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June 2004

-VOLUME 19 NO. 120, WEDNESDAY JUNE 30TH, 2004-

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On Monday, 253rd District Judge Chap Cain sentenced Denise Kay Vekios to 9 months in a State Substance Abuse Punishment Facility and 10 years deferred adjudication, a form of probation. The Dayton woman pled guilty to 6 counts of Aggravated Assault with a Motor Vehicle in connection to a wreck in February that injured her two young children. Ms. Vekios was charged with being intoxicated at the time she turned into the path of another vehicle on Hwy 90 in Liberty. Her two children remain in custody of Children’s Protective Services.

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With discharges from the Lake Livingston Dam over 50,000 CFS Liberty County Emergency Management Coordinator Leroy Hanel and County Judge Lloyd Kirkham have called for a voluntary evacuation of low-lying areas prone to flooding. City of Liberty Emergency Management Coordinator Jamie Galloway has also issued a flood advisory for residents of the South Liberty Oilfield. Anyone evacuating who is in need of shelter can call the Emergency Management Office at 336-4558.

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Latest information on the planned construction of a Wal-Mart Super Center in Liberty indicates the retail giant will begin construction on North Main at the 146 Bypass in March 2005. That’s the date quoted by Wal-Mart higher-ups to current Liberty Store Manager Bob Diaz. The plans are for the keys to the huge building to be handed over to Diaz in August of next year with an opening date estimated in October 2005.

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Liberty School Trustees met yesterday and hired Bruce Lacefield as Principal of the new Liberty Middle School. Lacefield worked for the district as an assistant principal for several years before leaving to take an administrative job in the Livingston ISD. He replaces the retiring David Faulkner.

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Yesterday’s Shine All Nine Radiogram contained an error. The correct model number of the cell phone that operates on batteries recalled by Verizon is the L.G. model TM-510.

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FUNERALS: Robert Lee “Bob” Davis, 76, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. Friday at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty. ** Ann Shirley Simmons, 60, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Valley Baptist Church in Liberty. ** ****************************************************

*LAKE RELEASE: 55,600 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 26.91 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 119, TUESDAY JUNE 29TH, 2004-

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The Sunday morning wreck in San Antonio that claimed the life of Liberty Municipal Judge William E. “Sonny” Loftin, has now claimed another. Bob Davis of Liberty died yesterday at University Hospital in San Antonio of injures he sustained in that head-on collision in heavy rain on FM 1604. The driver of the vehicle in which Loftin and Davis were passengers, 50-year-old Johnny Eakin of Hardin is scheduled to undergo facial reconstruction surgery today, but it is believed he will recover. ****************************************************

Controversy has erupted over the retirement of longtime City of Liberty Fire Chief and EMS Director Jamie Galloway. While initial statements indicated all parties were in agreement about his retiring, Galloway now says his last job evaluation from City Manager Allen Barnes reflects high marks in April, but he was told to resign in June. Galloway said he believes “politics” may be the reason he is being forced out. A petition is currently circulating calling for Chief Galloway’s reinstatement.

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State Representative Dan Ellis said although rumors abound that local Health and Human Services Offices across the state will be closing, nothing official has been decided as of yet. Ellis said he and other legislators are still concerned however about plans by Health and Human Services Commissioner Albert Hawkins to speed up the process of restructuring the states’ human services system as set down in HB 2292. Dan Ellis said when lawmakers passed that bill it was intended that restructuring be done over a long period so has to have the least negative impact.

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More information is available on that battery recall from Verizon Wireless. The specific codes for the L. G. model TM-150 phone batteries are 0220, 02725 or 02X25H. Verizon is recalling approximately 50,000 of these batteries due to problems with the batteries overcharging and catching fire.

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FUNERALS: W. E. “Sonny” Loftin, 62, of Liberty, Services at 10am Thursday at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty* W.T. “Dub” Norman Jr., 90, of Beaumont, Services 10am tomorrow at Broussard’s Mortuary-Beaumont*Herbert Lee McWhirter, 89, of Dayton, Services yesterday*C. Ray DeBoard, 73, Liberty Services today at 10 am at Allison Funeral Services-Liberty.*

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*LAKE RELEASE: 48,200 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 26.09 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 118, MONDAY JUNE 28TH, 2004-

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Liberty businessman, and Municipal Judge Wm. E. “Sonny” Loftin was killed in a weather related accident yesterday near San Antonio. An area woman also died in the wreck. Injured were Johnny Eakin of Hardin, 48, and Bob Davis of Liberty. Johnny Eakin is said to have facial injuries but is communicating with family members. Bob Davis condition is listed as critical but stable after Sunday surgery. According to police reports, it was raining hard when Johnny Eakin, the driver, either hydroplaned or lost control, crossing into the other lane on the four-lane FM #1604. That’s when the head on collision occurred. The accident happened at 8:45 Sunday morning. Judge Loftin was pronounced dead at 10:48 am Sunday.

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Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said it was around 5:45 Friday afternoon, when U.S. Marshal’s recaptured three inmates who had overpowered a guard and escaped from the Liberty County Jail early last Tuesday morning. Sheriff Arthur said Lloyd Lowe and Daniel Redden, both 28, and Jasper Rivera, age 27, were arrested together without incident at a residence in Highlands. LaJoyce Swallow, identified as the girlfriend of fugitive, Lloyd Lowe, was also arrested charged with aiding an escapee. The 2002 silver Mustang stolen from a Liberty residence the morning of the escape was found abandoned at a Houston apartment complex.

