News Headlines Archives for 2013-06

Texas A&M Forest Service urges caution over the July 4th holiday

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — More wildfires are reported on July 4th than on any other day of the year, a statistic that stresses the need for folks to be extra careful during Independence Day celebrations.

Whether you’re shooting off fireworks, grilling hotdogs and hamburgers or just hanging out around the campfire, residents should remember to use caution when doing anything outdoors that could potentially cause a spark.

“Keeping your home safe from wildfire is always important whether you’ve had rain or not,” Texas A&M Forest Service Fire Prevention Specialist Jan Amen said. “If you plan to cook outdoors, do so away from any sort of vegetation and do not leave your grill unattended.”

Texas A&M Forest Service Predictive Services Department Head Tom Spencer said the wildfire risk over the Independence Day holiday is elevated in West Texas where the vegetation is dry and gusty winds are commonplace — perfect conditions for a potentially devastating wildfire.

Though parts of Texas have seen recent rains, more than half of the state remains mired in drought. Specific areas of concern include the Panhandle down through Midland and the Trans-Pecos Region.

“Safety should always be your No. 1 concern,” Spencer said. “The safest wildfire is always the one that never ignites.”

Fireworks safety tips:

  • Before you celebrate, always check with local government officials to ensure fireworks and outdoor burning are allowed in your county. Be sure to comply with all restrictions.
  • Read and follow all warnings and instructions labels on fireworks.
  • Keep fireworks away from homes and structures, which can accidentally ignite.
  • Use fireworks only under close adult supervision and in safe areas away from dry grass and brush.
  • Keep a hose, bucket of water and wet towels nearby in case of a malfunction or fire.
  • Dispose of used fireworks in a bucket of water.
  • Never ignite fireworks in a container, especially a glass or metal container.



CENTER, Texas (June 28, 2013) – The City of Center and the Center Economic Development Corporation are excited to announce the launch of the new economic development website

"We are very pleased with this new site," said Center EDC Board President John Snider. "This website has many new interactive features which places our community in the best light."

"Most companies who are looking to expand or relocate will view a EDC’s website during the site selection process and eliminate a community before they even know they are being considered," described Center City Manager, Chad Nehring. "It is imperative that we have a quality website that is not only attractive and appealing but that also presents great content."

New to the EDC’s site are maps showing different types of information such as industrial clusters, transportation systems, and port access. There are some videos embedded into the webpage with more on the way. The website is also to serve as a resource for entrepreneurs who are looking to start a new business in Center. The most interactive feature is on the "Available Sites" page. "Our partners at SWEPCO purchased a license to a program called Location One, which shows all available commercial sites and buildings on a map. One can click on a building or site and will receive a wealth of information and be able to generate reports," Nehring explained.

"We encourage everyone to visit the new website and help spread the word about this great new tool."

DPS Boosts DWI Patrols for July 4th Holiday

AUSTIN - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will increase DWI patrols for a 10-day period that includes the July 4th holiday. From June 28 - July 7, DPS troopers will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent.

“The Fourth of July is a time of celebration in our country, and we encourage Texans to enjoy and mark this holiday responsibly,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Impaired driving can quickly turn a time of celebration into a tragedy, so Texans should designate a sober driver or secure another form of transportation if they plan to drink alcohol. Our troopers will also be doing their part during the holiday by increasing their patrols to keep our roadways safe.”

The increased patrols that target impaired driving are funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). During the 2012 July 4th enforcement effort, DPS troopers made 1,294 DWI arrests, and 361 of those arrests were the direct result of the increased patrols. DPS enforcement also resulted in nearly 13,700 speeding citation, more than 2,200 seat belt/child safety seat citations, 750 fugitive arrests and 518 felony arrests during this period.

According to TxDOT, Independence Day traditionally ranks among the deadliest holiday periods on Texas highways as a result of alcohol-related crashes.

DWI Crash Victims Lend Their ‘Faces’ to Anti-Drunk Driving Campaign

AUSTIN - In an effort to save lives and prevent roadway crashes over the extended Fourth of July weekend, the Texas Department of Transportation is introducing its Faces of Drunk Driving safety campaign to urge motorists to be smart and drive sober.  Like all holidays, Independence Day ranks among the deadliest times on our roadways, and last year was no exception with 133 alcohol-related crashes in Texas.

“On average, there is an alcohol-related traffic crash in Texas every 20 minutes,” said TxDOT Executive Director Phil Wilson. “Drunk driving crashes are 100 percent preventable and so is the pain that comes with each one.”

Throughout the month of July, TxDOT will host Faces of Drunk Driving events across the state at which safety advocates, law enforcement and victims of drunk driving will share their stories in front of 1,170 Texas flags, representing the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes in Texas last year.  More than 9,400 people also were seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes in 2012.

Helping TxDOT deliver this sobering message is 9-year-old Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez, who was paralyzed from the chest down after being hit by a drunk driver in Fort Worth on July 9, 2011 (just three days before her eighth birthday). Also sharing their story is the family of Aaron Pennywell, 20, who was killed by a drunk driver two years ago in Cypress. These stories, along with those of more than a dozen others impacted by drunk driving, can be found at

“If the possibility of killing yourself or someone else isn’t a good enough reason to not drink and drive, you should know that being arrested for DWI also has longstanding, negative consequences,” Wilson said. “DWI penalties include jail time, a suspended driver’s license and as much as $17,000 or more in fines, legal fees and other expenses. You and your family can’t afford it, so be smart and safe while celebrating the holiday.”

