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October 5, 2015 - According to two press releases from the Sheriff's Department, a man was charged for aggravated kidnapping and in a separate case a woman was charged with burglary of a habitation. Both were arrested in July 2015. Neither case has been indicted by a Shelby County Grand Jury as of October 5, 2015.

Deron Vodre Bowlds, 22, of Logansport, Louisiana was arrested July 7, 2015 after allegedly kidnapping his ex-girlfriend, Jessica Lee Barber, causing seriously bodily injury, stemming from an incident that occurred June 29, 2015.

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports Tuesday, June 30, 2015 patrol sergeant Derek Barbee met with Barber at the Nacogdoches Medical Center, Center Emergency Center. Barber advised Barbee she had been assaulted by Bowlds in Joaquin and then taken into Logansport, Louisiana.

According to the report, Barber told officials she saw Bowlds walking past Brookshire’s in Joaquin around 10:30 p.m. on June 29. Barber stated she stopped and picked up Bowlds and was going to drop him off at Nu-Way in Joaquin. Barber said Bowlds went into Nu-Way, made a purchase, returned to the car and told Barber to drive down the road so the two could talk for a few minutes. Barber said the two traveled down the road beside the store and talked.

Barber stated in the report after driving for a few minutes, Bowlds told her to take him back to the store and drop him off. Barber said as she turned the car and headed towards to the store, Bowlds allegedly punched her in the back of the head and told her to drive to Logansport, Louisiana. Barber told officials that as she approached Nu-Way, she drove her car into the parking lot without hitting the brakes and the car came to rest in a ditch in front of the store. Barber said Bowls continued hitting her.

The report states Barber began honking the horn of the car and screaming. Barber advised that Bowlds bit her in an attempt to keep her quiet. Barber then told officials that Bowlds began to choke her where she couldn’t breathe and he took full control of the car. Barber said Bowlds climbed into the driver’s seat, sat on top of her and drove the car to Logansport, Louisiana and parked it in the woods.

Barber told officials once they arrived at Bowlds home, he snuck her inside the house without anyone seeing her and made her talk to him. Barber advised that Bowlds fell asleep after daylight (June 30) and she was able to escape from the house and ran to her car. Barber then traveled to the emergency room and contacted law enforcement.

Surveillance footage was obtained from Nu-Way in Joaquin which verified what Barber reported to officials. The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) also received a call at 11:03 p.m. June 29 from a caller who advised that a gold Pontiac Bonneville left Nu-Way in Joaquin at a high rate of speed and was driving out of control. The caller also indicated she heard a lady screaming inside the vehicle.

Bowlds was charged with aggravated kidnapping – felony 1. He remains at the SCSO on a $6,000 bond.

This case was under the investigation of SCSO Investigator Kevin Windham.

Gina Graves Furra, 37, of Center was arrested July 21, 2015 after allegedly stealing checks from the home of her grandparents, George and Geneva Burns.

On July 16 Furra reportedly attempted to purchase a vehicle from Melton’s Car Center in Center using a check from Capital One Bank for $12,000. An employee called Capital One and it was revealed the check Furra tried to use was invalid. Furra advised the employee she would return to purchase the vehicle.

The arrest affidavit states Geneva Burns told Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) investigators she was in the back room of the house hanging up clothes when she heard Furra in her house talking on the phone. Burns stated by the time she made it to the living room she could see Furra out the window of the house in a vehicle with a male passenger. Burns said she looked at her desk where two checkbooks were and discovered a check was missing from their farm account and two checks were missing from their personal account. Burns stated that no one had permission to take any of the checks.

During the course of the investigation, SCSO Investigator Kevin Windham contacted Farmers State Bank in Center in reference to the checks Furra passed on the Burns bank accounts. The bank confirmed that on July 15 a check in the amount of $12, 297.67 was issued to Melton’s Car Center with a reported forged signature of Geneva Burns. Furra also issued a check from her account on July 15 to George Burns in the amount of $12,297.67. The investigation revealed after failing to purchase a vehicle with the check from Capital one, Furra traveled to her grandparent’s residence and returned with a stolen check and paid for a car with it. Melton’s Car Center contacted Geneva Burns and found that the check was not legitimate and began looking for the car Furra purchased.

SCSO Sergeant Investigator D.J. Dickerson met with Furra (who was already an inmate at the SCSO on unrelated charges) on July 23 and she confessed to traveling to her grandparents’ home and taking the checks without permission. Furra told Dickerson everything had been returned to the rightful owners, including the vehicle.

Furra was charged with burglary of a habitation – felony three. Her bond was set at $15,000. She posted bond and was released August 7.

