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August 2002


-VOLUME 17 NO.170, FRIDAY, AUG. 30, 2002-

Liberty County Sheriff’s Detective Jim Cooper said some 19 people were gathered for a family outing at the Trinity River near the Hwy 105 Bridge in Moss Hill Wednesday evening when four people swimming began to flounder. Two of those, 35-year-old Cecilia Hernandez and her 6-year-old son, Mark Anthony Ramirez disappeared beneath the water. Search teams recovered the bodies of the mother and son, both reportedly from California, later that night. Ms. Hernandez’ two nieces: Clarabella Ramirez, age 11 and Unice Ayala, age 9, were pulled from the river to safety and were reported in stable condition at Cleveland Regional Hospital. An adult relative, Guadalupe Ayala, who helped to rescue the two girls, was also reported to be in stable condition at the Cleveland hospital.

Dayton Police Officer Jimmy Brannon said 52-year-old Barney Snell of Dayton was westbound on Hwy 90 on a motorcycle shortly before 5 p.m. yesterday when he slammed into the railroad crossing-arm at the Waco Street Intersection and was thrown about 150 feet. Witnesses said a train had just passed the spot. Mr. Snell was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, believed to be in critical condition.

The Liberty County Courthouse and all city offices in Liberty and Dayton will be closed this Monday for the Labor Day Holiday. There will be no garbage service in either city on Monday, trash will be picked up on the next scheduled service day. Banks and post offices will also be closed on Monday. All offices reopen for regular hours on Tuesday September 4th.

The Liberty Panthers and the Dayton Broncos open their new high school football seasons on the road tonight. Liberty is in Silsbee to take on the Tigers, while Dayton travels to Rosenberg to face the Mustangs of Lamar Consolidated. You can hear both games live on All Nine Radio’s Split Channel Sports starting at 7:20 p.m. Just turn the balance control of your stereo radio to the left for the Liberty game or to the right for the Dayton game. You can also hear both games live at Kick off for Liberty and Dayton Football tonight is at 7:30 p.m.

FUNERALS: Leo Moon, 67, of Anahuac, Services at 4 p.m. tomorrow at 1st United Methodist Church in Anahuac. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.169, THURSDAY, AUG. 29, 2002-

At the time of this report, a search was in progress for a 35-year-old woman and her 6-year-old son, both reportedly from California, lost in the Trinity River at the Hwy 105 bridge near Moss Hill. Information from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office indicates the mother and son disappeared at the same spot where two Liberty County men drowned just last month.

In response to a letter from the members of the Dayton City Council criticizing the Dayton School Board’s decision not to sell the district administration building to an unnamed retail concern, School Trustee Dale Brown said he voted against the sale primarily due to time constraints. Mr. Brown said the terms of the sale would force district administrative staff into cramped temporary quarters scattered throughout the district on very short notice. Other school trustees who voted against selling either could not be reached or had no comment. We reported the Dayton City Council is urging school trustees to hold a public hearing and reconsider their decision. None of the board members we talked to could say if such an action would occur.

The Labor Day Weekend approaches and with thousands traveling the roadways during that time, the Texas Department of Public Safety is launching Operation CARE for "Combined Accident Reduction Effort". DPS Sgt. Ryan Arthur reminds motorists to expect increased patrols and strict enforcement of speed limits, drug and alcohol-related offenses and state seat belt laws. More than a normal weekend, the DPS is adopting a zero tolerance policy toward intoxicated drivers.

The Liberty Dayton Chapter of Ducks Unlimited has set Friday September 6th as the date for their Annual Dinner and Auction. This 20th Anniversary of the event will be at the Liberty Elks Lodge on FM 563, south of Hwy 90. Socializing begins at 6:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30, followed by the auction and a dance. Proceeds benefit efforts to preserve American wetlands. For more information, call Josh Hall at 336-3928.

All Nine Sports opens our second season of live University of Texas Longhorns Football broadcasts on Saturday as the ‘Horns play host to the University of North Texas. Our broadcast begins with the pre-game at 6 p.m., kick off is at 7.


-VOLUME 17 NO.168, WEDNESDAY, AUG. 28, 2002-

The members of the Dayton City Council have issued a public letter questioning last week’s 4 to 3 vote by the Dayton School Board to reject an offer by an unnamed retail concern to purchase the district administration building on Hwy 90. We have reported the company’s plan to use the site as a retail outlet location, but the majority of Dayton School Trustees felt the deal would allow the district to at best break even. Council members outline several challenges to that decision in the letter and request the school board to immediately call a public hearing to discuss the issue and reconsider their decision on the sale.

Family members said cowboy author Jesse "Bill" Brett died early yesterday morning at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. The famed storyteller and humorist had suffered a ruptured blood vessel in his head the day before. Honored in 1978 by the National Cowboy Hall of Fame with the Wrangler Award for his book of western folklore, the Liberty County Legend had, over the years, worked as a cowhand, oilfield roughneck, deputy sheriff, ranch foreman, truck driver, carpenter and finally, Postmaster of Hull. Bill Brett was 83.

