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October 6, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, on Tuesday there were 3 new deaths, 16 new cases and 20 new estimated recoveries reported. There were no changes in numbers on October 3rd and 4th. On October 2nd, 8 new cases and 18 new recoveries were reported.

The estimated active cases continues to lower and is now 133.

In total, October has had 6 new deaths reported, 30 new cases reported, and 49 estimated recoveries reported.

October 5th Numbers: (Changes since Oct. 2)
Confirmed Cases - 1,640 (6 new)
Probable Cases - 1,180 (10 new)
Fatalities - 102 (3 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 133
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,587 (20 new)

October 2nd Numbers: (Changes since Oct. 1)
Confirmed Cases - 1,634 (7 new)
Probable Cases - 1,170 (1 new)
Fatalities - 99
Active Cases (Estimated) - 138
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,567 (18 new)

October 1st Numbers: (Changes since Sept. 30)
Confirmed Cases - 1,627 (3 new)
Probable Cases - 1,169 (3 new)
Fatalities - 99 (3 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 151
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,549 (11 new)

October 6, 2021 - Office on Violence Against Women Invests More Than $476 Million in Grants to Address Domestic Violence, Dating Violence, Sexual Assault and Stalking

The Justice Department joins law enforcement partners, victim services professionals, advocates and communities across the country in observing October as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month and announces more than $476 million in Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) grants. The funding supports projects that meaningfully address the needs of underserved and marginalized survivors, improve access to justice, enhance survivor safety, hold accountable those who have caused harm, and provide training and technical assistance to an array of professionals and systems working to address sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in every state and territory, as well as dozens of tribal communities.

“Domestic Violence Awareness Month is a sobering reminder of the harm domestic violence inflicts across our country, at a time when the COVID-19 pandemic means that for many survivors, abuse may be compounded by being isolated with an abuser, loss of income and stress over the virus itself,” said Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco. “These OVW grants will provide local organizations with resources to support survivors as they heal, promote victim access to justice, and further local, state and tribal training efforts to best prepare officials to respond to these dangerous calls.”

“The grant awards we make this year will not only touch the lives of millions of survivors of domestic violence, but also help our nation prevent and end sexual assault and stalking,” said Acting Director Allison Randall of OVW. “OVW is proud to be the leading federal voice in the country’s fight against these devastating crimes. Grant awards announced today will fund victim services, culturally specific responses, legal assistance, law enforcement and prosecution services, and court practices, as well as training and technical assistance to an array of professionals who help survivors every day.”

In addition to administering grant funding, the department is combatting domestic and sexual violence in local and tribal communities on other fronts. The department has outlined a comprehensive strategy to address violent crime, which asked U.S. Attorneys to evaluate the current drivers of violent crime in their regions, including domestic violence, and to develop strategies to address these drivers. OVW’s announcement today of over $476 million in grants is a key part of that strategy. In addition, on Sept. 20, the department’s Office of Justice Programs announced more than $1.2 billion in Fiscal Year 2021 Victims of Crime Act funding.

In his Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation, President Joseph R. Biden, the original author of the Violence Against Women Act, called on all Americans to reaffirm their commitment to ending this violence, and in his Fiscal Year 2022 budget, proposed a historic $1 billion for grant programs administered by OVW.

Funds being awarded this year by OVW formula grant programs include:

Services, Training, Officers, Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program: $153.1 million awarded to all states and territories to support communities, including American Indian tribes and Alaska Native villages, in their efforts to develop and strengthen effective responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The STOP Formula Grant Program – authorized by the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and subsequent legislation – requires that 30% of funds be allocated for victim services, of which at least 10% must be distributed to culturally specific, community-based organizations. No less than 25% of a state’s formula funding must be allocated for law enforcement, 25% for prosecution and 5% to courts.

Sexual Assault Services Program (SASP) Formula Grant Programs: $28.2 million awarded to states and territories for direct intervention and related assistance for victims of sexual assault. The SASP Formula Grant Program directs grant dollars to states and territories to assist them in supporting rape crisis centers and other nonprofit, nongovernmental organizations or tribal programs that provide services, direct intervention and related assistance to victims of sexual assault. Funds provided through SASP are designed to supplement other funding sources directed at addressing sexual assault on the state and territorial level.

