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July 16, 2020 - The Shelby County Emergency Management office reports as of 8:00am on Thursday, July 16, 2020, TxDSHS has reported 6 new cases bringing the total of cumulative cases to 309. The death count remains at 14 for Shelby County. 

According to the state's algorithm to determine recoveries, 2 new recoveries were reported for a total of 254 recoveries and 41 active cases.

Breakdown of cumulative cases by zip code and ages:

Active Cases in each zip code: (Change in Data)

Center (75935) - 25 (1 New)
Joaquin (75954) - 2 (1 New)
Shelbyville (75973) - 4 (1 New)
Tenaha (75974) - 8 (1 New)
Timpson (75975) - 2

Cumulative Cases in each zip code:

Center (75935) - 218 (2 New)
Joaquin (75954) - 16 (1 New)
Shelbyville (75973) - 19 (1 New)
Tenaha (75974) - 34 (1 New)
Timpson (75975) - 22 (1 New)

Ages of Confirmed Cases:

Ages 1 to 20: 29 cases
Ages 21 to 40: 97 cases (3 New)
Ages 41 to 60: 98 cases (3 New), 4 death
Ages 61 to 80: 50 cases, 4 death
Ages 81 to 100: 30 cases, 6 death
Age unknown: 5 cases

July 15, 2020 - Twenty-two and a half percent of the registered voters in Shelby County turned out to voice their opinion on the Republican ballot of the July 14, 2020 Primary Run-off Election with 3,462 votes cast of the 15,370 voters in the county.

The Republican ballot which had 3 local county races had 1,319 ballots cast during early voting, 247 ballots cast absentee (mail), and 1,896 cast on election day.

To view a detailed spreadsheet by precinct for the Republican Primary Run-off, click here.

The Democrat Primary Run-off saw only a 1.22% turn out of voters with 187 total ballots cast. 35 were cast in early voting, 93 cast absentee (mail), and 59 on election day.

To view a detailed spreadsheet by precinct for the Democrat Primary Run-off, click here.

July 15, 2020 - The Shelby County Commissioners' Court approved two county resignations during their meeting Wednesday, July 15, 2020, and made three appointments for different purposes.

Melba Rodgers was just elected to the office of Justice of the Peace (JP) for Precinct 3 and due to multiple requests of the current office holder Margie Anderson for the commissioners to accept her resignation, and the availability of someone to fill her position, the commissioners decided to fulfill her request. 

"She has for the third time put in her retirement papers and I think now we can let her retire," said Judge Allison Harbison. "But she asked that we run it through the end of the month."

A motion carried to accept Anderson's retirement.

Commissioner Tom Bellmeyer asked about previous discussion over moving documents from her office to another location. 

"Probably will not be moved until a new JP is sworn in," said Judge Harbison. "I know that Donna [Hughes] and Marla [Denby] and some of them are helping her get through the information."

Judge Harbison further remarked the assistance of the commissioners and sheriff would likely be needed in moving the materials.

The commissioners considered appointing Rodgers to the office on August 1; however with that date falling on a Saturday Judge Harbison asked to move up the appointment date.

"I did speak to Ms. Rodgers this morning, and she was agreeable to that," said Judge Harbison. 

A motion carried to appoint Rodgers Friday, July 31.

Judge Harbison stated Rodgers will be moving into the new location the county has rented for the Justice of the Peace office and the constable.

"Whenever the lease runs out on Constable 3's building, he'll stay there until his lease runs out and then we'll move him into the same building," said Judge Harbison. "So it'll be like it is in every other JP precinct. The JP and the Constable are in the same office because he will be over her court."

Kevin Gratehouse is the current courthouse security officer, and he has submitted his resignation for the position effective July 21.

"He is going to stay on in a part-time basis," said Judge Harbison. "I don't know if y'all know because you probably aren't up here when we have two or three courts going on, but it's really hard to get extra bailiffs to come up and extra courthouse security."

