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January 2010

VOLUME 25 NO. 19 FRIDAY, JANUARY 29, 2010

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H1N1 Vaccine: Recent information from the Texas Department of State Health Services indicates in past years, the highest level of flu activity in Texas has been January and February, continuing as late as May. With that information, the state health department says now is the right time to get H1N1 vaccinations. That would allow people who have had their flu shot or spray time to develop the desired immunity in the event of a third wave of the H1N1 flu. The Texas Department of State Health Services says there if plenty of vaccine at health department clinics and from local medical providers.

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Sales Tax Deductions: According to local Certified Public Accountant Byron Swaim, those who bought cars in 2009 may qualify for a sales tax deduction, in addition to the standard deduction on their 2009 federal returns. The CPA said qualifying vehicles will weigh less than 8500 pounds and only the sales tax on the first $49,500 of the vehicles cost is eligible for the sales tax deduction.

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The Kitchen Garden: Do you want to learn about planting a garden or even a home orchard? The Liberty County Agri-Life Extension Agency and the Liberty County Master Gardeners Association are hosting Bill Adams and his presentation "The Kitchen Garden". It will be next Thursday February 4, from 6 to 9 p.m in the San Jacinto Elementary School Auditorium on Grand Ave. in Liberty. Bill Adams is a retired horticulture extension agent from Harris County and the author of two books, "Lone Star Gardener's Book of Lists" and "Southern Kitchen Garden". The garden guru spent more than 30 years with the Texas Extension Service. There is a $5 fee to cover materials. For reservations, call the Agri-Life Extension office at 336-4558, ext. 221. The deadline to sign up is Tuesday.

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Brookshire Brothers Pharmacy: Brookshire Brothers on North Main St. in Liberty will celebrate the opening of their new pharmacy with a grand opening tomorrow. There will be door prizes, free hot dogs and more. The pharmacy is just inside the main door and to the right. The public is invited to attend.

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Obituaries: Scott Whittington, 47 of Liberty. Services 10 a.m. Saturday First United Methodist Church in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 4,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 11.35 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 18 THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 2010

Liberty City Council: Monday night, the Liberty City Council approved a change in financial consultants. Council approved a recommendation from City Manager Gary Broz and adopted a consultant agreement with a company called RBC Capital Markets out of San Antonio. Robert V. Henderson, Chief Managing Officer for the company's San Antonio office said the firm has been in operation since 1933 and is headquartered in Dallas. Several members of council said they wanted to make sure the public knows this is not a new position being created at city hall. Henderson does not have a retainer fee, and his fees only come into effect when the city issues or sells bonds, or restructures their bonded indebtedness.

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Voter Registration: An important reminder, the deadline to register to vote in the March party primary elections is Monday, February 1. Liberty County Voter Registrar Mark McClelland said his office will continue to take voter registration applications through 5 p.m. Monday.

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Former Liberty Priest: A former Liberty priest has been defrocked following allegations of sexual misconduct in Illinois and later in Sour Lake, Texas. According to a press release from Curtis J. Guillory Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Beaumont, Father Frank Paduch was removed from the priesthood in 2005 following an investigation into allegations of sexual and other forms of misconduct. Frank Paduch served as pastor of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church from 1999 to 2001. The Beaumont Diocese is actively seeking information about any misconduct involving Father Frank Paduch that occurred while he served in Liberty. For more information on reporting misconduct, call 409-924-4300.

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Business Expo: Time is growing short to sign up for the fourth annual Liberty Dayton Area Business Expo set for Thursday April 8 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Liberty Center. Chamber President Mary Anne Campbell said the event is filling up fast. She said the remaining booth spaces at the business expo are available on a first come, first served basis. For information, call the chamber office at 936 336 5736.

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Obituaries: Lora Nell Sanders, 75 of Liberty. Services today 11 a.m. at First United Methodist Church of Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 6,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 11.31 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 17 WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 27, 2010

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Property Tax: Property owners have until close of business Monday to pay property taxes without penalties. Liberty County Tax Collector Mark McClelland said technically the deadline to pay is January 31. However because that is a Sunday, taxes can be paid until 6 p.m. Monday February 1 with out the 7 % penalty added to the bill. Mailed in payments that have a postmark of February 1 will also be accepted as on-time payments. The Liberty County Tax Office will be open until 6 p.m. both Friday and Monday for property owners to pay their taxes.

