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January 15, 2020 - The Shelby County Commissioners accepted the resignation of Jacob Metcalf, Shelby County Constable Precinct 4, during their meeting held January 15, 2020.

Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, presented the letter of resignation submitted by Metcalf and read it aloud. The letter reads as follows: "It has been an honor to serve the citizens of Shelby County as their Precinct 4 Constable. Effective immediately, I am resigning my position as Precinct 4 Constable in Shelby County, Texas. It is my intent to not seek re-election in the upcoming March 2020 primary, however, I recognize that we are passed the deadline to remove my name from the ballot. As such, I would express my intent to the Commissioners' Court and the voters in Precinct 4 that should I be re-elected in spite of this resignation, I do not intend [to] accept this office and I would then again resign. 

"Furthermore, pursuant to Chapter 152 Government Code, I forfeit my salary, pay, benefit or otherwise for the remainder of my term. I do so in an effort to allow the Commissioners' Court to utilize their authority and budget to appoint my replacement. Respectfully, J Metcalf."

Gary Rholes, Shelby County Attorney, indicated for the knowledge of the court Metcalf would remain the Constable even following his resignation, until a successor is sworn-in and duly qualified.

"I don't like that, I'm going to be honest about it, it don't look right and it ain't right. Because, it takes away from the legitimacy of why he's resigning if the county allows him to remain as constable, I don't care if it's in word or name, or he's active or not active," said Roscoe McSwain, Constable Precinct 1. 

Judge Harbison suggested appointing another individual at the next meeting, and McSwain said that wasn't what he was wanting to do, but if that's the only way to remove any association of Metcalf from the office, then he will be for the appointment.

Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner Precinct 4, asked with all of the other constables employed by the county, could they not be utilized to fulfill the duties of the Constable 4 office. 

"They could work over there, but that still doesn't get him out of office," said Rholes.

He explained they could still work the area, but not hold the office in place of another. 

Commissioners McSwain asked Rholes, "If we accept this resignation, and if things play out like we want or say if something went wrong with this picture down the road, by accepting this and the documentation we've read do we reserve any rights for future action or does this do away with our opportunity to have future action down the road, should we need it, like file charges?"

McSwain elaborated, the letter submitted by Metcalf's attorney indicates he considers the issue to cease once the commissioners accept the resignation.

"He does not have any blanket immunity, I can tell you that," said Rholes.

A motion carried to accept the resignation and affidavit waiving compensation.

Although the discussion had in court was relating to the Metcalf's resignation, there was no explanation during court as to why the commissioners decided on December 20, 2019 to withdraw Metcalf's office, vehicle and salary.

Following inquiries by Shelby County Today with several county officials unwilling to go on the record as to the circumstances, County Attorney Gary Rholes has confirmed the issues relating to Metcalf have to do with a document turned in for payment through the office of Constable Precinct 4.

Later in the meeting, the commissioners discussed a new reimbursement policy. Ann Blackwell described some of why these changes should be made. (Click here to view the policy)

"In light of some things that have happened, we work really hard in my office to try to make sure that everything that we pay is of a benefit to the county and a legitimate invoice and a legitimate expense," said Blackwell. "I'm certainly not saying that I think that people are giving me things that are not correct, I'm not saying that."

Blackwell said she would like to see an extra safeguard in place. She explained, a lot of times employees will make purchases out of their own pocket at locations where the county already has accounts, and as a result have to turn in receipts. Blackwell explained it would be a lot more efficient if the county could just purchase through the vendor, or establish a new account with that source.

A motion carried to adopt the new Shelby County Expense Reimbursement Policy.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:26am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Officers Report.
3. Accept Jake Metcalf Constable Pct. 4 resignation and affidavit waving any compensation.
4. Purchase of PC towers for Tax Office out of County Records Management funds.
5. Annual Service Support contract with Harris Govern.
6. Tax Abatement agreement between Tyson Farms QOZB, LLC and Shelby County. 
7. Resolution declaring Shelby County to be a Second Amendment Sanctuary County.
8. New Reimbursement Policy.
9. Adjourn 10:26am.