Liberty County Commissioners met yesterday for a public hearing on the proposed tax rate for Fiscal Year 2003. County Judge Lloyd Kirkham said, while not final, it is expected the tax rate will remain the same at just over 58-cents per $100 of assessed value. Commissioners have scheduled September 10th as date for a public hearing on the county’s proposed budget.

The Liberty Lions Club will be placing flags in front of local homes and businesses on Labor Day this coming Monday as part of their Flags Across Liberty Program, but with one difference. Chairman Robert Ward said, this year the flags would fly through September 15 in commemoration of the 9/11 terrorist attack. To order a flag for your home or business, call 336-5232.

8/28 FUNERALS: Jessie Bill Brett, 83, of Hull, Graveside services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the Brett Ranch. ** Sharon Elaine Kingsley, 43, of Crosby, Services at 10 a.m. Friday at North Main Baptist Church in Liberty. ** Joe T. Drake, 80, of Daisetta, Services at 1 p.m. tomorrow at Central Baptist Church in Daisetta. ***


-VOLUME 17 NO.167, TUESDAY, AUG. 27, 2002-

According to family members, Liberty County Legend Bill Brett is in critical condition at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston and is not expected to recover after suffering a ruptured blood vessel in his head shortly after midnight on Monday. As of yesterday evening, the 83-year-old author, humorist and folklorist from Hull had reportedly been moved from the hospital’s neurological intensive care unit to a private room to allow his family to be with him.

The sale of Paradigm Bank-Texas to Prosperity Bancshares is expected to be final on September 1st and Paradigm branches in Winnie, Mont Belvieu and Dayton - the former Dayton State Bank – will change ownership. According to Paradigm-Dayton’s Terri Beene, there will be no change for customers for another month when the banks’ computers and customer bases are merged with Prosperity. Paradigm signage will also not be changed until after that October 4th date.

Gary Gazaway, School Superintendent for the Hull-Daisetta ISD since 1995, has accepted a similar post in the larger Class 3-A Needville ISD southwest of Houston. Technically, the 58-year-old school administrator’s status is that of lone finalist for the Needville job since Texas Education policy requires his name be posted 21 days prior to a final trustee vote to hire him. Mr. Gazaway said he would remain at Hull-Daisetta until October.

All Nine Radio’s first "Split Channel Sports " broadcast of the season is this Friday as both the Liberty Panthers and Dayton Broncos play their season-openers on the road. Turn the balance control of your stereo radio all the way to the left for the Liberty Panthers vs. the Silsbee Tigers or all the way to the right for the Dayton Broncos vs. the Lamar Consolidated Mustangs in Rosenberg. You can also hear both games live on Kick off for both games is 7:30 p.m. and our broadcast begins at approximately 7:20.

8/27 FUNERALS: Lena Mae Smith Robinson, 83, of Dayton, Graveside services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Magnolia Park Cemetery in Dayton.

Dale Erwin, 25, of Clear Lake, Services at 10 a.m. Thursday at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.


-VOLUME 17 NO.166, MONDAY, AUG. 26, 2002-

Dayton Volunteer Fire Department Chief Terry Boyett said it was likely an electrical wiring problem that caused a house fire on CR 4902 in the Sherwood Glenn subdivision west of Dayton yesterday afternoon. The manufactured home was owned by Andrea Escobedo, but rented by Charles Anders. Neighbors say Mr. Anders had been gone since 5 a.m. The home was completely gutted. The Kenefick Volunteer Fire Department provided additional water to battle the blaze.

DPS Trooper Nathan Pierce said around 3:45 Sunday afternoon, Daniel Charles Wood, 44 of Dayton, was stopped in the northbound lane of Highway 321 to turn left onto CR 677 a couple miles north of the prisons. The DPS says his vehicle was rear-ended by another driven by Promise Kayleen Vaughn, 21 of Dayton. Ms. Vaughn was cited for failure to control speed.

There are new reports daily about the spread of the West Nile Virus through Texas. Now there is one confirmed death in the Houston area from the mosquito borne disease. The Texas Department of Health is hoping to increase the public’s awareness of West Nile. While no confirmed cases of the disease are yet in Liberty County, Cooperative Extension Agent Ron Holcomb reminds residents not to let their guard down and continue having horses vaccinated, as well as protecting against mosquito bites themselves. The Texas Department of Health has established a web site to provide the public with complete information at

The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual Teachers Reception is tomorrow at 6 p.m. at the TVE Fairgrounds on FM 563 in Liberty. Employees of all South Liberty County schools and their spouse or guest are invited to enjoy an evening of free BBQ, door prizes and musical entertainment. For more information, call 336-5736.


David Mason Smith Jr., 74, of Dayton, Services were Saturday.

Barbara L. Fregia, 44 of Ames, Services tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

Isabell Briscoe, 88 of Ames, Services Thursday at 11 a.m. at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames.

