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January 2005

-VOLUME 20 NO. 20, MONDAY JAN. 31ST 2005-

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The Dayton ISD is taking precautions after a 10th grade female student was diagnosed with symptoms consistent with bacterial meningitis. Supt. Greg Hayman said the girl is in serious condition at Texas Children’s Hospital but the diagnosis is still not confirmed. Local Health Authority Dr. Steven Ellerbe reminds parents this form of meningitis is spread through close contact with an infected person. School officials have worked to identify those with that type of contact with the student. Parents with questions, call 936-258-2667. Information is also available at the Texas Dept of Health’s Cleveland Office, 281-592-6714.

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After Friday, 842 people had voted in the Liberty Co. Hospital election. Liberty Co. Clerk Delia Sellers said 555 voted at the Courthouse, 184 at Dayton Financial Center and 103 ballots at the Hardin ISD Business Office. Today and tomorrow are the final days to early vote. Election Day is Saturday,7 to 7.The final public information meeting is this evening from 6:30 until 8 in the fellowship hall of the Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames. There will be statements, public comments, and Q& A.

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Today is the last chance to pay 2004 property taxes without penalty. Tax Collector Mark McClelland will keep his office open until 6 pm for last minute payments. He said even if you can’t pay the full amount pay what you can to reduce the penalty that begins accumulating tomorrow at 7%.

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Report of an air compressor stolen from a home on CR# 301 Thursday afternoon led Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputy Virgil Johnson to stop a pick-up truck on Hwy 321. Monte Woodrow Woodruff, 54, his son, Monte Rocky Woodruff, 23, and Christopher Bryer, 24, all of Houston was in the vehicle. The elder Woodruff was arrested for 13 outstanding warrants. His son was identified as the alleged air compressor thief, and had a felony warrant from Arizona. The third man was released.

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Former Devers school principal Darrell Myers is the only finalist to be Bridge City superintendent. Now he is Dr. Darrell Myers and was in Devers 1992-94, and most recently Supt. at Big Sandy. The official trustee vote in Bridge City will be Feb. 21st.

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FUNERALS: Mildred Cherry Wilson, 84, formerly of Dayton, Services held Saturday. **

** Lake Release 14,000 CFS Liberty Bridge: 15.40 ASL**

-VOLUME 20 NO. 19, FRIDAY JAN. 28TH 2005-

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Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said around 9 a.m. yesterday, 38-year-old Saad Ahmed Lodhi of Cleveland was working in the Laundry Facility at the Liberty County Jail. Jason Grady Blake, 41, of Trinity, Texas left a group of inmates being escorted to the Recreation Facility and struck Saad Lodhi on the head, knocking him unconscious. Lodhi, who is being held by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service for Sexual Assault of a Child, was airlifted to UTMB in Galveston, suffering from head trauma. Sheriff Arthur said Blake, currently held for Assault, Bail Jumping and Revocation of Probation, will likely face an additional charge of Aggravated Assault.

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A jury in Judge C. T. “Rusty” Hight’s 75th District Court found 23-year-old Adrian Dwayne Eleby of Cleveland guilty of Aggravated Robbery on Tuesday and sentenced him to 80 years in prison. District Attorney Mike Little said Eleby forced his way into the Cleveland home of Geraldine Cryer, 72, on December 23rd 2003 and threatened her at knifepoint. Eleby left with the elderly woman’s credit and debit cards, as well as some cash. A tip led to his arrest by Cleveland Police about 4 hours later. The Cleveland man admitted to committing the crime, but said he was under the influence of drugs.

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As of Tuesday of this week, 390 people had voted early in the Feb. 5th Liberty County Hospital District Election. During the first three days to vote early, 268 cast ballots at the Liberty County Courthouse, 51 at the Hardin ISD Business Office and 71 at the FLNB Dayton Financial Center. Early voting continues at those three locations through Tuesday Feb. 1st.

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Monday is the deadline for Liberty County residents to pay their 2004 property taxes without penalty. County Tax Assessor/Collector Mark McClelland said the tax office would be open late today and Monday for last minute payments. The penalty on unpaid taxes begins at 7% after January 31st and growths monthly until taxes are paid. . Mr. McClelland said even if property owners cannot pay the entire amount the more paid by the deadline, the smaller the penalty.

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FUNERALS: Martin Andrew Abel, 12, and his great-grandmother Edwinea Queen Abel, 76, of Daisetta, Services at 2 p.m. today at New Life Assembly of God Church in Batson.

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** Lake Release 7,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 17.39 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 18, THURSDAY JAN. 27TH 2005-

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DPS Trooper Tommy Chase said it was around 3 p.m. yesterday when 42-year-old Allen Wortham of Lumberton drove up the access road to the Trinity River on Hwy 105 west of Moss Hill and turned east. He apparently did not see the 18-wheeler bearing down on him in the eastbound lane. The truck’s driver, Wilbert Mosley, 41, was attempting to pass a truck pulling a hay trailer and was unable to avoid hitting Mr. Wortham’s vehicle. Allen Wortham was air lifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with head and back injuries. His condition is unknown. A four-year-old passenger in his car, Rigoberto Diaz went to Cleveland Regional Medical Center. The child’s injuries were not thought to be serious. Wilbert Mosley and Ronnie Gray- the driver pulling the trailer- were not hurt.

