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February 12, 2020 - The Flash Flood Watch continues for portions of Arkansas, Louisiana, southeast Oklahoma, and Texas, including the following areas, in Arkansas, Columbia, Hempstead, Howard, Lafayette, Little River, Miller, Nevada, Sevier, and Union. In Louisiana, Bienville, Bossier, Caddo, Claiborne, De Soto, Jackson, Lincoln, Ouachita, Red River, Union, and Webster. In southeast Oklahoma, McCurtain. In Texas, Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Red River, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur, and Wood.

Through this afternoon an additional 1 to 2 inches of rainfall will be possible with locally higher amounts expected across Northeast Texas and along the Interstate Thirty corridor.

Flash flooding will be likely with prolonged thunderstorms as grounds are already saturated and additional rainfall will quickly runoff.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions

A Flash Flood Watch means that conditions may develop that lead to flash flooding. Flash flooding is a very dangerous situation.

You should monitor later forecasts and be prepared to take action should Flash Flood Warnings be issued.

Updated at 11:54am - According to Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell, on February 9, 2020, the body of Jimmy Anderson was located in a wooded area of a pasture off County Road 2135. His pickup was stuck in a heavily wooded area and his body was located next to the pickup as if he was attempting to get it unstuck.

The subject who noticed the vehicle was in the woods retrieving scrap metal from an old burn pile. A subject at the scene recalls there being a white pickup in the pasture around 3am on November 17, 2019. The subject stated the vehicle seemed to have been stuck, then freed and continued to travel down in the pasture. The subject did not report the incident.

At this time, there appears to be no sign of foul play but the body has been sent for an autopsy. This case is still pending investigation.

No further information is available at this time.

Leah Chase, SCSO Media Relations 


February 10, 2020 - Law enforcement officials responded to a location on CR 2135 Sunday, February 9, 2020 at around 5:30pm after an individual discovered a vehicle last seen being driven by a man who has been missing.

Jimmy Ray Anderson has been missing since November 17, 2019, and law enforcement has been seeking information leading to his whereabouts.

Officers with the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Constables 1, 2, and 3; as well as Texas Department of Public Safety were on scene at a petroleum industry pad. A white pickup truck matching the description of the one Anderson was last seen in, and with matching license plates, was towed from just inside a wooded area.

At this time, no information has been released by law enforcement; however, additional information is expected Monday, February 10, 2020.

Related Article:
SCSO Asking for Public Assistance Locating Missing Man (Updated)


Constable Sean Smith (right) is seen with fellow Constable Roy Cheatwood (left).

February 10, 2020 - Sean Smith was appointed Shelby County Constable for Precinct 4 during the Shelby County Commissioners meeting held Monday, February 10, 2020.

Following an executive session, where the commissioners spoke with potential appointees Sean Smith and Scotty Burkhalter, the meeting returned to open session and Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison read Bryan Gray's resignation letter.

The letter read as follows: "Given the opportunity to serve the position of Precinct 4 Constable, I am honored, I would love to protect our people and make them safe. My desire is for the people of precinct 4 to find a capable person. My body will no longer allow me to work, so I am obliged to resign immediately. Bryan Gray."

A motion carried to accept Gray's resignation. 

Charles Barr, Commissioner Precinct 3, initially spoke to those who attended to offer their services.

"I'd like to say that we do appreciate Mr. Burkhalter coming up and offering his services in a time that we was in need," said Barr.

"I appreciate him coming forward and appreciate everyone else that's shown interest in this. I want the public to know that I base my decision on Mr. Smith because he lives in the precinct. He will be available to run for the position, if we'd pointed someone outside the precinct, they would not be available to run for the position."

McSwain further explained Smith has prior experience working with Texas Department of Public Safety and he is qualified.

Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner Precinct 4, remarked there were several qualified individuals who stepped forward to offer themselves to assist the county in filling the position. 

"Other than Mr. Smith, everyone lived outside the precinct, but it was pretty fulfilling for the idea that people would come up and volunteer to help the county in a situation that we're in, and I appreciate that," said Bellmyer.

A motion then carried to appoint Sean Smith Constable Precinct 4.

Following his appointment, Judge Harbison administered the oath of office to Sean Smith for the position of Precinct 4 Constable.

The meeting was then adjourned.

Constable Smith previously was with the United States Coast Guard for six years and Texas Department of Public Safety for four years.

February 7, 2020 - Scams are constant and tax season is an active time for scammers to try to cheat and bully you out of your money. In November 2018, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton warned Texans with a 'Consumer Alert: IRS Impersonation and Email Scam' which advised that fraudulent emails were being sent from people impersonating the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). 

The following article below was posted on the IRS website in 2017 and guides taxpayers through the process of how to know if its the IRS or if its a scam.

How to know it’s really the IRS calling or knocking on your door

Many taxpayers have encountered individuals impersonating IRS officials – in person, over the telephone and via email. Don’t get scammed. We want you to understand how and when the IRS contacts taxpayers and help you determine whether a contact you may have received is truly from an IRS employee.

