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April 23, 2017 - Officials with the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Sabine National Forest, have advised a prescribed burn involving approximately 3,636 acres located, on the North end of Sabine National Forest (Boles Field North RX Burn), Compartments 15 and 16, (Block C,D,).  Winds are predicted from the North 7-9 mph and long range drift may affect some of the areas.

April 22, 2017 - State Highway 7 just under four miles east of Center was the scene of a crash which occurred while students were disembarking from a Center ISD school bus April 20, 2017.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Troopers were dispatched to the scene at 4:18pm to investigate the incident.

According to Texas DPS State Trooper Dustin Ramos, upon arrival it was determined a grey 2004 Mitsubishi Galant driven by Meyosha Griffin, 21, of Mansfield, La. was westbound on State Highway 7 where a school bus was stopped near CR 3134 with its lights activated.

Traffic was stopped behind the bus as Griffin approached when she failed to control speed and struck a black trailer being pulled by a black 2017 Ford F-250 driven by Brendan Lee Toner, 41, of Nacogdoches for Dusty Lout Agriservices out of San Augustine.

Following the collision, the Mitsubishi came to a stop in the westbound barrow ditch.

Griffin was cited for failure to control speed. The school bus was not directly involved in the crash and no injuries were reported as a result of the incident.

Members of the Center ISD Police were on scene to provide assistance as well as the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Texas DPS Trooper Sean Smith assisted with the investigation.

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April 21, 2017 - Frito-Lay today announced it is voluntarily recalling select Jalapeño Flavored Lay’s Kettle Cooked potato chips and Jalapeño Flavored Miss Vickie’s Kettle Cooked potato chips due to the potential presence of Salmonella in the seasoning. Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems.

Healthy persons infected with Salmonella often experience fever, diarrhea (which may be bloody), nausea, vomiting and abdominal pain. In rare circumstances, infection with Salmonella can result in the organism getting into the bloodstream and producing more severe illnesses such as arterial infections (i.e., infected aneurysms), endocarditis and arthritis.

This action is the direct result of a supplier’s recent recall of a seasoning blend which includes jalapeño powder that could contain Salmonella. Although no Salmonella was found in the seasoning supplied to Frito-Lay, the company has decided to recall these products out of an abundance of caution.

No illness related to this matter has been confirmed to date.

The products covered by this recall were distributed in retail stores and via foodservice, vending and other channels throughout the U.S.

The specific recalled product information is listed below:

  • All sizes of the following two products that have a “guaranteed fresh” date of JUL 4 or prior printed on the front upper panel of the package:
  • Jalapeño Flavored Lay’s Kettle Cooked potato chips
  • Jalapeño Flavored Miss Vickie’s Kettle Cooked potato chips
  • All of the following multipack offerings that have a “use by” date of JUN 20 or prior printed on the multipack package. In addition, a “guaranteed fresh” date of JUL 4 or prior is printed on the front upper panel of the individual recalled product packages inside each multipack offering. Any other products or flavors contained in these multipacks are not being recalled.
  • 12 count Lay’s Kettle Cooked Multipack Sack
  • 20 count Frito-Lay Bold Mix Sack
  • 30 count Miss Vickie’s Multipack Tray
  • 30 count Lay’s Kettle Cooked Multipack Tray
  • 32 count Miss Vickie’s Multipack Box

No other flavors of Lay’s Kettle Cooked potato chips or Miss Vickie’s potato chips are impacted or being recalled. Jalapeño Cheddar Flavored Lay’s Kettle Cooked 40% Less Fat potato chips are not impacted or being recalled.

Consumers who have purchased these recalled products are advised not to consume them. Frito-Lay is working with the FDA on this recall to ensure the recalled products are removed from store shelves and are no longer distributed.

Consumers can contact Frito-Lay Consumer Relations at 866-272-9393 for additional information from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EST.

Representative product images can be found at fritolay.com. For product reimbursement, consumers can visit www.jalapenochiprecall.com.

April 21, 2017 - The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information in regards to a recent theft which occurred on April 20, 2017  at 96 Equipment located at 3536 Highway 7 West in Center.

Suspect(s) entered onto the complainant's property and stole a 2017 Polaris Ranger 570.

Center Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. Anyone who has information regarding this crime should call Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE (7233) or submit a tip online at www.centercrimestoppers.com. Remember you don't have to give your name. All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous. Rewards will only be paid on tips submitted through the Center Crime Stoppers system.

If a caller does not wish to remain anonymous or receive a reward, they may contact Investigator Del Birdwell at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office 936-598-5600.

