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September 30, 2020 - The funeral of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Ginsburg took place yesterday at Arlington National Cemetery. Flags should now be raised.

September 22, 2020 - Presidential Proclamation: As a mark of respect for Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the United States, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States of America, including section 7 of title 4, United States Code, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and on all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, on the day of interment. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

You can read the full proclamation by clicking here

September 29, 2020 - FM 2026 and U.S. Highway 96 North was the scene of a two-vehicle crash Tuesday, September 29, 2020.

According to Texas Department of Public Sarfety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 5:14pm a black 2013 Chevrolet Cruz driven by Madison Diane Lee, 21, of Tenaha was stopped at the intersection of U.S. Highway 96 North on FM 2026 and failed to yield right of way entering U.S. 96.

The Chevrolet traveled into the path of a southbound blue 2016 Ford Fiesta driven by Kelly N. Holder, 43, of Deridder, LA. The two vehicles collided and came to a halt in the middle of FM 2026 and U.S. 96.

Lee was transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital for treatment of her injuries and Holder was transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department for treatment of her injuries.

Center Fire Department personnel and Center Police Department officers assisted by diverting traffic around the crash scene until it was clear

September 29, 2020 - The Shelby County Sheriff's Department is reported to have had an incident involving an inmate on Saturday, September 19, 2020.

At this time, information has not yet been released. What is known is an inmate allegedly assaulted two jailers and dispatchers had difficulty reaching deputies for assistance with radio communications being limited.

Center Police Officers were requested for immediate assistance at around 2:56pm, as the inmate had been released from his cell and allegedly injured the jailers by the time Center Police Officers Robert Lee and Michael Davidson arrived.

The inmate was immediately restrained and escorted back to his cell by the Center PD officers without further incident.

EMS were then contacted and arrived at the Shelby County Sheriff's Department to examine the jailers for head injuries.

According to Shelby County Jail records Landon Yarbrough, 32, of Center has been charged as of September 22, 2020, with two counts of assault on a public servant, felony 3; criminal mischief, misdemeanor b; and escape, felony 3. Yarbrough was issued another charge of escape, felony 3, on September 23, 2020, suggesting a second attempt.

Once further information has been gathered, it will be added to this report. 

September 28, 2020 - Effective September 28, 2020

Until further notice

Due to a break in the water line, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required San Augustine Rural Public Water System PWS #2030007 to notify  Customers in the North and North West Areas  to boil their water prior to consumption (eg., 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. 

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received the 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 San Augustine Rural Water System at 220 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas, 75972, or call 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp at 936-201-5001.

September 25, 2020 - The City of Huxley public water system, (PWS) ID 2100019, will temporarily convert the disinfectant used in the distribution system from chloramine to free chlorine. The conversion will begin on September 28th, 2020 and continue through October 28th, 2020. During this period, you may experience taste and odor changes associated with this type of temporary disinfectant conversion.

Public water systems are required to properly disinfect their water and maintain an adequate disinfectant residual in the distribution system. Chloramine, free chlorine combined with ammonia, is widely used as a disinfectant because it persists for long periods while also limiting the formation of disinfection by-product contaminants. Prolonged use of chloramine coupled with other factors that can affect water quality, such as high temperatures or stagnation of water, may result in the growth and/or persistence of organic matter within the pipes of the distribution system, which may hinder the ability to maintain an adequate disinfectant residual. A temporary conversion to free chlorine, partnered with flushing activities, helps to rid distribution pipes of this organic matter and improve the quality of your water overall.
The City of Huxley has chosen to implement a temporary disinfectant conversion to free chlorine for Annual Preventative Maintenance.
It is important to understand that during this temporary change there may be some discoloration or cloudiness in the water and possibly a slight chlorine odor or taste. If this is experienced, customers may want to run the water through the tap until it is clear. Minor pressure fluctuations and small air pockets may also occur. Flush valves should remove a majority of the color and odor, but some may reach customer lines during the process. Any odor and color issues should subside as the flushing is complete. Customers who use tap water for kidney dialysis at home should consult their doctor to advise them if any changes are necessary in their residual disinfectant neutralization procedures.
Please share this information with all people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (i.e., 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 regarding this matter, you may contact Kevin Jacobs at (936)368-2633 or Justin Belrose at (936)368-2266 during normal business hours.

September 23, 2020 - As of Wednesday, September 23, 2020 the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) reports Shelby County now has a cumulative case count of 474. The increase is 19 new cases since our last COVID-19 report on September 13, 2020. The cases had been a gradual increase until today's numbers surged with 11 new cases overnight.