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According to Paul Miles at the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, any registered voter who lives in the City of Dayton can vote in the Liberty County Hospital District Election, period. Questions arose over the areas recently annexed by the City, but a state law that prohibits voting until 6 months after annexation, does not apply to hospital districts. Early voting for the Hospital District Election ends Tuesday Feb. 1st. Early votes can still be cast during regular business hours weekdays at the Liberty County Courthouse, the Hardin ISD Business Office and FLNB’s Dayton Financial Center. The election is Saturday Feb.5th.

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As of Monday, the Texas Department of Health has lifted all restrictions on flu shot availability. A severe flu vaccine shortage earlier in the year had prompted health officials to limit those people who could obtain a flu shot to certain high-risk groups. With fully a month left in the traditional “flu season” in Texas, experts feel all those highest at risk have received a flu vaccination and shots are now available to anyone over the age of six months. The Liberty Health Clinic on Palmer Street will be open on Tuesday Feb. 8th with flu shots available.

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The Annual Dayton Chamber of Commerce Banquet is tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Dayton High School Cafeteria. Guest speaker is Tom Britton, a motivational speaker and magician. Incoming Dayton Chamber Directors will be introduced and Outgoing Directors will be recognized. Tickets are $20 and still available by calling the Dayton Chamber at 936-257-2393.

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** Lake Release 8,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 19.78 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 17, WEDNESDAY JAN. 26TH 2005-

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Roughly 45 people were on hand Monday evening for the second informational meeting held at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High in Dayton to discuss the proposed South Liberty County Hospital District Election. There were those who expressed, sometimes very vocally, either their support or opposition to the district which, if approved at the polls will establish a taxing entity to help support local emergency care providers, left financially strapped due to unpaid emergency treatment bills. The next public meeting on this issue is tomorrow night at 6:30 at the Hardin Volunteer Fire Station. A final meeting is set for Monday at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames.

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The Dayton City Council met Monday and agreed on a salary and work commitment for new Interim City Manager Norman Dykes. Council agreed to pay Dykes a $1,920 salary every two weeks and he is expected to work about 24 hours a week. We reported last week when Council voted to hire the former Liberty City Manager that it was to be as a short-term, part-time replacement for Robert Ewart, who is now on the job as City Manager of LaMarque. The search for a permanent City Manager now begins. Dayton Council Members say they would pay the person hired from $62,500 to $75,000 annually depending on qualifications and experience.

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Liberty County Commissioners met in special session yesterday and voted to accept St. Paul’s/ Texas Public Entity Group for public officials, police professionals, general liability, automotive, property and equipment insurance coverage for the County. Insurance Agent Dennis Odell quoted the premium at just over $374,000. That price as well the coverage limitations remain much the same as last year.

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The 4th Annual South Liberty County Relay for Life, benefiting the American Cancer Society, is set for Friday April 8th and Saturday April 9th at Memorial Stadium in Liberty. Organizers say 55 relay teams participated in last year’s event, raising $90,000 in South Liberty County alone. The Cleveland Area Relay for Life is scheduled for April 15th and 16th. For information on entering a team in the Relay or being a part of the Cancer Survivor’s Lap that opens the event, call Sandra Sterling at 936-336-3716 or David Parker at 936-258-5539.

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** Lake Release 11,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 22.56 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 16, TUESDAY JAN. 25TH 2005-

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Investigators are still trying to determine what led an elderly Daisetta woman to murder her 12-year-old great-grandson, then take her own life. According to J.P.#2 Ronnie Davis, a woman living in the house on FM 770 –Cerina Fregia, 82, --was awakened by gunfire after 3 a.m. yesterday and called for help. It appears that 76-year-old Edwina Abel shot Martin “Bubba” Abel in his sleep with a 20-gauge shotgun, killing him instantly, then turned the gun on herself. Edwina Abel was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. She died shortly after arriving. Autopsies have been ordered. Information indicates that Edwina Abel, who raised her great-grandson from infancy, may have been involved in a custody dispute over the child. No information on his parent’s whereabouts was available.

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Fire destroyed the 1600 square foot home of Donnie and Liz Taylor in Moss Bluff Sunday night. Four fire departments responded with water and personnel to the blaze at the two-story frame home off FM 563 around 11 p.m. Sunday and the fight continued into the early hours of yesterday morning. No one was injured, but the 28-year-old home and all its contents were lost.

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At their meeting last Tuesday night, Dayton School Trustees approved notices for a Trustee Election on Saturday May 7th. Assistant Superintendent Bob Parker said two seats would be up for election this year. They are Position #3, currently held by Board President Thomas Payne and Position #4, held by Buddy Janacek. The first day for candidate filing is February 5th.

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The next public meeting on the proposed Liberty County Hospital District is Thursday night at the Hardin Volunteer Fire Station. The public is encouraged to hear both sides of the issue and get answers to any questions they might have. The final informational meeting is Monday January 31st at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames. Both meetings are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Early voting in the Hospital District Election continues weekdays during regular business hours at the Liberty County Courthouse, the Hardin ISD Business Office and FLNB’s Dayton Financial Center. Election Day is February 5th.

