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July 2011

VOLUME 26, NO. 143 FRIDAY JULY 29, 2011

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Large Crime Scene: A public tip led the Liberty County Sheriffs Department to what investigators are calling a large-scale crime scene in the North Cleveland area of far Northwest Liberty County. Sheriff’s Captain Rex Evans said late Wednesday evening deputies located a number of stolen four-wheelers along with guns, a rocket-launcher, drugs and other “items of interest” at a home on County Road 389.  The names of those arrested so far, has been withheld while the investigation is ongoing. KSHN will have more details as they become available.

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Post Vandalism L.E.S.: Maintenance and repair crews have been busy at Liberty Elementary School, performing clean up and making repairs following vandalism now estimated to have exceeded $200,000 in damages. We reported four Liberty Middle school students have been charged in the break in and massive destruction at the elementary school over the July 4th weekend. LISD Maintenance and Operations Director Robert Ward said there is little evidence of the major damage through the school building. After replacing carpet and repainting walls and exterior, as well as repairing broken windows and other damage, the school now has a fresh new look for students returning at the end of next month.

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Vehicle Registration Fees: A new system designed to standardize and simplify registration fees begins September 1. Currently, Texas has a stunning 1,745 fee categories for registration of vehicles. State officials say that number is being reduced to just nine weight classifications. Liberty County Tax Collector Mark McClelland said it will greatly consolidate and simplify vehicle registration. For details, go to www.txdmv.gov.

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Shred It: A reminder: The City of Liberty is holding another free document shredding event Saturday 9 a.m. until noon or until the truck fills up in the Liberty City Hall parking lot. It’s free and not limited to Liberty Citizens.

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Obituaries: Alexander Von Bower, 90 of Dayton. Services today at 7 p.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. Gaston Aloysius Gagne III, 46 of Raywood. Funeral mass Saturday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Raywood.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.68 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 142 THURSDAY JULY 28, 2011

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Auto / Pedestrian: A man with an out of state address was killed early Wednesday morning after being struck by a truck on Hwy. 90 near Ames. Information indicates the man appeared to have intentionally stepped out in front of the vehicle. Justice of the Peace Bobby Rader said 46-year-old Hector Velazquez with an Ohio address, reportedly was standing in the westbound lane of Hwy 90 at 3:50 a.m. yesterday.  He was reportedly waving his arms when he was struck and killed by the oncoming truck. Judge Rader pronounced Hector Velazquez dead at the scene and ordered blood drawn to determine if the man was intoxicated. The driver of the truck was not thought to have suffered serious injury, but was reported to be emotionally distraught following the other man’s death.

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4-H Drill Team Does it Again: For the second year in a row, the Liberty County Mounted 4-H Drill Team, the Rebel Riders, won both the Fast Drill Team State Championship and the Precision Riding State Championship. The teams have been in Abilene for state competition, and have been invited to compete in the American Quarter Horse World Show in Oklahoma.

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Insurance and Storms: You may have heard, there is a tropical wave approaching the Gulf of Mexico.  Although there is little chance of it developing into a major hurricane, once it is a named storm. Many insurance companies will no longer write property damage coverage or allow increases in existing coverage.  We are told, now is the time to review your property damage insurance.  That’s the policy that covers your home, vehicles and other physical property.

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Proposed Post Office Closings: It has been widely reported that the U.S. Postal Service is considering closing about 3,700 post offices nationwide. However, based on a review of a list posted on the U.S.P.S. website, no post offices in Liberty or Chambers Counties are targeted for closure at this time.

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Obituaries: Melody Susan Tullis, 47 of Hull. Services tomorrow 10 a.m. at Central Baptist Church of Daisetta. David Charles Geren, 40 of Dayton. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Dale Lee Pavey, 37 of Raywood. A memorial service will be held at a later date.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.57 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 141 WEDNESDAY JULY 27, 2011

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Commissioners: Liberty County Commissioners again extended the ban against outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Liberty County. In other action, following a 20 minute executive session, commissioners took no action on naming a replacement for retiring County Tax Collector Assessor Mark McClelland. Commissioners heard a report from Liberty County Treasurer Kim Harris on the state of the county’s health claims account.  She said currently there is $584,000 in the account and they expect some $480,000 in employee contributions to be added to it. However, recently there have been a rather large number of claims to be paid.  Mrs. Harris said if, by the end of July, that trend continues, it could leave them with a zero balance in that health claims account.  She requested $500,000 be deposited to be drawn from, only if needed.  Commissioners approved the transfer of funds to the health claims account.

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500 Tickets Going Fast: Tickets are still available for the Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce annual steak dinner, 500 drawing and auction, however they are going fast. The Liberty-Dayton Chambers primary fundraiser is on Friday August 19 at the Dayton Community Center. The silent auction starts at 6 p.m. with the live auction starting around 7:30 p.m. Brady Hanson is handling the auctioneering duties again this year. The 500 drawing will be held throughout the evening for 12 terrific prizes. Tickets for both the 500 drawing and the steak dinner are available at the chamber office. Call 336-5736.

