US 84 in Joaquin near the Joaquin Apartments

April 22, 2020 - Shelby County recently has dealt with a regular onslaught of storms, which have brought with them torrents of rain. 

These regular rains have given little time for the ground to dry much and Joaquin appears to be flooding in several areas.

Flood water at Joaquin Apartments

Flooding at the school in Joaquin outside of the high school gym.

Flooding is visible just south of Center right now on State Highway 87 in several areas and FM 139 has water covering the roadway about one mile from Lout Town.

Hwy 87 South just over 1 mile from Loop 500.

FM 139

April 22, 2020 - At 4:27pm CDT, the National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Northwestern Sabine Parish in northwestern Louisiana, Southern Shelby County in eastern Texas, Northern San Augustine County in eastern Texas, and Northwestern Sabine County in eastern Texas until 5:15pm CDT.

At 4:26pm CDT, a severe thunderstorm was located near Bland Lake, or 12 miles south of Center, moving east at 45 mph with two inch hail and 70 mph wind gusts.

Radar indicated people and animals outdoors will be injured. Expect hail damage to roofs, siding, windows, and vehicles. Expect considerable tree damage. Wind damage is also likely to mobile homes, roofs, and outbuildings.

Locations impacted include Milam, San Augustine, Zwolle, Patroon, Bland Lake, Neuville, Huxley, Noble, Hurstown, Denning, Sexton, Calgary, Toledo Bend Reservoir North and Jordans Store.


A Tornado Watch remains in effect until 5:00pm CDT for Northwestern Louisiana and eastern Texas.

For your protection move to an interior room on the lowest floor of a building.

April 22, 2020 - The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a Tornado Warning for Central Nacogdoches County in eastern Texas, Southwestern Shelby County in eastern Texas, North central Angelina County in eastern Texas, Northwestern San Augustine County in eastern Texas until 4:30pm CDT.

At 3:42 PM CDT, a severe thunderstorm capable of producing a tornado was located 8 miles east of Pollok, or 9 miles southwest of Nacogdoches, moving east at 45 mph.

HAZARD: Tornado and tennis ball size hail.

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.

This dangerous storm will be near Woden around 4pm CDT. Melrose around 4:05pm CDT. Macune around 4:30pm CDT.

Other locations impacted by this tornadic thunderstorm include Redland, Denning, Arcadia, Jericho and Chireno.


TAKE COVER NOW! Move to a basement or an interior room on the lowest floor of a sturdy building. Avoid windows. If you are outdoors, in a mobile home, or in a vehicle, move to the closest substantial shelter and protect yourself from flying debris.


April 22, 2020 - Tornado watch 133 is in effect until 5pm cdt for the following locations:

Texas counties included are Anderson, Angelina, Austin, Bastrop,  Brazos,  Burleson, Caldwell, Cherokee Falls, Fayette,  Freestone, Grimes, Houston, Jasper, Lee, Leon, Limestone, Madison, Milam, Montgomery, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Travis, Trinity, Tyler, Walker,   Waller, Washington, Williamson

April 22, 2020 - The Texas Observer published an article about COVID-19 and its spread among employees of meat plants in rural Texas counties mentioning the Tyson poultry processing plant in Shelby County.

On a Facebook post made on Tyson Foods - Center, TX page, the plant advised it would be shutdown this week due to a construction project. The City of Center did confirm the construction project was planned for this week for well over 3 months as the city has scheduled maintence on the water system to happen during the plants shutdown.

The post published Tuesday, April 21, at 1:31pm:

The plant will be down for the NPIS construction project from April 20 through April 27. We will resume a normal schedule on Tuesday, 4/28/2020.

Stay safe, and remember to practice social distancing even while away from work. Enjoy your time off, and we look forward to seeing you on Tuesday, 4/28/2020!

Just three minutes later a post was published of a link to a "Q & A: Why We're Using Walk-Through Temperature Scanners | Tyson Foods"

To read the article posted by the Texas Osberver - COVID-19 Cases Now Tied to Meat Plants in Rural Texas Counties Wracked with Coronavirus

April 22, 2020 - The Shelby County Commissioners met Wednesday, April 22, 2020, via Zoom and during the meeting County Judge Allison Harbison informed that military doctors will soon be in the area to offer a drive through testing site in Center.

“We had 69 confirmed positive, we had six people that actually have gone through the process and have recovered and got off of the list. We still have 10 that may be in the hospital, and we've had no deaths reported," said Judge Harbison.

Judge Harbison stated regardless of people in the community hearing of deaths, until Department of State Health Services reports the information to the county she cannot report such information.

"The Governor has sent, they're going to send the military doctors in on Friday and possibly Saturday and everyone can do a drive through clinic," said Judge Harbison.

She said those going through the clinic will sign in through an app, and additional information on these procedures will be forthcoming.

"As of yesterday it was going through, but just to let everyone know that if you see military transports coming in and pulling in to the Pentecostal Church on Hurst Street that we're not being invaded, they're here to help," said Judge Harbison.

Judge Harbison presented the commissioners with a bid from a private company to pave the parking lot for the new building for Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 and Constable Precinct 1. She presented the bid of $14,994 for the consideration of the commissioners should they not have the available time to move forward with the project.

Charles Barr, Precinct 3 Commissioner, stated the commissioners could get together to work on the project for less cost. 

"The thing about this guys is that building has been complete for nearly a month, and they can't get in it because they can't get through the mud to get to the building," said Judge Harbison. "We need to get them in the building, so if y'all decide not to do this. Y'all need to get in there and get this done this week or next week."

Judge Harbison reiterated with the commissioners a date needs to be established for when they will be getting the area paved. 

Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner, listed difficulties in working on the project. The first was in reference to a measurement in the proposal, he said there are more things involved in the project than just the pad. McSwain explained the curve in the roadway will have to be removed to provide more space for entry and exit from the parking lot as well as more needing to be completed with the entrance. 

Judge Harbison asked when the commissioners want to start on the project and McSwain said it all depends on the weather and it would be nice to be able to work on the project while no one is working in the building. 

Tom Bellmyer, Precinct 4 Commissioner, said the commissioners are all in agreement they would be providing some piece of equipment for the project and should be able to get the parking lot done in a couple of days.

A motion carried to reject the bid and move forward with the project.

Judge Harbison said the bid of $152,500.00 by JB Raymond and Kenneth Hardy for the old hospital location on Hurst Street would need to be set aside due to some technicalities which were not followed correctly. Although what the technicalities were was not explained, she asked to set a new date of May 11 at 9am for auction of the property.

A motion carried to set the sale of last week aside due to technical issues and set a new date for May 11 at 9am.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:52am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Permits for McClelland Water Supply.
3. Authorization to issue requests for proposals for Administrative services (RFPs) and requests for qualifications for Engineering services (RFQs) related to the 2020 Texas County Transportation Infrastructure (CTIF) administered by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).
4. Reject bid for paving the parking lot and entryway of the new Justice of Peace and Constable, Precinct 1 building. 
5. Set the sale of last week for the old hospital property aside due to technical issues and set a new date for May 11 at 9am. 
6. Adjourn.

April 21, 2020 - Shelby County Commissioners approved the appointment of Dr. Florencio Singson, MD as the Shelby County Local Health Authority on April 15, 2020.

Department of State Health Services contacted Judge Allison Harbison on the need for there to be a designated Shelby County Local Health Authority.

Dr. Florencio Singson has been designated that for several years. Due to an oversight, Judge Harbison explained the appointment ran out. 

In response to this request Judge Harbison appointed Dr. Singson and a motion carried to accept his appointment as the Local Health Authority.

The commissioners spoke at length about the permits for McClelland Water Supply, and a motion carried to table the item until Shelby County Attorney Gary Rholes and Ken Muckleroy could speak on the issue.

A motion carried to table a request for proposals until the best course of action could be determined and to give time to put the necessary paperwork together.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Current payroll.
3. Appointment of Florencio Singson as Shelby County Local Health Authority.
4. Adjourn.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:
1. Permits for McClelland Water Supply.
2. Authorization to issue requests for proposals for Administrative services (RFPs) and requests for qualifications for Engineering services (RFQs) related to the 2020 Texas County Transportation Infrastructure (CTIF) administered by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT).

April 21, 2020 - Shelby County has had 3 new cases reported and one more recovery which brings Shelby County numbers to 67 cases and 6 recoveries. County Judge Allison Harbison received no notice of hospitalizations.

April 20, 2020 - Shelby County Office of Emergency Management was notified Monday afternoon by Texas Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS) of 4 more positive confirmed case of COVID-19 bringing the total case count for Shelby County to 64. DSHS reports that the majority of these cases are community spread and not travel related.

Last week we had 2 less cases than DSHS, today we were able to resolve that issue and have balanced our numbers with theirs.

According to DSHS reporting, 10 of these 64 cases are hospitalized or have been hospitalized. We are not notified when patients are released from the hospital. However, DSHS has reported that 5 of the 64 have recovered from the virus and are doing well.

We have had reports of a possible death from COVID-19 but as of today DSHS has not confirmed that information.

April 20, 2020 - The water on CR 4323 at Risinger Creek has receded and the roadway is back open.

April 20, 2020 - Tom Bellmyer, Precinct 4 Commissioner, announces a road closure on County Road 4323 at Risinger Creek. When the road condition allows, the roadway will be re-opened.

April 20, 2020 - Scammers are constantly figuring out a way to take your money and online classified listings are a common target.

With COVID-19 causing financial difficulties, some have found time to sell items they have been meaning to let go. Shelby County Today classifieds are one resource for selling theses items. However, you have to beware of scammers looking to illegally make money regardless of the consequences it brings to the victims.

One common practice scammers make with higher priced classified items is called an overpayment scam. The scammer calls the seller telling them they want the item. They then send them a personal check or cashier's check for an amount for more than the listed price. The buyer/scammer then tells you it was either an overpayment made in error or it is for shipping the item to them. They will ask you to send the money via money order, wire transfer, pre-loaded card back to them or to a third person who they say will be responsible for shipping the item.

If the seller goes through with the transaction, most likely, the seller has just cashed a fake check or a stolen check which is a crime. The scammer is getting the over payment and has distanced themselves from the check cashing which is the most traceable part of the crime... most often you are on camera cashing the check. The scammer disappears and you are left the only one responsible.

Stay safe if selling items.

  • Stick with local buyers and sellers and beware of anyone who is out of state/country.
  • If a check is sent to you for you to ship the item, call the bank the check is on and verify it is a legal check and funds are available. Never cash it without verifying and never send your item first. Hold the item til the check has cleared the bank.
  • If selling or buying a large purchase item such as a car, meet the buyer at the bank. The buyer can withdraw the cash and hand it to the seller or the seller can get a bank check instead before the buyer takes the car.
  • Avoid anyone new to you who asks for a wire transfer.
  • Meet in a public place and only accept cash. One public place is a police department parking lot. The Tenaha Police Department has even designated a safe exchange parking space specifically for this type of transaction.

Ken Paxton, the Attorney General of Texas, has a website for consumer protection concerning common scams. It does mention Counterfeit Cashier's Checks (Overpayment Scam) as well as other scams -