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May 15, 2015 - Jordan Wagstaff, the grandson of James and Glenda Wagstaff of Center, will be participating in a special race honoring an FDNY fire chief who lost his life on September 11, 2001.

The special race is a first ever Stair-Climb Benefit at One World Trade Center to be held on May 17, 2015. Registration for the event was limited to 1,000 participants and Wagstaff will be amoung the few.

The race announced by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is only open to first responders and military. Wagstaff, a petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard who is stationed in New York, is a native of Lufkin, Texas and is one of the few to be representing Texas in the climb.

The First Annual Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb will take climbers up to the 90th floor which is 180 flights of stairs. For more information about the race visit the following links:
Tunnel to Towers, Tower Climb Honoring Captain Billy Burke
Lufkin native participating in first annual Tunnel To Towers Tower Climb in New York City
First Ever Stair-Climb Benefit At One World Trade Center To Be Held In May

To make a donation supporting Jordan Wagstaff's 'Coast Guard' team at the Tower Climb and proceeds benefit the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, click the following link -

May 13, 2015 - According to Superintendent Mid Johnson, the Middle School campus at Timpson ISD was evacuated Wednesday, May 13, 2015 due to an air conditioning failure which caused smoke inside the building. The campus was safely evacuated and everyone is safe and well. Johnson would like to thank everyone for their patience.

May 13, 2015 - A Logansport woman was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon, May 13, 2015 in Joaquin resulting in her transport to the hospital. Emergency personnel including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department and ACE EMS were dispatched to the scene.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Cpl. Jimmy Faulkner, at 4pm a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban drive by Linda Blunt, 65, of Logansport was traveling from Houston east on U.S. Highway 84. Blunt did not recall what happened, and possibly fell asleep when she failed to maintain a single lane and left the roadway to the right. The Suburban traveled through a ditch and then over a culvert before the rear end skidded to the right and struck a utility pole on the right rear passenger door.

The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department provided traffic control at the scene and assisted as ACE EMS administered treatment to Blunt. She was then transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of minor injuries.

No citations have been issued as of the time of this report.

May 13, 2015 (Submitted by Sergeant Dickerson) - Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Sunday, May 10, 2015 at approximately 5:49PM, a deputy responded to 3678 FM 139 in Joaquin, Texas in reference to an altercation that had occurred between a John Leggett, James Leggett, and Richard Sharp, Sr.

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015 deputies were dispatched to the same location at approximately 1:06PM in reference to a shooting incident involving James Leggett, Richard Sharp, Sr. and Richard Sharp, Jr.

Upon arrival, deputies found Richard Sharp, Sr. deceased in the front yard of James Leggett's residence and Richard Sharp, Jr. having received a gunshot wound to the right leg. Richard Sharp, Jr. was treated by ACE EMS and lifeflighted by LifeAir Rescue to LSU in Shreveport, Louisiana.

It was found that James Leggett had shot both Richard Sharp, Sr. and Richard Sharp, Jr. at his residence. No charges have been filed at this time. Texas Rangers Brazil and Rayburn are investigating along with Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson and Investigator Kevin W. Windham. All evidence was mapped, cataloged, and packaged for processing. Texas DPS Crime Scene team also came to the Leggett residence to map evidence.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Judge Margie Anderson pronounced Richard Sharp, Sr. as deceased at 1:45PM and an autopsy was ordered. Richard Sharp, Jr. was reported to be in ICU at LSU hospital.

This case is under investigation. A Grand Jury will hear all evidence of the case.

May 13, 2015 - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Shelbyville ISD representatives responded to a two-vehicle crash involving a school bus and an 18-wheeler on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Students were on the bus when the collision occurred and another school bus was called to the scene to pick them up. No students were reported to have received any injuries at the scene.

(Update): According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade LaVergne, at 7:14am a 2004 Kenworth hauling a tanker trailer owned by MKO Trucking driven by Leon Hardaway, 25, of Center was traveling south on FM 3172 just under two miles from the intersection of FM 2694 in Huxley.

A yellow Thomas school bus owned by Shelbyville ISD (bus #2) and driven by Kenneth Gregston, 24, of Center was traveling north with 12 minor passengers. As the school bus and the 18-wheeler passed one another in a curve in the roadway two tires on the rear axle driver side of the 18-wheeler came of the hub assembly. Gregston attempted to avoid the tires and left the roadway to the right more than expected with the tires striking the front driver's side quarter panel. Gregston continued on a path through the ditch and came to a stop along the tree line.

Unaware the collision occurred, Hardaway continued to his destination. Once he was aware the collision occurred he returned to the scene of the crash. Students onboard school bus number 2 were transferred to school bus number 17 so they could be safely transported to school.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. No citations were issued as the crash was due to mechanical failure.

