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February 2003


-VOLUME 18 NO. 31, FRIDAY, FEB. 14, 2003-

Officials at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston report the condition of 15-year-old Curtis Robinson has been upgraded from critical to serious. The Dayton youth was injured in a four-vehicle wreck on Hwy 90 in Liberty Wednesday and airlifted to the Houston hospital with a severe head injury. Latest information is that the teen also suffered a serious leg injury and was expected to undergo surgery yesterday.

The Liberty County Jury continues to review evidence in the alleged abuse of office case of Liberty County Treasurer Janet Harrelson, though no decision on criminal charges has yet been reached. Removed from office with pay by a civil action, Ms. Harrelson has been accused of using her office to gain preferential treatment for her son, a convicted felon. The treasurer is reported to have been in the courthouse hallway during grand jury sessions on two occasions, but for what reason is not known, since she has not been called on for testimony.

The Liberty City Council approved the list of locations to be targeted for the city’s 2003 Street Improvement Program at Tuesday night’s meeting. The program, begun five years ago by then City Manager Norman Dykes, aggressively reworks Liberty streets, with the aim of renovating each one every seven years. Public Works Director Harvey Joiner said this year’s goal totals 16,563 feet with work ranging from full construction to a simple resurfacing depending on the street.

Men of all faiths are invited to be a part of the 77th Annual Men’s Brotherhood Banquet at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty. The event begins at 7 p.m. this coming Thursday and this year’s featured speaker is Ray F. Martins, past president of Concordia Lutheran College in Austin. Tickets are $7 each and available from any member of the 1st Methodist Church Men’s Bible Class or from the church office on Main at Cos in Liberty.

The Liberty County Courthouse and all city offices in Liberty will be closed Monday for the Presidents Day Holiday. However, all municipal offices in Dayton will be open for their regular hours. Garbage service will run as scheduled in both Liberty and Dayton. All banks and post offices will also be closed for Presidents Day.


-VOLUME 18 NO. 30, THURSDAY, FEB. 13, 2003-

Liberty Police Officer Cedric McDuffie said it was around 4 p.m. yesterday when 59-year-old Julie Wakefield Robinson of Dayton turned off Hwy 90 in Liberty and into the path of Jerry Griffin, 62, of Liberty. Two other vehicles, driven by Shelia Smith and Trisha Gonzales, were unable to avoid piling up in the collision. In all five people were injured in the four vehicle wreck. Curtis Robinson, 15, of Dayton was the most seriously hurt and was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with what was described as a head injury. At last report, the Dayton teen was listed in critical condition.

Monday February 17th is the first day to file to run in local city council and school board races and only one of the filing locations in Liberty and Dayton will be closed for the Presidents Day Holiday. The Dayton City Offices, the Dayton ISD Business Office and the Liberty ISD Business Offices will all be open Monday. Only the Liberty City Offices will be closed. Candidates can file for three at-large positions on the Liberty City Council starting on Tuesday. Election Day is May 3rd.

The Liberty City Council voted Tuesday night to annex property to expand the city limits to the north and south with some exceptions to those tracts originally proposed. The Ames City Council declined to grant Liberty permission to annex tracts within Ames’ extra-territorial jurisdiction where Magnolia Ridge Country Club and the Country Club Estates sit. Two residences located in the far northwestern edge of the new Raven Hill Subdivision on FM 1011 were also exempt from annexation due to the prohibitive cost of providing city services there.

DPS Trooper Wesley Doolittle said Elisa Mendez of Hardin was northbound on Hwy 146 in Hardin yesterday afternoon when she struck a vehicle driven by 17-year-old Sherita Tanton of Rye that that pulled out in front of her from CR #2003. Liberty County EMS took Elisa Mendez to Liberty-Dayton Community Hospital with injuries that were not thought to be serious. Sheri Tanton went to the hospital by private vehicle.

2/13 FUNERAL: George Washington Stansbury, 95, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Liberty.