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Liberty Co. Fire Marshall Jim Wilson said it was probably transients who set the fire in a vacant house on Hwy 90 in Ames Saturday morning. Firefighters from the Ames and Hull- Dasietta Volunteer Departments arrived shortly before noon to find the structure fully involved in flames. Jim Wilson said it looked as if someone had been cooking on a small barbecue grill inside the house. No one was hurt, the house destroyed

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FUNERALS: Charles Raymond DeBoard, 79-Liberty, Graveside services 2pm Wed. Memorial Park Cemetery-Tulsa, OK*J.C.Teasley, 78-Anahuac, Services 10am Wed. Sterling Funeral Home-Anahuac*Henry Vincent Hazlip, Jr. 59-Liberty. Services Tues. 4pm, Allison Funeral Home-Liberty*Dick Collins, 68-Liberty. Services 2pm today, North Main Baptist Church-Liberty*Erma Lee Fregia Mobley, 67-Daisetta. Services 2pm Tues., Community Church-Hull.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 42,700 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 25.41 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 117, FRIDAY JUNE 25TH, 2004-

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DPS Trooper Stephen Hebert said 44-year-old Jody Mayfield of Hull was stopped on Hwy 146 in Hardin yesterday afternoon trying to make a left turn. A vehicle driven by John Berryhill, 45, of Dayton was stopped behind hers. Trooper Hebert said a third vehicle operated by David Gerfers, 65, of Pasadena rear-ended Berryhill’s vehicle, which in turn, was pushed forward and struck Mayfield’s vehicle from behind. No serious injuries were reported in the three-vehicle wreck. David Gerfers, cited for failure to control speed, was taken to Liberty-Dayton Community Hospital as a precaution.

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The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department reports no new developments in the search for three inmates who escaped from the Liberty County Jail early Tuesday morning. Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 936-336-4500

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Due to widespread, continuing rainfall in Liberty County, Emergency Management Coordinator Leroy Hanel has issued a flood warning for low-lying roads that are prone to flooding. Motorists are reminded to use extreme caution when attempting to cross any flooded road and night travel should be avoided.

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The Liberty County Central Appraisal District Board appointed Precinct #5 Justice of the Peace Burl Thomas of Tarkington to serve the remainder of Johnny Remkes term on the board. Mr. Remkes died in April. Chief Appraiser Alan D. Conner said Liberty County as well as both the Dayton and Cleveland School Districts nominated Burl Thomas for the position.

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The 8th Annual Cowboy Classic Golf Tournament, set for tomorrow, has been rescheduled for July 24th at Magnolia Ridge Country Club in Liberty, due to wet weather conditions. The Liberty County Metro Go Texan Committee’s Sherry Beasley said there’s some player’s spots available. Cost is $100 per player. All proceeds benefit the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship Fund. For information, call 936-298-2406.

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FUNERALS: Jerry Dale Higgins, 64, of Huffman, Services at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Donald R. Wilcox, 81, of Anahuac, Services at 6 p.m. tomorrow at 1st United Methodist Church of Anahuac. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 25,100 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 24.73 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 116, THURSDAY JUNE 24TH, 2004-

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It was just after 1 a.m. Tuesday when three Liberty County Jail inmates overpowered a guard and escaped through a hole in the jail ceiling. Still at large is 28-year-old Lloyd Forest Lowe, one of two suspects arrested weeks ago in connection to a series of burglaries in the Raywood and Daisetta areas; A third suspect in that case was shot and killed while fleeing from police. Lowe is a white male, 5’ 8”, 185 lbs. He was accompanied in the jailbreak by Jasper Skye Rivera, 27, a Hispanic male with brown hair and eyes, 5’ 7”, 170 lbs. The third fugitive is Daniel Redden, age 28, also a white male, with brown hair and blue eyes, 6’ tall, weighing 200 lbs. Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said all three men should be considered dangerous. It is possible the trio used a gray 2002 Mustang reported stolen from a Liberty residence yesterday as a getaway vehicle. The Texas license is P33RVP. Anyone with information on the escapees is asked to call the nearest police agency.

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With the retirement of longtime Liberty Fire Chief and EMS Director Jamie Galloway later this year, Liberty City Manager Allen Barnes has hired Liberty resident Tom Jones as the city’s new Director of Emergency Medical Service. Barnes said the plan is two separate the fire and EMS departments. Tom Jones spent 3 years as a Texas Dept. of Health EMS program specialist, with a total of 12 years in EMS as a paramedic and instructor. His first day on the job in Liberty is Monday.

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Some tickets remain for the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s biggest fundraiser of the year. The Liberty-Dayton 500 is on July 13th at the Liberty VFW post and the 500 raffle tickets always sell out. Fontenot’s Cajun Foods is catering the event and Texas State Auctioneer Champion Brady Hanson will be bringing down the hammer for the live auction. Tickets are $20 each. Call the Chamber at 936-336-5736.

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Another local volunteer fire department will receive federal grant funds for training and equipment. Democratic U.S. Congressman Jim Turner said the Kenefick Volunteer Fire Department is getting $39,285. We have reported that almost $37,000 went to the Hull-Daisetta Volunteer Fire Department through the same federal firefighters grant program, to be used in purchasing new fire fighting gear.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 25,100 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.43 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 115, WEDNESDAY JUNE 23RD, 2004-

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City of Liberty Fire Chief, EMS Director, Fire Marshall and Emergency Management Coordinator Jamie Galloway will retire sometime later this year. A city employee for 20 years and fire chief for the last 10, Galloway said he plans to stay on and aid in the transition, so there is no retirement date set as of yet. The 43-year-old Galloway said he is tired—some might say “burned out”-- and wants to make a change. The city’s retirement program gives him some options.

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Liberty County Commissioners met yesterday and adopted the guidelines and criteria for granting tax abatements or negotiated property tax breaks to businesses. Similar to the existing guidelines, they include a case-by-case review of the merits of each abatement application, with an eye towards how many employees an applying company would hire and how much revenue would be generated for the county.

