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June 15, 2015 - The entrance to a hunting camp off State Highway 7 West was the scene of a two-vehicle crash Saturday, June 13, 2015 when one vehicle turned in front of another.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Daniel Dellenger, at 2:25pm a maroon Toyota Tundra driven by Robert Temple, 54, of Katie was traveling east toward Center on State Highway 7 in the inside lane near CR 1234.

A red Chevrolet Colorado LS driven by Elna Benge, 77, of Lufkin was also traveling east in the outside lane when Temple attempted to turn right in to a private driveway for a hunting camp. This caused the Colorado to strike passenger side of the Toyota causing damage to both vehicles.

Benge received minor injuries and her passenger Anna Benge, 54, received possible head injuries. Both were transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Memorial hospital.

Temple was issued a citation for turning when unsafe.

June 12, 2015 - The Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a building on fire on FM 417 West at 10:00am Friday, June 12, 2015. While en route to the fire, Shelbyville VFD requested the assistance of Center Fire Department.

Upon arrival, Chief Chris Koltonski reported smoke coming from a storage building which was 100 feet away from the home of Burly and Carolyn Lamb. Koltonski opened the door and discovered a small fire on the concrete floor of the building and was able to quickly extinguish the flames.

Inside the building were chemicals for furniture restoration and paint supplies. Center Fire Department Chief Keith Byndom suspected the cause of the fire to be from rags soaked with chemicals which were inside the building and possibly ignited from the heat.

The building only received smoke damage from the fire. The firemen used fan to help push the smoke out of the building.

 June 12, 2015 - If you have been impacted by flooding, downed trees, or any other property damage between the dates of May 4, 2015 and June 3, 2015 you may be eligible for assistance in repairing and/or replacing your property. You can pick up an application at the County Judge’s office on the 2nd floor of the Courthouse located at 200 San Augustine Street in Center. This applies to your individual property and/or business property.

The Texas Department of Agriculture is offering grants for Agriculture Relief for agricultures expenses related to the disaster during this time also. Application to apply for Agriculture Relief application can also be picked up at the County Judge’s office. You can find additional information at . The information is under the STAR Fund program.

June 10, 2015 - Following the Shelby County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo held on Friday, June 5, 2015 Shelby County Sheriff's Officers were directing traffic from the event just before 11pm when an officer was almost struck by a vehicle .

Toward the end of their task with few cars remaining, Deputy Bradley Horton was almost struck by a silver Oldsmobile Alero which was traveling east on State Highway 7 as he was attempting to allow traffic to flow from the rodeo. When the vehicle passed by, Deputy Horton convinced the driver to bring his vehicle to a stop just outside the entrance to the Shelby County Expo.

Deputies Adam Renfro and Michael Griffin quickly responded to the aid of Deputy Horton and during an investigation it was determined the driver Julio Cuellar, 59, of Center was intoxicated. During an inventory of the vehicle several large cans of beer were located inside.

Cuellar was arrested, charged with public intoxication and transported by Deputy Renfro to the Shelby County Jail.

June 10, 2015  - The driver involved in a single-vehicle crash was transported to the hospital on Friday, June 5, 2015 following the incident.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) report, at 8:21pm a grey 2009 GMC Sierra pickup truck driven by Colton Dewayne Tyre, 23, of Shelbyville was traveling west on FM 417 at an unsafe speed.

As the pickup truck was near County Road 2380 Tyre lost control of the vehicle, traveled into the eastbound lane and into the south ditch where the truck rolled and came to rest on the driver's side facing east.

Texas DPS State Trooper John Hallenbeck was dispatched to the scene and upon interview, Tyre stated a truck tractor ran him off the road. Trooper Hallenbeck spoke with the driver of the truck tractor who stated he witnessed the GMC pass him at a high rate of speed; however, he did not see the GMC leave the roadway in his mirrors.

No evidence was found to indicate Tyre had been run off the roadway. He was transported from the scene of the crash by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department. A citation was issued to Tyre for unsafe speed.




