Service is 6 p.m. today at Faith and Family in Batson. Linas Harrington, 83, of Houston. Service is 10 a.m. today at First Assembly of God in Dayton under direction of Pace-Stancil in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.58 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 13 FRIDAY, JANUARY 21, 2011

Missing Fisherman: The Coast Guard has suspended its search for an Anahuac fisherman who went missing Tuesday. Coast Guard and Texas Game Wardens had been searching for Thein Nguyen, 42, after he was reported missing Tuesday evening. Nguyen's boat was found approximately one mile north of Smith Point on Wednesday. The Chambers County Sheriff's Department raised the vessel and determined Mr. Nguyen was not onboard. After searching more than 400 square miles in the Trinity Bay, East Bay and Galveston Bay, the search for Thein Nguyen of Anahuac was called off Thursday. Anyone with information is asked to call Coast Guard at 713-678-9057.

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U.S. 90 to Open: TxDOT has changed the opening date of U.S. 90 from Interstate 10 and Loop 610 in Houston to Beltway 8. Now, TxDOT officials say there will be a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday. That should mark the opening of the westbound lanes.

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Rice Symposium: The 2011 Southeast Texas Rice Symposium is next Thursday from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Winnie-Stowell Community Building in Winnie. Speakers will provide valuable information on insect and pest control, rice varieties, and weed control. While the symposium and fish dinner is free, the Agrilife Extension Service requests reservations by Monday. In Chambers County, call 409-374-2123. Here in Liberty County, call the Extension Service at 936-336-4558, ext. 221.

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LISD Resource Officer: New Liberty Police Office Tammy Bishop has been named school resource officer at Liberty ISD. She replaces Officer Hugh Bishop – no relation – who retired in December. Tammy Bishop served as the Liberty PD animal control officer for several years. She attended last year's police officer academy, hosted by Liberty PD, through College of the Mainland. She recently passed her state licensing exam. Now, Tammy Bishop will serve as school resource officer on all four of the Liberty school campuses.

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Obituaries: Cody "Butch" Whitton Sr, 66, of Dayton. Service is 1 p.m. Saturday at Palms Memorial (SFH-Dayton). Eva Pearl Segrest, 86, of Anahuac. Service is 10 a.m. Saturday at SFH-Anahuac. Mary Vivian Guy, 88, of Daisetta. Service is 2 p.m. today in Daisetta United Pentecostal Church (F&F)

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.64 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 13 THURSDAY, JANUARY 20, 2011

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DOJ and LISD: Back in Oct. 09, Liberty ISD Trustees on a 4-3 vote, decided to change the way future board members are elected from an at-large method to a position ballot. The U.S. Department of Justice must approve such a change before it becomes official. During Tuesday's LISD board meeting, Assistant Superintendent and legal counsel Randy Gunter told trustees the D.O.J. has not made a decision but is now asking for more information from the district to support the reasons for the proposed change. Mr. Gunter said the DOJ wants both an explanation for and factual basis behind the trustees' request. The DOJ also wants studies and analysis to support such a change. As we reported in 2009, the request to go from at large to position ballots in Liberty ISD had been considered and rejected twice before. Randy Gunter said the DOJ wants to know what has changed since those previous rejections.

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I.D. Theft: It may come as a surprise, but for years, the identity of children has been the most popular place to steal identity. Patti Nelson, Vice President of the company called ID Theft Solutions of America, was the speaker at this month's luncheon of the Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. She said statistics show just in Texas last year, more than 250,000 children under the age of 18 had their identity stolen. At the age of 18, these children first become responsible for the credit report, for the first time learning it was stolen years before, and they must then begin the exhausting process of cleaning it up.

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Rotary Supper: One of Liberty County's oldest and tastiest fundraisers returns tomorrow. The Liberty Rotary Club's 60th annual fish and oyster supper is tomorrow evening at Liberty City Hall beginning at 4:30 p.m., inside dining is from 5 to 7 p.m. All proceeds benefit the local service club's many community projects. Tickets are $14 each and available from any Liberty Rotarian, at the door or drive through.

