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July 8, 2021 - During the first of July, the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard reported 103 new cases, 1 new death, and 105 new recoveries.

The estimated number of active cases is currently 11.

July 8th (3:25pm) Numbers: (changes since June 30)
Total Confirmed Cases - 1,214 (71 new)
Total Probable Cases - 813 (32 new) 
Total Fatalities - 72 (1 new)
Total Estimated Active Cases - 11
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,944 (105 new)

Reported June 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 197
Total New Probable Cases - 20
Total New Fatalities - 3
Total New Estimated Recovered - 217

July 8, 2021 - Upon taking the oath to be your Sheriff, I made a promise to the citizens of Shelby County to always be transparent. I promised to keep the public informed whether it is good or bad. While it is often hard to admit when there is a problem, a promise is a promise, and honesty is always the best route to take.

On Tuesday, July 6, 2021, it was discovered that contraband had been being brought into our jail. Seven trustees were removed from their status and placed back into regular cells. After further investigation, we have concluded the process on how the contraband was being brought into the jail. A criminal investigation is underway and charges are expected to follow for those involved in this situation.

Going forward, the SCSO has implemented changes on items brought into the jail. Trustees, inside and outside, will NO LONGER be allowed to receive items from outside the jail. Medications will be the only items allowed to be brought in from outside the facility, this applies to all inmates. All medication must be in a sealed container from a pharmacy, and only prescription medications will be accepted. Any individual dropping off medications must present a valid ID and sign a release form.

Money will no longer be released from an inmate. All monies will remain on the inmates account unless otherwise approved by myself.

As your Sheriff, I will continue to be transparent on the operations at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office. My door is always open. Thank you for your continued support of our office.

Sheriff Kevin W. Windham

July 7, 2021 - The Shelby County Commissioners decided to move forward with a new email hosting service for the county to help offer increased protection from Cyber Security threats during their meeting held Wednesday, June 30, 2021.

The email hosting service the county utilizes is with the Texas Association of Counties (TAC) called CIRA (County Information Resource Agency).

"They are currently changing the hosting platform, they've done this before," said Clint Porterfield, County Auditor. "Currently we have something called Rackspace is what hosts our email service, before that it was something else."

Porterfield said he believes there is a push to bolster cyber security and TAC CIRA is going to move to Microsoft 365, and the commissioners need to review and approve the service agreement for Shelby County to be able to move forward with the new platform.

"They want us to choose the plan of service that we want, they want us to designate some email administrators so there's some work we can do in house without having to contact CIRA," said Porterfield. "There's also a website hosting agreement."

There are approximately 80 email users and Porterfield said it's around $2 a month to have CIRA be the host. With the chosen plan through Microsoft 365 it will be around $5 per user, costing the county an additional $4,200 a year for email service Porterfield said they has to have.

"We don't want to go at this point trying to change everyone's email address and look for a new hosting service," said Porterfield. "Especially with the information we already have, and the emails we have archived and everything, CIRA takes care of all that for us."

Porterfield explained the email plan that has been chosen is not the least expensive plant; however, it's the second least expensive plan which provides the most data storage.

To elaborate further on potential security issues, Jason Fulbright with Intelligent Computer Concepts addressed the court about the need for switching to the new platform not even being an option with, but a necessity.

"That's why a lot of organizations are shifting to this 365 platform, it's an inevitable move," said Fulbright. "A lot of larger organizations, government organizations, medical organizations, they're all transitioning to this product."

Porterfield said CIRA is trying to accomplish the transition by later this year. 

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison and Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner, inquired with Porterfield about administrators having access to user emails and he explained the administrators would only be available to help users reset their passwords, not to access their email accounts. 

Those administrators include Clint Porterfield, Ann Blackwell and Leah Chase. According to Porterfield, the Sheriff's Department has the most email users and that is why the Sheriff's Department needs a representative there to be able to administrate their emails.

A motion carried to move forward with the contract for the Microsoft 365 email platform.

The commissioners discussed the purchase of a new truck for the Precinct 5 Constable and a motion carried to write a letter of intent to help Constable Precinct 5 purchase a new truck or find one, at a $45,000 limit. Also for him to shop locally first. The vehicle being sought is a white ford F150 Police Interceptor to be paid for out of the coronavirus funds. 