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Commissioners: The salaries of the 253rd District Court staff was again a topic of discussion at Tuesday's Liberty County Commissioners Court meeting. County Judge Phil Fitzgerald has said the district court's bailiff is being paid twice for the same job- a monthly salary from Liberty County plus an hourly wage for the time spent when the 253rd court was working in Chambers County. Commissioners tabled the issue so County Attorney Wes Hinch could research a proposed inter-local agreement with Chambers County for a new division of payment responsibilities for the court's staff by the two counties.

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Train vs. Truck: There were no injuries when a pick-up truck was struck by a Union Pacific train Monday night in Ames. According to DPS Trooper Rob Willoughby, 84-year-old R. J. Bagwell of Hull said he thought the crossing arms at the Hwy 90-railroad crossing were malfunctioning. He said he looked and waited, but not seeing a train he began driving around the crossing arms. Trooper Willoughby said there was a train backing up. Luckily, a Union Pacific employee saw Mr. Bagwell's truck and notified the engineer to hit the brakes. The train had slowed to about three miles an hour when it hit the truck. Mr. Bagwell was not hurt in the low speed collision.

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TVE: The Trinity Valley Exposition is recruiting new member volunteers. Those interested in becoming involved in the charitable organization are invited to attend a meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds on FM 563 in Liberty.

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Obituaries: Melvin Leon Beene, 79 of Crosby. Memorial services tomorrow noon at Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 6,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 11.36 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 16 TUESDAY, JANUARY 26, 2010

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Dayton 8-Liners: At their meeting last week, the Dayton City Council approved an ordinance that tightens restrictions on operating illegal gambling devices inside the city limits. Dayton City Manager David Douglas said the ordinance targeting the illegal operation and use of coin-operated, eight-liner machines in this area was in response to a request by Dayton PD for a tougher order than was already in place. The Dayton city manager said part of that new ordinance requires the eight-liners and those playing be clearly visible from the front of the business rather than partially concealed in the back.

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Hospital Upgrades: Work to improve the Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center facilities continues. Interim Hospital Administrator Vicki Gates said some extensive improvements have been made and occupancy is on the upswing. She said they are taking it one room at a time, redecorating with new patient beds and furniture while repainting. The interim administrator is a Waco native who has worked at the hospital since 1999. She has 30 years medical experience, first as a licensed vocational nurse but mostly as a registered nurse. In recent years at the hospital here, Vicki Gates has supervised the important job of quality management. The hospital staff is also preparing for its once every three years state and federal regulatory inspection.

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Brady Goes Mobile: Congressman Kevin Brady's mobile office is making a tour around the Eighth Congressional District this week. The tour will be in Liberty County Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the parking lot between the Hardin Middle School on FM 834 and the administration building. This mobile office is staffed with congressional caseworkers who help people with government problems, such as Social Security, Medicare, veterans, IRS, immigration and FEMA related issues.

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All-State Choir: Liberty High School eleventh-grader Conner Gilliland has been named a member of the 2010 Texas All-State Choir. He was selected after a series of auditions involving several hundred students from across the state. Conner is the son of Mike and Joann Gilliland of Liberty.

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Obituaries: Mary E. Parker, 71, of Liberty. Service is 1 p.m. Wednesday at Faith and Family Funeral Home in Batson.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 6,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 11.36 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 15 MONDAY, JANUARY 25, 2010

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Unemployment Rises: More Texans lost their jobs during December, and that unemployment trend also holds true for both Liberty and Chambers counties. Texas Workforce Commission reports the unemployment rate in Texas rose from 8 percent in November to 8.3 percent in December. Locally, unemployment in Liberty County climbed from 10.9 percent in November to 11.3 percent in December. Down in Chambers County, the rate is now 10.3 percent. In real numbers, 5,161 people in the two counties who want to work cannot find a job.

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New Helipad: The helipad at the Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center is getting a much-needed upgrade. The hospital approached Liberty Rotary Club, which had built the pad back in August 1980. The club then talked with Oscar Cooper of Cooper Electric, who volunteered to complete the work as his donation. A subcontractor named Mark Carpenter also provided assistance, and Rotary also contributed some funds. These improvements include new amber lighting, a wider sidewalk to the pad, a lighted windsock pole, and a good cleaning.

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Dayton Chamber: The ninth annual Dayton Chamber of Commerce banquet is this Friday at the new community center. Keynote speaker is Jim McIngvale, owner of Gallery Furniture. The night's activities include a silent auction, dinner, music and dancing. For reservations, call the Dayton Chamber at 258-2393.