Related article:
Commissioners Strip Constable 4 of Office Amenities, Benefits

January 15, 2020 - On January 14, 2020, at approximately 10 a.m., the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office Communications Center received a call concerning a missing man in the area of County Road 3685 in Joaquin. The caller indicated that Elzie Holland, 68, of Joaquin, had left on foot to retrieve items from a residence located next door at approximately 7:45 p.m. on January 13. Holland never made it to the residence nor did he return home. The caller stated that Holland was using a walker at the time of his disappearance and did not get around well unassisted.

Sheriff Willis Blackwell, Chief Deputy Kevin Windham, and Deputy Josh Tipton arrived at the residence and began gathering information. Lieutenant Del Birdwell, Investigator Mandy Fears, and Deputy Jake Gross began searching the area on foot and by a utility vehicle. Investigators Chad Brown and Tanner Peace interviewed friends and family members on scene.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Game Warden Sam Anderson arrived at the location and utilized a drag in a small pond in the front of the property with negative results. After searching for some time without results, officers gathered to discuss further action and areas to search.

Birdwell left the location and traveled by means of a utility vehicle to the location of County Road 3853, an area that had not been checked. Birdwell traveled the road to a clear cut and proceeded to follow the pathway. Looking down the path, Birdwell observed what he believed to be a person on the ground matching the description of Holland. Birdwell approached the male subject and called out to him, noting that he was alert. The subject identified himself as Holland. Birdwell notified SCSO communications at 12:20 p.m. and requested EMS.

Allegiance EMS arrived on scene and assumed patient care. Holland was transported to the Center emergency room in stable condition.

Updated January 14, 2020 - The candidates have been updated to the order they will appear on the ballot.


December 10, 2019 - The filing deadline for a place on the 2020 Primary Democrat and Republican Ballots expired as of 6pm on Monday, December 9, 2019.

Once again, all candidates running for local Shelby County offices filed on the Republican Party ballot. County Chair candidates are Democrat Party - Patsy A. Handy and Republican Party - Leigh Porterfield.

Republican Party Candidates

FEDERAL

President:

  • Bob Ely
  • Donald J. Trump (Incumbent)
  • Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente Guerra
  • Zoltan G. Istvan
  • Bill Weld
  • Matthew John Matern
  • Joe Walsh

United States Senator

  • John Anthony Castro
  • John Cornyn (Incumbent)
  • Virgil Bierschwale
  • Dwayne Stovall
  • Mark Yancey

United States Representative, District 1:

  • Johnathan Kyle Davidson
  • Louie Gohmert (Incumbent)

STATE

Railroad Commissioner

  • Ryan Sitton (Incumbent)
  • James "Jim" Wright

Chief Justice, Supreme Court - Nathan Hecht

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 6 - Unexpired Term - Jane Bland

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 7 - Jeff Boyd

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 8 - Brett Busby

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3:

  • Bert Richardson
  • Gina Parker 

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4 - Kevin Patrick Yeary

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 - David Newell

Member, State Board of Education, District 9 - Keven M. Ellis (Incumbent)

State Representative, District 9:

  • Chris Paddie (Incumbant)
  • Mark Williams

Chief Justice, 12th Court of Appeals District - Jim Worthen

District Judge, 123rd Judicial District - Leann Kay Rafferty (Incumbent)

District Attorney, 123 Judicial District:

COUNTY

County Attorney - Gary Rholes (Incumbent)

Sheriff:

County Tax Assessor-Collector - Debora Riley (Incumbent)

County Commissioner Pct 1:

  • Roscoe McSwain (Incumbent)
  • Donnie Borders

County Commissioner Pct 3:

Justice of the Peace Pct 1 - Donna Hughes

Justice of the Peace Pct 3:

County Constable Pct 1:

County Constable Pct 2:

  • Randy Joe Dean
  • Jamie Hagler (Incumbent)

