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June 13, 2018 - Jheri-Lynn McSwain, Shelby County Extension Agent, was presented to the commissioners as the newest member of the Shelby County Historical Commission (SCHC) during the April 11, 2018 meeting of the Shelby County Commissioners' Court. Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, explained for the commissioners McSwain has been working with the SCHC and they asked for her to be appointed. Harbison asked Vickie Martin, SCHC member, for any additional input.

"I appreciate everything the commissioners are doing to help the Historical Commission, so I feel like she will be a very valuable member for our community," said Martin.

A motion carried and the commissioners approved McSwain's appointment to the SCHC.

Judge Harbison then presented the 12 members of the SCHC for consideration of the commissioners. 

They are as follows: David Chadwick, Vanessa Davis, Colleen Doggett, Allison Harbison, Teddy Hopkins, Brandy Lewis, Jerry Lewis, Vickie Martin, Tem Morrison, Tim Perkins, and Sharon Ratcliff. With the addition of Jheri-Lynn McSwain. 

According to Harbison and Martin, Jerry Lewis is the President, David Chadwick is Treasurer assisted by Ratcliff, Martin is Secretary.

"These are people that are willing to work and that are willing to come to the meetings and willing to put forth an effort, and in any commission or organization that is so vital just to have people show up and give their input," said Judge Harbison.

A motion was carried by the commissioners to approve the SCHC members.

During the meeting, the commissioners approved a Radio Tower rental agreement for Shelby County Adult Probation Department. Judge Harbison explained she is pleased at the rate of $250 a month for the rental.

A motion was carried to approve the agreement.

The commissioners approved a Radio Tower rental agreement for all four commissioners at a rate once again of $250 a month. Following brief discussion a motion carried to approve the agreement.

A motion carried to approve a bid of $1,500 from Mario and Teresa Osby for .1755 acres in Timpson.

A motion was then carried to adjourn the meeting.

The Shelby County Commissioners heard discussion on May 2, 2018 on a couple project the SCHC is working toward. 

Tem Morrison, Shelby County Historical Commission, spoke with the commissioners about needed repairs to the Bandstand and First Ladies in Texas Building located on the Historic Courtyard.

"25-30 years ago when they did the repairs well they repainted over the old wood. Well the wood underneath the paint is deteriorated and the windows are just kind of sitting in there," said Morrison.

He said, in the First Ladies in Texas Building, the majority of the windows are in need of either repair or total replacement, and they hope to use the original window panes in the repaired or replaced windows. He explained the building is in dire need of electrical work with electrical plugs missing plugs leaving only exposed lines, and other electrical lines exposed around the building.

"On the Bandstand building you can drive around and the eaves, almost all the facia boards around the roof, the paint's the only thing holding them up there. You can just tap on them and they're all rotten," said Morrison.

According to Morrison, the wiring on the Bandstand doesn't work and it's been vandalized making it necessary for the remaining wiring to be removed. He suggested not replacing the wiring as extensively as it had previously been. Roofing shingles are in need of repair as well. He does not see repair to the plumbing being possible.

Morrison described the dilapidated condition of the Bandstand as having rusted doors which can easily be kicked in and the lower area of the building being an inviting location for trouble. He explained the building is 20 years behind on maintenance and is in need of paint.

He continued to describe a variety of issues facing the buildings. 

Judge Harbison informed the commissioners a bid in the amount of $22,500 had been received for the proposed work to both buildings. She also presented to the commissioners the Historical Commission has agreed to split the cost with the county.

A motion carried and was approved for the county to pay for half of the cost providing it is within $25,000.

Judge Harbison explained for the commissioners she received a letter from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services seeking the commissioners recognition of May as Elder Abuse Prevention Awareness month.

Tracy Belin, with Texas Department of Family and Protective Services for Shelby County, addressed the commissioners, "Our agency is going strong. Intakes are increased in this area, sad to say; however, it's just a legitimate truth."

Belin thanked the commissioners and County Judge as well as District Courts, law enforcement agencies and community leaders for working with the agency to insure elderly and disabled are being taken care of in Shelby County.

Judge Harbison shared some statistics with the court stating in 2017 there were 141 intakes in Shelby County with 99 of those cases having been validated as legitimate issues.

A motion carried by the commissioners to approve declaring May as Elder Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.