-VOLUME 18 NO. 29, WEDNESDAY, FEB. 12, 2003-

Dayton businessman and Liberty resident R.O. "Dick" Busby was honored by the Three Rivers Council of the Boy Scouts of America with the prestigious "Silver Beaver" Award given to those who have done the most to contribute to the betterment of scouting specifically and to the community overall. An executive board member for Boy Scouts since 1988, Mr. Busby currently serves on Three Rivers Council Advisory Board. The award was presented at a banquet in Beaumont last night.

Liberty Police report a commercial dump truck driven by Charles Delahoussaye, 37, of Liberty rammed the back of a mini-van driven by Phyllis Swiff, also 37, on Hwy 90 at the Hwy 146 Bypass in Liberty shortly after noon yesterday. The impact forced the mini-van into a third vehicle, driven by Ernestine Freeman, 67. Both women were taken to Liberty-Dayton Community Hospital with possible back injuries.

The Dayton City Council met in workshop session Monday night with PDG Architects of Houston to look over proposed plans for the city hall expansion project. Council was presented with 5 different proposed floor layouts for the old Masonic Lodge Building, agreeing on one. Council also requested cost estimates on the plan to renovate both floors of the building as well as an optional plan to finish only the first floor.

The Liberty Girls Basketball Team will advance to the Area round of the Class 3-A Playoffs after a 59 to 51 win over the Hampshire Fannett Lady Longhorns Monday night. Lady Panthers Coach Greg Box said his leading scorer was Catherine Welps with 20 points, while Terrica LaFour’s 11 rebounds may well have been the deciding factor in Liberty’s victory. Liberty’s next opponent is the Smithville Lady Tigers at 7:30 Friday night at Cy-Ridge High School in Houston.


  • Elma Loree Sory McCalla Clayton, 83, of Anahuac, Services at 10 a.m. Friday at 1st United Methodist Church in Anahuac.

  • Julia Ann Pearles Garcia, 52, of Crosby, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Crosby.

  • John E. Leonard Alam, 64, of Crosby, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.


-VOLUME 18 NO. 27, MONDAY, FEB. 10, 2003-

DPS Trooper Nathan Pierce said it was just after midnight Sunday when 22-year-old Philip Hinklin of Batson crossed the center line into oncoming traffic on FM 770 between Raywood and Daisetta, colliding head on with a vehicle driven by Melissa Preston, 29, of Batson. Mr. Hinklin was pronounced dead at the accident scene. Ms. Preston was taken by Med-Link air ambulance to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont, with multiple leg fractures. Two passengers in her vehicle, Charle Daniel, also of Batson and Curtis Lawrence of Saratoga were airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, now in good condition.

According to Dayton ISD Assistant Superintendent Jack Caraway, a roughly $45 million discrepancy between state and county property value appraisals could mean the loss of hundreds of thousands of dollars in state funding for the district. Mr. Caraway explained the huge difference between values assessed to district property by the Liberty County Central Appraisal District and the Texas Comptroller’s Office will mean a cut in Texas Education Agency Funding of about $800,000 or 3% of the district’s total budget. Mr. Caraway said the district has hired attorneys to appeal the state’s findings.

The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce honored this year’s recipients of the Citizen of the Year Awards at Thursday night’s Awards Banquet. The Dayton honoree is Doug Hanel, who spends every December playing Santa’s helper in South Liberty County. The Liberty honoree is Bruce Burnham, owner of BJ Ford, for generous donations to many community projects.

The block of hotel rooms originally reserved for those staying overnight on the 23rd for Liberty County Day in Austin on Feb. 24th is sold out, but more rooms at a nearby hotel are available for the same special $80 rate. To make reservations, call Liberty County Judge Lloyd Kirkham’s Office at 936-336-4665.


  • Philip Brandon Hinklin, 22, of Batson, Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at 1st Baptist Church in Saratoga.

  • Alejandro Condado Corro, 59, of Liberty, Graveside services at 2 p.m. today at the Liberty Catholic Cemetery.

