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August 31, 2015 - Firemen battled with a triple-house fire early on Monday, August 31, 2015 on CR 2025. When the Center Fire Department arrived on scene at 5:11am at the residence of Duane Collins located at 2852 CR 2050 (Africa Road), two houses were completely engulfed in flames while a third was just beginning to ignite.

The firemen quickly began dragging hose and and proceeded to fighting the fire at different ends of the property. As the firemen worked at extinguishing the fire, they focused a lot of attention on the third house to ignite as it was not fully engulfed like the others.

While firemen sprayed water on the front of the house, another group of firemen gained entry to the rear of the building. Once the majority of that house was extinguished, the proceeded to attacking the surrounding houses and a car with water. The Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department arrived on scene with a tanker truck to provide additional water.

Half of a tree fell on the house to the front of the property during the fire; however, no firemen were in its path as it fell. A fourth house on the property remained untouched by flames once the fires were extinguished.

According to neighbors across the street from the residence, at the time Collins discovered what had been his grandmother's house was on fire at the back of the property, he evacuated his house which was at the front of the property and called for help. When firemen arrived, Collins was at another neighbor's residence up the road. The neighbor's also stated the third house which was igniting had previously been Collins' aunt's house.

The two houses that initially caught on fire appeared to be a total loss, and the third house received considerable fire and water damage.

Shelbyville VFD returned to the station at 6:30am and the Center Fire Department returned to the station at 8:20am.


Firemen Battle Early Morning Triple House #Fire - Read the story on #ShelbyCountyToday at the following link -

Posted by Shelby County Today on Monday, August 31, 2015

August 31, 2015 - The Shelby County commissioners met on Monday, August 31, 2015 at 9am to discuss the possibility of lifting the burn ban in Shelby County. At this time the burn ban remains in effect. The commissioners will still be considering lifting it; however, at this time they did not feel it was time to lift it yet.

The purchase of a new dump truck from the buy board for Commissioner Precinct 2 Jimmy Lout was approved following a motion. The truck it is replacing was involved in a crash on August 11, 2015 on State Highway 87 South of Shelbyville. According to Lout, he currently has the funds for the purchase and insurance will cover the expense.

The meeting was adjourned at 9:13am.

August 28, 2015 - Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that unknown suspect(s) entered into a vehicle belonging to Mr. Terry Bailey at his residence. Suspect(s) stole several Apple iPhones and money.

Mr. Terry Bailey has offered a $10,000 dollar reward for the arrest and conviction of suspect(s) involved in this theft.

If anyone has any information regarding this case, please contact Shelby County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant Investigator DJ Dickerson at (936) 572-1468.

August 28, 2015 - The jury that has been summoned originally on Monday, August 17th and instructed to report back on Monday, August 31st, 2015 for the 273rd District Court, Honorable Charles R. Mitchell, presiding has been cancelled due to the case being settled. Anyone instructed to come back on Monday, August 31, 2015 is released from jury service until they receive a future summons.

Gene Keenon, Manager Government Affairs at Republic Services Inc.August 27, 2015 - A $1,000 contribution was presented to the city of Center at their recent meeting held on Monday, August 24, 2015. In peparation for several upcoming events, including the East Texas Poultry Festival (ETPF), the council approved street closures.

Gene Keenon, Manager Government Affairs at Republic Services Inc., presented the city with the contribution to benefit local organizations in the city of Center.

"I have an agreement with Chad [Nehring] that we will contribute $1,000 a year to be split between the watermelon festival and the poultry fest, so I just wanted to bring that in," said Keenon.

Mayor David Chadwick thanked Keenon for giving back to a community that supports the business he represents.

A public hearing of the proposed tax rate and budget were presented at the beginning of the meeting. The proposed tax rate is 54 cents per $100. No comments were provided by the council or public and the hearing was closed.

A motion was carried by the council to approve Resolution 2015-27 Interlocal Agreement with Shelby County Appraisal District (SCAD) – Aerial Photography. Nehring explained the company which handles the aerial photography and GIS mapping for the SCAD will be taking higher resolution images for the city to assist the utility department, public works and law enforcement in identifying structures, trails, right of way and man hole covers. According to Nehring, this operation will be at a cost of $7,000-$9,000 and Bobby Pigg, SCAD Chief Appraiser, requested the city enter into an interlocal agreement to ensure funding of the city's portion.