September 13th - 0 new cases (cumulative total 455)
September 14th - 0 new cases (cumulative total 455)
September 15th - 0 new cases (cumulative total 455)
September 16th - 3 new cases (cumulative total 458)
September 17th - 2 new cases (cumulative total 460)
September 18th - 1 new case (cumulative total 461)
September 19th - 1 new case (cumulative total 462)
September 20th - 0 new cases (cumulative total 462)
September 21st - 0 new cases (cumulative total 462)
September 22nd - 1 new case (cumulative total 463)
September 23rd - 11 new cases (cumulative total 474)

DSHS also reports 27 deaths for Shelby County due to COVID-19 which is an increase of 6 since September 13th.

September 21, 2020 - State Highway 87 (SH 87) North just over 3 miles south of Timpson was the scene of a major one-vehicle crash Monday, September 21, 2020 which left a man trapped beneath the vehicle.

Timpson Volunteer Fire Department, and Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers were dispatched to the scene and Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies also responded to the incident. Upon arrival, a pickup truck was found to be on top of a barbed wire fence and a small tree with a man still under the truck.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at around 10:15am a red 2003 Ford F150 driven by Alfred Layne Cantrell, 26, of Timpson was northbound at an unsafe speed on SH 87 just before CR 4020. 

Another vehicle, also traveling northbound, was preparing to turn and in realizing there wasn't enough time to stop Cantrell made a legal pass to avoid striking the vehicle. The Ford hydroplaned and left the roadway to the left where it went into a side skid, overturned and ejected Cantrell from the vehicle. The truck then came to rest on top of Cantrell and a cluster of tallow trees.

Fire personnel with Timpson VFD and Center Fire Department took great care in utilizing air lifting bags and blocks to raise the truck off of Cantrell, and they were succesful in working with EMS personnel in moving Cantrell to a waiting ambulance.

Cantrell was then transported by ambulance to a hospital for treatment.

He was issued citations for unsafe speed and no seat belt.

Would-be Murderer and Child Rapist used the Dark Web to try Necrophilia and Cannibalism

September 17, 2020 - Beaumont, TX – A 23-year-old Joaquin, Texas man has been sentenced for child exploitation violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox today.

Alexander Nathan Barter pleaded guilty on Dec. 20, 2019, to attempted coercion and enticement of a minor and distribution of child pornography and was sentenced to 480 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Michael Truncale.  Following the completion of his prison sentence, Barter was also ordered to submit to a lifetime of supervised release.

As part of his plea agreement with the government, Barter agreed to be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of 20 years on each count, with each party reserving the right to request that the terms be sentenced concurrently or consecutively.  Barter’s counsel requested that the Court impose a total term of imprisonment of 20 years; the government requested a sentence of 40 years’ imprisonment.

According to information introduced as part of Barter’s plea and at sentencing, in October 2018, Barter posted an ad on a dark web site stating, “I’d like to try necrophilia and cannibalism, and see how it feels to take a life.  If you’d be willing to let me kill you, are in the US (preferably in the south) and can travel by car, contact me.”  An undercover officer saw the ad and responded, utilizing the persona of a father with a 13-year old daughter.  Between October 9, 2018 and October 19, 2018, Barter and the undercover officer exchanged a series of messages that included Barter’s repeated interest in raping, killing, and eating the 13-year old child.  Barter provided the undercover with instructions on traveling from Florida to Shelby County, Texas, what to tell the child to get her acquiescence to travel, and how to conceal evidence of their crime.  On October 19, 2018, Barter arrived at the designated meet site in Joaquin, Texas with a knife, trash bag, cellular phone, and a tablet.

“As this chilling case demonstrates, online talk is not always just talk.  The constant vigilance of our law enforcement partners has prevented an evildoer from finding a likeminded accomplice and bringing his grisly plan to fruition,” said U.S. Attorney Stephen J. Cox.  “This case is a sobering reminder of how the brave men and women of law enforcement face down the worst of the worst in the scariest of scenarios.”

“In my 23-year-career in law enforcement, this is among the most morally depraved and appalling criminal conspiracies that I have come across,” said Mark Dawson, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. “Without the quick and decisive actions of special agents from HSI Cocoa Beach and HSI Beaumont this disturbed predator would still be out there looking for potential victims to carry out his sick and demented fantasies.”

