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August 2004

-VOLUME 19 NO. 163, TUESDAY AUG. 31ST 2004-

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Few details are available at the time of this report on an apparent homicide. Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said blood in a car found abandoned in Northwest Liberty County Saturday night aroused investigators suspicions. Tracking dogs from the Ft. Bend County Sheriff’s Dept. were given the blood scent and led law officers to a body in the woods off CR# 3707. Sheriff Arthur said, at this point, about the only thing Investigators can say for certain is that the victim is male.

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Beginning September 23rd, Liberty County will stop installing culverts for free to county residents. Commissioners voted 3 to 2 to approve a new policy under which the county provides labor, equipment, back fill dirt and cover material for a minimum fee of $375 for county roads. This is if there is no existing driveway. The property owner is required to furnish the culvert and deliver it to the site. At least one Commissioner said he could no longer afford to provide the service free. Commissioner Norman Brown, Pct. 4 said all fees paid would go back to the Road and Bridge Fund for the Precinct doing the work.

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Liberty County Sheriff’s Investigator Captain Todd Mauthe said there was an apparent dispute between 58-year-old Helen Levines and her husband Sunday night and the woman left their home in the Hoop N’ Holler Subdivision, walking into the nearby woods. When she did not return, her son went to look for her Monday and found her body. Captain Mauthe said there were no obvious signs of trauma but he suspects the woman ingested something that led to her death. Precinct #3 JP Phil Fitzgerald has ordered an autopsy performed.

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According to a report in the Vindicator Newspaper, budgeted expenditures for the Dayton Community Development Corporation have risen by 72.5% in the last four years, with the largest portion of that increase attributed to salaries and benefits which climbed from $57,379 in 2000 to a whopping $106,988 for 2004-2005. That is an increase of 86.5%. Records the newspaper obtained through the Public Information Act show DCDC Director Sue Priddy’s paycheck accounts for the biggest part of the salary budget. At $72,157, she is the most highly paid public official in Dayton and is paid more than most, but not all, of the public and elected officials in Liberty County.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 8,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 13.02 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 162, MONDAY AUG. 30TH 2004-

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Eight days after the first of two explosions rocked the Moss Bluff Gas Storage Facility on FM 563 the incident finally ended. At 6 a.m. this past Saturday, the half-mile evacuation zone around the site was lifted and all barricades were removed. FM 563 was reopened to traffic and all evacuees were able to return home. Duke Energy Officials said the fire burned itself out on Wednesday night and Boots and Coots Oilfield Repairs capped the gas storage cavern shortly after 9 p.m. Thursday. Those who still feel they need to file a damage or loss claim with Duke Energy can call 832-746-2047.

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The Liberty City Council will meet in special session tomorrow night and consider changes to the current city ordnance on hunting and discharging firearms in the city limits. Council is expected to address changing the ordnance to allow hunting in the city under certain guidelines. Those guidelines include prohibiting the firing of weapons in any area less than 400 yards from a residence and restricting hunting with shotguns to areas that are 50 acres or more in size. Council will also consider a resolution supporting a South Liberty County Hospital District.

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The 2004 High School Football Season kicked off Friday night for most teams. The Liberty Panthers opened their season in Silsbee against the Tigers. The final score: Silsbee 30, Liberty 18. The Hardin Hornets defeated Hull-Daisetta on the Bobcats’ home turf, 38 to 28. Barbers Hill 30 Anahuac 0. Hardin Jeff 29 Splendora 22OT. Somerville 30 Tarkington 6. Dayton opens this Friday in Willis.

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Applications are now being accepted for the 2004 TVE Miss Rodeo Pageant. The competition is for Girls age 14 to 23 from Liberty, Chambers, Polk, Hardin, Montgomery, Jefferson and San Jacinto Counties. For more information, call 936-298-2213 or 936-336-7455.

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FUNERALS: Thomas Samuel Partlow, 82,-Liberty, Services held Sunday. ** Ida Mae Stevens, 84, -Dayton, Services held Sunday. ** George E. Bradley, 33, -Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Miles Missionary Baptist Church in Ames.* Robert Rucker, 72, Dayton. Cremation services will be held at a later date-L.A. Crespo Funeral Home –Baytown.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 8,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 13.06 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 161, FRIDAY AUG. 27TH 2004-

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Duke Energy Officials report the huge fire at the Moss Bluff Gas Storage Facility burned itself out sometime during the night on Wednesday. Boots and Coots International are working to install a “control head” to cap the storage cavern. Emergency personnel continue to monitor the situation closely. FM 563 remains closed to through traffic and the half-mile radius evacuation zone remains in effect. The fire blazed for almost exactly one week.

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Yesterday afternoon a jury in Judge Chap Cain’s 253rd District Court found Michael Rogers of Cleveland guilty of Aggravated Assault in the 2001 shooting death of Timothy Lloyd Herring. Jurors were also given the option of determining the Cleveland man’s guilt on murder and manslaughter charges, but found Rogers guilty only of the lesser charge. Michael Rogers was accused of shooting and killing Timothy Herring during a drunken argument at Rogers’ home. District Attorney Mike Little said these factors were taken into consideration when negotiating a sentence of 8 years in prison for Michael Rogers.

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According to Memorial Hermann Hospital Officials, 46-year-old Curtis Robinson, Jr. is now listed in good condition. The Ames man was air lifted to the Houston Hospital in critical condition Wednesday afternoon after being discovered behind the wheel of his wrecked vehicle with a six-inch knife protruding from his chest. Liberty County Sheriff’s Sgt. Investigator Kenny Dagle said the man was depressed over a health report and stabbed himself in the chest following the car accident on Martin Drive.