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Local Honored: Dorothy Hajovksy, a member of Immaculate Conception Church in Liberty was recently honored with the “Monsignor Richard Destefano Faithful Steward” award. In a nomination letter, Dorothy Hajovksy was called the Energizer Bunny.  Calling her the model of stewardship, the letter said Dorothy is always there when something needs done, and more importantly, when someone is in need.

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Obituaries: Shirley Ruth Beard Blake, 81 of Liberty. Services tomorrow at 10 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Liberty. Juanita Tatman Mayes, 96 of Wallisville. A private service is planned at the Wallisville Cemetery. Correction: Johnny Cashat, 82 of Dayton. Graveside services yesterday at 10 a.m. in Linney Cemetery in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.55 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 140 TUESDAY JULY 26, 2011

22nd Burnham Classic: Only a couple of weeks remain before the 22nd Annual Burnham Classic Golf Tournament. Founded by the J.C. Burnham Family, this tournament has benefited Tri-County Services programs for people in South Liberty County with mental and developmental illness. Besides the golfers, the other means of raising money is though hole sponsorships or standard sponsorships.  Those entitle two people to all functions except golf play at the Burnham Classic held the first weekend in August. This year’s event at Magnolia Ridge Country Club is dedicated to the memory of a long time tournament volunteer.  That is the late Donnie Darbonne of Liberty. For information, call 336-7135 or 336-2634.

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District 10-2A: KSHN has reported on Dave Campbell’s 2011 Texas Football Magazine’s predictions on both the Panthers and the Broncos. Now here’s a look at that magazine’s prognostications for another area district that includes both Hardin and Anahuac. The storied football publication projects Newton to win that district and the Anahuac Panthers to compete with the Newton Eagles for that district crown. If Dave Campbell’s Texas Football predictions hold true, it will be a rebuilding year for the Hardin Hornets, not expected to make the play-offs.

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Social Security Office Hours: In spite of reports that the political wrangling in Washington DC over the federal budget could affect Social Security benefits in August, information indicates that is not the case.  According to Kim Richard of the Beaumont Social Security Office, they are being told benefit payments will go out as scheduled August 4th. She did say the administration’s budget is continuing to tighten.  The Beaumont Office hours will change starting Monday Aug. 15th. The new hours will be from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.  Ms. Richard said it’s still another cost cutting measure.

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FLNB: First Liberty National Bank is remodeling their building across Travis St. from their main office. Once that project is complete, it will house the banks new civic room, and two sections for lease, one of which has already been taken.

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Obituaries: Johnny Cashat, 82 of Dayton. Graveside services today at 10 a.m. in Linney Cemetery in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.48 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 139 MONDAY JULY 25, 2011

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Rise in Unemployment: The unemployment rate for Liberty and Chambers counties ticked higher in June. The number of jobless also increased statewide and nationally. The Texas Workforce Commission reports the unemployment rate for Liberty County hit 11.8 percent in June. That is a big jump from 10.6 percent in May. South in Chambers County, the jobless rate is at 11.1 percent – that’s also a hefty increase over last month when it was 9.6 percent. The unemployment rate for all of Texas is now at 8.2 percent while the U.S. jobless rate is at 9.2 percent. Combining the numbers for Liberty and Chambers counties, the latest two-county jobless rate is 11.55 percent with 5,639 area residents looking for work but unable to find employment.  

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Cook Signs: It’s been a big year for recent Liberty High School graduate Lauren Cook. She won the state high jump championship. She also was the LHS Homecoming Queen and an honor graduate. Now, she is headed to Baylor University on both an academic and an athletic scholarship. Last week, the 18-year-old daughter of Aaron and Norma Cook of Liberty committed to be part of Baylor University’s track team.    

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Burn Ban: Despite some rainfall last week, conditions in Liberty County remain too dry to lift the months-long ban against outdoor burning. Chambers County Commissioners did lift the burn ban there last Tuesday, but here in Liberty County the prohibition is still in place. Emergency officials say, that as long as the danger of wildfires remains high, the ban is locked in place in the unincorporated areas of Liberty County. The cities of Liberty, Dayton and Cleveland each have burning restrictions that apply inside those incorporated areas. A violation of the county’s burn ban is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

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Shred It: The City of Liberty has a free document shredding event this Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon, or until the truck fills up, in the parking lot at Liberty City Hall. A Houston-based bonded, professional document shredding company called “Shred It” will be commercially destroying old credit card statements, federal tax records, computer disks and anything that could be put to illegal use if it fell into the hands of identity thieves. It’s free and open to everyone, not just Liberty citizens. For information, call Liberty City Hall at 936-336-3684.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.49 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 138 FRIDAY JULY 22, 2011

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Fire CR 686: A fire at the home of Rachael Mendoza completely destroyed the double wide manufactured home yesterday morning. It was just after 10 a.m. Thursday when the first fire departments were called. The Dayton Volunteer Fire Department with assistance from Westlake, Kenefick, and Highway 321 volunteers and equipment all responded. Justin Ressler was the first to spot the fire as he was driving by and notified the fire departments. At first there was some question as to whether someone was indeed inside the flaming structure. However, when Dayton Police Sgt. Doug O’Quinn reached the owner, she confirmed no one was at home. The manufactured home was completely destroyed as were all contents.

