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January 2007

-VOLUME 22 NO. 021 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 31ST, 2007-

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Today is the deadline for paying property taxes without a penalty. Acting Tax Assessor Doris Jones said the office will be open from 8 AM until 6 PM today, and they will also accept payments received with a January 31st postmark. After today any unpaid balance will have a 7 % penalty added. While credit card payments are not accepted at the office, you can pay by credit card over the phone. The instructions are on the back of your tax statement. Doris Jones said filling out your check in advance, and bringing the tax statement will speed the process.

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Local Certified Public Accountant Byron Swaim said an audit of a tax return by the IRS, does not automatically mean something is wrong with the return. He said, sometimes the IRS does random audits. He also said every return filed goes through a computer program that, in effect, scores the return based on the probability that the IRS would recoup more money for Uncle Sam if that return was audited. The higher the score, the greater the likely hood your return will be audited.

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Monday night following an hour-long executive session, Dayton City Council members authorized City Manager David Douglas to make a counter offer on a 14-acre tract of land. If the land purchase were to go through, it would become the future site of a new Dayton Library and Community Center. David Douglas said while negotiations are ongoing, they would not disclose the exact location, however, he did say it is within close proximity to the business area of Dayton.

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According to David Bauman of the Beaumont Social Security Office, those receiving disability payments can return to work for a nine-month trial period with no affect on their benefits. After that, if they continue to work, there is a 36-month-period where the amount of their payments is adjusted according to their earnings. For more information, call 409-924-6413.

****************************************************A memorial service for Les “Chubby” Chapman will be Thursday at 2 PM at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty rather then previously reported.

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Funerals: Mary Ellen Darcy King, 72 of Cleveland. Services at 10 AM Friday at Neal Funeral Home Chapel in Cleveland. ****************************************************

*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 15.07 ASL

-VOLUME 22 NO. 020 TUESDAY JANUARY 30TH, 2007-

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Chambers County Residents in the area of Hankamer had a bit of a scare yesterday morning when a back hoe struck and ruptured a 12 ” natural gas line. The resulting leak caused homes in the area north west of the intersection of Highway 61 and FM 1663 to be evacuated. Chambers County Emergency Management Director Ryan Holzaepfel said two people sustained some impact injuries from the dirt blowing off the high-pressure line, but they were treated and released. It took about an hour and a half before crews from Houston Pipeline Company, a division of Enron had the leak fixed and everybody back in their homes. There was no fire or explosion as a result of the leak.

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Liberty Wal-Mart Store Director Ron Olsen said the rumor that Wal-Marts nationwide will be closing several departments, is completely false. He said the unfounded rumor is the fabric paint and automotive departments would be closing, and this information is not correct, nor has it ever been considered. Mr. Olsen said the rumor apparently started from Internet bloggers, and was picked up on one Houston radio station.

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The 7th Annual South Liberty County Relay for Life is from 7 p.m. Friday April 13th to 7 a.m. Saturday April 14th at Liberty’s Memorial Stadium. The event raises money for cancer research, education and patient services and begins each year with the Survivor’s Lap. Any cancer survivor is invited to take part in that special 1st lap. There were 66 survivors at last year’s event and organizers hope for more this year. For information call Candace Rucka at 936-336-7267.

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This year’s Liberty Jubilee Photo Contest held on March 23rd and 24th will feature some new categories. In addition to Landscape, People, Nature and Miscellaneous, there is also Art Photography, Botanical, Children and Black & White. The fee for each entry is $3. Submit photos to Liberty City Hall. For more information, call 713-480-1594.

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Funerals: Happy Davis, 92 of Liberty. Services 1 PM Thursday at Wells Funeral Chapel, Liberty * Alice Mallett, 97 of Ames. Services 11 AM Wednesday at Our mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames * Leslie “Chubby” Chapman, Jr. Memorial services at 2 PM Thursday at First Methodist Church, Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 18.15 ASL

-VOLUME 22 NO. 019 MONDAY JANUARY 29TH, 2007-

Former Liberty resident Les “Chubby” Chapman was killed in an accident Saturday evening on his ranch in Blanco County. A Sheriff’s Capt. said Chapman was dragging brush to a burn pile with a tractor when it rolled over. He was 57. Les Chapman, who founded Chubby’s Happy Chap Stores, will be cremated with memorial services in Blanco Wed. and Liberty on Friday.

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Dayton businesswoman Jackie Cunill, 49, died suddenly Thurs.. She was owner of Graphic Express & member of the DCDC Board. Information indicates she suffered a stroke when leaving on a family cruise. Funeral Tues @11 Crespo & Jirrels-Baytown ****************************************************

We learned 253rd District Judge Chap Cain signed a restraining order last week that freezes some $1 million in assets of murder victim Mary Strickland. She was murdered in her Tarkington area home January 17th, allegedly by her husband, Rodney Strickland. The woman’s 17-year-old daughter was also shot, but is expected to recover. District Clerk Melody Gilmore said it is her understanding the petition- filed for Mary Strickland’s three children – is to keep Strickland from using the victim’s money for his bond or defense. The money is from a settlement that followed the death of Mrs. Strickland’s first husband, Liberty Co. Sheriff’s Deputy Earl McFarland on duty in 1990.