Submitted by Leah Chase

October 5, 2015 - Panola County Chamber of Commerce, Panola College Board of Trustees and community members will gather to enjoy refreshments and perform a ribbon cutting for the Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center on Monday, October 12, 2015. The new facility is the second largest building on campus at approximately 54,000 square feet and two stories tall. It combines several offices and areas that were previously scattered across campus. Students have only a short walk from their campus apartments past the recently erected Frances B. Ross Millennium Clock Tower to the front entrance of the Student Center.

The Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center includes a fitness center with a yoga room, practice gym, cardio and weight room. Athletes will also enjoy new locker rooms, a training room, and a renovated Arthur Johnson Gymnasium that is scheduled to be open the latter part of November. The Panola College Store is located at the main entrance of the new building to provide students with spirit wear, textbooks, and other supplies students may need. The first floor also features the Frances B. Ross Ballroom. The ballroom can be divided into two separate rooms or can seat a total of 300 people. The room features state-of-the-art technology for the presenters and speakers. There is also a wall of windows on the west side of the ballroom that will offer guests one of the best views on campus overlooking the 30 feet tall Frances B. Ross Millennium Clock Tower.

The new facility also houses a recreational area equipped with a lounge area, pool table, and ping pong table. Students are also enjoying the new dining hall which includes an outdoor seating area to enjoy the weather on nice days.Charlie’s Bistro, another eatery, is located directly beside the Arthur Johnson Gymnasium and will feature Seattle’s Best Coffee, part of Starbucks Coffee Company.

On the second floor of the Student Center students will be able to register for classes in the admissions and registration offices. The office of the Vice President of Student Affairs, the student activities coordinator, and student advisors are also located on the second floor, along with veteran affairs, disability services and testing services.

Charles C. Matthews Foundation Student Center
(On the East Side of Campus)
Panola College
1109 W Panola
Carthage, TX 75633

October 12, 2015
1:30 pm to 2:30 pm

October 5, 2015 - State Highway 7 West was the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Thursday, October 1, 2015 which sent two people to the hospital.

Passersby were directing traffic when members of the Texas Department of Public Safety arrived on scene to investigate the crash.

According to the Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade Lavergne, just over 1/4 mile west of CR 1205 at 4:20pm a black 2011 Dodge Ram 3500 wrecker truck owned by Liberty Recovery Services, LLC. and driven by Kody Allen Woodruff, 24, of Tyler was traveling east with the left indicator on and preparing to make a left turn into private driveway from the inside lane.

A silver 2008 Honda Civic driven by Tammy Jones, 44, of Center was also traveling east in the inside lane and for an unknown reason failed to control speed and traveled into the inside westbound traffic lane. This caused the Honda to collide with the front left quarter panel of the Dodge causing major damage to both vehicles.

The vehicles came to a halt with the Honda facing north and the Dodge facing east with its front bumper resting against the left rear bumper of the Honda.

Jones and her 10-year-old female passenger were transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for unknown injuries. Jones was issued a citation for failure to control speed.

No injuries were reported to have been received by Woodruff and his passenger Kevin Michael Sides, 27.

October 5, 2015 - The Center Police Department is seeking information relating to an attempted abduction which took place on Saturday, October 3, 2015. It was reported a Hispanic male attempted to talk to and lure a 14-year-old girl into his vehicle in the area of Creswell Street.

The victim described the suspect as English speaking  medium brown skin male, in his 20s, 5'8" tall, driving a white Chrysler 300. Center Police Detectives are actively searching for this suspect.

If you have any information in regards to this missing person, 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.

October 2, 2015 - The third major crash in Shelby County ended tragically with a fatality Thursday, October 2, 2015 on FM 414.

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Troopers, responded to a three-vehicle crash on US Highway 96 North in the morning and a two-vehicle crash on State Highway 7 West in the late afternoon before responding to the fatal crash on FM 414 in the evening.

According to the DPS crash report, at 6:49pm a single-vehicle rollover occurred on FM 414, 5.2 miles east of Center. A gray 1992 Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck driven by Clay Gates, 55 of Center, was traveling southbound on FM 414 when the vehicle left the roadway in a curve. The pickup traveled a distance partially off the roadway before crossing both lanes of traffic entering the northbound borrow ditch overturning and coming to rest across the north lane of the roadway with the bed of the truck hanging over a deep ditch. Gates was not wearing a seat belt and was ejected from the vehicle.

The Center Fire Department responded to assist and had to block off both ends of the crash scene during the investigation.

An inquest was done by Justice of the Peace Pct. 1 Maxie Eaves and Gates was pronounced dead at the scene at 7pm. Gates was picked up by Watson and Sons Funeral Home. The crash is being investigated by DPS Trooper Jade LaVergne, assisted by DPS Trooper John Hallenbeck.