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Liberty Middle School Principal: Liberty ISD has named a longtime district staff member as the new principal for Liberty Middle School. Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Lusignolo said Rhonda Smith is now the interim LMS Principal with the expectation she will become full principal once the hiring process is completed in August. Rhonda Smith has a bachelor’s degree in secondary education and a master of education degree in school administration.

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Two Self-Inflicted Gunshot Deaths: The Liberty County Sheriffs Department is investigating two separate, unrelated deaths resulting from apparent self inflicted gunshots. Captain Rex Evans said both incidents occurred during the same time period on the same day.

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Chambers House on National Historic Register: The home of County Court-At-Law Judge Tommy Chambers has long been registered as a Texas Historic Landmark. Then, this past March, the Chambers home on Milam St. was named to the National Register of Historic Places. The 146 year old home dates back to the Civil War. Judge Chambers said the 2,000 square foot home is important not only because of its age, but also due to the unusual octagonal design.

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Obituaries: Harry Carlisle, 75. Services tomorrow at 10 a.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Liberty. Hubert Harmon Fondren, 81 of Votaw. Services tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Faith and Family Funeral Services in Batson.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.39 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 137 THURSDAY JULY 21, 2011

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Rodgers Pharmacy Sells: As of close of business yesterday, locally owned and operated Rodgers Pharmacy in Dayton closed its doors. Charles Rodgers said he made the decision to sell to Walgreen’s with their assurance that his employees would have a job at the larger Walgreen’s on US 90. He also plans to join the Walgreen’s pharmacy team for a while as he works towards his retirement. Charles Rodgers has worked as a pharmacist in Dayton for 40 years, the last 30 of those in his own business.

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Nexus Bill: State Representative John Otto said what is known as the “Nexus” bill is about sales tax laws being fairly applied to all the state’s retailers. Added as an amendment to the fiscal matters bill, John Otto said he authored the initial bill to redefine what it means to be a retailer doing business in Texas. On line retail giant Amazon.com’s legal action to remain sales tax exempt for internet sales in spite of the company’s maintaining a distribution center in Texas prompted the bill.

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Dayton School Board: The Dayton School Board Tuesday night approved the purchase of some ten buses and smaller suburbans for small group trips.  Superintendent Mike Kuhrt said Dayton ISD is borrowing $1.05 million for the 10 buses and one suburban, while budgeting into their regular maintenance and operations budget the purchase of a second suburban. The best rate came from FLNB-Dayton Financial Center at 2.1 percent. The district is about to pay off similar loan package and the amount of the annual payments for the 10 new buses will not exceed those.

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Panther Camp: Two Liberty Panther football camps start on Monday. One is for incoming 3rd grade through 8th graders. A second camp, going on at the same time, is for incoming freshmen. Again, both will be held at the same time on different fields at Liberty high school.  They both will be Monday through Thursday, 9 am until 11 a.m.  For $30 the football campers will get a T-shirt and instruction by Liberty high varsity football coaches on game fundamentals. Pre-sign up is not required; students are welcome to sign up on Monday. Coach Shane Deel suggests walk up to the desk on Monday at the Liberty High field house to register. He suggests participants arrive before the 9 am start time.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.37 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 136 WEDNESDAY, JULY 20, 2011

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Dayton City Council: Dayton City Council met Monday night and gave their approval to a Dayton Community Development Grant to Frank McClusky, owner of Frank’s Collision Repair. According to City Manager David Douglas, Frank’s Collision Repair will be moving from the current South Winfree location to the old Purcell tire shop facility on Hwy 90 at 146 south in Dayton.  Mr. McClusky has purchased the facility and is planning not only to relocate there, but also make a laundry list of improvements that includes landscaping, paving and renovation of the existing facilities. The DCDC grant is $150,000 awarded in three installments.

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Hardin School Board: The Hardin School Board Monday night approved the appointment of Hardin Intermediate School Principal Richard Ressler as the new high school principal. Tammy Marbery, current high school principal will move to the position Hardin’s Director of Curriculum and Instruction. One other change will be moving Junior High Principal Alan Tidwell to become Principal of Hardin Intermediate School while maintaining his current job as Junior High Principal.

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Major Legislation: State Representative John Otto said the 82nd legislature passed two major pieces of legislation. Representative Otto said it was a big session for pro-life factions due to passage of the law requiring sonograms be administered before abortion procedures.  Second the Dayton republican said the new law requiring all voters to provide a photo I.D. before being allowed to vote was also a major change in existing law.