The IRS initiates most contacts through regular mail delivered by the United States Postal Service.

However, there are special circumstances in which the IRS will call or come to a home or business, such as when a taxpayer has an overdue tax bill, to secure a delinquent tax return or a delinquent employment tax payment, or to tour a business as part of an audit or during criminal investigations.

Even then, taxpayers will generally first receive several letters (called “notices”) from the IRS in the mail.

Click the following link to read the rest of the article which includes important links - https://www.irs.gov/newsroom/how-to-know-its-really-the-irs-calling-or-knocking-on-your-door.

February 6, 2020 - Newly sworn in Constable of Precinct 4 Bryan Gray announced on Facebook on Thursday, February 6, he was resigning from office due to health issues.

The post was made at 12:59pm: Affective immediately I am resigning as Constable. I have had some health issues the last few years. Before I filed to run I talked with my Dr because I felt I had improved enough to do the job. He told me try it and if I can not do it I will know. I have found out my health is not where it need to be to preform the way I need to. To family, friends, and supporters thank you for your support when I decided to run for office, and I apologize for not being able to do the job.

The Shelby County Commissioners' Court do not at this time have a meeting scheduled for next week due to training.

February 6, 2020 - The Shelby County Commissioners learned during their February 5, 2020 meeting the purchase of the old hospital location was no longer moving forward.

Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, reminded the commissioners the winning bid was previously by Kevin Jones for $152,500. Through his lawyers at Mettauer Law Firm his bid has been withdrawn.

"Through his attorney, Matthew Mettauer, he is withdrawing his offer to purchase the old Shelby General Hospital location," said Judge Harbison. "I have been in contact with the City of Center Economic Development and they would like to talk to us about that property."

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, asked Shelby County Attorney Gary Rholes about possible options relating to the sale of the property.

"I want to know if we're handicapped in any way after we've accepted this bid and he withdrew, his bid was $152,500. Are we under any, any legal obligation to take the next bid in line, or can we take an offer of $152,500 from somewhere else."

Rholes responded they would not be obligated to take the next bid in line, meaning they could accept an offer from another interested party.

Center Economic Development Corporation (EDC), during the July 17, 2019 Meeting, initially expressed a desire to acquire the property via a letter presented during commissioners' court. At that time the commissioners discussed retaining some of the property. A church had also expressed desire to obtain the property. Preliminary cleanup and demolition costs were projected to be around $200,000.

A 45-day window was given by the EDC to the county for consideration of their offer, with the possibility of an additional 15 days should an extension be necessary. Discussion during that meeting over the demolition and cleanup at that time brought the total to $380,000 with $230,000 of that being toward the project cleanup and $150,000 going toward the purchase. If potential bidders didn't hit the $150,000, Rholes said the county could still go with the city's offer.

The commissioners opened bids on December 4, 2019 and Kevin Jones submitted his bid for 6.73 acres in the amount of $152,500. Submitted by the EDC was their original letter from July 1, 2019 proposing to purchase the building and entire acreage for $150,000.

By the offer, the EDC also accepted all responsibility for asbestos abatement and demolition of all buildings on site. Although the original offer was expired at that time, they met again and extended their original offer through December 31, 2019 while also authorizing it to be their bid to the county.

During the December 4 meeting, a motion carried by the commissioners to accept the bid from Kevin Jones for the purchase of the hospital property, as-is.

Charles Barr, Commissioner Precinct 3, brought to the court a proposal to provide driveway repairs to an individual with special needs on CR 3492.

"Ms. Farmer, the Assistant Principle as well as the special needs teacher contacted me. The bus has to pull in and pick that child up at the house and they asked me if I could do some repairs so that the bus could get in and get out," said Barr.

Rholes asked what repairs Barr would be providing and McSwain asked if it's in the county road ditch, to which Barr confirmed that to be the location where he would install one culvert for entry and another for departure.

A motion carried to install the culverts.

Bryan Gray was recently appointed Constable Precinct 4 and a motion carried to approve his bond.

The commissioners discussed needed repairs for the Juvenile probation building to meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) specifications. A contractor was recently asked to review the needs of the structure. Barr indicated there is a leak in the roof of the building.

"There is no wheelchair access. There's no access from the parking lot except to step up on a foot and a half to two foot wall to step up, unless you want to walk out into the street and go around," said Barr. "Besides being under code on the ADA, I think it's a safety issue."

Barr provided an estimate of $9,430 from the contractor to make the building ADA compliant and another estimate of $4,315 to repair the leaking roof.

A motion carried to repair the roof out of courthouse repairs and ADA to be taken out of the contingency fund.

Abe Benavides with McCall, Parkers and Horton law firm explained to the commissioners the firm he represents is bond council for New Hope Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation. According to Benavides, they are acquiring facilities in Texas and Oklahoma and those in the Shelby County area provide services for senior living, assisted living and skilled nursing.