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TVE Board: The Trinity Valley Exposition board has set the dates for this year's fair and rodeo, moving the event back one week from recent years. The new dates for the main week of this year's TVE are October 19-23. TVE officers also appointed three new members to the board. Those are Ernie Pickett of Hardin, Jim Bob Evans of Devers and Clint Fancher of Anahuac.

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DCDC: Dayton Community Development Corporation has elected new officers. Jay Knight, who also serves on Dayton City Council, is the new DCDC board president. Calvin Carter is vice president while Sharron Stoval was chosen secretary and Richard Till is treasurer.

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Obituaries: Ethel Deloris Scott, 68, of Liberty. Service is 10 a.m. Tuesday at Sterling Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 6,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 11.42 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 14 FRIDAY JANUARY 22, 2010

Chase Nets Alleged Car Thief: Just before 10 a.m. yesterday, a Liberty County Sheriffs Deputy tried to pull over a driver for speeding, and a high-speed chase in excess of 100 mph ensued. The driver, later identified as Timothy Ehrlich, 31, wrecked the truck he was driving, which turned out to be stolen from Harris County. He then fled on foot into a wooded area near FM 834 and CR 2042, between Hardin and Hull. Law enforcement officials, with assistance from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice tracking dogs, searched the area. It was around 1 p.m. when law enforcement took the man into custody after Pct. 2 Constable Les Hulsey found the man exiting the woods. Timothy Ehrlich was arrested and charged with evading arrest or detention. Drugs, cash and drug paraphernalia were found in the truck along with stolen license plates. The sheriffs department is continuing to investigate, and other charges are expected.

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Voter Registration: A key deadline for those wanting to vote in the March 2 party primary elections is nearing. Anybody who is not registered to vote must do so by February 1. The current "blue and white" voter registration cards were sent out in December. If your card has not arrived or you are not registered to vote, check with Liberty County Voter Registrar Mark McClelland's Office before February 1. That number is 936-336-8683 in Liberty or 281-593-8415 in Cleveland.

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Wreck: A two-vehicle wreck sent a 51-year-old woman, Edna Joubert to Memorial Hermann Hospital by air ambulance yesterday afternoon, with serious injuries. According to Dayton Police Cory Spacek age 19 was going West on Hwy. 90 when Edna Joubert pulled off a side street and into his path. Cory Spacek was also taken to the Houston hospital by ground ambulance. Neither of the two injured persons were thought to have life threatening injuries.

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LPD: The Liberty Police Dept. is offering residents free security inspections of their homes with advice on how to better protect residences. For information, call 336-5666.

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Obituaries: John Vickers "Buzz" Abshier Jr, 69, of Big Thicket. Memorial service at 1 p.m. Monday in Sugarland followed by graveside service at 3 p.m. at Liberty City Cemetery under direction of AFS.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.50 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 13 THURSDAY JANUARY 21, 2010

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Dayton City Council: The big grand opening may have been Friday, but much of Tuesday night's Dayton City Council meeting still concerned the city's new library and community center. Dayton Council members unanimously voted to authorize City Manager David Douglas to enlarge the community center's dance floor from the current 30x30 to 33 x 66 feet at a cost of around $40,000. David Douglas said it appeared the total cost of furniture would come in under budget and the funds were certainly available.

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SS and Retirement Accounts: Social Security benefits are impacted by many things, including prior earnings, wages earned while collecting benefits, and the age at which a person first draws benefits. However, Social Security Representative Joel Smith said income generally does not affect benefits while wages do. He said drawing from another retirement account are not wages, so it does not affect social security benefits.

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Mobile Offices: US Congressmen Kevin Brady said his mobile office would be making a tour around the eighth congressional district next week with a stop in Hardin, Thursday January 28. That day, representatives from Brady's office will be in the Hardin Intermediate School parking lot from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m.

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Liberty Rotary Supper: Friday night marks the return of one of Liberty County's oldest and tastiest fundraisers. The Liberty Rotary Club's 59 Annual Fish and Oyster supper is Friday evening at Liberty City Hall with serving beginning at 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $14 and available from any Liberty Rotarian or at the door.

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Dayton School Board: The Dayton School board Tuesday night unanimously approved the resignation of Superintendent Greg Hayman, effective June 30, this year. Hayman announced his plans to resign last month, and trustees met last week to discuss various methods for selecting the new school chief. They decided to go with a professional search firm. The board Tuesday night set a special board meeting for next Tuesday at which time they will interview several search firms.

