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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.

February 9, 2015 - Firemen Return to Home Previously Saved from Fire; Total LossFiremen returned three months later to the scene of a mobile home fire on CR 3010 Sunday evening, February 8, 2015 to find it destroyed by flames.

A 9-1-1 call came in and Shelbyville and Center fire departments were dispatched at 6:55pm for a house on fire which both departments had responded to on the first of November for fire as well. The first fireman on scene, John Green reported to those responded the house was fully engulfed in flames. The home owned by Ray Smith and rented by John Paul Gay, Ronnie Gay, and Paula Askew was too engulfed in flames for the firemen to be able to save it.

Deep East Texas Electric Cooperative responded to the scene and disconnected service to the almost completely burned down structure. No injuries were reported and firemen left the scene at 8:35pm.


February 9, 2015 - Due to an outage experienced by SWEPCO – Southwestern Electric Power Company, the DETEC service areas powered by our Center, Center South, Hilltop, Holly, San Augustine, Bronson, Black Ankle, Pendleton, Hemphill, Six Mile, Hurstown and Huxley Substations are currently without power.

At this time, the cause of the outage is unknown. DETEC is working with SWEPCO to have power restored as soon as possible.

As of 5:45am power has been restore to all area effected by the power outage.

February 6, 2015 - Shelby County is gearing up for a new Texas Two Step. Beginning March 1, 2015, the state will no longer issue vehicle inspection stickers and will move to a "Two Steps, One Sticker" program. Under the new system, Texas vehicle owners will need to pass inspection prior to renewing their registration. The familiar blue-bordered Texas Department of Motor Vehicles (TxDMV) registration sticker will serve as proof of both inspection and registration.

"Shelby County is prepared to make this transition as smooth as possible for our residents," said Shelby County Tax Assessor-Collector Debora Riley, "During the first year of the program beginning March 1, 2015, all you will need to do is make sure you already have a valid passing vehicle inspection before you renew your registration in our office, online or by mail."

When vehicle owners renew their registration, the system will automatically verify whether the vehicle has a valid inspection. Without a passing inspection, the vehicle will not be eligible for registration renewal.

During the second year of the program, beginning March 1, 2016, vehicles' inspection and registration expiration dates will align to the date that is on the registration sticker. Once the expiration dates are aligned in that second year, you will have a convenient 90-day window to pass inspection first and renew your registration before the end of the month listed on your sticker.

"When the 'Two Steps, One Sticker' program is fully implemented, Shelby County residents will appreciate having just one sticker in the corner of their windshield and only one expiration date to worry about," said TxDMV Executive Director Whitney Brewster. "And because a passing vehicle inspection will be a requirement to renew your registration, more vehicle owners will comply with inspection requirements leading to safer and more environmentally sound cars on Texas roads."

The implementation of 'Two Steps, One Sticker' is a result of House Bill 2305 which passed during the 83rd Legislative Session in 2013. The program is a join effort by the TxDMV, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, in collaboration with the 254 county tax assessor-collector's offices which process vehicle registrations and vehicle inspection stations across the state.

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February 6, 2015 - A single vehicle rollover eluded responding emergency personnel Friday, February 6, 2015 on Hwy 7 West since the vehicle was nestled in the edge of a wooded area hidden by a tree line.

Authorities with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Center Police Department, Center Fire Department and Zach Warr, Constable Precinct 1 all searched the area one mile west of Center on State Highway 7 West for the vehicle. A passerby who had stopped to help the driver waved down Constable Warr. Shortly thereafter all other law enforcement involved in the short search converged at the scene.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, at 9am Stephanie Maria Small, 27, of Center was traveling eastbound in a maroon 2007 Dodge Caliber SXT on State Highway 7 West just before County Road 1145 when she lost control of her vehicle.

The Dodge traveled into the westbound side of the highway and then left the roadway traveling through a deep ditch and then rolling into a wooded area.

Small was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department for treatment of minor injuries. A citation was issued to Small for wrong side of roadway not passing.

February 5, 2015 - Emergency personnel responded to a single-vehicle crash on CR 3267 late Wednesday evening after a report of a vehicle striking a tree.

Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade Lavergne and ACE EMS were dispatched to the scene of the crash at 9:58pm. Upon arrival a black Camaro with a red stripe was found at the scene.

According to Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Jade Lavergne, a black 2011 Chevrolet Camaro with a red racing stripe driven by Colton Tyre, 22, of Huxley was traveling southbound on CR 3267 with front passenger Maranda Whitton, 20, of Center; right-rear passenger Haley Evans, 18, of Joaquin; and left-rear passenger Heather Jernigan, 18, of Nacogdoches.

As the Camaro was traveling south at an unsafe speed, Tyre lost control of the vehicle which then struck a small embankment on the right and spun around before coming to a halt facing north partially in the roadway.

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash. The Camaro sustained major damage. Tyre was issued a citation for unsafe speed.