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Dayton VFD Dance: The Dayton Volunteer Fire Department’s annual Hose Down Dance featuring Southern Breeze and the Phillip Griffin Band is Saturday July 30. Tickets are $15 a person in advance or at the door.  They also have a limited number of tables for 10 people.  Those are $125 in advance. The dance will be held at the Dayton Community Center.  For ticket information call 281-659-4607.

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Shred It: The next City of Liberty Shred It event is Saturday July 30 from 9 am until noon, or until the truck fills up in the Liberty City Hall parking lot. It’s free and not limited to Liberty citizens.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.45 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 135 TUESDAY, JULY 19, 2011

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$75 Million: This past legislative session was financially tight, and everyone knew it. State Representative John Otto said as the session started he knew there wasn’t any money coming his way, so he went to find some, and he did.  State Rep. Otto said he met with the state comptroller and discovered some $75 million in undesignated revenue to use, as he called it “to plug some holes”. The money is credited through a “tax amnesty” month to be held during the 2012 calendar year. It’s an opportunity for folks who have not been paying their sales taxes to get caught up without penalties and interest added, bringing a business current for their sales tax obligation.

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Health and Wellness Expo: Coming up Saturday August 6th, the Liberty County Health Awareness Coalition will hold their second Health and Wellness Expo. It’s a chance to get your children their required back-to-school vaccinations. Also a chance for simple check ups for your own health, and learn about the many things you can do to benefit your good health. It will be held from 9 am until noon at the Liberty Center. For information, call Liberty County Agri-Life Family Services Agent Alexis Cordova at 336-4558, ext. 221.

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LCSO Increase in Calls: TheLiberty Co. Sheriffs Department is reporting a significant increase in the number of calls for service during the past four years, and Captain Rex Evans said this year is expected to be a record high year for the number of calls handled by the department. Captain Evans said when comparing 2007 to year end projections for 2011, the sheriffs department expects there will have been a 72.5 percent increase in the number of calls for service during those four years.

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Injured Businessman Home: Well-known, local businessman Rodney “Festus” Cullars, owner of Festus Plumbing, is home after a week-long stay in Houston’s Memorial Hermann Hospital. On July 9th, he was taken by air ambulance to the Houston hospital following a motorcycle accident on FM 1960 while crossing the Lake Houston bridge. According to family members, the accident happened when the brakes locked up on the motorcycle he was riding. That’s when it fishtailed and he was thrown from the motorcycle.  His wife, Kay Cullers, said they want to thank the community for its support.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.06 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 134 MONDAY, JULY 18, 2011

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Another Fugitive Captured: The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department has captured another fugitive after receiving a number of public tips. Sheriff’s Captain Rex Evans said John Robert McComb was taken into custody Friday on FM 1010 near Cleveland with assistance from U.S. Marshals and Texas DPS. Captain Evans said McComb has a long criminal history and is a suspect in some recent burglaries in the Plum Grove area. He was charged with evading arrest after running from sheriff’s investigators back on July 6.  McComb also is wanted on a felony warrant out of Montgomery County. At last report, John Robert McComb remained in the Liberty County Jail.

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Copper Thefts Skyrocket: The list of copper thefts here in Liberty County is skyrocketing. Among those losing air conditioning units to thieves recently are Hall Rader and Associates and Mt. Rose Baptist Church, both in Liberty. Others targeted include St. Anne’s Catholic Church in Eastgate, First Baptist Church of Liberty’s Spanish Mission, a Moss Hill Baptist Church on S.H. 105 and the Cowboy Church on FM 770. Constable Pct. 2 Les Hulsey and Constable Pct. 4 Chad Pafford both report thefts of A/C units and oilfield pump jack parts and motors. The sheriff’s department also is investigating a number of copper wire losses. Air conditioning compressors, large motors and long runs of cooper wire are all targets. Those losses are growing almost daily.

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County Cuts Job: During a workshop last week, Liberty County Commissioners decided to eliminate the position of special projects manager from the new budget that begins Oct. 1. An official vote has not be taken, but commissioners were in agreement to eliminate that job, held by Dennis Odell, effective Sept. 30. During the past three years, Mr. Odell has worked to procure hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and helped the county recover costs associated with Hurricane Ike cleanup.

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Colbert Tours: The recently opened Colbert-Rosenwald Museum in Dayton will have free guided tours for the public on Saturday, July 23. Those tours will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the museum located at 231 South Colbert Street. For information on these July 23 tours, call Jo Ann Paul at 936-402-3560 or Brenda Trahan at 336-0980.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.01 ASL*

VOLUME 26, NO. 133 FRIDAY, JULY 15, 2011

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New Construction at TVE: Work is under way now to add $300,000 in improvements to the Trinity Valley Exposition Fairgrounds located on FM 563 in Liberty.  That includes a 12,000 square foot pavilion-style covered building that includes a fully enclosed 2,000 square foot air conditioned community room.  TVE President Carolyn Tenny said the work started Monday.  The cost of the work is being covered by money from the TVE’s carefully managed fund balance and from new loans. TVE Board member Phil Fitzgerald said the success of the annual Cattleman’s Ball has fully funded the TVE scholarship program leaving the organization those resources to use for this new building project.