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Starting on September 1st, Texas Anglers renewing their fishing license will need to select either saltwater, freshwater or both. KSHN Outdoor reporter Larry Wilburn said the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has restructured state fishing licenses and among several new types is a license good for 365 days from the date of purchase for Texas residents only.

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Five of the six Liberty County Football Teams open regular season play tonight. Liberty is in Silbees to take on the Tigers. You can listen to that game live here on All Nine Sports starting shortly before the 7:30 kick off. Hardin is at Hull-Daisetta tonight, Cleveland travels to Kirbyville and Tarkington is also on the road at Sommerville. All of those also kick off at 7:30.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 8,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 13.08 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 160, THURSDAY AUG. 26TH 2004-

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It was shortly after 5 p.m., when a one-vehicle accident was reported at the intersection of Martin Drive and Hwy 160 in Ames. Liberty County Sheriff’s Investigator Kenny Dagle said emergency personnel arrived on the scene to find 46-year-old Curtis Robinson Jr., of Ames alone in the car, with a knife protruding from his chest. The injured man reportedly pulled out the knife and ran away from the scene, collapsing in the woods not far away. Curtis Robinson was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston described as being in critical condition. Investigator Dagle said the knife wound appeared to be self-inflicted.

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State Representative Dan Ellis said, at this point, no one expects another special session on school finance reform will be called before the next regular session begins in January. Ellis said he and other legislators will be requesting the Governor Rick Perry declare the issue an emergency item next year. Lawmakers could then use the month to two-month period prior to the passing of an appropriations bill to work on finding a replacement for the so-called “Robin Hood” system of public school funding. A lawsuit brought by many Texas school district charging the “share the wealth” plan is unconstitutional is ongoing in Austin.

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Officials at Duke Energy announced yesterday that the evacuation zone around the Moss Bluff gas fire has been reduced to a one-half mile radius around the site. Those living on or north of CR# 127 in Liberty County can, if they wish, return home. Duke Public Affairs Director Francis Jeter said the Boots and Coots Co. is working to process the work site in preparation to capping the burning gas storage cavern. It could be the end of this week before repairs there are completed. .

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General admission and student tickets to this Friday’s Liberty vs. Silsbee Football game are on sale now at the LISD Administration Offices on Grand Ave. Student tickets are $2 in advance and are also available at Liberty Elementary, Middle and High School. General admission tickets are $4. KSHN Radio will broadcast the game live beginning shortly before the 7:30 p.m. kick off Friday night.

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FUNERAL: Leonard E. Graves, 81, of Hull, No services are planned. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 8,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.53 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 159, WEDNESDAY AUG. 25TH 2004-

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DPS Trooper Klint Tipton said 21-year-old Craig Allen Bourque of Baytown lost control of his motorcycle yesterday afternoon on FM 1409 about 1 ½ mile south of “Deadman’s Curve”. The cycle turned onto its side and carried the young man some 50 yards before coming to rest. Trooper Tipton said Craig Bourque was wearing a helmet. He was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with serious head and back injuries.

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Liberty County Commissioners met in special session yesterday and set September 7th at 8:30 a.m. as the time and date for a public hearing on the petition for a proposed hospital district. Following the hearing and if commissioners certify the issue, the second election to establish a hospital district would be held in conjunction with the General Election on November 2nd.

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According to Francis Jeter of Duke Energy, prep work is continuing at the site of the massive natural gas fire at the Moss Bluff Storage Facility. Plans remain to cap off the cavern once conditions allow it. For daily updates on the event, call toll free at 1-800-705-3853. That’s 800-705-DUKE.

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There’s still time to take part in the Annual Liberty County EMS Sporting Clay Shoot on Saturday at Pecan Meadow Sporting Center in Hardin. Trophies will be awarded for Best Team, Individual, Lady and Junior Shooters. Cost is $70 per person and registration is Saturday at 9 a.m. For more information, call 936-402-2000 or 936-298-3611. All proceeds benefit the Liberty County EMS and money raised this year will go toward improving the ambulance services communications equipment.

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All Nine Sports first live high school football broadcast of the year is Friday night with Liberty’s season opener in Silsbee. The Panthers and Tigers kick off at 7:30 p.m., our live broadcast starts at 7:20. The Dayton Broncos season opener is still a week away. This week, the Broncs are at home for a final scrimmage Thursday night against Beaumont Central. The Hardin Hornets’ first game of the season is Friday night at 7:30 at Bobcat Stadium against their old rivals Hull-Daisetta.

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FUNERALS: Kathryn E. Turner Hill, 42, of Dayton, Graveside services at 3 p.m. today at Magnolia Place Cemetery.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 8,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.38 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 158, TUESDAY AUG. 24TH 2004-

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Firefighters from the West Lake, Dayton, Kenefick and Mont Belvieu Volunteer Departments were called to battle a fire yesterday morning at a doublewide manufactured home on CR #4284 in the Woodway Subdivision. According to a witness, Priscilla Young was visiting a neighbor when smoke was seen billowing out of her home. Flames were shooting through the roof of the structure by the time firefighters arrived and in spite of their best efforts, it was destroyed in the blaze. County Fire Marshall Jim Wilson said an untended cigarette in a bedroom might have caused the fire.