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The Liberty Rotary Club will sponsor an exhibition and auction of fine art tomorrow night at the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. Liberty Rotary President Michael Mark said the event is presented through the Perry Berns Gallery of Dallas that has been offering quality works of art at reasonable prices for three decades. The exhibit will feature the works of several well-known artists as well as excellent works by lesser-known artists. The display begins at 6:30 p.m. with the auction at 7:30. A percentage of the proceeds will benefit the many community projects of the Liberty Rotary Club. The public is welcome.

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Centerpoint Entex Gas Company Offices in Liberty, Cleveland, Orange and Jasper will close at the end of the business day on Friday. A cost cutting measure by the giant gas company, the Liberty Office will re-open only one more time on July 22nd from 2 to 4 p.m. to hold a retirement reception for two longtime employees at that office: Vera Hebert and Wayne Hardin. Gas customers should still call their local number for service or repair. James Kevin Leonard will remain with Centerpoint Entex as a service technician for Liberty, Dayton, Ames and Anahuac.

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FUNERALS: John Keith Folsom, Jr., 22, of Dayton, Services tomorrow at 11 a.m. at the Friendship Baptist Church in Roganville. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 25,100 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.43 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 114, TUESDAY JUNE 22ND, 2004-

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Dayton Police said 48-year-old Michael Patrick Paul of Dayton was riding a bicycle north on Hwy 321 around 11:30 Saturday night when he was hit by a pick up truck driven by William Newkirk III, 22, of Liberty. The bicyclist was critically injured and air lifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, where he later died. The pick up driver was not injured. No charges have yet been filed in the incident.

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Yesterday Southtrust Bank informed their employees that Wachovia Bank, one of the five biggest banking institutions in the nation, purchased Southtrust for $14.3 billion. That acquisition includes Southtrust Banks in Liberty and Cleveland. Local Southtrust Vice President Diane Huddleston said her bank’s name probably would not change until late 2005. Final approval of the merger is expected to come later this year.

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The latest school construction project in Liberty County is in the Cleveland ISD. Superintendent Terry Myers said work began last week on the site of what will be the new Cleveland High School on Hwy 321, across from the old Cleveland Wal-Mart location. An actual price tag for the new campus has not yet been locked in, but Myers said there are plans to renovate other district facilities if possible. Construction of the new high school is expected to take about 18 months to finish.

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The Annual Independence Day celebration on July 3rd at the Liberty City Park will feature a special guest this year. In addition to the fireworks display and a performance by the Invincible Eagle Band, the event will include a ceremony honoring Sgt. Joseph Briscoe. A track star and 1985 graduate of Liberty High, Sgt. Briscoe was badly injured in a grenade attack last year while serving with the Army’s 5th Special Forces Unit in Iraq. There is no charge for admission and everyone is encouraged to attend. KSHN Radio will broadcast the event live.

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FUNERALS: Olivia Ann Grays Criner, 50, of Dayton, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Dayton. ** Gladys Vivian Rodgers, 91, of Hardin, Graveside services tomorrow at 10 a.m. the Hardin Chapel Cemetery. ** Michael Patrick Paul, 48, of Dayton, Services at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in Dayton. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 25,100 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.43 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 113, MONDAY JUNE 21ST, 2004-

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22-year-old John Folsom, of Dayton was killed in wreck in Dayton on Hwy 321 just north of FM 1960 Sunday at 12:15. Dayton Police Officer Gordon Bean said a sedan occupied by Folsom and driven by Daniel Jackson –18 also of Dayton, was southbound on 321. A vehicle stopped suddenly in front of them. Swerving to avoid a rear-end collision, the sedan slid sideways into the northbound lane There it was stuck in the side. Jackson was flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital. . ****************************************************

In spite of a loss in state funding this past year that ultimately exceeded $60,000, Liberty School Trustees received a fairly optimistic 2004-2005 budget report from Superintendent Dr. Patty Shafer and District Accountant Margaret Lee. Dr. Shafer said she expects the district will end the current year with a fund balance of $300,000 and is proposing a $1,000 per year pay increase for teachers.

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A study committee established by the Dayton School Board has recommended some major drainage improvements in the area around the Nottingham Middle School auditorium. Assistant Superintendent Bob Parker said that facility has traditionally flooded around the stage due to rainwater draining from the building’s roof. Trustees agreed to seek bids on a project to move the water off the school grounds to a large drainage ditch at a projected cost of around $60,000.

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Reservations are available for the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon Wednesday at noon in the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. This month’s guest speaker is historical re-enactment expert Clabert Menard, who recently appeared in the movie “The Alamo”. Ann Gray, from U.S. Congressman Jim Turner’s Office will also be on hand to present a check for $36,665 in federal grant funds to the Hull-Daisetta V.F.D. For reservations, call 936-336-5736.

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FUNERAL: Maggie Lou Findley, 92, of Liberty, Graveside services at 2 p.m. today at Fairlawn Cemetery in Liberty* Judith Raye Bailey, 60, of Spring. Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.* Bettie Jo McKey Bouslog, 67 formerly of Liberty. Services 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Carroway-Claybar Funeral Home in Lufkin.**

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*LAKE RELEASE: 25,100 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 23.55 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 112, FRIDAY JUNE 18TH, 2004-

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DPS Trooper Donnie Smith said Tony Ray Coleman, 27, of Beaumont was cited for traveling at a speed too fast for the rain slick conditions east of Devers yesterday morning. Coleman’s vehicle reportedly struck one driven by Johnny Wayne Langley, 48, of Houston, then spun into a third vehicle, operated by Melodye Lopez, 37, of Dayton. Only Tony Ray Coleman sustained injuries –said to be minor- in the wreck, though considerable damage was done to all three vehicles.