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FUNERALS: Steven Francis Key, 43, of Hardin, Services at 2 p.m. Thursday at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **

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** Lake Release 20,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 22.64 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 15, MONDAY JAN. 24TH 2005-

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In response to questions about who can vote in the Hospital District Election, Liberty Co. Tax Collector Mark McClelland explained the lines for the proposed district at public meeting to discuss the issue last Thursday. He said registered voters within the Liberty, Devers or Hull-Daisetta School Districts are eligible to vote. Those in county voting boxes #2 and #3-that’s Moss Hill and Hardin, may vote in the election. The Rye and Romayor voting boxes in the North end of the Hardin ISD do not vote. The City of Dayton is in the proposed hospital district boundaries, but no other parts of the Dayton ISD are included.

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The 79th Methodist Men’s Brotherhood Banquet is Thursday February 17th at 7 p.m. Hosted by the Men’s Bible Class of Methodist Church in Liberty, the tradition began in 1927 with hundreds of area men, of all faiths, gathering in brotherhood in the Fellowship Hall of Liberty County’s oldest church. This year’s speaker is Rabbi Jack Segal of Houston, of Beth Yeshrun Synagogue, now Rabbi Emeritus. Tickets are $7 from any Men’s Bible Class Member or at the Methodist church office 336-6401.

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Several media reports, say Roy Anthony Stewart-37 was arrested for allegedly passing more than $250,000 in bad checks in Liberty, Harris, Montgomery and Polk Counties, including more than $92,000 in fake checks to Martin Auto Park in Cleveland. Reports say the suspect used computer check writing software and would go to his victim’s businesses on weekends when banks are closed. In all, Stewart is accused of buying 9-trucks, 3-cars, 2-motorcycles, 6- ATV’s and 2-trailers with fake checks, plus a down payment on 2-houses in those four counties.

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Larry Smith of Hardin suffered serious burns while tending a trash fire at home on SH 146 near Moss Hill. Something exploded showering him with burning debris. He was airlifted to Hermann Hosp. by LifeFlight with serious, not critical injuries.

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A well-known Hardin man died unexpectedly Sunday. Steve Key, 43, apparently suffered an aneurysm while working in Tyler. His sister is TxDOT Area Engineer Charlotte Warner.

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FUNERALS: Claudie Neal Blanchard-64,Liberty,memorial service later **Henry Frazier 67–2pmTues Lib.Ch Christ**Joe Cooling, Sr. graveside Wed-Abshier Cem.-Hankamer (Allison)

** Lake Release 20,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 22.72ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 14, FRIDAY JAN. 21ST 2005-

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The Annual Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet has been rescheduled due to a conflict with the Annual Methodist Men’s Banquet. Chamber Board Chair Eliza Mae Guidry said the new date for the Chamber Awards Banquet is Friday February 18th starting at 6:30 p.m. at Dayton High School. Guest speaker is Dr. Linda Gates-Black, Dean of Student Affairs at San Antonio Community College. Tickets are $20, available at the Chamber Office or call 936-336-5736.

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The Coastal Area Health Education Center has scheduled three more public meetings to provide information on the Feb. 5th Liberty County Hospital District Election. They are: Monday at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High in Dayton, on Thursday Jan. 27th at the Hardin Volunteer Fire Department and on Monday Jan. 31st at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames. All meetings are from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Each meeting will feature brief presentations from supporters and opponents of the hospital district, an opportunity for public comments and questions.

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The Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge has reopened Champion Lake after a six-month closure to repair the 3,500-foot-long levee. Now open for public use from sunrise to sunset, the area provides fishing, waterfowl hunting with refuge permit, bird watching, a levee trail, hummingbird/butterfly garden and a new parking lot. Champion Lake is 11 miles south of Dayton, at the end of CR # 417 off FM 1409. Call 336-9786 for info.

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The Liberty County Metro Go Texan Kick-Off Dance is tomorrow night from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. at the TVE Exhibition Hall. This year’s featured artists are Jake Hooker and the Outsiders. Advance tickets are $10 at PESCO, the Liberty County Farm Bureau and Dayton Farm and Ranch Supply. Tickets are $12 at the door tomorrow night. All proceeds benefit the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship Fund, which provides $60,000 annually to local students.

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FUNERALS: John Robert Reynolds, 60, of Dayton, Services at 10 a.m. today at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. ** James Ulkie, 59, of Dayton, Services at 3 p.m. today at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton. ** Jose Hernandez, 40, of Liberty, Services held Thursday. **

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** Lake Release 24,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 22.74 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 13, THURSDAY JAN. 20TH 2005-

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State Representative John Otto said he is currently co-authoring a bill that would allow for the creation of a Ground Water Conservation District for Liberty, Polk and San Jacinto Counties. The Dayton Republican said the district would not be a taxing entity and would protect ground water in each County from being exploited. Representative Jim McReynolds, a Democrat from Lufkin, is co-authoring the bill.

