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October 9, 2021 (Photo Album) - With 70 entries in the 10th annual Chicken Trot, a large group took to the streets of Center to achieve their goal of improving their personal best or finishing their first 5K. The overall male runner was Jacob Garcia of Center with a time of 15:53.50 and the overall female winner was Madison Murphree with a time of 24:26.13.

For the fun run, Zoey Belrose placed first with a time of 4:10.Hudsyn Wulf placed second with a time of 4:20.

From left: Representatives from Hope Community Medicine (Award Sponsors), Kathleen, Francis Hughes, and Chicken Trot Mascot Kyle Chambliss

The last walker to finish the race was Francis Hughes, age 76, and it was a great victory as she crossed the finish line with her daughter, Kathleen, by her side. Kathleen flew in from Florida for the purpose of supporting and cheering on her mother every mile of the way. Also, cheering on was her husband, Thomas. The great victory stems from Mrs. Hughes having undergone major surgery a year ago which almost took her life and after the surgery she had to learn to walk again. Today, she finished the 10th Annual Chicken Trot!

Below are the race results by age division. Click here to view the overall race results.

Male 0 - 11
1st place - Bib #110, ALAN VALADEZ of Center, Time: 00:26:05.60

Male 12 - 19
1st place - Bib #191, EDGAR CARAVEO, Time: 00:23:35.79
2nd place - Bib #157, LANE WEBB of Joaquin, Time: 00:27:05.98
3rd place - Bib #192, JEAN CARAVEO, Time: 00:28:48.40

Female 12 - 19
1st place - Bib #156, JESSIE WEBB of Joaquin, Time: 00:25:38.68
2nd place - Bib #109, AUTUMN KILPATRICK of Tenaha, Time: 00:27:08.20
3rd place - Bib #114, BETHANY KILPATRICK of Tenaha, Time: 00:27:25.64

Male 20 - 29
1st place - Bib #149, JACOB GARCÍA of Center, Time: 00:15:53.50
2nd place - Bib #140, TRACE GREER of Center, Time: 00:15:53.73
3rd place - Bib #205, FABIAN MORALES of Center, Time: 00:18:59.24

Female 20 - 29
1st place - Bib #145, MADISON MURPHREE of Center, Time: 00:24:26.13
2nd place - Bib #117, NICOLE PETRY of Center, Time: 00:27:05.53
3rd place - Bib #138, RYLEY BECKHAM of Gary, Time: 00:28:47.17

Male 30 - 39
1st place - Bib #127, MATT FOSTER of Center, Time: 00:28:07.39

Female 30 - 39
1st place - Bib #134, COURTNEY O’REAR of Shelbyville, Time: 00:26:07.03
2nd place - Bib #152, KIMBERLY WULF of Center, Time: 00:29:34.49
3rd place - Bib #121, ASHLEY LIKER of Center, Time: 00:29:46.33

Male 40 - 49
1st place - Bib #155, KEITH WEBB of Joaquin, Time: 00:26:30.59
2nd place - Bib #105, TORY CHAMBLISS of Joaquin, Time: 00:48:28.00

Female 40 - 49
1st place - Bib #142, SENA DUBEA of Center, Time: 00:28:32.88
2nd place - Bib #158, STACI DECHAMPLAIN of Carthage, Time: 00:28:39.66
3rd place - Bib #120, LAURA KILPATRICK of Tenaha, Time: 00:30:52.38

Male 50 - 59
1st place - Bib #136, RANDY COLLARD of Center, Time: 00:29:26.60
2nd place - Bib #128, CHRIS CLARK of Milam, Time: 00:31:45.03
3rd place - Bib #146, BRYAN BOLTON of Shelbyville, Time: 00:35:55.56

Female 50 - 59
1st place - Bib #131, DEBORAH CHADWICK of Center, Time: 00:25:46.08
2nd place - Bib #125, DENISE OATES of Center, Time: 00:27:50.62
3rd place - Bib #219, NIKKI BUTLER, Time: 00:35:14.25

