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February 5, 2015 - Lone Star Grill was the scene of a car fire in Joaquin Wednesday, February 5, 2015 and was almost included in the inferno.

The driver of the vehicle, Jessica Register, was dining at the Lone Star Grill when flames were seen emitting from her grey Kia Sephia, which was parked directly in front of the front door to the restaurant.

Joaquin Volunteer Firemen were dispatched to the scene by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department at 7:06pm. When they arrived at the scene they found the car engulfed in flames which were threatening to catch the building on fire as the flames melted through the business' sign.

Hoses were deployed and water was quickly sprayed on the fire, averting danger from the building. According to Jeremy Boyett, Assistant Fire Chief, the cause of the fire is unknown at this time and further investigation will be handled by the insurance company.

A separate incident occurred during the fire as firemen were directing traffic on U.S. Highway 84 East. According to Jade Lavergne, Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper, TJ McKnight, 19, of Joaquin and the son of a Lone Star Grill employee, arrived at the scene during the fire. He parked across the street from the restaurant and rushed across the highway in concern of his mother's safety.

As McKnight crossed the roadway, he did so in front of a white F-150 extended cab pickup truck driven by Rodney Lee Harvill, 49, of Joaquin and he was struck by the vehicle which knocked him to the ground. Harvill stopped and McKnight engaged him in an argument.

A witness at the scene broke up the argument and suggested Harvill leave. Later, after the fire had been extinguished, McKnight expressed a desire to be seen by a doctor and he was transported from the scene by ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Center Emergency Department.

Once Trooper Lavergne investigated the incident, it was determined no charges were necessary to be filed.

February 4, 2015 - The Center Fire Department was able to prevent the destruction of a home Wednesday, February 4, 2015 when they were dispatched to a house fire located in the James Community.

A resident of the home had stepped outside to make a phone call when he discovered smoke emanating from the house at 2:48pm. When the firemen arrived at the home, resided in by Garris and Nell Powell and located on CR 3156, smoke was billowing from the top of the tin roofed home. Firemen quickly entered the domicile and began searching for the origin of the fire in the attic.

As firemen searched within, other firemen used ladders to climb atop the roof and trace the smoke from above. The tin on the roof was peeled back revealing flames on which water was sprayed by the firemen on the roof and by those within the attic. The dual attack extinguished the flames and contained the fire to that one area of the roof thus, saving the home.

According to Center fireman Bobby Smith, the chimney to the fireplace in the home overheated. This caused the insulation and rafters around the chimney to catch fire and spread to the roof. Once the beams were exposed, it was discovered the fire had been building for some time and, previous to their arrival, appeared to have started and been snuffed out multiple times as it traveled up the rafters.

Before the firemen departed from the scene, Deep East Texas Cooperative representative Todd Clark arrived and disconnected the power to the home until repairs can be made.

February 3, 2015 - Information is being sought by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department in relation to a man who allegedly fired a rifle at a child on Monday.

Shelby County Sheriff Willis Blackwell reports that on Monday February 2, 2015 at around 5:15pm Sheriff’s Deputies Kurtes Lawrence, Bradley Horton and John Pope responded to a report of a juvenile who had been shot at by an unknown person.

When the deputies arrived on scene at a residence located on State Highway 87 South in the Shelbyville area. They said that the juvenile was on his own property checking some traps and observed an unknown black male described as being tall, thin built with a bald head, wearing a long sleeved shirt and blue jeans.

The juvenile stated that the unknown male was about 50 yards from him and that he waved at the unknown person. The juvenile stated that the person then raised a long firearm at him and shot one time. Deputies, along with Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones, searched the area, but were unable to locate the person.

This case is still under investigation. If anyone has any information regarding this case, please contact the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at 936-598-5600 or Center Crime Stoppers.

Center Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. Anyone who has information regarding this crime should call Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE (7233) or submit a tip online at Remember, you don't have to give your name. All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous. Rewards will only be paid on tips submitted through the Center Crime Stoppers system.

February 3, 2015 - The Center Fire Department was dispatched to a fire at a chicken farm involving a piece of equipment at 2:55pm on Tuesday, February 3, 2015.