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Obituaries: Cindy Ann Estep Bodiford, 49 of Dayton. Memorial service Saturday 2 p.m. at Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. Bobby Ray Vaughan, 74 of Liberty. Services tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. Gilbretta Parr, 76 of Conroe. Services Saturday at 10 a.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.64 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 12 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 19, 2011

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Organized Crime: Two Houston men and a Galveston teenager were arrested Sunday on three felony charges. Sheriff's spokesman Captain Steve Greene said the altercation stemmed from a separate incident Saturday between two families on C.R. 4013. That ended with a teen shooting a BB gun at a woman. The teenager was charged with assault. Then Sunday, three men were arrested after firing shots outside that woman's home. Juan Roque, 23, of Houston, Gumaro Martinez, 31, of Houston, and Saul Gutierrez, 17, of Galveston were each charged with retaliation, engaging in organized criminal activity and deadly conduct. J.P. Pct. 1 Bobby Rader set bond for all charges at $52,000 for each person. Roque and Gumaro posted bond and were released. Saul Gutierrez remains in the Liberty County Jail on a separate hold from Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Sales Taxes: More good economic news to start the new year – sales tax payments for January to cities in Liberty County increased 9.3 percent from the same month last year. It's the fifth month in a row for increases here in Liberty County following more than a year of declines. Sales taxes collected in November go to the state in December and arrive at cities and counties in January. So, this increase reflects retail sales from two months ago at the start of Christmas shopping. Cities with increases include Liberty, Dayton, Cleveland, Devers, and Hardin. Liberty County towns with monthly decreases include Ames, Daisetta, Kenefick and the city of Plum Grove.

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Property Taxes: An important reminder – property taxes are due by Monday, January 31. Liberty County Tax Assessor/Collector Mark McClelland said after that date penalty fees will be added. Taxpayers must be certain to have all taxable property statements and to pay their property taxes on time. If you need a property tax statement or have questions, call Mark McClelland's office at 936-336-4633.

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Obituaries: James R. "Jim" Sheffield Jr., 65, of Dayton. Service is 11 a.m. Thursday at Marantha Church in Mont Belvieu (PSFH). Thomas Lester Craig, 88, of Hardin. Service is 10 a.m. Thursday at Allison Funeral Service. Michael Glenn Hamons, 45, of Beaumont. Service is 11 a.m. today at Out Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church in China (F&F).

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.35 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 11 TUESDAY, JANUARY 18, 2011

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LHS Student Arrested: A Liberty High School student, 17-year-old Chad Lewis was arrested Friday at school for Class A misdemeanor assault. According to Liberty Police Public Information Officer Josh Cummins the incident started as horseplay and escalated to Lewis stabbing a fellow student in the arm with a hair pick, causing several puncture wounds. Justice of the Peace Bobby Rader set bond at $5,000. At last report, Chad Lewis remained in jail in lieu of bond.

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Butterfly Garden: For the first time this year, Liberty Middle School Students have been introduced to what is called the Discovery program. The program gets sixth, seventh, eighth grade kids involved in exciting projects outside the normal classroom setting. Kristin Borne, LMS 8th grade teacher said the first discovery project chosen by LMS students is a 30 by 50 foot butterfly garden in front of LMS on Jefferson Dr. to be named in honor of a much-loved former teacher and administrator the late Nick Vaught. Students plan to place a memorial marker in the garden to honor the late LISD educator.

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Fitzgerald Responds: We reported the Texas State Judicial Conduct Commission issued its lowest level sanction against former Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald on two issues, the dismissal of the DUI case against Glenn Vickery and continuing to act as trustee of the trust fund established for Jessica Vickery. Phil Fitzgerald said the state commission found nothing wrong with his dismissal of four other cases pending, only in the case dismissed against Glenn Vickery because of his relationship with the Vickery family. He said several other complaints were dismissed by the commission including those involving the leasing of his own trucks for county debris clean up following Hurricane Ike and his use of a county owned generator during that same period. A federal investigation is ongoing, and Mr. Fitzgerald said he has received no word on that investigation.