Male 60 - 100
1st place - Bib #111, JACKIE KIRKWOOD of Tenaha, Time: 00:33:39.25

Female 60 - 100
1st place - Bib #132, ROBIN CONWAY of Timpson, Time: 00:33:25.34
2nd place - Bib #220, DEBRAH WORSHAM, Time: 00:45:47.68
3rd place - Bib #221, MARY TINKLE of Center, Time: 00:49:51.28

October 12, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, over the past 7 days 77 new cases and 75 new estimated recoveries were reported.

The estimated active cases is 133.

In total, October has had 6 new deaths reported, 107 new cases reported, and 124 estimated recoveries reported.

October 12th Numbers: (Changes since Oct. 5)
Confirmed Cases - 1,655 (15 new)
Probable Cases - 1,242 (62 new)
Fatalities - 102
Active Cases (Estimated) - 133
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,662 (75 new)

October 5th Numbers: (Changes since Oct. 2)
Confirmed Cases - 1,640 (6 new)
Probable Cases - 1,180 (10 new)
Fatalities - 102 (3 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 133
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,587 (20 new)

October 9, 2021 - (Album) - The 2021 Shelby County Poultry Festival Broiler Show Sale ended with 40 exhibitors receiving over $162,000 in scholarship money. 

Grand Champion - Ally Kimbro (Shelby Co 4-H) sold for $9,000 to J.C. Lewis Construction
Reserve Champion - Addison Lloyd (Shelbyville FFA) sold for $7,000 to Farmers State Bank
3rd place - Madilyn Polley (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $4,500 to Hawkeye Hunting Club
4th place - Collin Lloyd (Shelbyville FFA) sold for $4,000
5th place - Landree Jousan (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $4,500
6th place - Kenley Ramos (Center FFA) sold for $5,000
7th place - Naomie Meyers (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $3,000
8th place - Eli Bush (Center FFA) sold for $4,500
9th place - Lance Holloway (Center FFA) sold for $6,999 (*Highest placing senior - $500 Scholarship from Shelby Savings Bank)
10th place - Mayson Harbison (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $4,000
11th place - Molly Scull (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $3,750
12th place - Logan Meyer (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $4,000
13th place - Kate Ford (Center FFA) sold for $3,250
14th place - Brayden Britt (Center FFA) sold for $3,000
15th place - Hollie Hamilton (Joaquin FFA) sold for $4,000
16th place - Kyleigh Hendricks (Shelbyville FFA) sold for $3,000
17th place - Rylan Barbee (Shelbyville FFA) sold for $3,000
18th place - John Ford (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $3,000
19th place - Laura Anne Scull (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $4,000
20th place - Klayton LaRock (Center FFA) sold for $2,750
21st place - Gabriella Amox (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $2,500
22nd place - Addison Camille Whiteside (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $3,250
23rd place - Gracie Boyd (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $2,750
24th place - Autum Andrusick (Center FFA) sold for $2,750
25th place - Evan O’Rear (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $4,250
26th place - Addison Boyd (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $2,500
27th place - Baylin Phelps (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $3,000
28th place - Mason Perry (Center FFA) sold for $3,000
29th place - Taylor Gutermuth (Timpson FFA) sold for $3,500
30th place - Sayre Hall (Center FFA) sold for $2,750
31st place - Carson Crouch (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $6,999
32nd place - Cale Cornelius (Shelby Co. 4-H) sold for $5,000
33rd place - Mason Fults (Joaquin FFA) sold for $2,500
34th place - Avery Metcalf (Timpson FFA) sold for $3,500
35th place - Trista Britt (Center FFA) sold for $3,500
36th place - Julie Bird (Center FFA) sold for $5,000
37th place - Caroline Ramos (Center FFA) sold for $6,000
38th place - Keaton Sigler (Center FFA) sold for $3,500
39th place - Carter Bell (Shelbyville FFA) sold for $4,000
40th place - Kenson LaRock (Center FFA) sold for $5,500

These are preliminary sale results. The full list of buyers along with additional donations will be listed in the official press release.