Blackwell addressed the court about speaking with representatives of First National Bank of Wichita Falls Stewart Cobb, Senior Vice President Leasing, and Karen Hughes, Vice President Business Development Officer, regarding investment deposit options with them. 

"They have a large volume of business up there and they have a lot of places to go with money that is secured," said Blackwell. "Miss Hughes said that she has securities to collateralize up to $2,250,000 that she can place in a money market plus account which is paying 40 basis points."

Blackwell explained the county can access the money whenever needed and they can make up to six transactions in a month. 

"This would be our American Rescue Plan money, we got that $2.4 million, we can place this with them earn a fairly nice interest rate on it till we figure out what we can or are gonna do with it," said Blackwell.

A remaining cash balance that would be left in the bank, Blackwell would like to start investing back into rolling CDs which has been done in the past. She would have them staggered in the same manner as they were in the past starting one every three months and having each one mature in a 12-month time period. She said they would be $500,000 each.

"She's offering 12-month CDs at 70 basis points, that's just crazy right now. I just can't see why we wouldn't want to do that," said Blackwell.

A motion carried to revise the county investment policy to add First National Bank of Wichita Falls as an Approved Broker/Dealer for investments.

Commissioner McSwain remarked for the public's knowledge, "That's where we do borrow our money when we have to finance equipment."

"They are the only ones that have reached out to me to even talk about doing something like this," Blackwell said. 

Blackwell explained the plan is to open the money market plus account, investing $2,250,000 in that account to earn .40% (40 basis points), start rolling CDs with the first at $500,000 and then every three months start another $500,000 CD at 70 basis points, and pull $75,000 out of Texpool to invest in one of the CDs.

A motion then carried to follow the advice of the County Treasurer on a new investment strategy with First National Bank of Wichita Falls that has been approved on the county investment list

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses with the exception of invoice #196613.
2. Service Agreement with the Texas Association of Counties for email and website hosting services. This service Agreement pertains to new Microsoft 365 email platform.
3. New vehicle for Pct. 5 Constable.
4. Revise County Investment Policy to add First National Bank of Wichita Falls as an Approved Broker / Dealer for investments.
5. New investments.
6. Adjourn.

July 2, 2021 — Last year, as temperatures soared into the triple digits in Texas, staff at 39 Texas State Parks handled 132 heat-related illnesses in humans and pets. Now that the summer has officially begun and temperatures are steadily climbing, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is sharing their top six heat hacks for staying safe in the outdoors.

Here are the top six heat hacks recommended for park visitors:

  • Hydrate - It’s important to drink at least 16 ounces of water every hour in the heat to replenish your body and prevent dehydration. Don’t forget to bring enough for your four-legged family members too.
  • Block the Rays - Apply a generous amount of sunscreen or sunblock before heading outdoors. Be sure to reapply every couple of hours, and after swimming or sweating.
  • Dress Smart - Wear light, loose-fitting, breathable clothing; a hat, correct shoes, sunscreen and wet bandanas to keep you cool while in the sun. For pets, protect paws against blistering by hitting the trails during cooler times of the day when the ground isn’t hot or by putting booties on pets to help shield paws from the hot ground. Touch the pavement or ground with the back of your hand. If you cannot hold it there for five seconds, the surface is too hot for your dog’s paws.
  • Stay Salty - Food helps keep up energy and replace salt lost from sweating. Eating snacks such as jerky, granola, trail mix, tuna and dried fruit is a fantastic way to nourish your body while on the trails.
  • Buddy System - Two brains are better than one. It’s beneficial to have someone with you in hot conditions so you can look after each other on the trail. With high temperatures hitting Texas, heat-related illnesses are common and having a friend around to help recognize the early symptoms can save you from getting sick.
  • Plan Ahead - Study the map and have it with you. Average hikers move at 2 miles per hour, so allow yourself plenty of time to avoid hiking in the heat of the day. Make sure to rest in a cool or shaded area to recover from the heat if necessary. It is also a good idea to let someone know your plan before you hit the trails and what time you should be back. That way, if you become lost, people know where to look.

For more information about heat safety, visit the TPWD website.

All guests, including annual pass holders, are encouraged to pre-purchase or register for day passes and overnight reservations in advance through the Texas State Parks Reservation System before heading out to a state park. Park capacities are limited, and permits sell out fast. Reservations can be made online at www.texasstateparks.org or by calling 512-389-8900.