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The Liberty City Council is considering an ordinance that would permit hunting in certain rural areas of the city. According to City Manager Allen Barnes, Council was presented with the first draft of the ordinance on August 10th, but found too many safety concerns and asked for changes. Barnes said the probable result of the ordnance would be establishing zones within the city, not unlike Liberty’s manufactured housing zones, where hunting would be allowed. Council could consider a new version of the ordnance as soon as August 31st.

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The results of a recent traffic law that adds a surcharge to the licenses of Texas drivers with serious traffic violations on their driving record will be felt soon. State Representative Dan Ellis said the law, that establishes a point system to penalize drivers convicted of multiple DWIs, moving violations or violations that cause an accident, has been in force since Sept. 1st of last year. However, since the charges, that start at $100 are affixed annually, those who have been given points this past year, will be paying for those violations after September 1st 2004.

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The situation at the Moss Bluff Gas Storage Facility remains unchanged. At last report. “Boots and Coots” International plan to build a new well head and cap off the burning storage cavern once the pressure has dropped. Evacuees who feel safer staying away or live in within a one-mile radius can call Ian McClellan at Duke Energy for assistance at 832-746-2047.

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FUNERAL: Vona Beth Sherman, 67, of Wallisville, Services will be tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Anahuac. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.38 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 157, MONDAY AUG. 21ST, 2004-

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Around 1:15 Friday morning the second of two explosions rocked the Moss Bluff Gas Storage Facility on FM 563. That prompted evacuation of three-miles from the roaring natural gas fire. The storage-dome began burning early Thursday morning, but the second blast sent flames soaring 1,000 feet plus into the air. No one was injured in either explosion. Officials of Duke Energy, who own the storage cavern at Moss Bluff, now say once the pressure has dropped in the well Boots & Coots International will build a new well head to cap the cavern. In all, roughly 75 families, over 250 people, were displaced. That evacuation area has been shrunk now to one mile but those who feel safer in staying away from home & those in the remaining one mile area of evacuation can call Ian McClellan at Duke Energy for assistance and damage claims Call (832)746-2047.

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Firefighters called to a house fire on FM 563 around 4 p.m. Friday found the manufactured home of Jacky Ford Keel filled with smoke. The resident was not home, but firefighters did find a dog hiding under a bed unhurt but an elderly cat was unconscious gasping for breath. With oxygen and TLC the pets were fine. Moss Bluff Volunteer Fire Chief John Hardin said an overloaded extension cord was believed to have caused the fire.

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Defense testimony is set to begin this week in the murder trial of 45-year-old Michael Rogers. The jury was seated last Monday in Judge Chap Cain’s 253rd District Court. Prosecutors have spent the week presenting evidence that the Cleveland man shot and killed Timothy Lloyd Herring, 36, during a dispute at the accused man’s home in 2001. If convicted, Michael Rogers faces 5 to 99 years or life in prison.

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The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon is Wednesday at noon in the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. The speaker is Channel 13 Eyewitness News Investigative Reporter Wayne Dolcefino. As the head of KTRK TV in Houston’s award-winning 13 Undercover Unit, Dolcefino has exposed millions of dollars in waste and mismanagement in Houston. Lunch is $7 a plate. For reservations, call: 336-5736.

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FUNERAL: Huey Fred “Hoss” Meshell, 72, Liberty, Services were Sunday*** Truman Earl Witherspoon 65-Anahuac now of Waco.Serv @ 10 - Monday, Sterling- Anahuac **Travis Lee Pilgreen-19, Graveside- Mon.@ 2 in Guedry Cem. –Batson.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.38 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 156, FRIDAY AUG. 20TH, 2004-

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A malfunctioning well head may be to blame for the explosion and fire at the Moss Bluff Gas Storage Facility off FM 563 around 4:15 yesterday morning. No one was injured, though the force of the explosion did hurl one worker at the facility across a room. Emergency crews and fire departments across South Liberty County converged on the area of the burning gas fire. Residents within a one-mile radius of the explosion were evacuated and those outside that immediate area were advised to shelter inside their homes. By mid-day yesterday, most of those evacuated were allowed to return. At last report, a portion of FM 563 remained close to through traffic and officials say it could be days before the fire, fed by a cavern full of approximately 6 billion cubic feet of natural gas, is out.

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U.S. Congressman Jim Turner has announced the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department will receive $225,000 in federal grant funds. The money comes through the Community Oriented Policing Services or “COPS” Program administered by the U.S. Department of Justice and is earmarked for the hiring of three new sheriff’s deputies. The “COPS” Program provides 75% of the cost of salary and benefits for each of the new officers for three years, up to a maximum of $75,000 per officer.

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First day attendance totals from South Liberty County School Districts show the biggest difference from last year is in the county’s largest school district. Dayton ISD shows 4,729 students this year. That’s 101 less than last year’s first day total of 4,830. The Liberty ISD recorded 2,287 kids in class on the first day this year, 2,231 last year; a difference of 56 students. Hardin ISD had a difference of just two students in first day attendance: 1,219 this year, 1,221 last year. Hull-Daisetta’s first day attendance totaled 611 this year, 653 last year. That’s a difference of 42 fewer students this year, than last.

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Dayton Broncos Season Football tickets will be on sale starting Monday for 1st time season ticket holders. The cost for tickets to all five 2004 season home games is $20 and they are available at the DISD Administration Offices on Cherry Creek Road.