October 9, 2021 - Ally Kimbro, Timpson FFA, was the top poultry exhibitor at the 45th Annual East Texas Poultry Festival Broiler Show October 9, 2021.

There were 69 participants in the poultry show this year, and the event was held at the Jim Booth Expo Center. 

Micah Osborn was the Texas A&M judge of the event, and he had a tough job determining the top birds out of the entire group of entries. 

Arriving in second was Addison Lloyd, Shelbyville FFA, and third was Madilyn Dior Polley, Shelby County 4-H.

The Broiler Show Auction will be held Saturday, October 9, 2021, under the big tent on the Frances Oates Stage.

October 8, 2021 - The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information regarding a theft that occurred at Taylor Funeral Home located at 511 Ross Graves Drive in Timpson. Sometime between the dates of September 20th and October 5th, 2021, suspect(s) removed a drive shaft from a 2003 GMC Yukon belonging to Taylor Funeral Home.

Anyone with information regarding the theft is asked to contact CID Lieutenant DJ Dickerson with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 936-572-0255.

October 7, 2021 - Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in the Lufkin District, and TxDOT wants both motorists and pedestrians to be aware of important safety tips that could save a life.

In 2020, pedestrian fatalities totaled two in the nine-county district, one each in Nacogdoches and Houston counties. So far, in 2021, that number has risen to 10 pedestrian fatalities, with Nacogdoches County at six, Polk County at three and San Jacinto County at one.

In March, state officials warned that pedestrian deaths were rising statewide and account for one in five of all traffic fatalities.

“We are concerned that these numbers are up, especially in Nacogdoches County,” said Rhonda Oaks, public information officer. “Pedestrians are among the most vulnerable road users because they aren’t equipped with protective equipment, such as airbags or seat belts. We want people to be aware and alert to their surroundings whether they are driving, on a bicycle or walking. Pedestrians and motorists should always watch and listen to the roadway. That is even more important during nighttime hours.”

Since 2015, TxDOT has spent $153 million in federal and state funding to upgrade sidewalks, curbs and striping for pedestrian accessibility, safety, and mobility. In addition, during that same time, TxDOT awarded $116 million in grant funding to support more than 120 sponsored projects that provide safe routes to schools, multiuse pathways, sidewalks, and bike paths in rural and small urban areas.

Crash reports from law enforcement indicate the two leading causes for pedestrian fatalities are: 1) pedestrians failing to follow traffic safety laws and being struck when crossing roadways, and 2) motorists failing to yield the right of way, driving distracted or driving too fast. Alcohol also is a factor in pedestrian-related crashes, deaths, and injuries.

TxDOT offers these safety tips to prevent a deadly encounter.

For drivers:

  • When turning, yield the right of way to pedestrians.
  • Stop for pedestrians at crosswalks.
  • Be cautious when passing stopped buses or other vehicles.
  • Pay attention and put your phone away. Pedestrians may enter your path suddenly.
  • Obey the speed limit and drive to conditions. 

For pedestrians:

  • Cross the street only at intersections and crosswalks. Look left, right, then look again.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing. Don’t assume drivers see you.
  • Obey all traffic and crosswalks signals.
  • Use the sidewalk. If there isn’t one, walk on the left side of the road, facing oncoming traffic.
  • When walking, put away electronic devices that take your eyes and ears off the road.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day, and wear reflective materials or use a flashlight at night.

TxDOT’s pedestrian safety campaign is a key component of #EndTheStreakTX, a broader social media and word-of-mouth effort that encourages drivers to make safer choices while behind the wheel. Always wear a seat belt, drive the speed limit, never text while driving, and never drive under the influence of alcohol or other drugs. Nov. 7, 2000 was the last deathless day on Texas roadways. #EndTheStreakTX asks all Texans to commit to driving safely to help end the streak of daily deaths on Texas roadways.

