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Child deaths on Texas roadways up 25 percent in 2014

September 14, 2015 AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Transportation offers free child safety seat checks at the agency’s 25 statewide district offices and encourages all caregivers to make an appointment as part of national Child Passenger Safety Week, Sept. 13-19. TxDOT reminds all Texans that properly restraining their children while riding in vehicles is an everyday, year-round responsibility. It’s also the law.

“We’re not going to stop until every child in Texas is buckled into the correct safety seat for their age and size,” said TxDOT Executive Director LtGen Joe Weber, USMC (Ret). “It’s not only the law, but it’s also unacceptable for any child to die or be injured on our roads – especially if those deaths and injuries could have been prevented with the proper use of a safety seat.”

In 2014, crashes on Texas roads killed 81 children younger than 8 years of age. In 2013, that number was 67. Texas law requires all children under 8 years old – unless they are taller than 4 feet 9 inches – to be in a child safety seat whenever they ride in a passenger vehicle. Failure to properly restrain a child can result in a ticket up to $250.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports most parents are confident they have correctly installed their child’s safety seat, but 59 percent have not. Common child safety seat errors include: installing the seat too loosely; putting the harness straps through the wrong slots; leaving harness straps too loose; positioning the chest clip incorrectly; and using the wrong seat belt path.

Drivers should refer to their specific child safety seat manufacturer’s manual for instructions on how to install the safety seat. The vehicle owner’s manual also includes information on the proper placement of the safety seat and proper use of the seat belt or LATCH system.

To schedule a free child safety seat check with a nearby TxDOT Traffic Safety Specialist, text the word “seat” and your ZIP code to 876526. Drivers also can visit to learn if a child should be in a rear-facing seat, forward-facing seat or booster seat.

During Child Passenger Safety Week, two TxDOT safety demonstration vans will travel the state to show caregivers how to choose and install the correct safety seat for their child. The demo vans will appear at safety seat check events and media outlets.

For more information, contact TxDOT Public Information Officer Rhonda Oaks at (936) 633-4395 or

The information contained in this report represents reportable data collected from the Texas Peace Officer's Crash Report (CR-3). This information was received and processed by the department as of Sept. 1, 2015.

September 14, 2015 - The James/Antioch Community Center will hold it's monthly meeting on Saturday, September 19th at 6:30pm. Everyone from the community is invited. After the short meeting a pot-luck meal will be enjoyed. Bring a favorite covered dish and come join us.

September 14, 2015 - The Piney Woods Photographic Society (PWPS) will be holding their monthly meeting this Saturday, September 19, 2015 in the basement of the First United Methodist Church, 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Anyone interested in learning more about photography or just how to work their camera is invited to come. The monthly workshop will be "Photoshop Tips and Tricks" to help with fine tuning your pictures on your computer. The monthly Challenge is "Barns".

Billie Jones will also be accepting entries for the East Texas Poultry Festival Photography Contest during the meeting. Bring you entries to the basement of the First United Methodist Church from 9a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Anyone with questions or needing help can contact me at 935-598-7778 or 936-591-2426. Entry forms are available on SCT, Chamber of Commerce, Farmers State Bank and at the PWPS meeting.

September 14, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners approved the continuation of the burn ban in Shelby County at their meeting on Monday, September 14, 2015.

Anyone burning risks the receipt of a fine up to $500 for violating the ban.

More information on the meeting will be provided here on Shelby County Today.

September 11, 2015 - Patriot Day was recognized and those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001 were remembered during a ceremony held on the Center square on Friday, September 11, 2015. VFW Post 8904 hosted the event which included several representatives of law enforcement and other emergency personnel.

Citizens of Shelby County were also in attendance for the event which reflected on the terrorist attack on the United States and the over 3,000 lives lost in the attack.

Aubie McSwain, Pastor provided the opening prayer for the event and Larry Hume, Quartermaster, led the ceremony.

"On this day in 2001, when the first calls for help reached squad cars, ambulances and ladder companies there was no hesitation. First responders rushed to the scene, they stormed up the stairs and into the flames. Their legacy lives on in those they saved and in the memories we keep. Most of all it lives on in the spirit they embodied, compassion, resilience and unity. Many of those we lost set aside their own well-being in the hope that they could save someone that they never even knew," stated Hume.

Introduced by Hume, and speaking on behalf of first responders in Shelby County were Keith Byndom, Center Fire Chief; Jim Albers, Center Police Chief; Willis Blackwell, Shelby County Sheriff; and Jessie Griffith, ACE EMS Manager. Each reflected on the tragedy of September 11, 2001 and the effect it had and has continued to have for all Americans.