Law enforcement around Texas will conduct a “No Refusal” initiative over the Independence Day weekend. “No Refusal” operations allow for suspected drunk drivers to be pulled over and required by law to provide police with a breath or blood sample. Motorists found to be legally intoxicated (with a blood or breath alcohol content of .08 or higher) face arrest and prosecution.

For media inquiries, contact TxDOT Media Relations at or (512) 463-8700.


The Texas Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining 80,000 miles of road and for supporting aviation, rail, and public transportation across the state. TxDOT and its 11,000 employees are committed to working with others to provide safe and reliable transportation solutions for Texas by maintaining a safe system, addressing congestion, connecting Texas communities, and being a Best in Class state agency. Find out more at Fan us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter.


Heat to Be an Issue in East Texas Next Few Days






Tenaha will have an Independence Day celebration Thursday, July 4 at Tenaha’s Tiger Stadium sponsored by the American Legion Post 520, Tenaha Businessmen’s Club along with several other Shelby County businesses.  The program is presented free of charge. The gates will open at 7:00 p.m.  The Freemans will provide the entertainment at 8:00 p.m. followed by a large fireworks display at 9:00 p.m.


The Tenaha ISD Beta Club will have the concession stand open selling hotdogs, hamburgers, nachos and drinks.  Lawn chair space is available.


For more information, please contact the Tenaha City Hall at




Harrison County Man and Woman Sentenced for Drug Violations

– A Karnack, Texas man and woman have been sentenced to federal prison for drug trafficking violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.

Gregory Scott Covey, 42, pleaded guilty on Aug. 8, 2012, to possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and was sentenced to 110 months in federal prison today by U.S. District Judge Rodney Gilstrap.
Christine Francis Sirmans, 45, pleaded guilty on Aug. 7, 2012, to possession of pseudoephedrine with intent to manufacture methamphetamine and was sentenced to 54 months in federal prison today by Judge Gilstrap.
        According to information presented in court, from Mar. 21, 2010 to Sep. 3, 2010, Covey purchased cold pills containing pseudoephedrine at stores in Marshall, Texas, at least 32 times.  From Oct. 12, 2008 to Nov. 16, 2010, Sirmans purchased cold pills containing pseudoephedrine at stores in Marshall and Carthage, Texas, at least 74 times.  The cold pills were purchased to be used in the manufacture of methamphetamine.  An 839-count federal indicted was returned on Feb. 1, 2012, charging Covey and Sirmans and 15 other co-defendants with federal drug crimes.  Of those defendants, 16 have been convicted. 
        This case is being investigated by the Texas Department of Public Safety and the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Allen Hurst.

City To Submit Grant Application for Downtown Revitalization

The Center City Council has approved the submission of a Texas Capital Fund Downtown Revitalization Application to the Texas Department of Agriculture for $150.000.  The money , if awarded , will go towards enhancement and reconstruction of several areas of substandard sidewalk adjacent to the downtown square.  In order to take that action, the council had to approve a resolution designating a portion of the downtown area as blighted-specifically it does not meet current ADA standards. 


In other business, the council approved the second reading of the Center Point Energy Franchise, authorizing the advertisement for bids on the Lakewood Sewer Extension and the Shelby County Appraisal District budget.

Six Shelby County Residents Guilty of Federal Gun/Drug Violations

BEAUMONT, Texas – Six Center, Texas residents have pleaded guilty to gun and drug violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today.  The plea hearings were held today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Keith F. Giblin.
Lakeva Shillette Hill, a/k/a Sugar Momma, 35, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance and being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Hill faces up to 10 years in federal prison.
Lester Earl Pitts, 48, pleaded guilty to providing a firearm to a drug trafficker and providing a firearm to a felon.  Hill faces up to 10 years in federal prison. 
Vincent Jermaine Lathan, a/k/a Reed Cartwright, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  Lathan faces up to 20 years in federal prison.
Cornelius Vansharles Gray, 36, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute a controlled substance.  Gray faces up to five years in federal prison.
Anthony Gene Chumbley, 46, pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.  Chumbley faces up to 10 years in federal prison. 
Andrae Demarkqudell Pegues, a/k/a Mark, 33, pleaded guilty to making a false statement to the ATF.  Pegues faces up to five years in federal prison. 
According to information presented in court, from February 2011 to January 2013, Pitts was a certified peace officer employed as a deputy for the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.  During that time, Pitts associated with Hill, Pegues, Chumbley, and Gray. 
In May 2010, Pitts purchased a 9mm semi-automatic pistol which he provided to Pegues even though he knew Pegues was a convicted felon having been convicted of a drug trafficking charge in the Eastern District of Texas in 2000.  Convicted felons are prohibited from owning or possessing firearms or ammunition.
On May 9, 2010, Pegues was arrested in possession of the firearm.  The next day, Pitts filed a false burglary report with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office, stating that the firearm had been stolen from his vehicle.  Pitts instructed Pegues to conceal from law enforcement that Pitts had provided the firearm to Pegues.  On June 4, 2010, Pegues lied to the ATF about how he obtained the firearm. 
On Feb. 26, 2012, Pitts purchased a semi-automatic pistol for Hill although he knew Hill was actively committing drug trafficking crimes and was a convicted felon having been found guilty of distribution of cocaine in Louisiana in 1998. 
On July 1, 2012, Pitts provided a .40 caliber semiautomatic pistol to Gray although he knew Gray was actively committing drug trafficking crimes.
On Dec. 31, 2012, Pitts loaned a shotgun to Chumbley, knowing that Chumbley was a convicted felon.  Chumbley was convicted of delivery of a controlled substance in Cherokee County, Texas, in 1993; and delivery of a controlled substance in Cherokee County, Texas, in 1990.
The defendants were indicted by a federal grand jury on Apr. 17, 2013 and arrested on Apr. 18, 2013.  Sentencing dates have not been set.
        This case is being investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Center Police Department, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John B. Ross.