Find a park in your area at http://texasstateparks.org.

For infographics of the six heat hacks, visit the TPWD Flickr page.

July 1, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, during the month of June reported numbers were 218 new cases, 3 new deaths, and 217 new recoveries for a substantial increase over May numbers.

Reported June 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 197
Total New Probable Cases - 20
Total New Fatalities - 3
Total New Estimated Recovered - 217

Reported May 2021 Numbers:
Total Confirmed Cases - 14
Total Probable Cases - 19
Total Fatalities - 1
Total Estimated Recovered - 35

At the end of June, the estimated number of active cases is currently 15.

Over the past two days, 72 new cases were reported with a disclaimer of the new cases being older confirmed cases reported by labs. The result is the new cases are simaltaniously added to the recoveries. The new cases and recoveries were reported as 36 new on June 29th and 36 new on June 30th.

June 30 (3:15pm) Numbers: (changes since June 28)
Total Confirmed Cases - 1,143 (72 new)
Total Probable Cases - 781 (1 new) 
Total Fatalities - 71
Total Estimated Active Cases - 15
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,839 (72 new)

June 30, 2021 — As Texans make plans to celebrate the Fourth of July with picnics, grilling, camping or fireworks, Texas A&M Forest Service encourages everyone to be careful with any outdoor activity that may cause a spark.

Approximately 90 percent of wildfires are caused by humans and their activities, and according to the National Fire Protection Association, Independence Day is one of the top days for reported fires of all kinds. In 2018, fireworks accounted for an estimated 19,500 fires, including 1,900 structure fires, 500 vehicle fires and 17,100 outside fires.

This year, recent rains have reduced some of the potential for wildfires across much of the state. A cool and moist fire environment, with increased chances for rain and below normal temperatures, will keep fire potential low statewide through the July 4th weekend. Even as fire potential across the state is low, Texas A&M Forest Service and local fire officials are advising everyone to be cautious with activities outdoors.

“Though rains have helped decrease wildfire potential, we encourage everyone to be cautious with fireworks and outdoor activities this holiday,” said Bruce Woods, Texas A&M Forest Service Mitigation and Prevention Department Head. “Remember to do your part, and don’t let a wildfire start.”

The safest way to enjoy fireworks is to attend a public fireworks show conducted by professionals. If you are going to set off your own fireworks, please follow these safety tips:

  • Before you celebrate, always check with local government officials for any burn bans or other restrictions. Be sure to comply with all restrictions.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instruction labels on fireworks.
  • Use fireworks only under close adult supervision and in safe areas away from structures, dry grass and brush.
  • Keep a hose, bucket of water and wet towels nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.

To help prevent wildfires, follow these additional tips:

  • Avoid parking and idling in tall, dry grass. Catalytic converters can get hot enough to ignite the grass under a vehicle.
  • Ensure chains and other metal parts aren’t dragging from your vehicle—they throw sparks.
  • Avoid placing your grill near flammable vegetation or materials, never leave your grill unattended, and ensure coals are completely extinguished when you are done.

Burn bans and fireworks restrictions are determined by county government. Texas A&M Forest Service does not take a position on the use of fireworks, nor does the agency determine, set or lift restrictions.

June 29, 2021 - U.S. Highway 96 North at CR 4356 was the scene of a two-vehicle crash June 13, 2021.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 8pm a black 2014 Ford Mustang driven by Zagloria Diesha Garrett, 30, of Dallas was southbound on U.S. Highway 96 North. At that time a grey 2011 Nissan Juke driven by Joshua Daniel Malone, 28, of Shelbyville failed to yield right of way entering U.S. 96 from CR [4356] when turning left. 

Unable to avoid the collision, the Mustang struck the Juke and traveled across the northbound traffic lanes, through a fence and into a pasture where it came to a halt. The Juke spun around and was left in the middle of the southbound traffic lanes facing the county road. 

Garrett was transported from the scene of the crash by ambulance for possible treatment of injury. 

No injuries were reported of Malone. He was issued a citation for failure to yield right of way at stop sign.

Center Fire Department personnel were on scene immediately following the crash and diverted traffic around the crash scene until it was cleared.

June 28, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, over the last five days there have been 77 new cases and 80 new recoveries reported.