"Internal Revenue Code requires that New Hope receive the approval or acknowledgement of a governmental entity with jurisdiction of each facility in the project," said Benavides.

Benavides stated there are 28 facilities in the project and counties he named included Bowie, Collin, Dallas, Lubbock, Panola, San Augustine, Smith, Shelby and others in Oklahoma. The one facility in Shelby County is Pine Grove Nursing Center.

Benavides further explained there would be no obligation on the county relating to the facility, and the approval only allows New Hope Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation the ability to receive the tax exempt bonds on the facility.

A motion carried to approve the resolution.

Agenda items approved during the meeting included:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Current payroll.
3. Driveway repairs for Special needs person on CR 3492.
4. Bryan Gray Constable 4 Bond.
5. Repairs to the Juvenile Probation Office in order for it to meet ADA specifications and roof repair.
6. Resolution approving financing by New Hope Cultural Education Facilities Finance Corporation of Health Facilities located within Shelby County.
7. Adjourn.

February 3, 2020 - State Highway 7 West at the intersection with CR 1210 was the scene of a crash incident between a trailer and a house. The trailer struck an old store location called B&B Tackle & Grocery at CR 1210.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jonathan Stinson, at around 1pm a 2012 white Ford F550 was traveling westbound towing a 2013 trailer with an empty tank. The trailer hitch malfunctioned, and broke, releasing the trailer as the truck turned onto County Road 1210. 

At the time the trailer became disconnected from the truck and continued rolling into a house where it came to a stop. The trailer was empty at the time of the incident, and no neglect was discovered relating to the trailer disconnecting.

The driiver of the vehicle was identified as Russell John Reynolds, 69, of Beckville and he was not reported to have received injury as a result of the crash incident.

Reynolds was issued a citation for expired trailer registration.

West Shelby County Volunteer Fire Department and Shelby County Sheriff's Department were on scene to assist.

According to Benny Russell, a relation of the property owner, the building which the trailer struck was previously a grocery store that closed in the early 80s.


Click image for an enlarged view

January 31, 2020 - Shelby County Commissioner Tom Bellmyer is announcing the completion of the bridge on CR 4356. Bellmyer states both the bridge and roadway are now open for general traffic.


January 13, 2020 - Shelby County Commissioner Tom Bellmyer is notifying the public construction on a bridge located on CR 4356 has begun, and is now impassable during construction.

The bridge is scheduled for replacement on Monday, January 20 and the construction will take a minimum of 7 days and possibly up to 10 days depending on weather. It is located 1.6 miles west of US 96 North of Center.

The current bridge has a weight limit of 5,000 pounds and once the replacement is complete it will be able to carry a legal limit load.

Your patience is appreciated during this time of construction.

January 29, 2020 - Bryan Gray was sworn-in to the position of Shelby County Constable Precinct 4 following an executive session held during the Shelby County Commissioners' Court meeting held January 29, 2020.

Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, administered the oath of office to Gray who is taking on the duties of Constable 4. Jacob Metcalf recently resigned from the office.

A motion carried by the commissioners to appoint Gray as Constable Precinct 4.

Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner Precinct 4, described repairs that would be performed on a bridge located on County Road 4773. Once the bridge is completed, Bellmyer expects the bridge to be capable of withstanding most large loads.

A motion carried to approve the repairs to the bridge.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:

1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Ann Blackwell to administer to scheduling of State-Mandated Cybersecurity course that is required for all county employees who have access to county computer systems and/or databases.
3. Update/repair of bridge on County Road 4773.
4. Appoint Bryan Gray to the office of Constable Precinct 4.
5. Adjourn. 

 

Update - The suspect provided law enforcement with incorrect identification and will be receiving an additional charge of Failure to Identify.  The suspect is actually Jeremy Wade, age 30.


January 28, 2020 - The Center Police Department received a call Tuesday, January 28th for shots fired on Carroll Street around 10am.

According to Center PD Sergeant Ricky King, the police department received a shots fired call on Carroll Street earlier. Upon arrival, officers made entry into the residence at which time the suspect exited out a window in the back. He was later apprehended on Porter Street between Boles Feed and the Methodist Church.

The suspect was identified to be Christopher Butts, 27 of Dallas, and has been charged with felony 3 deadly conduct.

Sergeant King said, "There is no active shooter anywhere. We made an arrest on a subject that was recklessly firing a firearm." He added that because he was firing in the direction of houses and businesses he was charged with a felony 3 offense.

The investigation is still active and ongoing.

At the same time the school was dealing with a separate incident. Center ISD made a statement on Facebook, "Today, an unidentified person was seen on the FL Moffett campus looking into cars. When approached, the man ran towards the softball field. The area was searched, and he was not found. According to the Center ISD emergency operation plan, a hold on the FLM and CHS campuses was put in place. The hold has since been lifted. No students were outdoors at the time of the incident, and at no time were students in danger."

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