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Obituaries: Rickey Earl Young, 53 of Dayton. Services noon Saturday at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.10 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 12 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 20, 2010

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Hospital Administrator Resigns: Dr. Dan Yancy, administrator for the Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center has resigned affective Feb. 12, but stepped away from his responsibilities immediately. Yancy has served as administrator for the past few years. According to Bruce Stratton, President of the Liberty County Hospital District and a member of the board that oversees operations of the hospital, Yancy wanted a new year long contract. Southern Plains Medical Group, who operates the hospital in only a month to month agreement until all other issues are resolved as regards to their partnership, wanted Yancy to stay, but would not give him a year long contract until all the paperwork was complete removing Frontier Health Care from all involvement from the hospital. Not wanting to wait, Yancy submitted his resignation. The finalizing of the paper work, according to Hospital District President, Bruce Stratton, should happen in the next few days, which would allow TI Group, to complete arrangements for forming their partnership with the hospital district. Southern Plains is a subsidiary of TI Group and are currently managing the hospital.

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Chambers Co. Murder Trail: A trial date of March 29 has been set for Christopher Chapa of Winnie who is charged in the shooting death of Derek Munoz in May 2009. According to the office of Chambers County District Attorney Cheryl Lieck, a long-standing feud between the two men led to the shooting. Christopher Chapa is set to stand trial for murder in Judge Carroll Wilburn's 344th district court. Christopher Chapa has remained in the Chambers County Jail, held in lieu of a $500,000 bond since his arrest last May.

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Ray Perryman: Texas economist, Dr. Ray Perryman, will be the keynote speaker at the Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Awards Banquet. Dr. Perryman is one of the nation's most revered economists. The Waco resident has been nominated for the Nobel Prize in economics, and is noted for being able to find humor in the message, he delivers. The awards banquet is set for Thursday March 4 at the Grand Ballroom of the new Dayton Civic Center.

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Obituaries: Jay Dean Singletary, 67 of Livingston. Services tomorrow 2 p.m. at Faith and Family Funeral Service.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.83 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 11 TUESDAY JANUARY 19, 2010

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Marathon: More than 26,000 runners participated in Sunday's Chevron Houston Marathon. Of those hardy souls, 9 Liberty County residents ran the full marathon, 12 completed the half-marathon and five locals did the 5K run. Topping the field of local contenders in the marathon was 43-year-old Robert Dunn of Liberty. He finished in the top 5 % of all runners in the 26.2-mile event with a time of 3:15:40, his personal best. The youngest local marathoner was 20, Randy Horn Jr. of Cleveland, while the oldest local was 55-year-old Chris McMahon, also of Cleveland.

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Hardin Fire: Liberty County Fire Marshal Jim Wilson is investigating the cause of a fire that destroyed a home in Hardin Friday evening is under investigation. Hardin Fire Chief James Redding said his department was called to the doublewide mobile home of the Torres Family on C.R. 2050 at 5:35 p.m. Friday. The family was not home at the time of the fire.

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Tarkington Fire: Tarkington volunteer firefighters were called to a house fire on C.R. 2191 Saturday around 4:30 p.m. That house was destroyed by the blaze, but firefighters did prevent the fire from spreading to a nearby vehicle and another mobile home less than 30 feet away. The Liberty County fire marshal was called to investigate.

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Gambling Bust: Several law enforcement agencies were involved in a raid on another game room Friday. That raid took place at a business called Beaches along U.S. 59 north of Cleveland. Five individuals were arrested and computer boards from 52 gambling machines were seized.

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I-10 Improvements: Safety improvements are coming to an 18-mile stretch of I-10 between Beaumont and Winnie. Texas Department of Public Transportation will oversee a project to install what is called a safety cable barrier system to help prevent vehicles from crossing the median and into head-on traffic. Officials are reminding motorists to drive safely in the work zone and to watch for both workers and stopped vehicles.

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Obituaries: Loraina Henry, 36, of Batson. Service Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Batson Prairie Church directed by Faith & Family.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 5,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.78 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 10 FRIDAY JANUARY 15, 2010

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Burglary Arrest: A Liberty man is under arrest, charged with the Jan. 1 burglary of Medicine Chest Pharmacy in Liberty. The suspect reportedly made-off with more than 700 pills. Now, William Tanton, 24, of Liberty has been charged with burglary of a building. JP Pct. 1 Bobby Rader set bond at $20,000. Tanton remains behind bars in the Liberty County Jail.

