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February 7, 2023 - Center ISD will resume its normal schedule on Wednesday, February 8, 2023.

February 6, 2023 - Center ISD has begun disinfecting all buildings and buses. This is an extensive process and will take two days. Once the process has begun, no adults or students will be allowed inside any building or bus until it is safe to re-enter.

Center ISD will make an announcement regarding when it is safe to re-enter. Center ISD is cancelling classes for tomorrow, February 7, 2023 also. All indoor practices are cancelled until further notice. It is imperative that everyone stay out of the buildings until we make an announcement that it is safe to re-enter.

Dr. Brian Morris, Superintendent

February 5, 2023 - Center ISD has just been notified of an employee who was diagnosed with spinal meningitis over the weekend. Out of an abundance of caution, Center ISD is closing all campuses tomorrow, Monday, February 6, 2023 for disinfection purposes.

Dr. Brian Morris, ,Superintendent

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February 6, 2023 - The U.S. Forest Service will be performing a prescribed burn today, February 6, 2023, and they have provided the following information on the location and time of the burn:

Angelina/Sabine National Forest, Bannister West Rx, Compartment 11, 16

  • Date: February 6, 2023
  • Ignition Time: 1100
  • County(s): San Augustine
  • Location: Bannister West
  • Smoke: Winds are out of the South and drift smoke may be noticeable In  
  • Forest and Unit: Angelina, Bannister West, 14,16
  • Size: 642 Acres
  • Type: (Hand, UAS)
  • Est. Completed Time: 1800

Smoke will impact areas around the prescribed burn, and long-range drift smoke may be present during and after ignition operations.

Please drive with caution. Ground personnel will be operating in the area and smoke may impact visibility on local roads and highways near the burn unit.

For more information, contact the Angelina Sabine Ranger District at (936) 897-1068 or (409) 625-1940

U.S. Forest Service Prescribed Burn Tracker:

Southern Region Prescribed Burn Accomplishment Tracker (

February 6, 2023 - The week of January 29th through February 4th yielded another four calls for the Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department. Here’s a summary of the week’s events.
Tuesday at 6:39pm a call was received for someone having an allergic reaction on FM 2694 in Shelbyville. Allegiance EMS requested that the JVFD EMR team respond to the location, which was out of jurisdiction, due to the EMRs having the necessary medication and being closer at the time of the call. Once the EMRs arrived on the scene they found that patient was in a stable condition and did not require an emergency dose of epinephrine. After checking that the patient’s vitals were within normal range, the EMRs were able to clear the scene.
Wednesday at 5:55pm a call came in for a man in the river on County Road 3545. At the time of the call the temperatures outside were in the thirties and it was clear if the man stayed in the water too long that hypothermia would set in so, in addition to Joaquin’s response, DFD1 (DeSoto Fire District) deployed a boat to assist in getting him out of the water. Upon arriving at the address it was discovered that the man had been helped out of the river by some neighbors and he was warming up in his home. To be on the safe side, he was checked out by EMRs and Allegiance EMS and they did not find that he was suffering from any effects of hypothermia. 

Later Wednesday night at 9:03pm a call was received for a female having a seizure on County Road 3173. The EMRs responded and were able to help DeSoto EMS with getting the patient to the ambulance where she could be transported to an emergency room.
Thursday had the final call for the week at 11:10am when it was reported that a car had ran off of Highway 7 East near Flat Fork Creek. When the JVFD made it to the scene, they found the car in the upright position stuck in the mud a fair distance off the pavement. The three occupants were all unharmed and had called for help to get their car unstuck. Once a tow truck was en route to the location, the JVFD was able to clear the scene. 
With that, this edition of the report will come to a close. The Joaquin Volunteer Fire Department hopes everyone has a great and safe week going forward. 

February 3, 2023 - The Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) introduced its new liaison officer for Shelby County to the Shelby County Commissioners during their meeting held Wednesday, February 1, 2023.

Jon Clingaman, Jr. TDEM District Coordinator introduced Seth Shrell as the County Liaison Officer for Shelby County and he described the purpose behind the TDEM’s efforts to place officers around the state.

“His primary responsibility is to represent TDEM on blue sky days and on disaster times for Shelby County,” said Clingaman.

Clingaman explained there is no cost to the county to have this officer. According to Clingaman the TDEM Chief, W. Nim Kidd came to understand there were a lot of people unaware of what TDEM was and questions people may have had were not able aways to be answered quickly. Clingaman compared the new TDEM County Officer to that of an AgriLife Extension Agent in concept.

“Chief Kidd’s vision is to have 100 county liaison officers across the state of Texas,” said Clingaman. “By adding these liaison officers that puts either a TDEM person representative in every county or contiguous county across the state of Texas.”

