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March 2011

VOLUME 26 NO. 59 THURSDAY, MARCH 31, 2011

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More on Hull Murder: Hardin County Sheriff Ed Cain says one of four suspects jailed there has confessed to shooting a man who’s burned body was found last week near Hoop ‘N Holler. The victim still has not been identified. Sheriff Cain said the recovered body was so badly burned that investigators must rely on DNA and dental records to identify the victim. The Hardin County sheriff said Kenney Don Stanley, 39, confessed to shooting a man inside a home at 147 C.R. 2051 near Hull. Also charged with first-degree murder are Vickie Starks Fitts of Hull, Kristopher Leigh Guidry of Humble and Tanner Lynn Bourque of Bridge City.

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Relay for Life: The 11th Annual South Liberty County Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society, begins tomorrow evening at 7 with the cancer survivors lap. It continues throughout the night at Liberty Memorial Stadium, concluding with a victory lap at 7 a.m. Saturday. In the past 10 years, the event has raised nearly $750,000 for the American Cancer Society. These funds are used for research and then treatment and patient services for cancer patients in the local area.  

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Chase: When Liberty Police attempted to stop a suspected stolen truck around 12:30 Wednesday afternoon, the driver sped away down Hwy 146 toward Moss Hill. Sheriff’s deputies and DPS troopers joined the high-speed chase. It ended when the two men stopped and surrendered three miles north of Moss Hill.Cason McDaniel of Huffman and Christopher McDaniel of Liberty are being held in the Liberty County Jail without bond on numerous felony charges. 

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Upcoming SS Change: Beginning May 1, anyone who signs new up to receive Social Security will be required to get those benefits electronically. This means either long established direct deposit to a bank or credit union or by using the new Direct Express card. Social Security’s David Bowman said, for most, the ease of using a local financial institution will be the best choice. However, there are those who, for their own reasons, do not want to deal with banks. Mr. Bowman said the Direct Express card most likely will be more appealing to them. To learn more, visit the Social Security site under the government tab at our website - www.kshn.com.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.57 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 58 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 30, 2011

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Arrest in Hoop ‘n Holler Body: According to the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department, four people have been arrested in connection with a body found in a burned car last week in Hoop ‘n Holler. On Monday, the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department filed first degree murder charges against Kenny Don Stanley, age 39 of Vidor, Kristopher Leigh Guidry, 26 years old of Humble, Tanner Lynn Bourgue, 31 of Bridge City, and Vickie Starks Fitts, age 47 of Hull.  Investigators believe on March 16, sometime around midnight, the victim, a 25-year-old man whose name is not yet being released, was shot in the head at a residence in Hull, put into the trunk of a car then driven to a wooded area in northwest Hardin County near the Hoop ‘n Holler subdivision and set on fire. All four suspects are in the Hardin County Jail.

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Fraud Arrest: Christopher Coker of Hardin has been arrested, charged with fraud in connection with a scheme to swindle Wal-Mart out of $100,000. Liberty County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans said deputies arrested the 27-year-old man Monday after he allegedly used a fictitious receipt to take an air compressor. Sheriff’s investigators said these fake receipts were “very accurate” and “close in almost every detail” to actual Wal-Mart receipts. Christopher Coker remains in the Liberty County Jail, charged with fraud, escape and possession of a controlled substance.

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School Funding: Devers School Superintendent Cody Abshier said the majority of their school funding comes from the state and not the federal government. He said the failure to adequately fund the state’s public school system is an issue for state legislators to address.  School superintendents across Liberty County are urging residents to contact their state representatives about the expected decrease in funding for school districts here and statewide. Contact information for Liberty County’s State Senator Tommy Williams and State Representative John Otto is available on our website at www.kshn.com

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Obituaries: Travis Eugene Cotten, 66. Funeral service is 2 p.m. Thursday at Batson United Pentecostal Church (F&F). David Alsbrooks, 54, of Dayton. Service is 2 p.m. Saturday at Pace-Stancil of Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.58 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 57 TUESDAY, MARCH 29, 2011

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Unemployment: The unemployment rate here in Liberty County is now 11.9 percent.  That is up from 11.5 percent a year ago. It is also one of the highest unemployment rates in our region.  Those figures were part of a recent presentation by Jessica Byerly and Stephanie Ellis with the Houston Galveston Area Council. According to their data, the highest unemployment rate in the region is Matagorda County with Liberty County in second place. Chambers County follows at 10.4 percent unemployment. Liberty County’s 11.9 percent is worse than the latest jobless rates both statewide and nationally.  For February, statewide unemployment was 8.2 %. The national rate fell but is still at 8.9 percent.

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Less Gentle IRS: There was a time when the Internal Revenue Service had a reputation for being aggressive and uncompromising when dealing with the American public. In the 1990’s, then President George H.W. Bush promised a “kinder, gentler” IRS. According to local Certified Public Accountant, Byron Swaim, the IRS is becoming less kind and gentle all the time.  He said it is more important than ever to be careful when filing income tax returns.  The local financial expert said he expects income tax audits to become more common than in the past couple of decades.

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Relay for Life: This weekend marks the 11th Annual South Liberty County Relay for Life.  The event, designed to raise money for cancer research and support services, brings folks from all walks of life to Memorial Stadium in Liberty for an all night walk-a-thon. It kicks off Friday at 7 p.m. with the survivors walk, followed by 11 ½ hours of walking, entertainment and games. For more information, call 336-3716.