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Cleveland: January 11th, Cleveland City Council rejected, by failing to receive a second on a motion to accept, three recall petitions that would affect council members Durlene Davis, Cedric McDuffie and Mayor Pro-tem Barbara McIntyre. City Secretary Kelly McDonald certified the signatures and City Attorney Kenneth Wall told council they would eventually have to accept the petitions, likely through a court order.

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

VOLUME 26 NO. 10 FRIDAY, JANUARY 14, 2011

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TVE Board: The torch was passed Tuesday night for the board of directors of the Trinity Valley Exposition. Named by the full board to be chairman is Brady Hanson of Dayton. The full board includes Dennis Threlkeld, Phil Fitzgerald, Donny Smith, Jim Bob Evans, Clint Fancher and Ernie Pickett. Other board members are James Bricker, Kevin Sonnier, Robby Herrington, Brett Swope and Lynn Ayres. The executive committee includes TVE president is Carolyn Tinney of Hardin and vice president Chip Green of Cleveland. Robyn Ming is treasurer, and secretary is Danelle Mullins.

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Another Winnie Man Pleads: A second Winnie Man has entered a plea in connection with a southeast Texas drug ring. Lambert Ray Myers Jr., age 33, pleaded guilty to possession with intent to distribute methamphetamine. Myers faces up to 40 years in prison.

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K2 Ban: Dayton ISD Superintendent Mike Kuhrt said he is in favor of the Dayton City Council's efforts to ban the sale of synthetic marijuana products sold under names like K2 and Spice. Dayton City Council will consider a K2 ban during their meeting next Tuesday at 7 p.m. in council chambers.

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CORRECTION - Fire Department: The Liberty Fire Department and EMS were called out to a combined 1,589 calls in 2010. That's a 1000 more than we first reported. Liberty Fire Chief Fred Collins said they average 300-500 fire calls per year.

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Obituaries: Gary C. Maryea, 73, of Dayton. Service is 2 p.m. Sunday at Pace-Stancil. Glenn E. Kimbrell, 78, of Dayton. Service is 2 p.m. today at Sterling Funeral Home. Donald Ray Smart, 83, of Liberty. Service is 10 a.m. Saturday at Allison Funeral Service. Hazel V. Tousha Fregia Shuptrine, 86, of Liberty. Service is 10 a.m. Monday at Pace-Stancil.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.45 ASL

VOLUME 26 NO. 9 THURSDAY, JANUARY 13, 2011

Liberty City Council: Liberty City Council Tuesday night accepted the low bid of $72,000 from a company out of Hallsville, TX for the installation of new water meters across the city. The company is called SG3. They will have the job completed in 72 days. City Manager Gary Broz said the city would also be installing new electric meters, all part of a major project to upgrade the metering systems on city utilities.

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Fire Department: Tarkington Volunteer Fire Department is reporting a record number of calls in 2010. Assistant Chief Dalton Gregory said Tarkington volunteers responded to a total 522 incidents last year. That is more than any previous year. The Liberty Fire Department and EMS were called out to a combined 589 calls in 2010. Liberty Fire Chief Fred Collins said they average 300-500 calls per year.

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Winnie Man Pleads: U.S. Attorney in Beaumont John Bales says three members of a major drug conspiracy ring have entered pleas before U.S. Magistrate Judge Earl Hines. Among those is Winnie resident 47-year-old Vincent Bertrand who pled guilt to what is called "an information" charging him with using a communications device to facilitate the conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine. He faces up to four years in prison.

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Liberty Dayton Chamber Lunch: The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon in next Wednesday at noon at the Liberty Center. Greg Stubblefield and Patty Nelson are both with ID Theft Solutions of America. They will provide information to business owners about what to do before, during and after theft occurs. Make your reservations at 936-336-5736.