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Library Closure: Liberty Municipal Library must close for about three weeks as part of the expansion and renovation project under way at the Geraldine D. Humphrey's Cultural Center. Library Director Dana Abshier says the library will temporarily close beginning this Monday. The head librarian encourages patrons to stock up on books before Monday's closure so they will have plenty of reading material. During the three-week period, patrons can renew books by phone or online. For information, call the Liberty library at 936-336-8901.

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Otto Appointment: Rep. John Otto of Dayton has been appointed to chair the House Select Committee on Fiscal Stability by Speaker of the House Joe Straus. That committee, which includes 12 other lawmakers, will assess Texas' ability to meet its current and future budget obligations. They will also analyze whether a potential budget shortfall is due to the current recession or a more systemic problem.

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Chamber Lunch: The Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce's monthly luncheon is this Wednesday at noon in the Liberty Center at City Hall. This month's speaker is Ken Defoor, a volunteer with Texas Equusearch. That is a search and rescue organization dedicated to assisting law enforcement locate missing persons. For reservations, call the Liberty-Dayton Area Chamber at 936-336-5736.

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MLK Celebration: Liberty County's 12th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is Saturday at 1 p.m. at St. John Baptist Church of North Main in Liberty. This year's speaker is the Rev. Keith Turner Sr., pastor of Valley Community Baptist Church.

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Obituaries: Richard Henderson, 50, of Liberty. Funeral service 2 p.m. Saturday at Bible Way Pentecostal Church of Liberty under direction of Faith and Family.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.79ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 9 THURSDAY JANUARY 14, 2010

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Possible Abduction Attempt: The Liberty County Sheriff's Department is investigating the report of an attempted abduction of two girls in Tarkington. The incident was reported Tuesday night when two children were reportedly walking home after a basketball game at the Tarkington Middle school. Tarkington ISD Superintendent John Kirchner sent a letter home with students for parents on Wednesday. Sheriff's Department Public Information Officer Steve Green said details are sketchy, but the department has increased patrols in the area while an investigation takes place.

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Dayton Civic Center: Tomorrow the wait is finally over, the grand opening for the new $14 million Dayton Community Center and Jones Library begins at 10:30 a.m. The public is encouraged to take part in the event with includes live music, tours of the facility, lunch for 1,000 people and a business expo sponsored by the Dayton Chamber of Commerce. Whether the ceremony will be indoors or out, depends on the weather. The new Community Center is on South Cleveland Street.

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Liberty City Council: Tuesday night, the Liberty City Council approved a resolution authorizing a one-year extension of the tax abatement agreement with Boomerang Tube, LLC. Council approved the ten-year agreement in 2008, but the economic downturn prompted the company to postpone their plans to develop the old pipe plant. City Manager Gary Broz said the council's actions simply bumps all the dates back one year, and changes all of the 2009 dates to 2010.

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Ruckus at Hospital: Just before nine yesterday morning, a man thought to be under the influence of the hallucinogen PCP caused a ruckus at the Liberty Dayton Regional Medial Center after police were called to remove him from the facility. Liberty Police Officer Hugh Bishop said it took several officers as well as assistance from Liberty County Sheriffs Deputies to subdue Lawrence Hubert, 28 of Liberty. Mr. Hubert was arrested and charged with resisting arrest. Other charges may be added pending the outcome of the police investigation.

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Obituaries: Ada Mae Lawrence, 75 of Saratoga. Services tomorrow 10 a.m. at Faith and Family Funeral Service.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.77ASL*

 

VOLUME 25 NO. 8 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 13, 2010

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Hospital District: Monday night the Liberty County Hospital District Board approved a second transfer of $300,000 to the non-profit corporation that owns and operates the Liberty Dayton Regional Medical Center for operating expenses for the hospital. President of the non-profit, Paul Henry, who is also a hospital district board member, said it is to help fill in the financial gap while waiting on reimbursement from Medicare and Medicaid. In other action, the hospital district board approved the financial statements for the district, which on the surface appear as if the district is in deficit spending. Hospital District Board President Bruce Stratton said in fact the district's money market account does have the funds to cover the expenses of the Liberty County Hospital District.