Shawntique Shatele Prater, 17 of Liberty, Services Wednesday at 11 a.m. at Trinity Valley Baptist Church in Liberty.


-VOLUME 17 NO.165, FRIDAY, AUG. 23, 2002-

DPS Trooper Steven Hebert said 51-year-old Peggy Orosco Bell of Channelview was attempting a left turn onto a private road leading to the Dempsey Henley Prison Unit around 11 a.m. yesterday and was struck from behind by a propane tanker truck, operated by Curtis Walton, 46, of Big Sandy. The collision crushed the woman’s vehicle and sent the 18-wheeler rolling off the road where it hit a utility pole and overturned. Rescue personnel managed to free Peggy Bell, who was trapped in her burning car, and she was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston in serious condition. Curtis Walton was not injured and Hwy 321 remained closed for approximately 6 hours, as crews from LaGloria Oil and Gas of Bellaire transferred some 8200 gallons of propane from their wrecked truck into another so the roadway could be cleared.

U.S. Congressman Jim Turner visited Liberty and Dayton yesterday as part of his "Building East Texas Tour" with stops planned in all 19 counties in his 2nd Congressional District. Turner discussed ways of improving the East Texas economy with residents, city and county officials as well as ways state and federal government can aid in that process.

The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Teacher’s Reception is this Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the TVE Fairgrounds in Liberty. Employees from all South Liberty County schools are invited for an evening of free barbecue, door prizes and entertainment. For more information, call 336-5795.

The Kenefick VFD Ladies Auxiliary is hosting a blood drive tomorrow at the fire station on Parker Loop near FM 1008 from noon until 6 p.m. Blood donations can be designated for former firefighter David Stockstill, who was seriously injured in a wreck recently or for cancer patient Lloyd Addington.

8/23 FUNERALS: Travis Lenard Williams, 43, of Ames, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Our Mother of Mercy Catholic Church in Ames. ** Lois Lee Roecker, 80, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Trinity Valley Baptist Church in Liberty. ** Louise Brown DeBlanc, 84, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Trinity Valley Baptist Church. ** Sias Elliott, 95, of Liberty, Services at 11 a.m. Monday at Wells Mortuary in Liberty


-VOLUME 17 NO.163, WEDNESDAY, AUG. 21, 2002-

The Dayton City Council met Monday night and awarded the contract for employee health insurance to the company with the low bid, Cigna Healthcare HMO at a cost of $202,284. The new plan increases the employee hospital co-payment from $100 to $500, and council discussed starting a partial self-insurance program to set aside money to cover the difference.

Liberty Police Officer Cedric McDuffie said Demitra Kay Williams, 34, of Liberty was stopped at the traffic signal on Hwy 90 at the Main Street Intersection around noon yesterday and was rear-ended by a pickup truck driven by Joshua Wayne Burk, 19, of Liberty. Neither driver was injured. Ms. Williams’ 10-year-old son was taken to Liberty-Dayton Hospital only as a precaution. Joshua Burk was cited for failure to control speed.

U.S. Congressman Jim Turner will be visiting Liberty County tomorrow as part of his "Building East Texas Tour" with stops planned in all 19 counties of his 2nd Congressional District. Turner will speak to the Dayton Rotary Club at noon tomorrow then the public is invited to come and meet the congressman at the Liberty City Hall Council Chambers at 2 p.m.

Work has begun on a nearly 11 mile stretch of Hwy 90 from Hwy 61 in Devers to East Street in Liberty. TxDot Assistant Area Engineer John Sudela said the purpose of the $1.58 million project is to repair the normal road wear-and-tear and workers will also be upgrading some of the bridge and guard railings along the stretch to meet current standards. Motorists can expect traffic delays since travel will be reduced to one lane in the construction zone. The project is expected to last into November.

The Dayton Volunteer Fire Department is selling barbecue briskets to be delivered for the Labor Day Weekend. Ten to twelve pound briskets are $25 each and the deadline to order is August 27th. The briskets will be ready on August 31st. All proceeds will benefit the Dayton VFD. To order call, 258-5584.

8/ 21 FUNERALS: Harry H. Hammond, 82, of Houston, No public service planned. ** Gary Douglas Dixon, 54, of Kenefick, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton**LAKE RELEASE: 990 CFS*LIBERTY BRIDGE: 5.77 ASL

-VOLUME 17 NO.162, TUESDAY, AUG. 20, 2002-

Dearl Hardy turned himself in to officers at his former place of employment, the Chambers County Sheriff’s Office around noon yesterday. The former Chief Sheriff’s Deputy was arraigned shortly thereafter on charges of aggravated perjury, official oppression and tampering with government documents. According to Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia, all three charges stem from the much-publicized arrest of Vernon Coates of Anahuac for drunk driving. Dearl Hardy, who was fired for allegedly violating county bidding policies for new equipment, was released on $50,000 bond yesterday. Hardy is now the third Chambers County Sheriff’s Deputy to be indicted in connection to the Vernon Coates incident. Brett Hulsey and John Joslin are also free on bond, awaiting trial on similar charges.