See information relating to the morning crash here. Information on the afternoon crash will be provided as it is made available by DPS.

September 30, 2015 - Center Middle School Chamber of Commerce members for the 2015-2016 school year are pictured. Members participated in the 'Doo-Dah' parade and attended orientation in the historic Shelby County Courthouse on September 23. CMS JCC members will be visible in their blue shirts on the square as they volunteer to help set up for the Poultry Festival, as well as work in various areas during the Festival.

October 1, 2015 - A storage building fire in Timpson resulted in the destruction of several units on Thursday, October 1, 2015 at 2:30pm.

The Timpson Volunteer Fire Department and Timpson Police Department responded to the fire located at Factory Direct Storage, 426 N 1st Street. As the storage units have locks on them the firemen could not gain immediate access to the location of the fire.

To gain access to the units the firemen cut into the storage building with a rescue saw and were able to extinguish the flames, preventing the fire from traveling further and damaging more storage units.

During the fire, five storage units received varying stages of damage with the most extreme being complete destruction of the items within. Once the firemen were finished, the areas were cordoned off with tape.

The cause of the fire was not able to be determined at the time of the fire and the State Fire Marshal has been contacted to investigate the incident further. More information will be provided as it is made available.

October 1, 2015 - Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) state troopers, Center police officers, and Center firemen were dispatched to a three-vehicle major crash at US Highway 96 North and State Loop 500 at 8:27 am Thursday, October 1, 2015.

According to DPS State Trooper Dustin Ramos, upon arrival on scene three vehicles were found to be involved: a blue Dodge truck owned by Craig Crocker, a white Ford van owned by Light and Champion Newspaper, and a black Ford truck owned by Pro-Log Inc. timber company, New Iberia, Louisiana.

The blue Dodge truck driven by Craig Crocker, 26 of Center, was southbound on US 96 with passenger Jarvis Taylor, also age 26, and was attempting to make a left-hand turn onto State Loop 500. The truck failed to yield right-of-way entered the pathway of a black 2012 Ford truck driven by Allen Wood, 57 of Center.

The black Ford truck struck the Dodge's front right quarter causing it to spin. The Ford traveled off the roadway into the woods and struck multiple trees before coming to a stop. Upon the Dodge truck spinning, it was struck on the driver side middle by a white 1999 Ford van driven by Marcus Haltom, of Center, who was traveling northbound on US 96. The Dodge came to rest in the middle of the roadway with extensive damage. The van came to rest just inside the roadway on the northbound side.

Center police and firemen assisted on scene with traffic control. Firemen used the jaws-of-life to extract Wood from his vehicle and ACE EMS provided emergency care on scene to all involved in the crash.

Craig Crocker was transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Clinic and was soon life-flighted to ETMC in Tyler in critical condition. Allen Wood was transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Clinic with minor injuries. Marcus Haltom was released on scene with minor injuries.

The crash is being investigated by DPS State Trooper Dustin Ramos and Cpl. Jimmy Faulkner. There were items located in Crocker's vehicle which are still under investigation and are pending charges at this time.

September 29, 2015 - 280 people attended the 38th Annual Shelby County Ducks Unlimited (SCDU) Dinner at the Windham Civic Center on Saturday, September 12 and the grandmother of Jacob Hughes won the 4th Annual Jacob Hughes gun.

The main event of the dinner was a live auction which once again opened with the first item auctioned in memory of Jacob Hughes. It was an emotional moment when auctioneer Kevin McDonald announced Sandra Hughes, the grandmother of Jacob Hughes, had won the memorial gun, a 12ga Browning Silver Automatic with special embellishing, with a bid of $5,100. Upon winning the cherished auction item, she wept momentarily with emotions of joy and sadness as the audience applauded.

This is the 4th year the SCDU has auctioned off a gun in memory of Hughes. Money raised from the memorial gun goes to a scholarship account setup for students seeking a degree in wildlife and fisheries science, the degree Hughes was pursuing at Texas A&M at the time of his death in 2011.

Another winning bidder honored the Hughes family by presenting the father, Lance Hughes, with a knife in a display case won during the silent auction.

The winners of the Dream Gun giveaway, which was a pre fundraiser for the dinner, was Jason Locke, Ed Copelin, and David Lawrence. The winner of the key item, an Academy DU Yildiz 12ga, was Brady Scarber. The pick of the litter was won by Jeff Dean who selected a Howa rifle.

Auction items which raised the most for conservation efforts were the SCDU Greenwing Youth Package ($2,100), 2015 gun of the year Browning A5 engraving of the 2015 artist-of-the-year Richard Clifton Afternoon Pintails ($3,400), 2015 DU handgun of the year Kimber Stainless II ($2,300), 2016 3 night/2 day fishing adventure on the Island of Nantucket ($2,400), 2014 DU President's Elite Fausti Cherry select 12ga over/under ($2,800), DU Henry Silverado .22 cal with engraving of 2015 artist of the year Richard Clifton Afternoon Pintails ($2,900), and 2014 gun of the year Benelli Montrefeltro shotgun ($2,800).

