Rotary Club Swears in Lester as New President

From left: J.J. Ford (Secretary), Cancee Lester (President), Faythe Abraham (Past-President), and Yogesh Gorkhali (Board member)

June 28, 2022 - The Center Rotary Club installed Cancee Lester as the new Club President during their Tuesday, June 28 meeting with the assistance of guest speaker, Judge Jim Payne.

Prior to the swearing in ceremony J.J. Ford, Club Secretary, gave appreciation to the outgoing President, Faythe Abraham for her devotion to the club. “Faythe, just as your name implies, you have been faithful to the Center Rotary Club. Even though life took you a different direction, we greatly appreciate your time and devotion to finish out the remainder of your term as club president. Not only did you complete your commitment to our club, it was with fun as a key component. Traveling hundreds of miles didn't deter your enthusiasm for Service Above Self. We wish you the best in your future and know that you are always welcome in our club because you will forever be a part of our Rotary Family.”

From left: Cancee Lester, Faythe Abraham, and Judge Jim Payne

A plaque was then presented to Faythe for her 2021-2022 term as President.

Former Center Rotary Club member and meeting speaker, the 273rd Judicial District Judge Jim Payne assisted with the swearing in of Cancee Lester, “The role of President is the highest honor one can attain at the club level and you have earned the trust of your Board and club members to provide leadership to the Rotary Club of Center. It is a real privilege afforded to you.” After Lester recited her oath of office, now Past-President Abraham handed her the gavel. In her work life, Lester serves as the Director of Shelby County Operations for Panola College, a role she has held since July of 2017. She has been with the college since 2007 as an adjunct professor of psychology. The club is honored to have Lester as their leader for the 2022-2023 year.

Judge Jim Payne presents program at Rotary Club meeting.

Judge Payne then provided a program and gave an overview about the 273rd Judicial District Court. “My Judicial District has Shelby County, Sabine County, and San Augustine County. Now, I also share Shelby County with Judge Leann Rafferty in the 123rd, so her Judicial District has Shelby County and Panola County.” He further explained that the Judicial Districts overlap in Texas in the more rural areas. “I actually share San Augustine and Sabine Counties with a judge out of Jasper.” He described the two Judicial Districts serving Shelby County as general jurisdictions, multi-county districts which are all encompassing, “I do civil jurisdiction, criminal jurisdiction, so everything from the civil end - family law, divorces, child custody - to land fights, car wrecks, truck wrecks, anything in between and then on the criminal end is felony work.” He next described local courts - Justice of the Peace Courts, County Court and District Courts and the various classes of charges they each handle.

Judge Payne did highlight one of the main challenges the court system faces, which is jurors showing up for jury duty. “We need folks to show up for jury duty when summoned.” One of the Rotary members commented they thought it was a crime to not show up and the judge did say a fine could be imposed. Payne said he hasn’t fined anyone for not showing up and hopes he never has too; however, he really encourages anyone receiving a summons to please show up, “If you do get called, we need you. If your employee gets called, please send them up there, give them the opportunity to come and serve.” Judge Payne also advised serving on a jury may not be fun but it can definitely be interesting and enlightening and give insight into your community and what's happening.

According to Texas Government Code § 62.0141 (Failure to Answer Jury Summons), a person who receives a summons for jury service and fails to answer the summons as directed by the summons, is subject to a contempt action that is punishable by a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000.