  • Eugene E. Shauberger, Jr., of Dayton, Services at 10 a.m. Saturday Feb. 15th at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.


-VOLUME 18 NO. 25, THURSDAY, FEB. 06, 2003-


With the State Attorney General’s Office beginning an investigation into alleged voting irregularities in last November’s race for Liberty County Judge, County Republican Party Chair Richard Pegues is inviting those who may have factual knowledge of such irregularities to come forward with the information. We reported that local and state GOP officials had turned over information from several voters involving, in some cases, accusations of fraudulent voting to state authorities to be investigated. According to Liberty County Clerk Delia Sellers, her office has received no such complaints about irregularities in the voting process other than those made by members of the County Republican Party.


The Dayton City Council approved an amended tax abatement policy to include a motel or hotel Monday night. The new policy allows council to offer a motel 100% ad valorem tax abatement during the construction year, 80% abatement in the first year after construction and 60% during the second year. The amount would then drop to 40 then 20 per cent in succeeding years. As reported, a company is attempting to put together financing to locate a Best Western Motel in Dayton.


The City of Liberty has cancelled the citywide power outage planned for this Saturday. With the possibility of bad weather looming, city officials have decided to reschedule repairs to the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency substation for a later date. There is no longer a power outage planned for Saturday.


The Dayton Lady Broncos Basketball Team finished their regular season winning 66 to 38 over Galena Park Tuesday. The Dayton Girls finished in 2nd place in District 21-4A with a 7 and 3 record. The Lady Broncos open post-season play against Furr High School at Barbers Hill next Tuesday night.


Liberty County native “Governor” Bill Daniel is among 24 inductees into the Texas Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame on Saturday morning at the Expo Center in Belton, Texas. Daniel has been a cowboy, rancher, rodeo and wild, west showman for most of his 87 years, as well as remaining active as an attorney. Gates open at 8:45 a.m. and the ceremony begins at 10 with a barbecue lunch to follow for $7 a plate.



-VOLUME 18 NO. 24, WEDNESDAY, FEB. 05, 2003-


Liberty County Judge Lloyd Kirkham has designated this coming Saturday February 8th as a countywide day of mourning for the seven Columbia Space Shuttle astronauts killed in this past weekend’s shuttle disaster. A memorial ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. under the big flag at Martin Luther King Drive and Hwy 90 in Liberty. Several local ministers will be participating and a memorial registry provided by Allison Funeral Service will be on hand for those attending to sign.


The Dayton City Council met Monday night and heard from Financial Advisor Mark McLiney on the sale of the certificates of obligation bonds that will finance major water and sewer improvements to the CMC Rail Yard. McLiney said the $2.5 million in bonds sold at a 3.16 per cent interest rate, a much better rate than the predicted 3.5 per cent. The city will have 10 years to pay off the bonds with annual payments of $294,000, though they do have the option to recall the bonds after 5 years.


Dayton Mayor Larry Harris has announced he will seek his 7th term in office in May. Two Dayton Council members also have expiring terms. Heywood ”Frosty” Pruitt said he too would be running again, while Herb Brown said he is still undecided. The candidate filing period for the May 3rd City Council and School Board Elections starts on Monday February 17th or on Tuesday the 18th where offices are closed for the Presidents Day Holiday.


Voters in the City of Mont Belvieu went to the polls last Saturday and, for the second time, voted down a $24 million bond issue that would have provided for major water and sewer improvements in that city. The bond issue was defeated by a margin of 277 to 225 with 502 total votes counted. In a similar election called in September of last year voters rejected the same proposal by a smaller margin: 104 to 98.


The Liberty County American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is set for April 4th and 5th at Memorial Stadium in Liberty, and for the first time, a separate event is also scheduled in Cleveland this year. The new Cleveland Area Relay for Life will be March 28th and 29th at Cleveland’s Indian Stadium. There will be a kick off rally for this event at Austin Memorial Library in Cleveland tomorrow at 7 p.m. Those interested in participating are invited.