Gratehouse will stay on in a part-time capacity to help with County Court and District Court, and Judge Harbison is still accepting applications for the position.

Commissioner Bellmyer asked what is required of someone working in that position. Judge Harbison explained they have to have an active peace officer license, be able to be commissioned by the sheriff and be able to be under his bond.

"Whenever I even consider courthouse security, I do work with the sheriff on that," said Judge Harbison. "They're not under his direct supervision, he does carry their commission and they wear his uniform."

Two applications have been received so far, but more are welcome this week.

A motion carried to accept Gratehouse's resignation.

"He's been someone I can trust to be down there, I know he's protecting our best interests," said Judge Harbison.

Commissioner Roscoe McSwain asked exactly whose boss the courthouse security would be.

"The court hires him, this court's his boss," said Judge Harbison.

She added the caveat when the officer is serving as a bailiff in a courtroom, their obligation is to that judge.

"The courthouse security officer is paid through, courthouse security budget, it doesn't come out of the sheriff's budget at all," said Judge Harbison. "He's the courthouse employee."

Judge Harbison and Commissioner Bellmyer are currently serving on the DETCOG board of directors and a motion carried by the commissioners to appoint them once again as representatives of Shelby County to the DETCOG board of directors.

A motion carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:42am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Appoint Allison Harbison and Tom Bellmyer to represent Shelby County on the DETCOG Board of Directors.
4. Justice of the Peace Pct. 3 Margie Anderson's resignation as of July 31, 2020.
5. Appoint Melba Rodgers Justice of the Peace for Pct. 3 effective July 31, 2020.
6. Resignation from Courthouse Security Guard effective July 21, 2020.
7. Adjourn 9:42am.

 

July 15, 2020 - The Shelby County Emergency Management office reports as of 8:45am on Wednesday, July 15, 2020, TxDSHS has reported 3 new cases bringing the total of cumulative cases to 303. The death count remains at 14 for Shelby County. 

According to the state's algorithm to determine recoveries, no new recoveries were reported and the total is 252 recoveries and 37 active cases.

Breakdown of cumulative cases by zip code and ages:

Active Cases in each zip code: (Change in Data)

Center (75935) - 24 (2 New)
Joaquin (75954) - 1 (-4 cases)
Shelbyville (75973) - 3
Tenaha (75974) - 7 (1 New)
Timpson (75975) - 2

Cumulative Cases in each zip code:

Center (75935) - 216 (2 New)
Joaquin (75954) - 15
Shelbyville (75973) - 18
Tenaha (75974) - 33 (1 New)
Timpson (75975) - 21

Ages of Confirmed Cases:

Ages 1 to 20: 29 cases (1 New)
Ages 21 to 40: 94 cases (1 New)
Ages 41 to 60: 95 cases (1 New), 4 death
Ages 61 to 80: 50 cases, 4 death
Ages 81 to 100: 30 cases, 6 death
Age unknown: 5 cases

July 14, 2020 - Election results are in for the Primary July 14th Run-off Election with Kevin Windham winning the Sheriff's race, Stevie Smith winning Commissioner Pct 3, and Melba Rodgers winning Justice of the Peace Pct 3.

All local races were decided during the March Primary and it's July 14th Run-off Election since all the candidates ran on the Republican ballot. The following will be on the November Ballot without an opponent and should take office in January 2021.

  • District Judge, 123rd Judicial District - Leann Kay Rafferty (Incumbent)
  • District Attorney - Karren Price
  • County Attorney - Gary Rholes (Incumbent)
  • Sheriff - Kevin Windham
  • County Tax Assessor/Collector - Debora Riley (Incumbent)
  • County Commissioner Pct 1 - Roscoe McSwain (Incumbent)
  • County Commissioner Pct 3 - Stevie Smith
  • Justice of the Peace Pct 1 - Donna Hughes
  • Justice of the Peace Pct 3 - Melba Rodgers
  • County Constable Pct 1 - Zach Warr (Incumbent)
  • County Constable Pct 2 - Jamie Hagler (Incumbent)
  • County Constable Pct 3 - Roy Cheatwood (Incumbent)
  • County Constable Pct 4 - Taylor Fanguy
  • County Constable Pct 5 - Josh Tipton

On the Democrat Ballot, Shelby County voiced their opinion for candidates they want to see on the November ballot concerning the United States Senator and Railroad Commissioner.