A crew was working at loading chickens and cleaning out chicken houses at Tres Niños chicken farm owned by Austin Lucas at the time the fire ignited.

When the firemen arrived, a Bobcat ski-steer loader was engulfed in flames and the firemen began working to put out the fire. The firemen extinguished the flames and prevented the fire from spreading.

February 2, 2015 - A four wheeler parked under a carport is believed to be the cause of a structure fire on CR 1005 which the Center Fire Department responded to Monday morning.

According to the Center FD, a 9-1-1 call came in at 9:40am Monday, February 2, 2015 for a structure, possible house fire, on CR 1005 belonging to Darrell and Pam Samford. Upon arrival at the scene, fire fighters located a fully involved fire on the backside of a house. Once water was put to the fire, it was discovered the source was a parked four wheeler under the carport.

Cody Matlock, renter living in the house, was at home when the fire was discovered. He, along with Pam Samford who called 9-1-1, attempted to extinguish the flames before the fire department arrived only to find the water hose located 10 feet from the fire was frozen from the overnight freezing temperatures. Family pets located inside the house were evacuated to a safe area.

Fire fighters quickly extinguished the flames which had spread to the roof of the carport; however, the house only received minimal smoke damage inside the back door from the carport to the house. According to fireman Derek Lightfoot, the siding on the house was hardie board, a fire resistant material, and was most likely the reason for the fire did not spread from the 4-wheeler to the house.

Renter, Jill Albert who was at work at the Light and Champion at the time of the fire, was dispatched to her own house fire.

February 2, 2015 - Highest Temp was 77 degrees on 1-27-2015

Highest Temp on Record was 85 degrees on 1-23-1943 and 1-26-1950
Lowest Temp was 19 degrees on 1-08-2015
Lowest Temp on Record was 5 degrees on 1-19-1940 and 1-12-1982

Rainfall Recorded was 9.83 inches
Average Monthly Rainfall is 4.45 inches
Above Average by 5.38 inches
Highest Recorded for this Month was 12.13 inches in 1999
Lowest Recorded for this Month was 0.57 inches in 1986

Glaze on power lines 1-09-2015
Sleet on 1-24-2015

Full January 2015 Stats Report - link

February 2, 2015 - The City of Center is excited to announce regular recycling service will resume Tuesday, February 3. The recycling trailer will be placed at the Historic Square at its previous location.

Center Mayor David Chadwick explains, that, “Last year, the City made a very hard decision to cancel the recycling program especially in light of the fact that many people outside the City used the program. We reached out to the other governments and they agreed to help.” Shelby County and the Cities of Joaquin, Tenaha and Timpson each agreed to help pay part of the cost of the program. “In return for their help, we will carry the trailer to their location twice a year for one week.”

The City also received a Solid Waste Grant from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) through the Deep East Texas Council of Governments (DETCOG). “This grant allowed the City to purchase a new, larger truck for the program,” reported Center City Manager Chad Nehring.

The recycling program is single stream, meaning that one does not have to sort the recyclables to place them in the trailer. The City transports the trailer to Pratt Industries in Shreveport where the material is sorted and processed.

The City would encourage anyone using the program to break down boxes or compress items such as milk jugs, cans and plastic bottles. “These types of materials take a lot of space and are low weight,” Nehring said. “Conserving volume saves space in the trailer so more can be transported per trip.”

January 30, 2015 - Shelby County Sheriff's Department received a 911 on January 30, 2015 at approximately 3:18am regarding a male subject identified as a Darrell Bailey, who lives at the corner of CR 1245 and 7 West, reported to have been shot by an assailant unknown to him at the time. Mr. Bailey was life flighted to LSU by Life Air Rescue and condition is unknown at this time.

Photo by Jerryl AdamsThe West Shelby County Volunteer Fire Department established a landing zone on the highway for the helicopter.

If anyone has any information regarding this incident, please contact Investigator DJ Dickerson at the Shelby County Sheriff's Department at 936-598-5600.

Center Crime Stoppers is offering a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information. Anyone who has information regarding this crime should call Center Crime Stoppers at 936-598-SAFE (7233) or submit a tip online at Remember you don't have to give your name. All calls and cash rewards are completely anonymous. Rewards will only be paid on tips submitted through the Center Crime Stoppers system.

