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May 2002


-VOLUME 17 NO.106 FRIDAY MAY 31, 2002-

The trial of Carlos Mejia, 27, of Cleveland ended in a mistrial yesterday, as jurors in the 75th District Court were unable to reach a unanimous decision to convict on charges of burglary of a habitation with intent to commit sexual assault and injury to an elderly person. We reported Mejia’s very brief escape from the courthouse on Wednesday and County Sheriff Greg Arthur, Sheriff’s Deputy Pete Vela, and a CCA County Jail Officer all testified before the jury that Mejia had bolted from the courtroom, only to be recaptured outside two minutes later. Prosecutor Michael Mark said he would look at a possible plea bargain before retrying the case but a new charge of felony escape against Mejia goes before a grand jury in a few weeks.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, crews will start work on Monday to repair and resurface Hwy 146 in Dayton from Hwy 90 south about two-and-a-half miles. The $1 million project includes repairing base failures, then adding a new asphalt surface. The work is expecting to start around dawn each morning and finish up by 3 p.m. TxDot reminds motorists to use extra caution, being mindful of workers and watch for flagmen. The goal is to have the work completed by the start of the new school year in August.

Ten Liberty Panthers have been named to the District 23-3A All District Baseball Team. First team picks chosen by district coaches are Craig Rader, Jessie Pennington, Kody Fiedler, Evan Brown, Evan Hill and Lance Mayo. Brent Mullinex, Steven Havard and Junior Lopez made the All-District Second Team and Eric Moss earned Honorable Mention.

The Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge will hold a Free Fishing Day Celebration tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The event features hands-on demonstrations for both beginning and experienced anglers including target casting, fish identification and salt-water fishing. Tomorrow is Free Fishing Day across Texas, the only day of the year that no license is required to fish. For more information, call 409-267-3337.

5/31 FUNERAL: Ronald Kevin Randel, 48, of Edinburg, Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Westgate Memorial Baptist Church in Beaumont.


-VOLUME 17 NO.105 THURSDAY MAY 30, 2002-

It was after 4 p.m. yesterday when Carlos Mejia took advantage of the relaxed atmosphere after the evidentiary portion of his trial for burglary of a habitation to try and escape. The 27-year-old Cleveland man was dressed in street clothes and not wearing restraints when he reportedly made a run for it. Within minutes, a crowd of 14 law enforcement vehicles had converged on the fleeing defendant, recapturing him about 1 block from the courthouse. Carlos Mejia now faces an additional charge of felony escape as a result of that two minutes of freedom.

The Dayton School Board met in a hastily prepared emergency meeting Tuesday night upon receiving word that Superintendent Nancy Fuller had been offered a similar job in the San Marcos School District at a higher salary. The result of that meeting is that Mrs. Fuller will stay in Dayton with an amended contract that provides an additional $10,000 to her salary for the coming school year. Board President Buddy Janacek said Mrs. Fuller has agreed to remain with the DISD for at least three more full years.

Tickets are on sale now for the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce annual "Liberty-Dayton 500" BBQ and Auction set for Thursday July 11th at the VFW Hall on Main St. in Liberty. Tickets for the big "500" drawing are $20 each and the 12 prizes this year include a 19" Emerson TV-DVD-VCR combo and a Toshiba 50" Big Screen TV valued at over $1600. Since only 500 raffle tickets are sold, they sell out fast. The event also features live and silent auctions and barbecue dinner prepared by Brick’s BBQ. For more information, call the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber Office at 336-5736.

Precinct #1 Commissioner Todd Fontenot said Tuesday that the new Liberty County web site is up and running. The site is available for informational purposes now but the plan is to develop it to provide services such as online bill paying and permit applications. The web address is

5/30 FUNERALS: Lillian Mae Benbow, 86, of Liberty, Graveside services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Palms Cemetery. ** Wilbert Johnson, 47, of Ames, Services at 1 p.m. Saturday at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.104 WEDNESDAY MAY 29, 2002-

Liberty County Commissioners yesterday approved a resolution establishing a committee to find ways to reduce toxic emissions. The county has had several restrictions imposed as part of the state’s clean air plan, but can be exempted from one-mandatory tail pipe testing- if state-approved alternatives can be found. County Judge Lloyd Kirkham said commissioners would each choose one citizen for the committee. The selections are expected by the time of their next meeting in two weeks.

Liberty School Trustees met Monday night to once again hear from Curriculum Director Dr. Kathleen Sullivan about proposed course schedule changes. Angry parents and teachers who had addressed the board to protest those changes last week seemed content with changes Dr. Sullivan made to her proposal, that makes room for more available elective classes to students.

Over $505,000 in total scholarship monies were awarded to members of the 2002 graduating class of Hull-Daisetta High School. Class Valedictorian Shelby Birdwell and Salutatorian Stephanie Largent each earned multiple scholarship awards totaling several thousand dollars.

The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Liberty Rotary Club will sponsor a party for all South Liberty County WWII veterans this Saturday at 2 p.m. at 1st United Methodist Church in Liberty.