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FUNERALS: Kenneth M. Finch, 58, of Daisetta, Services at 10 a.m. today at the Houston National Cemetery Chapel.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.17 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 155, THURSDAY AUG. 19TH, 2004-

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Testimony is scheduled to continue today in the murder trial of 45-year-old Michael Rogers of Cleveland. A jury was seated Monday in Judge Chap Cain’s 253rd District Court and at last report the prosecution is presenting evidence that Rogers shot and killed Timothy Lloyd Herring, 36, during an angry dispute at Rogers home in August 2001. According to DA Mike Little the charges against Michael Rogers- murder, manslaughter and aggravated assault do not qualify this as a death penalty case and he faces 5 to 99 years or life in prison if convicted.

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The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously Monday to support the effort to create a South Liberty County Hospital District. Voters in some areas are being asked to consider that issue again in a second election in November. The Chamber Board agreed strong leadership was needed since it was said a lot of misinformation hurt the issue when it lost by a narrow margin in May.

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Liberty School Trustees met Tuesday and unanimously adopted a tax rate of $1.7358 per $100 of assessed property value, a decrease from last year’s tax rate. In other action, school trustees agreed to sell the district property known as the West Liberty High School and changed how the $6,000 stipend paid to bilingual/ESL teachers is distributed, from a lump sum at the end of the year to a series of payments made throughout the year.

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The 4th furniture and appliance lease or rental store in South Liberty County is now open. Doors opened Monday at Aaron’s Sales and Lease at 1314 North Main St. in Liberty. Store Manager Chris Novak said Aaron’s offers a full line of famous brand electronics, appliances and furniture. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mon.- Thurs., 10 to 8 on Friday and 10 to 5 on Saturday. The Liberty Store number is not yet listed in the phone book. It is 936-334-1005.

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The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Teachers/School Employees Reception is tonight starting at 6 at the TVE Fairgrounds on FM 563 in Liberty. All South Liberty County School employees and their spouses are invited for an evening of free barbecue, entertainment and door prizes. Call 936-336-5736 for more information.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.17 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 154, WEDNESDAY AUG. 18TH, 2004-

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According to Jerry Grooms, the City of Liberty’s Economic Development Coordinator, there are currently several industrial companies looking at Liberty as a possible relocation or expansion site for the businesses. While confidentially prevents those companies names being given, Grooms said each could provide numerous good jobs and none are of what he called a “smoke stack “ type of industry with the potential for creating environmental problems. Grooms guess is that a decision from two of those companies could come in the next 6 to 9 months.

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The Dayton City Council met Monday night and authorized engaging the Dallas-based Brown and Hoffmeister Law Firm to conduct a review of records and an independent investigation of the Dayton Community Development Corporation. Mayor Larry Harris said both the State Attorney General and the State Comptroller’s Offices declined to conduct such a review. Mayor Harris has said neither he nor Council expects any wrongdoing will be uncovered by the investigation, but see it as a way to remove any doubts about the DCDC. Controversy has surrounded the organization over its apparent failure to comply with state open records requests by the Vindicator Newspaper and KSHN Radio. No word on when the review would begin.

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The Liberty Panthers host Coldspring for a scrimmage this Friday at Memorial Stadium in Liberty. Varsity play is at 7:30 p.m. The other three South Liberty County Football Teams are on the road this week. Dayton’s scrimmage in Dickinson is tomorrow night with varsity play at 7 p.m. The Hardin Hornets are in a three-way scrimmage with Joaquin and Colmsneil at Colmsniel Friday night at 6:30. Hull-Daisetta’s scrimmage is at Tomball, also Friday at 6:30 p.m.

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The Annual Liberty County EMS Sporting Clay Shoot is set for Saturday August 28th at Pecan Meadow Sporting Center in Hardin. Trophies will be awarded for Best Team, Individual, Lady and Junior Shooters. Cost is $70 per person to enter, carts are $28 and sponsorships are $200. All proceeds benefit Liberty County EMS. To register, call 936-536-3080 or 936-298-3611.

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FUNERAL: William F. Gilley, 85, of Tarkington, Services at 10:30 a.m. today at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.17 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 153, TUESDAY AUG. 17TH, 2004-

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Liberty County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Don Neyland said Patrol Deputy Tommy Koen was investigating an apparent drug overdose in the Moss Hill area Sunday night. After leaving the residence around 9 p.m., Deputy Koen’s patrol car slid in some fine gravel while negotiating a steep curve on CR #2069. The vehicle reportedly spun around, went into a ditch and struck a culvert. Deputy Koen was not injured but the car sustained serious damage to at least the rear axle and rear end.

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According to the City of Liberty’s Emergency Medical Director Dr. Steven Ellerbe recent changes to the city’s EMS are preparations for the possible closing of Liberty-Dayton Community Hospital. Should the local hospital close due to the weight of hundreds of thousands of dollars in unpaid medical bills, Dr. Ellerbe said all ambulance calls would be transferred out of town. Plans to split the city’s Fire and EMS Departments are to allow the ambulance service to respond to medical calls without diminishing the city’s fire protection. We have reported a second effort is now underway to convince voters to approve the creation of a hospital district to help insure Liberty-Dayton Community Hospital is able to remain open.

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During a preliminary vote on the city’s new tax rate last week, the Liberty City Council pledged support to a proposed rate of slightly less than 53 cents per $100 of a property value. City Manager Allen Barnes said that proposed tax rate would match the effective rate. The effective rate is what the city would have to assess in order to generate the same amount of revenue as the current tax rate. A formal vote on the city’s new tax rate and budget is expected on September 14th.

