The story headline links to a better view of the story and share features.
August 19, 2015 - The following cases were disposed of in the Shelby County Court on August 18th, 2015. Judge Allison Harbison was the presiding judge and County Attorney Gary Rholes was the prosecutor:
- Mercedes Jones - Theft (Class B) - - Defendant received $600.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, 12 months deferred adjudication probation, attend and complete Theft Program.
- Abilio Salinas - Driving While Intoxicated (Class B) - Defendant received $1200.00 fine, $412.10 court cost, 12 months probation, 40 hours Community Service, attend and complete DWI education program.
- Kaylyn Jackson - Possession Of Controlled Substance (Class A) - Defendant received a $400.00 fine, $262.00 court cost Final Judgement.
- Jonathan Johnson - Theft (Class B) - Defendant received $262.00 court cost, $500 restitution, 6 months probation.
- Jonathan Johnson - Criminal Trespass (Class B) - Defendant received $500.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, 30 days Shelby County Jail.
- Chatrick Hines - Driving While Intoxicated 2nd (Class A) - Defendant received $1200.00 fine, $412.10 court cost, 180 days Shelby County Jail Final Judgement.
- Tykeya King - Theft (Class B) - Defendant received $600.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, 12 months probation, 40 hours Community Service, attend and complete Theft Program.
- Desmond Polley - Theft (Class B) - Defendant received $400.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, 12 months deferred adjudication probation, 40 hours Community Service.
- Jontay Lane - Reckless Driving (Class B) - Defendant received $600.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, Final Judgement.
- Jerome Sanders - Unlawful Carry of Weapon (Class A) - Defendant received $600.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, 12 months probation, 40 hours Community Service.
- Justin Shofner - Assault (Class A) - Defendant received $750.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, 12 months probation, 40 hours Community Service, attend and complete Anger Management Program.
- Mack Hamilton - Theft (Class A) - Defendant received $600.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, 12 months probation, 40 hours Community Service, attend and complete Theft Program.
- Randy Fountain - Driving While License Invalid (Class B) - Defendant received $500.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, Final Judgement.
- Regina Curry - Driving While Intoxicated 2nd (Class A) - Defendant received $1200.00 fine, $412.10 court cost, 12 months probation, 40 hours Community Service, attend and complete DWI education program.
- Logan Driver - Harassment (Class B) - Defendant received $600.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, Final Judgement.
- Landon Vidrine - Possession Of Marijuana (Class B) - Defendant received $400.00 fine, $262.00 court cost, Final Judgement.
- Gordon Davis Jr. - Probation Revocation (original charge, Class A Theft) - 8 months Shelby County Jail.
- Allen James Price - Probation Revocation (original charge, Class A Driving While Intoxicated 2nd) - 140 days Shelby County Jail.
- Chatrick Hines - Probation Revocation (original charge, Class B Driving While Intoxicated) - 6 months Shelby County Jail.
August 18, 2015 - A new tradition was unveiled Monday, August 18, 2015 on Center ISD Campus when Will Lucas, Shelby Savings Bank president, removed the cover off of the new 'Shelby Savings Bank Drive' street sign while bank employees and Rotary members watched.
In support of the Rotary Club's Fun for Funds benefit auction which helps provide scholarships to Center ISD graduating seniors, Center ISD donated to the auction "Name that Sign" which gave the winning bidder naming rights to the street connecting Roughrider Drive to Timpson Highway for one year. The street passes in front of the Tennis Courts and Roughrider Stadium. For one year the sign will display Shelby Savings Bank Drive on both ends until next years Fun for Funds Benefit Auction places the item up for someone to claim naming rights.
The Fun for Funds auction was held March 24, 2015 and Shelby Savings Bank won with a $900 bid. The Fun for Funds auction raised over $33,000 for scholarships which is managed by the Catherine Pinkston Roughrider Scholarship Foundation. As of March 2015, the Roughrider Scholarship Foundation (RSF) has presented 1,544 scholarships totaling $1,213,800 to graduating C.H.S. students and is funded by donations, not just from Rotary, but from the community.
The RSF gave out over 100 scholarship to 2015 graduating seniors which wasn't included in the previous total. For more information about the RSF, visit online at http://roughriderscholarship.org/
August 14, 2015 - A two-vehicle crash occurred at the common incident location of the Wal Mart entrance in Center on Friday, August 14, 2015 as one vehicle was attempting to cross Hurst Street at 5:19pm.
