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March 31, 2021 - State Highway 7 East was the scene of a single-vehicle crash Monday. 

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Brent Murray, at 3:30pm Monday, March 29, 2021 a black 2006 Ford Five Hundred driven by Clifford Ray Brown, 59, of Center eastbound on State Highway 7 East. At that time Brown stated his steering malfunctioned.

The Ford traveled off the roadway to the left at an usafe speed just after the intersection with FM 1656, and traveled into a heavily brush covered area.

No injuries were reported as a result of this incident. Brown was issued a citation for unsafe speed.

March 30, 2021 - The 16th week of vaccine distribution started March 29, 2021 and Shelby County has one provider on the list. Aurora Concepts is allocated to receive 1,170 Pfizer vaccine doses. Aurora Concepts can be contacted at 936-598-3296 to schedule a vaccine.

Shelby County, a part of Public Health Region 4/5N, reports over the past week an additional 326 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose for a total of 3,512. Of the estimated population, 18.06% of Shelby County has received at least one dose.

Also, over the past week an additional 909 people have been fully vaccinated for a total of 2,243 for the county. Of the estimated population, 11.53% of Shelby County has been fully vaccinated.

The county has an estimated population of 19,449 of people 16 years of age and older.


Texas to receive more than 1 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccine for next week
State surpasses 10 million doses administered

More than 1 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to providers across Texas next week. The Texas Department of State Health Services is allocating 818,410 doses to 779 providers in 202 counties. More than 200,000 additional first doses are expected to be available to pharmacy locations and federally-qualified health centers directly from the federal government.

Texas has now administered more than 10 million doses, an increase of 1.2 million in the last week. More than 6.8 million people have received at least one dose, and almost 3.5 million are fully vaccinated. Among Texas seniors, more than six in 10 have received at least one dose, and four in 10 are now fully vaccinated. More than 30 percent of all Texans at least 16 years old have gotten at least one dose.

Beginning Monday, all Texans ages 16 and older will be eligible to receive a vaccine. Vaccination has helped drive down the number of new cases and people hospitalized with COVID-19 to their lowest level since October. However, with hundreds of variant cases identified in Texas that have the potential to spread more quickly and cause more serious disease, vaccination remains critically important. The available vaccines have proven effective against the variant strains, so the more people vaccinated, the easier it will be to keep the variants under control and prevent new ones from emerging.

In addition to the first doses mentioned above, the state is ordering 587,950 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago. DSHS automatically orders second doses to arrive at providers in the week they can begin to be administered, so they will be available when needed. People should be able to return to the same provider to receive their second dose within six weeks of getting the first.

People can find more information on COVID-19 vaccine at dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine.

Helpful links:

March 30, 2021 - Road construction is going on today, March 30th on George Ihlo Drive, the road behind the First United Methodist Church in Center.  George Ihlo Drive is blocked from FM 699 (Logansport Street) to Payne Street. Please plan another route until the construction is completed. For anyone who routinely travels through the area going to the Middle School, please be advised you may want to plan a different route.

The back drive entrance to the church was not accessible.

March 29, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, the data reflected Monday there have been 2 new cases added since Saturday. The total of active cases lowered to 80 due to 5 new recoveries.

March 29th (1:55pm) Numbers: (changes since March 27th)
Total Confirmed Cases - 897
Total Probable Cases - 693 (2 new)
Total Fatalities - 66
Total Estimated Active Cases - 80
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,444 (5 new)

March 29, 2021 - Shelby County Commissioners approved the distribution of Child Safety Fee funds during their meeting held Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Denise Merriman, Shelby County Children's Advocacy Center (SCCAC) Executive Director, expressed gratitude on behalf of the organization for the continued support by Shelby County.

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, asked for confirmation from Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, on the percentage of the fee usually split between the SCCAC and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA).