June 10, 2015 - A DWI arrest resulted from a two-vehicle crash on State Highway 7 East at the intersection of FM 2608 on Friday, June 5, 2015.

Submitted photoAccording to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) report at 6:15pm William Edward McGee, 49, of Joaquin was traveling west in a red 2012 Ford F-150 on State Highway 7 near FM 2608. At the same time a white 2001 Toyota Sequoia driven by Connie H. Cobb, 51, of Baytown was traveling east.

McGee went to make a left turn into James Grocery and misjudged the distance from the Sequoia and failed to yield right of way causing the Sequoia to collide with the right side of the Ford. Major damage was incurred by both vehicles.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. William Edward McGee was arrested at the scene and charged with driving while intoxicated. Texas DPS State Trooper John Hallenbeck led the crash investigation.

June 9, 2015 - Citizens of Center addressed the Center City Council in relation to a request for a rezone and specific use permit made by Mark Ivey at 413 Hurst Street.

The property, currently zoned heavy commercial (C-2), is located between Arcadia Road and Crawford Street and includes such businesses as Bob's Pawn and Gun, State Farm Insurance and Handy Andy's liquor store. Ivey's request was to modify the zoning to industrial (M1) and a corresponding specific use permit to install and maintain a billboard.

Jo Watson, William Ford and Patricia Ford were present to speak about the change in zoning and were against its approval. Following the meeting they described for Shelby County Today their issue with the change in zoning.

Patricia Ford stated she and her husband lease Handy Andy's and live behind the location, "It's impossible, we have to wait for a red light to even pull out. So, as congested as that is, why would you want signs or make it more congested by rezoning it and putting in some off the wall plant or something?"

Jo Watson explained why she was concerned with the proposed changes, "We were just concerned about the billboard that Mark Ivey wants to put up and also he wanted to change the zoning from commercial to manufacturing and we just don't want a bunch of plants."

Following a public hearing about the request it was discussed during the regular meeting. A motion was carried to deny the request.

Catherine Livingston made a request on behalf of Wulf Center Trades Day and Antique Mall for the support of the City of Center in the amount of $10,700 for 12 months for billboard advertising south of Nacogdoches and North of Carthage.

If the council agreed to this the city would be responsible for 100% of the cost for this advertisement.

The Hotel/Motel Advisory Board recommended the approval of the request. A motion was made by councilman Jim Forbes to approve the hotel/motel budget amendment; however, no second was heard and the motion failed.

The council discussed a lease agreement with Pilgrim's Pride. Chad Nehring, City of Center Manager, explained when there is a change in ownership, or refinancing occurs approval of the city and Texas Department of Agriculture must be sought.

"This is actually the second time during the lease with Pilgrim's Pride that the city has been asked to approve a consent to the transition of the lease hold interest in estate. This initiated out of the city sponsoring the Texas Capital Fund Grant project," said Nehring.

According to Nehring the hatchery was constructed 17-18 years ago and part of the improvements made on the property were private improvements on property that had to be leased from the city. The property was deeded to the city and is being leased while grant funds are repaid that were used for private purposes.

"So essentially it's a zero percent interest loan over 30 years for the private business development section," said Nehring.

A motion was carried to approve the modification of the agreement.

The council approved a janitorial services contract for the civic center at $780; city hall at $650 and $400 a month for the level of services at the community house. A bid has been received and a motion was carried by council authorizing the city manager to enter into a contract.

A motion carried to approve an amendment to an engineering contract for TCF grant for the downtown sidewalk enhancement project. TxDOT designed a program to perform a significant amount of additional sidewalk work and installing handicap ramps. The city already has grant funding for work in the areas TxDOT intends to perform this work and will now need to use these funds elsewhere.

"To be able to continue to use that grant funding obviously we need to have some additional survey work and some additional design work done as plans were actually ready for bid when TxDOT announced that they already had a construction project they have started on. So, that does entail a little bit of additional construction cost to be able to continue to use the better part of 2/3 of that $200,000 of grant funds," said Nehring.