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In defense of the situation that led to more than 120 animals, mostly dogs, being removed from her home by the SPCA, Tarkington resident Patsy Boucher said she had spent as much as $30,000 of her money to provide care and homes for the animals. Mrs. Boucher said many of the dogs were abandoned on or near her property and she has worked with shelters to try and place as many of the strays as possible. Patsy Boucher and her husband Joe were arrested after an altercation with law enforcement and SPCA officials who tried to remove the animals earlier this month. Joe Boucher remains jailed after allegedly displaying a gun at officers during the incident.

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Work is underway to convert the old Remkes Grocery and Supply Store at the corner of Main and Bryan in Dayton into a new home for the Vinyard Floral and Gift Shop as well as the Country Emporium and Diner’s new Dayton location. A joint venture by business owners Karen Arnold and Janice Guidry, the 10,000 square foot building is to be divided in half to accommodate both the rapidly growing Vinyard and what will probably be called the Dayton Country Emporium.

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A Memorial Fund has been established by the Atascosita Historical Society to honor the late Charles W. Fisher Jr. who served as that organization’s first president. Mr. Fisher was instrumental in construction of the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center, as well as being active in the relocation of several historical buildings. The Memorial Fund will benefit the Sam Center. Contributions can be sent to the Historical Society at PO Box 4003, Liberty, TX, 77575.

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FUNERAL: Albert Lee Ewing, Jr., 78, of Tyler, Private services conducted by Sterling Funeral Home of Dayton. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 25,100 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 22.71 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 111, THURSDAY JUNE 17TH, 2004-

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Law enforcement agencies are seeking three suspects in at least eleven armed robberies of fast food restaurants in Liberty, Harris and Montgomery Counties. Cleveland Police said two men and one woman placed an order at the drive-thru window of the Burger King at Hwy 105 and Hwy 59 Monday night then pulled weapons on the clerk at the service window, demanding money. The trio reportedly made a similar attempt to rob a McDonald’s restaurant in Cleveland that same night. The vehicle used in the holdups is described as a small white or gray square-backed car.

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The Liberty School Board met Tuesday and approved the resignation of Middle School Principal David Faulkner as well as LMS Assistant Principal Doyle Bell. Mr. Faulkner had asked his retirement be moved up a year so he would not lose some major benefits. Mr.Bell has accepted a principal’s job in the DeSoto School District. Their departure means the new middle school campus will open next fall with brand new administrators. In other action, trustees approved a guaranteed maximum price of $5.8 million on the new elementary school to be built on Grand Ave. Assistant Superintendent Tommy Davis said this allows the project to begin on schedule.

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Some players spots still remain for the DARE Golf Tournament on Friday June 25th at 8:30 a.m. at the Newport Country Club in Crosby. The entry fee is $60 per player. All proceeds benefit the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program in area schools. To sign up call the District Attorney’s Office in Liberty County at 936-336-4609 or 409-267-8273 in Chambers County.

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The 1st Annual Daisetta Summer Fun Day, benefiting the Daisetta Police and Fire Departments is set for Saturday June 26th at 10 a.m. in the Daisetta City Ball Park. Events include softball tournaments, live and silent auctions, dunking booths and pie throwing contests. For more information or to donate an auction item, contact Cindy Taylor at 936-536-6761.

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Local musician and writer Valencia Arceneux and Hardin Blacksmith John Key are the special guests at the Liberty Library’s Summer Reading Program today at 10 a.m. Today’s Activity Day is not just for reading program participants. The public is invited.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 25,100 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 19.17 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 110, WEDNESDAY JUNE 16TH, 2004-

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Yesterday a jury in Judge C. T. “Rusty” Hight’s 75th District Court found 26-year-old William Nelson Antoine guilty of Aggravated Robbery for an armed hold-up of the Inn at Liberty Motel in 1999. Antoine was indicted by a grand jury that same year, but eluded arrest until December of last year. Judge Hight is scheduled to sentence the Raywood Area man on July 6th. The 1st Degree Felony carries a punishment range of from 5 to 99 years in prison or a life sentence.

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Precinct #5 JP Burl Thomas has ordered 58-year-old Patsy Boucher of Tarkington to surrender 123 animals, mostly dogs, to SPCA officials who found the half-acre lot in the Green Acres Subdivision where the animals were allowed to roam free “unsuitable living conditions”. The Tarkington woman reportedly told Judge Thomas at a hearing on Monday she had taken in strays and was not guilty of any cruelty. Mrs. Boucher was arrested for disorderly conduct on June 1st, when she allegedly refused to allow investigators to seize the animals. She is currently free on bond. Her husband, Joe Boucher, Jr. remains in the Liberty County Jail in leiu of a $50,000 bond on a charge of Brandishing a Weapon and Threatening Officers

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Monday night, the Anahuac City Council unanimously appointed Guy Robert Jackson as mayor of that Chambers County City. Jackson has served as Interim Mayor since the surprise resignation of Bruce Corner on May 17th just as he was about to be sworn in for a fourth term. Jackson will serve as Anahuac Mayor until the election in May of next year, when he has said he will run to serve out the remaining year of Corner’s term. Guy Robert Jackson’s elevation to mayor leaves his council seat vacant. That will be a subject of discussion soon.

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In our initial story on the closing of the Dayton Diagnostic Clinic we reported the wrong date for that closure. Cleveland Regional Hospital Administrator Ron McLaren said the clinic at 601 South Winfree in Dayton has not produced the number of patients needed to continue operation and will close at the end of July. Three doctors who maintain offices in that location will continue. McLaren called the closure a cost cutting measure.