(8:25pm) All boxes are in and the unofficial voting results are below. The results are not official until they have been canvassed by the county.


Shelby County Republican Runoff Election Ballot

SHERIFF    
  Newton Johnson, Jr. EARLY 475
    ABSENTEE 122
    PRECINCT 832
    TOTAL 1,429 (41%)
       
  Kevin W. Windham EARLY 834
    ABSENTEE 125
    PRECINCT 1063
    TOTAL 2,022 (59%)
COUNTY COMMISSIONER PCT 3    
  Stevie Smith EARLY 267
    ABSENTEE 42
    PRECINCT 346
    TOTAL 655 (53%)
       
  David Cheatwood EARLY 220
    ABSENTEE 35
    PRECINCT 326
    TOTAL 581 (47%)
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE PCT 3    
  Melba Rodgers EARLY 179
    ABSENTEE 30
    PRECINCT 298
    TOTAL 507 (57%)
       
  Darrell Alford EARLY 125
    ABSENTEE 22
    PRECINCT 241
    TOTAL 388 (43%)

Shelby County Democrat Runoff Election Ballot

UNITED STATES SENATOR      
  Mary "MJ" Hegar EARLY 8
        ABSENTEE 50
        PRECINCT 34
        TOTAL 92
       
  Royce West EARLY 27
        ABSENTEE 43
        PRECINCT 25
        TOTAL 95
RAILROAD COMMISSIONER      
  Roberto R. "Beto" Alonzo EARLY 22
        ABSENTEE 40
        PRECINCT 28
        TOTAL 90
       
  Chrysta Castaneda EARLY 13
        ABSENTEE 51
        PRECINCT 31
        TOTAL 95

July 13, 2020 - The March Primary Election ended with three County races and two State/Federal races left to be decided on the ballot in the July 14th Primary Runoff Elections since none of the candidates in these races received over 50% of the votes. Election day is Tuesday, July 14th with voting starting at 7am and closing at 7pm at the Republican and Democrat polling locations.

In the County races, which are on the Republican ballot, the yet to be decided candidates are in the Sheriff, Commissioner Pct 3, and Justice of the Peace Pct 3 races. The candidates in the Sheriff's Runoff race are Newton Johnson, Jr. and Kevin Windham. In the County Commissioner Pct 3 race the runoff is between Stevie Smith and David Cheatwood. Justice of the Peace Pct 3 is the final race in the runoffs with Melba Rodgers and Darrell Alford.

On the Democrat Ballot two races for State/Federal positions in the runoff are United States Senator and Railroad Commissioner. The winners of the Democrat Primary election runoff will appear against their opposing party in the November Election.


Shelby County Republican Runoff Election Ballot

SHERIFF (All Precincts)  
  Newton Johnson, Jr.  
  Kevin W. Windham  
COUNTY COMMISSIONER PCT 3 (Precincts 1N, 3, 5)  
  Stevie Smith  
  David Cheatwood  
JUSTICE OF THE PEACE PCT 3 (Precincts 3, 5)  
  Melba Rodgers  
  Darrell Alford  

Shelby County Democrat Runoff Election Ballot

UNITED STATES SENATOR (All Precincts)  
  Mary "MJ" Hegar  
  Royce West  
RAILROAD COMMISSIONER (All Precincts)  
  Roberto R. "Beto" Alonzo  
  Chrysta Castaneda  

July 14, 2020 - The Shelby County Emergency Management office reports as of 8:00am on Tuesday, July 14, 2020, TxDSHS has reported 6 new cases bringing the total of cumulative cases to 300. The death count remains at 14 for Shelby County. 

