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January 6, 2015 - A Center Crime Stoppers tip was instrumental in the arrest of a wanted suspect in Center who was allegedly involved in a stabbing.

According to a press release issued by Center Police Detective Nicole Faulkner, Center Crime stoppers received a call on the whereabouts of stabbing suspect Marcos Aguilar, 39, of Center on Monday January 5, 2015 at approximately 4:45 p.m.. Center Police Department officers responded to a residence at Pecan Grove trailer park and took the suspect into custody without incident. Aguilar was transported to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department and booked into the county jail on a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. His bond was set at $100,000 by Maxie Eaves, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1.

Earlier in the day first responders were dispatched to the incident in Center at 10:04am. Center Police Department officers responded to a 911 call at Pecan Grove Trailer Park in reference to a stabbing victim. The victim, Florentina Rojas Gonzales, 37, of Center reported she had been stabbed in the abdomen by her husband Marcos Aguilar.

Gonzales was life-flighted to LSU hospital for treatment of her injuries and no official information on her condition has been shared at this time.

January 6, 2015 - 2015 Center ASA Softball Sign-Ups will be held Friday, January 30 from 6-9 pm and Saturday, January 31 from 9 am to 12 noon at the Center Softball Fields. The cost is $80 for girls 5 years and up. Please bring your child’s birth certificate when you sign up. There will be sample uniforms for the girls to try on in order the get the correct size for the season.

January 5, 2015 - First responders were dispatched to a stabbing incident in Center on Monday, January 5, 2015 and a suspect is still at large.

According to a press release issued by Center Police Detective Nicole Faulkner, at approximately 10:04am Center Police Department officers responded to a 911 call at Pecan Grove Trailer Park in reference to a stabbing victim. The victim, Florentina Rojas Gonzales, 37, of Center reported she had been stabbed in the abdomen by her husband Marcos Aguilar, 39, of Center.

Gonzales was transported by ACE EMS to the Center Municipal Airport where the Center Fire Department established a landing zone and she was then transported by Life Air Rescue helicopter to LSU hospital in Shreveport.

Aguilar was last seen driving a red 2003 Ford Taurus with Texas license plate number CX1V511. Aguilar is wanted for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. He is a hispanic male and is 5'6" tall with black hair and brown eyes weighing about 140 pounds.

If you have any information on the suspect's location, please contact the Center Police Department at 936-598-2788 or Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE

Center Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. Anyone who has information regarding this crime should call Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE (7233) or submit a tip online at Remember you don't have to give your name. All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous. Rewards will only be paid on tips submitted through the Center Crime Stoppers system.

January 3, 2015 - Firemen responded to a house fire during Saturday morning's thunderstorm at 1629 CR 4084 in Timpson, Texas.

The Timpson Volunteer Fire Department (VFD) was dispatched to the residential fire at 3:06am on January 3, 2015. Upon arrival on scene, the home, a single wide trailer belonging to John Mahan, had flames and smoke coming out of the windows. After locating the owner safely outside along with his family, the meter was pulled and Timpson firemen attacked the fire using two lines off of tanker trucks to get it under control.

The Center Fire Department was also dispatched to the scene to assist Timpson VFD. Both fire departments managed to get the fire out; however, the fire ravaged the home and its contents and was a total loss for the family.

The Timpson VFD responded with 4 trucks and 9 members. They were back at the station at 5:47am. The Center FD responded with a tanker truck and 6 members. Also, responding to the scene was the Timpson Volunteer Ambulance Service.

The American Red Cross was contacted to assist the family with clothing and shelter.

January 2, 2015 - A flash flood watch in effect for parts of east and northeast Texas, including Shelby County, Carthage, Lufkin Texas, South Central Arkansas, and Northwest and North Central Louisiana to a line southeast of Magnolia, Arkansas to Shreveport, LA.

Showers and thunderstorms will produce heavy rainfall overnight and on Saturday across an area that had received 2 to 3 inches recently. Flash flood watch in effect from 9pm this evening through Saturday afternoon.

