News

April 17, 2020 Austin - Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference where he issued three new Executive Orders to begin the process of reopening the state of Texas while revising hospital capacity and certain social distancing guidelines. Within the orders, select activities and services that pose minimal to no threat of spreading COVID-19 are allowed to reopen using a "Retail-To-Go" model, certain restrictions on surgeries have been loosened, and schools will remain closed for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year. 

Within these orders, the Governor has established the Strike Force to Open Texas—a team of nationally recognized medical experts and private and public leaders who will advise the Governor on safely and strategically reopening the state of Texas.

"Texans are battling a colossal challenge—an invisible enemy that has tested our lives and our livelihoods—but overcoming challenges is part of who we are as Texans," said Governor Abbott. "We have shown that Texas can continue our efforts to contain COVID-19 while also adopting safe standards that will allow us to begin the process of reopening Texas. The Strike Force to Open Texas brings together nationally recognized medical experts with public and private sector leaders to achieve this mission. By coming together, we can get Texans back to work, practice safe standards that will prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we can overcome this pandemic."

James Huffines will lead the advisory strike force and Mike Toomey will serve as Chief Operating Officer. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, Attorney General Ken Paxton, and Comptroller Glenn Hegar will serve as consulting members.

In addition, Governor Abbott has appointed Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) Commissioner John Hellerstedt, MD, as Chief Medical Officer of the strike force. Dr. Hellerstedt will be supported by three Chief Medical Advisors: 

  • John Zerwas, MD, Executive Vice-Chancellor for Health Affairs at the University of Texas System
  • Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, Former Food and Drug Administration Commissioner and U.S. Medicaid and Medicare Administrator
  • Parker Hudson, MD, MPH, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine and Infectious Diseases at Dell Medical School and program director for the Internal Medicine Residency

These health experts will develop a medical architecture to comprehensively test and trace COVID-19 that will enable Texans to gradually and safely begin the process of returning to work and other activities.

The medical team will work alongside a Special Advisory Council who will share innovative ideas to help businesses strategically reopen while containing the spread of COVID-19. The council consists of 39 business leaders representing the state's regions and industries. The advisory council will collaborate with working groups to devise strategies, statewide standards, and appropriate time frames to reopen the Lone Star State while prioritizing the health and safety of all Texans.

The strike force will immediately begin providing input on potential additional openings of activities and services in Texas consistent with guidelines provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The Governor will announce a revised plan for the state based on these initial recommendations on April 27.  

Special Advisory Council members include:

  • Arcilia Acosta: President and CEO, CARCON Industries & Construction
  • Paul Andrews, Jr.: Founder and CEO, TTI Inc.
  • Mark Bivins: Rancher, partner in Corsino Cattle Company
  • Kathy Britton: CEO and Owner, Perry Homes
  • Brad Brookshire: Chairman and CEO, Brookshire Grocery Co.
  • J. Bruce Bugg, Jr.: Chairman, Texas Transportation Commission 
  • Alonzo Cantu: President & CEO of Cantu Construction
  • Bobby Cox: Owner and operator, Bobby Cox Companies, Inc.
  • Adriana Cruz: Executive Director, Economic Development & Tourism Division, Office of the Governor
  • Michael Dell: Chairman and CEO, Dell Technologies
  • Scott Dueser: Chairman, President & CEO, First Financial Bank
  • Don Evans: Chairman of the President George W. Bush Foundation, Chairman of Permian Strategic Partnership
  • Tilman Fertitta: Chairman, CEO, and sole owner, Landry's, Inc.
  • Richard Fisher: Senior Advisor, Barclays and Former President & CEO, the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas
  • Rick Francis: Chairman of the Board, WestStar Bank Holding Company, Inc.
  • Printice Gary: Founding Partner/Principal and CEO, Carleton Companies
  • Brad Heffington: Owner of Heffington Farms, Inc. and Triple T Irrigation, Inc.
  • Jeffery D. Hildebrand: Executive Chairman and Founder, Hilcorp Energy Company
  • Nancy Kinder: President & CEO, Kinder Foundation
  • Tom Luce: Founder and Chairman, Texas 2036
  • Marc McDougal: CEO, McDougal Companies
  • Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale: Owner, Gallery Furniture
  • Drayton McLane: Chairman, McLane Group
  • Elaine Mendoza: Founder, President & CEO of Conceptual MindWorks, Inc
  • Balous Miller: Owner, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q Restaurants
  • Carla Moran: Ramar Communications
  • Dennis Nixon: CEO and Chairman of International Bank of Commerce
  • David Oliveira: Partner at Roerig, Oliveira & Fisher, L.L.P.
  • Ross Perot, Jr.: Chairman, The Perot Group
  • Kevin D. Roberts, Ph.D.: Executive Director, Texas Public Policy Foundation
  • Robert B. Rowling: Owner and Chairman, TRT Holdings, Inc.
  • Kendra Scott: Founder and CEO, Kendra Scott
  • Robert F. Smith: Founder, Chairman & CEO, Vista Equity Partners
  • Sam L. Susser: Chairman of BancAffiliated, Inc.
  • Massey Villarreal: CEO and President, Precision Task Group, Inc.
  • Kirk Watson: Founding Dean of the University of Houston Hobby School of Public Affairs
  • Marc Watts: President, The Friedkin Group
  • Graham Weston: Former Chairman of Rackspace Hosting Inc.
  • Sanjiv Yajnik: President of the Financial Services Division, Capital One