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The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce will host the Annual Teachers/School Employees Reception on Thursday at 6 p.m. at the TVE Fairgrounds. Chamber President Mary Anne Campbell said school employees from districts all over South Liberty County and their spouses are invited for an evening of free barbecue, entertainment and door prizes. For more information or to donate a door prize for the event, call 936-336-5736.

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FUNERALS: Edgar Hubert, Sr., 55, of Dayton, Services at 11 a.m. today Mount Olive Baptist Church in Dayton. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.17 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 152, MONDAY AUG. 16TH, 2004-

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The Dayton Broncos football team entertained West Orange Stark in preseason scrimmage action Saturday night. According to Bronco Head Coach Jerry Stewart they had a great test at most positions. The Broncos outscored their top ranked Class 3A guests and handled the opposition very well in nearly every phase of the game. Look for the Broncos to go with no-huddle on offense or defense this year and Jerry Stewart said his charges are outstanding at the concept of taking signals from the sideline. Some four or five starters either hurt or sick saw no action so he expects his locals to only get better.

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Today is the first day of school for most Liberty Co. Districts, Hull-Daisetta begins week #2.Liberty Police Chief Bill Griffin reminds motorists the Liberty Elementary, Middle and High School speed limit is now 20 mph. In Dayton always be careful especially now while getting accustomed to the new school year and specifically near the new Brown Elementary on FM 1409.

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Sometime ago he resigned as Anahuac Mayor, now Bruce Corner is out as volunteer fire chief as of July 27th. Fire Department Secretary/Treasurer Sally Stanley said Anahuac volunteers ousted their leader because of attitude and problems at wreck scenes. We reported earlier a Chambers Co.Sheriff’s Deputy had charged Bruce Corner with misdemeanor interference at a wreck scene. Assistant VFD Chief Willis Cormier replaces Corner as Fire Chief. Corner is also out as head of Emergency Services in Anahuac for the same reasons.

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The National Night Out Against Crime in Dayton is tomorrow 7 to 9 p.m. Dayton residents are encouraged to come out, meet their neighbors and talk with Dayton Police and Volunteer Fire Department Personnel, as well as Liberty County Sheriff’s Deputies in a crime prevention effort. For more on hosting neighborhood meetings, call the Dayton Chamber 257-2393.

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Dayton, services 10 AM Tues. @ Sterling-Dayton

*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.20 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 151, FRIDAY AUG. 13TH, 2004-

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The Texas Department of Health is reporting the first confirmed case of West Nile Virus in a human in Liberty County. According to County Health Authority Dr. Steven Ellerbe, few details are available at this time. A woman has been treated at the Cleveland Regional Medical Center, diagnosed with the mosquito-borne illness. Dr. Ellerbe said the precautions against West Nile are the same: avoid contact with mosquitoes, especially at dawn and dusk, drain any standing water where mosquitoes may breed, wear long sleeves and pants when outdoors, and use mosquito repellent containing “deet”. Health Officials have determined that less than 1% of those people exposed to the West Nile Virus are at any health risk.

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Edward Eugene Sheets, 47, has been returned to the custody of the TDCJ to await a trail date on charges he murdered his wife, Martha, in November 2003. Sheets was in state custody for a parole violation when the skeletal human remains discovered off Hwy 90 on Texaco Rd. in June were identified as his wife, who had been missing for more than 6 months. Forensic evidence indicated the Hull woman died from blunt trauma to the head and her body was dumped in the woods. A Liberty County Grand Jury indicted Sheets for Murder on June 23rd.

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The deadline for entries in the Home Economics Division of the Trinity Valley Exposition is September 10th. Entries accepted include cookies, cakes, candies, breads, pies, crafts and clothing, art and photography and horticulture. Plants entered in the Horticulture Division must have been under the entrant’s care for a minimum of six months prior to entry. For more information, call the TVE Office at 936-336-7455.

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The Liberty Panthers and the Dayton Broncos take the field for the first time this season tomorrow. The Panthers are at Santa Fe to scrimmage the Indians. Varsity plays at 10 a.m. The Dayton varsity team is at home in Bronco Stadium tomorrow night to scrimmage West Orange Stark at 7 p.m.

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FUNERALS: Dovie B. Norcross, 89, of Dayton, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at 1st United Methodist Church in Dayton. ** Joseph Daniel Turner, 49, of Houston, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.17 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 150, THURSDAY AUG. 12TH, 2004-

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Hull-Daisetta School Superintendent Lynn Cummins said repairs have been completed to potentially dangerous gas lines at the district’s campuses. It was during a routine inspection in mid-June that the broken and leaking gas lines were discovered. Repairs are expected to cost in excess of $25,000, but all are now certified and safe. Cummins said the inspector who performed the inspection told him that the deterioration to the lines could not have occurred in just the two years since the last inspection. Daisetta Police are investigating the possibility that false gas line inspection reports may have been filed.

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Tuesday afternoon, 40-year-old Martin Rivera pled “nolo contendre” or “no contest” to murdering his estranged wife, Maria Hernandez at her home on Kay Street in Liberty in October 2003. District Attorney Mike Little said a jury had been seated in Judge C. T. “Rusty” Hight’s 75th District Court and the prosecution had already begun presenting evidence when Rivera decided to change his not guilty plea, to what is, essentially a plea of guilty. Rivera is scheduled to go before Judge Hight for sentencing on Friday. He faces 5 to 99 years or life in prison.

