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February 2006

-VOLUME 21 NO. 039 TUESDAY FEBRUARY 28TH, 2006-****************************************************

An overloaded lightweight extension cord is blamed for starting the fire that destroyed a double-wide manufactured home on CR # 4013 last Saturday night. West Lake Assistant Volunteer Fire Chief Denny Loonham said his department was joined by firefighters from Old River and Mont Belvieu, but all that was left was the home’s exterior structure. Anything of value was gone. The Thrasher Family, who owned the home, had canceled their home insurance a month or so ago to reduce expenses.

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The 7th Annual Thunder on the Trinity will be March 17th through the 19th at the TVE Fairgrounds in Liberty. For various reasons the Trinity Valley Exposition rather than the Liberty Rotary Club will sponsor the popular motorcycle rally this year. To register for the event, call 336-7455 or visit www.thunderonthetrinity.com to print a registration form.

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Liberty Police Officer Ricky Pearson said just after 11 AM yesterday, Rex Williams of Spring was stopped at the traffic signal at Hwy. 90 and the 146 By-pass in Liberty. Behind him in the west bound lane was Kevin Sheffield of Dayton. Police reports indicate Arnold Cryer of Houston failed to stop, and struck the pick up of Kevin Sheffield shoving him into the back of Williams Explorer. Both Sheffield and Cryer were taken to Liberty Dayton Community Hospital. Officer Pearson said citations are pending the outcome of his investigation.

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The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards banquet is this Thursday night at 7 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson JR. High Commons Area. The speaker will be Jeff Moseley, President and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. They will also be presenting the annual Citizen of the Year Award. District Attorney Mike Little will serve as Master of Ceremonies, with special music by Valencia Arceneaux and Larry Wagnon. Tickets are still available for $20 by calling 936 336 5736.

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David Bowman Assistant Manager of the Beaumont office of Social Security said for those that are eligible for the Medicare Part “D” Prescription Drug plan, the period of enrollment ends May 15th. Once that deadline has passed, sign ups will not begin again until November.

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* LAKE RELEASE: 1,800 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.85 ASL

-VOLUME 21 NO. 038 MONDAY FEBRUARY 27TH, 2006-

Last week the Dayton City Council voted to change plans for financing the wastewater treatment plant expansion.. Originally, they agreed on a 30-year pay out plan with the US Dept. of Agriculture Rural Development program. On a unanimous vote it will be a 23-year pay-out with the Texas Water Development Fund. Dayton council cited more payoff options and interest savings. There will be an increase in rates to retire the bonds.

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The Texas Department of Transportation will hold two public meetings this week to provide information and answer questions about the Grand Parkway Project and the Trans-Texas 69 Corri-dor Connector Route, both possibly coming through Liberty County. TxDot District Supervisor John Barton said the public is encouraged to attend either of these informal meetings and learn more about the major transportation issues effecting this growing area. The first meeting is tomorrow night from 6 to 8 at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High School in Dayton. The second is Wednesday at Barbers Hill High School, also from 6 to 8 p.m.

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Early voting rolls on for Liberty Co. voters in the Democratic and Republican party primaries, today through Friday 8 until 5 pm at the County Courthouse and the Cleveland courthouse annex also from 3 pm until 7 pm today through Friday in Hardin at the Middle School Library and Dayton at the new county annex on FM 1960. County Clerk Delia Sellers says voting is running behind normal. Election day is Tuesday March 7th.

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The Hardin Lady Hornets Basketball Team’s great season ended Friday in Tyler. They lost the Class AA Regional Semi-Final Game to Winona, 66 to 49. Top scorers for the Hardin Girls were Whitney Balch-13 points and Laurel Arthur with 8. The Lady Hornets finished, 27 and 7 on the season. .

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The 30th Annual Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High School Commons Area in Dayton. The guest speaker will be Jeff Mosely, Chief Executive Officer of the prestigious Greater Houston Partnership. The Citizen of the Year Awards for Liberty and Dayton will also be announced. Tickets are $20 each. Call the Chamber Office at 936-336-5736 for reservations.

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FUNERALS: Alvin Fregia, 73, of Hardin, Services at 10 a.m. today at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.

* LAKE RELEASE: 1,800 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.67 ASL *

-VOLUME 21 NO. 037 FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24TH, 2006-****************************************************

A branch of Wood Forest Bank is coming to Liberty in the new Wal-Mart Super Center. The bank has had in-store financial facilities with extended hours in Wal-Mart locations for the past decade. According to Wood Forest’s Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Cindi Stewart, the Liberty branch will offer full-service banking seven days a week. While hours vary from store to store, Ms. Stewart said Wood Forest is usually open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday. The bank will employ from 7 to 10 people. For employment applications and information go to www.woodforest.com and then to the career section.