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Offices Closed: City offices in Cleveland, Dayton and Liberty as well as the Liberty County Courthouse will all be closed this coming Monday in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's birthday. Waste management garbage pick up will run as scheduled in liberty county's three largest cities. All banks and post offices will also be closed Monday for the holiday.

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Obituaries: Bernadine Tebo LaFountaine, 76 of Liberty. Memorial service tomorrow 10 a.m. at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. Patricia Viola Largent Regen, 50 of Liberty. Services 2 p.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Home in Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.45 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 8 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12, 2011

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Burn Ban: Liberty County Commissioners voted Tuesday morning to lift the countywide burn ban. During the first regular meeting of 2011, Liberty County Fire Marshal Jim Wilson suggested lifting the ban that had been in place since Dec. 11. He told commissioners the Keetch-Byram Index has since dropped to 373. That is well below the 595 number that historically has prompted burn bans to be enacted. The commissioners voted unanimously to lift Liberty County's burn ban effective immediately.

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Dayton Rice Dryers: One of the most recognizable sites of the Dayton skyline will disappear over the next few months. Demolition work has begun to bring down the huge rice dryers and silo storage bins. These structures are 50 feet tall with other parts rising 88 feet high. The elevator, was once used to get rice and soybean crops into the top of the dryer, towers more than 100 feet over downtown Dayton. For now, the demolition work centers around removal of items that can be salvaged. Then, the structures will be torn down.

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Screenings: The Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center is now offering free screenings for peripheral arterial disease or P. A. D. each Wednesday during the months of January, February and March. The ankle brachial index screening is a non-invasive test to detect narrowing in the arteries in the arms and legs. Appointments are required. Call 336-7316, ext. 176.

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Street Meeting: The public is invited to an informational meeting about the City of Liberty's planned street creation project tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. at Liberty City Hall.

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Youth Sports: Signups are under way for Liberty Youth Baseball and Softball. The league is open to boys ages 5 to 14 by May 1, 2010, and to girls ages 5 to 15 on January 1 of this year. The quickest way to register is online. Just go to www.kshn.com and click on the organizations tab for a link to Liberty Youth Baseball and Softball. In-person signups will be held on January 22 and 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Liberty Elementary School.

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Obituaries: Justin Lee Pitchford, 25, of Dayton. Service is noon Friday at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.21 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 7 TUESDAY, JANUARY 11, 2011

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State Budget: Texas Comptroller Susan Combs released the state's biennial revenue projections Monday. State revenue from all sources is estimated at $177.8 billion for the biennium. The comptroller estimates the state's portion of revenue at $72.2 billion of that. To maintain current state services, experts say it would take $99 billion in state funds. That would mean a budget shortfall of $26.8 billion. Most expect cuts to services would bring that deficit number down. Rep. John Otto said all areas of the state budget will be considered for cuts. Federal dollars flowing into Texas are also impacted by the state's participation. Suffice it to say, lawmakers have a hard road ahead as they make drastic cuts to expenditures in order to pass a balanced budget.

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Cold Weather: Today is the day to get ready for an arctic blast coming our way. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures tonight and tomorrow morning could drop into the mid-20s and stay below freezing for four to eight hours. The important wind chill factor is expected to be in the teens and lower 20s across the region. That means it is time to prepare your home by protecting pipes, faucets and water wells. Also, don't forget to provide pets and livestock with plenty of food and unfrozen water along with a warm place out of the wind.

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Latest Scam: We haven't confirmed if this is happening locally, but a scam that is taking place elsewhere could be occurring here, too. Shoppers are reporting that after using their credit card to make a purchase, they are noticing their receipt says "cash back". However, they didn't ask for or receive money back. We are told crooked clerks are then passing the money to an accomplice further back in line. The recommendation by store managers is to always check your credit and debit card receipts at the register. If you see cash back showing up on your receipt and didn't ask for it, get it corrected before you leave the line.

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Pain Seminar: San Jacinto Methodist in Baytown will host a free pain management seminar Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the hospital community room. For information or to RSVP, call the hospital at 281-420-8600.