As Chad McCormick, 29, of Joaquin was traveling north on Hurst Street in a red Mitsubishi Outlander Sport with Lisa McCormick, 39, and a female child, a blue Ford F-150 failed to yield right of way from Foster Street. Marconi Hernandez, 51, with passenger Latwan Gibbs, 43, both of Center exited from Foster Street and the front center distributive of the Ford struck the right side distributive of the Mitsubishi causing major damage to the passenger side of the Mitsubishi and sending it into the inside turning lane.
McCormick was able to gain control of the vehicle and parked it on the southbound side shoulder of the roadway. Hernandez drove the Ford into the Wal Mart parking lot driveway and came to a halt. ACE EMS transported Lisa McCormick, with non life threatening injuries, and the child passenger, with possible injuries, to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment.
No injuries were reported from the other vehicle and Hernandez was issued a citation for no driver's license. Both vehicles were towed from the scene.
The crash was investigated by Center Police Lt. Jeremy Bittick.
August 14, 2015 - A single-vehicle crash resulting in a fire occurred on FM 699 on Wednesday night, August 12, 2015. The Center Fire Department was dispatched to the scene of the crash and when they arrived the front end of the pickup truck involved in the crash was engulfed in flames in the front yard of a residence.
The firemen were quickly able to extinguish the flames and prevent the truck from further going up in flames. Members of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Center Police Department and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) all arrived at the scene and an investigation began.
According to DPS State Trooper Keith Jones, at 8:59pm a 2001 Ford F-150 owned by Ellen Hearne of Center driven by Dustin Lamar Hearne, 19, was traveling south on FM 699, 1,500 feet from FM 2468. The vehicle was traveling at an unsafe speed due to the curve in the roadway and exited the roadway over correcting left before striking an embankment on the left side of the roadway causing the truck to roll. The truck caught on fire and the fire department was dispatched to put out the fire.
Hearne was not reported to have received any injuries and refused treatment at the scene. He was issued a citation for unsafe speed.
August 13, 2015 - A house fire in the Aiken area resulted in a total loss of the residence on Tuesday, August 11, 2015. The West Shelby Volunteer Fire Department (WSVFD) and Center Fire Department fought to save the home owned by Ronald Chandler.
The WSVFD was dispatched to the fire at 5:10pm on State Highway 7 West near CR 1210. When the firemen arrived the house was engulfed in flames. Jason Burch and Ryan Chandler, who had been fishing nearby, worked with the firemen to try and extinguish the flames.
According to Chief Jerryl Adams, Chandler stated he turned on the air conditioner and went outside to feed his dogs when he heard a pop, when he went back inside flames had already caught. He tried putting it out and then called for help.
As the WSVFD was fighting the fire, they requested the assistance of the Center Fire Department whose members arrived and worked with the other firemen to extinguish the flames and prevent its spread. However, the house was a total loss and the family's belongings along with the home.
A family member at the scene stated Chandler had recently purchased school supplies for his daughters and those supplies were destroyed in the fire. Anyone seeking to assist this family during their time of need should contact the fire department or Shelby County Outreach Ministries.
Earlier in the day, before the house fire, the assistance of the WSVFD was requested by the San Augustine Fire Department whose members were fighting a fire 1 1/2 miles across the county line off FM 711 at 2:30pm. Once the firemen returned to the station and refilled with water at 5pm they were dispatched to the house fire at 5:10pm.
Chief Adams expressed appreciation at the assistance provided by Jason Burch and Ryan Chandler at the scene of the house fire.
August 12, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners recently voted to put the county under a burn ban for the next 90 days, or until further notice. Center Fire Chief Keith Byndom has indicated the city of Center is also under a burn ban and advised citizens to adhere to the rules of the ban, which reads as follows:
Order prohibiting outdoor burning, Whereas the Commissioners Court find the circumstances present in all or part of the unincorporated area of Shelby County create a public safety hazard that would be exacerbated by outdoor burning;
It is hereby ordered by the Commissioners Court of Shelby County that all outdoor burning is restricted in any part of Shelby County, Texas for 90 days from the date of adoption of this order, unless the restrictions are terminated earlier based on a determination made by the Texas Forest Service or this court. This order is adopted pursuant to Local Government Code Sect. 352.081, and other applicable statutes.