For more information, contact or call (936) 633-4395.

October 7, 2021 - The 45th Annual East Texas Poultry Festival activities are off to a start as the opening ceremonies took place this morning on the Frances Oates Stage under the big tent as the Poultry Festival returns to the Center square following the completion of many improvements.

Josh Payne, 45th Annual ETPF Chairman, welcomed everyone to the festival which is presented by Farmers State Bank. He thanked all the sponsors, volunteers, the ETPF Steering committee and many more. 

“Part of our new, hopefully improves layout, I’m glad y’all are here to experience it. We think you’re going to have a great weekend,” said Payne.

Bobby Bressman, First Baptist Church of Center Pastor, gave the invocation at the opening of the ceremony, and the Center high School band performed the National Anthem. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Timpson Elementary School Kindergarten students.

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison gave a welcoming speech, “On behalf of Shelby County I would like to welcome everyone to the 45th Annual East Texas Poultry Festival. Welcome to the beautiful Shelby County Historical Courthouse square. It’s truly an honor to be here this morning, this festival brings all the citizens of the county together to celebrate the poultry industry.”

David Chadwick, City of Center Mayor and President of Farmers State Bank, addressed those in attendance, “What we have waited for it seems like an eternity has come back home and we’re here today. It’s hard to believe 45 years ago a lady named Dell Brown, who had a drug store across the square, had convinced the Singing Christians from Tenaha that they needed to come to Center, they were going to have a festival. The Singing Christians already had an organization, an annual homecoming that they were doing in Tenaha, but if you ever had the opportunity to meet Dell, you realized that you were going to say, ‘yes,’ and sure enough they said yes and then we started the festival 45 years ago this month.”

Mayor Chadwick congratulated all involved in the preparation of the festival and should there be any failures during the festival, he invited the criticism so the issue could be corrected.

“It is great to have you back on the square as we salute one of the leading industries in Shelby County with some of the most outstanding citizens of our county to help us celebrate today,” said Chadwick.

Will Blackshear, 2021 Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Chairman, welcomed everyone to the festival on behalf of the chamber of commerce.

“Josh Payne and the Steering committee worked with the area chairmen, on behalf of the chamber board members, we thank you for your leadership and your dedication. Also we’d like to thank the ambassadors and our Junior Chamber of Commerce, and Young Ambassador students for their hours of volunteer work. I’m looking forward to a fun 2021 Poultry Festival. Let’s have a great weekend!”

A special presentation was made to Chris Watlington in recognition of his years of service to the East Texas Poultry Festival Pageant as the official emcee.

“We’ve been doing the pageant for years, and years, and years, and this man here, Chris Watlington, has been the master of ceremonies for many, many, many years,” said Deborah Chadwick, Shelby County Chamber President. “Chris has been a part of it the whole time and at the coronation we were able to recognize him, but we have another special gift.”

Chadwick thanked Watlington for all he has done and presented him with the gift that turned out to be an award that said, “Thank you for your many years as Master of Ceremonies for East Texas Poultry Festival Coronation.”

Watlington expressed his gratitude and remarked Emilee Elliott, who was present, is one of the queens this year and her mother was also crowned queen in the past.

“I’ve been doing this since the 80s and your mother was the queen the first year I did it and so I thought, ‘what better way to retire,’ and then I just went over to Terrie and asked her if that was true and she said, ‘it wasn’t,’ I started the year after. So I don’t know, maybe I’ll have to come back and do one more, but it’s been a great, great long run full of beautiful ladies and a great tradition. Thank you,” said Watlington.

Senior Queen Emilee Elliott and Junior Queen Carly Gray were on stage with their entire court and they each had the opportunity to introduce themselves along with this year's Shelby Chick, Sarah Scull . 