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Commissioners: Yesterday, Liberty County Commissioners once again took up the personnel salaries and expenses related to the 253 District Court of Judge Chap Cain. County Judge Phil Fitzgerald insisted the county is paying more than its fair share of salaries and expenses that he felt should be divided between the courts responsibilities in Liberty and Chambers counties. According to County Judge Phil Fitzgerald, Liberty County is paying about $15,000 more for the 253 court staff then it should be spending. The county judge said as an example the 253rd Court bailiff is being paid to work in Chambers County while he is being paid to work the same hours in Liberty County. The item was tabled until the next commissioners meeting, Jan. 26.

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LCSO Grants: The Liberty County Sheriffs Department has been awarded a $121,000 grant for technology improvements. Dennis Odell, who is the county's community development coordinator, said the funds are to buy 18 digital dash cams for patrol cars plus a fingerprint and palm scanner. The grant comes through the U.S. Department of Justice.

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Interim Dayton PM: We reported on the recent death of Dayton Postmaster Angela Lucero Hayes. We have confirmed through the Dayton Post Office Mrs. Hayes retired from that position in April 2009. In May, the U.S. Postal Service appointed Michelle Stephenson to serve as interim postmaster at the Dayton office. Now word on when a new permanent postmaster will be appointed or who that will be.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.83ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 7 TUESDAY JANUARY 12, 2010

Sales Tax: Based on sales tax collections, the Christmas shopping season was not very good for area retailers. This month's sales tax dollars to cities in Liberty County were down 30.97 percent compared to the same time last year. The City of Liberty was down a little over 35 percent for December while Dayton saw a stunning 41.58 percent drop. The north Liberty County City of Cleveland was down 21.39 percent when compared to December last year, and in Devers, they fell 65 percent. Ames, Daisetta and Kenefick all had an upturn in their sales tax collections.

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Otto: One of the charges given to State Representative John Otto's House Appropriations Committee to research during the interim in between legislative sessions involves the state's bonded indebtedness. Texas is approaching a voter- mandated cap on the amount of money than can be funded through bonds that could affect the state's long-term finances. The committee findings could spur future legislation.

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Business Expo: There is still time to sign up for the 2010 Business Expo sponsored by the Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce. It will be held Thursday April 8 from noon to 4 p.m. inside the Liberty Center at Liberty City Hall. A huge success in past years, it promises to be the same again this year. Liberty Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce President Mary Ann Campbell said there are still booth spaces available Booth space is 8' x 8' with a table and two chairs, full skirting and drapes. A business name sign is included. For information, contact the Chamber at 936 336 5736.

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Landscaping Course: The Liberty County Master Gardeners are holding a Landscaping short course January 25, 26 and 27, from 6 to 9 p.m. each evening. Master Gardener Nancy Brandli said it is a three-night course designed to help folks learn about planning and planting a landscape in this part of the country. For information, call the Texas AgriLife Extension agency at 936 336 4558 ext. 221.

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Obituaries: Angela Hayes, 54 of Dayton. Services today 2 p.m. at First Baptist Church in Linden, Tx. Raymond Hargraves, 83 of Liberty. Services 2 p.m. Thursday at Allison Funeral Service in Liberty.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 8.87ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 6 MONDAY JANUARY 11, 2010

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Drowning: A Westlake man drowned in a lake near the Trinity River. Friday James West-30 left home around 6:30pm to check his trotlines but did not return. Early Saturday family members found his capsized boat. They called for help. Westlake Fire Department volunteers launched a search but minutes after that began Mr. West's body was found in water near the boat. JP#1 Bobby Rader ordered an autopsy and said the victim had fishing hooks in his hand and boot and was wearing heavy insulated clothing to protect from the cold. After falling in the water all that worked against him. Judge Rader ordered an autopsy.

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Pharmacy Burglary: We missed a report on a break-in early New Years day at the Liberty Medicine Chest Pharmacy. Liberty Police Public Information Officer Hugh Bishop said video shows a thief broke in the drive thru window at 2:30 AM New Year's morning. One male in late teens or early 20's was in the store a couple minutes before exiting with over 700 painkiller type pills such as vicoden, lorcet, and hydrocodone. Video shows clearly a white male wearing a white "hoody" sweatshirt Bishop said the thief has a bowl shaped haircut. If you can help please call 336-5666.

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Freeze Damage All Nine News checked with several public officials Sunday night and found no major problems developed during the recent hard freeze. Dayton City Manager David Douglas, Liberty City Manager Gary Broz, and Hardin School superintendent Bob Parker all said several days of pre-freeze preparations worked well. Some residences and businesses experienced frozen lines and local plumbers, we are told, have been busy. So far no reports of serious damage. . . . **************************************************** Supe search in Dayton: Dayton School trustees will meet behind closed doors Tuesday with one item on the agenda. The board will discuss search options to find a new superintendent. Last month Greg Hayman, long time top administrator in Dayton. announced he will retire at the end of this school year.