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The Liberty City Council met Tuesday night and awarded a $149,200 contract to Splashspot of Waco for construction of a modern spray/play park, geared towards area youngsters. City Manager Allen Barnes said the company has considerable experience with such parks. The new Water Park will be built in the City Park. Completion is expected in approximately 10 weeks and it could be open as early as October.

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The National Night Out Against Crime in Dayton is Tuesday August 17th from 7 to 9 p.m. The purpose of the event is to involve the community with local law officers in helping to increase awareness and prevention of crime. For more information on families who are hosting neighborhood meetings, call the Dayton Chamber at 936-257-2393.

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FUNERALS: Vallie Virginia McDonald, 65, of Liberty, Graveside services at 2 p.m. today at the Fairlawn Cemetery in Liberty. ** Tabitha Mayes Chambliss, 87, of Anahuac, Services were yesterday. ** Pearl Fay Wilson, 83, of Anahuac, Services at 3 p.m. today at 1st Baptist Church of Anahuac. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.15 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 149, WEDNESDAY AUG. 11TH, 2004-

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DPS Trooper Randy Peck said Marshall Bradley Riddle of Dayton was attempting a U-turn on FM 1409 south of Hwy 90 yesterday morning when a 18-wheeler hit his car. The impact spun his vehicle in the roadway and Riddle was air lifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with injuries described as “serious”. The tractor trailer rig’s driver, Francisco Rivera of Houston, was not injured. Traffic was shut down for about and hour and a half. Trooper Peck said Marshall Riddle would be cited for making an improper turn.

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Yesterday, supporters of creating a South Liberty County Hospital District presented County Commissioners with a second petition requesting an election on the proposal be called, this time on November 2nd. Liberty Attorney Ed Pickett is one of those supporters and he said this second effort to convince voters to establish a 9-cent tax to save local hospital care redefines the area that will benefit. While those within the entire Liberty, Hull-Daisetta and Devers school districts would be affected, this proposal removes the area north of Moss Hill in the Hardin ISD and those portions of the Dayton ISD outside the Dayton city limits. The issue failed the first time by a narrow margin in May.

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Liberty County Commissioners voted yesterday to terminate years-long policy that allows the Liberty County Attorney to maintain a private law practice while in office. Precinct #2 Commissioner Lee Groce said the county has grown past the point where the County Attorney’s attention can be divided in that way. Commissioners agreed a salary adjustment should be made to compensate the County Attorney for any lost income.

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The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce will host the Annual Teachers/School Employees Reception on Thursday August 19th at 6 p.m. at the TVE Fairgrounds. Chamber President Mary Ann Campbell said school employees from all over South Liberty County are invited. For more information, call the Chamber at 936-336-5736.

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FUNERALS: Elizabeth Ford, 92, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. Friday at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. ** Juana Faye Lowe, 68, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.10 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 148, TUESDAY AUG. 10TH, 2004-

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Local retailers report another big boost in sales over the three-day Sales Tax Holiday just passed. Susan Williams, Assistant Manager of Liberty’s Palais Royal said this could be the biggest tax free weekend yet for them, since lots of customers preferred shopping here in Liberty to heading out to the overcrowded malls. Liberty Wal-Mart Store Manager Bob Diaz said his store also saw a large increase in sales over the weekend. Perhaps, even more impressive, Mr. Diaz said the shoppers here in Liberty seemed more informed about how the tax holiday works than in other Wal-Mart stores whose managers he’s talked to.

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The Dayton City Offices are now open in the new City Hall building, right across the street from the old one. City Manager Robert Ewart said this past weekend’s move went well and all of the city’s computer systems are up and running in the new offices without a hitch. Ewart said with the exception of some lower priority paperwork, most everything needed for day-to-day operations has been unpacked and put away. There is no timetable set at this time for plans to expand Dayton Police Department operations into the rest of the old City Hall.

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With classes beginning again in Liberty County School Districts

County Extension Agent Barbara Evans reminds parents this period can be tough on kids going to school for the first time as well as those making the transition to middle or high school. For information on preparing children for these transitions, visit the Parent Teachers Association Web Site at www.pta.org.

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The Trinity Valley Trade Days returns to the TVE Fairgrounds this weekend from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. Co-sponsored by the TVE and the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, the event has continued to grow since it debuted back in May. TVE Facilities Manager James Bricker said there are still more new vendors expected and since the live musical entertainment and 42 tournament were big hits last month, they’ll be back this weekend, too. There are plenty of vendor’s spaces are still available. Call the TVE Office at 936-336-7455 for more information.

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FUNERAL: James M. Mills, 91, of Double Bayou, Graveside Services at 4 p.m. today at the Anahuac Cemetery. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.00 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 147, MONDAY AUG. 9TH, 2004-

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Word from a family member is that two small children burned in a Friday car fire in Hull are improved and will be all right. County Sheriff’s Deputy Tommy Cole said Victoria Ard stopped at a friend’s house on FM 834 across from H-D Elementary School Friday morning. She left the truck running with her two small children inside and walked the short distance to the door. When the friend opened the door, both women saw Ms. Ard’s truck was on fire. The two children were pulled from the burning vehicle. Three-year-old Haley Ard and her even younger brother, William, age 2, were air lifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with second-degree burns.

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Back on July 20th, an arrest warrant was issued for former City of Liberty Police Officer and later a Sheriff’s investigator James “Jimbo” Brown. Theft charges have been leveled against the once highly regarded lawman. Liberty Co. Chief Deputy Don Neyland said allegations came after items stolen during burglaries in Liberty County were recovered at a pawnshop in Mont Belvieu. Records reportedly show “Jimbo” Brown pawned the stolen goods. The investigation could not put him inside the burglarized home. The 44-year-old Brown was released on his own recognizance the same day of his arrest. He resigned from the S.O 2 years ago with disciplinary action.