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Monday night, the Dayton City Council approved a 10% homestead exemption for residential property owners to take effect next year. Council briefly discussed the matter two weeks earlier but had been unable to reach a consensus on how much of a tax break to give homeowners. The exemption will cost the city only some $86,000 in lost tax revenue.

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Liberty Wal-Mart Store Manager Ron Olsen said construction of the new 217,000 square foot Super Center at the corner of the 146 Bypass and North Main Street is ahead of schedule and the store may open earlier than the predicted May 17th date.

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The 3rd Annual Police and Firemen’s Appreciation Dinner sponsored by the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and FLNB’s Dayton Financial Center is Thursday March 9th at 7 p.m. The event to honor Dayton’s volunteer firefighters, police officers and Liberty County EMS personnel will be in the cafeteria at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High in Dayton. This year’s guest speaker is Galveston County Judge James Yarbrough. Tickets are $10 each. Call the Dayton Chamber at 936-257-2393.

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Due to considerable community interest KSHN Radio will rebroadcast the Feb. 21st Partyline Program featuring Democratic Candidates for Liberty County Judge Bruce Halstead and Phil Fitzgerald at 6 p.m. Monday. The program will be a taped rebroadcast so no new questions can be accepted.

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FUNERALS: David Dunn, 65 of Dayton. Services pending at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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* LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.66 ASL *

-VOLUME 21 NO. 036 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 23RD, 2006-****************************************************

Liberty County Sheriff’s Department Captain Billy Tidwell reports former Liberty resident Billie Warren Smith, now from Ozark AK, was arrested last Friday and charged with Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and Indecency with a Child. Bond was set by Justice of the Peace Ronnie Davis at $250,000 for the sexual assault charge and $200,000 bond on the indecency charge. The charges stem from sexual contact the 78 year old man is alleged to have had 6 years ago with a girl who was 10 years old at the time. Smith was an officer with the Liberty Police Department in the 1970’s and once ran for Liberty Co. Sheriff. Smith remains in the Liberty County jail.

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Liberty School Trustees met Tuesday night and upheld the termination of former employee, Nelda Martin. She was Secretary to the Assistant Principal at Liberty Middle School. Mrs. Martin asked for a level 3 grievance hearing after, other then being told it was in the best interest of the school, she was not given a reason for her dismissal. Her attorney, Richard Burroughs of Cleveland said her 5-year work record with the district was impeccable, and she deserved her job back. Sources inside the district say Mrs. Martin, who is bilingual, was let go after she refused to translate. In her notes prepared for the grievance hearing, she said she had never refused to translate, in fact had done so the day she was fired. The vote was unanimous.

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According to Dayton Police Sgt. Doug O’Quinn, the elderly man dragged from his burning apartment on Feb. 11th - David Dunn has died. Thought to be in his 80’s, Mr. Dunn was said to be recovering from multiple second and third degree burns but hospital officials said he died sometime overnight or early Wednesday morning. It is believed the fire victim’s age was a factor coupled with his serious burn injuries.

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The Hardin Lady Hornets Basketball Team won their Regional Quarter Final match up with the Crossroads Lady Cats Tuesday night in Groveton, 58 – 51 in overtime. Next, the Hardin Girls face Winona at Tyler Junior College tomorrow night at 8. Adult tickets are $5, students $3 at the gate.

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Funerals: Necie Edith Moore, 89 of Liberty. Services will be today at 10 am at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.

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* LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.69 ASL *

-VOLUME 21 NO. 035 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 22ND, 2006-****************************************************

According to Dayton ISD Transportation Director Steve Bell, a 4 year old boy was crying that he “really had to go” when the school bus driver went against school policy and allowed him to go into a home other than his own, to use the restroom. The parents of the little boy did not know the family, and once they learned of the incident filed a complaint with the district. Transportation Director Steve Bell said the bus driver has been suspended for 8 days and reprimanded. He said when emergencies arise on a bus, drivers have been instructed to go directly to the child’s home, and go back to the rest of their route when the situation is resolved. He said dropping a child off anywhere, other than school or their home, is against school policy. Steve Bell said no further action is expected against the driver and she is likely to return to duty after her suspension.

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Following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, Texas Gov. Rick Perry set up a task force to study Texas’ preparations in the event of another major storm striking the Texas Coast. That task force presented the Governor with their recommendations last week. One calls for moving the authority to call for evacuations to the Governor, and remove it from County Judges and Mayors. Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia said he agrees with that recommendation, saying a hurricane is a regional event. If the decision on when to call for mandatory evacuation came from the Governor’s office it would allow for broader coordination over the entire area.