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DHS Choir: The Dayton High School Choir is preparing for the upcoming U.I.L. competition and will perform a pre-U.I.L. concert tonight at 7 p.m. in the Nottingham Auditorium. The public is invited.

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Obituaries: Charles Wesley Cowan Jr., 84.  Services today at 4 p.m. at Cooke Memorial Cemetery in Liberty. Percy James Palmer, 82 of Daisetta. Services today 11 a.m. at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.59 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 56 MONDAY, MARCH 28, 2011

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Another Gang Rape Arrest: A 19th suspect wanted in connection with the alleged gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in Cleveland has been arrested. After seeing his picture on a Most Wanted list on the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department website, 26-year-old Walter Jamal Harrison of Cleveland turned himself in last Wednesday.  Since February, 19 suspects ranging in age from middle school to 27 years old have been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child for a gang rape alleged to have taken place back in November 2010.

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Most Wanted: Five of the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department’s Top 10 Most Wanted fugitives are in custody. As a result, that list will be updated with new fugitives today. Those caught include Walter Jamal Harrison of Cleveland; Derrick Hasselbring, nabbed in Florida; Latasha Evette Green of Cleveland; Ashley Ann Robbins of Dayton, and Kenneth Randolph Fick, also of Cleveland. The sheriff’s Top 10 Most Wanted list is on the department’s new website. Just go to our homepage at www.kshn.com and click on the sheriff’s patch. That list is updated every Monday.

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LHS Softball: The Liberty Lady Panthers Softball team is now 5-0 in District 22-3A after downing the Shepherd Lady Pirates 5-2 Friday. The Liberty girls finish the first round of league play tomorrow when the Splendora Lady Wildcats come to town. A win gives the Lady Panthers an undisputed lead in district. The JV girls’ teams play tomorrow at 5 followed by varsity.

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Merit Finalists: It’s a rare honor for a small school like Tarkington High School to produce one National Merit Scholarship Finalist, much less two. However, that’s exactly what has happened. Two Tarkington seniors have received that academic recognition. Samantha Hankins and David Falterman are both National Merit Scholarship Finalists. Samantha plans to attend Texas State University this fall while David has been accepted into the University of North Texas’ music program.

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Obituaries: Jerry Haney Sr., 61, of Old River. Service is 10 a.m. Wednesday at Navarre Funeral Home in Baytown. Shirley Ann Edwards White, 71, of Dallas. Service 11 a.m. Tuesday at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.  

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.65 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 55 FRIDAY, MARCH 25, 2011

Cleveland ISD: There is no school district in the county that is not facing some type of budget shortfall due to less state funding. In Cleveland, School Superintendent Kerry Cowart said the Board of Trustees made the difficult decision Tuesday evening to let go of 59 district employees. He said his district is facing a $2.2 to $4 million dollar reduction in state funding, and like all the districts, they are doing what ever they can to make ends meet. Across Liberty County, administrators and teachers are urging residents to contact their representative to express their views on state funding for Liberty County schools.  Both office phone numbers and email addresses for State Rep. John Otto and State Senator Tommy Williams are available on our website. Go to www.kshn.com and click on the government link.

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Jubilee: Today, starting at noon, the annual Liberty Jubilee opens on the courthouse square and surrounding blocks of the downtown area of Liberty.  Food, craft and information booths will start setting up today.  The children’s play area will be open tonight with all you can ride armbands for just $10. Tonight at 8:30 Wayne Toups takes to the stage. Gates open tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. Saturday there will be a full day of entertainment, food, crafts, rides and games for the kids. All at the Liberty Jubilee in beautiful Liberty Texas. Ya’ll come.

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Body Found: The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help related to a burned car and body discovered Wednesday afternoon near the Hoop “n Holler subdivision.  Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans said the exact geographic location of the crime scene had to be determined through satellite GPS imaging. He said the crime scene is actually in Hardin County but is where Liberty, Polk and Hardin Counties join, and all three sheriff’s departments are involved. The burned car and body were found Wednesday afternoon around 4:30. Anyone with information is asked to contact their law enforcement agency or use the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department website to leave an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip. Just go to our homepage, www.kshn.com and click next to the Liberty County Sheriff’s patch.

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Obituaries: Kassidie Leeann Burnitt, infant daughter of Rand and Stephanie Burnitt of Dayton. Services today 2 p.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.58 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 54 THURSDAY, MARCH 24, 2011

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Schools Facing Cuts: Tomake sure they can balance the budget for the 2011-2012 school year, Liberty Independent School District Trustees Tuesday took action that will allow the district to reduce staff through layoffs if more teachers do not decide to leave on their own by April 11.  Liberty Trustees have scheduled a board meeting for April 12 to consider the additional steps necessary to meet their goals. The Liberty school district has extended its $2,000 incentive for those who announce, prior to noon on April 11 that they will not be back next school year. Liberty’s top school administrator, Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Lusignolo emphasized that all of this is a result of an estimated cut in state funding of $1.4 million.

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City Utilities: Liberty residents will soon be seeing some changes in their monthly utility billing.  First, the City of Liberty has contracted with an outside company to handle utility billing to reduce the cost of the city mailing utility bills and delinquent notices each month. In addition, the practice of calling out electrical crews to connect power to homes or business after hours is being discontinued. Liberty City Manager Gary Broz said if payment is made before 5 p.m. utilities would be turned on that day. Payments after 5 p.m. means utilities will not be turned on until the following day.