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Jury selection in the murder trial of 40-year-old Martin Rivera of Liberty begins today in 75th District Courtroom. Rivera is charged with the stabbing death of his wife, Maria Hernandez, 32, at her home on Kay Street. in Liberty on October 19th, 2003.. Prosecutors are not seeking the death penalty in this case.

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John Forney-42, was an executive for disgraced corporate giant Enron, has now pled guilty to wire fraud charges in California.

Prosecutors say Forney, a 1980 Liberty grad who played sports and sang in the choir here, designed illegal trading strategies for Enron. No date yet for sentencing. His parents still live here.

The Liberty County Health Coalition wants to establish a long-term program to increase cancer awareness in the county. If you would like to help, call Dr. Kellie Buchanan at 409-736-3699.

Funerals: Betty Coker, 62 of Liberty. Graveside services were held yesterday. ** Ima Ruth Cranford, 87 of Liberty. Services today at 11 am at Sterling Funeral Home Chapel in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 12.0 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 146, FRIDAY AUG. 6TH, 2004-

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Texas Ranger Frank Huff said the search for three robbery suspects in Harris County ended in the woods off Hwy 90 in Liberty County yesterday morning. Information indicates the men used heavy equipment to break loose an ATM machine from Crosby State Bank around 4 a.m. Sheriff’s Deputy Ronnie Alexander spotted the suspects truck and pulled it over on Hwy 90 between the roadside park and FM 1413. 55-year-old Donald Pifer Sr. of Pt. Neches was arrested on the spot, but the other two- Charles Scott Cody, 32, of Bridge City and Pifer’s 30-year-old son, Donald Jr., also of Pt. Neches ran into the woods. For the next several hours, officers of numerous law enforcement agencies combed the woods with the help of TDCJ tracking dogs until the two remaining suspects were found.

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The trial of 40-year-old Martin Rivera for the brutal murder of his wife in October 2003 begins Monday in Judge C. T. “Rusty” Hight’s 75th District Court. Rivera is accused of breaking into the home, Maria Hernandez, 32, shared with a female friend on Kay Street in Liberty and attacking her with a large knife. After killing his wife, Rivera alleged held the other woman captive until he fell asleep and she was able to summon police.

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Precinct #4 Liberty County Commissioner Norman Brown said work to renovate the old 1st National Bank of Dayton building on FM 1960 in to a new county annex is on hold, until insurance claims over recent water damage from a broken water pipe are settled. Commissioner Brown said a lack of extra money in the upcoming fiscal budget wouldn’t keep the new annex from opening as soon as the renovation is done, since some services can be offered there without additional personnel or cost.

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The Dayton City Offices are closed today, while the move in to the new city hall building, just across the street is underway. City Manager Robert Ewart said the plan is to close today and re-open Monday in the new city offices. Phone lines are open.

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The Annual Sales Tax Holiday began at 12:01 this morning. Between now and Midnight Sunday, no state or local sales tax will be charged on most clothing and footwear priced under $100 each. Lists of those items that are tax exempt are available at KSHN Radio, 2099 Sam Houston in Liberty or at kshn.com.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,570 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.93 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 145, THURSDAY AUG. 5TH, 2004-

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DPS Sgt. Ryan Arthur said no one was injured when a small private plane crash-landed in a field near the Wackenhut Prison Unit inside the Cleveland City Limits yesterday afternoon. The pilot, Daniel Box, told officials he had become ill en route to Lufkin from Tomball and was forced to set the plane down. The young man walked way from the crash unhurt.

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According to State Representative Dan Ellis, worries that privatizing the Health Insurance Program for Texas teachers would increase costs have come true. Aetna Insurance, the company administering the program, is, according to Ellis, now charging educators an additional fee just for being insured. The Democrat from Livingston said he had never heard of such a practice and the state’s educators have a right to be concerned.

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Store Manager Bob Diaz said the Liberty Wal-Mart will be open 24 hours daily beginning on August 28th. Diaz said the Liberty location is a division one store and a corporate decision was made that all stores of that size remain open 24-7. Diaz said it would also get customers used to 24-hour service since construction of the Liberty Wal-Mart Super Center is set for March 2005 and it too would be open around the clock.

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The deadline for those who received an extension of the time in which to file their federal income tax returns is Midnight on Monday August 16th. Returns must be filed before that time in order to avoid possible penalties. The IRS can answer any questions at 1-800-829-1040. That’s 1-800-TAX-TEN FORTY.

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Yesterday’s Shine All Nine Radiogram contained an error. The correct date for the grand opening of the new Liberty Middle School is Thursday August 12th at 6 p.m.

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FUNERALS: Leroy C. Baldwin, 49, formerly of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. today at Trinity Valley Baptist Church in Liberty. ** Mary Etta Moreland, 73, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. Saturday at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Henry Doyle Lowery, 78, of Hardin, Graveside services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Jonesville Cemetery in Huntington. ** Norma Jean Fox, 58, of Daisetta, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,570 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.93 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 144, WEDNESDAY AUG. 4TH, 2004-

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Monday night, the Dayton City Council agreed to move ahead with the annexation of property on the south side of FM 1960. The proposal seeks to annex the property in two tracts, each at least 1,000 feet wide. Councilman John Simmons said the first tract would begin at Klemp Road and extend west almost to the Dayton Electric Co. property. The other would pick up where that tract left off and extend westward to line up with a previous annexation on the north side of FM 1960 that was completed in 2002. Simmons said this annexation would bring the Dayton City Limits to within roughly a quarter-mile from the City of Houston’s extra-territorial jurisdiction.