Earlier in the meeting during the public comment portion, the commissioners heard from members of the SCHC and a man named Delbert Jackson on the possibility of installing a historical marker on the county square in memory of lynching victims.

Jackson, a resident of Shelby County, expressed his desire to have a marker on the square and stated he'd first addressed the Center city council about this; however, he was directed to Judge Harbison and the SCHC and he made his request for a marker.

"In the meantime I contacted the Equal Justice Initiative out of Montgomery, Alabama and found that they had already placed a marker for other individuals in Austin," said Jackson. "They said that they were willing to place a marker here in Shelby County as well."

In contacting the SCHC, Jackson said he spoke with Colleen Doggett, Marker Chairman, who is responsible for assisting people seeking markers through the SCHC. Jackson said she stated she would assist him. Jackson also said Doggett had issues with the narrative on the request.

Jackson said the Equal Justice Initiative has suggested he find an alternate location for a marker, should the city and county not be "ready" for a marker.

Doggett explained she researched the Equal Justice Initiative and the "Justice Oak" which she shared had taken the name "Hanging Tree" as well, and said the tree is no longer on the square. She described how the Daughters of the Republic of Texas planted a new tree in its location in 2004, she stated it is the Stephen F. Austin Heritage Oak.

Doggett said she spoke with Bob Brinkman of the Texas Historical Commission in Austin and she said he agrees with the SCHC, the courthouse is and always should be the focus of the square.

"That is the historical monument that we want focused on, others have been placed over the years, but other than the one on the "1885" side that mentions J.J.E. Gibson as the architect and the builder of the courthouse, we do not honor a single person with a historical marker," said Doggett.

Doggett related Brinkman's statement that if the request is seriously considered, it will be sent back to the SCHC for their determination of its approval or disapproval. Doggett stated on behalf of the SCHC, they do not approve the marker. She stated once there are many individuals who would then have to have markers as well.

"Placement of the marker is of significance, but on the courthouse square we don't feel that there's a place for it," said Doggett.

Further discussion continued about the marker; however, it was not an item up for consideration by the commissioners and as a result, no action was taken by the county. 

An executive session was held from 10:20am until 11:05am during which time discussion was had about a security officer; however, no decision was made and the item was tabled.

The meeting was then adjourned at 11:06am.

Burt Furlow, a resident of Shelby County, veteran, and former Justice of the Peace, addressed the commissioners on May 9, 2018 regarding the flag which flies at the Shelby County Sheriff's Department near Hurst Street.

Furlow remarked, since he first mentioned his issue with the flag, the tree limbs nearest to the flag have been trimmed. Before that time he says he didn't know the flag was there as wind would blow it into the tree branches.

He stated he understands it would be cost prohibitive to move the pole, however, he would like to see another pole placed close to the Hurst Street entrance of the Sheriff's Department where it could be more visible to everyone.

"There's been a lot of men that didn't come back home on account of that, for that flag. A lot of blood lost," said Furlow. "I'm screwed up on account of it. My knees are messed up, and that's what happened to my hearing." 

Furlow asked the commissioners to consider moving the flag to the other location, because the tree will continue to obscure it and the tree branches will grow back to entangle the flag.

"Y'all know you had loved ones in World War I, II, Korea, Viet Nam, and that flag means a lot to a lot of people. Been a lot of people messed up over it

He pleaded with the commissioners to do something about the situation.

The commissioners thanked Furlow and took no action at the time because it was not an action item on the agenda. Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner, said they would take it under advisement. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:42am.

Agenda items approved during the April 11, 2018 meeting:
1. Minutes of the March 7, 2018 Regular meeting, March 14, 2018 Special meeting, March 21, 2018 Special meeting, and March 28, 2018 Special meeting. 
2. Pay weekly expenses.
3. Officers report.
4. Bids for Commissioner Pct.3 and Commissioner Pct. 4 on equipment.

A motion carried to approve bids for equipment offered by Pct. 3 $16,200 from Highway 96 Equipment for a Case backhoe; $6,150 from Highway 96 Equipment for a belly dump trailer; $4,675 from Highway 96 Equipment for a Ford dump truck. 

A motion carried to approve bids for equipment offered by Pct. 4 $1,000 from Clark Williams for a Kenworth dump truck; $1,000 for a Ford dump truck from Clark Williams; $1,000 from Clark Williams for a Chevy winch truck; $100 from Clark Williams for a Ford pickup truck; $800 from Clark Williams for a Fiat maintainer.