Center ISD Schedules Special Meeting


A Called Meeting of the Board of Trustees of Center ISD will be held June 29, 2013, beginning at 1:30 PM in the Whalen's Fine Dining at 130 Nacogdoches St. Center, TX 75935.

The subjects to be discussed or considered or upon which any formal action may be taken are listed below.

Items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice. 1.

Call Meeting to Order and Establish a Quorum


Presentation from TAO STREAMliners Programming on Integrating Creative Arts into Science and Math


District Employees and Officers


Resignations/Retirements of Personnel


Employment of Personnel


Asleep at the Wheel to roll into Carthage Sept. 14

Asleep at the Wheel, the Grammy Award-winning “Kings of Texas Swing” will perform in concert at the Carthage Civic Center at 7 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 14. Tickets are available from the Panola County Chamber of Commerce, 300 W. Panola, 903-693-6634. Reserved floor seats are $35, and general admission seats are $25.

The show is sponsored by Panola College, in the first of a series of Fine Arts fund-raising events. Collaborating with the College on the show are Main Street, the City of Carthage, the Panola County Chamber of Commerce and the Texas Country Music Hall of Fame.

Local musical group Chasing Stable will open the show. Rachael Sutton, Rachel Gee and Sydney Gee play a variety of instruments including guitar, harmonica, violin and percussion to produce a folk-music sound.

Headlining the show, Asleep at the Wheel has won nine Grammy Awards over the group’s 42-year history. The band continues to introduce the western swing genre to a new generation on tour.

It all started when Ray Benson, Floyd Domino, and Lucky Oceans, along with a Vermont farm boy named Leroy Preston; Virginian Chris O'Connell; and Gene Dobkin, a bass player and fellow classmate of Benson's from Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, joined forces. They began with a simple goal: to play and help revive American roots music.

Asleep at the Wheel landed a gig opening for Alice Cooper and Hot Tuna in Washington, DC in 1970.  At the height of Vietnam, many Americans were using their choice of music to express their stance on the conflict in Southeast Asia. “We wanted to break that mold,” said Benson. “We were concerned more with this amazing roots music, which we felt was being lost amid the politics. We were too country for the rock folks and we were too long-haired for the country folks. But everybody got over it once the music started playing.”

A year later, they were coaxed into moving to California by Commander Cody, leader of Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen. But, the band’s big break came when Van Morrison mentioned them in an interview with Rolling Stone. The record offers started coming in and The Wheel got rolling.

The musicianship of Asleep at the Wheel has become the stuff of legends. Reuter’s pegged The Wheel as “one of the best live acts in the business.” Taking a page from Bob Wills’ book, the band has constantly toured at a national level throughout its history; with anywhere from 7-15 of the finest players Ray Benson could talk into jumping in the bus to play a string of dates. The alumni roster is well over 80+ members, and includes an impressive list of musicians who have gone on to perform with artists such as Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Lyle Lovett, Ryan Adams, and many more. A quick scan of awards, such as “Touring Band of the Year” (CMAs, 1976) and “Lifetime Achievement in Performance” (Americana Music Awards 2009), not to mention near dominance of the GRAMMY “Country Instrumental” category over the years, reflects the reputation of the band’s musicianship.

Ray Benson fell in love with western swing because of its unique combination of elements of American blues, swing and traditional fiddling but also for its demanding musical chops. Western swing is what Benson calls “jazz with a cowboy hat,” is a thrill to hear live, and thanks in large part to the Wheel’s 40 years of promotion, is a living and creative genre of music today.

Over their history, Asleep at The Wheel has garnered nine GRAMMY Awards and released more than 25 studio and live albums, and there is no sign of slowing down any time soon. Just last year they earned a Grammy nomination in the newly minted Best Americana Album category for their critically acclaimed Willie & The Wheel, on Bismeaux Records.  Most recently, another collaborative project paired the band with the legendary lead from Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys, Leon Rausch. The distinguished velvety vocals that voiced the King of western swing partnered with “post-modern kings of Texas Swing” on It’s A Good Day, which USA Today called, “swing from the heavens.” It was Leon who first suggested to Ray in the 1970’s that The Wheel record Get Your Kicks (on Route 66). The Wheel has now recorded the hit 4 times in 4 different decades, with this latest version featuring Leon.

Originally debuted in collaboration with the Austin Symphony, the Wheel has since gone on to present their pops program in select performances across the country, and even released a CD in 2006 of their performance with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra.

Throughout their four decades the Wheel has driven the genre to the edge, explored new territories, picked up new passengers along the way and crisscrossed the country to the delight of fans and critics alike. And, even though they’re doing “forty,” there’s no chance of slowing down now.



Commssioners Approve Property Tax Refund, Appointments

Shelby County Commissioners have voted 4-0 to approve a property tax refund of $953.00 for a local property owner after he was erroneously charged for the tax on a piece of property owned by a different entity.


In other business, the court approved the reappointment of County Judge Rick Campbell and County Clerk Allison Harbin to DETCOG.