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FUNERAL: Dorothy Verbeck Chandler, 79, of Houston, Graveside services at 3 p.m. today at the Anahuac Cemetery.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 17,000 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 18.73 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 110, TUESDAY, JUNE 15TH, 2004-

We told you that an Aaron’s Rent Store is coming to Liberty. East Houston Regional manager, Roger Hooker, has confirmed that and hopes the 7400 square foot store will be ready for an early August opening. A store manager will be named soon and they expect to hire 6 other employees. Those interested in applying can call 1-281-440-0008 for an application. Positions include product tech, customer service reps in sales and credit. Aaron’s rents and sells furniture, electronics, appliances, computers, lawn mowers and more.

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The Dayton Youth Sports Association will host the 2004 nine and ten year olds state tournament in baseball on July 17th . It will be at the Parker Baseball Complex at the Gov. Bill and Vara Daniel Park on Fm 1008 in Dayton. Dayton Youth Sports Assoc. secretary, Stephanie Green, said as many as six hundred people will be here for the event. South Liberty County could get a nice boost to the economy, especially hotels and restaurants. Most of the visitors will be in Dayton and area for an entire week. For more info, call Stephanie at 936-257-9142.

****************************************************Ann Gray from Democratic Congressman Jim Turner’s office will present a check for $36,665. To Hull-Daisetta Volunteer Fire Chief Lynn Wells at the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon June 23rd at the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. The Fire Department will purchase protective gear and air packs with the federal grant money. Clabert Menard will be the guest speaker He’s the Dayton historical re-enactment expert who recently had a role in newest version of “The Alamo” This luncheon will feature a variety of salads. Cost is $7. For reservations call the Chamber at 336-5736.

*************************************************** *********** Renovations of the old Park Theater that serves as home to Liberty Opry on the Square are coming along nicely. Owner John Cox said they are restoring the building to it’s original 1938 look complete with a lighted canopy and stucco finish and beautiful tile on the front. Mahogany doors will again be the new entry doors for the popular country music shows featured twice each Saturday. Plans also include restoring the ticket booth to its original look Sharon Riley a brilliant decorator from Liberty is designing the project. She plans to use memorabilia from the old Park Theater days. The late Bob Milentz and family were the original owners. The Liberty Opry on the Square in the historic Park Theater has a seating capacity for over 300. ************************************************************* . . *Lake Release: 15,420 CFS* Liberty Bridge 16.45 ft ASL *

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 110, MONDAY, JUNE 14TH, 2004-

Liberty Mayor Bruce Halstead said City Manager Allen Barnes received a glowing evaluation from Council last Tuesday night. As a result of that executive session review, council members voted to approve a 4% increase in their chief administrator’s salary package. That brings Barnes annual salary to $82,500. Allen Barnes credited the hard work each day by city employees as the reason he has been successful as city manager here.

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Another furniture/appliance rental store is coming to Liberty. Aaron’s Rents has around 150 locations in Texas and more in all 48 contiguous states with annual revenues of $735,000,000 The store here will be in the former Movie Gallery location at 1314 North Main, Aaron’s rents and sells furniture, consumer electronics, appliances and computers. Remodeling of the 7400 square foot store front is underway. The edition of Aaron’s makes the 4th store of this type in Liberty.

Cleveland Reg. Hospital will close the Dayton Diagnostic Clinic July 1st to cut costs. They closed their Livingston Clinic in May Both were required for federal grants in rural heath care.

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Dayton School Trustees met in budget workshop session last Tuesday night and approved a 2% pay increase for district teachers, nurses and librarians for the 2004-2005 school year. A comparable raise will go to the DISD’s aides, hourly employees and administrators. Chief Financial Officer Tami Pierce told trustees the increase adds about $400,000 to the district’s overall payroll in the coming school year. While school trustees have to approve the expenditure side of their annual budget by the end of June, the board won’t approve a revenue side or adopt a new tax rate until August.

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The Liberty-Dayton Chapter of Ducks Unlimited Annual Banquet and Auction is Friday at 6 p.m. at the Liberty Elks Lodge on FM 563 in Liberty. Pappy’s Barbecue and Catering will provide the dinner that also features a membership drive, door prizes, drawings, plus live and silent auctions. Proceeds will benefit efforts to promote and preserve America’s wetlands. For reservations, call Mark Bennett at 936-258-4686.

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FUNERALS: Sallie Jane Ballas, 58, of Crosby, Services at 6 p.m. Friday June 18th at the Dell Dale Baptist Church in Channelview**Lawrence Gradney,75,-Dayton,Serv.were Sat.

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*Lake Release: 14,420 CFS* Liberty Bridge 16.64 ft ASL *

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 109, FRIDAY, JUNE 11TH, 2004-

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The skeletal human remains found south of Hwy 90 on Texaco Road Monday have been tentatively identified as a Hull woman missing since November of last year. At a press conference yesterday, Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said forensic evidence indicates that 49-year-old Martha Sheets died of blunt trauma to the head. Her body was dumped in the woods and showed signs of having also been burned. The woman’s husband, Edward Eugene Sheets, 53, is being held in the Liberty County Jail on suspicion of 1st Degree Murder.

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One of Liberty County’s most revered men has died. Death came to Charles W. Fisher, Jr. at his home in Liberty Thursday after a lingering illness. Trust Officer for 1st Liberty National Bank, he was best known as a local Historian. Charles served as a member and officer of the Liberty County Historical Commission. He was a charter member and president of the Atascosito Historical Society for over 25 years, and, as a close friend of former Texas Governor Price Daniel, had been instrumental in raising funds to finance the construction of the Sam Houston Regional Library and Research Center in Liberty. Charles Fisher was 78.

