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May 18, 2015 - As of 4 PM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 130 members remaining without power due to the severe weather.

    Nacogdoches Co: approx. 70 (with the majority located in the Etoile area)
    San Augustine Co: less than 5
    Sabine Co: approx. 55 (Hemphill)

As of 1 PM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 230 member without power due to the severe weather.

    Panola Co: approx. 85 members out
    Shelby Co: approx. 80
    Nacogdoches Co: less than 10
    San Augustine Co: approx. 50
    Sabine Co: less than 5

As of 11 AM, Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative is reporting approximately 1,300 member without power due to the severe weather.

Panola Co: 550 members out – due to an outage experienced by SWEPCO whom feeds the DETEC line.

    Shelby Co: 95
    Nacogdoches Co: 60
    San Augustine Co: 450
    Sabine Co: 150
    Jasper Co: less than 10

Crews are currently out working to restore power as quickly and as safely as possible. To report an outage, please call: 1-800-392-5986.

DETEC would like to remind members to be safe - STAY AWAY FROM ALL DOWNED LINES. Consider them all to be live and dangerous. Call DETEC at 1-800-392-5986 to report downed lines and outages.

May 17, 2015 - FM 699 was the scene of a two-vehicle crash outside of Tenaha on Sunday, May 17, 2015. Residents at the scene of the crash were first to check on those involved in the crash and to contact 9-1-1.

Jessie Griffith with ACE EMS arrived with law enforcement and the Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department and began treatment of injured parties.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade LaVergne, at 1:20pm a white 2012 GMC Sierra SLE pickup truck driven by Marion Jackson, 71, of Joaquin was traveling north on FM 699 1/2 mile from U.S. Highway 84. At the same time a blue 2013 Ford Fusion driven by Doyle Taylor, 83, of Joaquin was traveling south when he blacked out due to a medical condition and the Fusion crossed into the northbound traffic lane.

Jackson attempted to avoid colliding with Taylor by vacating his lane and entering the southbound lane, which is a legal action. Taylor regained consciousness and when he saw what was happening he attempted to veer the Fusion back into the correct lane; however, the vehicles still sideswiped each other head-on on the front right driver side and disabling both vehicles in the middle of the roadway.

Emergency personnel from the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department and Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department provided traffic control at the scene while those involved in the crash were examined by ACE EMS.

Taylor was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of his minor injuries. Following examination by EMS, Jackson and his passenger Dewana Jackson, 38, of Joaquin refused transport to the hospital.

No citations have been issued at this time.

May 15, 2015 - On Friday, May 15, 2015 Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that Johanna Vickers, 36, was arrested for the offense of Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student and the offense of Sexual Assault of a Child, both 2nd degree felonies. The need for an investigation was reported to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office by Shelbyville I.S.D. who then fully cooperated with the Sheriff’s Office throughout the investigation.

Sheriff Blackwell would also like to thank the Shelby County Children’s Advocacy Center who has purchased and donated through a grant to local law enforcement earlier this year of a Universal Forensic Extraction Device which played a key roll in the investigation.

Mrs. Vickers was booked into the Shelby County Sheriff's Department jail facility and arraigned by Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 Marla Denby with bond being set at a total of $50,000 dollars for both charges.

May 15, 2015 - A Shelbyville ISD teacher has been arrested by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department on charges of improper relationship between educator and student and sexual assault of a child.

Johanna Vickers, 35, of San Augustine was arrested Thursday, May 14, 2015 on the aforementioned charges at 8:10pm and released at 9:50pm on two $25,000 bonds. At this time a press release is pending from the Shelby County Sheriff's Department.

Shelby County Today visited with Dr. Ray West, Shelbyville ISD Superintendent, to gather information from the district on the situation. Dr. West issued the following statement:

"Johanna Vickers, a teacher with Shelbyville High School, resigned Wednesday May 13, 2015 from the school district. She is no longer an employee of the school district. At the time of her resignation Ms. Vickers noted she was resigning for personal reasons and did not admit any wrongdoing related to the investigation for possible behavior involving her and a Shelbyville High School student. The investigation into the possible inappropriate conduct was initiated as an internal school investigation led by Jud Matthews, Shelbyville ISD Police Chief; however, early in the process Shelbyville ISD brought local law enforcement in to oversee the investigation since the case included the possibility of criminal wrongdoing by a school district employee.