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It was standing room only Monday night as Mayor Steve Stephens and Dayton Council Members recognized local postal carrier Luis Espinosa for his February 11th rescue of David Dunn. Espinosa had been making his mail delivery rounds at the Dayton Housing Authority Complex on FM 1960 when he smelled smoke, heard an alarm and rushed in to a burning apartment to save Mr. Dunn. Council proclaimed Feb. 20th as “Luis Espinosa Day” in the City of Dayton.

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Cub Scout Pack 55 will have their Annual Blue and Gold Banquet Friday night at 7 at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty. The banquet will also feature a silent auction. Tickets are $5 for adults, $2 for kids 12 and under. For more information or to make a donation for the auction call 936-334-1139.

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LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.68 ASL

-VOLUME 21 NO. 034 TUESDAY FEBRUARY 21ST, 2006-****************************************************

Dayton School Superintendent Greg Hayman said their 2nd Level Appeal of the University Interscholastic League’s latest district realignment was denied yesterday in Austin. The Dayton ISD had protested the UIL’s decision to put them in a district with Beaumont schools on the grounds it requires traveling long distances to district events, mostly along the unsafe I-10 corridor. Hayman said the school district has no further recourse. Dayton will be in District 22-4A for the next 2 years.

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Early voting in the March 7th Democratic and Republican Party primary elections starts today and continues through Friday March 3rd. Voters can cast their ballots early weekdays at the Liberty County Courthouse and the courthouse annex in Cleveland from 8 am - 5 pm. Early voting will be held from 3 pm until 7 pm at the Dayton Annex and the Hardin Middle School Library. Another early voting opportunity will be Sunday February 26th at those four locations, from 11 am to 3 pm.

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The Hardin Lady Hornets will face the Crossroads Lady Cats at 7 pm tonight in the Groveton High School Gym in the Regional Quarterfinals. The Lady Hornets coached by Danny Balch and Randy Snell go into tonight’s game with a 26-6 record.

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The Annual Monument Awards Banquet sponsored by the Lee College Small Business Development Center is Tuesday March 7th in Crosby. The awards honor small businesses in portions of Liberty and Chambers Counties and there have been several winners from the Liberty-Dayton Area over the past few years. For more information, call 281-425-6309.

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KSHN Radio’s series of political forums continues on Thursday at 8:30 a.m. with the candidates for Precinct #3 County Constable. The candidates in the special election on March 7th are the appointed incumbent Danny Frankum, James Miles and Tommy Koen. Listeners are invited to call in their questions.

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FUNERALS: Allen Vincent Climie, 75, of Mont Belvieu, Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at St. John Catholic Church in Baytown. ** Minnie Laverne Byrom, 63, of Double Bayou, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Anahuac Assembly of God Church. **

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LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.37 ASL

-VOLUME 21 NO. 033 FRIDAY FEBRUARY 17TH, 2006-****************************************************

A chain reaction wreck yesterday afternoon sent Heather Johnson, 18 of Hardin to Memorial Hermann Hospital by air ambulance, and Joesph Diaz of Victoria TX to San Jacinto Methodist Hosptial in Baytown by Mont Belvieu EMS. Dayton Police report several vehicles were stopped on Hwy. 146 south of Hwy. 90 waiting for construction crews to unload culverts when Johnson hit the back of the Baker Hughes petrolite flatbed truck, pushing it into the back of the truck of Wayne Hardin of Liberty, who was pushed into the back of the truck of Wendy Pepper of Baytown. Neither Heather Johnson nor Joesph Diaz are thought to have life threatening injures.

****************************************************Dayton ISD Superintendent Greg Hayman said the district will present their appeal on the UIL realignment next Monday. He said they are basing part of their appeal on the cost to the district to travel the some 120 miles round trip to compete in the new district that put Dayton in with Beaumont schools. He also said there’s a safety factor involved in taking students on the I-10 corridor between Dayton and Beaumont with the ongoing construction along that roadway.

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Liberty County Tax Assessor/Collector Mark McClelland reminds voters that those who cast ballots in either Democratic or Republican Primary Elections on March 7th will be ineligible to sign petitions to have Independent Gubernatorial Candidates Carole Keeton Strayhorn or “Kinky” Friedman placed on the November General Election Ballot.

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U. S. Congressman Kevin Brady said Texas School Districts should begin receiving reimbursement payments from the federal government for the costs of enrolling students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Brady said schools are going to get $6,000 per student in $1,500 per quarter installments. Currently, an estimated 38,000 students from Louisiana and Mississippi still remain in schools here.

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The Liberty County Courthouse and the City Offices in Liberty will be closed Monday for the Presidents Day Holiday. Dayton City Offices will be open Monday. Garbage service will run as scheduled in both Liberty and Dayton. All banks and post offices will be closed Monday for the holiday.