Additional engineering cost is proposed at $6,500 for which the city would be responsible. A motion was approved by the council to amend the contract with Everitt Griffit & Associates Inc. and it carried.

Items on the agenda receiving approval include:

1.  Regular Meeting minutes of May 11, 2015.
2.  Pilgrim's Pride Corporation Agreement.
3.  Award of janitorial contract.
4.  Amendment to engineering agreement with Everitt Griffith & Associates, Inc. for TCF Downtown Sidewalk Grant Contract.
5.  Adjournment

Pictured are (from left): Jimmy Lout, Commissioner Precinct; Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1; Sherry Harding SCOM Executive Director; Allison Harbison Shelby County Judge; Ann Blackwell, SCOM Board Member; Peggy Buddin, SCOM Board member; Travis Rodgers, Commissioner Precinct 2; Bradley Allen, Commissioner Precinct 4.

June 8, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners' approved the proclamation of the second week in June as ‘Hunger Awareness Week” on behalf of Sherry Harding, Shelby County Outreach Ministries (SCOM) Executive Director.

Sherry Harding SCOM Executive Director, held the attention of the courtroom as she spoke of the needs of the people of Shelby county.

Sherry Harding SCOM Executive Director, held the attention of the courtroom as she spoke of the needs of the people of Shelby county.According to Harding there are five programs under the umbrella of SCOM with over 100 senior citizens being fed every week, Monday through Friday, and over 2,000 meals provided in May of which only 1,000 are they reimbursed. Helping Hands provides utility assistance, emergency food boxes and almost any need if funds are available. (See related event information here.)

"We are very appreciative because you do support us on a monthly basis and we ask if there are extra funds to consider us because we take care of a lot of needs," said Harding. "We're making a proclamation this week to let people be aware there are people hungry in Shelby County and we serve a lot of people and with this we hope to bring attention to that and look forward to trying to serve the needs of the community."

During the summer months, Harding says some children will not receive breakfast and noon meals because school is not in session. This increases the need for food boxes, "With the rain that we've had people couldn't work and we have a lot of food boxes going out plus utilities that we're having to pay, so everything is appreciated."

The commissioners chose to table the yearly renewal application for insurance coverage through the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool.

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, sought to table the item until it can be considered further, "On the District Judge and District Attorney accept and reject on the box is not checked. We've had some discussion about this in the past, some one time we insured him and one time we didn't. Does this mean we're continuing the insurance for the district attorney or no?"

Allison Harbison, County Judge, stated it was her belief if the commissioners did not reject the coverage the District Attorney would be included in the plan. Judge Harbison offered for the item to be tabled until the next meeting as its start date is in October.

"My question about that is because in the past in the lawsuits we've been in, whether we did or did not have the insurance to cover them, they are a state employee the insurance didn't cover them no way," said McSwain. "Now this is some minimal fee that we pay to have that just as it ain't even a safety net if they're not liable to pay nothing for the damage."

The commissioners carried a motion to table the item until the next meeting.

According to Judge Harbison, she was urged by neighboring counties to issue a declaration of disaster regarding flooding within Shelby County and she did so on Monday, June 1, 2015.

"As of right now I haven't had any damage reported to me. I would imagine that y'all [commissioners] have had damage reported to you. What has been explained to me is if we were to ratify it that means that we have damages on roads and bridges that our budgets, your budgets cannot support. Also I've had no private people call and say they've had property damage," said Harbison.

She asked the commissioners if anyone in their precincts have had any damage and if it is necessary to ratify the declaration in an attempt to receive needed funding. Commissioner McSwain stated he easily had extra cost due to the weather, "I can easily supply bills on the extra cost that just my precinct has endured of at least $150,000 in the last four months due to the weather."

He stated this would have an effect on projects which are already planned. Commissioner Rodgers also stated he has had several roads closed due to weather and he has one road in his precinct which remains closed.

