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January 12, 2015 - After much discussion Commissioners' Court approved a motion to move Indigent Health Care back to the County Judge's office which unfortunately eliminates one county employee's position.

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison presided over her first Commissioners' Court meeting Monday morning, January 12, 2015. A main item of discussion on the agenda pertained to Indigent Health Care (IHC). Harbison said, "The Indigent Health Care program is up-to-date. It actually took one day, less than one day, for everything in there to be caught up through September forward. Because there were things from September that had not been put into the computer. We are staffing an employee and a half in a position that is a part-time position. And I just do not think that is wise use of county funds."

 Commissioner Precinct 1, Roscoe McSwain expounded on IHC explaining the results of research he has done concerning the office and how many applications are accepted, "On a year average, we average maybe 10 applications a week." He continued saying of those 10 applications maybe 6 of them is actually entered into the system because the other four applications are incomplete and the information isn't entered in the system until the application is complete. He estimated thirty minutes to key in each completed application. Roscoe finished, "With that being said, I think that is enough to explain its hard to justify having a person and a half do a part-time job."

Commissioner Precinct 3, Travis Rodgers, expressed concern saying, "How do you know for sure how many applications [the county is] going to get." He continued voicing his concern if an applicant comes into the judge's office needing help and the secretary is busy doing county judge work instead.

Harbison responded, "I've hired a secretary who is computer literate and is willing to learn the job. Back when Judge Watson was in office, the judge's office handled Indigent Health Care, 9-1-1, and secretary for the judge. Right now my secretary is twiddling her thumbs because there is just not that many things that come through that she needs to do. She is willing to learn this program. And the new treasurer said when she gets an assistant, she will learn the new program. I've actually looked at the new program and it is very easy to do. You just plug in numbers and names."

Harbison went on to explain she has set a time frame of two days for all completed applications to be entered into the system and feels that goal will not be a problem to meet especially with various county employees willing to step up and assist with entering the applications in the event her secretary isn't available. She finished saying, "I just think it would be better use for county funds to not have a full-time person in Indigent Health Care and spread the work around. Because the more people that are looking at it, the less problem you will have of things that have happened before in Indigent Health Care which has been misappropriations of funds. So, I'm offering up my secretary and when [County Treasurer Ann Blackwell] hires an assistant, I'm sure she is offering up her assistant to learn the program." She finished saying, "I have a hard time staffing a position that is not needed when there are things needed in other parts of the County."

McSwain made a multi-part motion, "Concerning Indigent Health Care, we are going to have the oversight being the (County) Judge and [Commissioner Travis Rodgers] and we are going to move Indigent Health Care back to the judge's office, judge's secretary and a part-time employee downstairs will receive the applications and process them as far as they can go and this will be effective January 16th, so, we will have to terminate one position, one full-time position, in Indigent Health Care." Commissioner Precinct 2, Jimmy Lout seconded the motion.

Rodgers asked for more discussion following which time, McSwain and Lout voted for and Rodgers and Commissioners Precinct 4, Bradley Allen voted against. With the tied votes cast by the Commissioners, Judge Harbison passed the motion with a for vote.

Prior to the IHC discussion, County Treasurer, Ann Blackwell, addressed the court. "When I saw the mountain of paper that y'all received every month, I was just trying to give you the same information without you having to go through so much paper work." She continued, "What I changed was instead of you getting a full, about 500 page detail budget, what I'm giving you is a cash flow analysis. This is every account that falls under the umbrella of the county. (It) has your beginning balance, all your receipts for the month, your expenses whether they were [accounts payable] checks, payroll checks or journal payments, and your ending balances and its broken down by checking account and there are actually a couple of different ways its broken down." Blackwell finished saying, "I want to give you what you need but not more than you need." The minimized report will save the county money in paper cost as well as use of copier machine.

McSwain responded, "I want to commend you on this spreadsheet. It's very knowledgeable and very easy to read."

Before returning to her seat in the audience, Blackwell said, "I would like to also just say publicly that I appreciate so much outgoing Treasurer Joan Rodgers for letting me come in early and help me and show me some things. I really appreciate her."

Next item mentioned was regarding the City of Center Electronics Recycling Day program scheduled for Saturday, January 24th. Commissioner McSwain and Commissioner Precinct 3, Travis Rodgers, will both have their dumpsters available to the public on the day of the recycling program to help with disposal of items which don't qualify for the Electronics Recycling program.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

1) Approved minutes of previous meetings, December 8th Regular Meeting and December 22nd Special Meeting
 2) Approved Officer's Report - County collected $1,216,662.96in the month of December 2014
 4) Approved to pay monthly expenses
 6) Approved Commissioner Rodgers to sell an FG85B maintainer to be sold "as-is"
 7) Indigent Health Care Program
 - Approved oversight of the Indigent Health Care (IHC) Program by County Judge and Commissioner Rodgers.
 - Approved County Judge to be in charge of the daily activities of IHC staff.
 - Approved moving IHC back to County Judges Office and eliminating one full-time position effective Friday, January16.
 8) Approved adjusting ambulance subsidy to come out of Indigent Health Care fund instead of the Contingency fund and to credit the Contingency fund back for one month payment.

