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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

September 18, 2015 - Low Cost Spay/Neuter and Pet Wellness Clinic one Thursday each month and every fourth Saturday from 10-3p. The next clinic will take place on Friday, October 2 at Tractor Supply in Center, Texas located at 1155 Tenaha Street. We offer dog/cat vaccines, heartworm tests/prevention, flea/tick prevention, microchips, and nail trims.

Now offering low cost spay/neuter and pets must have appointment for surgery. Information can be found at or call (903) 590-7722.

September 28, 2015 - Short United Methodist Church will be hosting its annual Homecoming, Sunday, October 11, 2015. Lunch will be served at 12:00noon with an afternoon singing to follow. The "Shelby County Singers" will be conducting the singing with other local singers. Please come on out for a day of good food and fellowship.

September 28, 2015 - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today filed an amicus brief with the Texas Supreme Court in Matthews v. Kountze Independent School District, supporting the constitutional rights of Texas’ public schoolchildren to express their own messages at school and school-related events.

“The Kountze cheerleaders’ case involves personal expressions of faith and an ill-advised school district change of policy that has mislabeled their expressions of faith as ‘government speech,’” Attorney General Paxton said. “Let’s not forget that our country was founded on the very concept of religious freedom. When our fundamental rights are threatened, we have an obligation to defend them – and I stand with the students and parents at Kountze High School who are committed to move forward in this important fight.”

This case stems from a 2012 complaint by the Freedom From Religion Foundation against Kountze High School for allowing cheerleaders to print Bible verses on run-through banners at football games. Kountze ISD banned students from using the signs, and parents of the cheerleaders filed a lawsuit against the school district. KISD changed its policy to allow the banners, but in doing so claimed, for the first time, that the banners actually convey the school’s speech and not the cheerleaders’ personal expressions of faith. KISD then asked an appeals court to dismiss the case. The Ninth Court of Appeals, in Beaumont, dismissed the case, effectively allowing KISD to control the speech on banners as “school speech” and to disassociate the cheerleaders from their personal expressions of faith. The ruling is now before the Texas Supreme Court.

Attorney General Paxton has consistently and fervently defended religious liberty. On August 24, Attorney General Paxton filed an amicus brief on behalf of 20 states with the U.S. Supreme Court in Little Sisters v. Burwell, supporting the religious nonprofit’s right to exercise sincerely-held religious beliefs. On August 10, the Attorney General filed another amicus brief with the U.S. Supreme Court in Houston Baptist University v. Burwell in support of the petitioners’ fight against Obamacare’s contraception mandate based on its religious objections.

To view the brief in Matthews v. Kountze Independent School District, please visit:

September 25, 2015 - The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce presents the 39th Annual East Texas Poultry Festival Queen’s Scholarship Pageant at 6pm on Saturday, September 26, 2015 at the Center High School. Portraits below were taken by As You Wish Photography.

The Queen's Court season is made possible in part by Platinum Sponsor, Shelby Savings Bank. Festival Gold Sponsors are City of Center, Drewery Construction, Tyson Foods, Sombreros, JML Management, and Wiggins Farms.

The Poultry Festival is presented by Farmers State Bank.

2014 Queen Zoey Stuever
Escorted by Tony Garcia


Princess Hannah Hall 
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Rusty Hall 
Escorted by Hunter Berry
Sponsored By Rusty’s Consulting Services


Princess Konner Windham
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Kyle Windham 
Escorted by Zachary Fausett
Sponsored By ETSM


Princess Alexis Barlow 
Daughter of Jimmy Barlow & Nikki Joubert 
Escorted by Jacob Jackson
Sponsored By Cornerstone Construction


Princess Brynna Birdwell
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Del Birdwell
Escorted by Jesse Burns
Sponsored By Wiggins Farms


Princess Bailey Snell 
Daughter of Mr. Wes Snell & Ms. Stephanie Davis
Escorted by Joel Rodriguez
Sponsored By Hughes Florist & Gifts


Princess Madison Agnew
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Scott Agnew
Escorted by Lewis Blount
Sponsored By ACE Hardware of East Texas


Princess Kaci Griffin
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Ray Griffin
Escorted by Aaron Gilchrist
Sponsored By Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rash/ Younique by Keni Bradshaw


Children of the Court 2015

Hudsyn Wulf 
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Deuce Wulf

Sutton Link 
Son of Mrs. Haley White
& Mr. Chris Link

Avery Lawson
Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Carl Whitehead
& Mr. & Mrs. Craig Lawson