Liberty native and career military man Henry Lee Langford III will be commissioned next Monday as a Chief Warrant Officer in the U.S. Coast Guard. The son of Roberta and the late Lee Langford of Liberty has served for a total of 19 years as a non-commissioned officer, in the U.S. Army and the Coast Guard.

5/29 FUNERALS: Bonnie Bartlett Sterling, 67, of Dayton, Graveside services at 10 a.m. at the Ryan Cemetery in Tarkington. ** Elsie H. Frazier, 84, of Fayetteville, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Ralph Glen Hale, 80, of Dayton, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Margaret Chance Graham, 77, of Kingwood, Services at 4 p.m. Friday at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.


-VOLUME 17 NO.103 TUESDAY MAY 28, 2002-

DPS Trooper Ryan Foley said Henry Merlos, 18, was westbound on FM 1960 early Sunday when his vehicle drifted across the road and struck a tree head-on. Trooper Foley said it is possible the Anahuac man fell asleep at the wheel. Merlos is in stable condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and, Karen Wynne, 48, a passenger in his vehicle remains at San Jacinto Methodist Hospital in Baytown, her condition unavailable.

A state administrative law judge has granted the City of Dayton party status to fight a request filed with the TNRCC by Buddy Alders, owner of the Woodland Hills Water Corporation to extend the company’s current permit to control of all water rights in a 13,000 acre area. Dayton City Manager Robert Ewart said Alders’ control over water rights in such a huge area could prevent the city from providing water services to some residents.

After nearly 4 years of being jailed in Liberty County on contempt of court charges, Federal Magistrate Earl Hines ordered Odis Briggs freed on a $50,000 bond last Thursday. 75th District Judge J.C. Zbranek has kept the Beaumont man in custody for failing to comply with his order to provide financial documents that might prove Briggs’ alleged defrauding of investors in the McGahey Trust of $120,000.

The Valley Players’ production of Agatha Christie’s "Mousetrap" is set for Friday and Saturday June 7th and 8th at 8 p.m. with a 2 p.m. matinee on Sunday June 9th. All performances are at the Humphreys-Burson Theatre in Liberty. Tickets are $5 each. For reservations call Jackie Hartel at 336-6699.

Last week’s Shine All Nine Radiogram reporting this year’s Liberty County Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship winners did not include Liberty High School Senior Lance Mayo, who was awarded a $10,000 Opportunity Scholarship.

5/28 FUNERALS: Beryl Eugene Sanner, 43, of Moss Hill, Services at 1 p.m. today at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. ** Nathan Clay Cooper, 1 month, of Tarkington, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Mary Bower Wendell, 62, of Dayton, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton


-VOLUME 17 NO.102 FRIDAY MAY 24, 2002-

The Liberty City Council voted Wednesday night to table the issue of pay raises for city fire and EMS personnel until the next scheduled meeting on June 11th. Most council members seemed supportive of Liberty Fire Chief Jamie Galloway’s request for pay increases totaling roughly $40,000 annually to make salaries competitive enough for the city to retain trained staff. Chief Galloway is also proposing new department inspection fees and an increase in ambulance run costs to offset the expense of the pay raises. Council members want to see revenue estimates for those proposals before making a decision. In other action, council voted 7 to 0 to scrap their contract with Comwerx to allow the city to offer Internet dial-up service to residents. A host of citizens attended the meeting to protest the city entering into open competition with local businesses in that area.

Preliminary Appraisal Values show the total value of property in Liberty County increased by over $150 million or 3.6% in 2002. Last year, mineral values jumped 152% over 2000 totals, but with the price of oil and gas coming down, those values dropped two-and-quarter per cent. The Liberty County Central Appraisal District Office in Liberty will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturdays during May and June to process protests to property appraisals. The filing deadline is May 31st. For more information call the CAD at 336-5722 or visit .

The municipal offices in both Liberty and Dayton, as well as the Liberty County Courthouse will be closed Monday in observance of the Memorial Day Holiday. There will be no garbage pick-up in Liberty or Dayton on Monday. Garbage will be picked up on the next scheduled service day. The Brazos Transit buses will not be running. Banks and post offices will also be closed. All government offices and the bus system will resume normal hours on Tuesday.

Hull-Daisetta High School Graduation Ceremonies are tonight at 7 p.m. in the high school auditorium. Those graduating with honors are 2002 Valedictorian Shelby Birdwell, Salutatorian Stephanie Largent, and alphabetically, Kati Bret, Leah Caskey, Jacquelyn Deberry, Dusty Evans, Amber Hard, Megan Hill, Candie Izaguirre and Andrew Johnson.


-VOLUME 17 NO.101 THURSDAY MAY 23, 2002-

The Liberty School Board met Tuesday night and called a special meeting for this Monday at 6 p.m. to receive input from teachers and parents about proposed changes to the course curriculum at Liberty Middle School. A large, mostly angry crowd packed the board meeting to air complaints over the changes and Superintendent Dr. Douglas Moore said the process of adjusting the school schedule to account for tough state-mandated testing this coming year is ongoing. Dr. Moore said he would recommend a final decision be tabled until a new principal is in place at LMS in the fall. In other action, trustees chose Liberty Elementary Principal David Taylor to replace the retiring Don Lorenz as Liberty High School Principal.