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Dayton Father and Son Indicted: A Dayton father, Chris Andrews Sr., 49 and his 22-year-old son, Chris Jr. were arrested in January for possession of cable television batteries allegedly taken from utility poles with a bucket truck.  Now a Jefferson County grand jury has indicted the pair on felony theft charges. According to information from the Jefferson County Clerks office, the batteries were valued at roughly $170,000.  The father and son from Dayton are free on $15,000 bond each for felony theft. No trial date has been set.

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Kelley to Report: Several days ago, KSHN reported that former Liberty County lawman Harry Leroy Kelley was se4ntenced to 12 months and one day in prison.  That came last Thursday in the Federal Courtroom of Judge Thad Heartfield in Beaumont.  Kelley was not remanded to custody. Late Wednesday, Judge Heartfield ordered Kelley to report to the Federal Bureau of Prisons before 2 p.m. on August 22 to begin his imprisonment. Kelley was found guilty in February of possession of stolen ammunition and two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. One of those federal convictions is related to actions while the Liberty County Sheriffs Department. The other two guilty verdicts date back to his time as a Cleveland Police Detective.

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Obituaries: Mervin Esco Johnson, 67 of Batson. Services 3 p.m. today at Faith and Family Funeral Service in Batson. Drew Baby Waldrop, 84 of Dayton. Services today at 10 a.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Batson.

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

 

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 132 THURSDAY, JULY 14, 2011

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Nugent Trial Date: One of two parents accused in the murder of their daughter is to go on trial later this year.  We reported the death of 2 year old Brook Glyn Nugent, who at the time of her death was blind and severely disabled due allegedly; to injuries she received as an infant from her parents.  The father, Gerald Nugent, now 31 and the mother, Martina Sellers, 29, were initially indicted for injury to a child in 2006.  In 2007, when the little girl died, both parents were indicted on murder charges. Now, father Gerald Nugent is slated to be tried for murder and injury to a child in Judge Chap Cain’s 253rd District Court in Liberty County on November 7.  So far, no trial date has been set for the mother of Brook Glyn Nugent, Martina Sellers.  Both parents have been free on bond since their arrests.

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LISD: On Tuesday night, Liberty ISD Trustees voted unanimously to proceed with the process of issuing what they’re calling a “maintenance and operation note” funding district wide renovations. That will allow the district’s financial advisor, Mark McLiney with Southwest Securities, to arrange funding for approximately $3 million in bonds.  Once that happens, the school board will make the final decision on whether or not to actually issue those bonds. The school district will be able to get zero percent interest on these maintenance and operation bonds if they proceed before January 4 next year.  The only cost for issuing the bonds will be an administrative fee that is typically less than 1 percent.

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Equusearch Lawsuit: The Southeast Texas based Texas Equusearch organization is suing recently acquitted Florida murder suspect Casey Anthony to recoup expenses incurred in their search for 2 year old Caylee Anthony in 2008. Local Texas Equusearch member Ken Defoor said the lawsuit seeks to recover as much as possible of the estimated $112,000 spent in the search for the missing child. The suit quotes Anthony’s attorney as telling the jury in Casey Anthony’s murder trial that “Caylee was never missing”. The suit contends Ms. Anthony knew her daughter was dead at the time of the search and failed to notify the organization of that fact.

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Obituaries: Grace Walters, of Ames. Services 10 a.m. tomorrow at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.03 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 131 WEDNESDAY, JULY 13, 2011

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Arrest in Vandalism: Four juveniles, three ages 13 and one 14 year old, have been arrested in connection with the approximately $150,000 to $200,000 in stolen property and damages done to the Liberty Elementary School over the long July 4th weekend. During the investigation officers determined damage was extensive. Several classrooms were damaged, graffiti was spray painted on walls, there were broken windows and electronic equipment was damaged.  Also dry chemicals from approximately 12 fire extinguishers had been sprayed throughout the halls and classrooms. The four are students at Liberty Middle School. Dr. Cynthia Lusignolo, Superintendent for Liberty ISD said they hope the cleanup will be completed by this Saturday.  Then comes the extensive repair and replacement work. Hopefully, that will be completed during the next week.

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Commissioners: On a unanimous vote, commissioners again extended the ban against outdoor burning in the unincorporated areas of Liberty County. According to Liberty County Fire Marshal Jim Wilson, the Keetch-Byram Drought Index is at 704. The top range is 700-800.

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Top Taxpayers: The Liberty County Central Appraisal District has released its estimated final 2011 property value totals.  Chief Appraiser Alan D. Conner said the total value for all land, improvements, properties, minerals and industrials here in Liberty County is $4.293 billion.  The taxpayer with the highest taxable value here in Liberty County is Total Petrochemicals USA. That is one of the companies that has inventory in the Dayton rail yard. The county’s chief appraiser said 3 of the top ten local taxpayers are rail yard customers; two are oil and gas producers while the other 5 top local taxpayers are salt dome storage companies.