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Obituaries: Ravynel "Nell" Tonheur Fenton, 90. Service is 2 p.m. Thursday at Allison Funeral Service of Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.73 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 6 MONDAY, JANUARY 10, 2011

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Highway 90: Next week marks the opening of the new four lanes of U.S. Highway 90 all the way from the east loop in Houston – where 610, I-10 and Highway 90 join – out to the Beltway 8. Alice Kasper with TxDOT reports the westbound portion of U.S. 90, from Beltway 8 to the east loop, will open to travelers next Tuesday, January 18. Then on Saturday, January 22, the eastbound lanes of U.S. 90 will open.

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Fatality Wreck: A two-vehicle accident on S.H. 105 west of Batson last Thursday night claimed the life of 46-year-old Rebecca Weicht of Richmond. DPS Trooper Calvin Starkie reports Ms. Weicht was traveling westbound when her vehicle crossed the center stripe and collided with a truck driven by Pedro Fuentes, 44, of Houston. He was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in stable condition with lacerations.

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Liberty Fire: Liberty Fire Department is investigating another fire in the South Liberty Oilfield. Liberty firefighters responded early last Friday morning to a blaze on Tanner Loop. The vacant single-wide mobile home was destroyed. Three abandoned homes in that same area were destroyed by fire in late November. Those earlier three fires were ruled to be arson.

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DFVD Officers: Dayton Volunteer Fire Department elected officers at its annual meeting last Thursday. Terry Boyett will continue to serve as chief of Liberty County's largest volunteer department. Murphy Green was reelected as assistance. David Rodgers was elected secretary, and Adam Piserelle is treasurer.

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MLK Celebration: Liberty County's 13th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is this Saturday at 1 p.m. in Turkey Creek Baptist Church on Wallisville Road. Keynote speaker is A.K. Thomas, pastor of Turkey Creek Baptist Church. The event will include local, state and national elected officials along with music from the host church choir. For information, call Dr. Henry Dugat at 936-336-7393 or Martha Braxton at 336-6601.

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Obituaries: Harley Lovings, 79, of Brookeland. Service is Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Faith and Family in Batson. Josephine Wylde Attaway, 82, of Cleveland. Service is today at 3 p.m. at Ryan Cemetery in Tarkington under direction of PSF in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.66 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 5 FRIDAY, JANUARY 7, 2011

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Attempted Escape: Liberty Police Captain Gary Martin said following Justin Phillip Vater's arrest, police found a small amount of marijuana in his possession. That discovery prompted the man to attempt an escape. Justin Vater allegedly bolted from the Liberty Police department building while still handcuffed. Captain Martin said the fugitive tripped and fell in the parking lot. In the course of struggling with officers, Vater is said to have tried to grab a police officer's firearm. Officer Rolando Aguilar used pepper spray to subdue the struggling suspect.

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Texas Legislature: The Texas legislature begins its 82 session on Tuesday facing two pressing matters. One is the state budget deficit, projected by some to be in the neighborhood of $20 billion on a two-year budget of about $95 billion. In addition to tackling the budget, state lawmakers are charged with redrawing district lines in the wake of the 2010 census. State Representative John Otto of Dayton said in spite of the looming issues, things will start off slow as the house elects a speaker then waits on committee assignments. He said in April, when more complete census data is provided, the legislative session goes into high gear.

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Shred It: We are often asked when the next City of Liberty Shred it event will be held. While it will not be until April, an early announcement may help with planning. It's a free chance to safely dispose of valuable personal information and protect it from identity theft. A company that is qualified and bonded does the shredding. The date is Saturday April 16th from 9 until noon, or when the truck is full in the Liberty City Hall parking lot.