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Jubilee Entertainment: A big part of the annual Liberty Jubilee Celebration is the great live entertainment, provided free of charge. Friday night’s free street dance features Wayne Toups and Zyda-Cajun at 8:30. On Saturday, there will be live music from a variety of bands throughout the day. Jubilee Entertainment Committee Chair Candy Parker said returning again this year are last year’s favorites “Bourbon Street”, Sidekicks” and “Texas Hurricane” Along with a new addition local singer/musician Zack Givens and his band “Texas Riot”.

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Courthouse Closure: The Liberty County Courthouse will close at noon this Friday so set up can begin in preparation for the Liberty Jubilee.

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Obituaries: Angel Brown, infant child of William and Jessica Brown of Dayton. A service or remembrance will be held graveside Friday at 5 p.m. at Reeves Cemetery in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.52 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 55 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 23, 2011

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Commissioners Court: Yesterday, the Liberty County Commissioners voted to keep in place the ban against outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Liberty County.  Acting on the advice of both Liberty County Fire Marshal Jim Wilson, and the Office of Texas Governor Rick Perry, the vote was unanimous. In a related note, Liberty County Auditor Harold Seay pointed out in his report that in the first five months of the county’s fiscal year, they had already expended more than half the budget for assistance to the county’s volunteer fire departments.  ****************************************************

Copper Thefts: A Highlands man wanted by the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department is now in custody for theft. KSHN reported in February that the Sheriffs’ department was seeking the public’s help to locate 25-year-old Lance Leon Mears. Liberty CO. Sheriffs PIO Captain Rex Evans said the suspect could be seen on video surveillance stealing copper from a location near the prisons in Dayton. Lance Mears was captured Monday evening in Harris County and later transported to the Liberty County Jail. Captain Evans said Lance Mears has a criminal history that includes aggravated sexual assault of a child, burglary of a habitation, theft and possession of a controlled substance. Mears remains in custody under a $5,000 bail.

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Jubilee Car Show: Among the festivities at this weekend’s Liberty Jubilee is a car and truck show hosted by an organization the “Wrench Wranglers Car Club” of Liberty. Organizer Michael Riley said Saturday morning’s event is open to all years, makes and models of vehicles.  Then, at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, participants are invited on a 30-mile cruise through the countryside. There is no fee to participate, but the Wrench Wranglers are asking for donations for the Bridgehaven Children’s Advocacy Center. The show will be this Saturday morning at 9 a.m. in the First Liberty National Bank parking lot.

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Goodbye Polio Roses: There are still some of the “Goodbye Polio” roses available for sale by the Liberty Rotary Club. For information, contact Tracy Williams at 336-2226.

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Obituaries: Hilda Crowson West, 83 of Oak Island. Services today at 10 a.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.41 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 54 TUESDAY, MARCH 22, 2011

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Leon Ripkowski: Back in the 1980’s, the Ripkowski family of Dayton was recognized by the U.S. Congress as having more brothers to serve in the military than any family in American history. Leon Ripkowski, 91 of Dayton passed away on Sunday. Leon Ripkowski was one of 12 brothers and four sisters. All attended when then Congressman Charlie Wilson presented the family with a Congressional Resolution recognizing that family’s service. The brothers all served in various branches of the military, spanning from WW II to the Korean Conflict. Honorably discharged in 1944, Leon Ripkowski was awarded an incredible five Bronze Stars.

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Jubilee: One big attraction at the annual Liberty Jubilee celebration is the children’s play area, featuring rides and games aimed at the youngest Jubilee visitors. A new addition this year is the unlimited ride armbands, available now at Liberty City Hall or at the Jubilee this Friday and Saturday.  Children’s play area committee Chair Kathy Miller said the armbands on Friday are $10 for unlimited rides and games from noon until 8 p.m. and Saturday, the armbands are $20 for rides and games starting at 9 a.m. For more info, call the Liberty City Hall 336-7361.

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Shred It: The City of Liberty will soon be offering another opportunity to foil identity thieves and have your sensitive documents commercially shredded free of charge. The “Shred it and Forget it” is set for Saturday April 16 from 9 a.m. to noon, or until the truck fills up in the Liberty City Hall Parking lot.

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More Census Date: Jessica Byerly and Stephanie Ellis with the Houston Galveston Area Council, speaking at this month Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon said Liberty and Chambers Counties were not the only areas showing growth in the 2010 census.  They said the 13 counties that make up the H-GAC area grew during the last decade by 25.4 percent overall. The 2010 census shows our region grew by 1.23 million people for a new total population of 6,087,133. Harris County is the largest county in the state with a new population of 4.09 million people.

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Obituaries: Leon Ripkowski, 91 of Dayton. Services today at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s the Worker Catholic Church in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.50 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 53 MONDAY, MARCH 21, 2011

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Firearms Indictment: A Honduran man, accused of a crime in Dayton, has been indicted for federal firearms and immigration violations in the Eastern District of Texas. The federal indictment alleges that on Dec. 13, 2010, a Dayton homeowner came home and discovered Carlos Andres Suazo-Izaguirre in her garage with a firearm said to have been stolen from that garage. The homeowner held the man at gunpoint until authorities arrived. U.S. Prosecutor John Bales said Suzao-Izaguirre is a convicted felon. If convicted of these latest charges, he faces 20 years in federal prison for illegally reentering the United States and 10 years on each of the three firearms accusations.