"Since this is still an open and ongoing investigation the school district cannot offer comments regarding specifics of the case; however, it's to be noted that at the time of Ms. Vickers resignation nothing had been uncovered as far as an actual criminal act. This is a very fluid situation and it seems like with each passing day and maybe even each passing hour more things are being uncovered. It's my understanding as of this morning that she was actually arrested and charged. It's extremely troubling anytime something like this happens and it's something that disappoints all of us.

"We've got to remember that we have to allow enforcement officials to uncover facts for the investigation and not confuse things with rumors and speculation and allow the fact finding process to occur. Whenever any employee is accused of violating the trust that's given to educators that's a sad day for all of us. It doesn't change the fact that we must stay unyielding to our commitment to our students in providing a safe educational environment. Also, it doesn't take away from the fact that we stay committed to continuing the trust with our parents and stakeholders. Shelbyville ISD is a great place to be and will continue to be that and we will continue to cooperate with law enforcement and other enforcement officials from the state who will likely become involved with this because it is an educator who earned their certificate.

"From my seat we will do whatever we can to make sure that if something's been violated then that person is going to have to face the consequences at the state level."

In addition to his statement, Dr. West spoke further of the rapidly changing situation involving the investigation, "A lot of times these investigations drag on, this has been extremely rapid in terms of how investigations unfold. I haven't really been involved in a lot of investigations but [they do take some time] to the point of frustration with everybody that wants to know what's going on. In this case this has really moved. There's families involved, there's children involved and nobody wins when something like this happens and we've just gotta keep doing our best to try to safeguard against it happening in the future and trying to make that for everybody else that we help them get through it and we move forward, but it's a disappointing day it really is."

May 15, 2015 - Jordan Wagstaff, the grandson of James and Glenda Wagstaff of Center, will be participating in a special race honoring an FDNY fire chief who lost his life on September 11, 2001.

The special race is a first ever Stair-Climb Benefit at One World Trade Center to be held on May 17, 2015. Registration for the event was limited to 1,000 participants and Wagstaff will be amoung the few.

The race announced by the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation is only open to first responders and military. Wagstaff, a petty officer in the U.S. Coast Guard who is stationed in New York, is a native of Lufkin, Texas and is one of the few to be representing Texas in the climb.

The First Annual Tunnel to Towers Tower Climb will take climbers up to the 90th floor which is 180 flights of stairs. For more information about the race visit the following links:
Tunnel to Towers, Tower Climb Honoring Captain Billy Burke
Lufkin native participating in first annual Tunnel To Towers Tower Climb in New York City
First Ever Stair-Climb Benefit At One World Trade Center To Be Held In May

To make a donation supporting Jordan Wagstaff's 'Coast Guard' team at the Tower Climb and proceeds benefit the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers Foundation, click the following link - https://www.crowdrise.com/Jordan-T2TTowerClimb/fundraiser/jordanwagstaff

May 13, 2015 - According to Superintendent Mid Johnson, the Middle School campus at Timpson ISD was evacuated Wednesday, May 13, 2015 due to an air conditioning failure which caused smoke inside the building. The campus was safely evacuated and everyone is safe and well. Johnson would like to thank everyone for their patience.

May 13, 2015 - A Logansport woman was injured in a crash Wednesday afternoon, May 13, 2015 in Joaquin resulting in her transport to the hospital. Emergency personnel including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department and ACE EMS were dispatched to the scene.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Cpl. Jimmy Faulkner, at 4pm a 2005 Chevrolet Suburban drive by Linda Blunt, 65, of Logansport was traveling from Houston east on U.S. Highway 84. Blunt did not recall what happened, and possibly fell asleep when she failed to maintain a single lane and left the roadway to the right. The Suburban traveled through a ditch and then over a culvert before the rear end skidded to the right and struck a utility pole on the right rear passenger door.

