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January 22, 2019 - Alert: TxDOT Crews will be pre-treating bridges in the nine-county Lufkin District today ahead of possible freezing rain early Wednesday morning. Motorists should stay alert and respect the moving work zone as trucks move through each area. Reduce speed and drive to weather conditions. The brine mixture that crews will apply is designed to keep water from freezing on the roadway as quickly as it would without the application, but motorists should always stay alert and watch for icy patches, especially in rural areas.

January 18, 2019 - In December 2018, two grand juries, both impaneled by the 123rd Judicial District Court of Shelby County, returned 84 true bills of indictment.

On December 13, 2018, and December 17, 2018, in the 123rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge LeAnn Rafferty presiding, the Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires disposed of 14 cases. This included State v. Evans, Cause Number 18CR20582, where the defendant received 3 years in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice Institutional Division for the charge of Escape. Also resolved was State v. Smith, Cause Number 16CR19718, where defendant was required to complete sex offender probation, and will be under lifetime sex offender registration requirements. Numerous other cases, in addition to the ones that were disposed, were called for various pretrial purposes.

On December 20, 2018, Defendant Curvie Brinson was sentenced to twenty (20) years incarceration in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice Institutional Division by the Honorable Judge LeAnn Rafferty of the 123rd Judicial District Court of Shelby County. This followed a jury trial conducted by District Attorney Stephen Shires on December 10, 2018, where the defendant was found guilty of the criminal offense of Possession of a Controlled Substance by a Shelby County Jury.

On December 21, 2018, Defendant Luis Ruiz was sentenced to three terms of confinement for 24 months each in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice State Jail Division by the Honorable Judge LeAnn Rafferty of the 123rd Judicial District Court. This followed a bench trial conducted by District Attorney Stephen Shires on the same day where the defendant was found guilty of three counts of the criminal offense of Failure to Comply with Sex Offender Registration Requirements. Twenty–four months was the maximum sentence for which the defendant could be sentenced.

On January 8, 2019, the Shelby County Grand Jury for the 273rd Judicial Court was impaneled by the newly swornin Judge James A. Payne Jr. In an abbreviated setting, the grand jury returned 23 true bills of indictment.

On January 17, 2019, in the 273rd Judicial District Court, Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr. presiding, the Shelby County District Attorney Stephen Shires disposed of 14 cases. This included State v. Lee, Cause Number 18CR20657, where the defendant received 6 years in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice Institutional Division for the charge of Delivery of a Controlled Substance. In State v. Wuyts, Cause Numbers 18CR20735, 19CR21009, 19CR21010, the defendant received 2 years in each case in the Texas Department of Corrections Criminal Justice Institutional Division for drug charges and a forgery charge. Numerous other cases, in addition to the ones that were disposed, were called for various pretrial purposes.

January 18, 2019 - The DETCOG Regional Housing Authority has received inquiries from tenants and landlords who are concerned about the effect of the partial federal shutdown on the HUD Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

DETCOG received its regular monthly funding from HUD for Housing Assistance Payments and Administrative Fees for the month of January, and we have been advised that the funding is scheduled to be paid on time for the month of February.

The DETCOG Housing Program has not been affected by the shutdown so far and we do not anticipate any negative impact over the next six weeks. Our Housing staff is continuing to work every day at full strength to serve the tenants and landlords who participate in this program throughout Deep East Texas.

It is our hope that the partial federal shutdown will conclude before the end of February. Should it linger on past then, we are hopeful that HUD will make alternative arrangements to ensure that funding for this program is continued without interruption.

The DETCOG Regional Housing Authority provides housing assistance to approximately 1,700 families in Angelina, Hardin, Houston, Jasper, Newton, Polk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Trinity and Tyler counties.

Sincerely,
Lonnie Hunt
DETCOG Executive Director

January 17, 2019 - The Shelby County Commissioners gave the go-ahead for the Shelby County Historical Commission (SCHC) to seek grant funding from the state for a renovation project of the Historic Courthouse Annex building.

