The story headline links to a better view of the story and share features.

March 17, 2021 - Tornado Watch 28 is in effect until 1pm CDT for the following locations: Texas counties included are Angelina, Nacogdoches, Sabine, San Augustine, and Shelby.

March 16, 2021 - The Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard reports 1 new death, 3 new cases, and a total of 83 active cases for Tuesday, March 16. Of the new cases, 1 was a new confirmed case and 2 were new probable cases. No new recoveries were reported.

March 16th (7:00pm) Numbers: (changes since March 15th)
Total Confirmed Cases - 885 (1 new case)
Total Probable Cases - 681 (2 new cases)
Total Fatalities - 62 (1 new)
Total Estimated Active Cases - 83
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,421

March 16, 2021 - Center Police Department officers were alerted of a two-vehicle crash on Hurst Street at the entrance to Walmart at 7:20am Tuesday, March 16, 2021.

When emergency personnel arrived, a black 2019 Mazda CX-3  with left front quarter panel damage was located in a ditch beside the Walmart entrance and a white 1992 Buick Roadmaster with passenger side damage was on the opposite side of the roadway in a ditch.

EMS responded to the scene and assessed both parties involved in the crash.

According to Center Police Officer Kevin Sage, a white 1992 Buick Roadmaster driven by James Cherry, 31, of Carthage was exiting the Walmart parking lot making a left hand turn onto Hurst Street (U.S. 96). At that time a black 2019 Mazda CX-3 driven by Michelle Brittany, 23, of Center was southbound on Hurst Street.

Cherry over accelerated and caused the Buick to spin out and face toward the Walmart entrance when the Mazda struck the Buick on the passenger side. 

No injuries were reported as a result of the crash.

Cherry was issued citations for failure to yield right of way and one for no driver's license.

Shelby County Sheriff's Deputies assisted Center Police Department Officers with traffic control until the scene was clear.

A bat appeared to have hitched a ride on a Sheriff's Department patrol vehicle antenna.
The bat is seen in the above photo as a deputy tried to get it to depart.

March 15, 2021 - The Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard reports 81 active cases. For the day the data showed 2 new cases and 3 new recoveries. Of the 2 new cases added, both were new confirmed cases.

March 15th (2:15pm) Numbers: (changes since March 14th)
Total Confirmed Cases - 884 (2 new cases)
Total Probable Cases - 679 (0 new cases)
Total Fatalities - 61
Total Estimated Active Cases - 81
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,421 (3 new) 

March 15, 2021 - The 14th week of vaccine distribution starts March 15, 2021 and Shelby County has two provider on the list. Aurora Concepts and Brookshire Brother's Pharmacy are both allocated to receive 100 Moderna vaccine doses.

Aurora Concepts can be contacted at 936-598-3296 to schedule a vaccine.

Shelby County, a part of Public Health Region 4/5N, reports over the past week an additional 702 people have been vaccinated with at least one dose for a total of 2,797.

Also, over the past week an additional 259 people have been fully vaccinated for a total of 1,204 for the county.

The county has an estimated population of 19,449 of people 16 years of age and older. With the 14th week shipment of first doses vaccines, the county will have received a total of 2,970.

Past weekly vaccine allocations for Shelby County:

  • Week 13, March 8 - Brookshires Pharmacy 100 vaccine doses (Moderna)
  • Week 13, March 8 - Hope Community Medicine 100 vaccine doses (Johnson & Johnson)
  • Week 12, March 4 - "Save Our Seniors" Military Vaccine Clinic 200 vaccine doses (Pfizer)
  • Week 12, March 1 - Aurora Concepts, PLLC 1,170 vaccine doses (Pfizer)
  • Week 11, February 22 - Hope Community Medicine 200 vaccine doses (Moderna)
  • Week 8, February 1 - Hope Community Medicine 300 vaccine doses (Moderna)
  • Week 4, January 4 - Aurora Concepts, PLLC 100 vaccine doses (Moderna)
  • Week 4, January 4 - Hope Community Medicine 100 vaccine doses (Moderna)
  • Week 2, December 21 - Aurora Concepts, PLLC 100 vaccine doses (Moderna)
  • Week 2, December 21 - Brookshires Pharmacy 300 vaccine doses (Moderna)
  • Week 2, December 21 - Hope Community Medicine 100 vaccine doses (Moderna)