County Constable Pct 3 - Roy Cheatwood

County Constable Pct 4:

  • Bryan Gray
  • Jake Metcalf (Incumbent)

County Constable Pct 5:

Democrat Party Candidates

FEDERAL

President:

  • Bernie Sanders
  • Michael Bennet
  • Elizabeth Warren
  • Joseph R. Biden
  • Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente
  • Pete Buttigieg
  • Amy Klobuchar
  • John K. Delaney
  • Marianne Williamson
  • Robby Wells
  • Michael R. Bloomberg
  • Tom Steyer
  • Tulsi Gabbard
  • Andrew Yang
  • Cory Booker
  • Julian Castro
  • Deval Patrick

United States Senator

  • Adrian Ocegueda
  • Annie "Mama" Garcia
  • Amanda K. Edwards
  • Mary "MJ" Hegar
  • Sema Hernandez
  • Royce West
  • Jack Daniel Foster Jr
  • Victor Hugo Harris
  • Michael Cooper
  • Cristina Tzintzun Ramirez
  • D.R. Hunter
  • Chris Bell

United States Representative, District 1 - Hank Gilbert

STATE

Railroad Commissioner

  • Mark Watson
  • Kelly Stone
  • Roberto R. "Beto" Alonzo
  • Chrysta Castaneda

Chief Justice, Supreme Court:

  • Amy Clark Meachum
  • Jerry Zimmerer

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 6 - Unexpired Term:

  • Larry Praeger
  • Kathy Cheng

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 7:

  • Staci Williams
  • Brandy Voss

Justice, Supreme Court, Place 8:

  • Peter Kelly
  • Gisela D. Triana

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 3:

  • Dan Wood
  • William Pieratt Demond
  • Elizabeth Davis Frizell

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 4:

  • Tina Clinton
  • Steven Miears

Judge, Court of Criminal Appeals, Place 9 - Brandon Birmingham

Member, State Board of Education, District 9 - Brenda Davis

January 14, 2020 – With political campaign season in full swing, the Texas Department of Transportation advises political parties, candidates and their supporters of where campaign signs can be placed along Texas roadways.

March 3 is the scheduled primary election and Nov. 3 is the general election in Texas, with May 26 set as the primary runoff election date. May 2 is set for local elections. Candidates are allowed by law to place campaign signs in the public up to 90 days prior to these elections, but the Lufkin District is currently removing some signage that has been placed on state property.

“We want to remind everyone that TxDOT has guidelines regarding placing signs on the right-of-way,” said Rhonda Oaks, public information officer for the Lufkin District. “There are usually many signs posted near election time and if a political sign is placed on the right of way, we are required to remove it without notice.”

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Where can I place political signs?

You can place your signs anywhere so long as they are not in the highway right of way or in a location that poses a safety hazard (e.g. blocking sight to a driveway). Always make sure to check with local authorities (Cities, Counties, Homeowner’s Associations, etc.) as they may have their own restrictions.

When can I place political signs?

Cities and counties may have their own time restrictions for political signs, however TxDOT does not enforce any timing restrictions.

There is a sign on private property posing a safety hazard

If you believe a sign or signs create a safety hazard, contact local law enforcement as they can have the owner remove or relocate their sign(s).

There are signs located on the Right of Way (ROW)

Signs cannot be placed on the ROW as per Texas Transportation Code (TTC) §393.002. “A sheriff, constable, or other trained volunteer authorized by the commissioner’s court of a county may confiscate a sign placed in violation of Section 393.002.” (TTC §393.003). For state-maintained highways, your local TxDOT district office also has the authority to remove signs located on state owned right of way.

For more information regarding signage, visit txdot.gov/Inside TxDOT/Division/Right of Way/Rules for Posting Campaign Signs, or contact Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or (936) 633-4395.

January 13, 2020 - Shelby County Law enforcement have been seeking the location of Jimmy Ray Anderson who went missing on November 17, 2019. 