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It’s getting close to “back-to-school time” for Liberty County kids. School starts in both the Liberty and Dayton School Districts on August 16th, as it does in the Hardin, Cleveland and Tarkington School Districts. The Hull-Daisetta ISD begins classes a week earlier, next Monday August 9th.

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There’s still time to be a part of the 15th Annual Burnham Classic Golf Tournament this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Magnolia Ridge Country Club in Liberty. Organizer Bruce Burnham said there are still some player’s spots left as well as sponsorships. Hole sponsorships are $200 each and individual sponsorships are $80 each. All proceeds benefit those in Liberty County with special needs through Tri-County MHMR. For more information call Bruce Burnham at 936-336-2215 or Magnolia Ridge Country Club at 336-3551.

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The grand opening of the new Liberty Middle School on Jefferson Drive is Friday with a Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting at 6 p.m. After a brief ceremony, the public can tour the new campus for the first time.

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The Liberty Elks Lodge will host a concert and dance with the popular Johnny Dee and the Rocket 88’s on Saturday. Doors open a 7 p.m. and tickets are $20 each. All proceeds from the event benefit special needs children. The Liberty Elks Lodge is on FM 563, 2 miles south of Hwy 90.

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FUNERAL: George McCardell, 93, of Dayton, Services pending at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,570 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.14 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 143, TUESDAY AUG. 3RD, 2004-

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According to information from three different sources, apparent suggestions that payments made by Liberty County Tax Assessor/Collector Mark McClelland to tax collection expert John Archer, a Liberty attorney for delinquent tax collection may be illegal, are wrong. We have reported that Archer has contracted with the Austin-based McCreary, Veselka, Bragg and Allen firm to collect local county taxes, but Archer is not paid in advance as has apparently been suggested. That would be illegal, but it is not the case. John Archer is paid out of the attorney’s fees affixed to delinquent tax money plus interest and only after the amount billed to taxpayers has been collected.

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The Liberty City Council will meet in workshop session, prior to tonight’s special called meeting, with representatives of the BRW Architectural Firm about plans for a new Liberty City Hall. There has been a lot of talk among council members in the past about this issues, but City Manager Allen Barnes said in his opinion, that council’s predominate feeling is that several city buildings are getting old and require renovation or replacement. Council will also discuss building a new animal shelter.

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The Annual Sales Tax Holiday begins 12:01 a.m. Friday and continues through Midnight Sunday. During that period, most clothing and footwear priced under $100 each will be exempt from state and local taxes. For a complete list of those items that are and are not tax free, visit kshn.com or stop the KSHN Radio Studios at 2099 Sam Houston in Liberty. You can also call with any questions toll free at 800-252-5555.

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New student registration at Liberty Elementary School, grades 2 - 5 is today through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Parents will need the child’s birth certificate, social security card, shot record, report cards and TAKS results, as well as proof of residency in the LISD. Meanwhile, Pre-K and Kindergarten registration for new students is today and tomorrow at San Jacinto Elementary from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Parents registering children at San Jacinto should bring the above information as well as their Texas Drivers License.

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FUNERAL: Leroy C. Baldwin, 50, of Sacramento, CA, Services pending at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 7,510 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.02 ft ASL*

-VOLUME 19 NO. 142, MONDAY AUG. 2ND, 2004-

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Liberty County Sheriff’s Investigator Sgt. Chip Fairchild and Children’s Protective Services are trying to determine what lead to a father of three being stabbed in the back by one of his children. Sgt. Fairchild said the physical dispute last Thursday night was not the first disturbance reported at the family’s home on CR# 67653 in the West Woodland Hills Subdivision near Dayton. Sgt. Fairchild said the man’s wound was serious and he was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston but is now reported to be in stable condition. No charges have been filed so far as officials are still taking statements from the children, ages 14, 12 and 9 and other family members.

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Officials from Entergy-Texas Power Company are asking customers, west of the Trinity River, to conserve electricity, especially from 2 pm – 8 pm. This is due to the high demand and the unplanned outage of a power generating unit in the Willis area. This issue should be resolved by Tuesday.

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The Dayton Historical Society’s Annual Radio Auction is Thursday night from 6 to 9 here on KSHN Radio. All proceeds benefit the ongoing project to restore Dayton’s “Old School Building” on Houston Street. Call 936-258-3339 to donate an item for the auction.

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The Liberty City Council will meet in a special called session tomorrow night at 7 to discuss replacing two key figures that died recently. Municipal Judge William E. “Sonny” Loftin was killed in a wreck in San Antonio a few weeks back. Port of Liberty Commissioner Ernie Zieschang died a few months ago. City Manager Allen Barnes wants council to direct him on the process for selecting replacements.

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The Annual National Night Out Against Crime in Dayton has been postponed until Tuesday August 17th this year due to scheduling conflicts. For more information on the event, call the Dayton Chamber of Commerce Office at 936- 257-2393.

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FUNERALS: Edwin L. Beene, 75, of Dayton, Services at 2 p.m. today at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Morlent White, 84, of Dayton, Services at 11 a.m. today at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church of Dayton. **

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,870 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.05 ft ASL*

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