5. Appoint Jheri-Lynn McSwain to the Shelby County Historical Commission.
6. Appoint the members of the Shelby County Historical Commission for 2018.
7. Election contract between Shelby County and Center Independent School District for election services.
8. Approve Radio Tower rental agreement for Shelby County Adult Probation at $250 a month.
9. Radio Tower rental agreement for all four Commissioners at $250 a month.
10. Bid of $1,500 from Mario and Teresa Osby for .1755 acres. Property ID 11474, located in the A-0200 Foster JOHN SUR BLK 11 TR 17, City of Timpson, Shelby County Texas.
11. Adjourn.

Agenda items approved during the May 2, 2018 meeting:
1. Pay weekly expenses and current payroll.
2. Proclamation declaring May as Elder Abuse Prevention Awareness Month.
3. Appoint Charles Barr and Allison Harbison to represent Shelby County on the DETCOG Board of Directors.
4. Bid of $4,000 by LaRonda King on Property ID 20633, located in the a-0010 Jesse Amason SUR BLK 30 TR 25, 1203 Bolton ST City of Center, Shelby County Texas which has been struck off the tax rolls.
5. Pay for half of the repairs to the Bandstand and First Ladies in Texas Building located on the Historic Courtyard within $25,000.
6. Map contract with Liberty Marketing Company for the Shelby County Judge and Commissioners.
7. Adopt .946 miles of Forest Service Road 107 starting at FM 417 [and] County Road 2515.
8. Create County Road 2516 from 478 feet of Forest Service land from 2517 to boundary line Michael Paul Kay property.
9. Adopt 1146 feet of Forest Service Road 143 as part of County Road 2369.
10. Commissioner Pct.1 to get bids for new or used backhoe and or enter into a lease agreement.
11. Adjourn 11:06am.

Agenda items tabled during the May 2, 2018 meeting:
1. Discuss and possibly make a decision on Security Officer for Shelby County Courthouse. 


Agenda items approved during the May 9, 2018 meeting:
1. Minutes of the April 4, 2018 Special meeting, April 11, 2018 Regular meeting, April 18, 2018 Special meeting, and the April 25, 2018 Special meeting.
2. Pay weekly expenses.
3. Officer’s report.
4. Pct.1 Commissioner to take sealed bids for 2 dump trailers, 2 half ton pickup trucks, 65 model winch truck, and 580 Case Backhoe. Deadline for bids, May 22, at 3pm.
5. Pct. 2 Commissioner to take sealed bids for 94 model inoperable Mack Truck. Deadline for bids, May 22, at 3pm.
6. Adjourn - 9:42am.

June 8, 2018 - Tyson Foods Inc., a North Little Rock, Ark. establishment, is recalling approximately 3,120 pounds of frozen breaded chicken products that may be contaminated with extraneous materials, specifically blue and clear soft plastic, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The frozen, uncooked and breaded chicken tenderloins were produced on May 17, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Label By Clicking Here]

12-lb. box containing 3-lb. plastic bags of “UNCOOKED, BREADED, ORIGINAL CHICKEN TENDERLOINS,” with a lot code of 1378NLR02.
The products subject to recall bear establishment number “P-746” on the product package. These items were shipped to food services establishments, nationwide. The affected products are not available for purchase in retail stores.

The problem was discovered on June 8, 2018, when Tyson Foods Inc. notified FSIS that their breading supplier was recalling the breading ingredients due to possible foreign material contamination.

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 freezers at food service institutions and could be served. Food Service Institutions who have purchased these products are urged not to serve them. These products should be thrown away.

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.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact the Tyson Foods Inc. call center at (888) 747-7611. Members of the media may contact Worth Sparkman, senior manager for external communications for Tyson Foods Inc., at (479) 290-6358.

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: https://www.fsis.usda.gov/reportproblem.

June 8, 2018 - The jury that has been summoned for Monday, June 18, 2018 for the 273rd District Court, visiting Judge, the Honorable Diane V. Devasto, 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.

June 8, 2018 - The jury that has been summoned for Monday, June 11, 2018 for the 273rd District Court, Honorable Charles R. Mitchell, 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 received a future summons.