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Landscape Design: A landscape design course is being offered this month through the Liberty County Office of the Texas Agri-Life Extension service and the Liberty County Master Gardeners. The three evening course will be January 17th through the 19th from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Dayton High School Ag Shop. Organizers say it is geared toward new homeowners who need help designing a yard, but is also beneficial to existing homeowners who want to enhance their home's curb appeal. The cost is $25 per person and that fee should be paid by Jan. 13th. For information, call the Agri-Life Extension office at 936-336-4558 ext. 221, or in Cleveland 281-593-0405 ext. 221.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.47 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 4 THURSDAY, JANUARY 6, 2011

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Liberty Utility Meters: This coming Tuesday night, Liberty City Council will consider awarding bids for the installation of the city's water meters. Initially city officials planned to hire outside contractors to replace both water and electric meters, but now plan to have city crews handle installing the electric meter replacement and bid out just the installation of the new water meters. Liberty Mayor Carl Pickett said the replacement should cause little or no interruption of services.

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Tax Filing Information: The IRS has opened the tax filing season by announcing taxpayers have until April 18 to file tax returns this year. IRS officials also announce some taxpayers need to wait to file returns. Tax changes enacted in December mean the IRS must reprogram processing systems. Those who need to wait to file include taxpayers claiming itemized deductions on Schedule A; those claiming the higher education tuition and fees deduction; as well as those claiming the educator expense deduction. IRS expects their processing system to be reprogrammed by late February. A specific date when these taxpayers can begin filing their returns will be announced on the Internal Revenue Services website – www.irs.gov.

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Wall of Fame: Nominations are being accepted for the Dayton ISD Wall of Fame. The deadline for nominating a professional employee of the Dayton school district for this honor is Feb. 1. Nominees must have been a professional employee, including administrators, teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses. These special individuals must have been either retired or not been employed in Dayton for at least five years prior to induction. Nominees also must have at least five years of service with DISD and demonstrated character, leadership and service to students beyond the call of duty. Nomination forms are available on the district website – just go to www.kshn.com and click on the school link or call the district at 936-258-2667.

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Obituaries: Mary Louise Minter, 88 of Liberty. Graveside services today at 1 p.m. in Cooke Memorial Cemetery in Liberty. Lilly Lee Stevenson, 59 of Dayton. Services Saturday at 11 a.m. at Mt. Olive Missionary Baptist Church in Dayton. Marie Hill, 86 of Liberty. Services Saturday at 10 a.m. at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.43 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 3 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 5, 2011

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Swearing In: More than 300 people packed in to the 75th district courtroom on the third floor of the Liberty County Courthouse yesterday morning to witness democracy in action. Taking office for the first time were County Judge Craig McNair, 75th District Judge Mark Morefield, County Court at Law Judge Tommy Chambers, newly elected District Clerk Donna Brown, County Clerk Paulette Shivers Williams, Justice of the Peace Precincts #4 and #5, Barry Graves and Wade Brown, respectively, and County Commissioners Pct. #2 Charlotte Key Warner.

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Explosions: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is investigating a possible explosion in Liberty County. The Liberty County Sheriff's Department received several calls Sunday evening reporting a loud boom or explosion east of Dayton off Sawmill Road. Sheriff's Public Information Officer Captain Steve Greene said a detonation site was discovered in a field. No arrests have been made, although the ATF continues to investigate.

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DPS Trooper Hurt: Liberty County Department of Public Safety Trooper Ray Sanders, was injured when a driver pulled out in front of him yesterday afternoon. Although his DPS car was destroyed, and Trooper Sanders was injured, it was not critically. Emergency Medical Technicians transported Trooper Sanders to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston.

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Dayton City Council: David Douglas said in the next council meeting they would address the issue of outlawing "K-2" and "Spice". Investigators across the state are saying these synthetic products are being abused on a large scale, since smoking those is said to give the user a marijuana-like high. David Douglas said the Dayton City Council would discuss the so-called synthetic marijuana at their meeting Monday January 18 at which time, council members will consider an ordinance banning the sale of K-2, Spice and related products within the city limits.