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LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.87 ASL

-VOLUME 21 NO. 032 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 16TH, 2006-****************************************************

In a split 2-1 vote, Judges in the Court of Appeals in Houston, overturned the 2004 misdemeanor perjury conviction of former Chamber Co. Chief Deputy Dearl Hardy. Chambers Co. Asst. District Attorney Dan Bradley said the conviction was overturned on an extreme technicality, and they would file what is called a Petition of Discretionary Review to the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals in Austin asking them to review this case. He added, he was sorry the justices in Houston didn’t see what the folks in Chamber County knew, Dearl Hardy did this, but they have to abide by the court decision.

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Tuesday night, Liberty City Council agreed to apply for two separate grants, one for Hurricane Rita repairs and one for a beautification project. During Rita, the Port of Liberty’s earthen plug suffered some erosion, and while it is not in immediate danger of failing, the US Department of Agriculture offers a grant program that could provide funding for repairs. The other application is to the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Rural Beautification program for $5,000. City manager Allen Barnes said the money from this grant would go toward beautifying the area along Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard.

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In a joint effort, the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and Dayton Team City will host an information meeting this Saturday about the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit program. It will be in the Family Life Center of the 1st Baptist Church in Dayton from 10 am until noon. Chamber President Lester Wisegerber said Congressman Kevin Brady and folks from the Social Security Office will help explain the program. For more information call the Dayton Chamber office at 257 2393.

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The Liberty Police Department is investigating a theft of several panels from the horse stables at the Trinity Valley Exposition Fairgrounds. The panels are 7 to 9 feet long and 3 to 5 feet high, made of steel and wood. The TVE is offering a $500 reward to anyone with information leading to the arrest and indictment of those responsible. Call the Liberty PD at 336 5666.

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FUNERALS: Gloria “Measie” Shifflet, 78 of Sheldon. Graveside services will be Friday at 3 pm at the Fairlawn Memorial Park in Liberty.

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LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.22 ASL

-VOLUME 21 NO. 031 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 15TH, 2006-****************************************************

Liberty County Commissioners voted 3 to 1 to accept the roads in four subdivisions owned by well-known developer Weldon “Buddy” Alders for county maintenance. The “no” vote came from Precinct #4 Commissioner Norman Brown, who said in a prepared statement he did not feel the roads – all located in his precinct- met minimum county specifications. Brown went on to say the item was placed on Commissioners agenda for a final approval vote against his recommendation and he does not feel it was in the best interests of Liberty County taxpayers.

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Dayton Mail Carrier Louie Espinosa said he smelled smoke, then heard an alarm and finally cries of pain from an apartment in the Dayton Housing Authority Complex on FM 1960 Saturday afternoon. Putting himself in considerable danger, the 31-year-old Espinosa found David Dunn lying in heavy smoke and flames inside his burning apartment and carried the elderly man to safety. Mr. Dunn suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns and was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital for treatment.

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Early voting in the March 7th Primary Elections starts Tuesday Feb. 21st and continues through Friday March 3rd. Early voting is at the Liberty County Courthouse and the Cleveland Annex weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Dayton Annex and the Hardin Middle School Library. Early voting on Sunday Feb. 26th is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at those same four locations.

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A trial date has been set for May 22nd in the case of a Hull man charged in the deaths of three small children. George Douglas Richardson, 38, faces three counts of Intoxication Manslaughter in connection with the June 2005 wreck on Hwy 146 that claimed the lives of 19-month-old William Murphy IV and his twin sisters, Miranda and Mariah, ages 9-months. Investigators say the children were inside a disabled vehicle parked properly on the side of the road when the truck Richardson was driving slammed into it from behind. He is free on $300,000 bond.

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FUNERALS: Barbara Jean Jordan, 74, of Hull, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty * Lester Burks, 88, of Dayton, Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. **

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LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.97 ASL

-VOLUME 21 NO. 030 TUESDAY FEBRUARY 14TH, 2006-****************************************************

An Illinois woman was flown to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Beaumont, yesterday afternoon following a truck-travel trailer rollover accident on Hwy. 90 east of Devers. DPS Trooper Jack Dean said cross winds caught the high profile camper, causing the truck which was lighter than the camper, to lose control. The combination fishtailed before going into a ditch and flipping over. The passenger, City Lin Holmes, 55 of Granite City, IL, was taken to the Beaumont Hospital with injuries to her abdomen. Her husband Harry Holmes, also 55 was not injured. They were both wearing their seat belts at the time of the wreck.

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Liberty School Superintendent Mona Chadwick said while she did not want the lawsuit filed against the school district by former teacher’s aide Julie Fairchild “played out in the media”, the district is looking forward to their day in court. Ms. Fairchild claims to have been fired from the LISD for reporting the physical abuse of special education students. Mrs. Chadwick has denied that is the case and said there is no evidence the alleged abuse ever took place. The lawsuit is seeking damages to cover Julie Fairchild’s lost and future wages and benefits, as well as for physical and emotional stress.