According to information from the Houston Police Dept. the suspect in the murder of a Kingwood man led police to the victim’s car where he allegedly left in Hardin this past Sunday. Bradley Michael Hawkins, age 20, was found shot to death in his Kingwood apartment around 3 a.m. Saturday and medical examiners estimated he had been dead at least 24 hours. Police report James Franklin Brown, also age 20, of Houston confessed to being involved in the crime and led them to the victim’s missing 2001 Lexus in the Tanner Settlement in Hardin.

Liberty Police Officer Cedric McDuffie said 21-year-old Jacob Williamson of Hull was traveling at a high rate of speed on Hwy 90 in the River Bottom between Liberty and Dayton yesterday when he lost control of his vehicle, left the roadway and struck a guardrail. The car flipped over once before coming to rest. The Hull man did not require medical treatment, but both eastbound lanes of Hwy 90 were closed to traffic for close to 30 minutes.

The community-wide effort to bring YMCA youth programs to Liberty County continues tonight with a fundraising meeting at 7 p.m. at 1st Liberty National Bank’s Dayton Financial Center. Everyone who believes the programs are needed is urged to attend. For more information, call 334-8000.


W.J. Roth, 64, of Daisetta, Services at 2 p.m. today at Broussard’s Mortuary in Kountze.

John L. Stanley, 63, of Dayton, Services at 2:30 p.m. tomorrow at 1st Baptist Church of Dayton.


-VOLUME 17 NO.100 WEDNESDAY MAY 22, 2002-

According to sources in Chambers County, Sheriff’s Deputy John Joslin is under investigation for sexual harassment allegations made by another deputy. No charges have yet been filed and Deputy Joslin remains on duty. According to Cleveland Police Chief Ike Hines, Joslin resigned from the Cleveland Police Dept. in 2000 following allegations of making improper advances to an adult female to whom he had written a traffic citation. Chambers County Sheriff Monroe Kreuzer reportedly told a news reporter from KTRK TV in Houston that he was unaware of John Joslin’s past. Texas Ranger Frank Huff is aiding in the investigation into this latest misconduct allegation.

The Trinity Valley Exposition has awarded $25,000 in scholarships to 8 Liberty County students. Those awarded $4,000 scholarships are Hardin High’s Chad Koonce, Dayton High’s Kyle Vyoral, Cleveland High School’s Tiffany Green and Tarkington High’s Jayme Shaw. Tarkington’s High’s Christy Bailey receives $3,000 while Hardin High’s Jennifer Crump, Hull-Daisetta High School’s John Haidusek and Tarkington High’s Lindsay Henderson each receive $2,000.

The Dayton City Council met Monday night to swear in council members for new terms. Jay Tadlock, John Otto and John Simmons all won re-election without opposition in the May 4th election. Mayor Larry Harris appointed Herb Brown as Dayton Mayor Pro-Tem, a post traditionally filled by the most-senior council member. Brown and councilman "Frosty" Pruitt have alternated as Mayor Pro-Tem for the past several years.

Registration for the Summer Reading Program at the Jones Public Library in Dayton begins June 4th. The traditional programs for kids elementary school age and younger are back, along with reading programs for junior high and high school students, as well as adults. For more information, call 258-7060.


Helen Mabel White, 92, of Dayton, Services at 4 p.m. tomorrow at 1st United Methodist Church in Dayton.

Sharon Gray, 47, of Dayton, Services at 11:30 a.m. Friday at 1st Baptist Church in Dayton.

Al Ira Paddy, Jr., 70, of Corrigan, Graveside services at 2 p.m. today at Fairlawn Cemetery.


-VOLUME 17 NO.99 TUESDAY MAY 21, 2002-

According to DPS reports, 24-year-old John David Martin III of Dayton was eastbound on FM 1484 near Conroe early Saturday morning when he failed to negotiate a curve. The investigation indicates the vehicle was traveling at a high rate of speed when it entered a ditch on the south side of the roadway and struck a tree. Montgomery County JP #1 John Kleiman pronounced John Martin dead at the accident scene.

Seven Liberty County Students have been awarded 2002 scholarships from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. That is a scholarship to at least one student from each of the six Liberty County High Schools. Keesha Brianna Johnson and Jairo Jaime, both from Cleveland High School, Jace Randall Daigle of Tarkington High School, Leah Michell Caskey of Hull-Daisetta High School and Jennifer Diane Harrison from Hardin High School will each receive $10,000 scholarships. Also awarded $10,000 scholarships Liberty High’s Emily Christine Wolf and Dayton High School’s Annie Michelle Scott.

The Annual Magnolia Ridge Country Club Golf Tournament was this past weekend in Liberty. Ken Burnham Jr. won the Championship Flight in the four-day amateur tournament, marking his third victory at Magnolia Ridge. Burnham also won in 1995 and 1998. Second place in the Championship Flight went to Terry Peddy, while Richard Scully and Cully Howard came in third and fourth respectively.

