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February 13, 2015 - Savannah Talbert and Ty Fox competed in the U.I.L District 22-2A cross-examination debate contest February 7 hosted at Shelbyville High School.

Fox and Talbert placed first, and Savannah was the high point individual for the district. The two will be competing in Austin at the C.X. State Meet on March 16.

February 13, 2015 - The City of Center is excited to announce that it has joined the ranks of less than 100 proactive Texas cities in the Texas Comptroller’s Leadership Circle, a group of cities committed to financial transparency. “For me financial transparency means that we have nothing to hide,” explained Center Mayor David Chadwick. “We are honored to be included in such company as Dallas, Houston, Austin and to be one of the smaller Texas local governments to reach the highest level.” The transparency award ranges from Bronze to Platinum. For more information about the Leadership Circle, visit

“City staff created a financial transparency webpage which has all sorts of information on the annual budgets, audits, contact information, check registers, charts and graphs. It truly is a one-stop shop for anyone wishing to learn more about how the City of Center operates.” Chadwick continued, “We hope that residents will visit the financial transparency page from our website

“For the past few years, City staff has worked very hard to present more information to the Council and public in an understandable format, whether that be in the budget or website,” reported Center City Manager Chad Nehring. “This is the first step in being recognized in these efforts.”

February 12, 2015 - A man has been life-flighted following a single-vehicle crash on FM 415 near Timpson.

Texas Department of Public Safety State (DPS) Troopers and Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched to the wreck scene located two miles from FM 138 on FM 415. Deputy Roy Bailey and Stanley Burgay, Constable Precinct 5, handled traffic control while DPS, and Timpson Volunteer Fire Department (TVFD) personnel assisted ACE EMS with the driver.

Once the driver was removed from the vehicle ACE EMS transported him from the crash scene to a nearby field for life-flight. The TVFD established a landing zone in the field where Life-Air Rescue then set down.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Anthony LaCount, at 3:15pm Herbert Hearnsberger, 92, of Livingston was traveling southbound at an unsafe speed in a 2001 Toyota Tacoma on FM 415 just before the Stockman Community when he lost control of the truck. The Toyota rolled multiple times in the northbound traffic lane before finally coming to rest in the southbound lane facing north.

Hearnsberger was life-flighted in stable condition to a hospital in Shreveport for treatment. The crash remains under investigation. DPS Troopers Dustin Ramos and Keith Jones assisted with the crash investigation.

February 11, 2015 - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) was dispatched to a single-vehicle rollover on County Road 4466 on near Tenaha Wednesday, February 11, 2015.

When DPS Troopers Anthony LaCount and Dustin Ramos arrived at the scene no one was present with the vehicle, which was on its side in a wooded area along the roadway. During the investigation of the crash, the driver and family members returned to the scene.

According to DPS Trooper Anthony LaCount, at 4:05pm Albert Louise, 18, of Joaquin was traveling westbound in a black Chevrolet 1500 pickup truck on County Road 4366 just before the intersection with County Road 4370 when a deer ran in front of the truck. Louise took evasive action and lost control of the truck which traveled off the roadway to the left and into the woods where it received major damage to the front end and rolled onto its left side where it came to rest.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash and Louise was issued citations for unsafe speed and no driver's license.

February 11, 2015 - The council approved Resolution 2015-9 accepting the visual surface area report for the Center Municipal Airport and remediation response. Nehring addressed the council in reference to the resolution and a few months ago at the second meeting of October 2014 he presented the council with plans from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the airport.

"I brought to the council FAA's notice that they were expanding the visual surface runway approach for instrument landing requirements," said Nehring.

He presented the council with the report based on survey data which was conducted by on-site survey to document any obstacles and trees needing to be moved or removed for the required FAA changes, "Some are going to be relatively easy to remedy, I did not say inexpensive, but relatively easy. Others are off site."

Nehring doesn't expect much difficulty in reaching amicable agreements with property owners around the airport, " We will bring you some cost estimates for actual physical removal of some of these trees in the upcoming future based on your approval and acceptance of this report."

Mayor David Chadwick remarked on the construction which has been taking place on an airplane hangar being built by a construction company hired by Terry Bailey along State Highway 7 East. Chadwick asked Nehring if there will be the need for fencing to keep people off the runway and Nehring described the plans for a gate.

"We're working with the contractor and the owner or builder of the new hangar as much as possible, they're supposed to be making sure that fence and everything stays impassable," said Nehring. "There will be a new gate installed, that is probably the biggest concession that we ended up making. The hangar builder agreed to go ahead and build the already approved entrance off of Highway 7 that council approved 4-6 years ago."

According to Nehring the city will still have to work on gate operation, and he expects once the construction is complete on the new entrance and hangar, the value added to the airport is going to be substantial.