The court also approved the appointment of temporary Deep East Texas Ground Water Conservation District Board members Terry Allen and W.I. Davis Jr.

Cars Are Not Babysitters

"Look Before You Leave...Cars Are Not Babysitters" is the theme of a promotion being conducted by Child Protective Services, officials of which were on hand at the Center Wal-Mart just after noon today.  Shelby County Emergency responders were also on hand as a baby doll was placed in a vehicle with the windows rolled up and the beginning temperature being 97 degrees,.  By the end of a ten-minute time period, the thermometer had jumped to 120.


Officials say three Texas children have already died htis year from being left in a hot car.  There have been 13 in the US as to date.

Panola College offers Oil & Gas 101 for Land & Mineral Owners

Panola College is set to offer a one-day seminar, Oil & Gas 101 for the Land and Mineral Owners (including for the future land man), on Saturday, June 29, 2013 beginning at 8:00 AM until 4:00 PM on the Carthage campus.  Mr. Philip Baldwin, Attorney-at-Law, will be the instructor.  The cost will be $90 and pre-registration is required.  Call 903-693-2067 for more information and to register or email  Seminar topics include: exploration and production, basic petroleum geology and engineering, basic oil and gas law, understanding your oil and gas lease, how to protect your mineral rights, surveying and property descriptions, and many more. 

San Augustine Special Event Scheduled

On behalf of the City of San Augustine Mayor and City Manager and the San Augustine County Commissioners Court, we are pleased to invite you to the June 25th San Augustine County Court.  (Court starts at 9 am.)

The City and County of San Augustine will be issuing a joint press release during court announcing the TxDOT Highway project to upgrade the intersection of
US Hwy 96 and Texas State Hwy 21.

This long anticipated announcement will be a celebration for our City and County residents (along with all those who travel these Highways and use this intersection).

We sincerely hope you will be able to join us on Tuesday - and please feel free to invite other members of your team that would like to join us. 

We think it is the perfect time to honor the work that all of you have done to make this project possible!


Commissioners to Meet Monday Morning

Shelby County Commissioners will hear from Pam Shofner on property refunds when the court meets Monday morning at 9:30 in the Commissioners Courtroom.


Also on the agenda is the appointment of two elected officials to serve as DETCOG Board of Directors for Shelby County and the appointment of temporary deep East Texas Ground Water Conservation District Board Members Terry Allen and W.I. Davis.

Council Set to Tackle and Discuss a Number of Items Monday

Center City Council members are scheduled to approve a resolution designating a portion of the downtown area as blighted when they meet Monday evening at 5:30.  Also on the agenda is the approval of the Shelby County Appraisal Board Budget and the submission of a Texas capital Fund Downtown Revitalization Application to the Texas Department of Agriculture in the amount of $150,000.


The council will discuss traffic issues in the Mini Park/Henrietta Road area and in the area of the old elementary school.  The Tenaha Timpson traffic light and Roughrider Drive Construction work will also be discussed.

Center Fire Department Battles Apartment Fire

Center Volunteer Fire Department officials worked an apartment fire at Union Acres Apartments around 9:45 last night.  Firefighters say the fire was restricted to the kitchen area of the unit where it is beleived someone left something on the stove.  Officials say no one was injured.  Firefighters were at the scene for a little over an hour.

Hot Car Demonstration Scheduled

Join Child Protective Services on June 24th, 2013 at 12 PM in the parking lot of Wal-Mart in Center, Texas for a hot car demonstration.  Three Texas children have already died this year from being left in a hot car.  There have been 35 in the state as to date.  Cars are not babysitters.  This demonstration will show the public how fast a car can heat up on these hot summer days.  CPS will provide information to the public on car safety and water safety.

Special Fishing Tournament Scheduled

Good Hope Baptist Church has scheduled a Youth Benefit Bass Tournament for June 29th at the Jackson Hills Marina.  Sign-ups will be the morning of the tournament from 5-6 AM.   For more information, contact Steve Burgay at 936-332-9745 or Brother Ronnie Sowell at 936-552-6188. 


First Comprehensive Planning Committee Meeting Held

Keeping business in the downtown square, improving the local library, focusing on health care, attracting more jobs for younger adults and adding to the city's recreational facilities were just some of the issues outlined at last nights first Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee. 


In April 2013, the Center City Council approved a contract with Fort Worth based engineering firm Freese and Nichols to complete an update of the city's comprehensive plan.  As part of the process, the council appointed the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee.


"We are here to dream...we are here to think about the future..we are here to be aware of what our current situations are and what our past is," said Mayor David Chadwick.


"Our challenge is to make this your plan and not our plan ," said Freese and Nichols Planning Director Dan Sefco.   


Sefco says that even though the population in Shelby County and Center has largely remained flat over the years, business growth is something that needs to be more strongly focused on.  "If you did not tell somebody what the population was, they would think it is much bigger than it is."


Sefco pointed out that there is a larger percentage of older residents than younger ones in Center and Shelby County. 


"We have only developed 31% of our area.  So we have 2/3rds left to go, so we have a real opportunity to plan the future," Sefco said.


"They(citizens) will never criticize you for doing too much...they will critize you for not doing enough." he further pointed out.  He encouraged those present to  think big and then prioritize based on available funding.


Future meetings will be scheduled.

Special Event Coming Up at Library

As part of the summer "Tween" reading program for 9-12 year olds , a party will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2013 at 2 PM.  Participants will celebrate all things "Hobbit".  All area "tweens" are invited to participate and join a summer reading adventure.