District 18 State Representative Dan Ellis of Livingston, who now represents Liberty County after redistricting, is requesting state funds from Texas Governor Rick Perry so rural counties can afford widespread intense mosquito spraying to fight the West Nile Virus. Liberty County Judge Lloyd Kirkham has made a similar request of the Governor and said, while all four county precincts are involved in a mosquito eradication program, he is asking for aerial spraying countywide.

All Nine Sports’ live football coverage begins during the last week of August this year. You can hear the U. T. Longhorns, the Houston Texans and the Liberty Panthers and Dayton Broncos all season long. Our high school football broadcasts will be via our "Split Channel Sports" system and will require a stereo radio with a balance control to hear both the Panthers and the Broncos live at the same time. Turn your balance control all the way to the left for Liberty or all the way to the right for Dayton.

The Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Monthly Luncheon is tomorrow at noon in the Liberty City Hall Auditorium. Guest speaker is Dayton ISD At-Risk Counselor Randa Tepfer. Cost is $6 per person. Call the Chamber Office at 336-5736 for reservations.

8/20 FUNERALS: Travis Williams, 43, of Liberty, Services pending at Wells Mortuary in Liberty. ** Sias "Hoppy" Elliot, 95, of Liberty, Services also pending Wells Mortuary in Liberty.


-VOLUME 17 NO.160, FRIDAY, AUG. 16, 2002-

According to Baytown Police, 20-year-old Jerod Allen Wheeler of Hardin was on his way to work at the Baytown Exxon Plant Tuesday morning and failed to negotiate a turn in the 600 Block of Bayway Drive. The pick up truck he was driving reportedly left the road, traveled through a parking area and hit several trees in an open field. Jerod Wheeler was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident remains under investigation.

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department is asking for the public’s help in locating Theobert Gerard Jannise, age 22, the second of two suspects charged with the aggravated robbery of Hylton’s Grocery Store on FM 563 Monday Aug. 6th. Theobert Jannise, also known as "T.J." is a white male, 5’ 11", 200 lbs. with brown hair and green eyes, believed to be driving a light blue 1984 Oldsmobile Delta 88 with a dented right front. The license number is R03VHX. Anyone with information is asked to call Liberty County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-924-7199.

During Texas Governor Rick Perry’s campaign visit to Dayton yesterday, he was presented with a request by Liberty County Judge Lloyd Kirkham for funding to help fight the mosquito-borne West Nile Virus. Judge Kirkham said the county is doing everything possible to reduce the mosquito population, but does not have the funding to launch an all-out fight against the insects. While experts agree the virus is most likely present in Liberty County, there still is no positive confirmation.

Dayton Police said William David Wilson, 34, was arrested yesterday afternoon at Huffman Pawn Shop in Huffman, allegedly in possession of some $20,000 in items stolen in a recent burglary at Dayton Automotive on Hwy 90. The Dayton man was allegedly arrested in the process of trying to pawn some of the stolen goods. Police said Wilson could be involved in the recent burglaries of several other Dayton businesses.

8/16 FUNERALS: Louise Brickey, 67, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. ** Jarod Allen Wheeler, 20, of Moss Hill, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at North Main Baptist Church in Liberty. ** Faye Brinkley Jackson, 77, of Groesbeck, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Allison Funeral Service. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.159, THURSDAY, AUG. 15, 2002-

October 7th is the tentative date for three members of a Cleveland area family to stand trial in connection with the death of an eight-year-old child. Brian Beebe, 55, and wife, Edith, age 46 as well as Justin Martin, 20, Mrs. Beebe’s son by a previous marriage, are all charged with felony injury to a child. The charges allege systematic abuse against the couple’s five adopted children that led to the death of Joseph Beebe in March of 2000. 253rd District Judge Chap Cain terminated the Beebe’s parental rights for their surviving children, each of whom the three suspects are charged with physically abusing.

The Liberty City Council met Tuesday and were presented a report of the recent activities of the Sam Rayburn Municipal Power Agency by Mayor Bruce Halstead. The mayor, who is also president of the SRMPA, presented a strong defense of the power agency’s recent decision to refinance its bonded indebtedness. In other action, council set Monday August 26th at 7 p.m. as the date for a public hearing on the new budget and tax rate. City Manager Allen Barnes is proposing a tax rate of a little less than 58 cents to finance a new $16.8 million budget.

The Orange City Council yesterday named the five finalists for the job of Orange City Manager and Dayton City Manager Robert Ewart was not among them. We reported last week that Ewart, Dayton’s city manager for the past 7 years, was in the 12 finalists for the position in the Golden Triangle community after he allowed an executive search firm to submit his name.