This order does not prohibit outdoor burning activities related to public health and safety that are authorized by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for: (1) firefighter training; (2) public utility, natural gas pipeline or mining operations; (3) planting or harvesting or agricultural crops; or (4) burns that are conducted by a prescribed burn manager certified under section 153.048, Natural Resources Code, and meet the standards of section 153.047, Natural Resource Code.
In accordance with Local Government Code Sect. 352.081(h), a violation of this order is a Class C Misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
The County Judge is hereby designated as the officer authorized to determine whether circumstances no longer exist to prohibit outdoor burning, and the County Judge may rescind this order at such time.
Judge Harbison informed Shelby County Today, for a city to enforce burn ban violations within their city limits, they must adopt a burn ban order as well.
August 12, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners were presented with a proposition for a new software system for the Sheriff's Department and Judge Allison Harbison recognized Shelby County Extension Agents Jheri-Lynn McSwain and Lane Dunn for superlative honors awards they received this year.
The meeting was held on Monday morning, August 10, 2015 at the Shelby County Courthouse with several representatives of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department on hand to discuss the need for a new software filing system at the department. Shad Sparks, Chief Deputy, and staff member Karen Bittick described how the current system is manual and is handled by Bittick.
According to Chief Sparks the Sheriff's Department has been having issues with their computer system for years now. The current method for inputting state required information is manually, which takes a lot of time, effort and manpower, "We started looking at another system to get us up to date with other systems that are taking place in other agencies, but we wanted a system that the county attorney and district attorneys could also access some of our records."
Sparks explained this would help the criminal justice system to flow more effectively and would reduce the amount of time deputies spend working on reports in the office to help get them back on the streets patrolling. Sparks feels the proposed system will provide savings for the county.
Bittick has been working with the system at the Sheriff's Department for 21 years and the current system, Eagle, was recently rejected by the state, "Lately DPS rejected our monthly report that we're required to send in and our computer company, our carrier has failed to fix it to meet their standards."
From this time forward until a new system is put in place, Bittick explained she is having to manually recount and file reports with the state going back to January 2015 because every arrest and offense report was not being counted appropriately.
"It's not tallying the offenses that we can file and get grants for, we have to have these stats. So, now we're tied up with going back and doing it manually. We need a system that's going to take us forward, cut down on paperwork, we can't keep buying buildings and files. We need to be able to copy this stuff, or have it in our computer system where we can just print it out," said Bittick.
Sparks agreed with Bittick the county is going to have to join the 21st century as everything is being computerized by the federal government and the justice system, "When we talk to other agencies and stuff they say, 'Hey email me a report' we can't do that. They don't run on fax machines and stuff like that."
Judge Harbison stated the first she was aware there was a problem was back in March 2015 when she requested a list of all 9-1-1 calls, and two days after her requested she received a handwritten report on a sheet of paper.
Spillman Technologies Inc. representatives Todd Jorgenson and Kirk Bean demonstrated their software for the commissioners, and what they observed was a system which can tie in all available legal information about an individual. The system also has the capability of helping local and state agencies work more closely together by easing the sharing of information. This is a system which has been in use by the city of Nacogdoches and Nacogdoches County for the past 6-7 years.
Travis Rodgers, Commissioner Precinct 3, stated concerns over privacy because the system is so well integrated with other agencies and their information. Rodgers wanted to clarify, when an officer is on patrol and inputs information he doesn't have to have a name, just a license number. Bean confirmed the system is that thorough.
"Therefore, this system takes away any privacy that a person has," said Rodgers.
Bean clarified, for someone to be in the system they would have to have received a traffic citation to be in the system or to have registered a vehicle, or have had a citation on that vehicle. The only information in the system would be that which is already available currently.
Rodgers explained he would like to see the Sheriff's Department be able to do better and have better equipment, and he wants to be aware of how something new works before subjecting the community to it, "If I've got that information in my vehicle, and a pretty girl drives up beside of me and I want to find out her name and address, where she came from..."
They can do that now said Bean, through a dispatcher. The difference with the computer system is they could do that now; however, everything would be tracked and logged into a database where administrators could actually follow a deputies activities more closely.
Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, stated the system would help officers to check information as they pull them over and find out before they make contact if they have a violent past.