April 20, 2017 - Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at approximately 1216 P.M., the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call advising that a black male subject was at the Tenaha ISD and was armed with a gun and would not leave. The caller additionally stated that the black male subject threatened to blow up the school. Law Enforcement official responded to Tenaha ISD to assist Tenaha ISD Chief David Jeter with the situation, which included Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, Tenaha City Marshal’s Office, Tenaha Pct 4 Constable Jake Metcalf, Timpson Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, and the Shelby County District Attorney’s Office.

After further investigation, it was revealed that there was no threat to the faculty and/or student body of Tenaha ISD. It was rather another hoax call that solicited attention to cause panic. We treat every call, especially of this magnitude with great concern. Our office and the District Attorney’s office worked to get the information on the cellular device that was used and drew up a Grand Jury Subpoena for records. The number was linked back to a student at Tenaha ISD. Lieutenant Kevin W. Windham and Chief Deputy DJ Dickerson met with Tenaha ISD Chief David Jeter and Superintendent Scott Tyner regarding this investigation. In working together, a suspect was positively identified and the phone used to initiate the hoax call was located and seized for evidence. The juvenile suspect was released to family pending an appointment with Shelby County Juvenile Probation Officers. The family has cooperated fully throughout this investigation.

We extend our gratitude to all those who assisted in this investigation.

April 18, 2017 - Once again.... someone is being cavalier with the comfort and security of our kids. Today, someone placed a 9-1-1 call to law enforcement posing as a Tenaha employee that we had an active security situation. TISD has had no such incident.

The call was made by someone in the public to 9-1-1 about our school. Again, TISD has been the victim of a hoax.

A special thank you once again to all of the members of law enforcement that descended upon our school so quickly, as they were under the impression that they were responding to an active 9-1-1 situation. Repeating --- there has been no security situation at TISD today. Only a false 9-1-1 call from outside the district.

Citizens of Shelby County,

April 17, 2017 - This letter is to address the concerns raised at the recent Tenaha City Council meeting.

To answer the question posed by the city council in Tenaha and the Mayor, I will try to show you how the daily operation at the Sheriff’s office works and how officers are scheduled to do the most work for the citizens of the entire county.

The calls received by the SCSO in any area of the county are rotated to the appropriate agency. If any incorporated city in the county does not have an officer available, we will make the call. Center, Tenaha and Timpson are fortunate enough to be able to afford police departments. Each Precinct has a Constable. We have six highway patrol and two game wardens.  The SCSO has two patrol deputies on duty at all times. With six patrol deputies for the entire county, we are reactive to calls. As much as I would love to be proactive to prevent violations, the county budget does not allow for more deputies and unless taxes are raised, we will stay the same.

Everyone works together for the citizens of Shelby County but each have their department. 9-1-1 is answered only at the SCSO and calls are routed accordingly. All officers’ phone numbers are public information if provided by their departments.

There are 1,355 miles of county roads citizens live on in Shelby County and five cities within the county. No one city will be treated any different than the other. The SCSO does and will continue to answer calls throughout Shelby County.

The SCSO answers between 800-1,000 calls for service monthly. The deputies and investigators are working and patrolling 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, holidays included.

The SCSO along with myself, have and will continue to be accountable to the people of this county, all cities included. We always have been.

Sheriff Willis Blackwell

Related article: Tenaha City Council Funds Fire Department Needs; Sheriff's Dept. Patrol Questioned

April 13, 2017 - Center Crime Stoppers is seeking information on the whereabouts of Rick Eugene Warren, 42, of Timpson who has an active felony warrant for Unauthorized Use of a Motor Vehicle. Mr. Warren is described as being a white male, 5'09” tall, and weighing 200 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
 
Center Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. Anyone who has information should call Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE (7233) or submit a tip online at www.centercrimestoppers.com. Remember you don't have to give your name. All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous. Rewards will only be paid on tips submitted through the Center Crime Stoppers system.
 
If a caller does not wish to remain anonymous or receive a reward, they may call the Shelby County Sheriff's Office at 936-598-5600.
 
If anyone is found to be hindering the apprehension, harboring or concealing, providing or aiding with any means of avoiding arrest or effecting escape or warns Mr. Warren of impending discovery or apprehension will be arrested and charged in accordance to Penal Code 38.05 Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution, a Felony 3 offense.

April 13, 2017 - A Shelby County Grand Jury handed down 42 indictments involving 28 individuals on Thursday, April 6, 2017. The grand jury was impaneled for the January 2017 term of the 273rd Judicial District Court.