January 27, 2015 - An industrial incident outside of Timpson on FM 415 resulted in injury and a life-flight for an individual involved.

Emergency crews responded to the scene located 3/4 of a mile from State Highway 87 North at 799 FM 415 at 10:30am on Tuesday, January 27, 2015. According to law enforcement officials at the scene, Ricky Harkness received injury to his arms from a wood chipper.

Members of the Shelby County Sheriff's Department, and Constable Precinct 5 office were in the area and responded when they received word of the emergency. A landing zone was established in a field near where the incident occurred with the assistance of the Timpson Volunteer Fire Department.

EMS with the Timpson Volunteer Ambulance Service and ACE EMS stabilized Harkness at the scene until Life-Air Rescue arrived to airlift him to a hospital in Shreveport.

January 27, 2015 - The Shelby County Commissioners approved the rental of an office for Marla Denby, Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, in the Shelbyville area during their recent meeting on Monday, January 26, 2015.

Denby addressed the court about the office space already provided by the county, "We do have an office in Dreka that has been supplied by the county. Times change, things change and this office space is not to where we can really do what we need to do. It's for myself and [Jamie] Hagler the constable and to benefit the people."

The new space which Denby described is in Shelbyville and is on FM 417, very close to Farmers State Bank, "I could make my deposits right then, I could collect money from the people because people bring cash and they bring money orders and things like that," said Denby. "The post office is just across the street basically, and we do have a time limit on some of the things we have to mail."

The school is very close to the new office and is a more central area for law enforcement and people in the community to travel. Denby commented the environment would be a great deal better for those visiting the Justice of the Peace office. The new office will also have high speed internet which Denby explained will help to run the office efficiently, "We don't want to be ashamed, I'll put it that way. We want to be up to par and that's just the way I've always tried to do, I mean I've always been a hard worker and I just don't like to halfway do a job."

A motion was carried by the commissioners to rent space from Farmers State Bank for $2,400 dollars a year as well as to pay for utilities with the funding for both coming out of the contingency fund and to adjust the budget accordingly.

Colleen Doggett, Shelby County Historical Commission Chair, presented the commissioners with a list depicting the names of 17 Shelby County Historical Commission proposed members with officers designated for the 2015-2016 year. A motion was carried to approve the members.

Jamie Hagler (left), Constable Precinct 2, and Marla Denby (right), Justice of the Peace Precinct 2, are seen above as Denby addressed the commissioners on Monday, January 26, 2015.Doggett informed the commissioners of several issues at the 1885 Historic Courthouse which are in need of attention. There is an issue on the second floor of the courthouse in the courtroom which may be due to a leak in the roof.

According to Doggett, the elevator is almost non operative at this time and last April she was stuck in the elevator during a wedding at the courthouse with family members of the bride and groom, "The elevator needs to be fixed, because those stairs are hard to navigate for older people and the VFW uses that building a lot. They're all older people, mostly retired military and the stairs are just too hard for them."

Two years ago the air conditioner in the courthouse leaked and Doggett states this caused some damage to a historic rug in the Transportation Room of the courthouse. It has been noticed lately the ceiling boards damaged by the air conditioner leak are sagging. Doggett requested an estimate from JC Lewis on cost of repair and it ranges from $3,000 to $6,000 depending on unknown damage.

There are several other items in the courthouse which Doggett stated are in need of care. Shelby County Judge Allison Harbison stated she will do some research on the roof and will work with Doggett on additional items.

Agenda items receiving approval include:

    Approve and pay monthly expenses.
    Rent space for Justice of the Peace Precinct 2 from Farmers State Bank for $2,400 a year as well as utilities and it will come out of the contingency fund, adjust budget accordingly.
    Appointment of Shelby County Historical Commission members for 2015-2016.
    Travis Rodgers, Commissioner Precinct 3, to sell or dispose of (a) Ranch 2 door belly dump trailer; (b) 1975 Chevy Silverado flatbed truck; (c) Fiat 175 maintainer; (d) FG85 maintainer.
    Separate commissioner cell phones from the Sheriff's Department account and put them on their own individual accounts.
    Appoint Anne Blackwell to the DETCOG Board of Directors.
    Adjournment 10:03am