According to the state's algorithm to determine recoveries, 6 new recoveries were reported bringing the total to 252 recoveries and keeping the active cases at 34.

Breakdown of cumulative cases by zip code and ages:

Active Cases in each zip code: (Change in Data)

Center (75935) - 22 (3 New)
Joaquin (75954) - 1 (-4 cases)
Shelbyville (75973) - 3
Tenaha (75974) - 6 (3 New)
Timpson (75975) - 2

Cumulative Cases in each zip code:

Center (75935) - 214 (4 New)
Joaquin (75954) - 15
Shelbyville (75973) - 18
Tenaha (75974) - 32 (2 New)
Timpson (75975) - 21

Ages of Confirmed Cases:

Ages 1 to 20: 28 cases (1 New)
Ages 21 to 40: 93 cases
Ages 41 to 60: 94 cases (1 New), 4 death
Ages 61 to 80: 50 cases (2 New), 4 death
Ages 81 to 100: 30 cases (2 New), 6 death
Age unknown: 5 cases

July 13, 2020 - The Shelby County Emergency Management office reports as of 8:30am on Monday, July 13, 2020, TxDSHS has reported 6 new cases; however, the state reported 1 more death which brings the total death count to 14 for Shelby County. 

The total of cumulative cases of COVID-19 is 294 for Shelby County.

According to the state's algorithm to determine recoveries, 7 new recoveries were reported bringing the total to 246 recoveries. Shelby County has 34 active cases.

Breakdown of cumulative cases by zip code and ages:

Active Cases in each zip code: (Change in Data)

Center (75935) - 19 (-6 cases)
Joaquin (75954) - 5
Shelbyville (75973) - 3 (2 New)
Tenaha (75974) - 5 (2 New)
Timpson (75975) - 2

Cumulative Cases in each zip code:

Center (75935) - 210 (3 New)
Joaquin (75954) - 15
Shelbyville (75973) - 18 (1 New)
Tenaha (75974) - 30 (2 New)
Timpson (75975) - 21

Ages of Confirmed Cases:

Ages 1 to 20: 27 cases (1 New)
Ages 21 to 40: 93 cases (1 New)
Ages 41 to 60: 93 cases (4 New), 4 death
Ages 61 to 80: 48 cases, 4 death
Ages 81 to 100: 28 cases, 6 death (1 New)
Age unknown: 5 cases

July 13, 2020 - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) responded to a one-vehicle crash on County Road 3853, about five and one half miles southwest of Joaquin on July 11, 2020.

The preliminary crash information indicates at approximately 9 p.m., a 1975 Jeep CJ5 was traveling west when the vehicle drove off the roadway to the left where it struck an embankment before overturning; ejecting the driver and passenger.

The driver is identified as Alfredo Ramirez, 17, from Center. Ramirez was not reportedly injured during the crash.

A passenger with Ramirez is identified as Kailey Agnew from Tenaha. Agnew was transported to a local hospital and later transported to UT Tyler by medical helicopter where she was pronounced deceased on July 12.

Ramirez was determined to be intoxicated and was arrested and placed in the Shelby County Jail for intoxication manslaughter. A blood specimen was obtained and results are pending.

This crash remains under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.

July 11, 2020 - The Tenaha City Council was bombarded by statements of Tenaha residents unhappy with their law enforcement during their meeting held June 22, 2020 following statements made by the police chief via social media.

Although Statements were made directed toward the police department and its activities, no representative of the department was present to address any of the voiced issues.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, several individuals addressed the council about their concerns over policies in the police department and statements made on social media. Attempts were made to confirm statements made on social media but could not be corroberated as some posts were removed.

The statements made during the public meeting are that of the speakers and not necessarily of Shelby County Today.