Liberty County Commissioners met Tuesday morning and approved the installation of 2 high-speed DSL Internet connections for the use of county employees. The lines will allow county offices, the justice of the peace courts, the District Clerk’s office and the Cleveland Annex faster access and better online security. The DSL lines will also be less expensive than the county’s current dial up system. Commissioners agreed to have Liberty’s Computer Solutions perform the installation.

8/15 FUNERALS: Vickie Schexnaider Bishop, 36, of Liberty, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at St. James Catholic Church in Port Arthur. ** Faye Brinkley Jackson, 77, of Groesbeck, Services pending at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.157, TUESDAY, AUG. 13, 2002-

Texas Governor Rick Perry will visit Liberty County this Thursday with a stop at the Dayton Retirement Center on North Winfree Street at 2:45 p.m. The public is welcome and GOP officials said those planning to attend should arrive by 2:30 p.m. County Republican Party Chair Richard Pegues said he has known for some time about the governor’s visit, but was waiting for confirmation to announce it. Governor Perry’s stop in Dayton is to discuss issues important to senior citizens.

According to TxDot Operations Director David Hearnsberger, crews making repairs to the bridge at Deadman’s Curve on FM 1409 south of Dayton have encountered delays. The bridge has been closed since last Wednesday after an underwater inspection team detected structural damage. Workers spent most of Saturday and Sunday clearing away trees in order to install new steel support pilings at the bridge, while thunderstorms late Sunday and early yesterday caused further delay. Mr. Hearnsberger said, weather permitting, the soonest the bridge could be reopened to traffic is sometime this Friday.

By the end of last week, the YMCA Founders’ Campaign reports pledges totaling $280,206- less than $20,000 shy of the group’s $300,000 goal. "Y" after school programs for children in Liberty and Dayton are expected to begin soon with teen programs in Cleveland planned for sometime after school starts. Applications for part-time directors and staff are available at Randel Arnold Insurance in Dayton or at KSHN Radio in Liberty.

The Liberty Athletic Booster Club will have their popular Annual Scrimmage BBQ this Saturday at War Memorial Stadium as the Liberty Panthers scrimmage Santa Fe. Plates of barbecue will be $6 each and serving begins at 4:30 p.m. The scrimmages get underway at 5 p.m. for freshmen, junior varsity and then varsity all playing. Tickets are available at Clawson’s Copy Shoppe on Main in Liberty, from any Booster Club Member or at the gate on Saturday.

8/13 FUNERALS: F.A. "Allen" Sheffield, 66, of Hardin, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Hardin Baptist Church in Hardin. ** Ralph Linkenhoker, Sr., Services at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Forest Park East Funeral Home in Webster, Texas. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.156, MONDAY, AUG. 12, 2002-

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department has issued an arrest warrant for 36-year-old Bobby Wayne Woods of Lufkin. He is believed to be the second of two men who robbed Hylton’s Grocery Store at knifepoint Monday morning. Investigators had already identified Theobert Jannise, Jr., 22, of Liberty as the other aggravated robbery suspect, and Sheriff’s Detective James Brown said the two men, who remain at large, are now wanted for another aggravated robbery in Louisiana. The pair is now accused of a robbery of a New Orleans drug store Thursday.

Chambers County Judge Jimmy Sylvia received confirmation Friday from the Texas Department of Health of one definite and one suspected case of the West Nile Virus, both in horses and both in Southern Chambers County. Judge Sylvia said officials will be making every effort to reduce risk of exposure to the mosquito borne virus for residents. Call 267-8393 for more information on mosquito control and the West Nile Virus. There are still no confirmed cases of the virus in Liberty County.

A power outage affected 1300 Liberty homes for nearly 3 hours yesterday afternoon following a wreck that caused damage to a telephone cable junction box and a utility pole. Liberty Police Officer Matt Custer said around 11:30 a.m., Travis Wilde, 16 of Liberty, was turning into his driveway on Jefferson Dr. when his pick-up was hit by a vehicle driven by Bradley Fondon, 20 of Liberty. The collision sent Fondon’s truck into the utility pole. City of Liberty Electricity workers shut the power off to a small section of town until 2:15 p.m. for repairs, although they continued the work after power was restored.

Former Hardin Schools Superintendent Allen Sheffield died Sunday morning after undergoing a heart operation at a Houston hospital. The 66-year-old’s health had deteriorated in the past several months. Sheffield retired 4 years ago. Services pending.

8/11 FUNERALS: Elva C. Silva Stephenson, 92, of Wallisville, Services held Sunday. ** R. Lee Smith, 85,of Anahuac, Services at 10 a.m. today at 1st Baptist Church in Anahuac. ** Bobbie Jean Maxwell, 68 of Dayton, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Cooke Memorial Cemetery. ** Valerie Annette Brent, 42 of Dayton, Services at 11 a.m. at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Dayton. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.155, FRIDAY, AUG. 09, 2002-

According to information from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Dept., Gerald Lewis Letien, 42, of Tarkington and his wife Connie attempted to rescue their 15-year-old daughter Leona who was struggling in the deep water near the Trinity River Bridge on Hwy 105 in Moss Hill Wednesday afternoon. Rodney Glenn Bush, 39, of Hardin entered the river to help the family. Mother and daughter made it to shore, the two men did not. Search teams recovered the body of Rodney Bush Wednesday night. The body of Gerald Letien was found early yesterday.