May 11, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners chose to sit in silence in relation to an agenda item during their meeting on Monday, May 11, 2015. Audience members looked on at the silhouette outlines of most of the commissioners as they collectively failed to make a motion relating to an item with bearing on 12 counties.

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison (pictured middle) presided over a darkened courtroom on Monday, May 11, 2015. Jennifer Fountain (foreground left), Shelby County Clerk, is seen taking notes by cell phone light.As Monday morning saw power outages in different areas of Center, the meeting progressed in a dimly lit courtroom. Everything seemed to be running smoothly until agenda item 9 referencing a resolution in support of putting in a weigh station and inspection station in Nacogdoches County and the state adding an additional 13 (state) troopers.

Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, presented the item to the commissioners and explained the circumstances, "Our neighboring county of Nacogdoches asked that we do a resolution supporting this. I believe they're trying to get a weigh station back on (U.S.) 59 and the judge over there just asked me if I would put it on the agenda and that's what I have done. I know with some of the things that we've been dealing with it might be nice to have a few extra available troopers in our 12 county region, but that's just whatever is your pleasure."

When Judge Harbison was met with silence, she asked the commissioners if they wished for her to read the resolution or if they had read the document. To which some gave a verbal response indicating they had read the resolution and she asked again if they wished to take action for or against the resolution.

"Obviously you don't want to take any action to give us any extra law enforcement and troopers," said Harbison.

None of the commissioners explained what they may have against the installation of a weigh station or additional state troopers as they refrained from speaking.

Devon made a donation recently of $4,000 to the Shelby County Sheriff's Department and for this donation to be accepted approval of the commissioners was necessary. Sheriff Willis Blackwell spoke on the use of the funds, "Right now we're gonna buy body cams for all of the officers, we have had them, but when we bought the first ones they were some inexpensive cameras that weren't night capable. So, we've just been without those cameras at night, you can get a little bit of a picture but the ones we're ordering are nightvision capable so we will get good video where won't get sued over something that we have a stop that we make or anything like that."

A motion was carried by the commissioners to approve the donation.

Eric Carver, Axley & Rode, LLP, gave an external audit report for Shelby County FY2014. He stated the audit went extremely well with much cooperation from Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, and other county staff, "When we looked at the government-wide statements and that when you put them all together you add the debts, you add the fixed assets the county had a really good year this year primarily due to that road grant you received. What you'll see is the overall net position of the county improved almost $3 million and most of that was that work that went in on those roads in each of y'alls different areas. Besides that you also saw your cash balance increase by about $900,000 across all the funds."

Sheriff Willis Blackwell spoke with the Shelby County Commissioners about the $4,000 donation made by Devon to the Sheriff's Department.Carver stated the reason the cash increased was all the budgeted funds, general fund and each road and bridge fund exceeded budgets and revenues and fell below budgeted expense values which carried forward into the next year. Carver stated a management letter was issued which pointed out some issues the county still has with an inadequate segregation of duties in some fee offices. He also said the county has been addressing these issues.
Stephen Shires spoke on behalf of his company Disability Needs which can file for indigent health care funds on behalf of the county. Shelby County has an indigent health care fund and when individuals match certain criteria they may receive assistance from this fund.

"Part of my practice involves social security disability and the fact is once somebody becomes eligible or receives social security disability or supplemental social security income, SSD or SSI, they then become eligible for medicaid or medicare.," said Shires. "Now after that happens there is a very limited window where the county can go back and bill medicaid or medicare and get a reimbursement of those funds."

Shires said he has spoken with at least three different county judges about these reimbursement opportunities and at times the county has attempted to regain these funds; however, he thinks the county has missed out on opportunities to receive all funds it possibly could. If these funds are acquired, it feasibly replenishes the fund and allows opportunity to help others in need.

It was proposed by Shires for the county and Disability Needs to work under contract for six months to see how well the process works and Judge Harbison stated she has not yet heard from Gary Rholes, County Attorney, on the contract. The contract carries with it a contingency, if no reimbursements are acquired then no money is owed to Disability Needs. A motion was carried by the commissioners accepting the contract with Disability Needs contingent on the approval of Rholes.

Stephen Shires is seen speaking with the commissioners about indigent health care.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

    Minutes of the April 13th Regular Meeting, and the April 16th, 2015 Public Hearing Meeting, and the April 27th, 2015 Special Meeting of the Shelby County Commissioners' Court.
    Pay monthly expenses.
    Officers' Reports.
    Treasurer Report on technology improvements for the JPs.
    Approve Barbara Walton's bond and appointment as Assistant Treasurer.
    Accept donation from Devon Energy to the Sheriff's Department in the amount of $4,000 for equipment.
    Presentation by Eric Carver of Axley & Rode, LLP of the Shelby County FY2014 external audit report.
    Appoint Allison Harbison and Ann Blackwell to the DETCOG Board of Directors, for the 2015-2016 year.
    Approve an Agreement between Shelby County and Disability Needs authorizing Disability Needs to file for refunds of Indigent Health Care expenditures for the County contingent on approval of Gary Rholes, County Attorney.
    Adjournment at 10:09am.