Agenda items receiving approval include:
1.  Minutes of the May 11th, 2015 Regular Meeting and the May 26th, 2015 Special Meeting.
    Pay monthly expenses.
2.  Officers' reports.
3.  Advertise for bids on oil for roads.
4.  Data use agreement between the Texas Health and Human Services Enterprise and Shelby County.
5.  Proclamation presented by Sherry Harding, Executive Director of Shelby County Outreach Ministries, Inc. designating the second week in June as Hunger Awareness Week.
6.  Ratify the Declaration of Disaster regarding the flooding within the county.
7.  Contract on the rental of old Elementary School gym to Denetra Slaughter and Celia Aguilar.
8.  Adjournment at 9:57am

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:
    Shelby County yearly Renewal Application for Insurance Coverage through the Texas Association of Counties Risk Management Pool for the following coverage: General Liability, Public Official Liability, Law Enforcement Liability and Crime Coverage.

 June 8, 2015 - (Friday) Album1, Album2, Album3 (Saturday) Album4, Album5, Album6

Shelby County Sheriff's Posse Pro Rodeo PRCA produced by Klein Brothers Pro Rodeo and sponsored by Wright Chrsyler Dodge Jeep was held Friday and Saturday, June 5th and 6th in Center, Texas.

Bareback (Sponsored by R&D Distributing and 4C Electric)
1st place - Dalton Jones (New York), 76 points
2nd place - Evan Harrington (Lake Charles, LA), 66 points

Bull Riding (Sponsored by Center Livestock Auction and Triple J Feed)
1st place - Jeffery Ramagos (Zachary, LA), 87 points
2nd place - Josh Geter (Alabama), 81 points

Break-A-Way Roping (Sponsored by Raymond Construction)
1st place - Laramie Johnson, 3.2 time
2nd place - Jayden Gould (Lufkin, TX), 3.8 time
3rd place - Rebecca Dupont, 5.4 time
4th place - Cassie Emerson, 12.5 time

Tie Down Roping (Sponsored by Borders Poultry Supply and Doggett Machinery)
1st/2nd place (tie) - Tye Pride (Carthage, TX), 11.6 time
1st/2nd place (tie) - Cole Frey (Lake Charles, LA), 11.6 time
3rd place - Cheyenne Harper (Iowa, LA) 13.3 time
4th place - Braxton Loftin, 13.4 time

Team Roping (Sponsored by Spartan Building Systems)
1st place - Justin Lovell / Jim Ryan, 6.2 time
2nd place - Cody Russell / Scott Webster, 6.3 time
3rd place - Dillion Ward / Lance Cornelius (Center, TX), 6.4 time
4th place - Cody Russell / Nick Kent, 6.7 time

Barrels (Sponsored by Fluid Disposal)
1st place - Jenny Smith, 16.57 time
2nd place - Iliana Rojas (Center, TX), 16.66 time
3rd place - Devon Click (Weatherford, TX), 16.69 time
4th place - Kaci Hatch (Ft. Worth, TX), 16.81 time


Shelby County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo Bareback and Roping Events - See related rodeo coverage on #ShelbyCountyToday

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, June 8, 2015

Shelby County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo Barrel Racing - See related rodeo coverage on #ShelbyCountyToday (

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, June 8, 2015

Shelby County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo Bull Riding - See related rodeo coverage on #ShelbyCountyToday (

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, June 8, 2015

Shelby County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo Sheriff Willis Blackwell Makes an Arrest - See related rodeo coverage on #ShelbyCountyToday (

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, June 8, 2015

June 5, 2015 - Attorney Stephen Shires was sworn in at the Assistant District Attorney at 1:30pm on Friday, June 5, 2015 in the 123rd Judicial District Court. The Honorable Judge Charles "Brick" Dickerson swore Shires into the position which was approved at the May 26th Commissioners' Court meeting. Shires will perform the duties of Assistant District Attorney as a contractor. To read the Commissioners' Court story about the approval of the position, click here.

Attending the swearing in ceremony were employees of the District Attorney's office, Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell, co-workers of Shires, family, and friends. Shires thanked everyone who attended and said he is excited to get to work on helping to make Shelby County a better place.