The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department provided traffic control at the scene and assisted as ACE EMS administered treatment to Blunt. She was then transported to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of minor injuries.

No citations have been issued as of the time of this report.

May 13, 2015 (Submitted by Sergeant Dickerson) - Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Sunday, May 10, 2015 at approximately 5:49PM, a deputy responded to 3678 FM 139 in Joaquin, Texas in reference to an altercation that had occurred between a John Leggett, James Leggett, and Richard Sharp, Sr.

On Tuesday, May 12, 2015 deputies were dispatched to the same location at approximately 1:06PM in reference to a shooting incident involving James Leggett, Richard Sharp, Sr. and Richard Sharp, Jr.

Upon arrival, deputies found Richard Sharp, Sr. deceased in the front yard of James Leggett's residence and Richard Sharp, Jr. having received a gunshot wound to the right leg. Richard Sharp, Jr. was treated by ACE EMS and lifeflighted by LifeAir Rescue to LSU in Shreveport, Louisiana.

It was found that James Leggett had shot both Richard Sharp, Sr. and Richard Sharp, Jr. at his residence. No charges have been filed at this time. Texas Rangers Brazil and Rayburn are investigating along with Criminal Investigation Division Sergeant DJ Dickerson and Investigator Kevin W. Windham. All evidence was mapped, cataloged, and packaged for processing. Texas DPS Crime Scene team also came to the Leggett residence to map evidence.

Justice of the Peace Precinct 3 Judge Margie Anderson pronounced Richard Sharp, Sr. as deceased at 1:45PM and an autopsy was ordered. Richard Sharp, Jr. was reported to be in ICU at LSU hospital.

This case is under investigation. A Grand Jury will hear all evidence of the case.

May 13, 2015 - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and Shelbyville ISD representatives responded to a two-vehicle crash involving a school bus and an 18-wheeler on Wednesday, May 13, 2015. Students were on the bus when the collision occurred and another school bus was called to the scene to pick them up. No students were reported to have received any injuries at the scene.

(Update): According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade LaVergne, at 7:14am a 2004 Kenworth hauling a tanker trailer owned by MKO Trucking driven by Leon Hardaway, 25, of Center was traveling south on FM 3172 just under two miles from the intersection of FM 2694 in Huxley.

A yellow Thomas school bus owned by Shelbyville ISD (bus #2) and driven by Kenneth Gregston, 24, of Center was traveling north with 12 minor passengers. As the school bus and the 18-wheeler passed one another in a curve in the roadway two tires on the rear axle driver side of the 18-wheeler came of the hub assembly. Gregston attempted to avoid the tires and left the roadway to the right more than expected with the tires striking the front driver's side quarter panel. Gregston continued on a path through the ditch and came to a stop along the tree line.

Unaware the collision occurred, Hardaway continued to his destination. Once he was aware the collision occurred he returned to the scene of the crash. Students onboard school bus number 2 were transferred to school bus number 17 so they could be safely transported to school.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. No citations were issued as the crash was due to mechanical failure.

May 11, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners chose to sit in silence in relation to an agenda item during their meeting on Monday, May 11, 2015. Audience members looked on at the silhouette outlines of most of the commissioners as they collectively failed to make a motion relating to an item with bearing on 12 counties.

Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison (pictured middle) presided over a darkened courtroom on Monday, May 11, 2015. Jennifer Fountain (foreground left), Shelby County Clerk, is seen taking notes by cell phone light.As Monday morning saw power outages in different areas of Center, the meeting progressed in a dimly lit courtroom. Everything seemed to be running smoothly until agenda item 9 referencing a resolution in support of putting in a weigh station and inspection station in Nacogdoches County and the state adding an additional 13 (state) troopers.

Allison Harbison, Shelby County Judge, presented the item to the commissioners and explained the circumstances, "Our neighboring county of Nacogdoches asked that we do a resolution supporting this. I believe they're trying to get a weigh station back on (U.S.) 59 and the judge over there just asked me if I would put it on the agenda and that's what I have done. I know with some of the things that we've been dealing with it might be nice to have a few extra available troopers in our 12 county region, but that's just whatever is your pleasure."