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Felon Captured: The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department has captured another wanted felon, thanks to another Crime Stoppers tip. Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans said 38-year-old Dywan Brooks was taken into custody last Thursday at the Inn at Liberty on Highway 90 in Liberty. Brooks was wanted on a felony warrant for a narcotics violation. Capt. Evans said the tipster told authorities this felon was still involved in the distribution of drugs.

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Jubilee: The 26th Annual Liberty Jubilee is this Friday and Saturday in downtown Liberty. One of the biggest attractions at the popular family festival is the wide variety of arts and crafts booths featuring handmade items. Organizers say there still are some 10’x10’ booth spaces available. The cost is $80 without electricity and $100 with electrical hookup. Those interested can call Jodie at Liberty City Hall. That number is 936-336-3684.

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Transition Fair: Dayton High School and the Liberty County Cooperative for Special Education are hosting what they call a Transition Fair benefiting students in special education programs and their families. This event will help students, and their families, make choices regarding colleges, careers, trade school plus agencies and options for independent living. The primary goal is to prepare special students and their families for life after graduation. This free Transition Fair is tomorrow from 6 to 8 p.m. at Dayton High School on S.H. 321 in Dayton.

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Obituaries: Esther Randolph, 79, of Liberty. Service is Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Our Mother of Mercy (AFS).

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.75 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 52 FRIDAY, MARCH 18, 2011

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Sales Taxes Are Up: Sales tax allocations for March to cities in Liberty County are up a stunning 32.93 percent. That is mostly the result of a staggering 78.44 percent increase in the city of Liberty. In real dollars, that is a $145,318 increase for Liberty. Sales taxes collected by retailers in January go to the state in February and arrive at local cities and counties in March. Other Liberty County towns with a monthly increase are Dayton, Devers, Hardin, Kenefick and the city of North Cleveland. Towns with drops in sales tax revenues are Cleveland, Ames and Daisetta. Statewide, sales tax collections were up 9.7 percent.       

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Road Work: Texas Department of Transportation crews are making road repairs to Highway 90 in the city of Liberty. TxDOT spokesman Mark Shepherd said those concrete repairs to Hwy. 90 between the Trinity River and Layl Drive in Liberty could take another month. The total project cost is $270,000. TxDOT officials remind drivers to pay extra attention in the work zone. Please watch for workers and stopped vehicles.  

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Suspect Sought: Liberty County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s help to locate an individual in connection with a series of home burglaries targeting elderly women. Liberty County Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans said, based on tips, they are trying to locate Derrick Hasselbring. He is described as a 38-year-old white male who is 6 feet, 4 inches tall weighing about 185 pounds. Captain Evans said Derrick Hasselbring should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 936-336-4500 or local police at 9-1-1.

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Ames City Council: When the filing period for the May 14 city and school district elections ended Monday, one local city was left with a vacant council position and no candidate for it. Position #1 Ames Council Member Jackie Miller-Glenn is not seeking a new term, and no one filed to replace her. Write-in candidates can file through Monday at Ames City Hall.   

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Obituaries:  Bruce Leon Mullinix, 58, of Devers. Service is 1 p.m. today at North Main Baptist Church (AFS). Lenelle H. Masterson, 49, of Baytown. Service is 10 a.m. Saturday at Holy Family Catholic Church in Baytown (Wells FS).

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.39 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 51 THURSDAY, MARCH 17, 2011

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Judge Issues Gag Order: 75th District Judge Mark Morefield has issued a gag order prohibiting those involved in the case of an alleged gang rape in Cleveland from talking to the news media. Judge Morefield told us the order is TO protect the privacy of the 11-year-old victim and the defendants’ right to a fair trial. The judge’s order relates to all attorneys, investigators, their employees, witnesses and potential witnesses in the charges against the thirteen adult defendants in the case. The five juveniles also charged in the sexual assault are under the jurisdiction of the Liberty County Court At-Law. Judge Tommy Chambers said to date no one has filed any request for a similar order in his court.      

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ER Doctors: The Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center has contracted with a company called Emergency Staffing Solutions to provide doctors for the hospital’s emergency room around the clock. Plans are to expand the number of in-patient physicians at the local medical facility as well. The announcement of a full-time emergency medical director at the hospital is expected in the next few weeks. 

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Baseball Broadcast: For a couple of decades, KSHN has broadcast high school baseball games for Liberty and Dayton. In recent years, we have included some Lady Broncos softball, and it is the girls that get things started this evening. The Dayton Lady Broncos host Goose Creek Memorial today with a 6:15 p.m. start time on FM 99.9. Next week, KSHN will feature Liberty versus Tarkington on Tuesday. Game time is 7 p.m. Our first broadcast of Broncos baseball is Friday, March 25, when Goose Creek Memorial travels to Dayton.

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Lewie’s Auction: It has been a month since Lewie’s in Liberty shut the doors after 50 years of serving the community. Now, Sherry Birdwell says they will hold an auction this Saturday at 10 a.m. to sell all of the fixtures and furnishings from inside the store. That includes six pecan crackers that she says are drawing a lot of attention. While the auction starts at 10 Saturday morning, those interested can preview items starting at 8:30.