June 6, 2018 - On Wednesday, June 6, 2018 in the 273rd Judicial District Court of Shelby County with Judge Charles Mitchell presiding, it took a jury less than an hour to return a verdict terminating the parental rights of the Shelbyville Couple who was previously accused of placing a 4-year-old child in a dog crate along with other abuse allegations. The jury's verdict in the interest of the now 5-year-old child was unanimous. 

The jury selected in the best interest of the child to terminate the parent-child relationship of both Matthew McMahon and Randa McMahon after six days of trial testimony by family, friends, and expert witnesses. All the attorneys in the case gave their closing statements Wednesday morning and the jury went into deliberations just before 11am. At 11:42am a knock was heard on the door of the jury room to signal to the court they had come to an unanimous decision.

Lori Oliver, District Court Clerk, then read to the audience the outcome of 'yes' to terminating parent-child rights and that the jury had selected to give Managing Conservator-ship to Margaret Regina Raymond, the maternal grandparent of the child. The majority of those in attendance expressed outward emotions of joy and cried with relief with the outcome of the verdict.

The McMahons were accused of abusing their then 4-year-old child and were arrested by the Somervell County Sheriff’s Department on two felony warrants on behalf of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on Friday, June 2, 2017. Matthew McMahon and Randa Askew Faust McMahon, both of Shelbyville, were charged for Injury to a Child (F-1). The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office sought the warrants after investigating allegations of child abuse. The abuse allegations included the child being forced to sleep in a large dog crate, the child being left in urine and defecation, and he child being locked in an enclosed cargo trailer. Allegations also included withholding of food or water and was once forced to drink his own urine as punishment.

They were each individually indicted on September 7, 2017 for injury to a child, first degree felony by a grand jury. The indictments allege on June 1, 2017 the McMahons recklessly by omission caused serious bodily injury to a child by causing or allowing the child's potassium, protein and albumin levels to fall to very low levels. The potassium level is alleged to have fallen to a dangerously low, life-threatening level - all due to chronic nutritional deficiency.

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May 31, 2018 - Barber was arrested at 1:50 p.m. Wednesday, May 30 in Joaquin by Pct. 3 Constable Roy Cheatwood. She was booked into the Shelby County Jail on warrants for Assault Causing Bodily Injury (M-A) $2,500 bond and Theft of Property (M-B) $1,500 bond.


May 30, 2018 - The Shelby County Sheriff’s is once again seeking the whereabouts of Brittany Celine Barber, 30, of Joaquin. Barber is described as a 5’4” white female and weighs approximately 120 pounds. She has black hair and hazel eyes. Barber has an active misdemeanor warrant for Assault Causing Bodily Injury (M-A).

The SCSO is seeking assistance of the public with locating Barber. If you have any information regarding her whereabouts, please contact the SCSO (936) 598-5601.

If anyone is found to be hindering the apprehension, harboring or concealing, providing or aiding with any means of avoiding arrest or effecting escape, or warns Barber of impending discovery or apprehension, will be arrested and charged in accordance to Penal Code 38.05 Hindering Apprehension or Prosecution, a Felony 3 offense.

May 30, 2018 - Firemen are fighting several suspicious fires on FM 699 in several locations.

The Center Fire Department was initially called out to the locations at around 1pm and once they discovered the extent of the fires requested the Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department assist. The fires span from CR 3736 to Flat Fork Creek Bridge.

Jake Metcalf, Precinct 4 Constable, also responded to the location to assist the Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department in their search. They were requested by the Center Fire Department to search from U.S. Highway 84 end of FM 699 to Flat Fork Creek.

Fires that started at the roadside are traveling into open pastures and even threatened approaching one residence.

A black pickup truck was reported as being the origin of the fire; however, no additional information on the cause is available at this time.

May 30, 2018 - A two-vehicle collision at 10pm at the intersection of FM 699 and US 84 in the Paxton Community sent two Tenaha men to the hospital for evaluation on Memorial Day.

According to a Texas Department of Public Safety report, a gray 2004 Chevrolet Silverado pickup driven by Stephen Brian Raybon II, age 22 of Grand Cane, LA with one passenger, Andrew James Clark, age 20, was traveling south on FM 699. A white 2005 Ford Explorer was traveling west on US 84 when the Chevrolet pickup failed to yield right-of-way at a stop sign and entered the pathway of the Ford Explorer. The Ford struck the Chevrolet pickup on the driver's side bed of the truck and then spun around to come to rest in the eastbound traffic lanes facing east. The Chevrolet pickup traveled off the roadway stopping at a highway sign at the intersection of FM 699 and US 84.