Cresensian Ararellano Garcia was indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity, first degree felony. The indictment alleges on March 22, 2017 with intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination, with the combination consisting of Garcia and J.G., K.A., and C.A.

The participants are alleged to have collaborated in carrying on the hereinafter described criminal activity, or as a member of a street gang, conspire to commit and/or committed the offense of aggravated assault and/or injury to a child, by agreeing with each other they would engage in conduct that constituted the offense.

Garcia, J.G., K.A., and C.A. are alleged to have performed an overt act in pursuance of the agreement by intentionally or knowingly holding a child, A.G., down causing serious bodily injury to the child by burning the victim with a stick, or similar object, a deadly weapon that was taken out of fire.

Garcia was further indicted for aggravated assault, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on March 20, 2017 Garcia recklessly caused serious bodily injury to A.G., a child, by holding down the child and burning the victim with a stick, or similar object, a deadly weapon that was taken out of a fire.

Garcia was also indicted for injury to a child, elderly or disabled individual, first degree felony. The indictment alleges on March 20, 2017 Garcia caused serious bodily injury to A.G., a child 14 years of age or younger, by holding the victim down and burning the child with a stick, or similar object, that was taken out of a fire.

Justin Lamar Taylor was indicted for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on May 7, 2016 Taylor operated an automobile without the consent of Andrea Chadwick, the owner.

Taylor was also indicted for theft, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on May 7, 2016 Taylor took a home computer, home security system, misc. hunting equipment, pressure washer, drills, flat screen television, camcorder, misc. camping equipment, digital cameras, deer cameras, outboard motor, firearm ammunition, and a chain saw along with other misc. items valued at $2,500 or more but less than $30,000 from Andrea Chadwick, the owner, without her consent.

Joshua Fuller was indicted for assault family violence - occlusion, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on May 14, 2016 Fuller recklessly caused bodily injury to Vitoria Lacy Fuller, a member of the defendant's family, by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the complainant by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck and/or blocking the nose or mouth.

Joshua Fuller was indicted for assault family violence - occlusion, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on October 15, 2016 Fuller recklessly caused bodily injury to Vitoria Lacy Fuller, a member of the defendant's family, by intentionally, knowingly or recklessly impeding the normal breathing or circulation of the blood of the complainant by applying pressure to the person's throat or neck and/or blocking the nose or mouth.

Dwyatt Gerard Teel was indicted for evading arrest - prior convictions, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on May 7, 205 Teel fled from Detective Christopher Knowlton, a person the defendant knew was a peace officer, who was attempting lawfully to arrest or detain Teel. It is further presented, prior to the commission of the aforesaid offense, on February 7, 2009 Teel was convicted of the offense of evading arrest/detention.

Coby Labar Lewis was indicted for delivery of marijuana, state jail felony - penalty enhanced to 3rd degree. The indictment alleges on June 29, 2014 Lewis delivered by actual transfer to Nokia Johnson, marijuana in an amount of five pounds or less but more than one-fourth ounce. It is further presented Lewis used or attempted to use J.M.L. a child younger than 18 years of age, to commit or assist in the commission of said offense, by hiding marijuana in the waistline of the child's pants.

Lewis was also indicted for abandoning or endangering a child, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on June 29, 2014 Lewis recklessly, or with criminal negligence, engaged in conduct that placed J.L., a child younger than 15 years of age, in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment. This  was achieved by placing drugs or allowing drugs to be placed in the waistband of said child, whichwas within reach of the child.

Dakota Brian Howard was indicted for criminal mischief, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on May 13, 2016 Howard intentionally, knowingly damaged, or destroyed tangible property including: Samsung 55" flat screen TV, Emerson 55" flat screen TV, Samsung 42" flat screen TV, Samsung 60" TV, Apple iPads, 16x24 portraits, black speakers, phones, chandalier lamps, Playstation 3 game system, multiple Playstation games, dresser mirror, TV stand, games/toys and misc jewelry. It is further alleged Howard did this by breaking and flipping different stuff in the house, without the consent of Cynthia Howard, the owner, thereby causing pecuniary loss of $2,500 or more but less than $30,000.

Jesse DaWayne Whitteck was indicted for abandoning or endangering a child, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on February 17, 2016 Whitteck intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence engaged in conduct that placed J.W. Jr., a child younger than 15 years of age, in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment by exposing the child to the controlled substance, methamphetamine. It is further alleged Whitteck did not deliver the child to a designated emergency infant care provider.

