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August 8, 2019 - Texas Department of Public Safety has released information on the driver involved in a fatal crash this morning on U.S. Highway 96 North, after notifying next of kin.

According to the press release,the preliminary crash investigation indicates at approximately 11:15am, a white 2006 Chevrolet pickup was traveling south, when for unknown reasons the pickup drove off the roadway to the right. The driver then overcorrected to the left, crossing back across the highway and overturning.

The driver is identified as Dennis Jackson, 64, from Tenaha. Jackson was pronounced deceased at the scene by Melissa Crouch, Shelby County Justice of the Peace Precinct 1.

This crash remains under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.

Handling the crash investigation is DPS Trooper Keith Jones.

Center Fire Department Firemen directed traffic at the scene and assisted in extricating the driver from the vehicle. Community Funeral Home transported Jackson from the scene.

Update 12:25pm: Crash scene is cleared and roadway open.

August 8, 2019 - Traffic north of Center on US 96 just north of Loop 500 is down to one lane due to a major crash. Three lanes are blocked and the Center Fire Department is assisting with traffic control. Avoid the area if possible and use caution if you have to travel through.

August 5, 2019 - Three fire departments battled a two-story house fire Sunday, August 4, 2019 in the Aiken Community.

According to the West Shelby County Volunteer Fire Department (WSCVFD), they were dispatched to the residence of Linda Barbee at 4:36pm at the 1600 block of CR 1211 (Lake Pinkston Road).

When the firemen arrived, the house was fully engulfed in flames and that's when they called for additional support which arrived by way of the Center Fire Department and Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department.

When the secondary units arrived the second floor was already gone and had collapsed on the first floor.

Grass and tanker trucks were on scene supplying water to all points of the structure.

According to the WSCVFD, it appeared the fire began in the utility room of the house near the garage where a truck was parked and was also lost as a result of the fire. The house was determined to be a total loss.

All units returned to the stations at 7pm.

The water on San Augustine Rural WSC no longer requires boiling.

August 6, 2019 - On August 2, 2019, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality required the San Augustine Rural Public Water System, #2030007, to issue a Boil Water Notice to inform customers, individuals or employees that due to conditions which occurred recently in the public water system the water from this public water system was required to be boiled prior use for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

San Augustine Rural Water has taken the necessary corrective actions to restore the quality of the water distributed by this public water system used for drinking water or human consumption purposes and has provided TCEQ with laboratory test results that indicate that the water no longer requires boiling prior to use as of August 6, 2019.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact the office: 220 West Columbia Street San Augustine, Texas. 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp 936-201-5001. Thank you for your patience and cooperation

If a customer, individual or employee wishes to contact the executive director, please call (512)239-4691.

August 2, 2019 - Due to a major break in the line, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) has required San Augustine Rural Public Water System PWS #2030007 to notify all customers on Hwy 96, FM 711, CR 217, CR 202, CR 106, CR 3230, CR 110 to boil their water prior to consumption (eg., washing hands / face, brushing teeth, drinking, etc). Children, seniors and Persons with weakened immune systems are particularly vulnerable to harmful bacteria, and all customers should follow these directions.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and ice making should be boiled and cooled prior to use for drinking water or human consumption purposes. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes.

In lieu of boiling, individuals may purchase bottled water or obtain water from some other suitable source for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the public water system officials will notify customers that the water is safe for drinking water or human consumption purposes.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received the notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

If you have questions concerning this matter, you may contact San Augustine Rural Water System at 220 W. Columbia Street, San Augustine, Texas, 75972, or call 936-288-0489 or Charles Sharp at 936-201-5001.

August 6, 2019 - Deputies with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office (SCSO) were dispatched to County Road 3090 on August 5, 2019, at approximately 8:15 p.m in the Campti area in regards to a missing person.

Once on scene, deputies learned that Marcelo Retamar, 44, of Joaquin, had been building a fence along with several co-workers on a property located on County Road 3102. According to the co-workers, at approximately 5:30pm, Retamar walked to retrieve water approximately 100 yards away, and when they looked up, he was gone.

Deputies learned that prior to their arrival, the property owner, co-workers, and neighbors had been searching the heavily wooded area for several hours trying to locate Retamar with no results.