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Dayton’s new city manager David Douglas will be on the job next Monday. The new city manger will receive a compensation package that includes a salary of $67,000.

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The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber Luncheon is tomorrow, guest speaker is Steve Buser, President of the Partnership of Southeast Texas, an economic development organization covering 9 counties in Southeast Texas. For reservation call 336 5736

****************************************************The Liberty Fire and EMS Departments Annual Awards Banquet was held Saturday night. First Assistant Chief Larry Hajovsky was honored for 20 years of service and for responding to the most calls as a volunteer. The Rookie of the Year Award went to standout volunteer Mike Gott. The highest honor- “Firefighter of the Year” for 2006 - was awarded to Liberty Fire Captain Bryan Hurst.

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FUNERALS: Charles Robert Fatheree, 77, of Liberty, Memorial Service pending. **

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LAKE RELEASE: 14,250 CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 13.74 ASL

-VOLUME 21 NO. 029 MONDAY FEBRUARY 13TH, 2006-****************************************************

A daring rescue by three fire fighters Saturday night pulled a man from his burning home in the So. Liberty Oilfield. Police Sgt. Ricky Skarpa said neighbors believe the man was despondent and set fire to his mobile home while suffering from both marital and emotional issues. Fire Capt. E.Z. Burns led his team into the smoke and found the man in a bedroom closet under clothing. Rescued was 42-year-old David Hilton. He was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation and severe burns over about 25% of his body.

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Liberty City Council meets Tuesday to hear Hart Intercivic will show them how to operate the new electronic voting machines. City Mgr. Allen Barnes said the city will rent the machines from the county for the May 13th Council Election. Paper ballots will also be available. Council member’s Mike McCarty, Mark Beausoleil and Charles McGuire have expiring terms. So does Mayor Bruce Halstead but this time he’s running for Co. Judge.

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Interim City Manager Brian LaBorde said Dayton has the $50,000 in matching grant funds from Texas Parks and Wildlife to develop the Henderson-Day Park. LaBorde said with the city match $100,000 will go to recreational facilities in the park. The work will be done by city crews and outside contractors.

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Liberty Co. Hospital District President Bruce Stratton said the 9-cent per $100 of assessed property tax should be sufficient to provide promised indigent services for the foreseeable future. To raise the tax, a vote by eligible voters would be necessary.

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The 80th Men’s Brotherhood Banquet at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty is Thursday at 7 in the Fellowship Hall. Men of all faiths come to the traditional turkey dinner. This year’s speaker is Clayton Whitaker, Pastor of 1st Methodist Church in Vidor. $8 tickets are at the church office or call 936-336-6401.

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, 72, of Liberty, Service-10:30Thurs. @ St. Stephen’s Episcopal.**

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*LAKE RELEASE: 8,520CFS *LIBERTY BRIDGE: 14.50 ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 028 FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10TH, 2006-****************************************************

Former Teacher’s Aid Julie Fairchild has filed suit in federal court alleging the Liberty School District fired her last year for reporting instances of physical abuse by a staff member against Liberty special education students. The suit seeks unspecified damages for lost wages and benefits as well as future wages and benefits due to claims the circumstances surrounding her termination from LISD has harmed Ms. Fairchild’s ability to continue to work in education. LISD Superintendent Mona Chadwick has refuted Ms. Fairchild’s claims and said an investigation found now evidence such abuse had taken place.

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A ruling by 253rd District Judge Chap Cain that Curtis Robinson Jr. qualifies as a habitual offender under Texas law was followed by the judge sentencing the local man to two concurrent life prison terms. Robinson was found guilty Wednesday of Aggravated Robbery and Burglary of a Habitation for the 2004 break-in and robbery at the Hardin home of E. B. Young, age 83. Robinson will have to complete the prison term he his currently serving for a previous crime before beginning this one. A trial for the Capital Murder of Daniel Tebo still looms in the near future for Curtis Robinson Jr.

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After the outcry from the local level to Washington over Texas’ less than 1 % share of the $11.5 billion allocated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to Hurricane impacted states, there was welcome news yesterday. The federal government will send Texas another $88 million in Social Service Block Grants for recovery efforts. U. S. Congressman Kevin Brady said those funds can be used to reimburse non-profit organizations and help social and mental health services.

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Liberty County Hospital District Board President Bruce Stratton said the district would grant a blanket tax exemption for charitable organizations and give the same exemptions for senior citizens, disability and homesteads as are granted by the county.