Texas to receive more than 800,000 COVID-19 vaccine first doses for next week
5 million people vaccinated as Texas expands eligibility
TxDSHS Press Release

More than 800,000 first doses of COVID-19 vaccine will be shipped to providers across Texas next week. The Texas Department of State Health Services is allocating 656,810 doses to at least 445 providers in 178 counties. Approximately 200,000 additional first doses will be available to pharmacy locations and federally-qualified health centers directly from the federal government.

The allocation is the third largest Texas has received since vaccination began in December. However, it is less than the record of more than 1 million first doses delivered this week. The decrease follows a large amount of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming to the state. Smaller amounts of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine will be available for the next two weeks as production increases. Additionally, the federally-supported sites in Arlington, Dallas and Houston have finished their three-week cycle of first doses and will be administering second doses for the next three weeks.

Texas has now administered more than 7.6 million doses, an increase of nearly 1.4 million in the last week. More than 5 million people have received at least one dose, up more than a million over last week, and more than 2.7 million are fully vaccinated. Among Texas seniors, 55 percent have received at least one dose and about one in three are now fully vaccinated. About one in eight of all Texans at least 16 years old are now fully vaccinated.

Texas announced this week that people ages 50 to 64 will be eligible for vaccination beginning March 15. They are added to health care workers, long-term care residents, people 65 and older, people with chronic health care conditions that may increase their risk of severe COVID-19, and school and child care workers. DSHS estimates that 12 to 14 million Texans will be eligible to be vaccinated as of next week.

In addition to the first doses mentioned above, the state is ordering 578,320 doses intended as the second dose for people first vaccinated a few weeks ago. DSHS automatically orders second doses to arrive at providers in the week they can begin to be administered, so they will be available when needed. People should be able to return to the same provider to receive their second dose within six weeks of getting the first.

People can find more information on COVID-19 vaccine at

Helpful links:

The OAG’s Child Exploitation Unit made three arrests last week.

March 15, 2021 - In Shelby County, Robert Bradly Lindsey, 58, of Center was arrested on March 9 for two counts of Possession of Child Pornography. This case was received as a NCMEC CyberTipline report involving the upload of child pornography to a social media account. After executing a search warrant at Lindsey’s residence, numerous items were seized as evidence for examination by the Digital Forensics Unit. Lindsey confessed to operating the social media account and to viewing, uploading and sharing child pornography with the account. Lindsey was transported to the Shelby County Jail.

In Henderson County, Danny Alan Reed, 35, of Athens was arrested March 8 for four counts of Possession of Child Pornography. This case was received as multiple NCMEC CyberTipline reports involving the upload of child pornography to a social media account. After executing a search at Reed’s residence, numerous items were seized for examination by the Digital Forensics Unit. Reed was transported to the Henderson County Jail.

In Atascosa County, Armando Anthony Vidales, 23, of Poteet was arrested on March 5 for two counts of Promotion of Child Pornography. This case was received as a NCMEC CyberTipline report involving the upload of child pornography to an email account, with the potential of a live victim. After executing a search warrant at Vidales’ home, multiple items were seized for examination by the Digital Forensics Unit. Vidales confessed to producing, uploading and sending images of child pornography. Vidales was transported to the Atascosa County Jail.

The OAG’s Fugitive Apprehension Unit made several noteworthy arrests last week.