City of Timpson Mayor Debra Pate Smith is seen assisting City Secretary Leslie Leathers posting the new results of the Timpson city election.May 12, 2015 - Provisional votes are in for the 2015 City of Timpson election and they have altered the results. The ballots provided an additional two votes for both Janell Baker and George Grace. As a result Grace's gain of two votes put him over Kenny Walker by one vote and put him back in the council seat.

The new results are as follows:
City of Timpson: The three (3) council member positions were won by Kyle Allen, Janell Baker, and George Grace. Kyle Allen received 95 votes, Jannell Baker received 82 votes, George Grace received 78 votes, Linda Hancock received 74 votes, and Kenneth Walker received 77 votes.

May 12, 2015 - A dispute between neighbors ends badly with a shooting incident ending the life of one and sending another by Life Air Rescue to LSU hospital in Shreveport with a gun shot wound.

Shelby County Sheriff Department is on scene and Texas Rangers are on the way to investigate. Shelby County Today has been on scene and no additional information is available at this time. ACE EMS was on scene to provide emergency care and Joaquin VFD assisted with the landing zone and traffic control.

More information will be provided as it is made available.

May 11, 2015 - Three people were transported to the hospital following a single-vehicle crash on U.S. Highway 96 North 1/2 mile north of CR 3765 which occurred at 1:35pm on Saturday, May 9, 2015.

Three passersby including two women and a man stopped to help the occupants and called 9-1-1. Once emergency personnel arrived, the Center Fire Department began working traffic control and assisting ACE EMS in loading the crash victims into an ambulance.

The vehicle, a black Chevrolet Blazer driven by Adrian Cordova-Caporali, 26, was heading southbound on U.S. Highway 96 North when the Blazer left the roadway to the right. The Blazer came back on the roadway and once in the inside lane made a hard right and began to flip. The vehicle then left the roadway again and rolled down an embankment where it came to rest facing north.

Caporali and his passengers Maria Angelica Poot-Dzib, 20, and an 11-month-old female child were all transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of unknown injuries.

The crash is under investigation by Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Daniel Dellenger. No citations have been reported at this time. Adam Renfro, Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy also assisted at the scene.

May 9, 2015 - (Updated) Ballots have been cast and counted and election results for cities and schools this May 9th election day are:

City of Joaquin: The new mayor of Joaquin is Bill Baker. Bill Baker received 58 votes and Pat Gray received 52 votes. (Mike Wood did not run for re-election.)

The two (2) at large City Council positions were won by Mike Adkinson and Joe Long. Mike Adkinson received 69 votes, Lee Vern Stotts Gilliam received 46 votes, and Joe Long received 55 votes.

Joaquin ISD: The two (2) board positions were won by Ronnie Belrose and Tom Harvey. Ronnie Belrose received 170 votes, Maggie Bowdin received 135 votes, Tom Harvey received 289 votes, and Jay Wilson received 152 votes. (Luke Garrett did not run for re-election)

Shelbyville ISD: The two (2) board positions were won by the two incumbents, Etola Jones and Joe Tom Schillings. Brad Hinton received 74 votes, Etola Jones received 151 votes, Chris Koltonski received 97 votes, Clint Norton received 34 votes, Joe Tom Schillings received 155 votes, and Latashia Thompson received 75 votes.

City of Tenaha: The three (3) council member positions were won by Michael Baker, Natalie Harris, and Claudine Howard. Michael Baker received 96 votes, Natalie Harris received 94 votes, Claudine Howard received 56 votes, and Larry Terry received 53 votes.

Tenaha ISD: The three (3) board positions were won by Joe Anderson, Robert Barton, and David Fallin. Joe Anderson received 153 votes, Robert Barton received 119 votes, David Fallin received 159 votes, Korey McClure received 89 votes, and Bo Morris received 87 votes.

City of Timpson: The three (3) council member positions were won by Kyle Allen, Janell Baker, and Kenneth Walker. Kyle Allen received 95 votes, Jannell Baker received 80 votes, George Grace received 76 votes, Linda Hancock received 74 votes, and Kenneth Walker received 77 votes.

Provisional ballots have come in and have changed the result of the Timpson Election, Click here to see the outcome.

Timpson ISD: The three (3) board positions were won by Dannie Hunt, Carlos Johnson, and Jim Rader. Linda Fraizer Todd received 77 votes, Dannie Hunt received 140 votes, Carlos Johnson received 136 votes, and Jim Rader received 164 votes. (Tracy Hooper and Beth Tipton did not run for re-election)

*Election results must be canvassed by the City Council or School Board before they are official.