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Obituaries:  Michael Woodward, 62, of Tarkington Prairie. Visitation Friday from 5 to 9 p.m. at Pace-Stancil Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.5 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 50 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 16, 2011

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Burglars Target Elderly: Liberty County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s help to locate a group of home burglars targeting elderly women. These break-ins have mainly occurred in the northern end of the county. Sheriff’s Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans said there is a video posted on the sheriff’s website under the recent events tab showing a suspect and vehicle thought to be involved. That car is an older-model, gray Daewoo sedan. The sheriff’s website can be accessed from our homepage – www.kshn.com. Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s department at 936-336-4500.

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Eyesore Removal: A longtime eyesore in Cleveland will soon be gone. Bulldog Tire Recycling on Travis Street in Cleveland is slated for a complete tire removal. Willie Carter, president of Cleveland Economic Development Corporation, said Earth Energy has purchased Bulldog’s assets, but not the land, in bankruptcy court. As part of the deal, Mr. Carter said that Austin-based company will remove the estimated 1.8 million tires located at Bulldog. Earth Energy also plans to construct a new modern tire processing plant in Cleveland. They are negotiating with Cleveland officials to acquire 25 acres at the city-owned industrial park near the airport. They plan to employ 30 people with an annual payroll of more than $2 million.

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Jennifer Fitzgerald: Phil Fitzgerald said he and wife Amywere on the phone with their daughter Jennifer in Tokyo during the aftershocks of the massive earthquake that struck Japan. Jennifer’s husband, John Stanley, works for Price Waterhouse Investments in Tokyo. While their apartment is about 200 miles from the quake’s epicenter, the destruction there was enough to shake the walls of their home and shut down all public transportation in that city.        

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Hardin School Board: The only contested race on the Hardin School Board is between Incumbent Jerry Ursprung and Marcus Travis Brand for Position #7.  

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Obituaries:  Kenneth Eugene “Andy” Anderson, 70, of Hull. Service 2 p.m. today at Daisetta United Pentecostal Church (F&F).  Eva Wood, 90, of Houston. Service 10 a.m. today at Sterling White Chapel in Crosby (SFH, Dayton).

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.52 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 49 TUESDAY, MARCH 15, 2011

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Candidate Filing Ends: Four candidates are in the running for two open seats on the Dayton City Council on May 14. They are Barbara Zaruba, Eliza Mae Guidry, Danny Jones and Greg Hayman. Felix Skarpa is unopposed for Dayton Mayor.  The only contested position on the Dayton School Board is Position #5 between Linda Harris and Mark Sjolander.      

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Sheriff’s Website: Liberty County Sheriff Henry Patterson has a new official website. Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans said this new site is designed to help make the sheriff’s department more accessible to citizens. Among the features is a local Top 10 Most Wanted list, a crime stoppers tip section and information on the department. There also is a new extra patrol-vacation form that allows residents to request extra patrols in their neighborhoods. To access that site, go to our homepage at www.kshn.com and click on the sheriff’s department patch. 

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Cleveland Council: On March 1, the Ninth Court of Appeals in Beaumont ordered the Cleveland City Council to hold a special election on May 14 to give voters the chance to recall three members. Barbara McIntyre, Durlene Davis and Cedric McDuffie were subject of citizen petitions requesting that recall election so Cleveland voters could decide to remove them from office. To date, no one we have talked to will offer any reason why so many registered voters would want to recall these three council members. While term limits prevent Barbara McIntyre from running for a new council term, she has filed to run against incumbent Jill Kirkonis for Cleveland Mayor.

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Trinity Valley Relays: The 60th Annual Trinity Valley Relays was held this past Friday, and it was the home team Lady Panthers who claimed first place overall among the 13 girls’ teams. The Dayton Lady Broncos were second.

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Historical Marker: Liberty County’s most recent recorded Texas Historic Landmark will be formally dedicated Sunday. The historical marker for the Tom Hill House will be unveiled at 2:30 p.m. at 211 South Bonham Street in Cleveland.   

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Obituaries: James Ray Folsom, 40, of Tarkington Prairie. Service is 3 p.m. today at Faith and Family.

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

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 47 FRIDAY, MARCH 11, 2011

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Game Room Robbery: The Liberty County Sheriffs Department has made an arrest in the robbery of a game room south of Liberty on FM 563 early yesterday morning. Sheriffs Dept. Capt. Rex Evans said a man dressed in a long dark coat, wearing a skeleton mask is said to have forced a female employee into a bathroom while he took money and property and ripped out the surveillance video. Captain Evans said a suspect identified as Nelson Moss who lives in that area was arrested yesterday evening. Capt. Evans confirmed the man resisted arrest and deputies used a taser device to subdue him. More details when they are available.  

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DPS Patrols: Texas Department of Public Safety Troopers will be out in force during spring break looking for drunk drivers. These increased patrols are slated all over Texas this Saturday through March 20. Troopers will target high-risk locations during the times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent. Chief David Baker, Assistant Director for the Highway Patrol, said they are not out to ruin anyone’s spring break, but everyone should know that drinking and driving will have serious consequences.

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Felony Warrant Sweep: KSHN reported on a large-scale felony warrant sweep that took place last week. Liberty County Sheriffs Dept. PIO Captain Rex Evans says that sweep resulted in the arrest of 8 individuals wanted on outstanding felony warrants. Sheriff’s Captain Rex Evans said also about a dozen felony warrants were cleared as a direct result of this operation.  He thanked the public for their support in helping make this countywide warrant sweep a success.