State and Territorial Coalitions Program: $15.1 million awarded to fund 87 state and territorial domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions (determined by the Department of Health and Human Services) to coordinate victim services activities. These coalitions support member rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and other victim service providers through funding, training and technical assistance, public awareness activities, and public policy advocacy.

Tribal Coalitions Program: $6.1 million awarded to support 18 nonprofit, nongovernmental tribal domestic violence and sexual assault coalitions. Tribal coalitions provide education, support and technical assistance to tribal victim service providers and tribes to enhance their response to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, stalking and sex trafficking.

For more information about these grants, please see OVW’s Formula Grant Programs fact sheet.

OVW discretionary program funding for 2021 includes:

Legal Assistance for Victims: $35.8 million awarded to 59 projects to provide a range of services, including legal assistance for victims and the implementation, expansion and establishment of efforts and projects to provide competent, supervised pro bono legal assistance for victims. See the Legal Assistance for Victims Program fact sheet.

Transitional Housing: $35.3 million awarded to 68 programs to support funding for: the operating expenses of newly developed or existing transitional housing programs; short-term housing assistance, including rental or utilities payments assistance and assistance with related expenses; and voluntary services designed to enable a minor, an adult, or a dependent of such minor or adult, who is fleeing a situation of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence or stalking, to locate and secure permanent housing, secure employment (including obtaining employment counseling, occupational training, job retention counseling and counseling concerning re-entry into the workforce), and integrate into a community by providing that minor, adult, or dependent with services such as transportation, counseling, child care services, case management and other assistance. See the Transitional Housing fact sheet.

Rural Program: $34.6 million awarded to 46 programs to identify, assess and appropriately respond to child, youth and adult victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking in rural communities by encouraging collaboration among service providers, criminal justice service providers, human and community service providers, educational institutions, and health care providers; establish and expand nonprofit, nongovernmental, state, tribal, territorial and local government victim services in rural communities; and increase the safety and wellbeing of women and children in rural communities. See the Rural Program fact sheet.

Grants to Tribal Governments: $32.4 million awarded to 40 programs for a wide range of support, including: increasing tribal capacity to respond to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sex trafficking and stalking crimes against American Indian and Alaska Native women; strengthening tribal justice interventions; enhancing victim services; providing transitional housing for victims, including rental or utilities payment assistance and assistance with related expenses and support services, to enable victims to locate and secure permanent housing and integrate into a community; and developing, strengthening and implementing policies, protocols and training for law enforcement regarding cases of missing or murdered Indians. See the Tribal Governments Program fact sheet.

Improving Criminal Justice Responses: $30.8 million awarded to 41 programs that address a wide range of support across the criminal justice system so that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking are treated as serious violations of criminal law requiring the coordinated involvement of the entire criminal justice system and partnerships with victim service providers. See the Improving Criminal Justice Responses Program fact sheet.

Campus Program: $16.2 million awarded to 52 programs to support a wide range of  projects that develop a comprehensive coordinated community approach to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking on campuses that enhances victim safety, provides services and support for victims, and supports efforts to hold offenders accountable. See the Campus Program fact sheet.

Justice for Families: $13.6 million awarded to 24 projects to improve the response of the civil and criminal justice systems to families with a history of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking, or in cases involving allegations of child sexual abuse, including by supporting court-based programs, supervised visitation and safe exchange of children, training for court personnel, and civil legal services. See the Justice for Families Program fact sheet.

Consolidated Youth and Engaging Men: $9 million awarded to 20 programs to provide services and training to address the needs of children and youth impacted by domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking; and engage men to prevent violence against women and girls. See the Consolidated Youth and Engaging Men Program fact sheet.

Culturally Specific Services: $6.8 million awarded to 23 projects to increase communities’ capacity to provide culturally specific resources and support for victims; provide culturally specific resources and services that address the safety, economic, housing and workplace needs of victims; provide training for law enforcement, prosecution, courts, probation and correctional facilities on culturally specific responses; and examine the dynamics of culture and its impact on victimization and healing. See the Culturally Specific Services fact sheet.