TxDot officials now say the bridge at Deadman’s Curve on FM 1409 south of Dayton should be reopened sometime next week. The bridge was closed down Wednesday evening after a TxDot dive team detected serious rust damage to the structure. TxDot ‘s Marc Shepherd said the work has been given an emergency high priority and crews will be working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to have the well-traveled farm-to-market road reopened.

DPS Trooper Bryan Nichols said Michael Richardson, 46, of Buna swerved his pickup across FM 1960 west of Dayton Tuesday night and into the eastbound lane, striking a car driven by Lonnie James Grant, 51, of Humble, then fled the scene. A third car, driven by Irene Griffin, 52, of Kingwood suffered extensive damage upon hitting debris from the wreck. The Buna man was arrested not long afterward and charged with driving while intoxicated and failure to stop and render aid. A passenger, Billy Cain, 39, of Silsbee was arrested for public intoxication. Lonnie Grant was arrested for DWI and possession of marijuana, allegedly found in his vehicle by accident investigators.

Police are continuing to search for a light blue late model full-size pick up truck with left front end damage that reportedly caused, then left the scene of an accident that claimed the life of MaKane Lyles, age 6, of Dayton on Hwy 146 south on Friday August 2nd. Four others were injured in that wreck. Anyone with information is asked to call Dayton Police at 258-7621.

8/9 FUNERALS: James R. Mullican, 82, of Kenefick, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Rodney Glenn Bush, 39, of Hardin, Services tomorrow at 10 a.m. at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.154, THURSDAY, AUG. 08, 2002-

Details were unavailable at the time of this report, but the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a possible double drowning on Hwy 105 at the Trinity River Bridge in Moss Hill. Reports indicate one 15-year-old girl was rescued from the river and transported to Cleveland Regional Medical Center, but the search continues for two men who were lost during that rescue. More information as it becomes available.

According to Dayton Police, a tip yesterday afternoon led to the capture of Anthony Troy Key, at the Sands Motel in Dayton. The 39-year-old Kenefick man had been at-large since escaping custody and fleeing, still handcuffed, from the Liberty County Jail Monday night. Police said Key faces felony escape charges in addition to the forgery charges that led to his initial arrest. Additional county charges may also be pending.

TxDot’s Myron Broussard said the bridge at Dead Man’s Curve on FM 1409 south of Dayton has been closed for repairs. The bridge was closed around 8 p.m. yesterday and so far, no estimate on how long the bridge will be closed is available.

Last weekend’s 13th Annual Burnham Classic Golf Tournament at Magnolia Ridge Country Club in Liberty was a big success and while all the totals are not in, organizers believe nearly $25,000 was raised for the South Liberty County State Center for Children and Adolescents. This year’s 1st Place winners in the Championship Flight were Chris Rieve and Kyle Jerome.

The Dayton Historical Society’s Auction is tonight, simulcast from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on KSHN Radio and LDTV Channel 99 for Liberty and Dayton cable subscribers. The proceeds will go toward the restoration of the "Old School" in Dayton and items up for bid include small furniture items, football season tickets, live plants, pet supplies, commemorative coins, American flags, books and much more. To bid on an item, call LDTV in Liberty at 936-336-3333.

8/8 FUNERALS: Carol Evelyn Curry, 57, of Crosby, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. **Ora Southward, 87, of Cleveland, Services at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Cleveland


-VOLUME 17 NO.153, WEDNESDAY, AUG. 07, 2002-

DPS Trooper Nathan Pierce said Kimberly Sargent, 31, of Dayton, turned off FM 1409 onto CR# 428 around 6:30 p.m. Monday. Alan Griffin, 17, of Dayton swerved his southbound vehicle to avoid contact with the oncoming car and collided head-on with a car driven by Misti Don, 20, also of Dayton. Both drivers were airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston in serious condition and Alan Griffin’s passenger, 18-year-old Jessica Kelley was treated and released from Liberty-Dayton Hospital. The accident remains under investigation.

At last report, 39-year-old Anthony Troy Key of Kenefick remained at-large after escaping from custody and fleeing, still in handcuffs, out an open back entrance of the Liberty County Jail Monday night. Key, who was arrested on felony forgery charges, is described as white, 6 feet tall, 160 pounds, with brown hair and hazel eyes, last seen wearing a dark T-shirt with white lettering and blue shorts. Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to contact the nearest police agency.