The Ford vehicle was driven by Larry Terry, age 74 of Tenaha, with passenger Al Howard, age 80 also of Tenaha, and both were transported to the Center Emergency Department.

Raybon II was cited for disregarding stop sign and Clark received a citation for minor consuming alcohol beverage.

The Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department, the Tenaha Police Department, and the Shelby County Sheriff's Department all responded to the crash scene to assist. The crash was investigated by Texas DPS State Trooper Taylor Buster and State Trooper Keith Jones.

Emergency responders at the scene commented this was the second crash at the FM 699 and US 84 intersection within a two weeks time.

May 30, 2018 - The Tenaha Police Department has announced the arrest of three individuals on May 18, 2018 stemming from a narcotics investigation which had connections to several related arrests in other counties. 

Arrests made in Shelby County were on Wheeler Street in Center and another location on State Highway 87 near Timpson. Those arrested included Jennifer Hughes, 48, of Center on charges of Possession of Drug Paraphernalia, Theft By Check, Possession of Dangerous Drug, Possession of a Controlled Substance PG1, Manufacture/Delivery of a Controlled Substance PG1; 

Beverly Hurst, 19, of Center on charges of Possession of a Controlled Substance PG1>=1G<4G.

Christopher Belrose, 39, of Seminole Violation of Probation (Unlawful Possession of Firearm).

According to a press release from the Tenaha Police Department, a lengthy narcotics investigation has been being conducted which led officers into multiple counties. The investigation resulted in the execution of multiple search warrants.

Subsequent to the service of the search warrants, Tenaha Police Department located and seized illegal narcotics, contraband, vehicles, and resulted in the arrest of multiple subjects. In addition to packaging materials and paraphernalia used to facilitate the sale of narcotics, a quantity of other dangerous drugs, and US currency, believed to be proceeds of other illicit drug sales, were also seized.

The Tenaha Police Department would like to thank the Center Police Department, Shelby County District Attorney's Office, Panola County Sheriff's Department, Harrison County Sheriff's Department, and the Sabine County Narcotics Division for their assistance in this narcotics investigation.

This investigation would not be possible without the participation, commitment, and willingness of these agencies working together to extinguish all of our communities from illicit narcotic use, trafficking, and sales.

This should be common practice of all law enforcement agencies to work together to solve and prevent crimes and protect the citizens that entrust us with their lives.

The results of the investigation were: total of 6 arrests resulting in the following charges: 

  • Possession of Controlled Substance x 5 Felony 3
  • Failure to Identify x 2 Class C Misdemeanor 
  • Delivery of a Controlled Substance Felony I 
  • Possession of Dangerous Drug Class A Misdemeanor
  • Possession of Drug Paraphernalia Class C Misdemeanor 
  • Warrant Theft By Check Class B Misdemeanor
  • Unlawful Possession of Firearm by Felon Felony 3

May 26, 2018 Washington – Hormel Food Corp., a Fremont, NE establishment, is recalling approximately 228,614 pounds of canned pork and chicken products that may be contaminated with foreign matter, specifically pieces of metal, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced today.

The canned pork and chicken products were produced on February 8 through February 10, 2018. The following products are subject to recall: [View Labels (PDF only)]

  • 12-oz. metal cans containing “SPAM Classic” with a “Best By” February 2021 date and production codes: F020881, F020882, F020883, F020884, F020885, F020886, F020887, F020888 and F020889. These products were shipped throughout the United States.
  • 12-oz. metal cans containing “Hormel Foods Black-Label Luncheon Loaf” with a “Best By” February 2021 date and production codes F02098 and F02108. These products were shipped to Guam only.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number “EST. 199N” on the bottom of the can. These items were shipped throughout the United States and to Guam.

The problem was discovered after the firm received four consumer complaints stating that metal objects were found in the canned products. FSIS was notified on May 25, 2018. 

There have been reports of minor oral injuries associated with consumption of the products. FSIS has received no additional reports of injury or illness from consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider. 

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in consumers’ food pantries. 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 list(s) will be posted on the FSIS website at www.fsis.usda.gov/recalls.

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact Consumer Response, Hormel Foods, at (800) 523-4635. Members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Hormel Foods Media Relations, at (507) 437-5345.

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.

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