Shrell is a resident of Shelby County and currently is working out of the Precinct 1 Justice of the Peace office while he works with Luciana Barr, Shelby County Emergency Management Coordinator, and there are plans for him to move his office to the same one where the 911 addressing administrator is currently housed in the courthouse.

Clingaman described how helpful Shrell already proved to be during water outage issues the Paxton/Jackson Water system had in being without water. Clingaman described how they are not in Shelby County to be critical of local government, but to be a help when needed.

Shrell shared he is from Timpson and grew up in the area and is invested in helping provide positive outcomes for the area. Communication with Barr, EMC; and Judge Harbison has already highlighted some areas which need to be bolstered and he hopes to help keep the “ball rolling” on those items.

“Anything else you guys can think of that I can help with, let me know,” said Shrell.

According to Clingaman, Shrell will be working to bring area partners together and help them to meet all obligations with documentation for funding among other ways he may be able to assist with food banks and other entities.

“His goal is to be out identifying these partners such as school district partners, your local fire department partners, helping them understand the importance of documentation for reimbursement under federal and state disasters,” said Clingaman. “As you all know the federal thresholds continue to creep up, and when we say creep at that level it’s millions of dollars that it keeps going up.”

Judge Harbison asked Shrell to share some of his history and he stated he worked for four years as an EMT and paramedic around 12 years ago, before working off shore as a paramedic and then in the oilfield for a short time. After that he was with the Texas Forest Service in 2015 as a Natural Resource professional advising land owners, with wild land firefighting management teams and as a commissioned law enforcement officer for them before joining TDEM in December 2022.

A motion carried by the commissioners to approve an Interlocal agreement between Shelby County and Texas Division of Emergency Management for office space.

Bobby Pigg, Shelby County Appraiser, gave an update to the commissioners on the project to combine the servers of the Shelby County Tax office and Shelby County Appraisal District office into one server.

“The fiber line has been run to the tax office, and to my office and where we are right now is we’ve got a gentleman, Joey Orellana, is supposed to get the connections ready for Harris-Govern to come down,” said Pigg. “There have to be some converters in place to run the line to the server itself.”

Clint Porterfield, County Auditor, listed several items that are considered a shared expense for the project, which according to Porterfield include three numbers that total $28,583.

“$7,500 was the cost of the CAD to run their fiber line and they have requested that we pay half of that,” said Porterfield. “The $20,000 is the server, and the $1,083 is the IT services. I would just say this, in response to their request for us to pay half of their fiber line, we’re both saving money on this so I don’t think it would be an issue for us to do that.”

Porterfield further explained the county would pay the whole cost amount up front and then be reimbursed, this would include the total amount on the county’s asset listing and for insurance purposes to cover the contents of the building.

“We did not budget this for this year, we did not budget this for this year; however, we even last year talked about using contingency and those funds are available this year we can pay this out of our contingency and set up the asset from there,” said Porterfield.

Judge Harbison highlighted the savings to the county by purchasing one server for the two county entities to use and the need for each to have a new server with the tax assessor/collector needing one now, and the county appraisal district needing one in the near future. The initial savings are expected to be around $10,000.

“It’s going to be a savings to both the CAD and the county, which when we save the CAD money we save all the taxing entities money,” said Judge Harbison. “

Pigg also noted the addition of the city of Center to the fiber line, and so three local entities are expected to benefit from the connection.

A motion carried to approve the purchase order to move forward with the project.

The commissioners approved a $1,000 donation from the city of Timpson for the benefit of Constable Josh Tipton for installation of a computer system in his patrol vehicle.

“This equipment is equipment that we bought him. He is just wanting to get TCOLE to install that for him, instead of just somebody locally,” said Judge Harbison. “The city of Timpson agreed to have that installation done.”

A motion carried to accept the donation from the city of Timpson to Constable Tipton Precinct 5.

During the meeting the commissioners approved a motion to accept a $15,000 grant from the Sabine River Authority to be used for expenses incurred during the 2022 Holiday freeze event.

Judge Harbison said she has received both the check for that amount and a “stack” of bills. She also said Luciana Barr, Emergency Management Coordinator, has been in contact with both the city of Joaquin and the Paxton/Jackson Water Supply and as a result she explained the county is going to need to go over the combined bills to find out what bills need to be paid.

Stevie Smith, Commissioner Precinct 3, commented to Judge Harbison it grant would remain afterward, and Judge Harbison retorted if all the bills are paid, there won’t be any money remaining.