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Dayton Police Sgt. John Coleman said when 79-year-old Anthony Tornatori of Dayton pulled up to Dayton Power Sports Saturday at 12:35 p.m., his foot slipped off the brake and hit the accelerator. His SUV jumped the curb plowing thru the store’s glass doors. Four people suffered minor injuries. The store was crowded with visitors during grand opening celebration. KSHN Radio was broadcasting live from the new Dayton motorcycle and off-road vehicle dealership when the accident occurred.

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On Friday House Speaker Tom Craddick appointed State Representative John Otto of Dayton to the Texas House Ways and Means Committee. Otto said he is pleased to be among those who will develop the State’s budget for the next biennium.

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Tues. Our Mother of Mercy Ch - Ames @ 10 (WFS)**

*LAKE RELEASE: 11,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 21.25 ASL*

 

-VOLUME 22 NO. 018 FRIDAY JANUARY 26TH, 2007-

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The Dayton City Council met Monday night and voted to award a $36,000 bid to Houston-based “Power Now” for purchase and installation of a new standby generator for city hall. Dayton City Manager David Douglas said the city sent out 27 requests for bids, but received only the one. In other action, Council renewed the contract with Centerpoint Energy to provide natural gas service to Dayton residents for the next 5 years.

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The City of Liberty’s new police chief Mike Cummings comes from a full career with the Houston Police Department with over 20 years there. Chief Cummings said among the changes already made at the Liberty PD is the promotion of Sgt. Ricky Skarpa to the rank of lieutenant, Gary Martin is now a captain and 2nd in command and Kenneth Taylor has been promoted to lieutenant. This marks the new chief’s 9th day on the job. He said they are still looking for a couple of new faces to add to the force.

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Woodrow Wilson Jr. High in Dayton will host the Annual UIL Skills Competition on Saturday Feb. 3rd. Principal Oran Hamilton said some 1300 junior high students from 15 different schools would be squaring off in a variety of events aimed at testing their learning skills. Oran Hamilton said Dayton has been winning the competition and he hopes that will continue.

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Flag etiquette and Presidential Order calls for all U. S. flags to be returned to full-staff following the 30-day mourning period for President Gerald Ford, who died after a long illness on December 26th. Ford was 93 when he passed away, making him the oldest surviving former President of the United States.

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Four students from Liberty High School were selected by the Liberty Rotary Club to attend Rotary’s Youth Leadership Program called “RYLA”. LHS Juniors Ethan Ballinger, Zachery Givens, Laura Elizabeth Hernandez and Kayla Herrington were among 246 students from 38 clubs in Rotary District #5910 who attended the all-expense paid weekend camp to enhance leadership skills. The camp was held from January 5th to January 7th in Woodlake, Texas.

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Funerals: Services pending at Wells Funeral service for Happy Davis, 92 of Liberty and Alice Mallett, 97 of Ames.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 22,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 26.98 ASL*

-VOLUME 22 NO. 017 THURSDAY JANUARY 25TH, 2007-

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Former Hardin Middle School teacher, Sharisa Sprinkle, who was indicted on 2 charges of Sexual Assault, has pled guilty and been sentenced. District Attorney Mike Little said Ms. Sprinkle was sentenced to 8 years of what is called deferred adjudicated probation, a $1,500 fine, $568 in court costs, and 240 hours of community service. Ms. Sprinkle will also be required to surrender her teaching certificate and to resister as a convicted sex offender for the rest of her life. Miki Jo Taylor, substitute teacher at Hull Daisetta, was indicted on a similar charge, and is awaiting trial.

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David Bauman with the Beaumont Office of Social Security said now is the time for folks receiving retirement benefits, who have not reached full retirement age to make an earnings statement for 2007. He said under estimating what a person will make could leave them owing money to Social Security, while over estimating means all the benefits due would not be paid. The maximum allowed income for 2007 with out penalty is $12,960 for recipients under full retirement age. Call the Beaumont Office for more information at 409 924 6413

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George Douglas “Doug” Richardson, the Hull man who pled guilty to Intoxication Manslaughter in the deaths of 3 small children, is to be sentenced next month. It was in June 2005 when Richardson crashed his truck into a properly parked, disabled vehicle on the side of Hwy. 146 south in Dayton. Killed in that wreck were infant twin sisters Mariah and Miranda Murphy and their 19-month-old brother William. District Attorney Mike Little said Richardson could get from 2 – 20 years in prison on each of the three charges.