Game two of the Barbers Hill Eagles vs. Lorena Leopards High School Baseball Playoff series will be played Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Olsen Field in College Station. We had reported that coaches hoped to play one game of the Class 3-A Regional Semi-final series at the Aggies’ field if possible. The first game of the best of three series is still set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday at Fireman’s Field in Brenham. If the series goes to three games, that will be played on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Brenham. All Nine Sports will broadcast the series beginning with the first game Thursday night, starting around 7:20 p.m.


Acie Gordon Smith, 87, of Louisiana, Services held yesterday.

John David Martin, 24, of Dayton, Services at 2 p.m. today at Eastgate Church in Dayton.


-VOLUME 17 NO.98 MONDAY MAY 20, 2002-

The Liberty City Council will have a special meeting Wednesday at 5 PM to discuss possible changes to the payroll for Fire Fighters and Medics. In a report from Liberty Fire Chief Jaime Galloway, since the Department went paid in January of 1977, only one person has retired from the department. Several are using the Liberty Fire and EMS as a training ground, and once trained, will go to Baytown or Houston, where the pay is greater. Chief Galloway said right now the LFD is 75% staffed and could be down to as much as 50% by mid to later June.

Union Pacific Railroad has recently completed repairs to the crossing at Highway 90 and Waco Street in Dayton. According to State Representative Dan Ellis he received several complaints about the intersection and contacted the Railroad Company’s liaison in Austin. U.P. used what’s called a floating concrete block beneath the tracks so the Highway 90 railroad crossing will be able to withstand more traffic wear and tear before deteriorating. Representative Ellis said there are more repairs currently ongoing to some crossings in Northern Liberty County.

The Barbers Hill Eagles Baseball Team will move into the Regional Semi-finals of the Class 3A state playoffs this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. The Eagles opponent will be the Lorena Leopards, the #1 ranked class 3A team in the state. The games will be Thursday at 7:30 PM, Friday at 7:30 PM and if necessary, Saturday at 2 PM. The games are scheduled to be played at Fireman’s Field in Brenham but both coaches said they would like to play one game in College Station. A decision on that should be made later today. In any case, All Nine Radio will broadcast the Eagles baseball games where ever they play.

The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce will hold their monthly luncheon Wednesday at noon at the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. The guest speaker this month will be Jim Bloodworth, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Past-President for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. The meal will be fried fish prepared by the Liberty County Metro-Go Texan Committee. To make reservations call 336-5736.

5/20 FUNERAL: Dora Lee "Patsy" Burleson Davis, of Dayton. Services were held this weekend at the Magnolia Park Cemetery.


-VOLUME 17 NO.97 FRIDAY MAY 17, 2002-

According to Michelle Lyons of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, 31-year-old Ronford Lee Styron of Dayton was pronounced dead at 6:20 p.m. yesterday in the Death Chamber at Huntsville’s Walls Unit. Styron was sentenced to death by lethal injection in 1994 for the beating death of his 11-month-old son, Lee Hollis. Reportedly, Ronford Styron’s last words were to family members and friends in attendance, telling them that he was going to be with his little boy.

According to a report aired on KTRK-TV in Houston, Chambers County Sheriff Monroe Kreuzer has suspended David Beck pending an investigation into allegations of theft against the Sheriff’s Dept. Sergeant made by a drug suspect. Sgt. Beck is accused of stealing a wallet, two knives and a sword from a suspect he arrested for possession of marijuana. Beck’s attorney maintains the knives were checked into evidence along with six pounds of marijuana allegedly found in the suspect’s vehicle. Sgt. Beck claims not to have taken any wallet. Sheriff Kreuzer said the allegations will be treated seriously and he expects the investigation to wrap up this coming week.

Dayton High School Graduation Ceremonies are set for Saturday May 25th at 7 p.m. at Bronco Stadium. Two hundred forty-three seniors will graduate, sixty-three with honors. The top ten graduates for the Class of 2002 are Valedictorian Samuel Spence, Salutatorian Ashley Brand, Jonathan Badgett, Laci Hohn, Margaret Dunn, Kyle Vyoral, Travis Paul, Ebony Rivon, Annie Scott and Alicia Southwell.

About 20 people met earlier this week to discuss an overall plan to raise the roughly $300,000 needed to bring YMCA after-school and teen programs to Liberty County. It is hoped the goal can be accomplished of bringing those programs to Liberty, Dayton and Cleveland by this fall. The next fund raising meeting is scheduled for next Thursday at 7 p.m. in the meeting room of 1st Liberty National Bank. Everyone interested in helping to make these safe recreational programs available to area youth is urged to attend. For more information, call 334-8000.