The total projected cost of the package is $229,634 and Jorgenson explained that implementation of the new system is expected to take 12-15 months with a small fee to start and final payment upon completion.
Judge Harbison recognized Shelby County Extension Agents Jheri-Lynn McSwain and Lane Dunn for achievements they have received this year, "This was the state conference for the Texas Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences and this is a whole state award and you know our state is really large. So to be nominated is an honor, but to actually win an award is so prestigious."
The list of awards is as follows: New Professional of the Year Award for conducting over 60 programs with over 5,241 participants during 2014, McSwain; Communications Through Photography Award for depicting the top three biggest losers of weight in Shelby County, McSwain; Communications Through Marketing for the Annual Friend to Friend Breast Cancer Awareness Program which helped fund 47 women at risk of who needed mammograms, McSwain; Curriculum Enrichment Team Award for Annual Agriculture and Education Safety Day hosted in May with over 900 children attending in 2014 and over 1,050 in 2015 to learn of the importance of agriculture and nutrition, McSwain and Dunn; Early Childhood Care Team Award, McSwain; 75 participants with Gardening with Children; Multi-County Team Award, McSwain; Better Living for Texas Program Bronze Level Winner Award, McSwain; Most Entries, McSwain.
"We're so proud of you, and we're so proud of Lane [Dunn]," Said Judge Harbison "I really just wanted to thank her and thank him, because they do a lot of work that nobody really knows about."
A motion was carried approving an order prohibiting outdoor burning by the commissioners during the meeting.
"I was in contact with the [Sheriff's Office] of course and the Texas Forest Service last Wednesday and Friday, and I know we had a fire down in the south end of the county over the weekend. So, I really think that we need to put this into effect," said Judge Harbison.
The ban is for 90 days unless a determination is made Judge Harbison, Texas Forest Service or the Commissioners' Court. In accordance with Local Government Code Sect. 352.081(h), a violation of this order is a class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
Debra Riley, Tax Assessor-Collector, submitted the calculation of effective and rollback tax rates. The effective rate is .6078 and the rollback rate is .6563 per $100. A motion carried and was approved by the commissioners to accept the rates presented by Riley and to set budget hearing for August 24, 2015.
A motion was carried during the meeting to approve an E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding between Shelby County and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for compliance with Local Government Code Chapter 179, Verification of Employee Information, effective September 1, 2015. The motion also approved designating the Auditor's office as the signator on the memo of understanding so the process can move forward. Clint Porterfield, Shelby County Auditor explained the necessity of this memorandum.
"Beginning September 1 of this year the Department of Homeland Security and the Social Security Administration have implemented an E-Verify website, which is mandatory that we use for all new hires. It's mandatory in the fact that we receive state and federal grants, so they've tied it to funding as usual. The I9s that we now use for new hires will have to be entered into this E-Verify system for their determination of eligibility to work." said Porterfield.
A motion carried and was approved to name the new portion of Loop 500, from Hwy 7 North to Highway 96 North, "Loop 500 North" for inclusion on the County map and the 911 Addressing System.
Fees collected per office for July: 1. Deborah Riley, Tax Assessor/Collector, office: Property Division - $96,079.50; Motor Vehicle Division - $33,456.27 for a total of $129,535.77 2. Jennifer Fountain, County Clerk: $41,719.22 3. Lori Oliver, District Clerk: $14,331.11 4. Maxie Eaves, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1: $7,980 5. Marla Denby, Justice of the Peace Precinct2: $1,261.20 6. Margie Anderson, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3: $5,688 7. Jenny Hicks, Justice of the Peace Precinct 4: $4,778 8. Mike Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5: $1,126 9. Zach Warr, Constable Precinct 1: $630 10. Jamie Hagler, Constable Precinct 2: $180 11. Billy Hearnsberger, Constable Precinct 3: $180 12. Bryan Gray, Constable Precinct 4: $345 13. Stanley Burgay, Constable Precinct 5: $90 Grand total: $207,844.30 CDs generated $18.21 for a total book value of $60,004.45 Money Market generated $354.25 total market value of $1,718,533.24 Total investments as of July 30, 2015 $1,778,537.69
Agenda items receiving approval include: 1. Minutes of the July 13th, 2015 Regular Meeting and July 27, 2015 Special Meeting. 2. Pay monthly expenses. 3. Officers' report. 4. E-Verify Memorandum of Understanding between Shelby County and the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service for compliance with Local Government Code Chapter 179, Verification of Employee Information, effective September 1, 2015. 5. Name the new portion of Loop 500, from Hwy 7 North to Highway 96 North, "Loop 500 North" for inclusion on the County map and the 911 Addressing System. 6. Order Prohibiting Outdoor Burning for 90 days. 7. Debra Riley, Tax Assessor-Collector, submitted the calculation of effective and rollback tax rates. The effective rate is .6078 and the rollback rate is .6563 per $100. A motion carried and was approved by the commissioners to accept the rates presented by Riley and to set budget hearing for August 24, 2015. 8. Bond for Stephen Shires. 9. Adjournment at 10:47am.