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A NASA Astronaut is coming to Liberty to speak in April as a Trivium club fund raiser to benefit the Library Expansion Program. Dr. Bernard Harris, Jr. M.D.p has logged 438 hours in space and traveled over 7.2 million miles. He is described as a dynamic and interesting speaker. The event, called “Reach for the Stars” will be at the totally remodeled auditorium behind the new San Jacinto Elementary School in Liberty. The astronaut’s visit is set for April 24th at 7:00 PM. This is pretty far in advance, but we wanted to let you know his appearance is confirmed. Tickets will be $15 for adults and $10 for students.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 31,700 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 27.29 ASL*

 

-VOLUME 22 NO. 016 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 24TH, 2007-

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For the first time, travelers flying to Mexico or Canada now require a U.S. passport. Both the Liberty and Dayton post offices offer passport services during their regular hours. In addition, the Dayton post office is sponsoring an after hours passport fair tomorrow and Tuesday of next week. Dayton Postmaster Angie Hayes said anyone who wants to apply for an U.S. passport could do so at the post office after regular business hours on those two days from 5 PM to 8 PM.

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Liberty County Commissioners met in special session yesterday, and Corrections Corporation of America again came to the attention of commissioners, in a round about way. One item on the agenda included paying an invoice for over $5500.00 to Tekplan Solutions for jail maintenance. A little research and it was determined the company had in fact billed the county but their contract was with CCA. Commissioners did not include that item in the approved payments. In other action, Commissioners appointed Judge Phil Fitzgerald as the county’s representative on the Houston Galveston Area Council General Assembly. Lee Groce said a year on the General Assembly Board would be a good crash course for the newly elected judge to thoroughly understand H-GAC and what it does.

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The latest scam making the rounds involves a letter informing the recipient they have won a lottery drawing and includes a bogus check for thousands of dollars. According to FLNB President Paul Henry, once a person deposits the check, then the crooks want a check for a little less than the one they sent. The thieves get a good check, the check they sent bounces for insufficient funds and the victim is left with the fallout. Any letter and check that seem too good to be true, probably is.

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Tickets are now sold out for tomorrow night’s Dayton Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet. Keynote speaker will be Texas Governor Rick Perry.

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Funerals: Martha McMillen Schroeder, 72 of Houston, formerly of Liberty. A funeral mass will be Thursday 10 AM at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church in Houston. ** Carl Davis Jr., 82, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. Friday at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 37,200 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 27.38 ASL*

 

-VOLUME 22 NO. 015 TUESDAY JANUARY 23RD, 2007-

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Its late, about 60 years late, but this Saturday, Buster Bricker will finally receive the Distinguished Flying Cross he earned in World War II. Buster Bricker flew 50 combat missions, in which all but four of his squadron was wiped out. A ceremony presenting the WW-II veteran with this honor will be held Saturday at 2 PM, weather deciding, either at the new Daniel Pavilion or in the Liberty Center at City Hall. 3 Star General Dennis Larson of Randolph Air Force Base in San Antonio will present the DFC during the ceremony. The public is cordially invited to attend this ceremony.

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An armed robber took $25 in cash at gun point from a Wal- Mart Super Center customer Sunday. Shortly after midnight Liberty Police got a call from a man who said the suspect asked him for help rolling up a stuck window because it was raining. The Liberty man approached the car, described as a tan Cadillac. The thief displayed a gun and demanded his billfold, which the victim surrendered. The suspect is a white male, thought to be in his late 20’s, clean shaven, with dirty blond hair, wearing a tan jacket with blue leather sleeves. If you have any information contact the Liberty Police Department at 336 5666.

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The Houston Galveston Area Council received a $7 million grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to fund a Hurricane Rita restoration program. Designed to help low to moderate income home owners not eligible for help from FEMA or private insurance with financial assistance to repair damages caused by Hurricane Rita in 2005. H-GAC representatives will be in Chambers County Tuesday January 30th at Whites Park in Hankamer from 9 AM – 2 PM. For more information go to www.kshn.com the link is on our front page or call, 1 877 442 2777.

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Chambers Co. Sheriff’s Department is investigating the apparent murder of 21 year old Hector Cornejo. His body was found on Kendall in Baytown Saturday. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 409 267 8331 or Chambers Co. Crime stoppers at 409 267 TIPS.

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Funerals: Barbara Ann Berotte Hubert, 50 of Dayton. Services will be Wednesday at 11 AM at St. Miles Baptist Church in Ames *

*LAKE RELEASE: 37,200 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 27.56 ASL*

-VOLUME 22 NO. 014 MONDAY JANUARY 22ND, 2007-

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Barbara Berotte, 50, of Dayton died last Thursday at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston of injures she suffered when a building collapsed on Jan. 10th. Ms. Berotte and her brother John were at work demolishing an old outbuilding when the structure collapsed, trapping her beneath the building’s roof. Heroic efforts by Dayton Fire and Liberty Co. EMS medics freed her and restored her heartbeat. She was airlifted to the Houston hospital and remained critical until her death.

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Liberty Co. Judge Phil Fitzgerald said Liberty Co. is one of several in Southeast Texas who can apply for low-interest disaster relief loans from the Small Business Administration. Funds are available for homeowners, renters, businesses and non-profits who had property damage during the severe storms and flood back in October. Applications are being accepted at the Hardin County Courthouse in Kountze, 300 Monroe Street, 8 to 5 Mon. - Fri.