Teddy Hopkins, SCHC Chairman, spoke on behalf of the commission and described the need for this project to move forward. He presented a recommendation and request from the SCHC to submit a grant application to the Texas Historical Commission Texas Preservation Trust Fund Grant (TPTF) program.

The request is to help pay for a master plan prepared by Architexas Consulting Firm of Dallas for a renovation of the 1913 Shelby County Historical Courthouse Annex building at a cost to the county of $50,000 with a 50% reimbursement from the TPTF

Hopkins said one thing which has always been agreed upon is for what the building should be used.

"It has always been the museum," said Hopkins. "There's some driving factors that prompted us to consider that."

The factors he outlined included the current location of the museum not being as visible or accessible, availability of parking, visitor accommodations, and the statement to the community which would be made by having the museum in that location.

He also spoke of the unity it would bring to all of the cities in Shelby County linked by their individual history and that of being a part of the same county.

"The Shelby County Historical Commission feels that our best opportunity for beginning restoration for the annex is to apply for the Texas [Historical Commission] Preservation Trust Fund program with THC," said Hopkins.

If approved, Hopkins says the grant will supplement expenses for a master plan at 50% up to $30,000 at a dollar to dollar match. Grants will be awarded in November and billing for the master plan will begin late December 2019 or early January 2020.

Judge Harbison encouraged the commissioners something needs to be done with the building. She explained the bones of the structure are in very good condition.

"I worked in the building in the 80s and it does need a lot of work, but the bones of the structure is there to build on," said Harbison. "It's my understanding that we really can't get or qualify for any grant funding at the Texas Historical Commission until we have this plan in place."

Judge Harbison also stated the plan will not put limitations on the acceptance of donations from elsewhere.

Comment was sought from members of the audience in reference to the proposed project.

Cindy Smith asked if the amount being requested is the maximum allowed and if it wasn't can the maximum be requested. Hopkins explained the amount being requested is that which the consultant and architect have suggested.

Judge Harbison also interjected the amount requested has to be what is adhered to, and even if there was money left over it would have to go back to the state, because the funds are meant to be used for a specific purpose.

Luciana Barr stated the museum is, "busting at the seems, I had someone speak to me yesterday about something they wanted to donate to the museum that was something that you would really want, we need more room."

Fannie Watson stated, "we don't want the history of Shelby County to become 'Once upon a time.'"

A motion carried to allow the SCHC to make the application for grant funding.

Following the approval of the SCHC project, the commissioners went into executive session at 9:54am to meet with legal representatives for the county, Flowers and Davis.

The meeting returned to open session at 10:25am. Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison explained the reason for the executive session had to do with the ongoing federal lawsuit involving Shelby County and the City of Tenaha.

"We have got a federal ruling from the judge to extend the monitoring for another 18 months, but there are a couple of housekeeping things we need to do in Commissioners' Court to comply with the ruling," said Judge Harbison.

A motion carried to adopt the impartial policing policy of provisions article 2.131 through 2.134 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, section H.

Judge Harbison stated the policy says it has to do with the consent form for a search and mechanical recordings and equipment.

Click this image to view resolutionThe commissioners then considered a resolution to oppose unfunded mandates made by the state.

"21% of [Shelby County's] budget is spent on unfunded mandates that is sent down from the state of Texas," said Judge Harbison. "So, every tax dollar that we get, 21 cents of that dollar goes for something the state tells us we have to do and we have no control over it."

She felt it important for tax payers to be aware that of every dollar the county receives, it's only getting 79 cents out of each dollar.

A motion carried to approve a resolution in opposition to unfunded mandates.

A draw request transmittal for GrantWorks was presented to the commissioners for $7,837.80. Judge Harbison explained the item is among the CDBG grant for the Sandhill Corporation.

"The money from the grant from the Texas Department of Agriculture will be sent to the county and the county has to disburse it to GrantWorks," said Judge Harbison.

A motion carried to approve the draw request transmittal for GrantWorks Invoice No. 1 in the amount of $7,837.50.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:31am.