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Candidates: A new name will appear on the ballot for the May 14 Liberty City Council elections.  Elizabeth Simonson, wife of current city council member Al Simonson, who announced Tuesday he would not seek reelection, has tossed her hat in the ring for a spot on Liberty City Council. The filing deadline for all city and school district elections is Monday.

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Obituaries: Raymond E. Brothers, 88 of Prairieville, LA. Services Sunday at 2 p.m. at Faith and Family Funeral Service in Batson.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.52 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 46 THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2011

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Copper Theft: Its not news to tell you that we have a fast growing illegal industry of copper wire, pipe and conduit theft that has inflicted significant losses to local tax supported entities. Texas Ranger Frank Huff said it is a statewide problem with virtually all communities facing an issue that is hugely expensive to taxpayers. Paul Wereley, operator of Liberty Metal Recycling said law-abiding companies such as his; have recording equipment video taping all customers. He logs their drivers license, making sure it is current, license tag and identifying information about the customers’ vehicle. It is clear when talking to school and city officials, and those in the business of buying and selling this copper, it is a huge problem.  Mr. Wereley did say the price on copper is dropping somewhat and thinks that may slow the interest by thieves.

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Burn Ban Exceptions: All Nine News did a recent news report on exceptions to the countywide burn ban. Incidentally, that burn ban in Liberty County remains in effect while in Chambers County the ban on outdoor burning has been lifted. The laws surrounding exceptions to the burn ban are very detailed. Those exceptions are for the “planting and harvesting of agriculture crops”. In order to legally burn during a burn ban, regulations call for a trained prescribed burn manager to file a written burn plan with the appropriate authorities. A person who might qualify for that special permission should contact the Liberty County Emergency Management Office for more details. That would be Tom Branch; his office number is 936-334-3219.

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Jubilee Book and Bake Sale: The Friends of the Liberty Municipal Library are preparing for their largest fundraiser of the year. The annual Liberty Jubilee Book and Bake sale will be held this year in the expanded Liberty Municipal Library on Friday March 25 and Saturday March 26. Anyone with questions about how to donate books, magazines or baked food items can contact the Library at 936-336-8901.

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Obituaries: Douglas M. Cameron, 69 of Anahuac. Funeral services are pending at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac. Florence Malinowski Cameron, 75 of Huffman. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.72 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 45 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 9, 2011

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Commissioners: It was a four to one vote yesterday as Liberty County Commissioners voted to halt the ongoing project to remodel the old Wal-Mart store into county office space and an emergency shelter. Liberty County Judge Craig McNair made the motion, adding he would like to see the building put of for sale to recoup some of the money already spent on the project. Liberty County Commissioner Todd Fontenot voted against the halting of the project.

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Candidate Filing: The filing period for candidates seeking office in the May 14 elections ends Monday March 14. So far, only the Dayton City Council has enough candidates to guarantee an election will be held. Danny Jones, an unsuccessful candidate in last year’s Dayton Council election has filed to run again this year.

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Trinity Valley Relays: The 60th Annual Trinity Valley Relays is this Friday at the Liberty High School track. This storied track and field competition is set to begin at noon and continue until conclusion, sometime before dark. Liberty Track Coach Thomas Cooper said there are thirteen girls’ teams along with thirteen boys squads competing in this year’s Trinity Valley Relays.

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Spring Forward: This Sunday marks the beginning of Daylight Savings Time, time to set your clocks forward one hour before going to bed Saturday night. Remember, “Spring” forward.  Experts agree, this is also a good time to remember to check the batteries in all smoke detectors.

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Burn Ban: Liberty County Commissioners extended the countywide burn ban for at least the next two weeks at yesterday’s commissioners meeting. Liberty County Fire Marshal Jim Wilson said the winds and dry fuel could allow a fire to get out of control very quickly.

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Obituaries: Joyce Rea Cranfill McDonald Shelton, 69 of Hempstead. Services today at 1 p.m. at Pace Stancil Funeral in Dayton. Dorothy Barrow Hill, 96 of Anahuac. Services today at 2 p.m. First United Methodist Church of Anahuac. Sarah Ann Roy Tally, 49 of Baytown. Services tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.85 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 44 TUESDAY, MARCH 8, 2011

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Marijuana Seizure: Three Louisiana men are in jail after a traffic stop in Cleveland last Friday led to the discovery of nearly forty pounds of marijuana hidden in their vehicle. Cleveland police report Sgt. Kevin Cooke stopped a pickup truck because the license plate light was out.  The driver, Jeremy T. Wright, 25 of Shreveport refused to give consent for a search, but a trip around the vehicle by Sgt. Cooke’s narcotics dog, “Nero” resulted in the canine alerting on possible drugs inside. A search turned up 15 individually wrapped packages of marijuana, a total of 32.8 pounds. The driver and two passengers, Terrence T. Wright, 29 and Stephen Williams, 26 all of Shreveport, Louisiana were arrested and charged with possession of marijuana over 5 pounds, a third degree felony.

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Middle School Student Arrested: A Cleveland middle school student was among the last five arrested in connection to the November 2010 sexual assault of an 11-year-old girl. Cleveland ISD confirmed that one of the accused is a student at the Cleveland Middle School but would not identify what grade. In addition, Cleveland’s Assistant Police Chief Darrel Broussard has confirmed that Carlos Bernard Ligons, 22 is now also in custody. The latest arrest brings the total to 18 now charged in the alleged gang rape of a single girl during the Thanksgiving Holiday last year.