For more information about the Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas, visit the strike force webpage

The Governor’s second Executive Order (GA-16) relates to the safe, strategic reopening of select services and activities in Texas. This order establishes a temporary "Retail-To-Go" model that will allow retail outlets in Texas to reopen beginning Friday, April 24. Under this model, reopened establishments are required to deliver items to customer's cars, homes, or other locations to minimize contact.

Under this Executive Order, schools — including public, private, and higher education institutions — will remain closed for the 2019-2020 school year. Teachers may go into the classroom for video instruction, to perform administrative duties, and to clean out their classrooms.

The Governor’s third Executive Order (GA-15) relates to hospital capacity and personal protective equipment (PPE) needed for the COVID-19 response. The order loosens restrictions on surgeries put in place by Governor Abbott in March. Beginning at 11:59pm on April 21 through 11:59pm on May 8, all licensed health care professionals and all licensed health care facilities must continue to postpone all surgeries and procedures that are not medically necessary to diagnose or correct a serious medical condition of, or to preserve the life of, a patient who without timely performance of the surgery or procedure would be at risk for serious adverse medical consequences or death as determined by a patient's physician. Exceptions now include:

  • Any procedure that, if performed in accordance with the commonly accepted standard of clinical practice, would not deplete the hospital capacity or the PPE needed to cope with COVID-19, or
  • Any surgery or procedure performed in a licensed health care facility that has certified in writing to Texas HHSC both (1) that it will reserve at least 25% of its hospital capacity for treatment of COVID-19 patients, accounting for the range of clinical severity of COVID-19 patients, and (2) that it will not request any PPE from any public source — whether federal, state, or local — for the duration of the COVID-19 disaster. 

The Governor today also directed state parks to reopen on Monday, April 20 with strict guidelines to reduce transmission of COVID-19 – including requiring visitors to wear face coverings, maintain a six-foot distance from individuals outside of their party, and prohibiting the gathering of groups larger than five.

Update: Shortly after the press release was sent out by the SC Office of Emergency Management, TxDSHS notified them of two more cases bringing the total to 51 for Shelby County.


April 16, 2020 - Shelby County Office of Emergency Management was notified by Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS) on April 15th of 5 more positive confirmed cases of COVID-19 bringing the total case count for Shelby County to 49. 

Information on hospitalizations is still unknown on all the positive confirmed cases but we do have definitive confirmation that 9 of these 49 were hospitalized.

There has been a rise in the confirmed cases in Shelby County of 16 just this week. Although we have no definitive reason, we can only say that some of the potential reasons could be that there is more testing being available in Shelby County and in some instances testing criteria has been broadened.  More private labs are performing the lab tests and instead of there being a 3-5 day turnaround on results (as is the case with some state labs) these private labs are now having a 24-48 hour turn around on results.

And lastly and surely most importantly, Coronavirus is community spread in Shelby County and the best way to ensure we lower these positive confirmations and slow down the spread is to:

  • stay home as much as possible
  • maintain social distancing when you do have to be out (at least 6 ft)
  • practice good hygiene by washing your hands often for at least 20 seconds or using hand sanitizer
  • definitely stay home if you’re sick.