The council approved Resolution 2015-8 authorizing application for the Justice Assistance Grant of the U.S. Department of Justice by the Center Police Department. Chad Nehring, Center City Manager, explained to the council the reason for asking for permission from the council to submit the application. He also stated they are seeking clarification on some criteria they are meant to meet to receive the funding.

"Jim [Gibson] and, I think, Lt. [Jeremy] Bittick have worked to try to identify some funding sources for additional equipment, some that's nearing end of life, primarily our main server and some ancillary computer systems," said Nehring.

After the council addressed the regular agenda items several items of interest were reviewed. The Center Volunteer Fire Department has issued a letter to the City of Center as they are preparing to purchase new bunker gear out of the department's funds. The department will purchase six new sets of gear contingent on the city agreeing to purchase three sets of gear as well, totaling $5,289. The department has applied for an additional grant through the Texas Forestry Service and those grants will be determined in March.

The City of Center website is the recipient of a 2015 Platinum Leadership Circle Award. This was achieved by scoring 21 of 23 points on the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts ratings criteria.

Items on the agenda receiving approval include:

   1 Minutes of the regular meeting on January 26, 2015.
   2 Resolution 2015-8 authorizing application for the Justice Assistance Grant of the U.S. Department of Justice.
   3 Resolution 2015-9 accepting the visual surface area report for the Center Municipal Airport and remediation response.
   4 Annual Racial Profiling Report from Center Police Department.
   5 Zoning Board of Adjustment appointment of James Camp; Hotel Motel Advisory Committee appointment of Rose Spector. In addition other members accepting their appointments were approved.


February 10, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners approved the use of a new credit card for the county with very limited usage at their brief session on Monday, February 10, 2015. They also allowed the passage of a new regular agenda item allowing public comment on a current day agenda.

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, stated there are a lot of instances where county representatives have to book rooms in hotels/motels and they have to use their personal cards for these charges. There are also times the commissioners have difficulty purchasing parts through some vendors that do not extend a line of credit.

Anne Blackwell, Shelby County Treasurer, will retain the credit card in her office and be the only person in possession of the number.

Clint Porterfield, Shelby County Auditor, commented on the history of the county having a credit card and the importance of having a central individual to handle the credit card, "The county has had a credit card program before and through personal experience I can tell you that without some good controls it can get out of line. The person who is going to be in control of this credit card has quite a responsibility, not only to just secure the credit card and make sure purchases are correct that we make against the credit card, but you've got to think about the billing that comes in. You've got to think about all the receipts or the tickets that go with that and matching all that up, because basically just because we use a credit card, we can't pay that credit card unless we have the correct receipts that go with it, and that's always been an issue when you have a credit card program for a county or any business."

A motion was carried to get the credit card with stipulations that the card could be used for reserving rooms, parts if needed. It was also added if a receipt is not brought back by an individual they would then be responsible for the bill.

Jimmy Lout, Commissioner Precinct 2, made a motion which was approved to allow the public to speak on agenda items with a three minute limit, "I think a lot of times the public needs the input on what's on the agenda and I just think it would be a good thing for them to speak."

A motion was carried to adjourn the meeting at 9:52am.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

   1 Minutes of the January 12th regular meeting and the January 23rd and 26th special meetings.
   2 Officer's reports.
   3 Pay monthly expenses.
   4 County investment policy.
   5 Procedure allowing members of the public to comment, with a 3 minute time limit, on any current agenda item.
   6 Approve commercial lease with Farmers State Bank for rental of office space for Precinct 2 Justice of the Peace and Constable at $200 per month with the lease expiring February 1, 2016.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:

   1 Resolution to enroll in the National Flood Insurance Program.
   2 Flood Management Prevention Order for Shelby County.


February 10, 2015 - The Timpson City Council has been considering a reduction in its police force for several months now and over the course of several meetings. Budgetary concerns by some council members has been a contributing factor in the debate which has left many citizens and businesses in the community with the desire of their voices to be heard on this issue by the council.

Tony Smith, owner of The Foxxhole House restaurant, has taken it upon himself to petition the community for their choice regarding the Timpson Police Department. As a member of the community in Timpson, Smith has a firsthand knowledge of the affect a police department can have on crime in a community.

"I'm speaking from a victim's perspective and from a business owner's perspective. They broke into my house late at night and the police were there and thank God I had cameras in my house and that's why we were able to apprehend the culprit that broke in."

Smith said there can be times when employees can feel threatened in a business setting by customers or people who are not necessarily on their best behavior and the police are needed, "We call the police and they're on it, they're there. We rely on them to protect and to serve us and it's a dangerous job that I just wouldn't have myself. I take my hat off and kudos to those who do decide to protect and serve us. To cut off our 24-hour service would be a detriment to our city, I mean we're going backwards instead of forwards."