"We've historically done 65% to the Advocacy Center, 35% to CASA," said Porterfield. "Just again to refresh everyone's memory, we do wihthold some money from that amount which is automatically disbursed to all of the municipalities."

According to Porterfield, the county also retains a 10% administrative fee. He stated the fund balance before dispursal was $15,927, less an administrative fee and less the amount to municipalities leaving $10,471 to disburse. As a result of the disbursement $6,806 will go to SCCAC and $3,665 to CASA. 

A motion carried to approve the disbursement of the funds at 65% ($6,806) to SCCAC and 35% ($3,665) to CASA. 

The meeting was adjourned at 9:36am.

Following the adjournment of the meeting, a quorum of commissioners joined in a discussion in the courtroom with the County Treasurer and County Auditor. 

(Chapter 551. Open Meetings, Subchapter A. General Provisions)

Agenda items approve during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses, with the exception of invoice 194308 to confirm the work.
2. Disburse Child Safety Fee funds at a 65%, 35% split to SCCAC and CASA.
3. Adjourn at 9:36am.

March 28, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, the data reflects on Saturday there were no new cases since Friday. The total of active cases lowered to 83 due to three new recoveries.

March 27th (3:05pm) Numbers: (changes since March 26th)
Total Confirmed Cases - 897
Total Probable Cases - 691
Total Fatalities - 66
Total Estimated Active Cases - 83
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,439 (3 new)

March 27, 2021 - The National Weather Service in Shreveport has issued a Tornado Warning for Southwestern Panola County in northeastern Texas, Southeastern Rusk County in northeastern Texas, Northwestern Shelby County in eastern Texas until 7:45pm CDT.

At 6:54 PM CDT, a confirmed large and extremely dangerous tornado was located 7 miles south of Minden, or 17 miles south of Henderson, moving northeast at 45 mph.

This is a PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION. TAKE COVER NOW!

Hazard: Damaging tornado.

Source: Weather spotters confirmed tornado.

Impact: You are in a life-threatening situation. Flying debris may be deadly to those caught without shelter. Mobile homes will be destroyed. Considerable damage to homes, businesses, and vehicles is likely and complete destruction is possible.

Locations impacted include Carthage, Pinehill, Minden, Mount Enterprise, Gary City, Dotson, Lawsonville, Laneville and Fairplay.

Precautionary/Preparedness Actions
To repeat, a large, extremely dangerous and potentially deadly tornado is on the ground. To protect your life, 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.

March 27, 2021 - Tornado watch 60 is in effect until 11pm CDT March 27, 2021, for the following locations:

Texas counties included are: Bowie, Camp, Cass, Cherokee, Franklin, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Rusk, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Upshur, and Wood.

March 26, 2021 - Shelby County Sheriff Kevin W. Windham reports the arrest of Matthew Thomas Bennett, 37, of Beckville.

On March 25, 2021 SCSO at approximately 2:17 p.m., deputies were dispatched to a residence on Chalk Street in Joaquin in reference to a burglary of a habitation. Once on scene, deputies made contact with Bennett, and were able to identify him as the suspect in the reported burglary. Deputies began to question Bennett in regards to the incident and he became combative towards the officers.

The SCSO Communications Center confirmed Bennett to have an active warrant for his arrest. Deputies attempted to restrain Bennett and he was non-compliant with their requests. Bennett was tased by SCSO deputies, restrained with handcuffs behind his back and placed in the backseat of a patrol unit.

As SCSO deputies were clearing the scene, Bennett, unbeknown to deputies, worked his restraints to the front of his body, forced his way out of the patrol unit, entered the driver’s side of the unit and fled the scene.

OnStar located the unit on an oilfield location site off of FM 699 and all area law enforcement began searching for the suspect in that area. Bennett inflicted severe damage to the unit that caused interruptions with OnStar being able to continue tracking the unit. After a lengthy search by law enforcement officials, OnStar was able to shut the unit down by enabling the remote ignition block feature installed on the unit.