Representatives of Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Constables from precincts 1, 2, and 3, gathered at the Center Municipal Airport to meet with DeSoto Fire District 1, and DeSoto Sheriff's Department representatives providing a helicopter to assist in an aerial search.

Once the officers met with the pilot and officer on board, they worked out a flight plan for the search area.

Anderson disappeared from the vicinity of County Road 4326, and it's in that area and surrounding areas where the helicopter and patrol units are currently searching in hopes of discovering the whereabouts of Anderson.

After part of the search was conducted, weather warning mandated the aerial search be postponed until a future date.

If you have any information on the location of Anderson, please contact the Shelby County Sheriff's Office at 936-598-5601.

Related linkSCSO Asking for Public Assistance Locating Missing Man (Updated)


Click image for an enlarged view

January 13, 2020 - Shelby County Commissioner Tom Bellmyer is notifying the public of upcoming construction on at bridge located on CR 4356.

The bridge is scheduled for replacement on Monday, January 20 and the construction will take a minimum of 7 days and possibly up to 10 days depending on weather. It is located 1.6 miles west of US 96 North of Center.

The current bridge has a weight limit of 5,000 pounds and once the replacement is complete it will be able to carry a legal limit load.

Your patience is apprecated during this time of construction.

January 11, 2020 - SWEPCO employees and contract crews have restored power to more than half of its customers in the Ark-La-Tex who lost power after overnight storms broke utility poles, downed wires and felled trees.

At the peak, about 29,300 customers were without power.

As of 3 p.m. Saturday, approximately 12,500 customers remained without power. SWEPCO is working as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to about 9,800 customers in Louisiana and 2,700 customers in Texas. Power is expected to be restored to all Arkansas customers by 4 p.m. today.

Call SWEPCO immediately at 1-888-218-3919 to report downed wires, poles and other safety hazards.

“No matter how harmless a wire looks, never touch it, or go near it. It could be energized,” said Tony Rash, SWEPCO’s safety & health manager. “Stay away and keep others away, especially children and pets.”

Power is expected to be restored to 95 percent of customers who can receive power by:

Louisiana

  • Shreveport – 10 p.m. Sunday
  • Bossier City – 10 p.m. Sunday
  • Benton – 10 p.m. Sunday
  • Haughton – 10 p.m. Sunday
  • Hornbeck – 8 p.m. Saturday
  • Mansfield – 6 p.m. Saturday
  • Natchitoches – 10 p.m. Saturday
  • Vivian – 10 p.m. Sunday

Texas

  • Carthage – 10 p.m. Saturday
  • Henderson – 9 p.m. Saturday
  • Kilgore – 9 p.m. Saturday
  • Longview – 10 p.m. Saturday
  • Marshall – 10 p.m. Saturday
  • Mineola – 10 p.m. Saturday

Customers can receive an email or text message with the latest info for their home or business by signing up for alerts at SWEPCO.com/Alerts.

Nearly 400 additional line and tree personnel are helping SWEPCO employees restore power, including line mechanics from SWEPCO’s sister utility Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO).

Extensive damage has been reported in Benton and Haughton, Louisiana, and Kilgore and Longview, Texas.


SWEPCO crews are working to restore power as safely and quickly as possible to the 22,000 customers in the Ark-La-Tex who remain without power after overnight storms broke utility poles, downed wires, and toppled trees.

At the peak, about 29,300 customers were without power. Extensive damage has been reported in Benton and Haughton, Louisiana, and Kilgore and Longview, Texas.

Never touch a downed line, or go near it, no matter how harmless it looks. The line could be energized. Don’t touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences, or puddles of water. Stay away and keep others away, especially children and pets. Call SWEPCO immediately at 1-888-218-3919.

SWEPCO will share estimated times of restoration as soon as they are available.

An additional 150 field personnel are helping SWEPCO employees restore power. Fifteen line mechanics from SWEPCO’s sister utility Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) have been called in to assist with power restoration.