In Harris County, Desmon Johnson was arrested in Houston on March 8. Johnson had an open felony warrant for aggravated sexual assault issued by the Harris County Sheriff’s Office. The Unit made the arrest while working with the United States Marshals Service, Gulf Coast Violent Offender and Fugitive Task Force.

In Travis County, Jacovi Lavoy Sattiewhite was arrested in Austin on March 9. Sattiewhite had an outstanding warrant for Aggravated Robbery issued by the Austin Police Department. The Unit made the arrest while working with the United States Marshals Service, Lone Star Fugitive Task Force.

In Harris County, Drew Quinonez was arrested in Houston on March 9. Quinonez had an outstanding warrant for Murder issued by the El Campo Police Department. The Unit made the arrest while working with the Gulf Coast Violent Offender Take Force. Quinonez also had an outstanding warrant for Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon issued by the Wharton County Sheriff’s Office.

The OAG’s Special Crimes Unit made one arrest last week.

In Uvalde County, Charles Rogers was arrested after making a direct threat to Attorney General Ken Paxton. Rogers contacted the Attorney General’s office and threatened to physically assault the Attorney General if he did not drop the lawsuit against Travis County regarding the mask mandate. Rogers was transported to the Uvalde County Jail.

March 14, 2021 - The Texas DSHS Covid-19 Dashboard reports on Sunday, March 14th a total of 61 fatalities from COVID-19 which is an increase of 2 new since the March 11th report. The new death count for the year 2021 is 21.

The county has 82 active cases and 12 new recoveries. Of the 9 new cases added since March 11th, 1 was a new confirmed case and 8 were new probable cases.

March 14th (2:15pm) Numbers: (changes since March 11th)
Total Confirmed Cases - 882 (1 new case)
Total Probable Cases - 679 (8 new cases)
Total Fatalities - 61 (2 new)
Total Estimated Active Cases - 82
Total Estimated Recovered - 1,418 06 (12 new)

March 14, 2021 - As Shelby County continues its quest for reliable communications for emergency personnel, the commissioners are now faced with an even larger price tag than before of potentially $206,000.

Sheriff Kevin Windham was accompanied by Tracy Rook, Texas Premier Communications, LLC, who presented a proposal for the Sheriff's Department radio system and the volunteer fire department radio system which is dispatched out of the Sheriff's Department. 

The proposal for the system dispatching deputies in Shelby County is $117,304 and the separate estimate of cost for the volunteer fire department radios is $88,696. Sheriff Kevin Windham reminded the commissioners around $55,000 was invested in the communications system at the end of 2020 to replace the communications console as the system was not functioning at that time.

"We knew that would not fix the entire radio problem, at the current time we still have no radio service in Timpson. Once you get about just north of FM 1645, we have no radio communication," said Sheriff Windham. "You get into Tenaha, Joaquin, same issues."

Sheriff Windham mentioned a roadway called Hawthorne Road in the south end of the county where he was recently unable to utilize communications. He stated a solution to the problem has been being sought for quite some time and most recently Texas Premier Communications has been working to develop a solution.

"They have found a solution to the problem, so I have asked them to put together the information and let them speak to you because I'm not qualified to answer the questions that could be asked regarding the radios and how this is going to work," said Sheriff Windham.

Sheriff Windham remarked the cost is great; however, he reminded the court the system affects officer safety and those in the public they seek to protect. He stated how glad he is the commissioners also want the officers and members of the public to be safe.

According to Rook the proposed project includes three tower sites which will interact at the same time. They would be outfitted with three microwave antennas for a VHF system to extend the signal further and simulcast. No longer will the radio signal from officers have to travel all the way to the tower on State Highway 7 before reaching the Sheriff's Department.

"We've done some research and I could never find microwave paths between the water tower in Tenaha and the one in Shelbyville to Highway 7," said Rook. "I sent it off to the manufacturer in Israel that builds the microwaves and they found an issue with our software that was giving me the wrong calculations."