5/17 FUNERAL: E.B. Touchet, 73, of Dayton, Services at 11 a.m. today at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.96 THURSDAY MAY 16, 2002-

The Liberty City Council met Tuesday night and made the hiring of Allen Barnes as new city manager official, approving a contract that sets Barnes’ salary at $70,000 per year with a $500 per month car allowance, plus full insurance coverage. Mr. Barnes is expected to begin his duties on June 1st. In other action, council approved a contract with Comwerx Inc. of Cypress to provide wholesale dial-up Internet service to city residents. The vote was 4 to 3 with opposition from Mike McCarty, J.C. Burnham and Dennis Odell who said he felt the city should not go into direct competition with local businesses as an Internet service provider. Mayor Bruce Halstead said there were still a variety of decisions council would have to make before the service actually begins operation.

The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon is set for next Wednesday at noon at the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. The guest speaker this month will be Jim Bloodworth, former-president, now Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Mr. Bloodworth will provide an update on the new Reliant Stadium and Center, and those graduating seniors receiving this year’s HLS&R Scholarships will also be on hand. Lunch will be fried fish prepared by the Liberty County Metro Go-Texan Committee at a cost of $6. For reservations, call 336-5736.

The Annual Batson Oilpatch Festival is this weekend, today through Saturday in downtown Batson. Activities include plenty of arts and crafts, food booths, a carnival, gospel singing, karaoke, barbecue cook off, domino tournament, horseshoe and washer pitching, and auction and the Oil Patch Parade 10 am. Saturday, plus a street dance tomorrow and Saturday, at 8 p.m. each night. For more information, call 936-262-8103.

The Barbers Hill Eagles face the Bridge City Cardinals tonight in the Regional Quarterfinal Round of the High School Baseball Playoffs. It’s a one game match up in Jasper. To get to the game, take Hwy 96 from Beaumont, through Buna and Kirbyville to Jasper. Stay on 96 to the first traffic light, then turn right on State Street and the City Baseball Complex will be next to the Jasper Lions Club. All Nine Sports will broadcast the game live beginning shortly before the first pitch at 7:30 p.m.


-VOLUME 17 NO.94 TUESDAY MAY 14, 2002-

The Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles has unanimously voted to deny a recommendation for Executive Clemency to Ronford Lee Styron. The 32-year-old Dayton man applied for clemency in the hope of having his death sentence for the 1993 murder of his infant son, Lee Hollace Styron commuted to life in prison. Board members voted 17 to 0 to withhold their recommendation to do so from Governor Rick Perry. Unless some judicial agency intervenes, Styron will die, as scheduled, tomorrow night at 6 p.m. in Huntsville.

Liberty County Commissioners met yesterday and hired the Houston law firm of Bracewell and Patterson to assist the county’s defense in the suit filed by the City of Dayton last month. The Dayton City Council contends that some subdivisions approved by the Commissioners Court have never met county standards and those subdivisions are now in Dayton’s extraterritorial jurisdiction. The suit asks that county approval on all subdivision plats be rescinded.

Chambers County Commissioners voted Monday to re-instate Sheriff Monroe Kreuzer’s policy of allowing citizens to ride along with deputies on patrol, with one difference: those citizens will not be carrying guns. The policy of allowing citizens licensed to carry handguns to ride with deputies to act as back up in the event of trouble drew so much media attention and criticism from officials concerned over citizen safety and county liability, Sheriff Kreuzer had suspended all "ride-alongs".

Organizers report that the 9th Annual Dorothy Matthews Memorial Golf Tournament raised over $18,000 for the Liberty County Chapter of the American Cancer Society. The tournament was held on May 4th at the Magnolia Ridge Country Club. Billy and Mitch O’Neal won 1st Place in the Championship Flight, John Carter and Bobby Pope placed 2nd.

5/14 FUNERALS: Claudine Hale Acker, 85, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. ** Dorothy Bess Searles, 69, of Liberty, Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Olive Bethel Baptist Church in Hardin. ** Anna Harris, 93, of Devers, Services at 11 a.m. Saturday at Galilee Baptist Church in Devers.


-VOLUME 17 NO.93 MONDAY MAY 13, 2002-

Saturday was a record setting day for the Dayton FFA Livestock Show and Rodeo. The Livestock sale brought in over $160,000. Curtis Seaberg had the Grand Champion Steer, which brought in $16,200 or $13.50 per pound. Courtney Butler, a Senior at Dayton High School had the reserve champion steer, and received $12,000. The popular 100 club raised $26,000 to pump up the money in the Livestock Sale. In all 77 animals raised over $160,000 this past Saturday at the Anson Rigby Memorial Arena in Dayton.

Dayton Police Chief Pete Douzat said at around 1 PM Friday afternoon, Floyd Edmonds, 52 of Anahuac, was pulling a cattle trailer and stopped on Hwy 146 to make a left turn into the Dayton Veterinary Clinic. He was rear ended by an 18-wheel tractor-trailer driven by Kenneth Nole Porter, of Colmesneil. Mr. Porter was taken by Life Flight Air Ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston with what were described as non-life threatening injuries. Traffic on Highway 146 was tied up for more than 3 hours while crews tried to clear the accident.

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce is moving from their current location on Bryan Street to the old Entergy building also on Bryan. This is the same building where the Dayton Community Development Corporation currently is. Dayton Chamber President Rick Sparks said that although they will be sharing offices, the Dayton Chamber and the DCDC would remain separate entities. The move should be completed this month.