“The bills I got, Paxton was up to about $16,000 and city of Joaquin was about $7,[000] or $8,000 and we need to discuss with them and also with Seth on what the understanding of what that was to go for,” said Judge Harbison.

Judge Harbison stated it was her understanding the funds were intended to pay for purchased water, bottled water, as well as people to help.

“More than likely the whole $15,000 will be expended,” said Judge Harbison.

A motion was made by Roscoe McSwain, Commissioner Precinct 1, to accept the check and put it into the contingency fund. Porterfield then interjected a recommendation of putting the funds into a donation account for clarity in tracking the use of funds. 

The meeting went into an executive session at 10:10am and returned to open session at 11:04am.

Judge Harbison stated there were a variety of issues spoken on during executive session and they will all be put on next weeks agenda.

“We just met with council and got some legal advice on some things, so we’ll have that open for discussion next week,: said Judge Harbison.

The meeting adjourned at 11:05am after which Judge Harbison expressed how glad she was to see Jimmy Lout, Commissioner Precinct 2, back as he has been away due to medical reasons.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:
1. Pay weekly expenses.

2. Current payroll.

3. Interlocal Agreement between Shelby County and Texas Division of Emergency Management for office space.

4. Move forward with the merge of one server for Tax office and CAD. 

5. Donation of $1,000 from the City of Timpson for the benefit of Constable Josh Tipton for installation of the computer system in his patrol vehicle.

6. Receipt of the $15,000 grant from the Sabine River Authority to be used for expenses incurred during the 2022 Holiday freeze event.

7. Shelby County to participate in the Texas Association of Counties Cybersecurity program. This program will put the County in compliance with Texas Government Code §2054.5191 which requires all county employees, elected officials, and appointed officials who have access to a local government computer system or database and use a computer to perform at least 25% of their duties to complete an annual cybersecurity training that has been certified by the Texas Department of Information Resources. The training has been administered by the County Treasurer the past 2 years.

8. Adjourn at 11:05

February 2, 2023 - County Road 3016 closed! This is a dead end road, but still would like for the public to know that Commissioner Pct. 3 Stevie Smith has closed the road due to road being washed out.

February 2, 2023 - A company seeking to install an oilfield waste dump in Shelby County has reportedly made over $50,000 in campaign contributions to Texas Railroad Commissioners since 2019, and contributed $10,000 of that to the committee chair 15 days before they had an audience with the commission to plead their case, according to a Texas Tribune article.

Read the Texas Tribune article by clicking here

Related article:
County Moves Forward with Paxton-Jackson Water Well Project

February 1, 2023 - The month of January 2023 had 12 days of rain for a total rain fall of 6.32 inches and had 4 days of freezing temperatures.

The weather data for Center, Texas during the past month is as follows:

Hottest temperature - 79.9 on January 11
Lowest temperature - 28.4 on January 27
Total rain fall for the month - 6.32 inches
Freezing temperatures - 4 days
Number of days with rain - 12 days

01/01/2023 - Low of 53.8, High of 72.3
01/02/2023 - Low of 68.4, High of 77.2, Rain 1.04
01/03/2023 - Low of 52.0, High of 74.6, Rain 0.40
01/04/2023 - Low of 41.7, High of 69.6
01/05/2023 - Low of 36.0, High of 67.4
01/06/2023 - Low of 35.6, High of 77.0
01/07/2023 - Low of 56.5, High of 74.1, Rain 0.07
01/08/2023 - Low of 41.2, High of 67.6, Rain 0.44
01/09/2023 - Low of 36.1, High of 67.6
01/10/2023 - Low of 47.8, High of 73.4
01/11/2023 - Low of 61.1, High of 79.9
01/12/2023 - Low of 41.0, High of 69.1
01/13/2023 - Low of 34.3, High of 60.0
01/14/2023 - Low of 31.0, High of 63.8
01/15/2023 - Low of 39.0, High of 69.6
01/16/2023 - Low of 57.7, High of 71.2
01/17/2023 - Low of 60.8, High of 77.5
01/18/2023 - Low of 49.3, High of 73.6, Rain 0.30
01/19/2023 - Low of 38.7, High of 65.3
01/20/2023 - Low of 34.9, High of 53.8, Rain 0.01
01/21/2023 - Low of 44.4, High of 52.2, Rain 0.01
01/22/2023 - Low of 33.3, High of 58.6
01/23/2023 - Low of 28.9, High of 54.7
01/24/2023 - Low of 41.0, High of 47.7, Rain 2.95
01/25/2023 - Low of 37.6, High of 45.1
01/26/2023 - Low of 29.7, High of 54.7
01/27/2023 - Low of 28.4, High of 60.4
01/28/2023 - Low of 47.3, High of 65.7, Rain 0.16
01/29/2023 - Low of 45.5, High of 66.9, Rain 0.62
01/30/2023 - Low of 36.1, High of 45.1, Rain 0.16
01/31/2023 - Low of 34.9, High of 39.6, Rain 0.16

January 31, 2023 - Due to weather concerns, all Panola College locations (Carthage, Marshall, & Center) will delay starting until 10 a.m. tomorrow morning, February 1, 2023.