Panola College’s Fall Registration is Under Way

 Registration is now under way at Panola College for the fall 2013 semester. Students can register online at, or they can call 903-693-2038 to schedule an appointment with an advisor. Academic advisors are available to discuss specific program requirements or provide assistance with the registration process from 7:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Friday.

Panola College is a comprehensive public community college serving the citizens of Harrison, Marion, Panola, and Shelby counties. It offers quality instruction at an affordable price and a small town atmosphere where students are guided by caring instructors. Students can choose from a variety of technical programs that provide quick employment and career enhancement opportunities, or they can pursue a two-year associate degree and academic courses for transfer to a four-year university.

Panola College has earned a reputation for having outstanding academic transfer, petroleum technology and nursing programs. Panola College is also a leader in offering distance learning courses via the Internet, and since 2003 has been listed by the Center for Digital Education as one of the top 10 tech-savvy community colleges in the nation.

For additional information about Panola College go online to or call 903-693-2000. For students concerned about the increasing cost of gasoline, don’t forget to ask about room availability in the College residence halls when you call. Classes begin August 26, so don’t wait.  Call and reserve your spot today!


AUSTIN) — The Senate approved Tuesday the final slate of legislation laid out in Governor Perry's special session call. Early in the afternoon, legislators passed a bill that would create a new funding source for state highways. Bill author and Transportation Committee Chair Senator Robert Nichols of Jacksonville said the state is facing a transportation funding crisis, with a growing populations and dwindling reserves to pay for maintenance and operation. "These are challenges that need to be addressed, and I'm thankful that Governor Perry has asked us to address this now instead of two years from now, when it will be too late."

Nichols' bill, SJR 2, would ask voters to approve the use of oil and gas severance tax collections to pay for highway and road construction and maintenance. Currently, all of that money goes into the state's Rainy Day Fund. If voters approve the constitutional amendment laid out in SJR 2, then up to half of that money would go into the state mobility fund. Nichols said the Comptroller estimates that this would put up to $900 million each year into the fund for the next biennium. If Rainy Day Fund balances dip below a floor of $6 billion, then the new transportation revenue stream would be suspended until fund balances go back above that floor.

After several hours of debate, the Senate approved a bill that would place new restrictions on abortion providers. SB 5, by Katy Senator Glenn Hegar, would require that all clinics that provide abortions meet ambulatory care standards and that all doctors who perform abortions must have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. It would also require that abortifacient drugs, like RU-486, would have to be administered in person by a doctor.

Both SJR 2 and SB 5 now head to the House for consideration. The special session is scheduled to end on Tuesday, June 25, so lawmakers have until then to send legislation to the Governor's desk for signature.

The Senate will reconvene Friday, June 21 at 1:30 p.m.


Today, Panola College announced that the current version of the GED test will expire at the end of 2013.  The current version, known as the 2002 Series GED test, will be replaced with the new 2014 GED test on January 2, 2014.


Those who have taken the 2002 Series GED test, but not passed all five parts, have until the end of 2013 to pass or they will need to start over again in 2014 with the new GED test in order to receive their high school credential.


“The GED test opens doors to college, better jobs, and the satisfaction of earning a high school credential,” said Stacy Gee, Testing Coordinator of Panola College.  “So we want to be sure that everyone is aware of this deadline.  GED test-takers must act now to finish and pass before the current test expires.”


Support is available at all Panola College campuses.  For those in the Carthage area, free GED classes are offered through the Workforce and Development Office.  Prospective examinees should contact the Shelby College Center in Center for information about free GED classes at that location as well as testing dates.  In Marshall, information is available regarding free GED classes as well as testing dates and times at the Panola College campus located in the Marshall Mall.


Interested GED test-takers can find additional information at

Former Shelby County Couple Indicted for Health Care Fraud Violations

BEAUMONT, Texas – A Center, Texas, couple now living in Elgin, Texas, has been indicted and charged with health care fraud violations in the Eastern District of Texas, announced U.S. Attorney John M. Bales today. 
Bill Harvill, 59, and his wife, Cathy Harvill, 56, were indicted by a federal grand jury on Mar. 27, 2013, and charged with theft of government money.  They were arrested on June 7, 2013, in Elgin, Texas, and appeared before U.S. Magistrate Zachary J. Hawthorn today for an initial appearance.
According to the indictment, from January 2007 to June 2010, the Harvills submitted false and fraudulent claims to Medicare and Medicaid in order to receive more than $624,000 from the Department of Health and Human Services. 
If convicted, the Harvills each face up to10 years in federal prison.
The Medicare Program (Medicare) is a health care benefit program which provides benefits to persons who are over the age of sixty-five and some persons under the age of sixty-five who are blind or disabled.  The Texas Medical Assistance Program (Medicaid) is a health care benefit program, jointly funded by the State of Texas and the federal government, and helps pay for reasonable and necessary medical procedures and services provided to individuals who are deemed eligible under state low-income programs.
This case is being investigated by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the Texas Office of the Attorney General – Medicaid Fraud Control Unit (OAG-MFCU).  Assistant U.S. Attorney Nathaniel C. Kummerfeld is prosecuting this case.

Fire Department Kept Busy For Part of the Weekend

Center Volunteer Fire Department officials responded to a house fire Friday at noon off of Farm-To-Market Road 138.  Fire Chief Keith Byndham says the damage was restricted to one room.


The department also responded to a vehicular accident at 10:30 Friday night off of County Road 2139.  Further information was not immediately available.