The Annual County Wide Law Enforcement and Public Safety Memorial and Recognition service will be this Wednesday at 7 PM at the First Baptist Church in Liberty. Dr. Steven Ellerbe, coordinator for the event said since the last service, 15 peace officers, and 5 fire fighters in Texas have died in service. The memorial service will include a bagpipe band, plus color guard, a salute to fallen officers, a firing party and taps. All Nine Radio will broadcast the service live Wednesday Night.

5/13 FUNERALS: W.C. "Pee-Wee" Duff, 77 of Hardin. Funeral services will be today at 10 AM at the Hardin Baptist Church. ** Helen J. Fingleman, 61 of Kenefick. Graveside services will be tomorrow at 11 AM at the Greenville Cemetery in Kenefick.


-VOLUME 17 NO.92 FRIDAY MAY 10, 2002-

According to County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, a federal judge in Galveston issued an injunction against the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission to prevent the permitting of the non-toxic industrial waste landfill that TSP of Kingwood wants to locate in the western portion of Chambers County. Twelve residents, all of whom live within a mile of the proposed site, sought the injunction since no state laws currently exist regulating such landfills. Judge Sylvia said the TNRCC could now appeal the judge’s ruling but as it stands, the landfill permit cannot be reissued until such regulations are created and then approved by the state legislature.

The Liberty City Council met Tuesday night with the city’s Delinquent Tax Attorney Shelly Veselka of the McCreary, Veselka, Bragg and Allen law firm. The council told Mr. Veselka they wanted a more aggressive stance in collecting taxes owed the city and instructed him to present a report next month on the top 50 delinquent taxpayers and how much each currently owes. Council members also expressed interest in publishing that list of names in the Vindicator Newspaper.

The Magnolia Ridge Country Club Golf Tournament is set for Thursday May 16th through Sunday May 19th. For the first time, this popular annual tournament will be at the new, over 3,000 square foot club facility that is expected to be ready for use. Construction on the new country club began last December. It has now been almost 2 years since fire destroyed the former, nearly-fifty-year-old clubhouse building. For information on signing up for the golf tournament call 336-3551 or 336-6732.

All Nine Sports will broadcast tonight’s Barbers Hill Area High School Baseball Playoff Game as the Eagles face the Shepherd Pirates in Humble at 7:30 p.m. Tune in for all the live play-by-play around 7:20 p.m. this evening.

5/10 FUNERALS: Jack Paul "J. P." Walker, 61, of Raywood, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at St. Miles Missionary Baptist Church in Ames ** Nathan Thomas, 45, of Hankamer, Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at St. Mary’s Baptist Church in Hankamer. ** Carol Gwendolyn Clark Franklin, 56, of Liberty, Graveside services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Linney Cemetery


-VOLUME 17 NO.91 THURSDAY MAY 09, 2002-

According to information from Liberty Fire Department personnel, it was just after 10 a.m. yesterday when a vacuum truck siphoning water from a gas line on Texaco Road, south of Hwy 90 caught fire. The resulting explosion sent the truck’s driver, whose name was not available to Liberty-Dayton Hospital with unknown injuries. With the gas line, belonging to the Estes Co., still feeding the flames firefighters from Liberty and the Dayton VFD spent over an hour and a half dousing the roaring flames and cooling the burning truck. The truck, owned by James Cueves was completely destroyed.

The Annual Dayton FFA Livestock Show and Rodeo continues today through Saturday at the Anson Rigby Memorial Arena on Hwy 321. Livestock judging is going on each day, culminating in the big livestock auction at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Rodeo performances and the Rodeo Queen’s Contest begin at 8 p. m. each night. Tickets are $6 for adults and $4 for children 12 and under. For those who would like to participate in the auction as part of the 100 Club Buyers’ Group, contact Larry Harris at Peoples Building Center at 258-7605 or the Dayton Financial Center for a list of the many local business owners involved.

No less than 10 Dayton Lady Broncos earned 21-4A All-District Softball Team honors this year. District coaches named Leslie Hawks, Ashley Edwards, Jenny Pate and Tasheena Secatero to the All-District First Team and Brittany Tuck was honored as All-District MVP. Second Team picks included Erica Loftin, Kourtney Kelsey and Jessi Walters, while Meagan Mitchell received All District Honorable Mention.

The Lee College Board of Regents made their final decision for hiring a new college president at their May 2nd meeting, selecting Dr. Martha Ellis. Search Committee President Dr. Keith Coburn said Dr. Ellis has been President of Texas State Technical College in Waco for the past two years, with 14 years prior experience in leadership positions at the Collin County Community College. Dr. Ellis is expected to begin her duties as Lee College President on August 1st.

5/9 FUNERAL: Charles Arthur Pearson, 71, of Hardin, Services at 10 a.m. Saturday at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.90 WEDNESDAY MAY 08, 2002-

The Liberty City Council met last night and voted to offer the job of Liberty City Manager to 43-year-old Allen Barnes, the City Manager of Whitesboro, Texas until his resignation last week. Council spent two hours in executive session, discussing the matter with numerous city employees before reaching their decision. Liberty Mayor Bruce Halstead said he would contact Mr. Barnes today to notify him that the job is his if he wants it.