Underserved Program: $4.9 million awarded to 11 programs to develop or enhance services for populations or implement outreach strategies targeted at adult or youth victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault or stalking in underserved populations, who often face challenges in accessing victim services that are accessible, culturally relevant, and responsive to their needs. See the Underserved Program fact sheet.

Disabilities Program: $4.1 million awarded to 10 programs to provide a range of resources including personnel, training, technical assistance, advocacy, intervention, risk reduction and prevention to disabled victims, and to develop model programs. See the Disability Grant Program fact sheet.

Sexual Assault Services Culturally Specific Program: $4 million awarded to 14 programs to create, maintain and expand sustainable sexual assault services provided by organizations that are uniquely situated to respond to the needs of sexual assault victims from culturally specific populations. See the Sexual Assault Services Culturally Specific Program fact sheet.

Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program: $3.8 million awarded to 10 programs to support the establishment, maintenance and expansion of programs and projects within Indian country and Alaska Native villages to assist those victimized by sexual assault. See the Tribal Sexual Assault Services Program fact sheet.

Research and Evaluation Initiative: $2.3 million awarded to seven projects on a range of topics including measuring effectiveness of a wide breadth of funded activities, including victim services, policing, prosecution and court responses. See the Research and Evaluation Initiative Solicitation.

Abuse in Later Life: $1.4 million awarded to four programs to provide training, establish and support multidisciplinary collaborative community responses, provide and enhance services for victims, and conduct outreach and awareness campaigns to support projects that provide a comprehensive approach to addressing elder abuse. See the Abuse in Later Life Program fact sheet.

National Tribal Clearinghouse on Sexual Assault: $1 million awarded to one program to establish, sustain and expand a repository that provides resources, training opportunities, educational materials and technical assistance on issues relating to sexual assault of American Indian and Alaska Native women.

Resource Center on Workplace Responses to Assist Victims of Domestic and Sexual Violence Program: $1 million awarded to one program to manage the National Resource Center on Workplace Responses, which provides information, resources, tools and technical assistance to employers and labor organizations to better equip them to respond to victims. These efforts address the needs of employees in cases of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking impacting the workplace.

Special Domestic Violence Jurisdiction Program: $733,691 awarded to two programs to assist Indian tribes in planning, implementing and exercising “special domestic violence criminal jurisdiction” to hold accountable non-Indians who commit crimes of domestic violence or dating violence or violate certain protection orders in Indian country. For more information, see the Tribal Jurisdiction Program fact sheet.

Training and Technical Assistance Program: $36.2 million awarded to 65 programs that provide training, expertise and problem-solving strategies to meet the challenges of addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence and stalking. Technical assistance projects offer in-person and online educational opportunities, peer-to-peer consultations, on-site technical assistance, and tailored assistance for OVW grantees and potential grantees. In more limited circumstances, OVW's technical assistance projects offer technical assistance to a small number of pilot sites as part of demonstration initiatives or assessments of newly developed training curricula or tools. For more information, please visit OVW’s Training and Technical Assistance website.

Click image to see enlarged map

October 5, 2021 - Officials with the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Angelina National Forest, have advised a prescribed burn located in Compartments 112, in Nacogdoches County. This area is located in the Alazan Lake/Alazan WMA area near Hwy 59 and FM 2782.

The attached map is the projected burn areas. Winds will be North at 6-8 mph.

Ignition time of 10am and completion estimated at 7pm.

October 3, 2021 - Tenaha Street near the intersection of Foster Street in Center was the scene of a two-vehicle crash September 25, 2021.

According to Center Police Officer Michael Davidson, at 3:45pm September 25, a white 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Z71 driven by Laura Nowlin, 61, of DeBerry was southbound on Tenaha Street when Nowlin attempted to turn left into a car wash and misjudged the speed of oncoming traffic.

As a result, the Chevrolet turned in front of a northbound 2018 Honda CR-V driven by Robert Flood, 71, of Bedford causing the Honda to strike the passenger side of the Chevrolet.

Nowlin, Flood and his passenger Jill Flood, 72, were all transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department for treatment of possible injuries.

No citations were issued.