The wind gusted up to 60 miles per hour (MPH) in Caddo, Lousiana, according to the National Weather Service. The NWA reported the following peak wind gusts:

- Bossier City, LA, 59 MPH
- Shreveport, LA, 54 MPH
- Mansfield, LA, 46 MPH
- Longview, TX, 48 MPH
- Texarkana, AR, 41 MPH
- DeQueen, AR, 47 MPH

OUTAGE INFO:

SWEPCO Mobile App – Report outages, check outage status, and more. Download at App store or Google Play. See SWEPCO.com/App

SWEPCO Alerts – Get an email or text message with the latest info for your home or business. See SWEPCO.com/Alerts.

SWEPCO.com – View an outage map, report outages, and find additional safety information.

Update: The roadway was cleared as of 11:30am.


January 11, 2020 - Residents of Lakewood residential development in Center were heavily affected by a storm that moved through the area at 12:55am, Saturday, January 11, 2020.

Emergency personnel with the Center Fire Department and Police Department responded to calls of a house where a tree had fallen and the residents of the home were trapped inside. 

The fire and police personnel rescued the residents from that home and EMS at the location saw to any injuries.

Several trees in the neighborhood were brought down by the storm, with some landing on houses and causing structural damage. Power lines were knocked down by trees, shutting down power in the neighborhood and leaving residents in the dark. As of the morning, the residents remain without power as utility crews work to restore service.

January 11, 2020 - The National Weather Service has issued a Tornado Warning as of 12:38am CST Saturday, January 11 2020.

The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a

Tornado Warning for East central Nacogdoches County in eastern Texas, Central Shelby County in eastern Texas, Northwestern San Augustine County in eastern Texas until 1:15am CST.

At 12:37 AM CST, severe thunderstorms capable of producing both tornadoes and extensive straight line wind damage were located near Martinsville, or 15 miles southwest of Center, moving northeast at 55 mph.

HAZARD: Tornado.

SOURCE: Radar indicated rotation.

IMPACT: Flying debris will be dangerous to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be damaged or destroyed. Damage to roofs, windows, and vehicles will occur. Tree damage is likely.

These dangerous storms will be near Neuville around 12:50am CST. Center and Shelbyville around 12:55am CST.

Other locations impacted by this tornadic thunderstorm include Hurstown, Arcadia, James, Jericho, Calgary, Jordans Store, Chireno
and Huxley.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS

Tornadoes are extremely difficult to see and confirm at night. Do not
wait to see or hear the tornado. TAKE COVER NOW!

January 10, 2020 - Two crash incidents at different locations and times resulted in injury to the same passenger on Friday, January 10, 2020. The first of the two incidents occurred very early in the morning.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 4:46am Troopers were alerted to a one-vehicle crash on State Highway 7 (SH7) West just past CR 1168. A black Trailblazer driven by Stacey Lynn Coats, 48, of Center was westbound on SH7 when it exited the roadway to the right. 

Coats overcorrected and crossed back over the roadway striking a trash can near the roadway and overturning left and top.

Coats and her passenger Rebecca Eddins, 35, were transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department for treatment of their injuries. 

Once released from the emergency room, Coats was arrested for driving while intoxicated.

Rebecca Eddins was later released from the hospital.

In a related incident during the afternoon, Center Police Officers were traveling Shelbyville Street in Center when they arrived at the scene of a single-vehicle crash which had just occurred around 2pm.

A red pickup truck was straddling the base of a utility pole it struck. Ambulance personnel were called to the scene and they removed the driver and passenger to an ambulance. Officers at the location were busy investigating the crash incident and assessing the risk of the pole falling, due to the impact.

According to Center Police Officer Robert Lee, a red 1991 GMC Sonoma driven by Josh Eddins, 32, of Center was northbound on Shelbyville Street when it left the roadway to the right at the intersection of Newman Street and struck a high-line pole.

Both the driver and passenger were transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department for treatment of possible injuries.

No citations were reported to have been issued at the time of the crash.

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