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According to information from the Texas Railroad Commission, Moss Bluff Hub Partners, a subsidiary of Duke Energy has agreed to pay a fine of $37,500 in connection with last August’s explosions and fire at the company’s natural gas storage dome on FM 563. A Railroad Commission review of the incident charged the company with negligent maintenance practices that led to the hazardous materials event. Railroad Commission Spokesperson Ramona Nye said the payment agreement is not an admission of fault or error by Duke Energy. Still pending is a lawsuit brought by some 50 residents of the area near the facility claiming damages from the incident.

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Early voting for the Feb. 5th Liberty County Hospital District election starts tomorrow and continues through Tuesday February 1st Monday through Friday at three locations. Early ballots can be cast at the Liberty County Courthouse, 8 to 5, at the Hardin ISD Business Office, 8 to 4 and at FLNB’s Dayton Financial Center, 3 to 7. The next public meeting on the hospital district is tonight from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Hull-Daisetta High School’s Cafeteria.

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Dayton School Trustees met Tuesday and approved several orders relating to plans to refinance bonds from the 1996 bond issue that provided funding for the construction of Dayton High School. Financial Consultant Mark McLiney told the board his latest calculations at current interest rates show long-term savings to the district through the refinancing package of $947,000. That’s right at $200,000 more than initially expected.

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FUNERALS: Glenda Kay Graham, formerly of Moss Hill, Services held Wednesday. ** Ken Jones, 44, formerly of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. Saturday at Old River Baptist Church in Old River. ** Miles Persky, 88, of Kenefick, Services at 2 p.m. Saturday at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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** Lake Release 24,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 22.74 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 12, WEDNESDAY JAN. 19TH 2005-

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Last week a jury in Judge Chap Cain’s 253rd District Court found 34-year-old Tommy Charles Hoagland guilty of the Feb. 2004 murder of his roommate, Jerome David Reed Jr. District Attorney Mike Little said both the defendant and victim had been drinking when a verbal argument at the home they shared in the Tarkington Area led Hoagland to shoot and kill the man described by prosecutors as his “life-long friend”. Jurors rejected his plea of self-defense and he faces a maximum of 99 years or life in prison. Sentencing is set for Jan.31st.

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The Dayton City Council met Monday and agreed to hire former Liberty City Manager Norman Dykes as their part time interim City Manager until a permanent replacement can be found for the departing Robert Ewart, who takes over as LaMarque City Manager on Jan. 25th. Mayor Larry Harris said Norman Dykes, who has worked with Dayton as a consultant on several major projects in recent months, has no interest in anything more than a part time interim position. Council meets next week to finalize the agreement and the City will advertise the position on several web sites in search of a new full-time City Manager.

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Dayton Fire Chief Terry Boyett said a fire that damaged a home off Hwy 90 on CR #602 yesterday afternoon is suspicious. Gas and electricity to the currently unoccupied house owned by Wayne Phillips are cut off. The cause of the fire remains under investigation by County Fire Marshall Jim Wilson.

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Newly sworn in District #18 State Representative John Otto said the fact that all 31 State Senators agree to concepts outlined in Lt. Governor David Dewhurst’s school finance reform plan makes him optimistic the Legislature can reach a consensus on the issue. The plan’s outline includes revamping the State franchise tax and increasing the state sales tax rate from 6.25% to 6.75% to raise the revenue needed, while lowering property taxes. To contact Representative John Otto, log on to www.house.state.tx.us and then click on “Members”

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FUNERALS: S. W. “Bill” Chapman, Jr., 69, of Dayton, Services at 2 p.m. today at Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Gordon H. Gilmore, 68, of Shepherd, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Farley Cemetery in Shepherd. **

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** Lake Release 24,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 22.76 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 11, TUESDAY JANUARY 18TH 2005-

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Tonight is the third of six informational Liberty County Hospital District public meetings being held. Organizers have been pleased with the turn out for the first two, but say those attending seem to have already reached a decision for or against the district. Organizers said the meetings are designed to provide information to those who are still undecided. Information is being provided from both sides followed by a chance to ask questions for still more information. Tonight’s meeting is at the Liberty Middle School Cafeteria from 6:30 until 8:00 p.m.

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The Trinity Valley Exposition recently named officers to their Board of Directors. Fay Brett becomes the first woman President, with decades of service. V-P is Baret Stephenson; most recently he served as TVE General Manager. New additions to the TVE Board are Barry Whittaker and Lionel Hebert. Re-elected to serve on the board were Ed Norwood - who was also named Chairman of the Board of Directors. Tony Fontenot was re-elected, as was Wayne Hankamer.

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Liberty City Council has given approval to preliminary plans for the new 12,750 square foot Fire Station. While a site has not yet been purchased, architectural plans have the new building with ten bay doors, two dorm rooms, offices, and conference and training areas. The new fire equipment is larger, so the doors will be 14 feet wide, two feet larger than present. Liberty City Mgr Allen Barnes says it will be a metallic structure with brick to enhance the appearance and cost about $1 million.

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It was announced two years ago there would no longer be a Liberty County Day in Austin. The entirely volunteer event is funded by donations. Liberty County Judge Lloyd Kirkham said they are planning instead, a celebration for the counties 170 anniversary in 2006. While still in the planning stage, Judge Kirkham said they hope to have that on the Courthouse Square.