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Coffee Break: The City of Liberty’s next planned “Coffee with the City of Liberty” is Thursday July 28, at 7:30 a.m. in the council chambers at City Hall. It’s a time period designed for residents to express concerns or ideas and get answers to questions from city leaders.

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Obituaries: Bradley James Loria, 46 of Dayton. Services today at 2 p.m. at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.07 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 130 TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2011

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Wanted Fugitive: Liberty County Sheriffs Department is asking for the public’s help in locating a wanted fugitive. Sheriff’s Captain Rex Evans said they are looking for John Robert McComb of Liberty County who recently led deputies on a high speed chase.  John McComb has been charged with evading arrest and felon in possession of a firearm. Captain Evans said McComb has a long criminal history that includes assault, assault with a deadly weapon, assault causing serious bodily injury and numerous narcotic related charges. The Sheriff’s spokesman said McComb is considered armed and dangerous.  Anyone with information is asked to call local law enforcement or the Liberty County Sheriffs Department at 936-336-4500. ****************************************************

Attempted Kidnapping: Joseph Reeves of Mississippi, is in the Liberty County jail charged with kidnapping a local woman. Sheriffs Captain Rex Evans said Humble Police stopped a pickup and 18 wheeler for reckless driving.  Captain Evans said those in the pickup told police they’d been following the tractor trailer rig, claiming that vehicle’s driver had kidnapped a woman from Liberty County.  An unidentified woman was in fact found injured within the big rig, and the Mississippi driver was arrested.  He is in the Liberty Co. Jail under a $750,000 bond.

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7-on-7: The Liberty Panthers 7-on-7 football team is headed to the state tournament this Thursday after qualifying at a regional event held back in early June.  The team is still trying to raise money to help pay their way. As a part of those efforts, today is Liberty Panthers 7-On-7 day at Chili’s.  That means Chili’s will donate 10 % of today’s sales for anyone who eats at Chili’s and tells their server they are there to support the Liberty team.

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Hunter Education: Thanks to hunter education, state officials say hunting is getting safer in Texas. The Liberty Police Department is offering that state mandated hunter education course Friday and Saturday July 22 and 23 at the Liberty Center. Liberty PD Public Information Officer Josh Cummins said all hunters in Texas, born on or after September 2, 1971 must successfully complete such a course.  The cost is $15, and participants are encouraged to show up before the start of class on July 22 to secure a seat.  For information, contact Officer Josh Cummins at Liberty PD – that main number is 336-5666.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.11 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 129 MONDAY, JULY 11, 2011

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Sales Tax: It’s a mixed bag of local economic news – July sales tax payments to cities across Liberty County are up 6.79 percent as compared to the same month last year. Liberty was up 26.2 percent for the month while Dayton experienced a 13.09 percent rise. Other local incorporated towns with increases were Hardin, North Cleveland and Plum Grove. Those cities posting decreases include Cleveland, Ames, Daisetta, Devers and Kenefick. As a reminder, sales taxes collected by businesses in May go to the state in June and arrive back with each city’s share in July. Statewide, sales tax revenue increased 7.2 percent in July.

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LISD Bonds: The Liberty ISD School Board will hold a special meeting tomorrow to consider issuing what they’re calling a “maintenance and operation note” to fund districtwide renovations. By combining some funds expected from Boomerang Tube together with what’s typically called M&O Bonds set to expire in coming years, LISD can borrow about $3 million to fund infrastructure improvements, renovations to the high school’s science labs and other needed work. That special meeting of the LISD board is tomorrow at 6 p.m. in the LISD Administration Building on Grand Avenue. The pubic is invited.

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Dronet Sentenced: Terri Leann Dronet has been sentenced to prison for fatally shooting her husband. Back in May 2007, Liberty County sheriff’s investigators said a domestic dispute between a husband and wife ended when Mrs. Dronet shot her husband, Robert Dronet, at their home in Hardin. Terry recently pled guilty before 75th District Judge Mark Morefield. On Friday, the judge sentenced Terri Dronet to 20 years in prison.

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Motion Filed: Attorney James Evans, now of Dayton, has filed a motion to have Assistant District Attorney Joe Warren disqualified from prosecuting three separate cases scheduled in the 75th District Court. Two of defendants are charged in the Cleveland rape case. The other is charged with burglary of a habitation. Mr. Evans’ motion cites the recent arrest and charges against Mr. Warren for tampering with a witness, deadly conduct and terrorist threat. District Attorney Mike Little told KSHN the judge who signed that arrest warrant told him the allegations against Mr. Warren have nothing to do with his job or work prosecuting cases as an assistant district attorney.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.16 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 128 FRIDAY, JULY 8, 2011

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Kelley Sentenced: Former Liberty County lawman Harry Leroy Kelley was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in prison on Thursday in the federal courtroom of Judge Thad Heartfield in Beaumont. Back on February 3, a jury found Kelley guilty of possession of stolen ammunition and two counts of conspiracy to commit mail fraud. One of those convictions is related to actions while at the Liberty County Sheriff’s Department. The other two date to his time as a Cleveland police detective.

