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July 22, 2021 - Sheriff Kevin Windham explained his goal during the July 21, Commissioners' Court meeting to install GPS trackers on all of the Sheriff's Department patrol units through a company called Samsara.

According to Sheriff Windham, the annual fee for the service is $2,543.80 at a monthly cost of $25 and change per vehicle, the second payment for the service on the second year will be $2,399.80.

"One of our concerns of course is safety, if something was to happen then we can locate you know, where our unit is at," said Sheriff Windham.

Sheriff Windham described how the patrol units can be located in real time to see their exact location, helping other officers to respond and assist an officer in need more quickly and efficiently without having to determine their location.

"Not only is it a safety issue, but it's also an issue that ensures that our patrol deputies are doing what they are supposed to be doing," said Sheriff Windham. "I want to make sure that our entire county is covered. I don't want them to get into a routine of just staying in one certain area over and over."

This new GPS system will allow for Sheriff's Department administration to review deputy patrolling activities. The Sheriff's Department has been utilizing two of the GPS units for over two months to test them, and that has demonstrated the value of the technology.

Commissioner Stevie Smith asked if the information could be viewed on a smartphone app, and Lt. Tanner Peace confirmed that is an available option, which could even be available to officers.

"It's come in fairly handy because, you know with the radios still down, if they're trying to get to a disturbance call one of them can call dispatch because dispatch has access to the GPS map as well and say, 'hey, how far am I from this person's location,'" said Lt. Peace.

Lt. Peace also stated it helps keep a detailed log of maintenance on the vehicle including when the engine is running, idle, mileage, gasoline, speed, and barometric pressure around the vehicle. 

Commissioner Smith asked about the security of this system and if unwanted individuals could gain access. Lt. Peace and Sheriff Windham said they couldn't and would have to be given access to the website by an administrator.

Sheriff Windham confirmed with Commissioner Roscoe McSwain the cost under the current budget could be absorbed by his department's budget.

A motion carried to authorize the payment of $2,543.80 for the first year of the GPS units with Samsara.

Abe Benavides of McCall, Parkhurst & Horton LLP addressed the court about financing by the New Hope Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation of health facilities located within Shelby County.

He explained the same resolution was before the court and approved in February of 2020; however, that transaction was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"A non-profit entity is attempting to acquire nursing homes throughout Texas and Oklahoma, one of those nursing homes is located here in Center," said Benavides. "The New Hope entity is a conduit issuer, so they issue bonds on behalf of the non-profit entity. Part of that process is to get local approvals from a governmental entity, such as a commissioners' court with jurisdiction over where the nursing home is located."

Benavides stated they have to go through the same process for all 28 facilities, including the unnamed facility in Shelby County. He stated the approval is for the purposes of the Internal Revenue Service code to qualify the bonds as tax exempt.

"Those are bonds of the bar where the nursing home operator will be obligated for those bonds. Shelby County will not have any obligation with respect to the bonds or the facility. The approval today is just for the purposes of authorizing, letting them move forward to issue the bonds on a tax exempt basis," said Benavides.

A motion carried to approve the resolution approving financing by the New Hope Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation of Health Facilities located within Shelby County.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Current Payroll.
3. GPS systems for patrol vehicles for the Shelby County Sheriffs Office.
4. Ratify resolution appointing County Treasurer Ann Blackwell and County Auditor Clint Porterfield as authorized signers for CD and MM accounts with First National Bank Wichita Falls.
5. Resolution approving the financing by the New Hope Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation of Health Facilities located within Shelby County.
6. $659 anonymous donation to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for medication disposal unit.

The water on N.E.W. WSC no longer requires boiling.

July 22, 2021 - On July 20, 2021, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the N.E.W. Water Supply, #2030034, 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.

N.E.W. Water Supply 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. We have also provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of February 25, 2021.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact the office: 220 West Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas. 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp  936-201-5001.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

If a customer, individual or employee wishes to contact the executive director, please call (512)239-4691. 

Effective July 20, 2021 Until Further Notice

July 20, 2021 - Due to a break in the line at Plant 4, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required the N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation PWS# 2030034 to notify all customers in the Sexton Community, Hwy 87, FM 353, and FM 1279 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 N.E.W. Water Supply Corporation at 220 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas, 75972, or call 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp at 936-201-5001.

July 21, 2021 - AT&T has reported an outage in the Shelby County area and has announced a projected restoral of 6-7 hours. 