From tonight through Saturday afternoon additional rainfall amounts of one to three inches with isolated higher amounts will occur over an area that had received from two to three inches of rain from New Years through early Friday morning. This rain event will be due to a surface low pressure system lifting northeast across the ArkLaTex with a warm front lifting northeast with the low and a cold front trailing southwest from the system as an upper level storm system over Arizona and New Mexico moves northeast out into the plains providing disturbances aloft and added lift and instability. A deep and rich supply of moisture will be available for efficient rain production.

Heavy rainfall over the saturated soils from previous rains will result in rapid water runoff and result in flash flooding and filling of small creeks, streams, rivers, and low water crossing. Do not drive into areas with high or rapid moving water.

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.

January 2, 2015 - (Photo Album) - Newly elected officials were sworn in to their offices at a ceremony held in the Shelby County Courthouse on Friday, January 2, 2015. Charles Mitchell, 273rd Judicial District Court Judge, administered the oaths of office to all present officials.

Kerry Green, Pastor at Dreka Pentecostal Church, opened the ceremony and then Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, introduced Judge Mitchell who in turn swore in Harbison as County Judge; Bradley Allen, Commissioner Precinct 5; and Jimmy Lout, Commissioner Precinct 2.

Judge Mitchell proceeded to swear in Lori Oliver, District Clerk; Margie Anderson, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3; Marla Denby, Justice of the Peace Precinct 2; Maxie Eaves, Justice of the Peace Precinct 1; Mike Crouch, Justice of the Peace Precinct 5; Ann Blackwell, County Treasurer; Jenny Hicks, Justice of the Peace Precinct 4; Jennifer Fountain, County Clerk; and Debora Riley, Tax Assessor Collector.

Immediately following the swearing in ceremony Judge Harbison, the first woman to be elected county judge in Shelby County, addressed the audience, "First of all I want to thank my family for all of their love and support, and second of all I want to thank my other family of 14 years, my clerk family." Judge Harbison has just vacated her office as County Clerk and in response to her request her now former office staff stood to be recognized.

"I appreciate these ladies so much and all the ladies and gentlemen that have worked in my office for the last 14 years, I feel like they have helped make me who I am and I appreciate y'all so much."

Judge Harbison then formally introduced her new secretary Sandra Green, "She and I will be here to help in any way, all you have to do is come by and talk to us, okay. I'd like to thank all of the other elected officials, I really look forward [to] working with all of you. I think all of you know me and you know that I'll be here for you."

The swearing in ceremony was then adjourned and all present were invited to partake in refreshments and to visit with one another.


January 2, 2015 - Weather Stats for December 2014

Highest Temp was 77 degrees on 12-01-2014
Highest Temp on Record was 84 degrees on 12-08-1956
Lowest Temp was 30 degrees on 12-25-2014
Lowest Temp on Record was 2 degrees on 12-24-1989

Rainfall Recorded was 3.21 inches
Average Monthly Rainfall is 5.43 inches
Below Monthly Average by 2.22 inches
Highest Recorded for this month was 14.23 inches in 2002
Lowest Recorded for this month was 0.87 inches in 1980

Total Rainfall for 2014 is 48.72 inches
Below yearly average for 2014 by 5.48 inches

Day by day stats - Link

January 1, 2015 - The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a single-vehicle rollover on FM 699, approximately 1 mile south of U.S. 84 at 1:24 am on Thursday, January 1st, 2015.

Units arrived to find a white Ford F-150 laying on its passenger side, wedged in a small thicket of cedar trees, with the driver still in the driver's seat. Using the Jaws of Life, firefighters assisted ACE EMS personnel in removing the driver from the vehicle.

He was transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center's Center ER with non-life threatening injuries. Fire department units returned to the station at 2:15 am.

December 30, 2014 - Hurst Street and Foster Street in Center in front of Walmart was the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Monday night, December 29, 2014 with major damage to both vehicles involved.