January 31, 2023 - Constable Josh Tipton reports the arrest of Jamon M. Lee, 40, of Houston for forgery, felony 3, following his arrest after allegedly presenting false prescriptions at Bussey Drug in Timpson.

According to Constable Tipton, individuals from Houston called in prescriptions from a doctor’s office in Nacogdoches for a cough syrup containing codeine, which is a narcotic substance, and other medications. 

The circumstance seemed suspicious to employees at the drug store, and after Lee entered the store on the afternoon of Monday, January 30, 2023, employees notified Tipton.

Constable Tipton states he was in the vicinity with Constables Roy Cheatwood and Taylor Fanguy who all responded in under a minute to the location. Constable Tipton states Lee was observed attempting to retrieve a prescription under false pretenses.

Through investigation and speaking with Lee, it was learned Lee and two other individuals were making a route up Highway 59 to local drug stores in the area. It was at that time Lee was arrested for forgery, felony 3, and he is now being held at the Shelby County Jail.

Tipton offers a special thank you to Karren Price, District Attorney, for her help and assistance with this matter. He asks all business owners in Timpson to be vigilant for suspicious activity being that Timpson is on 59 a major corridor for criminal activity and drug trafficking being between Houston and Shreveport. A lot of people are visiting town with ill intent.

He encouraged anyone to call no matter how small or big the circumstance may appear to be, as it’s better to be safe than sorry.

January 30, 2023 - The Shelby County Commissioners continued discussions during their Wednesday, January 25, 2023, meeting over emergency plumbing repairs and the contract with the company performing them.

“We have spoken previously with GrantWorks about the procedure to be followed and the terms of the contract that have to be included,” said John Price, County Attorney.

Price indicated the contract called, as drafted by GrantWorks, for the approval of $150,000 while the projected cost of repairs was a different figure.

“If you total it, I think it actually comes to $359,[000], but that’s the figure not to be exceeded and I’m not sure if we need to have the contract redrafted if the commissioners want to increase that to the point of the $159,000,” said Price.

Commissioner Tom Bellmyer explained the plumber presented a base price for the detention center and one for the sheriff’s office area, as well as an amount not to be exceeded. He cautioned the price would not include “block” work.

“I don’t think the block work’s going to be a lot of money, but it’s $125 an hour for the block work and you know it doesn’t take long to burn up a couple thousand dollars there and our $159,[000] can turn into $163,[000] or more,” said Bellmyer.

Due to an inconsistency between the bid amount and the contract amount, Price brought the variance to the attention of the commissioners.

“The contract, per se, authorizes the use of $150,000 of the ARPA funds up to that in an emergency situation,” said Price.

Commissioner Roscoe McSwain indicated the base price for the work is $94,000 and is a big difference from $150,000. He expressed his concerns in delaying the project further by going back to make alterations to the contract.

“If we try to change that contract, we just delay a week or two, because we’re going to have to go back to GrantWorks and get it changed back to $159,[000] instead of $150,[000],” said McSwain.

Following further discussion, a motion carried to move forward with using American Rescue Plan Act funds as dictated in the contract and go with Whitaker Plumbing to perform this repair at the county jail.

The meeting went into an executive session, and upon returning to open session Commissioner McSwain asked Commissioner Bellmyer to elaborate on what was discussed.

“We asked the county attorney to give us some advice on communication with all of our constables and law enforcement,” said Bellmyer. “He’s given us some advice and is going to go and have some discussion with the sheriff to see if we can’t get a resolution on our five constables all having access to communication tool.”

The meeting was adjourned at 10:49am.

Agenda items approved during the meeting include:

1. Pay weekly expenses.

2. Purchase of one John Deere Model 310P-Tier Backhoe/Loader with American Rescue Plan Act funds. After a formal solicitation of a number of sources, no responses were received and competition was determined inadequate. The County may proceed with noncompetitive procurement, per 2 CFR § 200.320(c).

3. Use American Rescue Plan Act funds as dictated in the contract and go with Whitaker Plumbing to perform this repair at the county jail.

4. Adjourn.

Agenda items tabled during the meeting include:

1. Donation of $1,000 from the City of Timpson for the benefit of Constable Josh Tipton for installation of the computer system in his patrol vehicle.