The Liberty County Sheriff’s Department reports two men entered Hilton’s Grocery Store on FM 563 at about 5:15 a.m. Monday and robbed the clerk at knifepoint, taking an undetermined amount of cash. An arrest warrant has been issued for Theobert Jannise Jr., 22, of Liberty, whom the clerk identified as one of the men, for aggravated robbery. It is expected the second suspect will be identified in the near future.

With 10 suspected human cases of West Nile Virus in Texas, half in Southeast Texas, there still has been no confirmed instance of the potentially deadly disease in Liberty County. Extension Agent Ron Holcomb said Department of Health Officials have identified a "probable" case in one horse from Liberty County, but nothing definite. County residents are reminded to vaccinate horses against the mosquito-borne virus while continuing to protect themselves against mosquito bites.

The 2nd Annual Dayton Historical Society Auction simulcast live on both KSHN Radio and LDTV Channel 99 is tomorrow from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Call 336-3333 to bid on a variety of merchandise donated for the event that benefits the restoration of Dayton’s oldest known school building.


-VOLUME 17 NO.152, TUESDAY, AUG. 06, 2002-

Overall TAAS results are in for the Liberty ISD. As a district, Liberty received an academically Acceptable rating, however Liberty Elementary and San Jacinto Elementary combined to get a higher Recognized rating. Liberty Middle School jumped from Low Performing last year to an Acceptable rating this year and Liberty High School achieved the highest rating given by the Texas Education Agency: Exemplary.

This Thursday night is the 2nd Annual Fundraiser Auction for the Dayton Historical Society to be broadcast both on KSHN Radio and Liberty Dayton TV in Liberty. Between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. a large number of donated items including commemorative coins, live plants, pet supplies, football season tickets and more will be auctioned to bidders who call LDTV at 336-3333. All proceeds will benefit the project to restore Dayton’s "Old School" Building. To participate in the auction, just tune in to 99.9 FM or Channel 99 for Liberty and Dayton cable subscribers.

Details from the Hardin County Sheriff’s Office have not been available, but neighbors report that 64-year-old Birt Thorson took his own life at home Sunday. The Batson man was apparently grief-stricken over the death of his wife, Jessie Thorson, age 61, of natural causes the day before, also at their home. The couple was known and respected in the Batson area.

The Dayton Chamber of Commerce will host Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Rylander, as part of her reelection campaign bus tour this Thursday at 2:30 p.m. at the new Los Compadres Restaurant in the Dayton Town Center. The public is invited to attend. Mrs. Rylander faces opposition for a new four-year term in November from Democrat Marty Akins, who made a similar stop in South Liberty County a few weeks ago.

FUNERALS: Jeanette Mabel Boudreau, 85, of New York, Memorial Service at 11 a.m. Thursday at Midway Baptist Church. ** Michael Allen Wedgeworth, 43, of Dayton Lakes, Services at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** Jessie Thorson, 61, and Birt Thorson, 64, both of Batson, Services at 10 a.m. tomorrow at Batson Prairie Baptist Church. ** Mable Doris Walters, 77, of Liberty, Services held Sunday. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.151, MONDAY, AUG. 05, 2002-

Dayton Police Officer Jimmy Brannon is trying to find any witnesses to the Friday wreck that claimed the life of a Dayton Child. A Dayton woman, Jill Pesl, was turning onto Brown Road when hit form behind by a pickup truck.. That pickup truck pulling a trailer fled. It is presumed it had extensive front end damage. Force of the impact pushed Mrs. Pesl’s car sideways into oncoming traffic where a truck driven by Bryant Stephens, 31, of Baytown struck her passenger side door. The woman’s 6-year-old son, MaKane Lyles, was later pronounced dead at Liberty-Dayton Hospital. Jill Pesl’s 3-year-old girl was apparently unhurt. The driver was airlifted to Memorial Hermann Hospital and now is in good condition. Bryant Stephens and two passengers in his truck were treated for non-life-threatening injuries here. Anyone with information on the driver of the light colored pick up truck that police say caused the wreck is urged to call Dayton Police at 258-7621.

DPS Trooper Nathan Pierce said 4:40 Sunday afternoon, Paul Cannon, 51 of Houston, was on Highway 90 about a mile east of Devers when he lost control of his pick up truck, collided head-on with an eastbound car driven by George Andrew, Jr., 65 of Kingwood. Mr. Andrew’s car was then hit by another eastbound car driven by David Dethlefsen, 44 of Humble. Mr. Cannon was transported to St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont with what medical technicians described as multiple fractures and internal bleeding. George Andrew was flown by Coast Guard helicopter to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, we are told, with broken bones and a head injury. Two others were unhurt. .

The much-discussed YMCA Program in Liberty and Dayton has moved to the next level. They are now taking applications for activities directors and caregivers for both Liberty and Dayton. . Director applicants will work Monday through Friday from 2:30 until 6 p.m., be at least 21 years of age with a high school diploma. Caregiver applicants must be 18 or older with a high school diploma. Call 936-257-2888 weekdays to apply.