At 6:50pm a black 2007 Chevrolet Tahoe driven by Kevin Harbuck, 47, with passenger Jennifer Harbuck, 44, and a 15-year-old and 17-year-old minor passenger all of Livingston was facing northbound in the turning lane of the 800 block of Hurst Street attempting to turn left into parking lot of 810 Hurst.

Jody Helen Franks, 36, of Nacogdoches driving a blue 2006 Jeep liberty was attempting to enter onto 800 block of Hurst off Foster in order to drive south on Hurst Street. Franks failed to yield right of way from the stop sign on Foster Street as she traveled into the turning lane and struck the Tahoe causing damage to both vehicles.

Center Police Officer Jeremy Konderla handled the crash investigation and he was assisted by Sgt. Scott Burkhalter and Officer Jake Gross.

No citations have been repored at this time.

Left to right: Commissioner Bradley Allen, David Chandler, and Dale Alexander.December 22, 2014 - During Commissioners' Court Monday morning, a long discussion time was held before Commissioners approved a request from ACE EMS for a $15,000 monthly temporary subsidy on December 22, 2014.

Dale Alexander, ACE EMS owner, was the first to address the court concerning the subsidy request. "Since the close of the hospital last July 11th, [ACE EMS] has run 3,845 calls. We average about 226 calls a month. You are looking at about 98% of all these calls that are 9-1-1 which goes back to our contract, we agreed to cover all these, as many as possible with the terms of the contract, the two 24-hour trucks with a call-in truck."

Alexander addressed self pay patients who have no medicaid/medicare, insurance, or no way to pay. When a 9-1-1 call comes in, they can't discriminate as to whether or not the patient can pay. Alexander said, "Now these people have totaled up a bill, they can't or don't pay, for whatever reason, of $615,025.80. Over each month that averages out currently up to this point during the year, averages to just a little over $51,000 a month that we absorb our self."

"Bottom line is with that is, covering the contract, it still costs us more than what it brings in. It's hard to cover that, but the county has to have it. There is no way we can cut back. I just, I don't believe we can cut back on the service we offer, so that Shelby County takes care of all the people the way they need to be taken care of and that's the reason we started it, was to take care of Shelby County," explained Alexander.

To summarize the situation, Alexander said, "In the end it comes down to you need a certain amount every year to operate." He continued, "At the end of this year right now we expect to collect approximately $1.5 million. Well, what we actually collect is about $1,030,000 at this point, that is just kind of a rough number of what we've collected. But it costs $1.25 [million] to $1.3 million just to operate, just to break even, to cover the county with the service we are giving right now."

ACE EMS owner, David Chandler said, "Just like Dale said, we don't have a choice, we get called 9-1-1 we go knowing that it is going to cost us $1,200 to $1,500. A person gets out of the hospital two days later, the exact same person calls for an ambulance 9-1-1, guess what, we lose another $1,200 to $1,500 but we have not choice, we've got to go. Kind of stings sometimes."

Discussion was held about the opening of the new Center Emergency Department (CED) and if it would help with the expense burdens the ambulance service is having to absorb. Alexander explained with the assistance of Jesse Griffin, ACE EMS manager, some patients will be able to be taken to the new ER; however, the CED informed ACE during a previous meeting, there are certain calls which will still need to be taken to other hospitals depending on the call type including broken bones because there is no ortho, anything requiring emergency surgery such as appendicitis, cardiac care, and anything ICU.

Judge Rick Campbell asked, "Are you asking for a subsidy, do you think the subsidy is something that you need every month from now on."

Alexander replied, "I believe it is or at least, at the very least, through one year of the new hospital being open to see if that's going to be what it takes to change everything. At this point we don't know that, we can't guarantee that, that will change very much."

Judge Campbell asked, "Year to date since y'all have been in service, have you shown a profit?" Alexander replied, "No. Not yet. We have been in business since August of 2012 and not one penny of profit yet. We've actually shown a loss every time."

Alexander addressed recent questions from people about their new recent purchase of two brand new trucks by explaining it was cheaper to replace the two diesel trucks needing repairs with two new trucks with gasoline engine in the long run partly because the reduced cost of maintenance over the diesel engines.