When Judge Harbison was met with silence, she asked the commissioners if they wished for her to read the resolution or if they had read the document. To which some gave a verbal response indicating they had read the resolution and she asked again if they wished to take action for or against the resolution.

"Obviously you don't want to take any action to give us any extra law enforcement and troopers," said Harbison.

None of the commissioners explained what they may have against the installation of a weigh station or additional state troopers as they refrained from speaking.

Devon made a donation recently of $4,000 to the Shelby County Sheriff's Department and for this donation to be accepted approval of the commissioners was necessary. Sheriff Willis Blackwell spoke on the use of the funds, "Right now we're gonna buy body cams for all of the officers, we have had them, but when we bought the first ones they were some inexpensive cameras that weren't night capable. So, we've just been without those cameras at night, you can get a little bit of a picture but the ones we're ordering are nightvision capable so we will get good video where won't get sued over something that we have a stop that we make or anything like that."

A motion was carried by the commissioners to approve the donation.

Eric Carver, Axley & Rode, LLP, gave an external audit report for Shelby County FY2014. He stated the audit went extremely well with much cooperation from Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, and other county staff, "When we looked at the government-wide statements and that when you put them all together you add the debts, you add the fixed assets the county had a really good year this year primarily due to that road grant you received. What you'll see is the overall net position of the county improved almost $3 million and most of that was that work that went in on those roads in each of y'alls different areas. Besides that you also saw your cash balance increase by about $900,000 across all the funds."

Sheriff Willis Blackwell spoke with the Shelby County Commissioners about the $4,000 donation made by Devon to the Sheriff's Department.Carver stated the reason the cash increased was all the budgeted funds, general fund and each road and bridge fund exceeded budgets and revenues and fell below budgeted expense values which carried forward into the next year. Carver stated a management letter was issued which pointed out some issues the county still has with an inadequate segregation of duties in some fee offices. He also said the county has been addressing these issues.
Stephen Shires spoke on behalf of his company Disability Needs which can file for indigent health care funds on behalf of the county. Shelby County has an indigent health care fund and when individuals match certain criteria they may receive assistance from this fund.

"Part of my practice involves social security disability and the fact is once somebody becomes eligible or receives social security disability or supplemental social security income, SSD or SSI, they then become eligible for medicaid or medicare.," said Shires. "Now after that happens there is a very limited window where the county can go back and bill medicaid or medicare and get a reimbursement of those funds."

Shires said he has spoken with at least three different county judges about these reimbursement opportunities and at times the county has attempted to regain these funds; however, he thinks the county has missed out on opportunities to receive all funds it possibly could. If these funds are acquired, it feasibly replenishes the fund and allows opportunity to help others in need.

It was proposed by Shires for the county and Disability Needs to work under contract for six months to see how well the process works and Judge Harbison stated she has not yet heard from Gary Rholes, County Attorney, on the contract. The contract carries with it a contingency, if no reimbursements are acquired then no money is owed to Disability Needs. A motion was carried by the commissioners accepting the contract with Disability Needs contingent on the approval of Rholes.

Stephen Shires is seen speaking with the commissioners about indigent health care.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

    Minutes of the April 13th Regular Meeting, and the April 16th, 2015 Public Hearing Meeting, and the April 27th, 2015 Special Meeting of the Shelby County Commissioners' Court.
    Pay monthly expenses.
    Officers' Reports.
    Treasurer Report on technology improvements for the JPs.
    Approve Barbara Walton's bond and appointment as Assistant Treasurer.
    Accept donation from Devon Energy to the Sheriff's Department in the amount of $4,000 for equipment.
    Presentation by Eric Carver of Axley & Rode, LLP of the Shelby County FY2014 external audit report.
    Appoint Allison Harbison and Ann Blackwell to the DETCOG Board of Directors, for the 2015-2016 year.
    Approve an Agreement between Shelby County and Disability Needs authorizing Disability Needs to file for refunds of Indigent Health Care expenditures for the County contingent on approval of Gary Rholes, County Attorney.
    Adjournment at 10:09am.

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