Desmond Steadman

"I don't know who hired him to be the police chief of Tenaha, but he is not accepted and with the words he put on facebook," said Desmond Steadman. "You know, I got grandkids and y'all look at your grandkids too, if you got any grandkids look at your grandkids with what he said he didn't mind shooting them. I think he don't need to be around our kids. You know, it comes to me you're here to protect us, you're not here to kill us."

Ja'Mon Moore
"It's easy to post on Facebook, it's easy to talk in a group, but most people won't man up and come say straight up take the stand," said Moore. "Like the man from Joaquin said, we've got so many police cars, you come through they're not even used cars these are brand new cars. When you've got a town, where you're in Tenaha, I'm just asking why we've got that many policemen." 

Moore said he would like to see more improvements in parts of Tenaha rather than more police cars.

"I feel like kids should be able to grow, have a park like Center Portacool Park, put some goals down there. We can start doing something. I saw a few guys a couple years ago cleaning up the park," said Moore.

Susie Crawford
It bothers me when I see someone who is in a position of authority, who number one doesn't bother to show up for the meeting so that is an issue. You said what you said on Facebook and you were proud of it, because not only did you make one post you continued on to post on other websites," said Crawford. "It is a disgrace, and it is a poor representation of what the community of Tenaha stands for."

She continued by suggesting there is discrimination involving law enforcement in Tenaha and minorities who travel through the city.

"I will not stand for black kids to be afraid in their own community," said Crawford.

Other public statements made to the council were by Mike Cummings, Jr., Joaquin City Councilman, and Tenaha resident Cliff Lloyd.

Cummings reiterated from a previous meeting the interest of the city of Joaquin in purchaing one of the city of Tenaha patrol units. Lloyd is still looking forward to seeing activity on property donated for the city to use as a park.

Regarding the items included in those items listed as Consent Agenda items Amanda Treat, City Secretary, described the nature of these items. 

A Certificate of Deposit renewal was upcoming as it matured on June 18, 2020 with a balance of $185,179.85

Three notes were due at the First National Bank of Wichita Falls. These notes were due June 15, 2020 and were for three of the Tenaha Police Department vehicles. The first of these was for $16,491.50; the second $16,914.99; and the third $16,914.99 for a total of $50321.48 due.

Treat stated, according to the records of 1st National Bank of Hughes Springs June 25, 2020 will be the city's last payment on a loan for a tractor.

The Tenaha City Office was scheduled to be closed Friday, July 3, 2020. 

In addressing employee vacation time, Treat explained for the council the item was included on the agenda to help make the council aware of when certain employees would be off work.

One employee for the city was seeking the week of the 6th to the 10th off. Treat explained the anniversary of his two-year employment would be on July 1, he would be eligible for two weeks, but he only wanted to take one.

Durand Steadman, alderman, disagreed with him having two weeks after only being employed with the city for two years and he questioned how that was correct. Treat referenced the city employee handbook. Elizabeth Swint, after having been employed by the city for 10 years, is eligible for three weeks vacation and requested two days. Steadman said she should take a whole week and not split it by days, because that would be difficult to keep up with.

Treat acknowledged she also was seeking to take two days; however, she realized by that time the council was not going to accept her request. Steadman said they wouldn't be splitting up vacation time in that way unless there was some kind of emergency.

"We're not going to split it up like that," said Steadman. "We're losing track of this vacation, their just taking vacation days."

A motion carried to table the employee vacation days until a later time.

The City of Tenaha received one bid for the construction of a pumper truck and a brush truck for the Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department. The only bid received was from Deep South Fire Trucks. A motion carried to award the contract for the construction and delivery of a pumper truck and brush truck through CDBG FAST Grant 7219256 to Deep South Fire Trucks.

Discussed at length during the meeting was the potential purchase of a backhoe from the police department by the General, Wastewater, Water and Street Departments. With the police chief being absent from the meeting, Stacy Cranford explained more in detail the circumstances surrounding the backhoe.

"The police department's been given a backhoe and after that one year period that they got it from Red River Depot, the army depot, it becomes their property," said Cranford.