Roscoe McSwain, Precinct 1 Commissioner stated, "Don't forget the fact that any service you go into like this, you know there is always going to be an amount of goodwill." In response Alexander said, "Like you said there is a certain amount of goodwill that is going to be involved in it. But where is your breaking point. We are presenting you with our breaking point," and Chandler added, "I'm afraid we are about there."

Rodgers asked the two owners of ACE EMS if the service could survive without the county helping. Alexander replied, "At this point, it can't survive without the county helping because I've watched the last two months, our last month that we received subsidy was in October, that's when our original agreement was up. And then we've had November and we are almost done with December, I already see a difference and its not a good difference."

McSwain expressed his desire to hold off on approving the subsidy and having the ambulance service run three to six months without the subsidy and then return to the Commissioners' Court and show the court if the subsidy is still needed considering the opening of the new Center Emergency Department.

Commissioner Jimmy Lout made a motion to give ACE EMS a temporary subsidy of $15,000 per month with requirement of the company providing a financial statement to the court prior to any continuance of the subsidy in the future. The motion carried with votes of approval from Jimmy Lout, Travis Rodgers, Bradley Allen, and Judge Rick Campbell and a negative vote from Roscoe McSwain.

The money for the subsidy will come out of the contingency fund starting January 1, 2014.

Following approval of all items on the agenda and prior to adjournment, Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, stood up and addressed the court. He said, "I believe scripture tells us that we're supposed to give praises in the good times and the bad. So, in light of that, I would like to thank Judge Campbell, since this is your last court meeting, and give you the praises for the job you have done. You've been with us through the good and the bad. We've had to do a lot of tough decisions and we've had some easy times, so I just want to acknowledge the fact that we do appreciate your service and wish you the best of luck." Campbell replied, "Thank you, it's been an honor. I've enjoyed it."

Commissioners stand applauding Campbell for his service to Shelby County.Following the words from Porterfield and Campbell, the audiance and the commissioners all stood and applauded Judge Campbell for his service.

Agenda items receiving approval include:
1) Approved monthly expenses and to amend budget line items.
2) Approved bonds for newly elected officials
3) Approved subsidy to ACE EMS.
6) Approved moving County Attorney's office and Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1 to an office space located on Loop 500 near the intersection of Hwy 7 East. Mike Kyle, Area Manager of Azure, offered the office space on Loop 500 free to the county for a term of 5 years.
7) Approved incoming Justice of the Peace, Pct. 1, Mike Crouch to rent a new office space in downtown Timpson for $400 per month.
9) Approved Commissioners McSwain, Lout and Rodgers to each purchase a John Deere tractor and brush cutter for their precinct through the Buy Board. The motion was made with $150,000 coming out of Right-of-way fund and $59,000 out of each of the three commissioners cash carry over. Pct. 1 and 2 will receive their brush cutters first, Pct 3 will have to wait for the 3rd brush cutter to be built.
10) Approved Commissioner Rodgers to advertise for bids to sell a Ranch 2 door belly dump, a 1975 Chevy Silverado flatbed truck and a Fiat 175 maintainer.
11) Approved increasing the County mileage rate from 55.5 cents to 57.5 cents which is the new approved IRS published rate.
12) Approved closing the Courthouse on Friday, December 26, 2014 with all employees agreeing to take a vacation day for the extra day off.

Items reported to the court

4) Recorded the creation of Fund 83 - District Attorney Non-Traffic Forfeiture Fund and Fund 84 - District Attorney Traffic Forfeiture Fund.
5) Recorded the establishment of Forfeiture Budgets for District Attorney Forfeiture Funds (Non traffic and Traffic).
8) Reported mandatory hours of training for Tax Assessor, Debora Riley, a requirement under Texas Property Tax Code Section 6.231 (d). Riley has received 50 hours of training, only 20 hours were mandatory. 10 hours of the 50 can carry over to the next year.