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FUNERALS: Joseph Patrick Casses, Sr., 66 of Deer Park. Services today at 2 pm at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Marvin Thompson Scott III, 68, of Menard, Memorial Services at 3 p.m. today at Kenefick Southern Baptist Church. ** Alma Lois Dennis Reneau, 83, of Highlands, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.64 ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 027 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 9TH, 2006-

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A jury in the 253rd District Court found Curtis Robinson Jr. guilty of Aggravated Robbery and Burglary of a Habitation in connection with the 2004 break-in at the Hardin home of 83-year-old E. B. Young. DA Mike Little said Robinson is being tried as a habitual offender and the state will present evidence of 10 prior felony convictions during the sentencing phase of the trial. Robinson could be sentenced to from 25 to 99 years or life in prison. A charge of Capital Murder for the stabbing death of Daniel Tebo is still pending against Curtis Robinson.

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Monday night the Dayton City Council voted to postpone any final decision on approving a financing plan for the city’s sewer plant expansion project. At the urging of Council member John Simmons council revisited their decision two weeks ago to use a forced 30-year pay off on a 40-year loan from the U. S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Rural Development Fund. Simmons and Jay Tadlock voted against that decision, favoring borrowing the money from the Texas Water Development Fund on a 23-year pay off. Simmons presented cost figures suggesting the rural development route could cost taxpayers an additional $4 million in interest payments over the term of the loan

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One change in tax law this year affects those who take the standard deduction for mileage traveled in the course of conducting business on their itemized tax return. CPA John Otto said the rate is split this year. The rate for miles traveled between January 1st and August 31st 2005 is 40.5 cents. It increases to 48.5 cents for mileage driven between Sept. 1st and Dec. 31st.

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The 7th Annual Black History Program, sponsored by the Liberty County Historical Commission is Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. at the newly redecorated Liberty School Auditorium on Grand Ave. This year’s event will feature awards, music, refreshments and a presentation by Liberty’s Chester Baldwin, a nationally known gospel musician. For more information, call Kevin Ladd at 409-389-2252 or Michael Mark at 936-336-4609.

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FUNERALS: Greg Johnson, 48 of Dayton. Services today at 2 pm at Navarre Funeral Home in Baytown. *** Cecile Mae Joyner, 89, of Rockport, Services at 2 p.m. today at the Liberty Church of Christ. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.02 ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 026 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 8TH, 2006-

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Liberty Police said 16-year-old Daniel Julius went for a joy ride with four of his friends down the very dangerous, sandy street known as Port Road yesterday afternoon, slid out of control and into a tree. Daniel Julius and one of his passengers Jose Aguilar were not hurt. However, Thomas Aguilar, 14, and Trevor Davis, 16, were taken to the hospital by ground ambulance. Matthew Ladner, also 16, riding unsecured in the front seat was slammed into the windshield on impact. He was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital mostly as a precaution. Daniel Julius was cited for driving too fast for conditions and transporting a person under 18 in the bed of a truck.

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Dayton City Council Monday night voted to select former Jasper City Manager David Douglas as their choice for new city manager. Council unanimously approved a motion to “offer” the job to Douglas, and authorized Mayor Steve Stephens to meet with the former Jasper City Manager and negotiate a salary and benefits package. This is the first step in Douglas replacing Andy Helms who resigned in October of last year.

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The Liberty County Hospital District Board has completed all work necessary to begin offering its services to those who qualify on March 1st. The district is accepting applications from those living within the district boundaries - which includes most of South Liberty County- to cover indigent health care costs. Only those with an income level equal to or lower than the federal poverty level will qualify. Applications are available at the Hospital District Office on Myrtle St., off Main in Liberty or call 936-336-7400 for more information.

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The Liberty Co. YMCA is holding registration for two more of their very popular programs. The “Y” will sponsor a “cheer clinic” for kids 5 to 12 February 20th through May 20th. Classes will be each Monday from 6:30 to 7:30 PM at Stephen F. Austin Elementary in Dayton. There will also be a six-week dance and drama class. It starts March 16th with dance classes for 3 to 4, and 5 to 6 year old age groups, and drama classes for kids 7 and up. For more information call 936 257 2888

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FUNERALS: Lloyd Shook Jr., 51, of Smith Point, Graveside Services at 2 p.m. today at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac. ****************************************************

*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.19 ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 025 TUESDAY FEBRUARY 7TH, 2006-

Liberty Police report another “Pigeon Drop” scheme being worked in South Liberty Co. City Detective Gary Martin said that mostly elderly citizens are being approached in large parking lots. Police say be alert to any stranger asking for banking information who wants you to trust them, even if they are willing to let you hold their money to show their trust. Police need a good description of the pigeon drop experts. If you are approached, call the police with all the information you can remember. In the latest cases, police say these thieves have taken their victims for from $600 to $1000, spread out over several months in Liberty. If you have any information, call the Liberty Police Dept. @ 936 336 5666.