A rash of burglaries has Liberty Police urging extra-caution to city residents. Officer Hugh Bishop said thieves have been at work in the past few weeks in the Layle Drive area, the Whiddington Subdivision off Hwy 90 and the area near Edgewood, stealing items left on carports and in open cars or garages. Officer Bishop recommends putting lawn and gardening equipment in a locked storage area, lock your car doors at home and close garage doors overnight or when you are not at home. Anyone with information on these burglaries is asked to call Liberty Police at 336-5666.

The Dayton City Council met Monday night and received reports outlining plans to provide for the city’s water and wastewater needs over the next 20 years. J. Andrew Rice of Public Management Inc. told council the city would likely need a new water well within the next two-to-five years. Consulting Engineer Craig Kankel recommended council develop a comprehensive plan to replace all clay and concrete sewer lines since a long period of rainfall could cause groundwater intrusion at the wastewater treatment plant.

The 21st Annual Hull-Daisetta Mayhaw Festival gets underway tomorrow and continues through this Saturday on FM 787 in Daisetta. Festival visitors will enjoy a parade, plenty of great food, contests, live entertainment, barbecue cook off, a carnival, arts and crafts and lots more. For more information on the Mayhaw Festival call Marvin Fregia at 936-536-6302.

5/8 FUNERALS: Wanda Sandifer Woods, 64, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. today at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. ** James Jerome Williams, 59, of Madisonville, Services at 2 p.m. today at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.89 TUESDAY MAY 07, 2002-

DPS Trooper Stephen Hebert said 41-year-old Andrew Evans was eastbound on Hwy 105 just before 7 a.m. yesterday when he slowed to turn into a private drive. The Cleveland man’s small car was hit from behind by a pick up truck driven by Kevin Hardin, age 19, also of Cleveland. Andrew Evans was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston listed, as of late yesterday afternoon, in stable condition in the hospital’s intensive care unit. Neither Kevin Hardin nor his passenger, Bryan Meanor, 17 suffered serious injury.

Information from the Hardin VFD indicates firefighters arrived at an older model manufactured home on CR# 2066 yesterday morning to find it fully engulfed in flames. The homeowner, Raymond Horn said he and his wife were in the yard when he saw smoke coming from a window. Hardin and Hull-Daisetta Volunteer Firefighters worked for over an hour to douse the flames, but the 14 x 80 foot home and all its contents were destroyed. Fire Marshall Jim Wilson said it appeared an overloaded circuit in some old electrical wiring started the fire.

One of the most closely watched elections around our area this past Saturday was the Mont. Belvieu Mayoral Race between Incumbent Lonnie Follis and former-mayor Bob Lee. City officials said over two hundred ballots were cast in early voting for that race and when the dust had settled Saturday the unofficial vote totals showed Follis with 327 votes to Lee’s 236. In the Mont. Belvieu City Council Election, Position #1 Incumbent Mike Pomykal won reelection with 315 votes and Lynda Schneider won Position #2 with 221 votes.

Both the Liberty and Dayton Post Offices will be participating in the 10th Annual National Association of Letter Carries Food Drive this Saturday. Anyone wishing to donate non-perishable food items, baby items or personal hygiene products can just leave them at their mailbox that morning for postal carriers to pick up. Donations can also be dropped off at either post office.

All Nine Sports will broadcast the Barber’s Hill Eagles Area Baseball Playoff Game this Friday night at 7:30 p.m. at Humble High School. The Eagles face the Shepherd Pirates in a single game match up. Our live broadcast begins around 7:20 p.m.


-VOLUME 17 NO.88 MONDAY MAY 06, 2002-

Department of Public Safety Trooper Nathan Pierce said Tina Shawn, of Baytown, was riding a motorcycle northbound on FM 1409 Sunday Night. The Trooper said she was coming around what is commonly referred to as "Dead Man’s Curve," lost control of the bike and struck a guardrail. Mrs. Shawn was taken by Life-Flight Air Ambulance to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston in what was described as very serious condition. Trooper Pierce said alcohol may have been a contributing factor.

Both Hardin and the Liberty School Districts got new Board members Saturday Night. In Hardin, Texas Ranger Frank Huff defeated three-term Incumbent Larry Fonternot for trustee place #7. The final tally was Huff 197 to Fontenot’s 85. Also, in Liberty there were four candidates for 2 at-large positions. Former LMS Principal Frank Davis was elected, as was incumbent Carl Pickett. Davis received 396 votes, Pickett, 351, Incumbent Trustee Lionell McLean received 316 votes, and Brenda McManus Jones, 269. Also in the City of Dayton, all 13 amendments to the home rule passed by a wide margin.