Chief Albers was given the honor of placing the memorial wreath on the Shelby County Veterans Memorial, after which Hume reminded everyone to remember Mike Wood who formerly played the bagpipes at VFW events and who has been battling health problems. The Pledge of Allegiance was then recited, followed by a moment of silence and remembrance of September 11, 2001 and the playing of Taps.

September 11, 2015The Center City Council will meet in a Special Workshop Session on Monday, September 14, 2015, at 4:30pm, in the Council room at Center City Hall. The following items are on the agenda for appropriate action:

I. Strategic Growth Planning

II. Recreational/Tourism Programs

September 11, 2015 - The Shelby County Sheriff's Office is experiencing excessive amounts of 911 calls from children who are using cell phones for play. Cell phones that are no longer being used whether they are activated or deactivated – with or without a SIM card, are still able to place emergency calls.

Parents and guardians need to be aware that they are responsible for children who call 911. Abuse of emergency service calls can lead to your arrest.

Sheriff Willis Blackwell urges parents and guardians to explain the use of 911 to children.
“Playing on 911 can cause someone to go without the help they need,” Blackwell said. “We encourage all individuals with cell phones to be aware many devices dial 911 easily and through voice recognition. Responsible usage will allow all dispatchers to focus on high priority calls.”

September 11, 2015 - This is the first week of the library’s new hours. We are hoping that being open from 10 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday will better accommodate our library users’ needs. In the past we were open at 9 a.m. on Saturdays and very few came into the library until 11, an hour before closing. The library would be full of users at noon with us having to announce that we were closing. Hopefully, we will also better accommodate our older children who get to “sleep in” on Saturday mornings. The library will also be closing an hour earlier at 5 p.m. on Friday. Regular hours of 10-6 will remain for Tuesday through Thursday.

The library received news from the Tocker Foundation of Austin that we had received a $5,000 grant for books. This is wonderful news and much needed funds to keep our collection current. Most of the funds will be spent on books for the 8-12 year olds who are the fastest growing group of new library card holders. Other goods news is that the Friends of the Library will be meeting at the library on Wednesday, Sept. 16th at 10:00 a.m. to organize the October books sale and Poultry Festival quilt raffle. This books sale promises to be even bigger than the last with an excellent selection of “like new” materials for the bargain price of $1.00 and .50. If you are a member, you are needed at this meeting to help organize the sale. If you are not a member but would like to help, you are also welcome.

For those of you visiting the library in the last couple of weeks, you met our new staff member, Cassey Fowler. Cassey is a Carthage native and has worked in the surrounding areas. Her excellent computer skills were acquired when she worked in Dallas as a legal secretary. Cassey enjoys cooking and, of course, is a passionate reader. She enjoys helping people and is a good resource for assisting with computer research or book selection. We are fortunate to have Cassey join the staff.

The Undertaker's Daughter - Mayfield, Katherine,
Infinite Home - Alcott, Kathleen
The Solomon Curse - Cussler, Clive
The Dust That Falls From Dreams - Louis de Bernières
Blueprints - Delinsky, Barbara
The Marriage of Opposites - Hoffman, Alice
Eileen - Moshfegh, Ottessa,
X - Grafton, Sue
The Beautiful Bureaucrat - Phillips, Helen,
A Pattern of Lies -Todd, Charles.

September 11, 2015 - The Tocker Foundation located in Austin, Texas notified the Fannie Brown Booth Library on August 31st that the library’s grant had been funded. The Tocker Foundation promotes Texas public libraries in communities of 12,000 or less. Grant applications are reviewed by a permanent committee of librarians appointed by the Texas Library Association. This grant brings the cumulative grant support by the Tocker Foundation to the Fannie Brown Booth Library to $19,198.

In 1992, the foundation endowed by Phillip and Olive Tocker decided to focus grant distribution to small rural libraries in Texas. Grants are distributed to assisting libraries to serve as community centers, information resources and provide literacy and bilingual programs. The Fannie Brown Booth Library has successfully received grants for new computers, new management software, and most importantly funds for quality, current library books. The current grant will be used to primarily purchase children’s series books and nonfiction books. 

The library continues to seek financial support from the community and other grant sources in order to continue serving Shelby County residents with quality services and materials.

September 8, 2015 - Starting Friday, September 11th and Saturday, September 12th, library hours for the Fannie Brown Booth Library will change for Fridays and Saturdays. New hours will be: Friday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.

Library hours for Tuesday through Thursday will still be 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.