According to Cranford, the police department does not want the city departments to use the backhoe because it's the property of the police department. Cranford said the city was using a backhoe, which is very used, and already belongs to the city to move rock in their yard. The city was then using the police department backhoe to perform patchwork on streets in the city.

"Some of the hands said they come in to load and the backhoe was locked up, the keys were out of it and the chief said, 'no one was to use the backhoe, that it didn't belong to the city it belonged to the police department,'" said Cranford. "He said, 'if we want to use it we could buy it from the police department.'"

Treat reitereated to the council the city has three notes to pay on police cars which were due on June 15. 

"If the other departments could purchase that, that would give me the money to pay for those three units," said Treat.

"They're basically wanted us to pay on their note, because they're in a bind," said Cranford.

Steadman stated the chief told the council the city would be given the backhoe after a year and Cranford agreed the original plan was for the old backhoe would be given to the police department so they could auction it off as part of that exchange.

"We need to purchase a backhoe, I have no problem with that part, I would rather purchase it and be done with it and we have a backhoe we don't have to ask permission to use," said Cranford.

Steadman asked how much the police department was asking for the backhoe and Treat said "$45,000."

Lee Gibbs asked Cranford what the backhoe is worth and he said it is probably worth around $35,000. He said he had commented to Chief Pope when the machine was acquired by the police department what a great deal they had gotten and that it was worth $30,000 to $40,000.

"It's a good machine we've actually spent the money to fix it, because it had several issues whenever they received it and my department has actually packed the cylinders on there and got everything fixed to where it's in usable shape," said Cranford.

Cranford said around $2,000 has been spent on those repairs. The old machine is still usable; however, it's only useful for nominal tasks. If the city doesn't have the $45,000, Cranford asked how the notes would be paid on the patrol units.

"That's the point I'm getting to. We bail them out this time, who's going to bail them out next time. That's the point I'm getting to right there for him to come set a bid for $45,000," said Steadman. "Then after [Pope] said they were going to give it to us at first after the year was up, that was the agreement on that."

Cranford remarked the cost of the machine is around half of what a new unit would cost and the city could get 20-25 years of service out of the one from the police department.

Treat remarked she felt comfortable with the $35,000 and that there is $18,799.38 in the police department "Rainy Day Fund" and the city is under on projected fines.

A motion carried to table the purchase of the backhoe.

The meeting went into executive session at 6:30pm and returned to open session at 8:25pm. The council then explained the outcome on discussion over items in executive session.

"Regarding item 14, with Ms. Treat's annual evaluation of course she passed everything with gold stars and we have tabled the discussion on the sale of the Tahoe until we some more update on what's owed against it and what have you," said Florance Adams, Alderman.

The meeting was then adjourned.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1.  Appoint Municipal Judge. The Municipal Judge is selected by the Governing Body. The Municipal Judge is for two years. (Local Government Code Section 29.004 b and 29.005)

2. Consider approval of the Minutes from the Regular Meeting held on May 26, 2020

3. Award contract to Deep South Fire Trucks for the construction and delivery of a pumper truck and brush truck through CDBG FAST Grant 7219256.

4. Financial Statements for the month of May 2020.

5. Make amendment to section 7.13 (Timing) in the Employee Handbook to add the following statement: A performance appraisal will be conducted annually at each employee’s anniversary date.

6. Renew Employee benefit coverage with TML Health for 2020-2021.

Items tabled during the meeting include:
1. a. Appoint Mayor Pro-Tem to perform mayor’s duties during the mayor’s incapacity or absence. The mayor pro-tem is selected by majority vote of the council from among its own membership. The mayor pro-tem is for two years. The mayor pro-tem retains the right to vote on all matters before the council (and not just to break a tie) while performing duties of mayor (Local Government Code Section 22.38 and 23.027)

2. Renting the Community Room(s) at the City Hall.

3. The General, Wastewater, Water and Street Departments purchasing a backhoe from the Police department.

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