Raven Belinda Whitteck was indicted for abandoning or endangering a child, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on February 17, 2016 Whitteck intentionally, knowingly, recklessly, or with criminal negligence engaged in conduct that placed J.W. Jr., a child younger than 15 years of age, in imminent danger of death, bodily injury, or physical or mental impairment by exposing the child to the controlled substance, methamphetamine. It is further alleged Whitteck did not deliver the child to a designated emergency infant care provider.

Brandie Tennile Wright was indicted for burglary of a habitation, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on March 14, 2014 Wright entered a habitation without the effective consent of Billy Wayne Williams, the owner, and attempted to commit or committed theft of a Sentry lock box containing $10,000 in U.S. Currency, military discharge papers and other miscellaneous documents, owned by Williams.

Andrea Janise Chadwick was indicted for burglary of a habitation, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on June 6, 2016 Chadwick entered a habitation without the effective consent of Joseph Dutch Peak, the owner, and attempted to commit or committed theft of a Vizio flat screen TV, and Generac 20 KW backup generator owned by Peak.

Truman Michael Upchurch was indicted for credit card/debit card abuse, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on June 23, 2016 Upchurch with intent to fraudulently obtain benefit, use an American Express credit card with the knowledge the card had not been issued to Upchurch and with the knowledge the card was not used with the consent of the cardholder, Michael Shane Pettiet.

Truman Michael Upchurch was indicted for credit card/debit card abuse, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on June 23, 2016 Upchurch with intent to fraudulently obtain benefit, use an American Express credit card with the knowledge the card had not been issued to Upchurch and with the knowledge the card was not used with the consent of the cardholder, Michael Shane Pettiet.

Truman Michael Upchurch was indicted for credit card/debit card abuse, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on June 23, 2016 Upchurch with intent to fraudulently obtain benefit, use an American Express credit card with the knowledge the card had not been issued to Upchurch and with the knowledge the card was not used with the consent of the cardholder, Michael Shane Pettiet.

Sherallaquatay Marshall was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on April 27, 2016 Marshall recklessly caused bodily injury to Yolanda Washington by striking her in the head causing laceration. Marshall is also alleged to then and there have exhibited a deadly weapon, a 2 pound weight.

Vince Adontate Buckley was indicted for terroristic threat, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on June 30, 2016 Buckley threatened to commit an offense involving violence to the Tyson Food plant, namely, called in a bomb threat with intent to interrupt and prevent the use or occupation of the Tyson Food plant and Buckley did then and there cause pecuniary loss of $1,500 or more to the Tyson Food plant.

Justin Earl Bennett was indicted for aggravated robbery, first degree felolny. The indictment alleges on June 18, 2016 Bennett while in the course of committing theft of property and with intent to obtain or maintain control of said property, caused serious bodily injury to Troy Winn by striking the victim about the face and head repeatedly, causing Winn to seek medical treatment.

Latonya Bittick was indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on September 22, 2016 Bittick committed said offense with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination, said combination consisting of Bittick and Kathryn Scholars, Janet Anderson and Kannon Woodhatch, who collaborated in carrying on said criminal activity.

The allegation against Bittick continues that the group conspired to commit and/or commit the offense of forgery, by agreeing with each other that they would engage in conduct that constituted said offense, and Bittick, Kathryn Scholars, Janet Anderson and Kannon Woodhatch performed overt acts in pursuance of said agreement, printing counterfeit checks using Farmers State Bank account ending in 5070, and cashing checks at various locations in Center, Texas and splitting the money amongst themselves.

Latonya Bittick was indicted for forgery, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on September 22, 2016 Bittick with intent to defraud or harm another, executed a writing so it purported to be the act of Kyle Stevenson, a fictitious person, and said writing was a check of the tenor following: a Farmers State Bank account number ending 5070. It is further alleged the said writing being a fraudulent business check made out to a Dan H. Beard (deceased) check number 035211 for the amount of 962.38 and cashed at Handy Andy's, the act of which was not authorized by the actual owner of said Farmers State Bank account.

Latonya Bittick was indicted for false report, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on September 30, 2016 Bittick initiated a report of a present emergency that she was having a seizure, and the defendant knew said report was false or baseless and would ordinarily cause action by an official agency organized to deal with emergencies, namely, Emergency Medical Services.

Janet Kaye Anderson was indicted for engaging in organized criminal activity, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on September 22, 2016 Anderson committed said offense with the intent to establish, maintain, or participate in a combination or in the profits of a combination, said combination consisting of Anderson and Kathryn Scholars, Latonya Bittick and Kannon Woodhatch, who collaborated in carrying on said criminal activity.