April 16, 2020 - The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the City of Huxley public water system, PWS 210019, to issue a Boil Water Notice for CR 2690 in Stillwaters, CR 2693 in Royal Ridge, English Bay area along CR 2700, CR 2783, CR 2793, and Corn & Blisters 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 April 15th 2020 for CR 2690 in Stillwaters, CR 2693 in Royal Ridge, English Bay area along CR 2700, CR 2783, CR 2793, and Corn & Blisters.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact Huxley Water Treatment Plant at (936)368-2633 or Justin Belrose at (936)368-2266.


April 7, 2020 - Due to a main line break, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required the City of Huxley Public Water System 2100019 to notify all customers 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 Huxley Water Treatment Plant at (936)368-2633 or Justin Belrose at (936)368-2266.

Areas affected are CR 2690 in Stillwaters, CR 2693 in Royal Ridge, English Bay area along CR 2700, CR 2783, CR 2793, and Corn & Blisters.

April 15, 2020 - State Highway 87 (SH87) just south of FM 1645 was the scene of a collision involving a truck and a cow Sunday, April 12, 2020 at around 6pm.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety, a black Chevrolet pickup truck driven by Chelsea Hall, of Timpson, was northbound on SH87 at a curve in the roadway. 

As the truck began traveling the curve it struck a large red cow standing in the roadway causing major damage to the truck and unknown damage to the cow.

No injuries were reported of Hall at the scene and the owner, Keaton Bush, removed the cow from the scene by trailer.

Center Fire Department presonnel diverted traffic at the scene until it was clear.

The cow was reported to have found its way onto the roadway as a result of storm damage to a fence.

April 15, 2020 (1 p.m. Wednesday) - SWEPCO One Voice #6 = Easter Sunday Storms

At 1 p.m. Wednesday, approximately 4,600 customers in East Texas remain without power after three waves of severe storms swept across SWEPCO’s three-state service territory on Easter Sunday. At the peak, 64,000 customers were without power.

Additional crews have joined the SWEPCO, AEP and contract crews already working in the restoration effort. Workers are practicing social distancing and other measures to stay healthy and prevent the spread of coronavirus, making the recovery effort especially challenging.

Damage from high winds and lightning is widespread, requiring significant repair work in many locations across East Texas. Damage includes broken poles, wires down, and trees down from outside the rights-of-way, which caused outages and make access difficult to some locations.

The first line of storms left 22,000 customers without power Sunday morning, mostly in Texas and Louisiana. Power had been restored to 14,000 customers by the afternoon. However, more storms struck Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas during the late afternoon and evening, pushing the total number of customers without power to 64,000 by 9 p.m. Sunday.

Here are the estimated times of restoration for 95% of customers in each area, including surrounding communities. NOTE: Your power may be restored sooner.

East Texas

  • Gilmer – 10 p.m. Wednesday
  • Gladewater – 10 p.m. Wednesday
  • Longview – 12 noon Thursday

Work also continues to restore service to all customers remaining without power in communities not listed above.

OUTAGE INFO:

SWEPCO Mobile App – Report outages, check outage status, and more. Download at App store or Google Play.

SWEPCO Alerts – Get an email or text message with the latest info for your home or business. See SWEPCO.com/Alerts.

SWEPCO.com – outage map, report outages, safety information

SAFETY:

KEEP A SAFE DISTANCE: Help utility crews stay safe and healthy while working to restore your power. Maintain at least six feet of physical distance between yourself and SWEPCO field personnel as we all play a crucial role in preventing the spread of coronavirus.

DOWNED POWER LINES: Never touch a downed utility wire, no matter how harmless it looks. It can be difficult to distinguish between a power line and a cable or telephone line. All downed lines should be considered energized and dangerous. And don't touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences or puddles of water, since they can conduct electricity. Keep children and pets away from this potential hazard. Call SWEPCO to report any downed lines or equipment.

PORTABLE GENERATORS: If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators "backfeed" electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers' instructions carefully, and plug essential appliances directly into the generator.

CUSTOMER INFORMATION

SERVICE ENTRANCE DAMAGE? SWEPCO cannot connect power to a home or business if there is damage to the service entrance. Customers need to have a qualified electrician repair this damage before power can be restored. The service entrance, which is owned by the customer, includes the metal box housing SWEPCO’s meter, the “weatherhead” pipe on top of the meter box, the service entrance cables running from the weatherhead through the meter box to the inside panel box, and other related facilities. Similar responsibilities apply to underground service. After repairs are made, contact SWEPCO to have power restored.