Center Fire Department assisted Center Police Officers in directing traffic at the scene.

October 1, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, on Friday there were 3 new deaths, 6 new cases and 11 new estimated recoveries reported. The estimated active cases decreased to 151.

In total, September had 20 new deaths reported, 379 new cases reported, and 399 estimated recoveries reported.

October 1st Numbers: (Changes since Sept. 30)
Confirmed Cases - 1,627 (3 new)
Probable Cases - 1,169 (3 new)
Fatalities - 99 (3 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 151
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,549 (11 new)

September 30th Numbers: (Changes since Sept. 29)
Confirmed Cases - 1,624 (3)
Probable Cases - 1,166 (3)
Fatalities - 96
Active Cases (Estimated) - 156
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,538 (19)

The monthly totals for the past three months are as follows:

Reported September 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 189
Total New Probable Cases - 190
Total New Fatalities - 20
Total New Recovered (Estimated) - 399

Reported August 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 200
Total New Probable Cases - 138
Total New Fatalities - 3
Total New Recovered (Estimated) - 182

Reported July 2021 Numbers:
Total New Confirmed Cases - 92
Total New Probable Cases - 44
Total New Fatalities - 2
Total New Recovered (Estimated) - 118

October 1, 2021 - The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is seeking information on two pieces of stolen equipment.

A Kobelco 70SR excavator and a white gooseneck trailer, Texas plate FNWZ45, were taken from a property located on the 5000 block of FM 711 during the last week.

Anyone with information regarding the theft of the equipment is asked to contact the SCSO by calling 936-598-5601.

September 30, 2021 - The Shelby County Commissioners disbursed Child Safety Fee funds to the Shelby County Children's Advocacy Center (SCCAC) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) during their September 29, 2021, special meeting.

County Judge Allison Harbison stated the current balance of the fund for that fee was $20,220. Subtracting the administrative fee and distribution to incorporated cities in Shelby County, the amount to be considered was $13,293.81.

Once it was confirmed with Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, on what the distribution split has been historically between the two organizations, a motion carried to disburse the funds at a 65/35 split with SCCAC receiving $8,641 and CASA receiving $4,653.

Shelby County Sheriff Lt. Tanner Peace is a member of the SCCAC board and he gave appreciation to the commissioners for their thoughtfulness in giving the funds to the SCCAC.

"These are funds that we budgeted into our next fiscal year, so because of y'all we're able to keep doing what we're doing," said Peace. "I know just this fiscal year we've already served 233 children, 147 of those are new kids."

Peace commented on how important the funds are as they continue to have new cases every day.

The commissioners discussed the impending need to transition county cell phone contracts to another service since Cellular One is no longer going to provide service in the Shelby County area, and Verizon Wireless is reported to be taking over their towers.

Judge Harbison asked Ann Blackwell, County Treasurer, about progress on investigating options for the county cellular phone service and she responded she had only just gotten some information.

According to Blackwell she has been in contact with Jerry Love, Verizon Government Account Manager, and they will be coordinating with him next Tuesday to find out what options are available for the county. Blackwell suggested to representatives of the Sheriff's Department present for the meeting that they join in on the video conference with Love. She invited anyone from county offices needing cellular phone service information to join in on the call.

"Jimmy [Lout, Commissioner Precinct 2], said that he had spoken with someone that had already changed over to Verizon and they were very happy with the service," said Judge Harbison.

With the need for further information to be gathered, a motion carried to table cell phone contracts.

Assistant District Attorney Lynda K. Russell spoke on behalf of the District Attorney's office requesting state appropriated funds which have been received in the amount of $8,091 which is used to supplement a salary to be discontinued out of it's original account and instead move to the Pretrial Diversion Fund.

"Because Ms. Williams is the one who negotiates and enforces, and does all the paperwork and keeps track of all the people that are on Pretrial Diversion, and so under the law she has a right," said Russell. "Her training, her equipment, whatever is need for her and her salary too can be paid some from that fund."

Judge Harbison asked Russell how many people are currently on Pretrial Diversion and she was unaware of how many at the time of the meeting. Judge Harbison inquired with Auditor Porterfield if he had any input on the subject.