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DPS Trooper Rick Salinas said it was just after 10 a.m. yesterday when a one-vehicle wreck on FM 1409 sent two women from Gilchrist to Memorial Hermann Hospital. Trooper Salinas said both Kay Rutherford, 49, and Terri Wright, 45, were not wearing seat belts and Terri Wright was ejected from the vehicle. The women were taken by air ambulance to the Houston Hospital. Both were said to be in serious condition.

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Family members of 34-year-old Kenneth Paul Brand say though the Liberty man remains in critical condition doctors said this weekend his life signs have improved. Brand suffered severe injuries in a one-vehicle wreck on Friday Jan. 27th. Family members have been told they can now be optimistic about his chances for recovery. A second man injured in that wreck, Danny Ray Cupid, 40, was also seriously injured. No word was available on his condition.

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Liberty County Clerk Delia Sellers said one fact might have been lost in the media coverage of the new electronic voting machines to be used in all Liberty County elections starting this year. Fact is any eligible voter who does not want to use the machines can tell the voting judge they want a paper ballot and one will be supplied. Early voting for the Democratic and Republican primary starts Feb. 21st.

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FUNERALS: Paul Titus Berryhill, 64, of Daisetta, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow - Allison Funeral Service in Liberty * L.V. LaBuff, 75 of Dayton. Services tomorrow at 10 am - Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.26 ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 024 MONDAY FEBRUARY 6TH, 2006-

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As the $10 million repair project at the Lake Livingston Dam continues, the latest phase necessitates frequent, but minor, changes in lake releases. The Trinity River Authority’s Spencer Karr says the largest track-hoe ever built, is at work on the dam. It is a Caterpillar 385 CL, weighing 187,000 pounds with a 52-foot reach and eight-foot bucket. Work to repair Hurricane Rita damage is expected to take about six months to finish.

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Jury selection is expected to begin today in Judge Chap Cain’s 253rd District Court in the aggravated robbery trial of a local man, also charged with Capital Murder. Curtis Robinson Jr. stands accused of the September 2004 stabbing death of 63-year-old Daniel Tebo. No trial date on that charge is set. Today Robinson goes to trial for a home invasion robbery in Hardin that occurred a few days after Daniel Tebo’s body was discovered near his Ames home.

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The Gulf Zone Opportunity Act allows those living in Hurricane affected areas to withdraw funds up to $100,000 from their retirement accounts without paying a penalty for early withdrawal. According to State Representative and CPA John Otto, that provision applies only to those who suffered economic losses because of Hurricanes Rita, Katrina or Wilma. Another provision of the legislation applies to those who got an extension to file their 2004 tax return. Those who had until October 15, 2005 to file their 2004 returns, now have until Feb. 28th, 2006.

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The Liberty Lions Club is accepting renewals for their “Flags Across Liberty" Program. The local service club installs, then removes the American Flag at Liberty homes and businesses each year on six holidays for annual fee of $25 for each flag. To renew your subscription, send checks to Liberty Lions Club, PO Box 9122, Liberty, TX 77575. First time subscribers can call 936-336-6355 to sign up in time for Presidents Day on Feb. 20th

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FUNERALS: Corey Huffman, 18, of Dayton, Services at 3 today at Old River Baptist Church. ** Henry Lee Randolph, 66, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Mt. Rose Baptist Church in Liberty.** Kerry L. Lazenby, 55, Liberty 6 pm Tuesday-Allison Funeral Service * Mike Scott, 53, Dayton 2 pm Tuesday graveside service at Magnolia Park Cem.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 6,750 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.84 ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 023 FRIDAY FEBRUARY 3RD, 2006-

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DPS Corporal Gary Wright said Gary Lee Leslie, 54, died yesterday, when he apparently had a heart attack or stroke while driving on an overpass on US 59 near Cleveland. His truck rolled down the hill and hit a barrier. Corporal Wright said while they are waiting for the official determination from the medical examiners office, it is believed he was dead before the truck hit the concrete wall. Mr. Leslie retired just last week from the Houston Police Department after 32 years of service. He was married with 3 children, elementary to high school age.

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The University Interscholastic League announced the district realignments yesterday. In Liberty County, Dayton moves from 19-4A to 22-4A with Beaumont Central and Beaumont Ozen, Nederland, Lumberton, LCM, PNG and Vidor. Liberty stays in 22-3A that also includes Cleveland, Tarkington, Coldspring, Shepherd and Splendora. Hardin is 24-2A with Anahuac, Buna, Deweyville, Kountze, Warren and East Chambers. Hull-Daisetta moves from 23 to 24-1A with Evadale, High Island, Sabine Pass and West Hardin. Over in Chambers County, Barbers Hill jumps from 22-3A to 21-4A.