Community members who have been in contact with Smith have been shocked at the council's attempt to reduce the police force. He says the city is not broke and he feels there are reasons the reduction is being sought besides budgetary purposes, "It seems to me like you have a select few on that city council that have personal vendettas against the police department for whatever reason, you hear things," said Smith. "We have people on the city council that have no idea how to balance a budget and I just think that we need some responsible people that are on the city council to make some of those decisions for the city."

When Smith established The Foxxhole House in Timpson, he did so with the foreknowledge Timpson has a 24-hour police force to serve the community, "It would be detrimental to do so and not to have that kind of safety for not just the employees, but for the community."

Smith has the intention of speaking with each of the council members and hearing them out, "I do plan on seeking out the council members individually and pleading what I am saying to you now, but they have not always been acceptable to contact. I'm going to make it my business to contact them."

The relationship between the police department and the community is very good according to Smith and he doesn't want to see that change, "They have got a good police department there, they don't see race when they stop somebody," said Smith. "They have good interaction with the community. I have traveled the world and they have a good department. Kent [Graham] is a great chief there and it would seem sad to break that chemistry up there because they really do a good job. Everybody is not going to agree with them, because they have to enforce the law."

Petitions are available to anyone wishing to participate in the petition at the Foxxhole House restaurant, located at 912 North 2nd Street. Another option is to contact Smith by calling (936) 254-2800 and he can send someone with a petition to your location.

February 9, 2015 - Two vehicles collided on U.S. Highway 96 North when one driver did not notice another one stopping to turn on Saturday, February 7, 2015.

Tenaha City Marshal's Office Deputy Derrick Gray was first on scene in front of S Goodwin Roof Service LLC. to check for any injured parties. Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Trooper Keith Jones arrived shortly thereafter and began his crash investigation.

According to DPS Trooper Jones, at 4:30pm Jose Luciano Sanchez-Alanzo, 38, of Tenaha was driving a 1997 white Chevrolet S-10 pickup truck and was slowing to make a left turn. Luther Dale Cook, 32, of Etoile was driving a 2008 grey Ford F-150 pickup truck and looked off the roadway to his right and when he looked back he failed to control speed and the Ford struck the S-10 causing major damage to both vehicles.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. Cook was issued a citation for failure to control speed and Sanchez-Alanzo was issued a citation for no driver's license.

February 9, 2015 - Haslam Strip just before the Sabine River Bridge was the scene of a two-vehicle crash on Friday, February 6, 2015 and initial reports were that injuries were received during the crash.

Texas Department of Public Safety State Troopers and ACE EMS were dispatched to the crash and when they arrived the vehicles had been moved to the side of the roadway across from Texas State Bank.

Upon arrival, EMS personnel checked both drivers at the scene and they each refused transport.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) State Trooper Jimmy Faulkner, at 1:35pm a red 2003 Dodge SLT pickup truck driven by Oscar Romero, 35, of Tenaha was traveling eastbound on U.S. Highway 84 (Haslam Strip) and was stopped, preparing to make a left turn.

A 2003 Toyota Camry driven by a 17-year-old driver of Logansport was traveling the same direction as Romero and failed to control his speed and the Camry collided with the rear of the Dodge.

Citations were issued to the 17-year-old for failure to control speed, and to Romero for no drivers license. No major injuries were reported resulting from the crash. DPS Trooper Anthony Lacount assisted with the crash investigation.

February 9, 2015 - The Tenaha City Marshal's Office and Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department were dispatched to a single-vehicle crash early Saturday morning, February 7, 2015.

As the result of different agencies being on different radio frequencies from one another when they respond to an emergency, there was a delay in information sharing. Although law enforcement arrived on scene, the fire trucks which had Jaws of Life to help free the trapped driver from the vehicle were almost to Panola County in search of the crash scene because they were not able to hear when officers discovered the location of the wreck.
Once the firemen were updated on the location of the wrecked vehicle they arrived at the scene and helped to extricate the driver.

James Jacobs, 54, of Magnolia was traveling the U.S. Highway 59 on-ramp in a red Toyota Tundra when he lost control of the vehicle. The Toyota traveled off the ramp to the left and struck a tree head-on, causing the truck to flip onto its roof.

Once they arrived, the Tenaha Volunteer Fire Department and Woods Volunteer Fire Department were able to gain access to the truck and assist ambulance personnel in removing him from the vehicle.

ACE EMS transported Jacobs with minor injuries to the Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment.

No citations have been given at this time and the crash remains under investigation by Tenaha Deputy City Marshal Derrick Gray. Also assisting at the scene were Timpson Police Officer Thomas Jernigan and Constable Precinct 4 Bryan Gray.