The council considered awarding a bid for wastewater treatment plant basin dredging. It was determined by city staff, operational improvement and elimination of long-term issues could be achieved through major cleaning of the primary aeration basin. The plant was placed in the early 1980s and sludge has accumulated since that time. Bob Staehs, Project Manager - Everett Griffith Jr. & Associates Inc., explained the city sought bids and of those received one presented a bid which differed from the other by less than $18,000. Nehring stated to the council this is an item which they have discussed at multiple workshop meetings. A motion was carried to award the contract to Dredgit Environmental Corporation for $180,000.

Assistance from a local business has been sought by the city in evaluating land assets and timber value at several locations owned by the city. Locations of property needing evaluation include the airport which has 35-40 acres and 120-135 acres below Mill Creek.

"We do feel like there's the need to move rather quickly, one either some kind of mild harvesting or thinning of both of these properties because it's been an excess of 20 years since either have been touched in any way, form or fashion," said Nehring. "I guess secondly, since we are not the experts and we don't have that on staff in any way, form or fashion we do need the technical assistance and guidance long-term."

A motion carried to approve a contract for timber management with Azimuth Forestry Services, Mike Walker.

The council went into executive session at 5:34pm and when they returned to open session a motion was made to purchase property next to the airport. The motion carried and the meeting was adjourned. No additional information pertaining to the property including acreage, location or current owner were indicated.

Ballot for the Election of Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Directors

1. Amber Dodd
2. Lori Davis
3. Scott Stanfield
4. Jon Schillings
5. Alison Scull
6. Antoinette Polley
7. Matt Foster
8. Kelly Lucas
Meg Camp - President-Elect

Items on the agenda receiving approval include:

   1)  Minutes of the Workshop and Meeting of August 10, 2015.
   2)  Resolution 2015-27 Interlocal Agreement with Shelby County Appraisal District – Aerial Photography.
   3)  Award bid for wastewater treatment plant basin dredging.
   4)  Contract for Timber Management with Azimuth Forestry Services.
   5)  Facilities cleaning contract services with DNC Cleaning Inc. for City Hall, John D. Windham Civic Center and Community House at an annual total of $27,664.
   6)  Street closure request for East Texas Poultry Festival:
        a. Closure of Nacogdoches, Austin, San Augustine and Shelbyville Streets for Doo Dah Parade on September 23, 2015.
        b. Closure on inside of square on September 23, 2015.
        c. Closure of Shelbyville, San Augustine and Logansport Streets on October 3, 2015.
   7)  Maintenance request for Westview Cemetery - Enter relationship with Westview Cemetery Committee to responsible for the mowing of the cemetery of a specific acreage to be included in annual budgeting for maintenance.
   8)  Street closure request of C.H. Daniels' Alumni of parts of MLK Drive, Hicks and Garrett Streets on September 5, 2015 for parade route from Shelbyville Street to Perry Sampson Park.
   9)  Chamber of Commerce Board of Director Board Ballot.


August 27, 2015 - The Poultry Festival Open Photography Show sponsored by Vieux Carre’ Photography, in conjunction with the 39th East Texas Poultry Festival, presented by Farmers State Bank, will be held at the office of Dr. Charles R. Collard, O.D. located next to the Rio Theatre on the downtown Center Square, October 1, 2 and 3, from 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

According to event Chairman and coordinator, Billie Jones, photography entries will be accepted at First United Methodist Church (basement), 211 Porter Street, Saturday, September 19 from 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. For more information Mrs. Jones may be reached at 936-591-2426 or 936-598-3311.

Photography Show entry forms and rules may be picked up at the Chamber of Commerce office located in the old jail inside the Historic Courthouse Square from 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., Mon. - Fri. or Farmers State Bank or may be found at Please have all forms completed before entering.

Photography Show Categories include Fine Art, Scenic, Urban, People, Animals, Digital Manipulation, Flowers and Poultry. The age groups are, Children, 12 & under / Youth, 13-18 / Adults, 19 & over. The rule packets give additional information regarding the categories and classes.