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The 30th annual Liberty Dayton Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet will be held March 2nd in the Woodrow Wilson Jr. High School Commons Area in Dayton. The guest speaker will be Jeff Mosely, Chief Executive Officer of the prestigious Greater Houston Partnership. Also that night the Citizen of the Year from Dayton and Liberty will be named. The banquet starts at 7 p.m. and tickets are on sale now for $20. Make your reservations by calling the chamber office at 936 336 5736.

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T.V.E. Facilities Manager James Bricker got a bit of a surprise during the Texas Association of Fairs Convention held in January. He was named the 2005 Manager – Professional of the Year from the association. This statewide award is presented annually to one individual who has demonstrated their management skill in working for their fair and other organizations. He said it came as a complete surprise, and he was honored by the award.

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FUNERALS: Wilbur “Corky” Rushing, 66-Raywood. Services Saturday at 2 pm at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 9,750 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.35ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 022 THURSDAY FEBRUARY 2ND, 2006-

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When the Federal Government pulled their support for the long proposed I-69 corridor, Texas Gov. Rick Perry proposed making the project a state and private enterprise project and changed it’s name to the Trans-Texas I-69 Corridor. Representative John Otto said a connector road, to link the Houston ship channel back into the corridor as it moves north of Houston, would not only come right through Liberty Co. but it might be constructed first because of its importance. Otto said while the main road, built west of Houston could take upwards of 30-40 years to complete, this connector route through here could be built in the next 8-9 years. He said that would ease the increasing congestion in the area of the Port of Houston, putting a project like this on the front burner.

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February is Black History Month and KSHN Radio begins our annual series called “African American Firsts”, recognizing the accomplishments of black authors, statesman, entertainers, athletes, educators, religious leaders, inventors and others for their contributions to our history. The program airs several times each day throughout the month of February. Former KSHN employees Lori Richard and Michael Mark are narrators for our “African American Firsts” series.

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Lee College in Baytown will host a Financial Aid Workshop on Saturday Feb. 11th and Sunday Feb. 12th at the Lee College Campus. According to Financial Aid Officer Sharon Mullins, the workshop is to provide assistance and information to all those who plan to attend any college or university, not just Lee College. For more information, call 281-421-0553.

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The Liberty Library is now accepting good used books for the annual book and bake sale held as a part of the Liberty Jubilee. Library Director Dana Abshire said if you would like to donate books, drop them off at the Library, and if you need help carrying them in, just ask.

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FUNERALS: Correction - “Andy” DeWayne Barton Anderson, 36 of Hull. Services Friday at 2 pm at New Covenant Church in Saratoga. ** Barbara Diane “April” Smith, 22, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. today at Pentecostal Tabernacle in Liberty. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 2,250 CFS * LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.76ASL*

-VOLUME 21 NO. 021 WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 1ST, 2006-

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Yesterday, in a unanimous vote, the Liberty County Juvenile Probation Board named Anthony Scott as the new director of the department. Scott, a 1986 graduate of Hardin High School, earned his degree in social work from the University of Texas in 1992, and came to work in Liberty County for the juvenile probation department in 1993. For the past several years he has been working mainly out of the Cleveland office. He officially took the reigns yesterday and said his goal is to move the department forward.

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Among the tax relief provisions in the Gulf Opportunity Zone Act is one intended to help those who opened their doors to shelter Hurricane Katrina victims. According to State Representative and CPA John Otto, those who provided rent free shelter to evacuees for at least 60 days are entitled to an itemized deduction of $500 for each evacuee up to four people. Another provision of new legislation expands the amount parents can deduct from college costs if their children attend a college or university located within the hurricane affected areas.

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Information from family members indicates former Liberty resident Ernest James “E. J.” Felice, now 50, has been arrested in Louisiana on two charges of Aggravated Incest. Police say a complaint of indecent behavior with an eight-year-old child against Felice- who grew up in the Moss Bluff Area- led to the reopening of a case from 1993 accusing the suspect of engaging in sex acts with a 17-year-old family member. “E. J.” Felice is jailed in Beauregard Parish, Louisiana on a $150,000 bond.

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A new Burke’s Outlet Family Apparel Store is now under construction in Liberty’s Jefferson Square Shopping Center, immediately north of Tractor Supply. The 20,000 square foot store is preparing for an opening in mid-March. According to their web site, Burke’s – subsidiary of Bealls- offers clothing and accessories for men, women and children as well as shoes, home furnishings, toys and gift items.

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FUNERALS: Paul Crutchfield, 81 of Liberty. Services this afternoon at 4 pm at Allison Funeral Services in Liberty * “Andy” DeWayne Barton Anderson, 36 of Hull. Services tomorrow at 2 pm at the New Covenant Church in Saratoga.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.30 ASL*

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