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Rape Suspects: Twelve of the 19 suspects accused in the sexual assault of a Cleveland girl were back in court Wednesday, though no trial dates have been set. District Attorney Mike Little said his office is still awaiting results of DNA testing from the DPS Crime Lab. 75th District Judge Mark Morefield set another docket call for Oct. Free on bond are Rayford Ellis Jr., Timothy Ellis, Devo Shaun Green, Walter Jamal Harrison, Kelvin King, Xavier King, Carlos Ligons, Jamarcus Napper, Isaiah Ross and Cedric De Ray Scott. Eric Bernard McGowen, Marcus Porche and Jared Len Cruse are jailed on other charges. Five juvenile suspects are free on conditional release from detention.          

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Online Reporting: Liberty County Sheriff’s Department has a new online service. Captain Rex Evans said the department now offers victims of what he calls certain types of minor crimes a way to file a report on the sheriff’s website. Captain Evans said this is not meant to replace all reports, especially emergency calls or those crimes where there is evidence to gather at a crime scene. He said the new service is user friendly, even for those uncomfortable with computer technology. To access that website, go to www.kshn.com and click underneath the sheriff’s patch. Once there, look for the “Online Reporting Service” tab.

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Liberty Rotary: Outgoing Liberty Rotary President Tracy Williams has passed the gavel to a new president, Rick Brady. During a noon ceremony Tuesday, the Liberty Rotarians also honored some of their own, including Alexis Cordova, Al and Nancy Brandli, Tracy Williams and Don Taylor. 

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Obituaries: Fred Fuller Clements, 78, of Victoria. Service is 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Autry Funeral Home in Jacksonville, Texas. Theresa Ann Levine Jefferson, 68, of Mont Belvieu. Service 10 a.m. Saturday at Eagle Heights Fellowship.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.25 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 127 THURSDAY, JULY 7, 2011

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LES Vandalized: Liberty Police are investigating a break-in at Liberty Elementary School and resulting vandalism. Liberty Police Chief Billy Tidwell said officers were called to the school Tuesday morning and found what he described as substantial damage done by vandals throughout the building. Dr. Cynthia Lusignolo said insurance adjusters are expected today, and hopefully they will have a more firm estimate of the dollar amount of damage done. This is expected to be higher than previously estimated. Chief Tidwell said investigators from the Dayton and Cleveland Police Departments are assisting Liberty PD because the damage done at Liberty Elementary is so substantial and the investigation will be extensive.

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LHS Coffee Shop: There’s a new coffee shop at Liberty High School, and it’s run by ten students in the life skills class. LHS Special Needs Teacher Janie Prather set up the so-called business this past April with a $2,000 grant from the Liberty ISD Education Foundation.  Ms. Prather said the coffee bar is used to teach her students about business processes and customer relations. The program will start up again this coming school year, and money raised from the sale of coffee at Liberty High School goes back into programs for those students who run it.

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Portrait for Fallen Officer: The only Dayton Police Officer killed in the line of duty, died of gun shot wounds in the early morning hours of June 15th 1950.  51 year old Louis L Cashat was working in Dayton as a “night watchman”. That was the term used back then for the officer that patrolled the streets at night.  Unarmed, he was shot and killed by 17 year old Johnny Deciga. Now, there is an idea proposed to honor the fallen Dayton Police Officer with a plaque or portrait that would hang in either Dayton City Hall or the Dayton Police department.  If you would like to help with the project of getting a memorial for this fallen Dayton officer, contact Kevin Ladd at Kevin.ladd33@gmail.com or on his cell phone at 409-550-1329.

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Obituaries: Charles William Corley Jr., 62 of Votaw. Cremation services under the direction lf Faith and Family Funeral Service of Batson. Ross Sterling Harrison, 81 of Votaw. A memorial Service will be Saturday at 4 p.m. at Votaw Worship Center. 

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.25 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 126 WEDNESDAY, JULY 6, 2011

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Strange Wreck: It was an unusual wreck on Hwy 90 in the river bottom yesterday morning when a westbound vehicle crossed over into the eastbound lane of the Trinity River Bridge, crossed all four lanes of traffic, went off the roadway, down an embankment, and struck a concrete pylon of the first bridge structure west of the river bridge. Liberty Police Officer Josh Cummins said the driver of the vehicle going the wrong way is 60 year old Ervin Edward Svoboda. Officer Cummins said he would be facing charges of driving while intoxicated.

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State Farm Scholar: Four area student athletes have been honored through the State Farm Texas Scholar Athlete program that recognizes graduating high school seniors. Recent Hull-Daisetta graduate Tyler Blake Godwin was named as a Texas Scholar Athlete, one of fifty students statewide. Tyler Blake Godwin will receive a $1,000 scholarship, and will appear with 49 others in a two page advertisement appearing in Dave Campbell’s 2011 Texas Football. Three others from the area were honorable mention selections, Dayton’s Hannah Bell and Jon Luke Lambright along with Anahuac’s Kia Moulton.