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Tickets are available for Saturday nights Metro-go-Texan kick-off dance at Pesco, Liberty County Farm Bureau and Dayton Farm and Ranch. Tickets in advance are $10 or $12 at the door..

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FUNERALS: Orival R. Vann, 87 of Humble. Services will be Wednesday 1 p.m. at Magnolia Baptist Church in Cleveland.

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** Lake Release 24,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 22.70 ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 10, FRIDAY JAN. 14TH 2005-

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District #4 State Senator Tommy Williams said all 31 members of the Texas Senate are in agreement on at least the framework of a School Finance Reform Bill. Liberty County’s Republican State Senator said part of what the bill would do is lower property taxes by about 33%, giving substantial relief to Texas taxpayers. Senator Williams said the matter of how to make up the difference in money for school funding has not yet been determined but would come from some form of business taxes.

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The Liberty City Council met Tuesday and gave preliminary approval to architectural plans for a new Liberty City Hall. City Manager Allen Barnes said the new 17, 000 square foot building would have more space, more parking and face Travis St. instead of Sam Houston as the current City Hall does. Demolition of the small City Council Meeting Room and the existing auditorium is planned for June and the City will stop renting the auditorium in April. The present City Hall building will continue to stand until the new building is finished.

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The Texas Department of Health has expanded the groups of those to be considered at high-risk for complications from influenza, and flu vaccine is now available to people in those groups. The expanded availability of flu shots now includes anyone over the age of 50, the out-of-home caregivers and the household contacts for those in the original priority groups such as very young children and people with chronic illness. The Liberty Health Clinic on Palmer Street will be open on Tuesday and flu shots will be offered to eligible persons.

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The 7th Annual Liberty County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration is tomorrow beginning at 1 p.m. at Dayton High School. The DHS Choir will provide music and the guest speaker is Iraqi War Veteran Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Briscoe of Ames. Everyone is invited. At 3 p.m., there’s a Gospel Music Concert at Cornerstone Church on the Hwy 146 Bypass in Liberty. Tickets are $10 in advance from any MLK Jr. Committee member. All proceeds benefit the scholarship fund.

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FUNERALS: Frances J. Dillon Waldrop, 82, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty. **

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** Lake Release 24,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 19.47 ASL**

-VOLUME 20 NO. 09, THURSDAY JAN. 13TH 2005-

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Dayton Police Officer Keith Fuller said 88-year-old Charles Meade was making an unprotected left from Hwy 90 on to South Cleveland Street and was struck by an eastbound Precinct #4 dump truck. The impact spun the Dayton man’s car around and into a delivery truck at the intersection. Mr. Meade, the dump truck driver, Kenneth Ubynoske and the delivery truck driver, Roshell Darby, all escaped injury. A passenger in the car, 83-year-old Irene Meade was taken by air ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. According to officials on the scene, the driver’s wife was disoriented. Charles Meade was cited for failure to yield the right-of-way.

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Roughly 40 people attended the first public meeting on the proposed Liberty County Hospital District in Dayton Tuesday night. The first 30 minutes was split evenly between comments from those who support and those who oppose creating the taxing entity as a method of relieving the burden of unpaid emergency medical bills being borne by local care providers. The next informational meeting on the hospital district issue is tonight at 6:30 p.m. at the Devers School. Early voting in the Feb.5th Hospital District Election starts on Friday Jan. 21st.

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In an effort to quell rumors that he is considering resigning as Liberty County Judge, Lloyd Kirkham says he will serve out the remaining two years of his present term and has no plans to resign before that. Judge Kirkham said he would make an announcement this spring as to whether or not he plans on running for a 4th term as County Judge.

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The Liberty Rotary Club’s 53rd Annual Oyster and Fish Fry Supper is tomorrow from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. Tickets are $13 for “All-U-Can-Eat” or use the convenient drive through take out line on the West Side of City Hall. Tickets are available from any Liberty Rotary Club Member or at the door tomorrow night. All proceeds benefit the Liberty Rotary Club’s many community projects.

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FUNERALS: Martha Frances Mahavier, 85, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. today at St. Stephens Episcopal Church in Liberty. ** Frances Waldrop, 81, of Liberty, Services pending at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. **

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** Lake Release 18,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 18.56 ASL**

-VOLUME 20 NO. 08, WEDNESDAY JAN. 12TH 2005-

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After 10 years as Dayton City Manager, Robert Ewart has accepted that same position in LaMarque. That city’s council chose the 55-year-old Ewart from 29 applicants at their meeting Monday night. The Galveston County Community of LaMarque at 13,800 residents is about twice the size of Dayton. The job means a hefty $15,000 per year pay raise and a much better benefits package. Robert Ewart assumes his new duties as LaMarque City Manager on January 25th, succeeding Carole McLemore who leaves three days after Ewart starts work.

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Precinct #1 Commissioner Todd Fontenot had strong criticism at yesterday’s Liberty County Commissioner’s Court of the appointment of Precinct #2 Commissioner Lee Groce as the County’s Representative to the Houston Galveston Area Council General Assembly. Fontenot held that position prior to Dec. 21st and said he had submitted his name for re-appointment. County Judge Lloyd Kirkham claimed he never got that request. After some heated words, a vote requesting Commissioner Fontenot’s reappointment to the HGAC General Assembly, failed with a 2 to 2 tie between Commissioners and Judge Kirkham’s tie-breaking vote. Therefore Lee Groce retains the appointment.