Updated at 10:06am

April 15, 2020 - In an attempt to organize the changes happening due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Shelby County Today will keep all notices, closures, and cancellations organized on this page.

Below is a list of all announcements received. Underlined items are linked to their original announcement.

Food Boxes:

Filing for Unemployment/Job Seekers:


Cities, County, Government:


Doctors, Hospitals:


School Updates:

UIL Announces Extended Suspension of All UIL Activities - At this time, the earliest games and contests may resume is Monday, May 4th.


    Church Notices:


    ​Restaurant Notices:


    Business, Non-Profit, Organization Notices:


    Informational Links:


    Cancelled Events or Meetings:​​


    Still Happening:​​

    April 15, 2020 - Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison reported 44 cases of COVID-19 at the beginning of the Commissioners' Court meeting which is currently underway.

    Shelby County Office of Emergency Management was notified Monday afternoon by Texas Dept. of State Health Services (DSHS) of 10 more positive confirmed case of COVID-19 bringing the total case count for Shelby County to 44.

    Judge Harbison said, "I realize that the count that I report may not be the same as the one on the DSHS website but we are documenting all the cases as we are notified. I apologize for the confusion but we have requested DSHS send their list so we could make sure we have the most updated information. We cannot report information that we do not have."

    DSHS reports that the majority of these cases are community spread and not travel related.

    According to DSHS reporting, 9 of these 44 cases are hospitalized. DSHS did not have any information on whether any of the 10 new cases were hospitalized.

    April 14, 2020 - The Center Fire Department responded to a house fire early Friday, April 10, 2020.

    According to the Center Fire Department, when fire personnel arrived just after 5:45am at 813 Price Street in Center the front porch and front portion of the structure were partially on fire.

    Fire personnel were able to extinguish the flames and prevent further spread throughout the building.

    Although the residence was abandoned, it was determined someone had been trying to cook on the porch when the fire started.

    April 13, 2020 - At 10:30 a.m. Monday, approximately 45,300 customers remain without power after three waves of severe storms with high winds and lightning swept across SWEPCO’s service territory on Easter Sunday.

    The outages include 31,200 in Texas, 12,300 in Louisiana and 1,800 in Arkansas.

    The first line of storms left 22,000 customers without power Sunday morning, mostly in Texas and Louisiana. Power had been restored to 14,000 customers by the afternoon. However, more storms struck Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas during the late afternoon and evening, leaving a total of 64,000 customers without power by 9 p.m. Sunday.

    The storms heavily damaged SWEPCO’s electric system with multiple broken poles and wires down. For example, in several locations, more than 10 poles were down on a single circuit.

    Crews continue to assess damage and restore power as safely and quickly as power. Crews from SWEPCO’s sister companies – AEP Texas and Public Service Company of Oklahoma – are joining the restoration effort, along with outside contract crews. Estimated times of restoration will be provided as assessment progresses. Overall storm restoration will be a multiple-day effort.

    SAFETY:

    DOWNED POWER LINES: Never touch a downed utility wire, no matter how harmless it looks. It can be difficult to distinguish between a power line and a cable or telephone line. All downed lines should be considered energized and dangerous. And don't touch anything in contact with the line, such as trees, fences or puddles of water, since they can conduct electricity. Keep children and pets away from this potential hazard. Call SWEPCO to report any downed lines or equipment.

    PORTABLE GENERATORS: If you use a portable or RV generator, do not plug the generator into your circuit box. Portable generators "backfeed" electricity up the line and risk the lives of repair workers and the public. Follow the manufacturers' instructions carefully, and plug essential appliances directly into the generator.

    OUTAGE INFO:

    SWEPCO Mobile App – Report outages, check outage status, and more. Download at App store or Google Play.

    SWEPCO Alerts – Get an email or text message with the latest info for your home or business.
    See SWEPCO.com/Alerts.

    SWEPCO.com – outage map, report outages, safety information

    Update: Commissioner Pct 3 Charles Barr would like the public to know that County Road 3267 is open again after removing a tree that was blocking the road.


    April 13, 2020 - Commissioner Precinct 3 Charles Barr advises a large tree fell across CR 3267. The roadway will be closed for several hours between Highway 7 and CR 3267's intersection of CR 3193 for crews to be able to remove the tree from the roadway.

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