Anyone calling the Shelby County Today office at this time will receive a message stating, "your call cannot be completed as dialed, please check the number and dial again."

Should you need to call Shelby County Today, you can alternately call 936-332-4845 or contact us through email.

This outage is not effecting our ability to update Shelby County Today.

July 21, 2021 - On July 19, 2021, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the Five Way Public Water System, #2100008, 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 July 21, 2021.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Vince Di Verdi 936-591-1205.


July 19, 2021 - Due to a broken water main the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the Five Way Water system, ID# 2100008 to notify customers that were without water 07/17/2021 on FM 699 and all of highway 7 E, all side roads (anyone without water) 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 Vince Di Verdi 936-591-1205

July 21, 2021 - Shelby County Sheriff Kevin Windham addressed the County Commissioners July 14, 2021, to give an update on the first six months of his term, the total arrests, calls that have been received as well as traffic enforcement.

Sheriff Windham expressed appreciation to the commissioners for allowing him to provide them with that information at this time. 

"Since January 1, there's been a total of 396 arrests in Shelby County. The Shelby County S.O. is responsible for 173 of those arrests," said Sheriff Windham. "We have taken a total of 489 reports, I mean these are actual reports that have been generated. The Shelby County S.O. is responsible for 466 of those reports, out of the 489. Our dispatch has received 4,262 calls since January 1."

Sheriff Windham informed the commissioners the current jail population is 35, with that being 30 males and five females being housed. According to Windham there have been 325 traffic stops, 182 warnings issued and 137 citations have been written.

When his administration took over the jail, Sheriff Windham says the jail was in need of a lot of maintenance. Tables and bunk beds were extremely rusty, and plumbing was in need of repair.

"Y'all know we're in compliance at this time, we had to grind the rust off the tables, the bunks, the doors and the food slots," said Sheriff Windham. "We painted the cells, bunks, tables, food slots, and the doors."

Plumbers also worked on toilets, sinks and drains and Sheriff Windham said new blankets, sheets, towels, shoes, uniforms and sleeping mats have been ordered.

"We had to order a new restraint chair. Now, restraint chairs, you know what they're for, they're to restrain individuals who are combative and violent," said Sheriff Windham. "So, we had to order a new restraint chair and then we also ordered parts to fix the old restraint chair."

Sheriff Windham reported the jail freezer ceased to function and two smaller freezers were purchased, because the commercial freezers are much more difficult to acquire. A new one has been ordered and installed. A new stove has also been ordered to replace the current stove, which is also commercial.

The commissioners were provided with additional photos from inside the jail showing its condition, things that may need attention, and he invited them all to tour the jail facility. He specifically noted there being foundation issues which are affecting other parts of the structure as well. The sewer line has also separated beneath the building.

Commissioner Tom Bellmyer asked Sheriff Windham what the longest time frame is that someone is currently being held in the Shelby County Jail. Sheriff Windham was able to confirm it's been four years, and Bellmyer said in his mind a jail is usually more of a short-term place. It was confirmed there is another individual who has also been in the jail for almost four years

Although the inmates weren't mentioned by name, Commissioner Roscoe McSwain remarked the two inmates being discussed were brothers. Charles Dearing has been an inmate since November 16, 2017, making this coming November his fourth year. He is being held on a murder charge, possession of marijuana and two tampering charges. His brother Lewis Dearing has been an inmate since February 3, 2017, and he is being held on two stalking charges and a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

"I can only do what the courts allow me to do," said Sheriff Windham.

"That goes back to that's the court's problem," said McSwain.

Bellmyer stated the county is providing the bed and breakfast perpetually. He asked Sheriff Windham where there cases are currently.

"My understanding is that it's something that the District Attorney (Karren Price) is addressing at this time to try and et these criminal charges disposed of," said Sheriff Windham.

Commissioner Bellmyer asked about a discrepancy in the amount of warnings and citations and Chief Ruth Gonzalez explained some resulted in arrests and therefore they didn't receive a warning or citation.

The commissioners discussed a $1,000 donation to the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and Sheriff Windham explained the donation is an anonymous one from a local church for a pull dispenser to discard old medications. 