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Led by U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS), Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit

This case is being investigated by Homeland Security Investigations in Lufkin, Beaumont, and Houston, Texas; Homeland Security Investigations Cocoa Beach, Florida, Child Exploitation Task Force; Brevard County Sheriff’s Office (Florida); Nacogdoches Police Department; Texas Department of Public Safety; Customs and Border Protection Air Units; and Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marisa Miller and U.S. Department of Justice Senior Trial Attorney Jennifer Toritto Leonardo.

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September 17, 2020 - With the flip of a (digital) switch Wednesday, Deep East Texas became the second region in the state to complete the conversion to Next Generation 9-1-1 technology. After months of planning and preparation, the Deep East Texas Council of Governments, which administers the Emergency 9-1-1 Network for the 12-county region, announced that “NG9-1-1” call routing is now live throughout the region.

This new system routes calls to 9-1-1 dispatchers using geospatial routing, which allows calls to arrive faster and provides more accurate location information of those making calls to 9-1-1. DETCOG Regional 9-1-1 Director Van Bush also noted the changes make DETCOG’s 9-1-1 system technology-proof and will allow further improvements to 9-1-1 services in the area over time. Call transfers between agencies will also be smoother.

“The old legacy 9-1-1 network was designed to accept calls from plain copper wire phones,” Bush said. “We’ve had to make adjustments over the years to take care of wireless, voice over internet protocol (VOIP), and text messaging. The NG9-1-1 system is an all IP environment where those services are easier to handle, and other new services can be easily brought onboard in the future.”

When a person in Deep East Texas encounters an emergency and dials 9-1-1, the call goes to one of 16 Public Safety Answering Points (PSAPs) around the region. There is at least one PSAP in each county, and all now employ the new technology. DETCOG was designated as a “beta” Council of Governments to deploy NG9-1-1 early and document lessons learned, which will aid in the transition of other regional 9-1-1 networks in Texas.

“We’ve been talking about the need to move to a Next Generation 9-1-1 environment for years,” Bush said. “There had to be a lot of planning and work to make this happen, not just us, but the county GIS coordinators in each county. It took thousands of hours of work put in to get the data quality we need for NG9-1-1 call routing.”

“And it certainly could not have been done without the support of the Commission on State Emergency Communications (CSEC) which is the state’s authority on emergency communications. CSEC is charged with administering the State 9-1-1 Service Program and is a valued partner. All of the funding for our program comes through them.”

The improvements were made using network infrastructure provided by AT&T’s Emergency Services IP Network (ESInet), which Bush touted as the backbone of DETCOG’s NG 9-1-1 network.

“The Commission on State Emergency Communications congratulations the DETCOG 9-1-1 regional program for its leadership in the state program’s transition to Next Generation 9-1-1,” said CSEC Executive Director Kelli Merriweather. “This transition will ensure that DETCOG continues to provide the excellent service it always has to its citizens both now and in the future as technology continues its rapid change.”

For the general public, little should change initially. The calls will simply go through more swiftly and locations will be more accurate, especially for wireless callers. For operators, the system comes with backend improvements and flexibility for the future.

DETCOG Executive Director Lonnie Hunt noted, “At the end of the day it’s all about public safety. The 9-1-1 network is a tool that connects citizens in an emergency to first responders. This enhancement will help save lives and better equip the responders. The old system served us for 50 plus years but was not designed for today’s digital world. NG9-1-1 makes things better now, but even more importantly it opens the door for new services and features that will be coming in the future.”

“It makes me proud to know we are leading the way,” Hunt added. I believe there are currently 24 PSAPs in the Texas CSEC program that have converted to NG9-1-1 and 16 of those are here in Deep East Texas. Van Bush and his staff, along with our county GIS coordinators, CSEC, and AT&T have all done a tremendous job getting this in place.”

September 16, 2020 - The intersection of San Augustine and Shelbyville Streets in Center has now been blocked by construction crews working on the Center square.

In addition, Logansport Street is closed at the intersection of Porter Street toward the square. Tenaha Street is also closed at the intersection of Church Street leading to Nacogdoches Street.

Nacogdoches Street remains closed to through traffic in front of East Texas Awards and Engraving. The other side in front of Primp Salon leading to Nacogdoches and Austin Streets is open.

Many driver’s approaching the intersection from all directions are confused and having to redirect due to the unexpected closures.

Travelers should consider alternate routes when possible and use caution

On another note, the intersection of Nacogdoches and Austin Streets is once again open to the flow of traffic.