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Obituaries: Otis R. Bruner, 79 of Hardin. Services Tuesday 10 a.m. at Hardin Baptist Church. Dennis Jacob Jannise, 85 of Liberty. Graveside services tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. at Houston National Cemetery.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 6.9ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 5 FRIDAY JANUARY 8, 2010

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Commissioners Court: What caused a heated discussion last September between Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald and 253rd District Judge Chap Cain will come up again Tuesday at the first meeting of the year for Liberty County Commissioners. On the agenda is an item calling for inquiry into the district court personnel salary and expenses. Liberty County Judge Phil Fitzgerald said now that the Chambers County budget is complete, commissioners could really look at the budget of the staff of that court and see exactly who's being paid what and by whom. The 253rd District Court serves both Liberty and Chambers Counties and as such receives a portion of their budget from each of those entities.

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Poe on Energy: US Congressman Ted Poe is in his third term representing the second congressional district of Texas. The Republican Congressman said his priorities as a lawmaker including developing a plan for energy independence. Rep. Poe said while the concept of "going green" is a good idea, he added the United States needs to expand its options to include nuclear facilities. The three term congressional representative said to accomplish that, the nation needs to change its permitting process to allow for the construction of new nuclear facilities, a process that currently, according to Congressman Poe, makes building a new plant in his lifetime unfeasible.

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MLK Event: The 12 Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration is 1 p.m. Saturday, January 16 at the St. John Baptist Church on North Main in Liberty. This years' speaker will be the Rev. Keith Turner Sr.. The celebration will include awards, and music. For info. on the event, call Dr. Henry Dugat at 336-7393.

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2009 Weather: A look back at the weather in 2009 for this area shows temperatures were, on average, mild. The hottest month was July with an average daily maximum of 95 degrees. Rainfall totals show a very wet year, with 74.17 inches of rain, over the average yearly amount for this area by about 15 inches.

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Obituaries: Georgia Ann Johnson, 92 of Liberty. Services Tuesday 11 a.m. at Mt. Rose Baptist Church in Liberty. Raymond Darreptist Church in Liberty. Raymond Darrell Gilmore, 68 of Liberty. Services tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Pace-Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.24 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 4 THURSDAY JANUARY 7, 2010

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Cold Temp. Precautions: With low temperatures over the next several days, forecast to be in the low to mid-20, preparation and caution is advised. For homes its the standard, insulate the pipes, seal gaps around doors and windows, insulate water wells and protect outside appliances such as washers in garages with something as simple as a light bulb to cast a small amount of heat. Both Larry Harris with Peoples Building Center and Louis Potetz with Potetz Home Center say one defense against cold weather freezing water lines is turn off the water to the building and drain the lines. For pets and livestock, Dr. Luke Chachere with Chachere Vet Clinic said it takes a lot of energy to keep warm in extreme temperatures, and a little extra feed will help. Give outside animals a place to get in out of the wind and any rain that may occur, and check water supplies, as they are likely to freeze in the overnight hours.

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Senate Appraisal Bill: A provision of Senate Bill #771, authored by State Senator Tommy Williams and sponsored in the house by State Representative John Otto, protects property owners who protest the appraised value of the property successfully, only to see the property value increased again the following year. Representative Otto said if an appraisal district immediately raises the value of a property some one protested the previous year and won, it must be able to produce proof of significant change to the property that prompted that increase.

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Chambers County Congressional Race: The March 2 Republican Party primaries in Chambers County includes a four-way race for the U.S. Congress. Tim Graney, Gerald D. Wall and John Gay challenge Incumbent Ron Paul for the U.S. Representative District 14 seat.

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Obituaries: James Jackson Anderson, 95 of Batson. Interment Saturday 11 a.m. in Guedry Cemetery in Batson. Jerry Wayne Wilde, 53 of Raywood. Graveside service tomorrow 11:30 a.m. at Houston National Cemetery. Diane A. Warner, 43 of Corpus Christi. Graveside services Saturday 10 a.m. in Magnolia Cemetery. Ina Mae Whitely, 61 of Batson. Services today 11 a.m. at First Baptist Church in Batson. Gloria Gayle Mathews Carter, 69 of Dayton. Services Friday 2 p.m. at Pace Stancil Funeral Home in Dayton.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.37 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 3 WEDNESDAY JANUARY 6, 2010

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Dayton City Council: Monday night, the Dayton City Council met for almost two hours, and most of that time was devoted to various details surrounding the new Community Center and Library. Council approved a payment of $212,000 to Audio Visual Solutions of Houston, the company that is installing the entire communications system, television monitors, and cabling for the facility. City Manager David Douglas said that represents about 65 percent of the cost of the contract.