A motion carried by the commissioners to approve the donation.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Minutes of the June 2, 2021 Special meeting, June 9, 2021 Regular meeting, June 16, 2021 Special meeting June 23, 2021 Special meeting, June 23, 2021 Budget Workshop of the Shelby County Commissioner’s Court.
2. Pay weekly expenses.
3. Officers Reports.
4. $1,000.00 donation to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.
5. Interlocal Agreement for GIS & NG9-1-1 Automatic Location Information Maintenance Services.
6. Interlocal Agreement for R9-1-1 Public Safety Answering Point Service.
7. Adjourn.

July 20, 2021 - Center Fire Department personnel were dispatched to Walmart located on Hurst Street in Center the evening of July 18, 2021, where equipment was reported to be on fire at 10pm.

Before the fire department arrived, anyone inside of the building was evacuated. According to the Center Fire Department, a produce cooler on the grocery store side of the building caught on fire inside the store and the fire department was requested.

Upon arrival, the cooler had been pulled outside by employees and was still emanating heat, so the cooler was further extinguished by the fire department. Ventilation fans were then utilized to pull smoke from the store by placing them in the doorways and running them to suction the smoke from the building. 

After the fire fighters checked the store to make certain there was no further danger, and evacuated the smoke from the building, they returned to the station at 11:17pm.

No injuries were reported as a result of the fire.

July 20, 2021 – Work will begin on Wednesday in Shelby County to mill and inlay a section of roadway that will require lane closures for up to a week, weather permitting.

Two locations in Center will be impacted as crews begin Wednesday morning to mill and inlay the roadway at the intersection of Loop 500 and SH 7 [East]. The second location of work is scheduled on SH 87 (Shelbyville Street) beginning at the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. (BNSF) railroad crossing and moving south toward Loop 500.

Work at these locations is expected to be completed in about five days. Motorists can expect alternating lane closures at both locations and traffic delays near the work zones. Motorists are urged to stay alert, obey all traffic control devices set in place and be prepared for delays. Moving equipment and workers will be near the lanes of traffic.

For more information on road conditions or closures, visit drivetexas.org. For more information on Lufkin District projects, contact Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or call (936) 633-4395.

July 15, 2021 - Shelby County Constable Precinct 5, Josh Tipton, is seeking the public's help in identifying an individual. 

In the photos accompanying this request a man is seen wearing black shorts, black t-shirt and black shoes and is driving a darkly colored Ford Fusion.

Anyone with information about this individual is asked to cotact Constable Tipton at 936-615-8223. 


Huana Creek at CR 1490 as it appeared contaminated by a foreign substance on July 2, 2021.

July 14, 2021 - Shelby County Today was contacted by a concerned citizen Friday, July 2, 2021 in reference to what appeared to be a spill of a foreign matter in Huana Creek.

Once at the location where the substance could be viewed from CR 1490, the water in the creek bed was black in appearance as it carried the foreign matter downstream. A strong odor that resembled sewage was also detectable.


Huana Creek at CR 1490 bridge.

The nearest public crossing further upstream of Huana Creek was on CR 1470 and at that point it appeared the water was clear. This suggests the matter came from private property somewhere between CR 1470 and CR 1490.

Shelby County Today reached out to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and inquired as to the circumstances since Shelby County officials had reported the incident to them.


Huana Creek at CR 1490 bridge.

According to TCEQ, the Beaumont Regional office of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality was contacted by an officer of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department on July 2, 2021. The officer stated that he had observed a dark substance which appeared to be sewage in Huana Creek, located at County Road 1490 near Center (Shelby County). The material appeared to have settled to the bottom of the creek and was both upstream and downstream of the County Road crossing. The officer stated that at this time he had no evidence of who could have dumped the material in the creek; however, he would keep an eye out for vacuum trucks in the area and would contact the region if he discovered any other evidence or gathered any information regarding who dumped the material.

Due to the forecasted rain in the area and the lack of information regarding who dumped the material in the creek, a decision was made not to conduct an investigation at this time. An investigation will be conducted if Shelby County Sheriff’s Department contacts the region with additional information. 

TCEQ further advised, members of the public who have concerns about pollution that they have observed should contact TCEQ toll-free at (888) 777-3186 or by clicking here


Huana Creek at CR 1470 bridge.

July 9, 2021 - Aurora Concepts is hosting a COVID-19 mass Vaccine Clinic on Saturday, July 10, 2021 from 8am until 11am at Aurora Concepts Vaccination Station, 233 Hurst Street, Suite B. Walk-ins are welcome. Pfizer vaccines are available for 12 years old and up.

Call 936-598-3296 for an appointment.

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