The SCSO requested help from other law enforcement in the area to assist with the search. Chief Kevin Windham and Lieutenant Del Birdwell with the SCSO arrived at the scene along with Texas Department of Public Safety State Trooper Keith Jones and Shelby County Constable Precinct 3, Roy Cheatwood. Tracking dogs from Hunstville and Woodville TDCJ units arrived on the scene at 11:45pm as well as a fixed-wing aircraft equipped with fleer system from the Houston DPS office.

After hours of searching in the dark, the search was called off at 3:30am on August 6 with plans to continue at daylight. At 7am officers began searching the area of County Road 3102 where Retamar was last seen. At 7:41am, the SCSO was notified that Retamar had been spotted near County Road 3090. Investigators Mandy Fears and Tanner Peace traveled to the area where Retamar was spotted and located him walking out of a heavily wooded area onto the road. Retamar was unharmed. Retamar was transported by investigators to Allegiance Mobile Health who was staged at the end of FM 414. Allegiance Mobile Health transported Retamar to Nacogdoches Medical Center - Shelby Emergency Department where he was released to his family.

The SCSO would like to extend our thanks to the officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Constable Cheatwood and the Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department.

August 5, 2019 - CR 2420 at the intersection of FM 2694 was the scene of a house fire on July 30, 2019. 

According to the Shelbyville Volunteer Fire Department, they were dispatched to the scene and when they arrived the mobile home was engulfed in flames.

The firemen were able to put down the fire; however, the house was a total loss. The resident was Darlene Gardner and no one was home at the time of the fire.

August 5, 2019 - Proclamation on Honoring the Victims of the Tragedies in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio

The President has issued a proclamation that all flags be lowered to half staff until sunset, Thursday, August 8, 2019.

Read the proclamation by clicking here

As of 2:45pm, the roadway is back open.

August 2, 2019 - TxDOT Alert: A loaded log truck has overturned on FM 414 near CR 3080, north of SH 87 in Shelbyville. The roadway is currently closed as crews begin clearing logs and debris from the roadway. Motorists should take alternate routes until this scene is clear.

August 1, 2019 - Shelby County Commissioners heard from Shelby County Game Warden Austin Cryer during their July 31, 2019 meeting about Shelby County receiving a new 22 foot boat for working the river and for water rescues.

Game Warden Cryer explained, “What we are looking at is we have a new boat coming probably December of this year. It is a big bay boat that can handle rough water; its going to have a side engine and a sonar system.” He included it is also the most beneficial boat to work on the river searching for people who are boating while intoxicated.

“If you ever get down to Sabine and San Augustine they just got a new 25 footer, real big boats for working a big part of Toledo and a big part of Rayburn,” said Cryer. “So these boats are going to be also beneficial because of their size. Rescues in rough water out there… if the occasion causes for which it does happen.” 

“We have no where to put the boat, it won’t fit in DPS’s hanger which they’ve kinda kicked us out anyways. The door on that shop is only 10 foot tall and we need at least a 12 foot door on a building to get this big boat in there.”

He continued explaining it is a 22 foot boat and he had investigated the cost of a 40x40 foot shop on a concrete slab.

“One of the shop doors needs to be at least 12 foot tall by 12 foot wide to fit this big boat in, the shop can have smaller doors big enough to get a truck and smaller boats in and also have a walk in door."

Currently the game wardens are in the process of securing a two-year lease agreement to house the boat; however, they wanted to make county officials aware so they can plan ahead for other possible options. The game wardens could make an interagency contract with the county for housing of the boat. Cryer talked to several companies around and got estimates as low as $30,000 and as high as $40,000, “They all may go cheaper when we get them in a bidding war. But conservative investment will cost at least $30,000 for the shop.”

“So that is what I have for you today gentleman, if y’all have any questions for me if I don’t know the immediate answer I will write them down and get back to you. Not asking for a yes or no, just putting it out there y’all can call me anytime.”

No action was taken concerning the boat storage item. 

Agenda items approved during the meeting included:
1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Resolution for the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas.
3. Adjourn.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:
1. Putting speed limit signs on county roads.

July 24, 2019 - Construction of a new building for the Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 office was approved by the Shelby County Commissioners during their July 24, 2019 meeting.

The proposed building construction is set to begin October 1, 2019 at the beginning of the new budget year. The company awarded the bid for the construction was EZ Way Services out of Shelbyville.