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Joe Knight, 85, Dayton is now in critical, but stable, condition after a two-car wreck Friday on FM 1960. His wife, Mary Moore Knight, 82, has a pelvis fracture not requiring surgery, according to their son. Police say the well-known retired Dayton man pulled from a driveway and into the path of Angela Cardiff-27 of Dayton. She was hurt but not as badly as Mr. & Mrs. Knight. Their injuries were more serious than medics thought at roadside but were airlifted to Memorial Hermann-Houston to be safe.

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The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber’s Monthly Luncheon is Wednesday at noon at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church’s Marian Hall. It features a panel of attorneys led by Ed Pickett and Barbara Norwood with various topics and taking questions from attendees. Lunch: Fajitas from Casa Don Boni Rest. in Liberty for $8 a plate. Reservations: 936-336-5736.

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Funerals: Elias Lopez Trevizo, 56, Dayton,2 today St. Joseph’s Catholic Church-Dayton** Rosa Lee Haywood Ford, 90, formerly of Liberty, Graveside at 1 Wednesday at Liberty City Cemetery.**Jimmy Earl Lilley, Cleveland today at Neal Funeral Home-Cleveland**Kendoyce Evelyn Fingleman-80. Funeral 10 Wed. 1st Baptist Church-Dayton (PSFH)**Rev. Bill Webb-83, Montgomery Methodist Church, 11 today.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 37,200CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 27.80 ASL*

VOLUME 22 NO. 013 FRIDAY JANUARY 19TH, 2007-

**************************************************** Mary Strickland, the North Liberty County woman shot and killed Wednesday, was the widow of Liberty County Sheriffs Deputy Earl McFarland. He was killed in a traffic accident while escorting a Veterans parade in 1990. The woman’s current husband Rodney Strickland also allegedly shot the 17-year-old daughter of Mary Strickland and the late Earl McFarland. The girl is expected to fully recover. Sheriff Greg Arthur said the two women were shot separately, however they are still investigating whether the girls shooting was intentional or accidental. Rodney Strickland is in the Liberty County Jail on a $1 million bond, charged with murder.

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A house fire in Dayton did serious damage to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Anin at 501 Ladd St. at the corner of Ross. Assistant Fire Chief Murphy Green said Mrs. Anin was home with their 2 children. They went out a window when they smelled the smoke and called fire fighters from a neighbor’s house. A lamp in the front of the house is the suspected cause, however the investigation continues.

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State Senator Tommy Williams said in addition to illegal immigration and funding school property tax reductions, a major issue facing legislators this session is transportation. Specifically he believes it’s important to protect the Harris County Toll Road Authority from State Highway Commissioners and Texas Department of Transportation who want to take money from the authority to be used in other areas of the state. Senator Williams said while Liberty County does not benefit directly from those funds, the entire area benefits from the increased mobility the Toll Road Authority provides.

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The Hardin High School Cheerleaders have earned a spot in this weekend’s Cheer Power Competition at Moody Gardens in Galveston. A win there means the Hornet Cheer Squad moves on to the Cheer Power Finals and possible National Championship.

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Funerals: Beulah Catherine Travis Griffin, 90, formerly of Liberty, Services tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Liberty * Alice Wade Bolton Bennett, 89, of Cleveland, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Neal Funeral Home in Cleveland. **

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**LAKE RELEASE: 50,400 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 27.76 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 012 THURSDAY JANUARY 18TH, 2007-

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Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said Rodney Strickland, 51 of the Tarkington area called yesterday afternoon and told deputies he had shot two members of his family. Dead is his wife, Mary Strickland age 46. His 17-year-old stepdaughter was taken to Memorial Hermann Hospital by Life Flight air ambulance in serious condition. Sheriff Arthur said the 10-year-old son of Rodney and Mary Strickland was in the home at the time of the shooting but was not injured.

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Tuesday night, Liberty School Trustees heard a report from John Pechacek on the audit of the district for the 2005-2006 school year. He told trustees there was nearly $3 million in delinquent taxes owed the district, and an aggressive effort by the LISD tax attorney should be able to collect some of that money. He also told trustees he felt the Liberty County Tax Assessors office was slow on moving tax money they collect on behalf of the district from their account in to that of LISD. Trustees asked Director of Business Services Margaret Lee to look into how much interest the district is losing because of the slow payment process. In other action, trustees decided they would call for a special election to replace recently resigned board member Frank Davis. That election will be held in conjunction with the general election May 12th, 2007.

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Tomorrow night from 5-7 PM, the Liberty Rotary Club will hold their 55th Annual Fish Supper at the new Liberty Center at City Hall. All you can eat fish and trimmings for just $8. Kids under 5 eat free. Tickets are available from any Liberty Rotary Club member or at the door. There will also be a drive through line at the west side of City Hall for orders to go. Proceeds benefit the local service club’s many community projects.

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While it had a lot of build up getting here, at least in Liberty County, it was more the ice storm that wasn’t. DPS Sergeant Chuck Havard said the only problems with icing on the roadways were on Highway 59 in Cleveland.