FUNERALS: Eugene Richard Westcott, 64, of Tarkington, Graveside services at 10 a.m. today at Ryan Cemetery in Tarkington Prairie. ** Preston MaKane Lyles, 6, of Dayton, Services 1 p.m. at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.150, FRIDAY, AUG. 02, 2002-

Results from the final year of TAAS testing are in and Dayton ISD showed academic improvement district-wide. Dayton schools received recognized ratings at four campuses and a recognized rating as a district. That is the second highest rating given by the Texas Education Agency. In the Liberty ISD, the two elementary school campuses were also rated as recognized while Liberty High School was awarded the highest possible rating: exemplary. Next year, TAAS will be replaced by the tougher Texas Assessment of Knowledge Skills or TAKS test.

Liberty-Dayton Hospital will have a town meeting on Wednesday August 7th to discuss the local hospital’s application for designation as a critical access hospital. Hospital Administrator Sean Stricker said the critical access hospital program is administered through the Texas Department of Health and offers an alternative approach to insure ongoing access to health care for citizens of small and rural communities. The public meeting is at 5 p.m. at the Liberty City Hall.

Dedication ceremonies for the new Barbers Hill Veterans Memorial are tomorrow at 10 a.m. at the memorial site on the corner of FM 565 and FM 3180 in front of Mont Belvieu City Hall. The ceremony will include taps, an honor guard, a 21 gun salute and the guest speaker will be Baytown WWII veteran L.M. Snyder. The memorial contains the names of some 812 Barbers Hill area veterans, some dating back to the War of 1812.

Just a reminder that the Annual Sales Tax Holiday began at 12:01 today and will continue until midnight Sunday with most clothing and shoes priced under $100 each exempt from all sales tax. Items placed on lay-away will also be tax exempt and as will any eligible items removed from lay-a-way this weekend. Since the Texas Legislature started the tax holiday three years ago, consumers have saved an estimated $108 million.

FUNERALS: JOHN JEFFERY - SERVICE TIME CORRECTION: 10 A.M. TODAY AT 1ST BAPTIST CHURCH IN LIBERTY. ** Floyd Robinson, 57, of Nome, Services at 11 a.m. Monday at Well’s Mortuary in Liberty. **Pauline Syphrett, 92, of Liberty, Services pending at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty. **


-VOLUME 17 NO.149, THURSDAY, AUG. 01, 2002-

DPS Sergeant Ryan Arthur said it was 5:40 a.m. yesterday when 35-year-old John Barrett Jeffrey was found dead in his wrecked pick up truck by passersby who saw the overturned vehicle in a field off FM 1410 south of Devers. It is believed the Liberty man lost control of his vehicle late Tuesday night and was partially ejected when it left the roadway and rolled over. Investigators believe that Mr. Jeffery was killed instantly, but was not discovered for several hours after the accident occurred.

Dayton Police Officer Tommy Nail said 17-year-old Leah Michelle Caskey of Liberty was driving her van out of the Sonic Drive In Restaurant in Dayton around 5:30 p.m. yesterday. As Ms. Caskey was attempting to cross the eastbound lanes of Hwy 90, her vehicle was hit by a pick up truck operated by John Edward Arvin, 34, of Dayton. The collision caused Mr. Arvin’s truck to flip on to its side, leaking fuel across both westbound lanes. All participants in the wreck declined medical treatment. Leah Caskey was cited for failing to yield right-of-way.

According to information from the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, Detective Kenny Dagle assisted in the arrest of a Baytown man and the recovery of $130,000 in stolen property. The DPS Auto Theft Division, the Harris County Auto Theft Task Force and Harris County Organized Crime Unit were also involved in the arrest of 29-year-old Amador Trevino and the recovery of five new tractors, 4 trailers and several mowers and loaders, stolen from Lufkin and Cleveland. Sheriff Greg Arthur said the four agencies’ investigation is ongoing, with more arrests and more stolen equipment recovery expected

The first Liberty County School District to re-open for the 2002-2003 School Year is Hull-Daisetta where classes resume on August 12th. August 19th is the start date for the Devers, Hardin and Tarkington School Districts, while Dayton ISD students head back to school on August 21st. School starts in Cleveland on August 26th, and lastly, in Liberty on September 3rd.

FUNERALS: James Arthur Rives, 57, of Hardin, Services at 10 a.m. today at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton. ** John Barrett Jeffrey, 35, of Liberty, Services at 2 p.m. tomorrow at 1st Baptist Church in Liberty. **


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Videos are available for playback at the bottom of this page

  • July 19, Texas AgriLife Extension Service
  • July 18, Partyline Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of  Commerce
  • July 11, Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center Symposium


Partyline Schedule
Mon: 7/22 Liberty Police Dept. National Night Out
Tue: 7/23  TRWR Moth Night Out
Wed: 7/24 Dayton ISD
Thur: 7/25 Open
Fri: 7/26 Open 
Mon: 7/29 Open
Tue: 7/30 Open
Wed: 7/31 Liberty ISD

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