Possible Severe Weather Expected Today





Center School Board Agenda

The Board of Trustees

Center ISD

Notice of Regular Meeting

June 17, 2013

12:00 PM








A Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees of Center ISD will be held June 17, 2013, beginning at 12:00 PM in the Center ISD Administration Boardroom 107 PR 605 Center, TX 75935.


The subjects to be discussed or considered or upon which any formal action may be taken are listed below.


Items do not have to be taken in the same order as shown on this meeting notice. Unless removed from the consent agenda, items identified within the consent agenda will be acted on at one time.



Call Meeting to Order and Establish a Quorum



Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance



Public Comments/Audience Participation



Consent Agenda



Minutes of May 16, 2013 regular meeting



Tax Office Report



Investment Report



Monthly Financial Statement



Amendments to the Budget



Overnight Student Activity Trips



Monthly Accounts Payable



Consider Awarding Fuel Proposal for the 2013-2014 School Year



Consider Awarding Vehicle Bids for the CTE Department



Distribution of TASB Policy Update 97



Presentation and Discussion of HB5 Legislation



District Employees and Officers



Resignations/Retirements of Personnel



Leave of Absence



Employment of Personnel



Consideration and Approval of 2013-2014 Compensation for Auxiliary, Professional, and Administrative Staff







If, during the course of the meeting, discussion of any item on the agenda should be held in a closed meeting, the board will conduct a closed meeting in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Government Code, Chapter 551, Subchapters D and E or Texas Government Code section 418.183(f).  Before any closed meeting is convened, the presiding officer will publicly identify the section or sections of the Act authorizing the closed meeting. All final votes, actions, or decisions will be taken in open meeting. [See BEC(LEGAL)]


The notice for this meeting was posted in compliance with the Texas Open Meeting Act on: 6-11-2013

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­______________________                                 ______________________   

Superintendent, Center ISD                                                   Board President, Center ISD


Timpson Area Chamber of Commerce pulled in a ringer this year for July 6th famous street dance during Frontier Days 2013.

Curtis Daniel will open Saturday evening starting at 7 PM with home town pride. Curtis has performed for Frontier Days for the last 2 years and has been brought back by popular demand. Curtis is our hometown star and everyone loves to hear him singing popular country songs. “Enjoy your Country…it’s Curtis Daniel”

Highway 55 will take the stage at 9 PM playing country music to scoot your boots to. This band has won the 2012 Georgia Country Band of the Year award, and just this past weekend took the title for 2013 Georgia Band of the Year again. Timpson Area Chamber of Commerce booked this band the first of the year, during a time when they were planning to start in Nashville touring down though Texas. Everything seems to be going in the right direction for this group and they are heading to the top in Country Music. They have shared the stage with artists such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Jake Owen, Brantley Gilbert, Easton Corbin and Big & Rich just to name a few. Highway 55 invites you to go to their web site at to hear their music or just call our local radio stations and ask the D J’s to play their songs. Be sure to mention, it’s the band that will be performing during Timpson Frontier Days Street Dance. They know who they are and you can see them for free July 6th Saturday night. Wear your boots or dancing shoes and bring a lawn chair, it’s a street dance. We think it goes without saying that Georgia and Texas know their country music! We invite you to “Timpson.. where you can dance in the streets”

Area Man Arrested on False Report Charges

On May 8th, 2013 at approximately 0100am, Sheriff’s Deputy Cody Muse was dispatched to a residence located on County Road 2858 in Shelbyville in reference to a burglary. Deputy Muse met the complainant identified as Tom Paul Chandler II. Mr. Chandler made a report stating that an unknown black male wearing an orange ski mask broke into the rear of his residence and upon confronting ran out of the house. While speaking with Mr. Chandler,Chandler’s Aunt, Evelyn Frazer interrupted and advised that her medication had been stolen, being hydrocodone and xanax that she kept in a sock pinned to her waist. A window was observed to be broken, however the window was noted to be broken from the inside, observing glass to be on the outside of the residence rather than the inside. Investigator DJ Dickerson investigated the case and found that Mr. Chandler had staged the scene to make it look as if a burglary had occurred and stole his Aunt’s medications. Mr. Chandler was arrested for False Report To A Peace Officer, a Misdemeanor B. Upon interviewing Mr. Chandler, Chandler gave a confession to Investigator Dickerson about staging the scene and stealing his Aunt’s medications.


At the Shelby County Sheriff’s Department, we respond to many calls that involve true criminal acts, however we also receive reports such as this one that takes the Deputies and Investigators time away from other cases that are in need of attention. If a report is made, it will be investigated to the best of our ability, and if found to be a false report, the complainant will be arrested for making a false report to a Peace Officer.

Heat Will Be A Major Factor These Next Several Days





Training Conference Coming to Civic Center

The East Texas Peace Officers Association will be holding it's 62nd annual training conference at the John D. Windham Civic Center June 23rd through the 25th.  In conjunction with the conference, ETPOA will be sponsoring a blood drive on Tuesday, June 25th from 10 AM to 2:30 PM.  The Blood Center of East Texas mobile unit will be located in the civic center parking lot.  The blood drive is open to the public.  Individuals attempting to donate will be given a free T-shirt and a Subway coupon. 

Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee Schedules First Meeting


In April 2013, the Center City Council approved a contract with Fort Worth based engineering firm Freese & Nichols to complete an update of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. As part of the process, the Council appointed the Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC).


The committee’s first meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 18, beginning at 5:30 pm at the Windham Civic Center. Anyone interested in participating in this process is welcome to attend.

