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February 13, 2019 - Construction is happening at the entrance to Field Street off of San Augustine Street as crews work on installing a concrete apron.

If wishing to visit the Shelby County Today office, a detour route from San Augustine Street would be to turn down Houston Street, make a right onto Baldwin Street, and then a right onto Field Street.

Be alert if traveling through the area and always watch out for construction workers.

February 11, 2019 - Panola County Processing, LLC, a Carthage, Texas  establishment, is voluntarily recalling approximately 59 pounds of smoked sausage products due to a processing deviation that may have led to underprocessing of products, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today. 

The pork smoked sausage links and venison and pork sausage links items were produced on Jan. 29, 2019. The following products are subject to recall: 

  • 1.3-lb. vacuum-packed packages containing four pieces of “PANOLA COUNTY PROCESSING, LLC Pork Smoked Sausage PC” with packaging dates of Jan. 30, 2019 and Jan. 31, 2019.
  • 1.3-lb. vacuum-packed packages containing four pieces of “PANOLA COUNTY PROCESSING, LLC Pork Hot Smoked Sausage PC” with packaging date of Jan. 31, 2019.
  • 1.3-lb. vacuum-packed packages containing four pieces of “PANOLA COUNTY PROCESSING, LLC Venison & Pork Smoked Sausage PC” with packaging date of Jan. 31, 2019.
  • 1.3-lb. vacuum-packed packages containing four pieces of “PANOLA COUNTY PROCESSING, LLC Venison & Pork Hot Smoked Sausage PC” with packaging date of Jan. 31, 2019.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 48219” inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were distributed to a retail location in Texas.

The problem was discovered by FSIS personnel while performing verification activities  at the establishment on Feb.8, 2019.

 There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.  

FSIS is concerned that some product may be frozen and in consumers’ freezers or refrigerators. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

FSIS routinely conducts recall effectiveness checks to verify recalling firms notify their customers of the recall and that steps are taken to make certain that the product is no longer available to consumers. When available, the retail distribution lists will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers and members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Jeff Davidson, owner of Panola County Processing, LLC, at 903-690-0430.

Consumers with food safety questions can "Ask Karen," the FSIS virtual representative available 24 hours a day at AskKaren.gov or via smartphone at m.askkaren.gov. The toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) is available in English and Spanish and can be reached from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday. Recorded food safety messages are available 24 hours a day. The online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at: http://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

February 8, 2019 - In the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable LeAnn Rafferty presiding, a number of criminal matters were dealt with in addition to the Court’s domestic (family law) docket on February 8, 2019. 

Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires resolved and finalized 14 cases. This included State v. Newsome, Cause Number 19-CR-21021, where the defendant received 12 years incarceration in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice Institutional Division for Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver. 

In addition, Defendant Juanita Briggs received substantial prison time, cumulatively 118 years incarceration in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice Institutional Division and/or State Jail Facility, in the following cases:

  • Cause No. 15-CR-19383, Possession of a Controlled Substance, 2 Years;
  • Cause No. 18-CR-20540, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, 35 Years;
  • Cause No. 18-CR-20541, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, 12 Months (State Jail Facility);
  • Cause No. 18-CR-20599, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, 20 Years;
  • Cause No. 18-CR-20600, Delivery of a Controlled Substance, 20 Years;
  • Cause No. 18-CR-20621, Possession of a Controlled Substance, 20 Years;
  • Cause No. 18-CR-20982, Hindering Apprehension of a Fugitive, 10 Years; and
  • Cause No. 19-CR-21068, Possession of a Controlled Substance with Intent to Deliver, 10 Years.

Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires sincerely thanks all the Court personnel, the ladies in the District Clerk’s office, and his office for all the hard work and long hours that they have put in.

February 7, 2019 - In the 273rd Judicial District Court of Shelby County, Honorable James A. Payne Jr. presiding, on February 7, 2019, twenty-eight (28) felony cases were set on the docket for arraignment, status hearings, and other pretrial purposes. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires finalized and resolved seven cases.  

A number of defendants did not show up for their arraignment at Court. They were: Brittney Benson, Dakota Howard, Samantha Hamilton, and Casey McKinney. As a result, warrants for their arrest have been issued. 

The cases that aren’t disposed by plea bargain are set on the May-June trial docket.

February 7, 2019 - Scams are constant and tax season is an active time for scammers to try to cheat and bully you out of your money. Last November, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Texans with a 'Consumer Alert: IRS Impersonation and Email Scam' which advised that fraudulent emails were being sent from people impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

The following article below was posted on the IRS website in 2017 and guides taxpayers through the process of how to know if its the IRS or if its a scam.

How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door

Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee.

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail.

Click the following link to read the rest of the article which includes important links - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-to-know-its-really-the-irs-calling-or-knocking-on-your-door.

Tam Cummings, PhD will chart progression of the disease

February 7, 2019 Lufkin – International speaker, educator and author Tam Cummings, PhD, will speak on the various stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in a free seminar at PineCrest Retirement Community at 1302 Tom Temple Drive in Lufkin on Wednesday, February 13, at 6 p.m.