The allegation against Anderson continues that the group conspired to commit and/or commit the offense of forgery, by agreeing with each other that they would engage in conduct that constituted said offense, and Bittick, Kathryn Scholars, Latonya Bittick and Kannon Woodhatch performed overt acts in pursuance of said agreement, printing counterfeit checks using Farmers State Bank account ending in 5070, and cashing checks at various locations in Center, Texas and splitting the money amongst themselves.

Janet Kaye Anderson was indicted for forgery, state jail felony. The indictment alleges on September 22, 2016 Anderson with intent to defraud or harm another, executed a writing so it purported to be the act of Kyle Stevenson, a fictitious person, and said writing was a check of the tenor following: a Farmers State Bank account number ending 5070. It is further alleged the said writing being a fraudulent business check made out to a Dan H. Beard (deceased) check number 035211 for the amount of 962.38 and cashed at Handy Andy's, the act of which was not authorized by the actual owner of said Farmers State Bank account.

(Dates in parenthesis indicate the date of the alleged incident)
Randal Lamar Rushing, delivery of a controlled substance (cocaine), state jail felony (November 26, 2016).
Jeffrey Burris, driving while intoxicated - 3rd or more, third degree felony (May 4, 2016).
Joseph Lee Woolf, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), state jail felony (September 12, 2015).
Delicia Rochelle Swindle-Sanders, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (synthetic marijuana), first degree felony (January 15, 2016).
Hunter Dean Scarborough, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), penalty enhanced to 3rd degree felony - within 1,000 feet of a school (March 12, 2016).
Philip Jon-Colby Roland, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), state jail felony (July 26, 2015).
Michael Anthony Ratcliff, Jr., possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (methamphetamine), second degree felony (April 30, 2015).
Roy Clinton Daniels, possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver (cocaine), first degree felony (February 21, 2015).
Ronny Wayne Ard, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), second degree felony (December 14, 2015).
Ralph Wilburn, failure to comply with registration requirements, second degree felony (April 15, 2016).
Andrea Janise Chadwick, possession of a controlled substance (methamphetamine), state jail felony (June 8, 2016).
Justin Earl Bennett, possession of a controlled substance (cocaine), second degree felony (August 29, 2016).

(The following indictments contain language of an adult nature, viewer discretion is advised.)

Anthony Letroy James was indicted for unlawful restraint, third degree felony. The indictment alleges on September 11, 2016 James by force, intimidation, or deception restrained an individual without their consent by restraining the movements of the individual while exhibiting a pocket knife to the victim's throat.

Anthony Letroy James was indicted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, second degree felony. The indictment alleges on September 11, 2016 James recklessly caused bodily injury to an individual by tying the victim up and beating them. James is also alleged at that time to have exhibited a deadly weapon, a wood and silver colored pocket knife.

Anthony Letroy James was indicted for aggravated sexual assault, first degree felony. The indictment alleges on September 11, 2016 James caused penetration of the sexual organ of the victim without consent. It is further alleged James exhibited a weapon, a wood and silver colored pocket knife.

Anthony Letroy James was indicted for aggravated sexual assault, first degree felony. The indictment alleges on September 11, 2016 James caused penetration of the anus of the victim without consent.

Indictments and Information are not a conviction, and are a matter of public record. All individuals are presumed innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

April 13, 2017 - Shelbyville Street in Center was the scene of a major crash involving a single vehicle and several fixtures along the roadway Thursday, April 13, 2017.

At 8:53am officers were alerted of the crash as a Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy was first to drive up on the scene. Center Fire Department was dispatched to give traffic control as several utility lines were on the ground.

According to Center Police Officer Steve Thornburgh, a silver Cadillac Deville driven by Casedrick Goodnam, 41, of Center was eastbound on Shelbyville Street when it left the roadway to the right at high speed where it struck a utility pole, breaking it in half, and continued traveling where it then collided with pillars at the front of the Bark Boutique, decimating one of them. This was followed by striking yet another utility pole head-on, also breaking it in half before finally coming to a stop once again in the roadway.

ACE EMS arrived at the scene and transported the driver to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department with unknown injuries.

SWEPCO arrived at the scene and ensured the lines were not a threat and contractors are working to repair the extensive damage to the pillars in front of Bark Boutique.

After being released from the hospital, Goodman was arrested for driving while intoxicated by Texas Department of Public Safety and transported to the Shelby County Sheriff's Department Jail.

Officer Thornburgh was assisted at the scene by Center Police Officer Andrew Williams.

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