The estimated number of active cases is 15.

June 28 (2:20pm) Numbers: (changes since June 23)
Total Confirmed Cases - 1,071 (69 new)
Total Probable Cases - 781 (8 new) 
Total Fatalities - 71
Total Estimated Active Cases - 15
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,767 (80 new)

Reported June 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 125
Total New Probable Cases - 20
Total New Fatalities - 3
Total New Estimated Recovered - 145

June 28, 2021 - A reduction in the speed limit has been approved on two sections of roadway in Nacogdoches County and San Augustine and Shelby counties.

In Nacogdoches County, the speed limit on US 59 South will be reduced from 75 miles per hour to 60 mph for 1.58 miles just south of the city of Nacogdoches. This change extends the 60-mph limit for an additional 1.58 miles southward toward Lufkin.

In San Augustine and Shelby counties, the speed limit on FM 353 will be reduced from 50 mph to 45 mph from the San Augustine city limits to the Shelby County line. In Shelby County, on FM 353, the speed limit will be reduced from 55 mph to 50 mph from the San Augustine County line to SH 87.

The Texas Transportation Commission has approved these changes after considering results of engineering and traffic study/investigations that were conducted at each location.

For more information, contact Rhonda.Oaks@txdot.gov or call (936) 633-4395.

June 24, 2021 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Farm Service Agency (FSA) began accepting nominations for county committee members on June 15. Elections will occur in certain Local Administrative Areas (LAA) for these members who make important decisions about how federal farm programs are administered locally. All nomination forms for the 2021 election must be postmarked or received in the local FSA office by August 2, 2021.

“We need enthusiastic, diverse leaders to serve other agricultural producers locally on FSA County Committees,” said Eddie Trevino Acting State Executive Director for FSA in Texas. “Now’s your time to step up and truly make an impact on how federal programs are administered at the local level to reach all producers fairly and equitably.”

Trevino said agricultural producers who participate or cooperate in a USDA program, and reside in the LAA that is up for election this year, may be nominated for candidacy for the county committee. A cooperating producer is someone who has provided information about their farming or ranching operation to FSA, even if they have not applied or received program benefits. Individuals may nominate themselves or others and qualifying organizations may also nominate candidates. USDA encourages minority producers, women and beginning farmers or ranchers to nominate, vote, and hold office. 

Nationwide, more than 7,700 dedicated members of the agricultural community serving on FSA county committees. The committees are made up of three to 11 members who serve three-year terms. Producers serving on FSA county committees play a critical role in the day-to-day operations of the agency. Committee members are vital to how FSA carries out disaster programs, as well as conservation, commodity and price support programs, county office employment and other agricultural issues.

LAAs are elective areas for FSA committees in a single county or multi-county jurisdiction. This may include LAAs that are focused on an urban or suburban area.

Urban and Suburban County Committees

The 2018 Farm Bill directed USDA to form urban county committees as well as make other advancements related to urban agriculture, including the establishment of the Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production. FSA established county committees specifically focused on urban agriculture. The urban county committees will work to encourage and promote urban, indoor and other emerging agricultural production practices. Additionally, the new county committees may address areas such as food access, community engagement, support of local activities to promote and encourage community compost and food waste reduction. 

Urban committee members are nominated and elected to serve by local urban producers in the same jurisdiction. These members are a vital link in the effective administration of USDA programs and are responsible for carrying out programs in full accordance with the regulations, national and state policies, procedures, and instructions. Urban county committee members will provide outreach to ensure urban producers understand USDA programs and serve as the voice of other urban producers and assist in program implementation that support the needs of the growing urban community.  Urban county committees must see that county office operations are supportive and that they receive timely and quality service by carrying out responsibilities effectively, efficiently, and impartially. Learn more at farmers.gov/urban

More Information

Producers should contact their local FSA office today to register and find out how to get involved in their county’s election. They should check with their local USDA Service Center to see if their LAA is up for election this year. To be considered, a producer must be registered and sign an FSA-669A nomination form or an FSA-669-A-3 for urban county committees. The form and other information about FSA county committee elections are available at fsa.usda.gov/elections

Election ballots will be mailed to eligible voters beginning November 1, 2021. To find your local USDA Service Center, visit farmers.gov/service-locator.

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. In the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit www.usda.gov.

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