The seminar is geared toward individuals and families who seek to understand the progression of dementia or Alzheimer’s, or who may be concerned about memory loss for themselves.

Cummings has worked with dementia patients for more than two decades, developing an in-depth knowledge of their struggles and behaviors. She has also witnessed the frustration families and professionals face in coping with the disease. Cummings will provide insights and tips that will help caregivers adopt techniques to minimize disruptive behaviors and emotions.

During her presentation, Cummings will explain the progression and staging of dementia, the physical causes of disease-driven behaviors, the changes in perception and communication abilities, the impact of the disease on caregivers, and more.

Understanding how damage to the brain at each stage impacts mental capabilities and behaviors, as well as how long each stage is estimated to last, is critical in helping medical professionals and family members prepare for the next phase of the disease progression.

Armed with humor and straight-forward, honest talk, Cummings uses decades of professional experience, personal stories and compassion to educate caregivers and family members of people with memory loss.

For more information, or to reserve a space at this lecture, call 936-634-1054, or reserve a seat online.

February 6, 2019 - The Grand Jury for the 273rd Judicial District Court met for its February session on February 6, 2019. Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires presented 41 cases to the Grand Jury. 

The Grand Jury returned 38 “true bill” of indictments and retuned 3 “no bills” of indictment.

February 4, 2019 - The intersection of Hurst Street and Tenaha Street was the scene of a three-vehicle pileup crash Monday, January 28, 2019.

All three vehicles involved received damage; however, the rear vehicle which was a brown Nissan Murano appeared to have received the most damage and was towed from the scene.

The driver of that vehicle was also transported from the crash by ambulance.

The silver Dodge Ram 1500 and a tan Ford F-250 Super Duty were able to be driven away.

(Update, Feb 6): According to Center Police Officer Damarcus Williams, a brown 2017 Nissan Murano driven by Cynthia Clark, 66, of Center was northbound on Hurst Street in Center. 

At that time, Clark had a medical emergency as she approached the red light which caused the Nissan to collide with the rear of a tan 2008 Ford F250 driven by Moises Solis, 61, of Center.

Subsequently the Ford collided with the rear of a silver 2019 Dodge Ram driven by Dena Wright, of Haughton, La.

Clark was transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department for treatment.

February 6, 2019 - In the 123rd Judicial District Court, the Honorable LeAnn Rafferty presiding, 48 cases were called for status hearings, arraignments, and other various purposes on February 5, 2019.  

Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires was able to resolve and finalize 19 cases. A number of the remaining cases will be brought back this Friday for potential completion. These cases are all set on the April trial docket.  

Several defendants were not present, and an order was signed by Judge Rafferty for the issuance of an arrest warrant for those individuals. Those people included Tristen Durden, Tony Josh Parker, Amber Gryder, George Henry, and Jermaine Preston. If those persons report to Court this Friday, February 8, 2019, at 9 a.m., the Court will recall their warrant.  

If you are reading this, and your name is mentioned, contact your attorney and be in Court this Friday.  Next up, the District Attorney will be in the 273rd District Court, the Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, on Thursday, February 7, 2019, for a docket of cases set for arraignment.

January 31, 2019 Shreveport, LA – Southwestern Electric Power Company (SWEPCO) has received multiple reports that involve criminals posing as SWEPCO representatives calling customers and demanding immediate payment.

“These scammers are targeting vulnerable groups of people, including seniors, non-native English speakers, and small business owners,” said Karen Wissing, SWEPCO spokeswoman. 

Scammers are:

  • Criminals impersonating SWEPCO employees over the phone.
  • Telling SWEPCO customers in the Longview area that the utility is changing its name.
  • Demanding SWEPCO customers immediately buy a prepaid debit card to pay their December balance.
  • Threatening to disconnect electric service if immediate payment is not received. 

SWEPCO does not:

  • Call customers demanding immediate payment
  • Ask customers to purchase a debit/cash card to pay a bill

“If you believe a scammer has contacted you, hang up immediately,” Wissing said. “You can verify the status of your account by logging into SWEPCO.com or SWEPCO’s mobile app, or by calling us directly at 1-888-216-3523.”

Do not give the caller or visitor a prepaid card, such as a Green Dot card, a wire transfer, or any other form of payment that may be difficult to trace, Wissing said.

Customers may take several steps to keep themselves safe from scammers, including:

  • Ignoring suspicious requests for personal information such as bank account numbers, user names and passwords, credit card numbers, or Social Security numbers.
  • Deleting any emails from utilities that are not your service provider.
  • Deleting all suspicious emails that require immediate action to verify or demand personal information.

About Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO)
SWEPCO, an American Electric Power (AEP: NYSE) company, serves 535,000 customers in western Arkansas, northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at SWEPCO.com.

About American Electric Power (AEP)
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to our customers. AEP’s more than 17,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,300 megawatts of renewable energy. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, East Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, AEP Energy Partners, AEP OnSite Partners and AEP Renewables, which provide innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide.

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