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Funerals: Joyce Green Windon, 65 of Houston. Services will be noon Saturday at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton * Orville Eugene Shoemaker, 53 of Devers. Services tomorrow at 2 PM at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty

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**LAKE RELEASE: 50,400 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 27.33 ASL**

VOLUME 22 NO. 011 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 17TH, 2007-

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With the Trinity River expected to crest in Liberty near 28.4 feet above sea level late tomorrow or early Friday, Liberty County Officials have asked for a voluntary evacuation of flood prone areas along the river. Emergency Management Coordinator Ken DeFoor said the main reason for the request is the threat of access roads becoming impassable due to rising water. Motorists should use extreme caution when water covers the roadway. Night travel in these areas should be avoided if possible.

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An 8” water line in Dayton broke Monday night, causing water to about an 8-10 block area to be shut off for about an hour and a half. Dayton City Manager David Douglas said due to TCEQ regulations, those who lost water Monday night, most of which were south of Houston Street, should continue to boil all water intended for human consumption. City Manager Douglas said they have sent samples of the water to a lab for testing, and they anticipate receiving the results of those tests on Thursday.

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The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon is next Wednesday – Jan. 24th- at noon at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church’s Marion Hall. This month’s luncheon features a panel of local attorneys addressing issues such as domestic violence, family law and real estate. Lunch is fajitas for $8 a plate. Call 936-336-5736 for reservations

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The Friends of the Liberty Municipal Library are holding their membership drive this month. Library Director Dana Abshire said they would be mailing out membership applications to current members, and also working to add memberships. The friends’ organization provides both money to help fund special programs at the library as well as volunteer manpower. Memberships run as little as $5 for an individual membership, $1,000 lifetime membership, and anything in between. For more information call 936-336-8901.

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Funerals: Ralph Rivera, Jr. 43. Funeral services will be Friday at 10 am at Neal Funeral Home Chapel in Cleveland. ** Brooks Eubanks, 71, of Old River, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** John Pugh Thompson, 74, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **

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**LAKE RELEASE: 50,400 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 26.77 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 009 FRIDAY JANUARY 12TH, 2007-

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US Congressmen Kevin Brady says he is against the proposed increase in the minimum wage because he felt the goal should be moving workers into good paying jobs. He touted the idea of an education debit card that minimum wage workers can use to attend local community colleges, or trade schools to develop the skills that bring in what he called a livable wage. Congressman Brady said even at $7.25 an hour, many folks will still be at the federal poverty level. The congressman whose 8th Congressional District includes a portion of Liberty County said he believes the proposal will pass.

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Information from the Dayton Police Department indicates Barbara Berotte, 50 of Dayton, remains in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. She is said to have a punctured liver and to be undergoing treatment to reduce swelling on the brain. She was injured Wednesday when a building collapsed, trapping her beneath the rubble.

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A high turnover rate of correctional officers results in an under experienced work force in Texas Department of Criminal Justice state prisons. One of the reasons for the turnover, experts say, is the pay scale. Both Senator Tommy Williams and State Representative John Otto agree that something needs to be done to address the pay of those state employees in high-risk jobs. Senator Williams said he has already talked with a fellow senator about addressing the issue this session.

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The Dayton Athletic Booster Club’s Annual Oyster and Fish Fry is Saturday at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High in Dayton. Tickets are $12 for all you can eat fish and a dozen oysters. Saturday’s dinner will be from 5 pm – 7:30 pm. Tickets are available in advance at Dayton Farm and Ranch, Legend Bank, Prosperity Bank in Dayton, Calvin Westcott State Farm, and Randel Arnold State Farm as well as at the door.

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Funerals: Russell Glenn Todd, 39 of Daisetta. Funeral services tomorrow at 2 PM at Central Baptist Church in Daisetta * Bertha N. McCarty Campbell, 98 of Huffman. Funeral services at 11 AM Monday at Rice Funeral Home in Claremore, Oklahoma * Doris Lorraine Emmons Pledger, 80 of Hull. Funeral services 10 AM today at Sterling Funeral Home-Dayton.

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**LAKE RELEASE: 9,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 22.58 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 008 THURSDAY JANUARY 11TH, 2007-

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As of late yesterday afternoon, Barbara Berotte, age 50 of Dayton was in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, after a building collapsed on her. Dayton police Sgt. Doug O’Quinn said she and her brother, John Berotte, were helping another sister by demolishing an old outbuilding behind the residence when, without warning, it collapsed, trapping her under the roof structure. Dayton Fire Department and Liberty Co. EMS personnel worked with axes, poles and bare hands ripping at the roof to free the woman. While initially, it was thought she had died as a result of the accident, EMS personnel were able to restore her heart beat using cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, and she was taken to the Houston Hospital by LifeFlight Air Ambulance.

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Dayton Police say shortly after 11 am yesterday, Robert Vaughn of Tarkington was going south on Highway 146 south of Dayton when he crossed the centerline and struck the pick up of northbound Joe Patton of Dayton. Witnesses told police that Mr. Vaughn began trying to conceal items after the wreck, and officers found drug paraphernalia including what appeared to be a crack cocaine pipe in nearby foliage. Liberty County EMS took Robert Vaughn to Liberty Dayton Community Hospital. The Chambers Liberty County Narcotics Task Force was notified by Dayton PD of the drug paraphernalia in Vaughn’s possession and he was taken into custody following his release from the hospital.