Chief Deputy Ruth Gonzales and Lieutenant Tanner Peace were patrolling the area where the vehicle was last known to be and spotted the unit at an abandoned residence on FM 699 at CR 4550.

The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) set up a perimeter around the property and a DPS officer began negotiations with Bennett through the communications radio installed in the unit. After unsuccessful attempts at negotiation, the Center Police Department Special Response Team was able to extract the suspect from the vehicle with assistance from a DPS helicopter.

Bennett was taken into custody at 10:49 p.m., unharmed. He was cleared on scene by Allegiance Mobile Health. He is currently housed in the Shelby County jail and has been charged with UUMV (SJF) $20K bond; Evading Arrest/Detention W/Vehicle (SJF) NO BOND; Escape From Custody (M-A) $10K bond; Resisting Arrest (M-A) $10K bond. He was arraigned by JP1 Donna Hughes.  

This situation is not something that we face regularly in our county. This outcome would have not ended the way it did without the experience and professionalism that so many provided.

To our SCSO 911 Telecommunicators Chelsea Jernigan, Casey Jackson, Evelyn Ordaz and Tiffany Ryals, along with SCSO Administrators Cindy Bradshaw and Leah Chase: you all were the unseen heroes in this situation. Each of you worked tirelessly ensuring communication was provided to everyone on scene. Your professionalism and dedication to our office and this county does not go unnoticed. Each of you worked together and as a whole depicted the true definition of a family. Thank you will never be enough.

SCSO Deputies, Thank You. Thank you for serving our county. Thank you for your dedication to our office. Each of you makes sacrifices on a daily basis just by putting on a uniform. We are proud of you, your work, and your dedication to a career that is becoming more difficult each passing day. Thank you for having a servant’s heart.

Center Police Department Special Response Team, you shut the situation down. Your training came in at a time when has never been more needed. Each of you showed up, and without hesitation went in and defused what could have been a tragic situation. Thank you for having our back, and for helping to protect our county in a critical time of need.

Desoto Parish Sheriff’s Office – we called and you were here, with a team of officers and equipment ready to take the front line. You stepped in without hesitation. Thank you from all of us.

Shelby County Constables Zack Warr, Taylor Fanguy, Josh Tipton, Jamie Hagler and Roy Cheatwood, we are grateful for your assistance. Each of you always show up every single time you are needed.

To all of the agencies who assisted us on scene, around the area, at the county lines and were on standby: Game Wardens Austin Cryer and Sam Anderson; Panola County Sheriff Kevin Lake and deputies; Panola County Constable Bryan Murff; Panola County 911 Telecommunicators; Tenaha ISD Chief of Police David Jeeter, Nacogdoches County SWAT, Nacogdoches County Sheriff’s Office, Angelina County Sheriff’s Office, DPS officers from surrounding counties, San Augustine County Sheriff Robert Cartwright, Hughes Wrecker; and you, the public – thank you. Thank you for coming to our aide. Thank you for filling the gap. Thank you for endless dedication to our office. We see you, each of you. Just as you provided assistance to us in this time of need, we will show up every time you need us.

Please continue to keep all of our law enforcement officers in your thoughts and prayers. From all of us at the SCSO, thank you for allowing us to serve you. Thank you for accepting us in the community and for supporting us. We are ever grateful. (Pictures of the patrol unit are available on our Facebook Page: )

Sheriff Kevin W. Windham

March 26, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, the data reflects 5 new cases and 1 new death since yesterday. The total of active cases is now 86.

Of the new cases, 3 were new confirmed cases and 2 were new probable cases. 1 new estimated recovery was reported.

March 26th (3:20pm) Numbers: (changes since March 25th)
Total Confirmed Cases - 897 (3 new)
Total Probable Cases - 691 (2 new)
Total Fatalities - 66 (1 new)
Total Estimated Active Cases - 86
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,436 (1 new)

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