​Agenda items approved during the meeting:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
3-5. An executive session was held for the purpose of consulting with the law firm of Flowers and Davis. Upon returning from executive session a motion carried to adopt the impartial policing policy of provisions article 2.131 through 2.134 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, section H. 
6. SCHC request permission from Commissioners' Court to submit application for grant funding with the Texas Historical Commission for the Shelby County 1913 Historical Courthouse Annex Building.
7. Resolution in Opposition to Unfunded Mandates by the State.
8. Draw Request Transmittal for GrantWorks Invoice No. 1 in the amount of $7,837.50.
9. Adjourn at 10:31am.

January 17, 2019 - Emergency responders were dispatched to a four-vehicle pileup on SH 87 South in front of Shelbyville ISD on Wednesday morning, January 16, 2019.

According to a Department of Public Safety report, a white 2010 Jeep Wrangler was traveling north on SH 87 when it failed to control its speed and struck the rear of a black 2018 Jeep Cherokee which was stopped in a school zone. The black Jeep was propelled into the rear of a red 2015 Chevrolet Camaro which was forced into the rear of a red 2003 Ford Windstar van. The white Jeep received front end damage. The black Jeep received major rear end damage and only minor damage to its front. The Chevrolet Camaro and the Ford van only received minor damage.

The white Jeep was driven by a 16-year-old licensed driver with a 15-year-old passenger. The driver was charged with failure to control speed. The black Jeep was driven by Earlene Mitchell, 55 of Shelbyville, with one passenger, Dalton Mitchell. Both were transported to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital by Allegiance EMS. The Chevrolet Camaro was driven by Daniel Graf, 59 of Hemphill and the Ford Windstar was driven by Lauren Jackson, 29 of Gary.

The crash was investigated by DPS State Trooper Keith Jones.

January 17, 2019 - On 01/10/2019, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the Paxton public water system, 2100031 to issue a Boil Water Notice to inform customers, individuals, or employees that due to conditions which occurred recently in the public water system, the water from this public water system was required to be boiled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes.  

The public water system has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption purposes and has provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of 01/17/2019.  

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Stacey Cransford at 936-572-0973


January 10, 2019 - Due to a water outage from a broken main the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the Paxton  public water system ID# 2100031 to notify all of the customers on the Jackson side that were without water on 01/10/2019 to boil their water prior to consumption (e.g., washing hands/face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc). Children, seniors, and persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions). 

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes. 

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes. 

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the public water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes. 

Once the boil water notice is no longer in effect, the public water system will issue a notice to customers that rescinds the boil water notice in a manner similar to this notice. 

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail. 

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Stacey Cransford at 936-572-0973.

January 15, 2019 - A local UPS delivery man was pinned between two vehicles in a parking lot in Center on Tuesday, January 15, 2019 as he was making deliveries. 

According to Center Police Sgt. Jake Gross, the victim of the incident Hector Hernandez, 52, of Diboll was standing in front of a brown 2010 Freightliner UPS truck helping to direct a vehicle which was backing up. 

At that time Gabriella Jones, 45, of Carthage was backing up a tan 2014 GMC pickup truck, belonging to a customer, out of a parking space. As Hernandez was directing her backwards, there were unforeseen complications with handicap floor pedals that had the brake and gas pedals reversed from what they usually would be.

While trying to slow down, Jones unintentionally applied the gas pedal and the vehicle sped back, lodging Hernandez between the Freightliner and the GMC. Hernandez was able to be freed relatively quickly, and he was transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department for treatment of his injuries. He was later released.

January 9, 2019 - During the Shelby County Commissioners' Court meeting held Wednesday, January 9, 2019 Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, inquired with Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, about the cost of overtime in the Sheriff's Department resulting from the Christmas and New Year holidays as he noticed an increase.
 
He also asked if the Sheriff's Department was "short-handed," and Porterfield said, "no."

Porterfield explained there were four holidays this year affecting overtime whereas the previous year included only three holidays. 

"It's about $19,000, it was about $14,000 last year but we had three holidays last year. We had four this year," said Porterfield.

McSwain stated it should be considered that adding the fourth holiday increases the overall cost to the county. The 2018 year had three days for Christmas and the addition of another day for New Years Day.