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Common Law Marriages: According to Joel Smith with the Beaumont Office of Social Security, in Texas, the best way to prove common law marriage for the purpose of drawing social security benefits, is to complete a declaration of informal marriage form, and that is done at the local county clerk's office. In addition, only 12 states recognize common law marriages, if you move to another state, it is important to check with officials or an attorney to determine if your marriage is recognized there.

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Dayton Chamber Moving: The Dayton Chamber of Commerce and the Dayton Community Development Corporation are both moving into the Dayton Civic Center and Library. The Jones Public Library is also in the process of moving, however because of the monumental job of moving an entire library; Jones Library does not plan to reopen until after the grand opening. Meanwhile, the Dayton Chamber and DCDC can move much faster and plan to be in operation in the new $14 million dollar building by the end of this week. The grand opening of the Dayton Library and Civic Center is January 15th.

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Chambers Co. Candidates: There are five contested races on the Republican ballot in Chambers County. Chambers Co. Attorney Scott Peal has drawn a Republican primary opponent in Mike McNeely. The GOP Primary Race of Pct. 2 Chambers County Commissioner is between David "Bubba" Abernathy and Cheryl Bagwell Sanders. There are two Republicans running for Commissioner Pct. 4, Incumbent William "Bill" Wallace Jr. and Rusty Senac. Pct. 1 JP in Chambers County on the Republican ballot will be Incumbent Yale DeVillier and Tommy Griffin. Running for the Republican nomination for Pct. 4 JP is Incumbent Dennis McMurrey, Larry Cook, James Harrison, Kenneth Epperson and James Moss.

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*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 9.63 ASL*

VOLUME 25 NO. 2 TUESDAY JANUARY 5, 2010

Chambers Co. Murder: Three men have been charged with murder in the stabbing death of a Chambers County resident. Chambers Co. Sheriff Joe LaRive said firefighters discovered the body inside a burning mobile home last Thursday. A short time later, Chambers County deputies responded to a vehicle in a ditch along DeVillier Road. Deputies discovered three men, two covered in blood. The vehicle was registered to a person who lived in the burned mobile home. Investigators say all three men have confessed to stabbing the victim during an argument as well as setting the fire and stealing the individual's car.

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Republicans: The filing period for the March 2 Republican Primary Election ended yesterday with seven contested primary races. Jay Knight and Steve Stephens, both from Dayton, as well as Craig McNair have filed as Republican candidates for Liberty County Judge. There are 3 republicans on the ballot for Pct. #2 County Commissioner. They are Tim Wells, Marcus Brand and Charlotte Warner. In the race for the Republican nomination for Pct. 4 Commissioner, switching from the Democratic ticket, Incumbent Norman Brown. Paul Kelly opposes him. Running for JP 4, as Republicans are Larry Wilburn, John Headrick and Barry Graves. The JP 5 nomination is between David Martin, Wade Brown and Bernadine Ringawald. With the switch from the Democratic ticket to the Republican, Chap Cain, Judge of the 253rd District Court is opposed by Michelle Mangum Merendino.

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Ike Victim Identified: Remains found in Chambers County in September 2009, a year following Hurricane Ike, have been identified through DNA testing as Harry E. Bingham, Jr., a resident of Bolivar Peninsula. According to Sheriff Joe LaRive of Chambers County, Mr. Bingham has been missing since the mid September 2008 landfall of the hurricane.

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Democrats: There are three contested races for the democratic nomination in March, they are for Liberty County Judge, Incumbent Phil Fitzgerald and Kenneth Morrison. In the unexpired Constable Pct. 2 race, Les Hulsey and Juan Alfaro have signed up on the Democratic ticket. Linda Chapman is challenging JP 5 Incumbent Joseph McAnnally.

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Obituaries: Winston Gordon Smith, 83 of Hardin. Graveside services today at 11 a.m. at Fisher Cemetery in Mont Belvieu.

*LAKE RELEASE: 3,000 CFS LIBERTY BRIDGE: 10.30 ASL*

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