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A Chambers County jury sentenced 47-year-old Charles Ray Drewery to 60 years in prison for armed robbery yesterday in connection to a crime that went unsolved for six years. Drewery was linked to the robbery of an Old River convenience store by DNA evidence obtained from a cigar the robber left on a counter at the scene. Already imprisoned for 25 years for another conviction, Drewery will not be eligible for parole until he completes that sentence and at least 30 years of this latest term.

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The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon is Wednesday June 23rd at noon in the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. Guest speaker is historical artifact specialist Clabert Menard who had a role in the recent movie “The Alamo”. Lunch is a variety of salads prepared by Chamber directors and members for $7. Call 336-5736 for reservations.

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FUNERALS: Charles W. Fisher, Jr., 78, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty. ** Dan Earl “Sonny” Britton, Jr., of Winnie, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at 1st Baptist Church in Anahuac. **

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*Lake Release: 12,420 CFS* Liberty Bridge 17.16 ft ASL *

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 108, THURSDAY, JUNE 10TH, 2004-

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According to Dayton City Manager Robert Ewart, though no firm move in date has been set, the project to renovate the former Dayton Masonic Lodge Building into the new Dayton City Hall is almost finished. Ewart said the more-than-$600,000 project is now at what is called the “punch list” stage as the architect, contractor and city personnel identify and correct any details that may not be completed as ordered. It is expected the move into the new city hall will be late this month or early next.

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Investigation into the identity and cause of death for anunidentified body found off Hwy 90 in the Texaco Road area Monday continues. Liberty County Sheriff’s Investigators along with Liberty Police resumed processing evidence from the scene yesterday. The Sheriff’s Office reports that searching the area where the mostly skeletal remains were found is a slow process. Sheriff Greg Arthur has said foul play is suspected.

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Vendor spaces are still available for this weekend’s Trinity Valley Trade Days, at the TVE Fairgrounds in Liberty. TVE Facilities Manager James Bricker said 39 vendors were on hand for the inaugural Trade Days last month with as many as 20 more expected this month. The event is from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For more information, call the TVE Office at 936-336-7455.

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The Trinity River National Wildlife Refuge is temporarily closing the Champion Lake Unit off FM 1409 starting on Monday June 14th. Refuge Manager Stuart Marcus said work will be done to repair erosion damage and prevent future erosion to the levee system that forms the 800-acre lake. The closure is expected to last approximately 90 days.

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All State and Federal Offices will be closed tomorrow which has been declared a National Day of Mourning for former President Ronald Reagan. City and County Offices will be open. All post offices will close tomorrow in honor of Mr. Reagan.

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FUNERALS: Tommy Alvin Taylor, 69, of Daisetta, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Rosie Mae Lawrence, 85, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Miles Baptist Church in Ames. **

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*Lake Release: 12,420 CFS* Liberty Bridge 13.53 ft ASL *

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 107, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 9TH, 2004-

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The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that an unidentified body was found off Hwy 90 in the Texaco Road Area on Monday. Sheriff Greg Arthur said the body is in such an advanced state of decomposition that investigators are unable to determine if the remains are that of a male or female. Due to the body’s location, Sheriff Arthur said foul play is suspected. The body has been sent to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office for identification and to determine cause of death.

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The Dayton City Council met Monday night and agreed to proceed with application for a Texas Capital Fund –Downtown Revitalization Grant that could be a big boost to the proposed Dayton Town Square Project. City Planner Brian LaBorde said the maximum amount available is $150,000 and 10% would be the city’s share. The funds could be used to move water and sewer lines, acquire property and replace existing sidewalks or build new ones. The deadline to apply for the grant is August 6th.

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A lightning strike is believed to have started the fire that destroyed an unoccupied manufactured home on Hwy 160 in Ames yesterday afternoon. Property owner Eddie White said he had lived in the residence several years ago, but it has been empty for some time. No one was injured and firefighters from Raywood and Hull-Daisetta were able to ensure the blaze did not spread or threaten Mr. White’s current home, located nearby.

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TxDot Resident Engineer Charlotte Warner said crews are currently working to level areas of Hwy 90 in Liberty from the 146 Bypass west to the railroad tracks near the Trinity River Bridge, in preparation for resurfacing. The project is estimated to take another two weeks to finish, then a new product, “novachip” will be laid to provide better vehicle traction. Mrs. Warner said a similar project is planned for Hwy 146 in Liberty later this year or early next year.

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FUNERALS: Roscoe Lee Cooper, 80, formerly of Liberty, Services at 3 p.m. tomorrow at Pipe Creek Presbyterian Church in Pipe Creek, Texas. ** Marvin Allen Stokes, 59, of Pasadena, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac. ** Rosie Mae Lawrence, 85, of Liberty, Services pending at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. **

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*Lake Release: 8,420 CFS* Liberty Bridge 9.60 ft ASL *

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 106, TUESDAY, JUNE 8TH, 2004-

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The trial date for Lisa Beth Whitmire on charges of Criminal Solicitation of Capital Murder and Conspiracy to Commit Murder has been postponed from the initial date of June 14th. Attorneys for Mrs. Whitmire have requested a competency hearing for their client. Lisa Whitmire is accused of conspiring with her husband, Matthew Whitmire, to hire someone to kill DPS Officer Brian Nichols. Matthew Whitmire was convicted on similar charges last month and sentenced to two life terms behind bars to begin after he has served the remainder of a current sentence from a previous conviction in Harris County. Lisa Whitmire remains free on a $100,000 bond.