Following introductions, the ceremonial cutting of the feathers was performed by Queens Elliott and Gray.

October 7, 2021 - A federal grand jury in Los Angeles returned an indictment against four California-based defendants for their alleged roles laundering fraud proceeds stored on gift cards. The indictment, which was unsealed recently, charges U.S. citizen Blade Bai, 33, of El Monte; and Chinese citizens Bowen Hu, 26, of Hacienda Heights; Tairan Shi, 27, of Diamond Bar; and Yan Fu, 58, of Chino Hills, with conspiring to launder proceeds of wire fraud that were stored on gift cards issued by retailer Target.

According to the indictment, defendants Bai, Hu and Shi obtained over 5,000 gift cards from a group known as the “Magic Lamp.” Defendants Bai, Hu and Shi caused the gift cards to be distributed to “runners” like defendant Fu who used the funds on the cards at Target stores in Los Angeles and Orange County and elsewhere to purchase, among other items, consumer electronics and other gift cards. Through the purchases, returns and other transactions at multiple Target stores, the defendants and their co-conspirators sought to conceal the fact that the gift cards had been originally funded with fraudulent proceeds. 

The indictment further alleges that perpetrators of the fraud schemes induced victims to send proceeds to defendants’ associates, and defendants then conspired to launder the proceeds. The indictment also alleges that victims of the schemes are spread throughout the United States, including California, Texas, Illinois and Georgia. 

“The Department of Justice and its law enforcement partners are committed to tackling fraud schemes from every angle,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “Individuals who knowingly facilitate the victimization of American consumers make fraud possible, are criminally culpable for the offenses and should expect to be held accountable.”

“This case offers an important reminder to consumers that gift cards are for presents to friends and loved ones – they should never be used for payments to any government or corporate entity,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Tracy L. Wilkison for the Central District of California. “Don’t be fooled by callers claiming to be with a government agency, a bank or any other institution demanding that you purchase gift cards. There is no reason to purchase a gift card to resolve a problem with an account, your Social Security number or a supposed criminal case.”

“The case against these defendants is the result of the impressive work by Homeland Security Investigations’ (HSI) Los Angeles-led El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force,” said Special Agent in Charge David A. Prince for HSI Los Angeles. “These types of crimes have devastating effects on the victims. Through coordinated investigative efforts by law enforcement and our prosecution partners, HSI will continue to aggressively investigate those who prey on our elderly population.”

Defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit money laundering. If convicted, they face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.

This case was investigated by HSI Los Angeles’ El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force, a multi-agency task force comprised of federal and state investigators focused on financial crimes in Southern California, with substantial assistance from the FBI Los Angeles Field Office. Investigative assistance was also provided by the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Monica Tait of the Central District of California and Trial Attorney Wei Xiang of the Civil Division’s Consumer Protection Branch are prosecuting the case.

The Consumer Protection Branch and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California are part of the Transnational Elder Fraud Strike Force, which investigates and prosecutes scams run by transnational criminal organizations, including mass mailing, telemarketing, and tech support scams.

For more information about the Consumer Protection Branch, visit its website at

An indictment is merely an allegation and all defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

October 6, 2021 - The Shelby County Sheriff's office answered a total of 567 calls for service this month. A total of 49 arrests were made for the county. My deputies made 43 traffic stops; and from those stops, 26 warnings and 16 citations were issued. Three arrests were made off traffic stops. Our office took a total of 89 reports for the month of September.

Our office will have a booth at this year’s 45th annual east Texas Poultry Festival, taking place this weekend on the downtown Center Square. We will have bracelets, balloon animals and other items available for kids. Stop by and see us and have your picture made with our officers. We will be located next to the stage.

Patrol deputies are continuing security checks at businesses and churches during their shifts. If you notice a red door hanger, this is our way of letting you know that we have stopped by and checked the property. I also want to remind our citizens of our house check program. If you plan on being out of town for a period of time, our deputies can check your property until you return. Stop by our office, fill out a form and we will take care of the rest.