Items reported to the court

3) County Treasurer Ann Blackwell presented a minimized financial statement to the court asking if they approved the new reporting format.
 5) City of Center Electronics Recycling Day scheduled for Saturday, January 24th.


January 12, 2015 - Emergency personnel was dispatched to the scene of a two-vehicle crash on the Logansport Bridge on U.S. Highway 84 East in Haslam on Saturday, January 10, 2015.

The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to the crash to provide traffic control as the westbound side of the roadway was blocked. The firemen were able to provide a safe travel area allowing vehicles to travel through as the crash scene was being investigated.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade Lavergne, at 7:36pm a white 2000 Ford pickup truck driven by Thomas Gibbs, 40, of Joaquin was traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 84 when a medical issue occurred. Gibbs traveled into the westbound lane and struck a gold 2005 Dodge pickup truck head-on causing major damage. The Dodge was driven by Jamie Brenton McCardle, 27, of Malone Fl. and currently residing in Logansport.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. Gibbs was issued citations for driving while license invalid and driving on the wrong side of the roadway not passing.

The scene was cleared at 8:41pm.

January 12, 2015 - Several agencies are involved in an investigation stemming from events on late Friday, January 9, and early Saturday, January 10, 2015 relating to the possible theft of at least one vehicle and a wreck involving another.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Trooper Keith Jones was dispatched to a single-vehicle crash at 8am on Saturday, January 10, 2015 on State Highway 87 South one mile north of Shelbyville at Red Rock Construction.

A green 1998 Chevrolet Silverado Z71 registered to Jonathan Greer of Warren, Texas was traveling southbound on 87 South when the truck left the roadway to the right and the driver over corrected left. The truck traveled across the northbound traffic lane and then over an embankment where it traveled through a barbed wire fence. The truck then continued down the other side of the embankment where it rolled over two diesel tanks and into two large air compressors before coming to rest on its wheels.

When an employee with the company arrived at the scene he located the crash and no driver could be found. Another vehicle in the area of the crash was believed to have been stolen and was later located by Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Cody Muse at a residence at the end of Spring Branch Road in Center on Friday night.

Officers with the Center Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff's Department interviewed residents at the house on Spring Branch Road following the discovery of the crash scene on 87 South. At this time the Texas Department of Public Safety, Center Police Department and Shelby County Sheriff's Department are continuing to investigate these incidents which appear to law enforcement to somehow be connected.

January 12, 2015 - The driver of a vehicle involved in a single-vehicle crash was transported from the scene by ambulance on Saturday, January 10, 2015.

Emergency personnel with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and ACE EMS were dispatched to the scene early Saturday near Flat Fork Creek on U.S. Highway 96 North.

According to DPS Trooper Keith Jones, at 6:55am Kevin Clinton Fulmer, 31, of Timpson was traveling northbound on U.S. 96 North in a grey Buick Century when he left the roadway to the right. Fulmer then over corrected to the left causing the vehicle to cross all of the traffic lanes of the highway and leave the roadway on the southbound side.

The Buick continued down an embankment, struck a fence causing minor damage and came to rest in a shallow body of water just near Flat Fork Creek facing north.

Fulmer was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to NMC Center Emergency Department for possible injuries. He was also issued a citation for wrong side of roadway not passing in a no pass zone and driving while license suspended.


January 7, 2015 - Schoolchildren involved in a two-vehicle crash with a school bus and passenger car are safe tonight following the incident which took place on Hurst Street in Center.

The Center Fire Department arrived on scene at 3:46pm on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 and used jaws of life to help extricate the driver of a white Ford from her vehicle in front of Brookshire Brothers Grocery store. ACE EMS was on scene and moved the driver to an ambulance as members of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, Center ISD police officers and Center Police officers worked traffic control.

According to Center Police Officer Maegan Wright, Janet Glenn, 52, of Tenaha was traveling south on Hurst Street in a Center ISD bus full of schoolchildren. As the school bus was in front of Brookshire Brothers a white Ford four-door driven by Sandra Bray, 66, with passenger Elmer Bray, both of Timpson, pulled in front of the school bus causing the school bus to collide with the driver's side of the Ford.