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Fundraising efforts are underway to help the family of 11-year-old Zack Flint of Liberty, who was critically injured in an accident just before Christmas. Zack Flint T-shirts are available for a $22 donation, with Zack’s picture and the message “We’re Praying for You” on the shirt. Call for a T-shirt at 936-336-4124. You can also donate to a benefit account established to help the family at 1st Liberty National Bank, Dayton Financial Center or by mail to FLNB Box 10109, Liberty, 77575. The 5th grader has shown some improvement, but remains in critical condition.

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The Liberty County Courthouse and all Liberty City Offices will be closed Monday Jan. 17th in observance of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday. City Offices in Dayton will be open for their regular hours. Garbage Service will run as scheduled on Monday in both towns. Brazos Transit Buses will run as scheduled. All banks and post offices will close for the holiday.

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FUNERALS: Mildred R. McNamara, 70, of Dayton, Services at 10 a.m. Saturday at Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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** Lake Release 18,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 17.13ASL**

-VOLUME 20 NO. 07, TUESDAY JAN. 11TH 2005-

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According to information from the Newton County District Attorney’s Office, a grand jury has handed down 2 more indictments against former Newton High School Band Director James Pelloat. Already facing second degree felony charges for allegedly having sexual contact with two male students, the 57-year-old former educator now faces an additional charge of Improper Relationship between an educator and student with a third alleged victim and 1st Degree Felony Charge of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child. Investigators say information has come to light that Pelloat had sex with one of the victims named in the initial indictments, when the youth was under 14 years of age. That is a more serious felony charge, punishable by 5 to 99 years or life in prison, plus up to a $10,000 fine. Pelloat was Band Director at Dayton High School from 1977 to 1989.

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Early voting for the Liberty County Hospital District Election starts Friday Jan. 21st and continues through Tuesday Feb. 1st. Voters can cast ballots early weekdays at the Liberty County Courthouse 8 to 5, the Hardin ISD Business Office 8 to 4 and at the FLNB Dayton Financial Center 3 to 7. Election Day is Saturday Feb.5th from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Officials with the City of Hardin report that construction crews began tying in some homes and businesses to the new sewer system yesterday. City Councilman Alan Tidwell said the $6.5 million sewer system has a total of 11 lift stations and two of those are now up and running. Before any connection is made to a home or business, the City needs to have a signed service agreement with that customer. Mr. Tidwell said anyone who has not yet signed up to be connected to the new sewer system, can stop in at the Hardin City Hall or call 298-2117.

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Former U.S. Presidents George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton are heading up a nationwide fundraising effort to help those in regions devastated by deadly earthquakes and subsequent tsunami. To date, more than 150,000 people are estimated to have died. Contributions both large and small are welcome to organizations such as the American Red Cross, the Red Crescent, Salvation Army, Catholic Relief Services, Save the Children, CARE, UNICEF and America Cares. For more information visit www.usafreedomcorps.gov.

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** Lake Release 16,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 15.53ASL**

-VOLUME 20 NO. 06, MONDAY JAN. 10TH 2005-

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A woman struck by a car on Main Street. in Liberty remains in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Liberty Police said 46-year-old Judith Ann Hickerson was injured in front of Hull State Bank just after 8 pm Thursday. She was airlifted to the hospital’s trauma center. Police say the driver of the vehicle, Helen Mitchell, of Dayton, could not avoid the accident when the woman walked into her path. The driver was not injured. Seconds before another car barely missed the victim.

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Around 2 pm Friday, a major gas line separated at the Center Point Energy natural gas substation on Bowie Street in Liberty. That prompted police and fire officials to close the street to traffic. Fire Chief Fred Collins said there was no threat to public safety. The threat was of a major traffic jam when school ended at nearby Liberty Elementary School. That led to evacuating the roughly 800 students from that campus to the Liberty Middle School. Entex crews finished repairs at around 4:30 pm Friday.

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The first in a series of five public meetings on the February 5th Liberty County Hospital District Election is tomorrow night from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson Jr. High School in Dayton. Sponsored by the Coastal Area Health Education Center, the meeting features information, with responses by both supporters and opponents of the proposed hospital district and a question/answer period. A second gathering is Thurs. at Devers School, also from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

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The 7th Annual Liberty County Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration is Saturday at 1 p.m. at Dayton High School. Speaker is Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Briscoe of Ames who earned the Bronze Star and Purple Heart for his heroism and injuries in Iraq. There will also be a Gospel Concert at 3 p.m. at Cornerstone Church in Liberty featuring artists Beau Williams, “For the Lord” and Beatrice Ward. Concert tickets are $10 each from any MLK Committee Member. There is no charge to attend the MLK Birthday celebration at Dayton High Saturday. ****************************************************

, 55,- Liberty, graveside @ 2p.m. Tues at Moss Hill Cem.**

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** Lake Release 15,000CFS Liberty Bridge: 12.39ASL**

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 05, FRIDAY JAN. 7TH 2005-

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Liberty Police Chief Bill Griffin said he was in the area of MLK and Alabama Wednesday evening, when 28-year-old Tracie Lee Medaris of Liberty approached his personal vehicle and offered to perform various sexual acts for a fee. She was arrested, made a break for it while waiting for a patrol car to arrive, but, after a brief foot chase and scuffle, was back in custody. Ms. Medaris is charged with Prostitution, Evading Arrest and, since a search turned up a glass pipe and cigarette lighter on her person, with Possession of Narcotics Paraphernalia. Her bond is $2,800. This is the second time Chief Griffin has been approached for solicitation of prostitution in the same Liberty neighborhood.