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Obituaries: Lawrence Baldwin, 81 of Dayton. Services Friday 11 a.m. at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. Bertha Landrum Day, 82 of Conroe. Services today 3 p.m. Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.70 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 2 TUESDAY, JANUARY 4, 2011

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Saratoga Teen Dies: A Saratoga teenager died last Thursday after being struck in the head with a .22 caliber bullet. Identified as 17-year-old James Allen Sangwin, he was a student at West Hardin High School. He was visiting Tyler County at the time of the shooting. According to the Tyler County Sheriff's Department, the preliminary investigation indicates the shooting was accidental, the result of mishandling of a loaded firearm by someone else at the residence.

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Sexual Assault Trial: A trial date is set for Chambers County resident, Ronnie Odom of Old River-Winfree who was charged with multiple counts of sexual assault. Since February 2010, the man has been jailed in connection with several sexual assaults of young boys. Ronnie Odom, 36, is scheduled for trial on February 22 in Judge Chap Cain's 253rd District Court in Chambers County on 10 separate felonies relating to the alleged sexual assault of multiple children. Odom has remained behind bars since his arrest on bonds totaling $825,000.

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Trial: The woman said to be who started the violent chain of events that led to the death of Chambers County Deputy Shane Detwiler is set to go to trial in April. Pamela Leggett allegedly fired a shotgun at two water company employees who were trying to turn off the water to a home Ms. Leggett shared with Gilbert Ortez Jr. The water company employees were not hurt, but that shooting brought Deputy Detwiler to that Baytown mobile home park in response. Deputy Detwiler was shot and killed – investigators believe by Gilbert Ortez Jr., who himself was later found dead of a self-inflicted gun shot wound. Leggett, age 26, was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. She was later indicted by a Chambers Co. grand jury on 17 charges.

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Obituaries: James Allen Sangwin, Jr. 17 of Saratoga. Services tomorrow at 2 p.m. at New Life Assembly of God Church in Batson. Sidney Eugene "Mean Gene" Kelton. Services tomorrow evening at 6 p.m. at Houston Raceway Park. Millie E. Whitmire Beard, 90 of Cleveland. Services today at 2 p.m. at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Cleveland. Robert Lee Hale, 75 of Liberty. Graveside services Thursday 10 a.m. in Cooke Memorial Cemetery in Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.48 ASL*

VOLUME 26 NO. 1 MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 2011

Liberty Co. Audit: While there is an investigation by federal authorities on other allegations regarding Hurricane Ike debris cleanup, Dennis Odell, Liberty County's liaison with state and federal emergency management officials, said the Texas Dept. of Emergency Management have found no problems with the Liberty Co. bid process or their record keeping. Odell said, to date, Liberty Co. has been reimbursed for 98%, all but about $1 million in disaster recovery money applied for through the FEMA. Dennis Odell, said problems identified by federal auditors in Chambers Co. are not a problem here.

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Christmas Tree Disposal: There are a lot of live Christmas trees in our listening area. With residents wondering what to do with them. If your garbage pickup is done by Waste Management, then Christmas tree pickup will be done on the second pickup day of the week for your neighborhood. Waste Management asks if your tree is over five feet tall, cut it in half.

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Chamber Luncheon: The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon will be Wednesday January 19th at the Liberty Center. Guest speakers will be Greg Stubblefield, and Patty Nelson. The topic will be identity theft. Make reservations by calling the chamber office at 336-5736.

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Appliance Rebates: The state's Texas Appliance Mail-in Rebate program allows Texans to buy appliances then mail in a completed rebate application form with the receipt to apply for a rebate. Consumers who buy an Energy Star appliance must replace and then dispose of an old appliance, of the same type, to be eligible. Rebates will be given on certified refrigerators, freezers, central a/c units, heat pumps, water heaters, washers and dishwasher. Rebates range from a low of $85 to as high as $1,000. Learn more at www.texaspowerfulsmart.org

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Reminder: The swearing in ceremony for local elected officials will be Tues. at 10 a.m. at the Liberty Co. Courthouse in the third floor courtroom. The public is welcome.

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Obituaries: T.H. Pat Stoneberger, 94 of Cleveland. Services Wed. at 10 a.m. at Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Cleveland. John "Bubba" Bristley Abshier, 70 of Raywood. Services Wednesday 10 a.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.09 ASL*

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