Rook said the manufacturer said there is a path, and he proposes installing the microwave antennas with the addition if it doesn't work Texas Premier Communications will take the antennas back and it won't cost the county. Installation and removal would still be an expense. 

County Judge Allison Harbison asked about additional cost to use the towers and Rook said he didn't think there would be any. The City of Tenaha owns one water tower and the other tower in Shelbyville used to have equipment on it and he didn't expect there to be a cost.

"This will rebroadcast everything, it's going to give them a whole lot more coverage, a lot more portable coverage. Is this going to fix every spot in the county? No ma'am," said Rook.

Commissioner Stevie Smith asked about the possibility of using a tower in the Joaquin area.

In response to Judge Harbison, Rook explained the work done to the Sheriff's Department radio communications will not improve the fire department communications; however, it could be added on to and would be at a lesser cost. If the equipment for both were done at the same time, it also would reduce overall expense to the county.

"The time servers are what's expensive, and the microwaves. The time servers are about $10,000 each, so you've got three time servers that you can share," said Rook. "So you knock out close to $30,000 right there."

Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, brought up the possibility of utilizing some of the COVID relief funds Ann Blackwell, County Treasurer, and Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, were able to get reimbursed to the county to go toward the radio work. Porterfield had originally recommended the commissioners set those funds aside to go toward possible Shelby County Jail work in the future.

Discussion continued on the radio system and the commissioners decided to table the item until the next meeting to consider each proposal. 

A motion carried to table the discussion of the radio system for the Sheriff's Department until the next meeting.

Judge Harbison presented the commissioners with needed repair to the foyer of the Courthouse Annex (District Attorney's office) to complete the elevator installation project.

"We need to build some barriers at the top of the elevator where they had to cut the railing. There needs to be some solid walls put there," said Judge Harbison.

She proposed putting a wall up even with the top of the elevator to provide an added safety measure for children and to prevent anyone falling over. Since the project is expected to be under $50,000 Judge Harbison sought bids from two separate contractors and received a bid for one.

The bid was for $17,447 to build finished walls/railing ap the stairwell and around the new elevator, floor covering on stairs, and floorcovering on the second floor at the top of the stairs/elevator.

"I am a little bit queasy about jumping out and burning all of our building maintenance and digging into our contingency pretty hard," said Tom Bellmyer, Commissioner Precinct 4.

With there being so many large expenditures recently the county has had to face, Bellmyer initially wanted to wait until the year progressed further due to unknown possible liabilities in the future. Porterfield mentioned another contingency fund available to the county of compressor litigation which wasn't used last year and was budgeted for this year.

"We could amend the budget with the grey public necessity clause, because of the danger of the handrail and the elevator that's been installed," said Porterfield.

Bellmyer said he doesn't want the county to take the chance of someone getting injured and he is in favor of getting the repairs completed as safety is more important.

"We are out of money because it was unforeseen that we was going to pay $186,000 to settle a lawsuit (Morrow v. Tenaha), so if we need to fix this, we need to fix it," said McSwain. "It sounds like we've blown through a lot of money, we ain't blowed through nothin'. We blowed through our contingency, because we had to pay off that lawsuit."

During the discussion, Bellmyer indicated he wants to make the repairs and he made a motion to move forward with the repairs and a budget amendment per recommendation of Porterfield.

Judge Harbison clarified a budget amendment to courthouse repair of $18,000 to move forward with having the repair done due to the safety nature of the needed repair, and for TNT Construction to handle the repair.

Commissioner McSwain seconded the motion.

Judge Harbison presented the commissioners with a proposal to replace the courthouse sign which was damaged during Hurricane Laura in 2020. She stated a bid of $15,000 was received to repair the sign as-is, and that estimate has been submitted to FEMA for possible reimbursement.

"What I am proposing is that we do a digital sign out here. A digital sign that allows us to put messages up like 'Burn Ban in Effect,' 'Early Voting Starts This Day,' 'Courthouse Closed for 4th of July,' I mean things like that, 'Jury Duty Cancelled,'" said Judge Harbison.