Rex Payne 
Son of Mr. & Mrs. Rob Payne


Hannah Wages 

Daughter of Mr. & Mrs. Bryan Wages

Wade Collard 
Son of Dr. & Mrs. Randy Collard


Evening of Events

Master of Ceremonies
Chris Watlington

A Very Special Thank You

Introduction of Judges




Farewell-East Texas Poultry Festival Queen 2014
Zoey Stuever

Presentation of Awards

Crowning of
Miss East Texas Poultry Festival Queen 2015


September 25, 2015 - The Center Fire Department fought a grass fire on Wednesday, September 23, 2015 on CR 1045, which upon arrival of firemen was dangerously close to a chicken house.

A passerby on the roadway witnessed flames emitting from Hughes chicken farm just under 1 1/2 miles from State Highway 7 West and reported the fire to The Shelby County Sheriff's Department. West Shelby Volunteer Fire Department (WSVFD) was first to be dispatched to the fire; however, it was not in their coverage area. Once this was determined, the WSVFD was canceled and the Center Fire Department was dispatched to the fire.

When the firemen arrived, smoke billowed into the sky and across the roadway where flames appeared to be reaching out to get to the other side. While a grass truck was driven onto the property to investigate the origination of the flames that had traveled to the road, another group of firemen began extinguishing the fire beside the road.

Fire had traveled through a hay meadow very close to a chicken house and the flames were extinguished before they could catch on to the building. The remaining fire was contained to a large cluster of round hay bales, which were at the top of a hill. After the firemen doused the bales of hay with water, an individual on the property dragged the bales from their location to the middle of the field where the firemen further drenched them with water.

The cause of the fire was not known, but the danger presented by the fire was a good example of why the county remains under a burn ban to this date.

September 25, 2015LUFKIN – The Texas Transportation Commission on Thursday approved 62 transportation contracts that totaled $294.8 million, including three projects for the Lufkin District that total $15.7 million.

In Polk County, a $13.9 million project will begin on US 190 that will add passing lanes beginning in Onalaska and continuing for 6.25 miles to FM 2457. Smith & Company, contractor for the project, will construct the passing lanes at a cost of $10.8 million. In addition, $3.6 million will go toward safety treating fixed objects on US 190 to US 59.

San Augustine County also received approval for a $ 1.2 million project on FM 705. AR Brothers Construction Services, contractor for the project, will work to safety treat fixed objects from SH 147 for 2.4 miles south of FM 83.

In Angelina County, an $86,851 project was approved that will add an intersection flashing beacon and advance warning signals in three locations. South Texas Illumination, contractor for the project, will work to install a flashing beacon on US 69 North at FM 2021 at a cost of $33,572; advance warning signals on SL 287 at FM 1194 at a cost of $13,314; and advance warning signals on US 69 at FM 2251 at a cost of $42,293.

As these projects begin, motorists are urged to use caution and remain alert to workers and construction equipment. Delays, reduced lanes of traffic and flaggers should be expected in construction zones. Remember that speeds are reduced in work areas and fines double when workers are present.

These projects, once complete, will continue to help maintain a safe system for the traveling public, address congestion and alert motorists to nearby intersections. The Texas Department of Transportation continues to meet the goals of successfully connecting Texas communities as well as providing better maneuverability and safe highways while remaining a Best In Class state agency.

For more information, contact or (936) 633-4395.


September 25, 2015 -  The Texas State Soil & Water Conservation Board (TSSWCB) and the Association of Texas Soil & Water Conservation Districts (ATSWCD) are sponsoring a poster contest (open to students 12 years and under, and does not jeopardize Texas University Interscholastic League eligibility).

The contest is open to public, private, or home school students. Posters should address the following subject for 2016: “Local Heroes – Your Hardworking Pollinators”.

Please visit the stewardship website at for information on the theme. Posters shall be submitted to the local soil and water conservation district for local judging by December 31, 2015. Their office will have the form to attach to the entry.

Each local district will judge the entries and submit three posters to the TSSWCB for competition on the area level. Plaques will be awarded to 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners on the area level and state winners will be selected from the area winners.

The local district is: Shelby Soil & Water Conservation District, 158 Cass Caid, Center, TX (across the street from Texas State Bank). As this office has only one part-time employee, you should probably call before coming by the office. The telephone number is: (936) 598-5557, Ext. 3. If no one is in, you may leave your telephone number on the answering machine and someone will get back with you.