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There is good news in the case of 11-year-old Zack Flint of Liberty who was critically injured in a 4-wheeler accident Dec. 22nd. We are told Zack advanced to a semi-conscious state Wednesday, opened his eyes, offered a “thumbs up” sign in response to a question and moved one foot when asked to. Doctors warn it will be a long recovery for the Liberty boy, who remains in Intensive Care at Memorial Hermann Hospital.

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The State Commissioner of Education was in Liberty Wednesday night to meet with School Board Members and Superintendents from Liberty County’s seven school districts at Liberty Middle School. Dr. Shirley Neely, who was appointed a year ago by Gov. Rick Perry, said Texas schools are growing by 80 to 90 thousand new students a year and if current trends continue, that rate could reach 100,000 in the next few years.

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The Liberty County YMCA Health Fair and Blood Drive is tomorrow from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Richter Elementary School in Dayton. There will be demonstrations of the new adult fitness classes offered by the “Y” and blood donors get a free cholesterol screening, sweatshirt, juice, cookies and are eligible for door prizes. Call 936-257-2888 for more information.

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FUNERALS: Philip Norman King Sr., 72, of Liberty, Services at 3 p.m. today at the Cooke Memorial Cemetery in Liberty. ** Terrie Williams Huntley, 44, of Old River, Services at 10 a.m. Monday at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Jarrell Dante Deyon, 17, of Baytown, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at the Baytown Memorial Baptist Church. **

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** Lake Release 6,000 CFS Liberty Bridge: 9.52 ASL**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 04, THURSDAY JAN. 6TH 2005-

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TxDot’s Marc Shepherd said the state’s transportation agency is planning improvements to 15 roadways in Liberty and Chambers Counties, as part of a $20 million safety package for improving highways and intersections. Mr. Shepherd said the bulk of the funding would go to state highways and farm-to-market roads including improvements to sections of Hwy 321 in Liberty County and Hwy 61 in Chambers County. In all, TxDot is gearing up to widen or add center-turn lanes to a total of 27 highways in the eight county area included in the Beaumont District. Marc Shepherd said the projects would go into construction within the next two years.

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Both Liberty Police and 1st Liberty National Bank Officials have confirmed that an internal investigation at the locally owned bank has uncovered a possible employee theft of just under $100,000. Evidence is still being gathered by Liberty Police, the FBI and the Liberty County District Attorney’s Office and no charges have, to date, been filed. A female former bank employee at the center of the investigation has denied any theft. FLNB President Paul Henry said customer deposits have not been affected by the alleged theft.

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With 434 others from across the county, Ted Poe was sworn in to office as a member the U.S. House of Representatives on Monday. The new Congressman for Texas’ District #2 of which most of Liberty County is a part said the experience of being given the oath of office was “exhilarating”. The former district judge said he and some other freshmen members of Congress met with President and First Lady George and Laura Bush, as well as Vice-President Dick Cheney.

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The Liberty Lions Club is now accepting renewals and new customers for their 2005 “Flags Across Liberty “ Program. For a $25 donation, the Liberty Lions will place an American Flag at your home or business in Liberty on six patriotic holidays during the year. Proceeds benefit the Scholarship Fund and the Lions Club’s many other community projects. For more information, call Robert Ward at 936-336-7311.

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FUNERALS: Gerald Dean Iler, 68, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **

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** Lake Release 4,000 CFS Liberty Bridge: 9.60 ASL**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 03, WEDNESDAY JAN. 5TH 2005-

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A large crowd was on hand yesterday morning as elected officials across the County were sworn into office in the Liberty County Courtroom. Liberty County Judge Lloyd Kirkham and District Judge Chap Cain did the honors as oaths were administered to Precincts #1 and #3 Commissioners Todd Fontenot and Melvin Hunt. DA Mike Little was sworn in for his 6th term, Sheriff Greg Arthur for his 2nd and County Tax Assessor/Collector Mark McClelland for his 5th. The oaths of office were also administered to Constables Royce Wheeler, L. W. DeSpain, Charles Martin and Chip Fairchild. Constables Tim Allison and Jimmy Belt were sworn in at an earlier date.

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The Dayton City Council met Monday night and elected three new full voting directors to the board of the Dayton Community Development Corporation. Of the nominees proposed by a DCDC Nominating Board only one was actually elected and that was former Lee College Small Business Development Center Director Kenneth Voytek. Two other seats on the board went to Alan D. Conner and Dayton Councilman John Simmons. During the public petition portion of the meeting, Dayton Real Estate Agent David Parker call the council action “despicable”, saying Council was trying to “dismember the DCDC”.