Entry fees are $2.00 per entry. There will be a panel of three judges choosing 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and Honorable Mention in each category, and Best of Show for adults, youth and children and People’s Choice Award.

Entries may be picked-up on the final day of the Poultry Festival, Saturday, Oct. 3, between 4:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. at the exhibit location.

Gold Sponsors for the Festival are City of Center, Drewery Construction and Tyson Foods.

The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce is organized to promote and advance economic enrichment and development, tourism, and the social and civic interest of Shelby County and adjoining areas. For additional information, please call 936.598.3682, email or visit

August 26, 2015 - The boil water notice has been cancelled for customers of the McClelland Water Supply who were without water on August 19, 2015. It is no longer necessary to boil your water for consumption or use in cooking.

August 24, 2015 AUSTIN, Texas - If you are among the thousands of Texans who filed insurance claims for damage related to the May 4 to June 22 storms, you may be eligible for additional state-federal assistance. The key is to register with FEMA before the Aug. 27 deadline. Filing a claim under FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program is different than registering for a FEMA disaster assistance grant.

FEMA may be able to help you with uninsured or underinsured losses or if your insurance settlement is delayed. Be sure to document your situation and gather insurance company documents that can be included when you talk with FEMA after registering.

Have you received the maximum settlement from your insurance and still have unmet disaster- related needs? You may be eligible for a grant.

For example, if you have exhausted the maximum settlement from your insurance for Additional Living Expenses (ALE for loss of use) and still need help from FEMA with temporary housing, you should document your need and assemble paperwork that shows use of ALE from insurance.

While FEMA cannot duplicate benefits covered by your insurance or other sources, you may also be eligible for emergency home repairs, disaster-related medical, dental and funeral costs and other disaster-related expenses.

Has a decision on your insurance settlement been delayed longer than 30 days from the time you filed your claim? Be sure to let FEMA know and have ready any documents from your insurance company to show that you filed a claim. If the claim was filed over the telephone, include the claim number, date applied, and an estimate of how long it will take for you to receive your settlement. Any help from FEMA would be considered an advance and would have to be repaid to FEMA when your insurance settlement is received.

You can apply for FEMA assistance online at or by calling 800-621-3362 toll free from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (local time) daily until further notice. Multilingual operators are available.

Disaster assistance applicants who have a speech disability or hearing loss and use TTY should call 800-462-7585 directly; for those who use 711 or Video Relay Service (VRS), call 800-621-3362.

Applying for an SBA low-interest disaster loan is part of federal disaster assistance. Many people who apply to FEMA are automatically referred for a low-interest disaster assistance loan. Survivors should complete SBA loan applications so they can be considered for all available disaster assistance.

For more information on Texas recovery, visit the disaster web page at, Twitter at, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management website,

August 24, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners approved a savings of $160,000 through a new office system contract approved during their meeting held on Monday, August 24, 2015, as well as a new vehicle for the Precinct 2 Constable office.

Judge Harbison contacted Innovative Office Systems, the company which provides printer and copier equipment for the county about the current contract and renegotiated with the company. According to Judge Harbison the county uses 50 pieces of equipment provided by the company.

"I think it's a really good contract. We had two years and three months, we had 27 months left on our current contract. If we were not to renegotiate the contract, over that amount of time we would be paying $270,297," said Judge Harbison.

With the newly negotiated cost of $101,250 the county would see a savings of $160,000 over the 27 months. The new contract is for three years and the new annual cost is comparable to what the county used to pay, according to Clint Porterfield, County Auditor. With the new contract the county will be saving an additional $45,000 a year.

A motion was carried and the new contract was approved.

Jamie Hagler, Precinct 2 Constable, approached Judge Harbison recently about the 2007 Dodge pickup truck he uses to patrol as it was in need of substantial repair. Judge Harbison requested Constable Hagler procure estimates on repairs and quotes on new vehicles.

San Augustine Motor Company quoted $20,495.92 for a 2015 vehicle and an allowance of $7,500 with a trade-in of the current truck. Center Motor Company quoted $24,875.10 for a 2014 model vehicle.