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The Liberty City Council Tuesday night appointed five people to a charter review commission, they are: Mark Morefield, Patricia Watson, Cathy Harbour, Ron Mayo and Frank Jordan. Council also named six to the Airport Advisory Board, Rick McGuire, Chet Tims, David Lawrence, Charles Graebin, Linda Street-Ely, and Airport Supervisor Avon Moore.

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The Dayton Rotary Club is holding their annual fundraising Gumbo Luncheon Friday, January 19th. The chicken and sausage gumbo will be served at the First United Methodist Church in Dayton from 10:30 until 2:30. Tickets are available from any Dayton Rotary Club member or at the door. Tickets are $5. Proceeds benefit the Dayton Rotary Club Scholarship program and other community projects.

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**LAKE RELEASE: 17,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.01 ASL**

VOLUME 22 NO. 007 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 10TH, 2007-

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In their first regular meeting of the new year, Liberty Co. Commissioners voted to hold the final payment to Corrections Corporation of America until issues with required reports from CCA and maintenance at the county jail could be worked out. Liberty County Auditor Harold Seay said he is still waiting on reports from the former jail operators that were due last summer. Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said they continue to find areas of the jail where the facility was not maintained as required by the contract between CCA and Liberty County. The final check being held by the county is a little over $400,000.

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Monday night, the Dayton City Council approved a new logo to appear on city vehicles and other city property over the next few months. The new logo features the motto “Making the Difference” and an impressive star over a map of Texas marking Dayton’s location. The logo will be in red, white and blue. Council also approved installation of 36-inch drainage pipelines behind the Dayton Dirt Yard and under Colbert Street.

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Lee College Director of Continuing Education and Work Force Training, Johna Paige said areas of the medical field comprise a large number of the top 50 fastest growing fields in the country. She said Lee College offers a number of fast track programs to help someone enter these career areas in as little at 6 weeks. While some of the programs must be taken in a classroom setting, some are offered online. Check them out on line by going to www.kshn.com and click on schools.

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Superintendent Mona Chadwick said all Liberty Schools will be dismissed at 2 p.m. tomorrow so faculty and students can, if they wish, attend the funeral of longtime educator, Nick Vaught.

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The Liberty County Courthouse as well as city offices in both Dayton and Liberty will be closed Monday in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday. All banks and post offices will also be closed, however garbage pick up will run as scheduled Monday in both Liberty and Dayton.

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Funerals: Ila Boyt Maxwell, 96, of Devers, Graveside services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Beaumont. **

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**LAKE RELEASE: 23,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.15 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 006 TUESDAY JANUARY 9TH, 2007-

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Long time beloved schoolteacher, coach and friend- Nick Vaught died shortly after 1 PM Monday. The 53-year-old popular educator suffered a severe stroke several months ago, and during treatment, an aggressive brain tumor was discovered. Family members said he died peacefully, surrounded by his family and closest friends. Besides his unselfish involvement in many community activities, Nick Vaught was also a familiar voice on KSHN radio as the color analyst for the Liberty Panther Football Game Broadcasts. In his immediate family is survived by his wife Lorrie Hartel Vaught and their son, Jake.

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The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting for the new Chili’s Restaurant on the 146 Bypass in Liberty was yesterday morning. Though the new restaurant will not open to the public until 11 a.m. Thursday, those attending the ceremony and other invited guests were asked to help train the new Chili’s staff by sitting down to a complimentary meal. Manager Jason Burkhalter said they have already hired 119 employees, they still have openings for experienced cooks.

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Former Cleveland High School Football Star Dennis Ellis was a starter for the Boise State Bronco Team that defeated the Oklahoma Sooners 43 to 42 in overtime on New Year’s Day at the Fiesta Bowl. The 2002 Cleveland Grad had an outstanding record at the College of the Canyons, then moved on to play for Boise State in Idaho. Dennis Ellis is a Senior Communications Major and has been a key player in the Defensive Line for the undefeated Broncos.

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The 9th Annual Liberty County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is this Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Liberty Center at City Hall. The guest speakers are State Representatives John Otto and Dr. Alma A. Allen. There will also be special musical presentations, dance and drill routines. For more information, call 936-336-7393 or 936-336-6601.

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Funerals: Norman Ray Mosely, Jr., 43, of Dayton, Services at noon today at Hardin Baptist in Hardin. ** Dorothy Marie Hart, 79, of Rye, Services at 2 p.m. Wednesday at 1st Baptist Church of Batson. ** Nick Vaught, 53. Funeral Services Thursday at 4 PM at the First Baptist Church in liberty.

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**LAKE RELEASE: 23,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.21 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 005 MONDAY JANUARY 8TH, 2007-

A routine stop by Liberty Police last Thursday night resulted in five people arrested on hunting violations. Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Danny Diaz said police found two buck deer, several rabbits, raccoons and armadillos inside an SUV. James Peak, 19, of Liberty and K. C. Nelson, 17, of Anahuac are charged with hunting white tail deer at night – a State Jail felony. Kevin Brock, 20, of Hardin, 18-year-old Cody Harryman and Fawn Parrot, also 18, both from Liberty, are charged with hunting at night from a vehicle- a Class A Misdemeanor.