August 12, 2015 - The affidavit relating to the arrest warrant of Jenny Lynd Rhodes-Cassell was released to Shelby County Today on Wednesday, August 12, 2015 per a request which was made early Tuesday, August 11, 2015.
Greater detail on the circumstances is outlined in the affidavit. According to the document, Dr. James Hockenberry alerted Center ISD Police Chief Pete Low on August 5, 2015 the alleged victim's vehicle was witnessed by another school employee outside Cassell's apartment. There was additional concern because Cassell did not show up for her duties that morning at cross country and the student was also absent. Dr. Hockenberry contacted Cassell, who denied the relationship with the student.
The affidavit continues, on August 6, 2015 Chief Low and Assistant Principal Gayla Miller went to the residence of the student and spoke with his parents about the investigation, following which the parents and the student went to the school where the student gave a written statement of his sexual relationship with Cassell. By his account he stayed several nights at Cassell's apartment without his parents knowledge. He also relinquished his cell phone and signed a consent to search.
August 11, 2015 - On August 5, the Center ISD received a report that an educator employed by the District had engaged in an inappropriate relationship with a student. Consistent with its practice, the District placed the educator on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, which began immediately after receipt of the initial report.
The District notified law enforcement, Child Protective Services and the parents of the student. The District has also notified the Texas Education Agency so that it can conduct its own investigation.
The educator resigned employment with the District on August 6. The district continued with its investigation thereafter.
The District's highest priority is the safety of its students. The District has a zero tolerance policy for any inappropriate relationship between educators and students. The Center ISD will continue to respond swiftly and effectively to insure the safety of its students.
August 11, 2015 - State Highway 87 south of Shelbyville was the scene of a two-vehicle crash Tuesday, August 11, 2015 involving a truck-tractor and a dump truck with one driver losing his life as a result.
The Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department and ACE EMS were dispatched to the scene of the crash located one mile south of FM 147 at 1:40pm. Several travelers who arrived immediately following the crash ran to the vehicles to help those involved.
Janet Ritter witnessed the truck-tractor involved in the crash, owned by MKO Trucking, as it left the roadway to the left. She brought her vehicle to a stop and hurried to help the driver. Jeremy Holloway, another traveler, went to the aid of the other driver who was pinned beneath the dump truck, owned by Shelby County. Larry Skinner also assisted Holloway and emergency personnel in providing aid for the dump truck driver.
Once fire personnel and EMS were on scene it was determined Jaws of Life was needed for the dump truck, as well as a tractor. The Center Fire Department was dispatched to the scene with Jaws of Life and James Raymond, a nearby neighbor, brought a tractor to help lift the dump truck from the driver.
EMS personnel worked with the driver of the truck-tractor and with the assistance of firemen with Jaws of Life were able to extricate the driver from the truck.
Both drivers were life-flighted from the scene. The driver of the truck-tractor was life-flighted by Life Air Rescue to LSU for treatment of his injuries. The driver of the dump truck was life-flighted by Flight For Life to Good Shepherd Hospital in Longview.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) investigation of the crash concludes Kenneth Edward Davis, 68, of Joaquin was traveling northbound in a red 2005 Kenworth truck-tractor on Highway 87 when the truck crossed the center stripe. At the time the Kenworth crossed the center stripe the 2005 Mack dump truck driven by Mark Allen Vaughn, 44, of Milam was traveling southbound and the vehicles collided. Davis was pronounced deceased at LSU Medical in Shreveport.
The crash was investigated by Texas DPS State Trooper Taylor Buster, assisted by DPS Trooper Cpl. Jimmy Faulkner.