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Services Dogs to Retire: There have been several news reports on the Paws 4 Love dog therapy program. These special dogs are trained and tested to work with children teaching safety around dogs, visiting hospitals and nursing homes. They also visit schools, children’s library programs and the read program where children with reading difficulty take joy in reading to these special dogs that listen to every word without criticism. Now two of their charter member dogs, Holly Russell and Brodie Buchanan are set to retire. The public is invited to a reception celebration March 9. The event will be held on the front porch at Liberty Health Care Center Nursing Home on North Travis in Liberty. The time is 4:15 in hopes some of the children and teachers these dogs have been dedicated to can attend. 

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Obituaries: Sunny Rachelle Weeks, 24 of Daisetta. Services Wed. 2 p.m. at Faith and Family Funeral Service in Batson. ****************************************************

*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.65 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 43 MONDAY, MARCH 7, 2011

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Fatality Accident: A one-vehicle accident on Saturday claimed the life of 24-year-old Sunny Rochelle Weeks of Daisetta. DPS Trooper Chris Richmond said the wreck occurred on FM 834 sometime around 1 or 2 a.m. Saturday. However, the wreckage was not spotted by a passing motorist until about 9:30 Saturday morning. Justice of the Peace Pct. 2 Ronnie Davis said there were no signs of braking or swerving. Judge Davis ordered a blood draw since alcohol was discovered in the vehicle.

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More Cleveland Arrests: Four Cleveland High School students are being held in a juvenile detention facility in Montgomery County. They are the latest suspects charged in the alleged gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in November 2010. These latest arrests bring the number of suspects in this case to 17. Cleveland PD has already charged 13 men, ages 17 to 27, with sexual assault of a child under the age of 14. Names of the latest four arrested are being withheld since they are juveniles. They, too, are charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14.

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LISD Bond Discussions: Liberty ISD trustees appear unanimous in their opinion that the work proposed in the past two bond elections is drastically needed to repair the district’s aging facilities and update technology infrastructure.  However, during a special board meeting this past Saturday morning, the Liberty school board was divided on the idea of calling another bond election. Still, they directed staff to prepare the needed paperwork so they can consider a much smaller $5.9 million bond election for May 14. That decision in favor or against calling an election will come during another specially called meeting this Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. in the boardroom at the administration building on Grand Avenue. The public is invited.

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E.T. Branch Awards: Liberty Masons have honored 4 Liberty ISD educators as Teacher of the Year on their campus with E.T. Branch awards. Those recognized are Debbie Friar, SJE; Sharon Edge, LES; Tracy Pavliska, LMS; and Bruce Wright, LHS.  

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Obituaries: Harvey W. “Trapper” Clark Jr, 69, of Dayton. Service is 2 p.m. Tuesday at PSFH Dayton. Tony Apostalo, 87, of Baytown. Service is 2 p.m. today at Sterling in Dayton. Joann Waller, 82, of Liberty. Service is 2 p.m. today in Trinity under direction of PSFH of Dayton.  

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.66 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 42 FRIDAY, MARCH 4, 2011

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Countywide Sweep: A large-scale felony warrant sweep was conducted across much of Liberty County yesterday. It involved law enforcement officers from local, state and national agencies. Liberty County Sheriff’s Department Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans said the combined operation targeted Liberty County residents with outstanding felony warrants from not only here locally but also across Texas. Details on those targeted were not available because the operation was still ongoing. KSHN will have more on those arrested in a coming newscast.

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New Section of Beltway 8: The newest and final section of the Sam Houston Toll Way, also known as Beltway 8, is now open to traffic. Eric Hanson, Media Relations Coordinator with the Harris County Toll Road Authority, said this new section, which extends between Highway 90 and Highway 59 is an EZ-Tag only roadway. The all-electronic roadway does not accept cash and an EZ Tag or other Texas tolling tag is required for payment. To learn more about EZ-Tags, go to www.hctra.org.

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Jubilee Photo Contest: It’s that time again for local amateur photographers to consider entering their best works in this year’s Liberty Jubilee Photo Contest. Categories include landscape, travel, portraitures of adults and teens, nature and still life. Other categories are botanical, digital manipulation and photos of children under the age of twelve. Photo entries should be 5x7 or 8x10 and must be matted but not framed. They can be color or black and white. Awards will be presented in each category. There will also be recognition for both best in show and committee’s choice. All entries will be exhibited in the Humphrey’s Cultural Center before and after this year’s Liberty Jubilee. The entry fee is $3 per photograph. For information call April Reiss at 336-3684 or Carol Skewes at 336-3611.

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Soccer: The Liberty Panthers Soccer Team fell Wednesday to district leading Livingston Lions by the narrowest of margins, 1-0. Liberty Coach Joe Roberts said the second round of district soccer action begins Friday when liberty, now 3-2, hosts the Silsbee Tigers in Memorial Stadium at 5 p.m. the girl’s soccer team, now 2-3, meets Silsbee girls at 7 p.m.  LHS Soccer Coaches urges fans to come out be loud and support the Panthers as they push for a play-off spot.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.76 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 41 THURSDAY, MARCH 3, 2011

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Another Bond Election?: Liberty School trustees are considering calling another bond election for this May, which comes after twice being rejected by district voters within the past year.  The board will hold two special meetings in the next week. The first is Saturday at 7:30 a.m. to discuss the matter. Then, the Liberty School Board meets again next Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. when trustees will consider calling that election for May 14. The public is invited.