 Yazoo Thomas, Senior Regional Director - East Texas, recognized the chapter's conservation fundraising efforts praising their achievements, "This is the 80th Chapter out of 3,500 chapters in Ducks Unlimited. Shelby County, number 80 out of 3,500 chapters, is that worth a round of applause? Now give yourself a round of applause because we are going back again next year!" The SCDU received Ducks Unlimited, Inc - President's Elite Chapter Award, Texas Ducks Unlimited Top 20 Chapter, and Ducks Unlimited Diamond Event award.

Each year a select group of Ducks Unlimited chapters rise to the top of the ranks as the President's Elite, each raising $100,000 or more annually for DU's habitat conservation work. Shelby County was 80th on the list earning a spot of honor.

The SCDU would like to give special thanks to sponsors, donors, and underwriters of the banquet because without them the banquet could not be the success that it is. Also, appreciation to Bob's Pawn Shop for handling the ATF required background checks and Hughes Florist for the table decorations.

Ducks Unlimited Sponsors and Underwriters

Corporate Sponsors: Shelby Vet and Associates, Sand Hill Foundation, Few Ready Mix, Hometown Marine, Roy Blackshear, Bill Lloyd, Yazoo Thomas, Terry Bailey, Center Broadcasting, Light & Champion, R&K Distributors, PORTACOOL, Farmers State Bank, Shelby Savings Bank, Edward Jones, 4GContractors, Platinum Tire, Mild to Wild, Mettauer Law Office, C&S Rentals, Piney Forest Products, D&I Trucking, Steel Building Supply, Aztec Consulting, and Hughes Family.

Underwriters/Donors: Century Shop, Center ATV, Zacks Tint Shop, Watson & Son Funeral Home, Elite Hair Design, Petes Pro Auto, Steaks & More, L&L Taxidermy, Edward Jones, Lasting Impressions, Windham Dentistry, The Balcony, Center Automotive Collision Specialist, Ace Hardware, Golden Eye Clinic, 4G Contractors, R&D, The Loft, Shoop Financial, Hughes Florist, Morris Timber, Cody Barton, McAdams Propane, Triple T, Rio Theater, Backwoods Buggies, Ultra Shade, Texas State Bank, Sabine State Bank, The Reserve, Monco Motor Company, Jonnies Liquor, Pineywoods Beverage, Handy Andy, General Shelters, Delbert Beckham Metal Art, Covington Lumber, Boles Feed, Southern Seasons, Center Floral, 4C Electric, Center Glass, Goodtimes Smokehouse, Pine Grove Nursing Home, Spartan Structures, and J&J Feed.

September 29, 2015FM 711 was the scene of a house fire to which the Center Fire Department and West Shelby Volunteer Fire Department responded on Friday, September 25, 2015 at 10:15pm.

As firemen were en-route, Shelby County Sheriff's Deputy Adam Renfro traveled to the scene to see if anyone on the property located at 6095 FM 711 was in need of assistance. The homeowner and only occupant of the residence at that time, Sheila Chandler, was outside of the log house when Deputy Renfro arrived. To mark the location of the house, which was fully engulfed in flames, Deputy Renfro indicated the location with his patrol vehicle for arriving firemen to see the driveway into the property. Deputy Cody Muse arrived at the scene shortly thereafter.

A shed near the residence housed jet skis, and immediately after the arrival of firemen, the skis fuel tanks ignited and caused a flurry of flame to emit from the building. Firemen from both departments split their attention to the house and the shed with groups of firemen working on both buildings.

The firemen were very wary of power lines leading to the home and trees around the residence as many of them had caught on fire and were at risk of collapsing. The fire of the shed was first extinguished and the rich wood of the house continued to burn for several hours before the majority of flames were put out. The firemen left the scene at 1am.

During the time the firemen were fighting the blaze, a Center fireman collapsed and was transported by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department. It was suspected at the scene he had become dehydrated due to the excessive heat. Following treatment at the hospital, the fireman was returned to the scene to pick up his vehicle.

Reports by firemen, and family members at the scene, were that Chandler had been sleeping on a couch in the house when she awoke to find smoke inside the residence, and she could see flames emitting from behind a light fixture. Chandler broke a window to escape from the danger of the fire. Six weeks previous to the fire, she sold her home in Center to move into the log house which had been in her family for many years.

The house was a total loss and a specific cause has not been determined at this time. See related information by clicking here