Make sure to follow us on Facebook and check out our website, Stay safe, Shelby County! Let us know if you need us!

October 6, 2021 - With the impending withdrawal of Cellular One from the area, Shelby County Commissioners continued their discussion October 6, 2021, over cellular phone service utilized by the county.

Offices such as the Shelby County Sheriff's Department are heavily affected by this as Cellular One is the service provider for the department's cellular phones.

Ann Blackwell, County Treasurer, organized a meeting via phone conference with Verizon Wireless representative Jerry Love, Verizon Government Account Manager, to try and understand what they will be offering in the Shelby County area. She was joined by Leah Chase, representing the Shelby County Sheriff's Office, and the conclusion after meeting with Verizon Wireless representatives is they would send a phone allowing the Sheriff's Department to test out the service in Shelby County.

"We did not get the phone yet, I did hear back from Mr. Love this morning," said Chase. "He stated that each line would be $40 per line."

Chase went on to reference email communication from Love saying service plans for the phones would be $39.99 for their Public Safety plan, which provides unlimited talk, text and data and allows for the lines to have priority on the cellular network in the event of an emergency.

As of the meeting, the phone had not yet been received. Blackwell indicated a little uncertainty from Verizon Wireless in how they would be providing service in the Shelby County area when asked if they would be using the Cellular One towers.

"His answer was well, they have the leasing rights to those towers but they would be bringing in their own infrastructure," said Blackwell. "So, it sounded like to me they might be using their towers, they may not and they didn't really know if their service was active here yet, or had gone live."

Blackwell said, as of November 30 the Sheriff's Department, Constables, Justice of the Peace, and District Attorney's Office will be without service unless a plan is made on what service to use.

"We're trying to figure out what our options are, because AT&T is not an option. They don't work, it doesn't work," said Blackwell. "We're hoping that Verizon will, but if they don't I don't know."

Blackwell suspects it will be several weeks before the commissioners will have enough information to make an informed decision.

"Of the five constables there's only two of them that use their cell phone. One [Zack Warr] and two [Jamie Hagler] said that they did not want a county phone, so we'll take those off. I'll check with five [Josh Tipton], he doesn't use his. He has one, he doesn't use it," said Blackwell.

According to Blackwell, the District Attorney's office only wants one cellular phone.

Judge Allison Harbison asked Chase to provide feedback to Blackwell once they have received the phone, and find out how it works.

Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner 4, inquired what the direction forward should be.

"Honestly, the Tracfone sounds like the next best option until something better comes along. AT&T is not going to work, there is no point in going with AT&T. You'll be doing like I do now paying for service that you don't have," said Blackwell.

Jimmy Lout, Commissioner Precinct 2, said AT&T installed a tower 1/2 a mile from his house, "my wife, she's on AT&T, she can't call in my yard and she's just a 1/2 a mile."

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, asked what Cricket is and Jennifer Fountain, County Clerk, stated Cricket utilizes AT&T towers.

"If Verizon will work here they're going to get a lot of business, because there's a lot of AT&T people that'll switch, but I don't know right now and those guys (Verizon) did not really know," said Blackwell.

Chase said there was an extreme amount of uncertainty and the Verizon representatives couldn't confirm anything; however, they have been working on their move into Shelby County for the past four years.

Judge Harbison said if the phone isn't received on the day of the meeting, she asked Chase and Blackwell to contact Verizon and tell them the phone is needed right away.

A motion carried by the commissioners to table the cell phone discussion.

During the meeting a motion carried to appoint Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner Precinct 4, and Robin Connell to the Shelby County Appraisal District Board.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:57am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Nominate Tom Bellmyer and Robin Connell to the Shelby County Appraisal District Board.
3. Adjourn.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:
1. Execute the Contract for the American Rescue Plan Act Administrative Services between Shelby County and Grantworks, Inc.
2. Transition the cell phone contracts to another service.