-VOLUME 18 NO. 23, TUESDAY, FEB. 04, 2003-


DPS Trooper Stephen Hebert said 17-year-old Jordan Bret Pierce was alone in a late model Suburban just before 2 a.m. Sunday when he apparently fell asleep at the wheel. The Dayton High School sophomore crossed the northbound lane of Hwy 321, went into a ditch, hit a culvert and was then catapulted into a tree. Jordan Pierce was pronounced dead shortly after the accident by Justice of the Peace #4 Glenn Pruitt. This is incident marks the fourth death of a Dayton teenager of various causes in a period of about 5 months.


In the wake of Saturday morning’s space shuttle “Columbia” disaster, Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur and County Judge Lloyd Kirkham were among those offering assistance to Sabine County Police agencies. Sheriff Arthur has sent four Liberty County deputies and eight DPS Troopers have also been called to temporary duty in the collection and safeguarding of space shuttle debris by order of the U.S. Department of Defense.


Liberty School Trustees met Monday to map out a plan for selecting a new school superintendent to replace the retiring Dr. Douglas Moore. Of the 41 applicants, school trustees reduced the field to 6 finalists who will be interviewed through this coming Thursday when it is expected that number will be further decreased to 3 prospects. Those final three will be invited back next week with a single finalist to be named soon after. However, state law requires that person cannot be hired until after a 21-day waiting period.


The City of Liberty is planning a city wide power outage this Saturday from 1 a.m. to 4 am. The electricity will be turned off in the entire city so that a contractor for the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency can make necessary repairs to a substation switch. If all goes as planned, the power should only be off for about three hours.


FUNERALS: Bobbie Reavis, 68, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Heights Baptist Church in Liberty. ** Mary Bernadine Pickett, 91, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. today at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Liberty. ** Jordan Bret Pierce, 17, of Dayton, Services at 2 p.m. Thursday at 1st Baptist Church in Dayton. **




-VOLUME 18 NO. 22, MONDAY, FEB. 03, 2003-


Liberty County Sheriff Greg Arthur said Daniel Adams, age 19, was arrested Friday afternoon in connection with the vandalism at Hull-Daisetta Junior High School. Investigators said Adams, entered through a window and trashed several rooms in the school, doing thousands of dollars in damage. Sheriff Arthur said Adams was arrested without incident, charged with Burglary of a Building and Criminal Mischief. Investigators say they believe that Daniel Adams committed the break-in and vandalism without any accomplices.


253rd District Judge Chap Cain sentenced Brian Beebe, 55, his wife Edith, 46, and Justin Martin, Mrs. Beebe’s 20-year-old son by a previous marriage to prison Friday after all three pled guilty to four counts each of Injury to a Child. The Cleveland area family had been charged with the systematic physical abuse of the Beebe’s five adopted children, abuse that led to the death of one, 8-year-old Joseph Beebe in March of 2000. District Attorney Mike Little said Brian Beebe and Justin Martin would serve a maximum of 10 years in prison and Edith Beebe was sentenced to a maximum of 75 years in prison.


Chambers County Crime Stoppers is still seeking any information the public may have about the Jan. 5th hit and run death of 18-year-old Richard Earl Olmstead. The young Wallisville man was struck and killed around 3 that morning while walking on Bayside Dr. in Oak Island. A $1,000 reward is being offered for information and officials would also welcome any donations that would increase the reward. If you have information, call DPS Trooper Brent Henry at 409-267-8231 or Crime Stoppers at 409-267-8318.


Reservations are still available for the 27th Annual Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Awards Banquet this Thursday at 7 p.m. at Dayton High School. Guest speaker is former Houston TV News Anchor Ron Stone and dinner will be rib eye steaks from Pappy’s BBQ. This year’s recipients of the Citizen of the Year Awards for Liberty and Dayton will also be announced. Tickets are $20 each. Call the Liberty-Dayton Chamber office at 336-5736 for reservations.


FUNERAL: Sally M. Stephens, 82, of Evadale, Services held Saturday. **




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