Ann Blackwell, County Treasurer, presented the commissioners with the financial report for the county. She expressed excitement over the interest earned on Certificates of Deposit and other investments which garnered almost $11,000.

As of January 8, 2019, the financial report shows the General fund with a balance of $670,449.28; Road and Bridge Precinct 1 with a balance of $697,660.93; Road and Bridge Precinct 2 with a balance of $563,351.05; Road and Bridge Precinct 3 with a balance of $497,396.27; Road and Bridge Precinct 4 with a balance of $423,586.45. 

The Indigent Health Care Fund 55 had a balance of $558,314.53, and Right-of-Way Fund 54 had a balance of $55,197.90.

Included in the expenses approved by the commissioners to be paid, Shelby County schools are to receive $175,103.98 in ONRR mineral distributions, Center ISD: $43,353.04; Joaquin ISD: $26,223.30; Tenaha ISD: $12,477.22; Timpson ISD: $33,413.56; Shelbyville ISD $53,926.95; and Excelsior ISD $5,709.91.

A motion carried to approve the report presented by Blackwell.

A correction on a General Warranty Deed was considered by the commissioners. The correction was filed to correct information included in a deed in 2011 which referenced two tracts of land; however, only one tract of a 40 foot strip of land was intended to be included. The tract was originally deeded from Albert H. Burns to Shelby County.

A motion carried by the commissioners to approve the correction to the deed.

The meeting adjourned at 9:12am.

Officers' report

Fees collected per office for December:
    Deborah Riley, Tax Assessor/Collector, office: Property: $1,389,044.58; Motor Vehicle: $34,894.66 for a total of $1,423,939.24
    Jennifer Fountain, County Clerk: $22,564.57
    Lori Oliver, District Clerk: $7,572.33
    Melissa Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1: $7,181
    Marla Denby, Justice of the Peace Precinct 2: $263
    Margie Anderson, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3: $1,325
    Jackie Kirkwood, Justice of the Peace Precinct 4: $3,617.33
    Mike Crouch/Tracy Broadway, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5: $3,107
    Zach Warr, Constable Precinct 1: $455
    Robert Hairgrove, Constable Precinct 5: $90

Grand total: $1,469,569.47

Total interest accrued on CDs was $1,587.28
Money Market $3,011.31
TexPool $6,185.54

Total interest earned on investments: $10,784.13

Market book value of all investments: $7,184,899.90

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Minutes of the December 5, 2018 Special meeting, December 12, 2018 Regular meeting, December 19, 2018.
2. Pay weekly expenses.
3. Current payroll.
4. Officers Report.
5. Correction to deed transaction on a tract of land that was deeded to the County by Albert Burns Estate on November 2, 2011. 
6. Adjourned 9:12am

January 8, 2019 - A driver involved in a crash on State Highway 7 West in the Mt. Herman Community, just under seven miles from Center, was flown by helicopter to Shreveport following a major crash Tuesday, January 8, 2019.

Center Fire Department and West Shelby County Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to the location along with EMS and law enforcement personnel.

Firemen performed the tedious task of extricating the driver from the pickup truck involved in the crash while EMS saw to his medical needs. Sheriff's Deputies and firemen stopped traffic in the highway for an inbound helicopter, while they attempted communication from the ground with the helicopter. 

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Taylor Buster, at 3:35pm a black 2012 GMC 1500 pickup truck driven by Eliezer Briones, 27, of Nacogdoches was westbound on State Highway 7 West. 

At that time, Briones fell asleep and the truck left the roadway to the right. The GMC traveled a short distance before traveling through a fence and striking a large pine tree with its front left side. 

A landing zone was established in the middle of the highway and Briones was transported by Life Air Rescue to LSU Hospital in Shreveport for treatment of unknown injuries.

Additonal information is not available at this time.

January 8, 2019 - The jury that has been summoned for Monday, Janaury 14, 2019 for the 273rd District Court, Honorable Judge James A. Payne, Jr.  presiding, has been cancelled due to the scheduled cases being resolved or passed. Anyone receiving a summons for that day is released from jury service until they receive a future summons.

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