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Alzheimer’s Support: The 1st Methodist Church in Liberty is hosting an Alzheimer’s Support Workshop tomorrow from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Katie Olson of the Alzheimer’s Association of Houston and Southeast Texas will present the program and practical tips to families and care givers of Alzheimer’s patients. Lunch will be served by the Magnolia Health Care Center. To prepare properly, they do ask for registration by calling the church office at 336-6401. It’s all without charge.

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Roses: The Liberty Rotary Club is again selling “Goodbye to Polio” rose bushes. All proceeds go to the Rotary International’s worldwide effort to stamp out polio. The rose bush is described as having large quartered blooms in clusters, with a bud that is cream with a blush of apricot that opens to be cream colored. The rose bush is hardy, disease resistant and requires minimal care. They are $20 each and you can buy them from Rotary President Tracy Williams. Call during business hours, 336-2226.

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Man Sentenced to 417 Years: Following his conviction on multiple charges of sexual assault of young boys, Old River-Winfree resident Ronnie Odom was sentenced to 417 years in prison. The same jury that found the 36 year old guilty, gave the maximum punishment on each count of each indictment.

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Texas Independence: About 40 people gathered on the courthouse stops yesterday to hear Liberty County Judge Craig McNair read a proclamation honoring the 175th anniversary of Texas Independence. Following the reading, Judge McNair presented a copy of the proclamation to Linda Jamison, representative of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and County Court at Law Judge Tommy Chambers on behalf of the Sons of the Republic of Texas.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.57 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 40 WEDNESDAY, MARCH 2, 2011

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Fires: Fire departments across South Liberty County spent Tuesday afternoon much the same way they spent Monday afternoon, fighting large grass and brush fires.  Fires were reported on FM 770 south, off FM 1409, in Kenefick where a truck caught on fire, and then spread into nearby woods, and on 1410 in the Devers area.  In at least one case, the property owner was issued a ticket for intentionally setting the FM 770 fire to burn some old hay. That fire quickly got out of control and consumed more than 200 acres. Currently both Liberty and Chambers Counties are under a burn ban. To report a violation, call 336-4500. To report an actual fire, call 9-1-1.

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Texas Independence: The public is invited to the south steps of the Liberty County Courthouse this morning at 10 where County Judge Craig McNair will make an official proclamation to celebrate the 175th Anniversary of Texas Independence.

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Jail Employees Busted: Two employees at the Liberty County Jail have been arrested on felony charges related to their work. According to Liberty County Sheriffs Public Information Officer Captain Rex Evans, both James Roach and Naneasse Fletcher are accused of attempting to bring marijuana and other contraband into the Liberty County Jail. James Roach is in custody in Jefferson County while Naneasse Fletcher is being held at the Liberty County Jail.

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Phishing: Liberty Certified Public Accountant Byron Swaim said currently the Internal Revenue Service is doing a big push to educate the public about phishing efforts by those posing as the IRS on the internet. Phishing is a scam typically carried out by unsolicited emails and / or websites that pretend they are legitimate and lure unsuspecting victims to provide personal and financial information. The IRS asks that you forward any suspect email to phishing@irs.gov and add on the subject line, “suspicious website”.

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Candidate Filings: Dayton City Councilmember Jay Knight has confirmed he will not be a candidate for a second term. Eliza Mae Guidry, who held a spot on Dayton City Council for many years until she lost her spot a few years ago, has tossed her hat back in the ring to run again for council.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.61 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26 NO. 39 TUESDAY, MARCH 1, 2011

PCIP:  In March 2010, Congress passed the Affordable Care Act, the new health insurance law. This creates a new program, the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, to make health insurance available to those denied coverage by private insurance companies because of a pre-existing condition. The program, known as PCIP, provides a health coverage option, according to David Bowman with the Beaumont Office of Social Security.  The website to learn more is www.PCIP.gov and the phone number is 1-866-717-5826.

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ATF Arrest: According to Franceska Perot, Spokesperson for the Houston Field Office of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, the A.T.F. served a warrant for the arrest of Robert Riendfliesh, at the Ott Hotel in Liberty Friday night following an ongoing investigation. According to Ms. Perot, the warrant alleges Mr. Riendfliesh bought guns for someone else, knowing that person could not legally purchase the weapons themselves. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, Mr. Riendfliesh could face up to 10 years in prison.

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More Candidates: With another two weeks remaining in the filing period for the May 14 city and school district elections, both incumbents in the Liberty School Board race have filed. Bobby Pope and Brandon Smith have terms expiring. So far, they have no opposition. In the Dayton City Council election, there is one candidate for mayor, Felix Skarpa. Former Dayton councilwoman Barbara Zaruba, who lost her seat in at large voting two years ago, has signed up to run for a council seat.

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Warrior is the Child: The special fundraising event “The Warrior is the Child”, 5-K run/walk is this Saturday at the Liberty City Park. The event raises money for the “His Grace Foundation” that provides assistance to patients and their families who are on the bone marrow transplant unit of Texas Children’s Hospital. Information is available at the Branding Iron restaurant in Dayton or at www.hisgracefoundation.com.

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Obituaries: Lucille Stewart, 86 of Raywood. Funeral services will be held tomorrow 11 a.m. at St. Miles Missionary Baptist Church of Ames. Ileen Wakefield Monk, 56 of Dayton. A memorial services will be held tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.98 ASL*

 

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