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Liberty County Judge Lloyd Kirkham said Whitetail Development has closed on over 700 acres of land on Hwy 321 with plans to create a housing development with homes from $100,00 to $300,000 and up No word on when ground breaking for the housing development would occur.

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By Presidential Order, all US Flags are to be flown at half-staff through sunset this Friday on all public buildings and grounds as a mark of respect for the victims of the Indian Ocean earthquake and resulting tsunamis. The lowered flags honor the tens of thousands killed in one of the world’s worst catastrophes.

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FUNERALS: Ruth Elizabeth Kearney, 78, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. today at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. ** Francis Doris Svoboda, 90, of Dayton, Services at 7:15 p.m. tomorrow at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dayton. ** Claudia Andress, 93, of Daisetta, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **

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** Lake Release 4,000 CFS Liberty Bridge: 9.65 ASL**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 02, TUESDAY JAN. 4TH 2005-

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City Manager Allen Barnes said Liberty is applying for an Affordable Housing Grant to allow the City build infrastructure such as streets and water systems for an affordable housing development. Mr. Barnes said that grant is very competitive, but if the City is approved, the cost of these homes can be reduced by as much as #14,000 each. The City Manager also said there are other programs available through the Southeast Texas Housing Consortium that would help homebuyers with down payments once the development is in place. Mr. Barnes added that while a company as already showed interest in the development, the City is still in the early stages of the process.

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According to Laura Wilson, new Director of Economic Development for the Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District, the number one and number three best areas on the nation for new manufacturing business development are here in Southeast Texas. Ms. Wilson, on the job with the Navigation District since the start of December, said she is looking forward to seeing that kind of economic development come to this area.

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We have reported on the confirmation of Sandy Pickett of Liberty to the National Museum and Library Services Board. Mrs. Pickett is currently in her second year as Chair of the State Library and Archive Commission, which, she said, actually has more power than the national board, whose 20 members serve generally in an advisory role. Sandy Pickett was approved with the idea of appointment in late spring of 2003. She will attend a swearing in ceremony in February, almost two-years after being asked to accept the Presidential Appointment.

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The Liberty County YMCA is sponsoring a health fair and blood drive Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Richter Elementary School in Dayton. There will be demonstrations of the new fitness classes the “Y” is offering for the upcoming year including kick-boxing, core conditioning and “dancer-cise”. All blood donors will be eligible for a sweatshirt and door prizes. For more information, call the YMCA at 936-257-2888.

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FUNERALS: Edward Lee “Pee Wee” Alexander, 63, of Dayton, Services at 2 p.m. today at Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. **

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** Lake Release 4,000 CFS Liberty Bridge: 9.72 ASL**

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

-VOLUME 20 NO. 01, MONDAY JAN. 3RD 2005-

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Coastal AHEC will sponsor five public meetings about the proposed Liberty Co. Hospital District. Leslie Hargrove, AHEC Director, says meetings are Jan. 11th at Dayton Jr. High, Jan.13th at the Devers School, Jan. 18th - Liberty Middle School, Jan. 20th Hull-Daisetta Hi and Jan. 27th at Hardin Fire Station. Each is 6:30 to 8 p.m. with information then responses from both sides plus Q&A.Election Day on the Hospital District issue is Feb. 5th.

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The Dayton Chamber has some new directors for 2005. Elected are Larry Wilburn of Pappy’s BBQ, “Bubba” Toler-Pace Stancil Funeral Serv., Aaron Holbrook- American Rice Growers, Phyllis Pierce - Branding Iron Rest., Brooks Hiller - Heritage Mortgage and Steve Skarpa - Skarpa Insurance. The Dayton Chamber Banquet is Jan. 27th at the Dayton Hi Cafeteria.

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11-year-old Zack Flint of Liberty remains in a medically induced coma at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. The 5th Grader had a good day Saturday but developed a minor infection
Sunday. Zack Flint was injured in a 4-wheeler accident on a family outing Dec. 22nd. His condition remains critical.

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The Liberty Police Dept. will loan electric engravers free to city residents to ID valuables in case they are ever stolen. . Chief Bill Griffin says the engravers are easy to use and items like electronics, tools and lawn equipment should be marked. Do not use social security or drivers license numbers. That could lead to identity theft. Chief Griffin says come up with your own I.D

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50 Moss Buff area residents have sued Duke Energy for damages in two August explosions and fire at the Moss Bluff Gas Storage Facility they own. Attorney Ted Westmoreland said after the first well head blowout and fire Duke officials encouraged residents to return home. The suit says that was short-sighted, cavalier, and negligent. A 2nd bigger explosion occurred the next day. The action says the explosion shook the earth and structures contaminating soil and vegetation, causing a drop in property values and destruction of water wells and other damages. The claim is the explosions inflicted damage and exposed plaintiffs to dangerous chemicals with related illnesses that will force victims to undergo treatment and testing for life, and other damages. No dollar figure was mentioned .in the suit.

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** Lake Release 4,000 CFS Liberty Bridge: 9.80 ASL**

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