ACE EMS transported Bray from the scene to the NMC Center Emergency Department helipad where she was life-flighted to LSU Hospital for treatment.

None of the schoolchildren were reported to have been injured as a result of the crash and were all safely moved from bus 15 to school bus 18 for transport.

Members of the Center Police Department, Shelby County Sheriff's Department, and Center ISD Police Department worked together providing traffic control at the scene.

No citations have been issued at this time.

January 7, 2015 -  Center ISD Police Officer Misty Ray is seen escorting students from the bus involved in the crash.

The Center Police Department is investigating a two-vehicle crash involving a Center ISD school bus and a four-door passenger vehicle which took place at 3:46 on Wednesday, January 7, 2015 on Hurst Street in front of Brookshire Brothers. The driver of the vehicle was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to NMC Center Emergency Department for treatment. All of the children on the school bus walked from the bus to another school bus for transport and appeared to be in good condition.

More information will be provided on Shelby County Today as it is made available.

January 7, 2015 - Due to water line break, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required our water System, Sand Hills Water Supply, to notify customers of the need to boil their water prior to consumption. This is for the customers that were out of water on January 6, 2015 from Mt. Herman on Highway 7 West to Attoyac River. This only applies to the customers that were out of water.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking, and making ice should be boiled and cooled prior to use. The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

In lieu of boiling, you may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other
suitable source.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify you that the water is safe for consumption. Instructions to discontinue boiling will be issued in the same manner as this notice.
If you have any questions concerning this matter, you may contact : Randall Lout @ 936-590-1599

January 7, 2015 - The Tenaha City Marshal's Office is investigating a burglary that took place in early December and the responsible parties are being sought.

Sometime between December 1, 2014 and December 5, 2014 an unknown person or persons entered the residence of Carl and Vickie Jernigan located at 168 Vine Street in Tenaha. Several firearms were taken from the residence.

If you have any information regarding this incident please contact the Tenaha City Marshal's Office at (936) 248-3841 or you local law enforcement agency.

January 7, 2015 - COLLEGE STATION, Texas – Changing the way the South recognizes and prepares for wildfire, a 17-year Texas A&M Forest Service employee was honored Tuesday with the Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence for Public Service in Forestry.

Geospatial Systems Coordinator Curt Stripling received the award during the annual Texas A&M AgriLife Conference held at Texas A&M University’s flagship campus in College Station.

The Award in Excellence for Public Service in Forestry is one of 17 awards presented each year by the Vice Chancellor for Agriculture and Life Sciences as a way to recognize and celebrate the commitment and contributions made by those working under the umbrella of Texas A&M Agrilife.

The forestry award, in particular, is presented each year to someone who consistently goes above and beyond, making exceptional contributions and displaying exceptional commitment to the agency’s mission.

“Texas A&M Forest Service is recognized nationally as a leader in the development of wildfire risk assessments thanks in large part to the work and expertise of Curt Stripling. He is very deserving of this award,” Tom Spencer, department head of Predictive Services said.

Stripling’s most recent project helped take the highly complex nature of wildfire risk assessment and deliver it in an easy to use format designed to increase public awareness and understanding of the dangers of wildfire across the state of Texas and the South. Stripling continues to set a high bar in applying his training in forestry and geospatial sciences to produce and deliver state of the art products that help increase public awareness of wildfire risk.

Stripling earned a Bachelor in Science in forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University and has been a member of the Society of American Foresters since 1996.

“I’m elated to receive this award. It is always a good feeling when others wish to publicly recognize your efforts, especially with a prestigious award like this one. I’m extremely grateful to everyone who assisted with my nomination,” Stripling said.


Texas A&M Forest Service Communications


January 7, 2015 - While on patrol, Center Police Lt. Jeremy Bittick observed a silver 1998 Dodge pickup on January 6, 2015 at approx. 3:10pm, on the side of the roadway on Old Neuville Rd. The vehicle was just outside of the Center City Limits.

The vehicle appeared to have been sitting for several days. It was parked in a conspicuous manner, away from any buildings or residences. Out of suspicion, Lt. Bittick ran the License Plate (80VDV5) through dispatch for confirmation on any possible reports on the vehicle. The vehicle return came back as stolen out of Smith County, Texas.

Lt. Bittick called for CID Detectives for an initial investigation. Detectives Stephen Stroud and David Haley arrived at the scene at approximately 3:20pm and called for a wrecker.

Sgt. Duane Gordon arrived on scene and completed an inventory of the vehicle. Joey Ross Wrecker Service arrived at the scene at approx. 3:28pm with a roll-back wrecker and transported the vehicle to the Center Police Department where it is being held for further investigation by Smith County.