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After some heavyweight negotiations with officials of Spaw-Glass Construction in Houston last week, Assistant LISD Superintendent Tommy Davis says he is now confident the snag that threatened construction of the district’s new elementary school has been mostly removed. We reported that cost estimates for the new school had skyrocketed from $5.6 million to an unacceptable $6.1 million in the space of a few weeks. Early completion of the new Liberty Middle School resulted in additional rebates to the tune of $150,000, while Davis and company officials managed to chop yet another $150,000 from the price tag during the meeting. Tommy Davis said he believes the project will be back on track very soon.

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Two victims seriously injured in a fatal two-vehicle wreck over the Memorial Day Weekend in Dayton have been released from Memorial Hermann Hospital. 16-year-old Nauvar Romero and Elmo Johnson, age 18, were air lifted in critical condition to the Houston hospital along with 72-year-old Samuel Boudreaux. Romero and Johnson have since been released and Samuel Boudreaux is now listed in good condition. Antonio Abel Romero was killed in that wreck Sunday May 30th.

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The next “Trinity Valley Trade Days” is this Saturday starting at 9 a.m. and beginning Sunday at 11 a.m. at the TVE Fairgrounds in Liberty. Vendors will have everything from pets to plants on display. For more information, call the TVE at 936-336-7455.

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FUNERAL: Marvin Stokes, 59, of Pasadena, Services at 11 a.m. Thursday at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac. **

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*Lake Release: 4,420 CFS* Liberty Bridge 4.97 ft ASL *

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 105, MONDAY, JUNE 7TH, 2004-

Visitation is 6-9PM today @Pace Stancil Funeral Home-Dayton. ****************************************************

Wednesday. in Austin, new L.E.S. principal Mitzi Tull, who was an assistant principal in Baytown, gets Texas Elementary Principals Assoc. honor for states best assistant principals

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Two teens are home from St.Elizabeth Hospital-Beaumont, recovering from a bee attack in Hardin Thursday. Their lawn mower may have stirred the insect’s under a mobile home. Attacked was Jody Gray, 13, of Raywood. His 15-year-old cousin Andrew Smikal came to his rescue Jody’s father, Jesse Gray, said over 30 stingers were in his son’s face and neck, 20 were extracted from Andrew

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Almost $193,000 in scholarship awards went to members of the 2004 Hull-Daisetta High School Graduating Class. The Hull-Daisetta grad with the largest total dollar amount in awards is Crystalin Birdwell with grants from the George and Mary Josephine Hamman Foundation, the Mayhaw Festival, Class of 2004, School Employees, the DAR and St. Edward’s University. Together they totaled nearly $27,000.

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There’s still time to sign up for the Liberty County YMCA’s Summer Day Camp in Liberty, Dayton and Cleveland. The camp is weekdays 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. until the end of summer. Activities include field trips, sports, swimming, arts and crafts, hiking, character training and more. Cost for children 6 years old through the 5th grade is $75 per week, less for siblings. Sign ups are also continuing for YMCA Teen Camp and Swimming Lessons. Teen Camp is Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. For more information, call the Liberty County YMCA at 936-257-2888 or 281-659-1701.

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FUNERAL:Art Brummett, 66, Serv.@2 today-1

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 104, FRIDAY, JUNE 4TH, 2004-

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November 4th has been set as the execution date for convicted murderer Robert Brice Morrow of Liberty. Morrow was convicted of the 1996 abduction and murder of 21-year-old Lisa Allison and sentenced to die. The execution order was handed down by 253rd District Court Judge Chap Cain Wednesday for delivery to death row in Huntsville. District Attorney Mike Little requested the execution date after the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied Morrow’s latest appeal on May 11th. It is our understanding that now only the U.S. Supreme Court or the Governor of Texas can halt Robert Morrow’s execution.

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Former Chambers County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Dearl Hardy was sentenced to six months in jail and a $2500 fine yesterday. Assistant DA Dan Bradley said 344th District Judge Carroll Wilborn handed down the sentence after telling Hardy that he had tarnished the image of all those involved in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including the judge himself. The former lawman had been found guilty of perjury for making false statements in arrest reports for Vernon Coates in September of 2001. Dan Bradley said Dearl Hardy would likely be freed on a $10,000 bond pending the outcome of his appeal.

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According to information from the Hardin Volunteer Fire Department, two teenagers were transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont after being attacked by a large swarm of bees yesterday afternoon. The boys, thought to be 13 and 15,were reportedly mowing grass near a manufactured home one-half mile north of the Hwy 146/FM 834 intersection in Hardin when they became covered with bees. Hardin Volunteer Firefighters called to the scene used a stream of water to fight off the insects. The teens were stung numerous times. Their current condition was not available.

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A recent law makes it possible for those with Medicare coverage to immediately get approved prescription drug discount cards for an annual fee of not more than $30. County Extension Agent Ron Holcomb said enrolling for a card is completely voluntary and no one will contact you. For information on choosing a Medicare-approved discount card, call 800-633-4227 or log on to www.medicare.gov and click on “prescription drugs and other assistance programs”

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* LAKE RELEASE: 4,420 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.43 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 103, THURSDAY, JUNE 3RD, 2004-

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According to LISD Assistant Superintendent Tommy Davis, the price tag for the district’s new elementary school has leaped from $5.4 million last month in bid preparations to $6.1 million this month. Davis said the Grand Ave. site must be ready for builders by the end of August and, while waiting, the price of materials has climbed from $97 to $114 per square foot within a month. Tommy Davis said the district doesn’t have that much money left from the $17 million bond issue voters approved for building two new schools. The assistant superintendent said he was still optimistic the district could secure a suitable price in time. The first phase of the construction project, the new Liberty Middle School was recently completed for about $11 million.