The commissioners collective opinion is a structure built on site would be more beneficial to the county than a pre-fab building which Commissioner Tom Bellmyer suggested would potentially have the county revisiting the issue again in 15-18 years. 

A motion carried by the commissioners to approve the $73,815 project by E-Z Way Construction to build the new Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 structure.

At this time the property the county is considering placing the new structure on is just next door to the current location on Nacogdoches Street and was donated to the county by Rick Campbell in 2018.

The representative of EZ Way Services stated it should take 30 days once they begin construction to complete the project.

It was also brought up by Commissioner Bellmyer, there may need to be some additional alteration to the new Shelby County Sheriff's Department fence in relation to the new Justice of the Peace office.

After the motion was approved for the construction of the new structure another motion carried to reject bids previously presented to the commissioners for the remodel of the Juvenile Probation office building.

Commissioner Bellmyer proposed adding reduced speed limits to some of the county roads in his precinct. He said without posted speed limits, as is the current state on most county roads, there isn't much ability to enforce the speed limit. 

He said there is a section in the transportation code which would allow for the county to adjust the speed limits on those roadways. (Click here to view the transportation code).

"It gives the county the right to set a lower speed limit than the maximum set by the state," said Bellmyer. "It needs the discussion and it needs approval by the court and it allows the commissioner or the road superintendent to establish those lower speed limits."

Bellmyer says he has some roads in his area that are more narrow than would be preffered and some that are high traffic. He just said he would like the ability to help slow some of the traffic.

Commissioner Jimmy Lout agreed he would like to be able to make similar adjustements in his precinct.

A motion carried to table the item for further investigation and discussion.

Members of the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas spoke with the commissioners about their tribe and the positive impact of Naskila Gaming on Deep East Texas. Representatives of the tribe have been traveling east Texas seeking support. 

Quinn Poncho, with the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe, spoke about supporting the gaming facility so it can stay open. 

Judge Allison Harbison remarked the majority of the counties in the Deep East Texas Council of Governments have already signed resolutions of support.

The Alabama-Coushatta Tribal Council issued a letter which was shared with the commissioners to explain their desire of support. 

The following pertains to the bill which the tribe was seeking support of: The resolution is in support of H.R. 759 amending the tribe's 1987 Restoration Act under Sec. 301. Rule of Construction: "Nothing in this Act shall be construed to preclude or limit the applicability of the Indian Gaming Regulatory Act (25 U.S.C. 2701 et seq.) This bill will clarify the Pueblo and Tribe are permitted to offer Class II electronic bingo, under the federal Indian Gaming Regulatory Act ("IGRA"), just like the other federally recognized tribe in Texas, the Kickapoo Traditional Tribe of Texas in Eagle Pass, in operation since 1996. H.R. 759 is specific to the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe and will have no impact on any other federally recognized Indian tribe.

A motion carried by the commissioners to approve supporting the Alabama-Coushatta Tribe.

The meeting was adjourned.

Agenda items approved during the meeting incluide:

1. Pay weekly expenses.
2. Current Payroll.
3. Resolution Alabama-Coushatta Tribe of Texas to address the court.
4. Commissioner Pct. 1 to purchase a new Cataerpiller Motor Grader Model 140M3.
5. $73,815 project by EZ Way Services to build the new Justice of the Peace Precinct 1 structure.
6. 2 year extension on the current Depository Contract with Farmers State Bank.
7. Resolution for 2 year extension on current Depository Contract with Farmers State Bank.
8. Enter into an agreement between the State of Texas (TXDMV) and Shelby County to issue license plates and audit paper. Angela Norton was also named custodian.
9. Renew annual agreement with Computer Information Concepts for Tax Office.
10. Adjourn.

1. Speed limits on some of Pct. 4 County Roads.

August 1, 2019 - Update - 6:21pm: SH 103 at SH 147 in San Augustine County is clear and open for travel following an earlier crash. Drive safely.

Alert: SH 147 at SH 103 in San Augustine County continues to be blocked due to a crash involving two 18-wheelers. Motorists are urged to choose alternate routes or prepare for delays.

The road will be closed for an undetermined amount of time as this scene clears. Check or @TxDOTLufkin on Twitter for updates.