"The actual budget amendment for salaries, FICA, retirement and so forth would actually be $9,355 once we gross it up. Please understand that the first payroll of October has already been processed and had to be processed for today," said Porterfield. "Even though we can make this effective October 1, one payroll has already taken place out of the state apportioned money. We can do the next 25 payrolls out of Pretrial Diversion."

Porterfield stated the Pretrial Diversion account has funds to afford the request, and there had not been a lot of income into the fund in the previous year; however, previous years it proved itself to be self sufficient.

"There is money in this fund to last several years as long as that fund continues to take in some fee collections," said Porterfield.

A motion was carried to approve the budget amendment.

Earlier in the meeting a motion carried by the commissioners to table execution of the contract for the American Rescue Plan Act administrative services between Shelby County and Grantworks Inc.

Judge Harbison said she was contacted by County Attorney Gary Rholes who asked that the item be tabled, because he had questions about the contract for Grantworks.

Although this item was tabled, it was not included on the agenda posted at the courthouse on September 24.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:52am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting included:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Current Payroll.
3. Budget Amendment for the DA’s office.
4. Resolution required to apply for the FY2022 Formula Grant Program offered through the Texas Indigent Defense Commission for indigent defense in criminal cases.
5. Take action to disburse the Child Safety Fee Fund.
6.  Adjourn.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:
1. Possibly transition the cell phone contracts to another service.

September 30, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, on Wednesday there were 4 new deaths, 31 new cases and 44 new estimated recoveries reported. The estimated active cases decreased to 173.

There were no changes in numbers reported from September 25th to September 28th.

September has had 373 new cases reported, 20 new deaths reported, and 380 estimated recoveries reported.

September 29th Numbers: (Changes since Sept. 28)
Confirmed Cases - 1,621 (21 new)
Probable Cases - 1,163 (10 new)
Fatalities - 96 (4 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 173
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,519 (44 new)

September 28th Numbers: (No changes since Sept. 25)
Confirmed Cases - 1,600
Probable Cases - 1,153
Fatalities - 92
Active Cases (Estimated) - 186
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,475

September 25th Numbers:
Confirmed Cases - 1,600
Probable Cases - 1,153
Fatalities - 92
Active Cases (Estimated) - 186
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,475

September 27, 2021 - State Highway 7 (SH 7) West was the scene of a two-vehicle crash on September 20, 2021, involving a motorcycle and a pickup truck hauling a trailer.

Emergency responders arrived at the scene and saw to the needs of the motorcycle rider who had been launched from the motorcycle and into an area of tall grass. The driver of the pickup truck appeared not to have been injured.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Rangel of Nacogdoches, Jerry Russell, 63, of Center was exiting a private driveway driving a black 2008 Chevrolet Silverado entering SH 7 West turning left heading west near County Road 1230.

At that time a silver Harley Davidson motorcycle ridden by Dustin Sanford, 31, of Center was eastbound and collided with a trailer being towed by the pickup truck. After striking the trailer, the motorcycle left the roadway to the right where it came to rest, and Sanford came to rest on the ground around 30 feet away from the motorcycle.

Sanford was transported by ambulance to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital for treatment of possible injuries.

Citations were not reported at the time of the crash.

West Shelby County Volunteer Fire Department fire personnel assisted with traffic control at the scene and Shelby County Sheriff' Deputies assisted DPS Troopers Rangel and Brent Murray with the crash investigation.

September 25, 2021 - According to the Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard, 28 new cases and 4 estimated recoveries were reported today. The estimated active cases rose from 164 to 186.

September has had 342 new cases reported, 16 new deaths reported, and 336 estimated recoveries reported.

September 25th Numbers: (changes since Sept. 24)
Confirmed Cases - 1,600 (5 new)
Probable Cases - 1,153 (23 new)
Fatalities - 92
Active Cases (Estimated) - 186
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,475 (4 new)

September 24th Numbers: (changes since Sept. 23)
Confirmed Cases - 1,595 (4 new)
Probable Cases - 1,130 (7 new)
Fatalities - 92 (2 new)
Active Cases (Estimated) - 164
Recovered (Estimated) - 2,471 (21 new)