"We assembled a diverse and visionary group of residents to help guide the direction of the plan," explained Center Mayor David Chadwick. "They will also help make certain decisions and recommend priorities for different projects. This is not a process to take lightly as this plan will guide us for the next 10 years and beyond."


A comprehensive plan examines demographic and economic data on the City and will look at projected population growth, current and future land use, a thoroughfare plan, and neighborhood and community livability. In coordination with the planning consultant and staff, the CPAC will develop the plan for presentation to Council. Three to six public meetings on these various topics will be scheduled over the next few months.

City of

Summer Reading Program Announced

The Fannie Brown Booth Library has announced a new Summer Reading Program for "tweens" area children ages 9-12.  The first event is set for Thursday, June 13th at 2 PM.  This event will include a "mock archeology dig" where participatns can dig for artifiacts followed by a Mummy craft.  This event is free and will be limited to the first 25 "tweens"  For more information, call the library at 598-5522. 

DPS Work One-Vehicle Rollover Near Tenaha

DPS officials  worked a one-vehicle rollover near Tenaha Monday afternoon around one.


Troopers say the driver, 19-year-old Xavious Allen, of Linden , was headed north on Highway 59 .2 miles south of County Road 4624 when he began to drift out of his lane , eventually rolling into a ditch on the right side of the road.


Allen and his passenger, McKeith Charleston, were transported via ACE EMS to Nacogdoches Memorial Hospital for treatment of possible injuries.


Allen was cited for failure to maintain a single lane.

Commissioners Act on a Number of Items

Shelby County commissioners have voted unanimously to accept sealed bids for roofing work on the old Parker Brothers building on the square with a minimum 25,000 dollar bid . 


In other business, the county approved a TX-Dot resolution for the federal off-system bridge program to replace the bridge located on County Road 4323 in precinct 4..  The program has also designated three other bridges eligible for the work-two in precinct four and one in precicint one.


The court also approved the closing of 4400 feet opf County road 3706, which generated some debate between property owners on that road at a previous meeting.

Flag Day Ceremonies Scheduled

Flag Day is celebrated in the United States on June 14th of each year. It commemorates the adoption of the United Sates flag that happened on June 14th, 1777 by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. In 1916, President Woodrow Wilson issued a proclamation that officially established June 14 as Flag Day and in August 1949, National Flag Day was established by an Act of Congress.


Shelby County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8904 and the Ladies Auxiliary will conduct a flag retirement program on Saturday, June 15th, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. in honor of Flag Day. Helping with the burning of flags will be Boy Scouts from troop 606 and Cub Scouts from Den 119. Hot dogs will be served for lunch. The public is cordially invited.


Post members remind citizens to replace their flags, both US and Texas when they become torn and tattered. These unusable flags can be given to any VFW member or brought by Chief Imaging, 614 Tenaha Street for proper disposal. If you have a flag that should be retired but do not have a replacement, it is better not to fly it at all. Questions please call Larry Hume, 598-2976.

Taste of Texas Coming to Center

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices in four East Texas counties will present “Taste of Texas” from 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m. June 27 at the Windham Civic Center in Center. Registration will start at 5 p.m.

“Taste of Texas” is a unique program in many ways, in that it will include “viewing, tasting and learning events,” said Lane Dunn, AgriLife Extension agent in Shelby County.

One highlight will be a virtual feedlot and packing plant tour, Dunn said.


We will actually have video going through an entire feedlot operation and an entire packing plant operation,” he said. “So it’s just like you were there, walking through in person. We’ll see everything on the feedlot side of things, then everything on the packing plant side.”

There will also be new and different cuts of beef to taste, and instruction on how to cook and cut beef, and how to produce a quality beef product.

Registration is $15 per person, which includes an evening meal and product sampling. Registration is limited to the first 100 people who RSVP, Dunn said.

To RSVP, contact one of the following AgriLife Extension agents:

– Dunn, Shelby County, 936-598-7744.

– Lee Dudley, Panola County, 903-693-0380.

– Jerry Nickerson, San Augustine County, 936-275-3644.

– Jamie Sugg, Nacogdoches County, 936-570-7711.


The Taste of Texas program, set June 27 in Center, will include a virtual tour of feedlots and packing plant operations. (Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service photo)

“We are going to have a gentleman who’s a chef for Texas Beef Council,” said Dr. Jason Banta, AgriLife Extension beef cattle specialist, Overton. “He’s going to show, for example, if we cut this particular steak out of a chuck roll, this is how we can utilize it; or if we cut a roast, this is how we can utilize it. And also, if you cook a cut of meat one day, what are the options for reheating and reusing the extra meat for another meal?”

The program is sponsored by the Shelby County Farm Bureau, Shelby County Leadership Advisory Board, San Augustine Beef and Forage Committee, Heritage Land Bank in Nacogdoches, Texas Department of Agriculture, AgriLife Extension and the Texas Beef Council.



Names of Deceased Identified in House Fire

Shelby County Sheriffs officials have released the names of the deceased in the house fire early this morning on County Road 4293.    They are 71-year-old Glenn Rasbury and his wife, 51-year-old Susan Rasbury.  State fire marshalls are at the scene with Shelby County Sheriffs deputies and Center Fire Department officers , investigating what may have caused the fire.

Unique Boutique Ribbon-Cutting Held

Shelby County Chamber of Commerce officials held an official ribbon-cutting for  the new addition of Unique Boutique, which is affiliated with Shelby County Outreach Ministries.    The store is located at 906 Shelbyville Street. 
All money made from the sale of a variety of items goes to help the needy in Shelby County.