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The 18th Annual Liberty-Dayton 500 Barbecue and Auction is set for July 13th at the Liberty VFW Post on Main St. in Liberty. The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s biggest fundraiser of the year begins with a barbecue dinner at 6 p.m. The big “500” ticket drawing will continue throughout the evening with prizes valued at over $5,000. They include a Canon digital camcorder, seven-inch portable DVD monitor, a butcher calf and processing and, the grand prize, an RCA 52” HDTV. Tickets are $20 each and only 500 will be sold. For more information, call the Chamber Office at 936-336-5736.

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According to U.S. Congressman Jim Turner, the Hull-Daisetta Volunteer Fire Department has been awarded more than $36,000 in grant funds through the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s U.S. Fire Administration. The grant funds are for use in improving the effectiveness of fire fighting operations, for firefighter health and safety efforts as well as expanding fire prevention programs.

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The first edition of the “Dayton News” saw print yesterday. Dayton’s new, weekly newspaper is published as part of the Houston Community Newspapers chain of 31 papers. Mike George, former editor of the now-defunct “Dayton Tribune” is editor for the new paper and said distribution will cover most of the Dayton ISD with plans to expand distribution in the future.

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FUNERAL: James Henthorn, 57, of Channelview, Services at 10 a.m. today at Carter Funeral Home in Houston. **

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* LAKE RELEASE: 2,420 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.96 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 102, WEDNESDAY, JUNE 2ND, 2004-

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The new Liberty-Dayton GM Auto World is now open for business on North Main Street in Liberty. Open Monday through Saturday in the former Bob Bomer GMC location, the dealership, under the ownership of NBA Hall of Fame Member Elvin Hayes and Chambers County auto dealer Mike Franklin, offers the GMC, Chevrolet, Cadillac, Pontiac and Buick vehicle lines. Victor Wright is General Sales Manager.

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At last report, two victims of last Saturday night’s fatal wreck on Hwy 90 in Dayton remain critical, while a third has improved. Information from Memorial Herman Hospital in Houston is that 16-year-old Nauvar Romero is no longer on life support, but is still listed in critical/guarded condition, as is Samuel Boudreaux, 72, of Dayton. Elmo Johnson, age 18, has been upgraded from critical to fair condition. Nauvar Romero and Elmo Johnson were passengers in one of two vehicles that collided nearly head on at the intersection of 90 and Winfree in Dayton. Samuel Boudreaux was driving the second vehicle. Killed in that wreck was 38-year-old Antonio Romero.

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The Annual Batson Oil Patch Festival continues today through Saturday in downtown Batson with a carnival, petting zoo, arts and crafts, food, historic displays, barbecue cook off, quilting contest, live music, a street dance and more. The Oil Patch Festival Parade is Saturday at 10 a.m. and this year’s theme is “The Golden Rule: Honoring Education.” All businesses, churches, organizations or individuals are invited to enter. Call 936-262-8439 for more information.

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An historic Union Pacific steam locomotive will pass through Liberty once again on Friday between 11 a.m. and noon. This “In Case You Missed It The 1st Time” Tour has brought the 61-year-old Challenger #3985 through ten states, over 4,000 miles to end in Houston on Friday for a charity event.

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FUNERALS: Rev. Eddie L. Douglas, 86, of Hardin, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Olive Bethel Baptist Church in Hardin. ** Lolita Ann Ornelas, 30, of Liberty, Graveside services at 4 p.m. today at Cooke Cemetery in Liberty. ** Lynn Komarek, 56, of Friendswood, Services at 10 a.m. today at the Jeter Memorial Funeral Home in Friendswood. **

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* LAKE RELEASE: 2,420 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.96 ft ASL*

 

-VOLUME 19 NO. 101, TUESDAY, JUNE 01ST, 2004-

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Dayton Police were called to a reported disturbance on Hwy 146 last Saturday night and chased a fleeing vehicle from that location to the intersection of Hwy 90 and South Winfree where it collided nearly head on with a second vehicle. The first driver, 38-year-old Antonio Abel Romero, was pronounced dead at the scene. J.P. Glenn Pruitt also ordered an autopsy. Two passengers in that vehicle, Nauvar Lino Romero, 16, and Elmo Johnson, age 18, were airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital, as was the driver of the second vehicle, Samuel Boudreaux, 72. Nauvar Romero is listed in critical condition and on life support at the Houston Hospital. Johnson and Boudreaux are also said to be critical, but more stable.

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According to officials at St. Elizabeth Hospital, 50-year-old Calvin Ceaser of Raywood is now listed in fair condition after being air lifted to the Beaumont Hospital suffering from injuries he sustained in a fall from a bulldozer on Sunday. Ceaser was reportedly checking the heavy machine when the operator’s foot slipped off the brake. The sudden movement caused Calvin Ceaser to fall between the ‘dozer’s blade and trac. He suffered what were thought to be hip, back and shoulder injuries.

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Thursday is National Hunger Awareness Day and Sherry Wolfe, Director of the Spirit of Sharing in Liberty said that organization received 6,000 pounds of food from the recent National Letter Carriers Food Drive, sponsored locally by the Liberty Post Office. The SOS has helped more than 8,700 people so far this year. To make food donations to the SOS, call 336-6602.

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The Annual Free Fishing Day at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is Saturday starting at 9 a.m. This is the only day of the year when Texans can fish or crab without a license and the refuge will host numerous programs including those on fly fishing, crabbing for kids, target casting, water safety and more. The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge is 18 miles southeast of Anahuac on FM 1985. For more information, call 409-267-3337.

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FUNERALS: Rev. Jimmy R. Booker, 74, of Liberty, Services held Monday. ** Wesley “C. W.” Mitchell, 75, of Ames, Services held Saturday. ** Eddie Douglas, 86, of Hardin, Services pending at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. **

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* LAKE RELEASE: 1,420 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.19ft ASL*

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