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That story provided Game Warden Diaz with more information prompting him to believe there was more to the story –Diaz and other officers staked out Liberty Food Mart on Virginia St. in Liberty and it paid off. Soon the lawmen raided the small store issuing misdemeanor citations to three. Two were charged with buying white tail deer, one for selling the same wildlife game. Cited at the store was Quan Van Vo-43 and Van Trang Ly-48.

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Assistant Liberty Fire Chief Jennifer Huddleston said firefighters answered a call to Black and Gold Services on Hwy 90 around 7 last Friday night and found - not one – but two of the company’s 18-wheel vacuum trucks on fire. The trucks were parked side-by-side and while both cabs were destroyed, firefighters were able to keep the flames from doing damage to the trucks’ trailer tanks. Chief Huddleston said the cause of the fire is under investigation but nothing has been found to indicate foul play. Damage to the trucks is between $250,000 and $300,000.

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Liberty High Baseball players are raising money for expenses over the teams school budget. The players are selling a book of coupons good for free and discounted foods from 11 different Liberty and Dayton restaurants. The book costs $20 with a lot more value and can be purchased from any Liberty baseball player or Coach Josh Sadler at 346-6707.

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Houston Galveston Area Council Representatives will be at the Dayton City Hall from 9 to 2 tomorrow to take applications for assistance from residents who have been unable to repair Hurricane Rita damage to their homes. Another chance to apply for funds from a $7 million federal grant is on Thursday Jan. 18th at the Tri-County MH/MR Office in Cleveland.

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Funerals:Inez Johnson 86, of Kenefick, Services were Sunday.

**LAKE RELEASE: 23,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.26 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 004 FRIDAY JANUARY 5TH, 2007-

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Dayton School Superintendent Greg Hayman said High School Band Director John Eustace, who has been on administrative leave since late November, has submitted his resignation. Superintendent Hayman said it is effective January 31st, and has been accepted. Eustace will remain on administrative leave until that time. It was just before the Dayton Bronco Band made their trip to Chicago in November, that the 5 year band director was put on leave after it was alleged he sent sexually explicit e-mails or text messages to a female student in the band.

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Liberty Police say the driver, Dwayne Douglas Roberts, 33 of Liberty, who caused last month’s fatal wreck on Highway 90 was legally drunk at the time. Detective Gary Martin said both Roberts and Genevieve Jackson were killed instantly. Autopsy results on Dwayne Douglas Roberts show the man was legally intoxicated, with a blood alcohol level of 1.02 %, when his truck crossed into oncoming traffic. The legal limit is .08%.

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44 year old Wesley Edwin Bruce, of Tarkington has been sentenced to 75 years in prison for aggravated sexual assault of a child and possession of child pornography. District Attorney Mike Little said the man pled guilty in September to those charges, and on Wednesday, 75th District Judge C.T. “Rusty” Hight handed down the sentence. DA Little said the investigation of the sexual assault led to the discovery of child pornography on the man’s computer. Mike Little said while Bruce would become eligible for parole after roughly 30 years, more often then not, child sex offenders, convicted of an aggravated offense serve their entire sentence.

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Tickets are on sale now for the annual Dayton Chamber of Commerce Banquet set for Thursday January 25th at 6:30 PM. Held at the Woodrow Wilson Junior High on Highway 146, the keynote speaker will be none other then Texas Governor Rick Perry. Reservations are necessary since due to the increased security involved and anticipated crowd with the governor’s visit, no tickets will be sold at the door. Call the Dayton Chamber office at 936 257 2393 for reservations.

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Funerals: Ernest Nugent, 64 of Liberty. Funeral services are today at 2 PM at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.

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**LAKE RELEASE: 23,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 21.09 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 003 THURSDAY JANUARY 4TH, 2007-

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Liberty Middle School Principal Bruce Lacefield said dealing with the differing standards between state educational accountability and the federal No Child Left Behind program is like fighting two battles. For example, the federal passing percentage target for math is set at 58 % in 2008, while the state requirement increases to 50% in the same time period. In spite of the shifting target, Principal Lacefield said he is confident that Liberty Middle School will continue to progress to the designation of an Exemplary school, the highest designation level awarded by the State of Texas.

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With the swearing in ceremony Tuesday morning at the Liberty County Court House, veterans of public service took the oath of office for another term. Serving the public as elected County Clerk for 10 years, Delia Sellers has worked in that office in some capacity for more than 20 years. County Court at Law Judge Don Taylor begins his third term. Melody Gilmore has been District Clerk for 7 ½ years, while Lee Groce has been County Commissioner Pct. #2 for 20 years. Precinct #4 Commissioner Norman Brown starts his second term. JP #1 Bobby Radar has been at it for 8 years. JP #5 Burl Thomas started his 13th year. Glen Pruitt JP Pct. #4 is now in his 10th year. And just behind County Attorney Jack Hartel for longevity, JP #2 Ronnie Davis has been Justice of the Peace for 24 years.