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9-1-1, When to Call: When in need of law enforcement or other type of first responder, what number should you call 9-1-1- or the agency’s normal business line.  Liberty County Sheriffs Captain Rex Evans said 9-1-1 should be used during life threatening situations or when there is a crime in progress.  Use the agency’s normal business line for non-emergencies.

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Smart Phones: With help from Randy Meche at Computer Solutions – Liberty, we now believe our signal can be heard on even more smart phone brands. We are hoping for the best, but many of the smart phone brands are proprietary with each brand working differently.  To try it, go to your smart phone app section and pull up what is called “Tune In Radio”. It’s free. Type in KSHN radio and see if you can get us, if not, let us know and we’ll try to find a solution. You can email us at kshn@kshn.com or call 936 336 5793. Please include your email or phone number so we can respond.

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Obituaries: T. D. Hines, 90 of Raywood. Services Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at First Baptist Church of Devers.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.28 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 125 TUESDAY, JULY 5, 2011

No TSA Law: Once piece of legislation that did not get passed in the just ended special session of the Texas Legislature is the so called “TSA Bill”.  State Representative John Otto said an effort was made late in the special session to try and curtail invasive pat-down searches by airport transportation safety administration security personnel.  The Dayton republican said the house initially passed the first version, however changes in the bill took time and the session was over before the final passage could be accomplished. Representative John Otto said he favored a law limiting these types of body searches, but felt it is a federal issue and encourages citizens to send their objections to Washington D.C. through our U.S. Congressional representatives.

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Joe Warren: Liberty County District Attorney Mike Little said that Assistant DA Joe Warren will remain on the job in full capacity.  The longtime ADA was arrested on three charges last week, then released on his own recognizance by visiting Judge Don Burgess.  The DA said he still has not received any information on the allegations from the Liberty County Sheriffs Department, who apparently hold sole responsibility for the investigation of Joe Warren. However the district attorney said he has been assured by Judge Burgess the charges are in no way connected to Joe Warren’s performance of his duties for the DA’s office. So, for now, Joe Warren is still Chief Assistant District Attorney. That’s according to DA Mike Little.

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Dayton VFD Dance: The Dayton Volunteer Fire Department is holding their second annual Hose Down Dance featuring Southern Breeze and the Phillip Griffin Band, Saturday July 30.  it’s from 8 p.m. until midnight at the Dayton Community Denter.  Tickets are $15 per person in advance or at the door. For information call 281-659-4607.

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Texas Football – Liberty: Dave Campbell’s 2011 Texas Football magazine projects the Liberty Panthers to place third in District 22-3A and earn a playoff berth.  If that prediction comes true, it would be the second year in a row that the panthers have advanced to the state playoffs under the leadership of Coach Shane Deel.  The well-known Texas sports magazine predicts Coldspring will repeat as district champs, with Huffman-Hargraves to take the second spot in district play.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 7.30 ASL*

 

VOLUME 26, NO. 124 FRIDAY, JULY 1, 2011

Probable Cause: The probable cause statement relating to the arrest of Liberty County Assistant DA Joe Warren for alleged witness tampering, making “terroristic” threats and deadly conduct was filed by Sheriff’s Department investigators with the office of Precinct #4 Justice of the Peace Barry Graves instead of the Liberty County Clerk’s Office. The charges stem from an April 2010 altercation between Joe Warren and a neighbor over the killing of the Warren family pet. The version of that incident recounted in the Sheriff’s Dept. arrest document differs in several significant ways from testimony the same witnesses gave to Liberty Police during their investigation at the time it occurred. Those contradictions all seem directed at making Joe Warren’s conduct during the altercation appear more aggressive than was reported to police at the time.

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Drilling Route: Liberty City Council met Tuesday night and discussed a possible route for Choice Exploration to bring equipment to a proposed oil drilling site within the city limits. That drilling location is in the north Liberty area between the Travis Park Subdivision and Liberty Municipal Park. City Manager Gary Broz said council members tentatively approved a route through the park. However everything is still in the discussion phase.

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CPD Arrest: Cleveland Police have arrested a 45-year-old Porter man, Raymond Howard Field III. According to Cleveland Assistant Police Chief Darrell Broussard, Field has a felony warrant for arson from Harris County, a parole violation warrant out of Austin, and the third is for assault related to an incident in Cleveland in September 2010. CPD Assistant Chief Broussard said Raymond Field is accused of striking a family member several times and then allegedly threatening to burn down that woman’s house. Field remains in the Liberty County jail.

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Chamber Lunch: Dayton Chamber of Commerce’s monthly noon luncheon is Tuesday at the Dayton Community Center. This month’s speaker is John Wright. He specializes in conducting investigations into complaints of employment discrimination. John Wright will be speaking on issues surrounding hostile work environments. That $10 lunch will be catered by Jose’s Restaurant in Dayton. For reservations, call the Dayton Chamber at 257-2393. 

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*LAKE RELEASE: 1,500 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.23 ASL*

 

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