"When did the county start buying constable vehicles?," asked Travis Rodgers, Commissioner Precinct 3.

Regional Fall Awareness Prevention Day Resolution (Click for larger image)Judge Harbison stated during 2007 there were ample forfeiture funds allowing the Precinct 4 Constable's office to purchase all of the constable vehicles, "I would hate to see us go backwards. I would hate to see us go back to previous before 2007 where they have to drive their own vehicles and they have to keep up with their mileage."

Clint Porterfield informed the commissioners the county is $150,000 exceeding budget in revenue and under budget by approximately $500,000 this year.

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, stated a constable can't be expected to provide the same service when they're making $35,000 a year and have to provide their own vehicle. Sheriff Willis Blackwell stated Constable Hagler is active in his job and responds to a lot of calls in Precinct 2.

A motion was carried to approve the purchase of the lower priced vehicle with funds being paid from the Contingency fund.

The commissioners once again discussed the acquisition of new software for the Sheriff's Department. Judge Harbison expressed concern over Spillman Technologies, Inc. possibly not being the most economical software available and would like to see a proposal from Tyler Technologies. She stated Center City Manager Chad Nehring and Assistant City Manager Jim Gibson have expressed interest in partnering with the county in whatever software is chosen.

Shelby County Republican Party Election Judges:

1N -  Mrs. Lenora Walton
1W - Mrs. Laura Simmons
1S - Mrs. Rose Specter
1SW - Mr. Scott Samford
1SE - Ms. Connie Spann
2 - Mr. L.D. Eddins
3 - Ms. Sherryl McGown
4 - Mrs. Etola Jones
5 - Dr. Debrah Worsham
6 - Mrs. Shirley Brittain
7 - Mrs. Marie Miller
8 - Mr. Ronald Barker
9N - Mrs. Sandra Brownlow
9S - Mr. Shannon Ramsey
Early Ballot Board Judge - Lenora Walton

A motion was carried to table the purchase of Spillman Technologies, Inc. software until Tyler Technologies can make a presentation.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:07am. The commissioners took a break for a few minutes and then returned for a scheduled budget hearing to discuss the Proposed Budget for 2015-2016.

Judge Harbison opened by addressing the proposed effective tax rate of .6078, which she said is a 7/10 of a cent increase per $100; 7 cents per $1,000; 70 cents per $10,000; and 7 dollars per $100,000. Meaning, if a property owners property evaluation is $200,000 then their tax will increase $14 for the county.

"Your homestead exemption for your school tax is going to go up $10,000. So, I don't look for anybody's tax bill to go up because of the county tax," said Judge Harbison.

Porterfield reported on the effective tax rate "The effective tax rate is only used to bring us to the same revenue that we would have collected last year, so we're not proposing a tax increase to have surplus revenue above and beyond what we did last year. We're proposing the effective rate to bring in the same amount of money."

$101,000 is the amount collected through the tax, according to Porterfield and this is split between the General fund and Road and Bridge. This breaks down $12,500 per precinct which is $6,000 less than last year.

Judge Harbison remarked Margie Anderson, Justice of the Peace Precinct 3, runs her office out of her home for years. It has been proposed in the budget for Anderson to receive $200 as compensation for the use of her home.

Toward the end of the hearing Judge Harbison commended elected officials for staying within their budgets, "Our cash balance is going to be healthy, I believe it's going to be around $3.7million that we're going to have in the bank, October 1 cash."

Agenda items receiving approval include:

    Pay monthly expenses.
    County Auditor to conduct audit of District Attorney Forfeiture/Seizure funds per Code of Criminal Procedure 59.06 (g).
    Renew renegotiated contract with Innovative Office Systems for copiers and printers at a saving to the county of $45,000 a year.
    Purchase of lower priced vehicle proposed for Precinct 2 Constable office with funds being paid from the Contingency fund.
    Resolution Designating “Regional Fall Prevention Awareness Day.”
    Appoint Election Judges for County Election Precincts for a two year term.

Tabled agenda items:

    Contract from Spillman Technologies, Inc. to purchase a software system for the Sheriff’s Department.