The sign could then also flash a date, time and temperature and has a projected cost of almost $30,000. The main portion of that cost is $27,380 and includes the manufacture and installation of a 41"X99" double pack electronic message center. The viewing area is 3'x8' with 16mm RGB pixel pitch, EMC capable of up to six lines 28.8 characters at a 4" type. The electronic message center can also play clips up to 30 frames per second, imports Window Video AVI, animated text and graphics, 4G Wireless with a life-of-sign cellular data plan.

Additionally $2,260 of the total cost goes toward a 3'x8'.3" lighted double sided sign with customer approved artwork, and the electronic message center would be mounted beneath with a 1.5" reveal and 3' ground clearance and the structure to be mounted on two posts.

"Replacing it as-is is going to be $15,000, so really and truly for what you're getting it's not that much more," said Judge Harbison.

A motion carried to table the item and wait for an additional quote to consider at the next meeting on March 17, 2021.

Joe Johnson addressed the court about his desire of Private Road Bussey Lane to be made into a county road. 

"I live out there at Bobo and I stay on 4657, a county road, I stay off I'm on the corner of Bussey Lane and 4657," said Johnson. "It's so rough going up through there and Bussey Lane, it needs repairing it needs some road work and they say they can't come down there because it's a private road."

No action was taken so the commissioners and County Judge can further investigate who property owners are around Bussey Lane.

Judge Harbison opened sealed bids on road maintenance materials for Shelby County. A motion carried by the commissioners to accept all of the bids.

The commissioners considered the racial profiling report presented by the Shelby County Sheriff's Department. As they were reviewing the documents, Sheriff Windham elaborated on the report to explain for anyone unaware for what the report is needed. 

"TECOLE (Texas Commission on Law Enforcement), they require us to file an annual report with the commissioners' court and bascially what it is, it documents all of our traffic stops, people that we contact and it tells you the reason they were stopped, if citations were issued, their ethnicity, it just records all of that and all of that is sent to the state. Just so they'll make sure we're not profiling," said Sheriff Windham.

A motion carried to record the report.

The meeting was adjourned.

Related Articles:

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Approve the minutes of the February 10, 2021 Regular meeting, February 24, 2021, Special meeting of the Shelby County Commissioner’s Court.
2. Pay weekly expenses.
3. Officers Reports.
4. Repair the foyer of the Courthouse Annex which will complete the elevator installation project.
5. Open sealed bids on road maintenance materials for Shelby County.
6. Record Racial Profiling Report for the Shelby County Sheriff's Office.
7. Participation in the TAC CyberSecurity required annual training for 2021. This training is mandatory under state law, Texas Government Code 2054.5191, effective June 14, 2019, for all Elected County Officials and any local government employee who has access to a local government computer system or database.
8. Appoint Ann Blackwell as Course Administrator(s) for TAC CyberSecurity required annual training for 2021.
9. Adjourn.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:
1. Take action to replace the Courthouse sign that was damaged during Hurricane Laura. 

Angelina/Sabine RX Burn "Patroon RX Burn Block A & B" 1,986 acres

March 12, 2021 - Officials with the National Forests and Grasslands in Texas, Sabine National Forest, have advised a prescribed burn involving approximately 1,986 acres located, in the Patroon/Goober Hill and Dreka area. The winds are predicted from the South all day and tonight, and long range drift may affect some of the areas.

March 12, 2021 - Greg Grant will be conducting controlled burns on his pine savanna projects in Arcadia March 13-21.  

In addition to creating a scenic, open, park-like pine forest, regular prescribed fire reduces fuel loads decreasing the chance of catastrophic fires during the summer; controls undergrowth, diseases, and insects; and promotes wildlife habitat for deer, turkey, quail, pollinators, and pine savanna songbirds like brown headed nuthatches, pine warblers, Bachman’s sparrows, and red cockaded woodpeckers.