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The new China Buffet on Highway 90 in Liberty is now open, and is the 11th Chinese restaurant owned by the Zhu Family of Jasper Texas. They have completely rehabilitated the old Panda Panda restaurant, including a complete remodeling of the dining area, and the kitchen. It is a brand new restaurant. Kevin Zhu, son of the founder of the family chain, said the main dining area seats over 150 and the private dining area holds a little over 25. The new China Buffet on Highway 90 across from Lewie's in Liberty is open 7 days a week from 11 AM until 9:30 PM.

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The Life Share Blood Center is holding a platelet drive this Saturday at 1st Liberty National Bank in Liberty from 10 A.M. until 4 P.M. Platelets are responsible for the clotting factor in human blood and are used to help those who suffer from diseases or injuries causing bleeding. Platelet donations require two hours. Call 936-298 2689 to schedule an appointment.

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**LAKE RELEASE: 19,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 20.91 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 002 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 3RD, 2007-

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More than 200 people crowded into the 75th District Courtroom on the 3rd floor of the Liberty County Courthouse for the swearing in ceremony for those elected to office in November. After being sworn into office by 24-year veteran Justice of the Peace Ronnie Davis, Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgereld did the honors for newly elected County Treasurer Kim Harris. Retiring Judge Lloyd Kirkham officiated as Peggy Dunn, the first woman judge in Liberty County since 1836, took the oath of office of Justice of the Peace Pct. #6. Also taking the oath for the first time as elected officials was Cody Parrish - JP # 3, Constables Mike Parrish, Pct. #2 and Danny Frankum Pct #3.

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The Houston Galveston Area Council received a 7 million-dollar grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs to fund a Hurricane Rita restoration program. Designed to help low to moderate income home owners not eligible for help from FEMA or private insurance with financial assistance to repair damages caused by Hurricane Rita in 2005. HGAC representatives will be at Dayton City Hall Tuesday January 9th from 9-2, and on Thursday January 18th at the Tri-County MHMR Office in Cleveland also from 9-2, to accept applications. Dates for Chambers County will be announced soon. For more information, or to download an application, go to www.h-gacritarestore.com or call 1 877 442 2777.

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Tim Gassiott, Vocational Director for Dayton High School said all six Liberty County school districts with high schools have students enrolled in classes offered this month by the Liberty County Career Training Academy. In addition, more area junior or community colleges are coming on board by offering classes for students in Liberty County. Kingwood College has expressed an interest in offering classes next fall in Cleveland including Logistics, an introductory class for dental assistants, drafting and another welding course. For any classes offered, the first spots are open to students of Liberty County high schools, then adults are offered those slots not taken.

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Funerals: Lola B. Keener, 98, of Hardin. Services will be today at 11 A.M. at Olive Bethel Baptist Church in Hardin ** Joel Arturo Rodriguez, 35 of Dayton. Services today at noon at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Dayton.

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**LAKE RELEASE: 19,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 20.43 ASL**

-VOLUME 22 NO. 001 TUESDAY JANUARY 2ND, 2007-

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The Liberty County Career Training Academy has some spots available for adults to enroll in either the Electricity or Industrial Maintenance courses starting this month. Tim Gassiott said they would be going to Lamar Institute of Technology January 10th for sign up and testing for the Industrial Maintenance Class. Courses offered through the Liberty County Career Training Academy are open to all Liberty County High School Seniors, and adults when space is available. The five classes being offered at this time are Process Technology, Office Practice and Procedures, Electricity, Welding and Industrial Maintenance. For more information call Dayton High School at 936 258 2510.

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With the change of the New Year came the change of operations of the Liberty County Jail. At 12:01 AM Monday, Civigenics took over jail operations. The new warden, Tim New said the company, Civigenics is based in Massachusetts and operates 11 jails, with all of them- except 1 in Ohio- located in Texas. The County Jail houses approximately 380 people, about 200 are county prisoners with the remaining beds contracted to house prisoners for the US Marshall’s Service.

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James Bricker, Facilities Manager for the Trinity Valley Exposition the last four years, has been hired to operate the 3-year-old, $20 million indoor fairground facility called Dodge Arena in Hidalgo. Bricker begins his new job January 8th. The TVE board has advertised in the State Fair Association trade magazine for a new manager, local applicants are also welcome. Send a resume to TVE Chairman of the Board, Barry Whittaker, fax it to 936 336 5192 or drop it by the TVE Fairgrounds Office.

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The Liberty County Master Gardeners will hold a 5-week intensive Landscaping Course starting January 15th. The course is each Monday night from 6-8 at the Dayton Ag Building, it will include introductory landscape drafting, grounds layout, tree and shrub selection and more. Cost is $25. Call the Liberty County Extension Office at 936 336 4558 Ext. 221.

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The Lifeshare Blood Center will hold a whole blood drive Thursday from 1 to 7 PM at the FLNB Dayton Financial Center and a platelet drive Saturday from 10 AM until 4 PM at FLNB Liberty. Call 936 298 2698 for more information.

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**LAKE RELEASE: 19,000 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 17.63 ASL**

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