It took three games, and extra innings, but the Barbers Hill Eagles Baseball Team downed Kirbyville this past weekend to advance to the Area round of the class 3A state playoffs. The Eagles lost Thursday 16 to 14, then came back and one two on Saturday, the first, 12-5, and the second 10-9 in eight innings. Next up for the Barbers Hill Eagles are the Shepherd Pirates. That single game playoff has tentatively been set for 7:30 PM Friday Night in Humble.


Norma Lurline Nash, 76 of League City. Services will be tomorrow at 1 PM at the Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

Earnest "Bill" Powell, 73 of Anahuac. Services will be Wednesday at 10 AM at the Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

Vernice John "V.J." Sparks, 81 of Dayton. Funeral Services will be today at 3 PM at the Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

Larry D. Rice, 52 of Tarkington. Services were held yesterday at Ryan Cemetery.

Carolyn Jo Walls, 55 of Tyler. Services will be today at 11 AM at the Pace-Stancil Funeral home in Dayton.

Marilyn Caldwell, 48 of Baytown. Services will be held at a later date out of state.


-VOLUME 17 NO.87 FRIDAY MAY 03, 2002-

Prosperity Bancshares and Paradigm Bank have announced the two have reached an agreement to merge their operations to create an estimated $1.6 billion Regional Community Bank with 40 operational banking centers. The Boards of Directors for both financial entities approved the action Wednesday and the merger is expected to close before September 30th subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. Prosperity currently owns 29 banking centers including locations in Liberty and Cleveland while Paradigm has 6 locations in Houston, 2 in Dayton and 1 each in Galveston, Winnie and Mont. Belvieu. Bank officials say that once the merger is completed all of the new company’s bank locations will take on the Prosperity name.

The Dayton Rotary Club has announced the recipients of their annual scholarships. The local service club will award $500 scholarships each to Dayton Seniors Kourtney Kelsey, Mitchell Peebles and Ebony Rivon. In terms of dollars, Rotary International has the largest scholarship program in the world.

The Annual Liberty County EMS Golf Tournament is on June 14th at the Eagle Point Golf Course in Mont. Belvieu. Director Mike Koen said it is hoped enough money can be raised at the event to cover half the total of an American Heart Association Grant to purchase new life-saving equipment for the emergency medical service. For entry information, call 936-536-3080.

Mike Baldree, Liberty ISD Business Manager for the past two-and-a-half years has announced he is leaving to accept a position as the Superintendent of the Blooming Grove ISD, south of Dallas. We reported earlier this week that longtime LMS Principal Earnest Havner is also leaving to accept a Superintendent’s job, in the Runge School District.

The Annual Houston/Galveston Hurricane Workshop is set for May 8th from 8 a.m. to noon at the Pasadena Convention Center. The workshop is free of charge, open to the public and this year’s theme will be "Allison: Inland Flood Odyssey", focusing on the deadliest and costliest tropical storm in U.S. History. Numerous experts will be on hand to discuss preparations for yourself and your property during the 2002 Hurricane Season. For more information call 281-337-5074, Ext: 223.


-VOLUME 17 NO.86 THURSDAY MAY 02, 2002-

DPS Trooper Bryan Nichols said 48-year-old Marilyn Caldwell of Baytown was eastbound on FM 1960 about two miles west of Hwy 321 in Dayton around 12:15 yesterday afternoon, when for unknown reasons, her vehicle crossed over into westbound traffic. The woman’s vehicle hit the rear side of an eighteen-wheeler’s trailer. After nearly 30 minutes, rescue workers managed to free the woman from her wrecked car. Precinct #5 JP Burl Thomas pronounced Marilyn Caldwell, of Baytown, dead at the accident scene. The truck’s driver, Bobby Kirk, 35, of Temple, did not require medical treatment.

The Dayton School Board met Tuesday night and agreed to proceed with the much-discussed renovation of Stephen Austin Elementary, having received a letter of authorization from the federal government for the $2.6 million in Qualified Zone Academy Bonds for the project. Financial Advisor Mark McLiney said the board will vote to sell the bonds at their May 21st meeting and should have the money in hand from the bond sale by mid-June. Trustees voted to employ the Falcon Group of Houston as construction-managers-at-risk on the project.

The public is invited to the Annual Community-Wide Law Enforcement and Public Safety Memorial and Recognition Service set for Wednesday May 15th at 7 p.m. at 1st Baptist Church in Liberty. Event coordinator Dr. Steven Ellerbe said the event provides an opportunity to pay tribute to law officers, fire fighters and medics across the state who have lost their lives in the line of duty and recognize those who serve each day.

The Liberty Panthers head into the first round of the District 23-3A High School Baseball Playoffs tonight against the team that knocked them out of the playoffs last year, the Buna Cougars. Game time is at 7 p.m. at Pt. Neches-Groves High School. All Nine Sports will broadcast the game live starting around 6:50.

5/2 FUNERALS: Dorothy Gean Dennis Finklea, 77, of Hull, Services at 4 p.m. today Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.

James Glen Hashaw, 35, of Batson, Services at 4 p.m. today at 1st Baptist Church in Batson.

Lovie Novell Austin, 71, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Paul Baptist Church in Liberty.


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