  Clothes range in price from $2.00 to 5.00.  Other items include furniture, appliances, office supplies and electronics.

Executive Director Pam White says the store, for right now, will be open from 9-4 Monday through Thursday.

D-Day Observance Held

Local VFW officials and a small group of residents were on hand at the historic Shelby County Courthouse this morning to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the D-Day invasion of Normandy 69 years ago.


"We are here today to commemorate the 69th anniversary of one of the most important dates in history commonly known as D-Day ," said Post Commander Larry Hume. "The code name was Operation Neptune and D-Day was a turning point in WII.  It saw the start of the largest air and sea operation in military history. "


"The United States lost 6,603 soldiers.  Today we take time to reflect on what took place on the beaches of Normandy and appreciate the sacrifice by so many to ensure the continuation of our free market, economy and our federal republic.  Their sacrifices helped give us the freedoms we have today and I find the irony here that among those freedoms they sacrificed for was the freedom  for Americans to ignore this day and ther service as many do.


A memorial wreath was laid on the Shelby County Veterans Memorial in front of the Shelby County Courthouse. 

Two Fatalities in Area House Fire

Center Volunteer Fire Officials have confirmed the death of two in a house fire off of County Road 4293 which the department responded to at 5:30 this morning.  They were on the scene for three-and-a-half hours before returning to Center.  They say the fire destroyed the house.  The situation is pending further investigation by Shelby County Sheriffs and state fire officials.  The names of the deceased have not been released.


The Shelby County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors invite the public to join Austin Finance and Manager, Sandy Mahan, for a Relocation Ribbon Cutting and Open House on Friday, June 14 at 10:00 a.m.  Austin Finance is located at 1129 Hurst Street in the Wulf Center.  Refreshments will be served.


For more information please contact the Shelby County Chamber of Commerce at (936) 598-3682 or



The City of Center is excited to announce the upcoming Roughrider Drive reconstruction and expansion project.  “Roughrider Drive is one of the most important thoroughfares in Center,” explained Center Mayor David Chadwick.  “This road allows access to Wal-Mart, Center Marketplace, two schools, and our park system.”

The plan calls for Roughrider to be reconstructed in concrete from the intersection of Hurst Street west 1,300 feet.  “By rebuilding Roughrider in concrete, the street should have virtually no maintenance for a very long time,” said Center City Manager Chad Nehring.  “Also, an extra driving lane will be added to help alleviate traffic congestion issues.” 

Construction will begin next Monday, June 10 and should be completed before August 15.  The road reconstructions will be scheduled and completed in alternating lane sections.  “We are very pleased that the contractor is accommodating as this will allow the maintenance of road access to all businesses and limited through traffic,” Mayor Chadwick further said.

Nehring continued, “We ask for everyone’s patience as we complete this project.  We are aware that Roughrider is one of the most travelled streets in town and this will be inconvenient for a short time.  However, once we have gone through this process, Roughrider will be able to accommodate more traffic for many years to come.”

Fan Drive Underway

SUMMER is here and a lot of families are suffering from heat exposure because they can't afford fans or air conditioning in their homes. Drop off new or used fans in good condition at the office behind the Calvary Abundant Life Tabernacle at 2413 Bethel Rd. in Logansport across from the dumpsters. These fans will be distributed for free to area DeSoto Parish families who qualify.

    The Lighthouse... is seeking donations of new or used fans in good condition.


     We need new or used fans in good condition - families  may contact our office and show proof on income or lack thereof in order to qulaify.


     Parents will need to fill out an application at 2413 Bethel Rd. at The Lighthouse... office behind the church before August 31st. Contact our office at 318-697-5649 for more information. If you have email access, contact Sister Meeks at


Timpson Frontier Days a Month Away

Timpson Chamber of Commerce officials are gearing up for the annual Timpson Frontier Days festival going on at SoSo Park in Timpson July 4th through the 6th. 


Activities will include live demonstrations of fronteir day folklore, live entertainment, arts and crafts, a parade, pageant, rides and more.


Activities get underway that Thursday at 5 PM and will then run Friday and Saturday from 9:30 AM to 12 Noon.


Admission is free.



Joaquin Man Involved in Minor Accident

DPS officials say a 62-year-old Joaquin man was cited for failure to maintain a single lane after being involved in a one-vehicle accident yesterday morning just before noon.


Troopers say Lenwood Martin was headed east on Highway 84 in Shelby County,.2 miles south of Highway 7 when he began to have difficulty maintaining a single lane of traffic.  He reportedly drifted off to the side and struck a guardrail 


Troopers say it is possible the driver may have blacked out. 


No injuries were reported.

Gunfights and Blood Feuds of Old East Texas

   On Saturday morning, June 29, from 8:30-11:30 am, Panola College will present to the public a conference on “Gunfights and Blood Feuds of Old East Texas.” The event will be hosted by Bill O’Neal, State Historian of Texas. O’Neal has written numerous books on frontier violence, and he has spoken on the subject throughout Texas and the West, as well as on numerous television documentaries.

               A featured guest speaker will be Chuck Parsons, whose most recent book is a biography of East Texas gunfighter, John Wesley Hardin. Parsons is the author of many books on outlaws and lawmen. His biography of Texas Ranger Captain John Hughes won the 2012 Book of the Year Award of the Wild West History Association.

               Topics will include: John Wesley Hardin in East Texas; the Regulator-Moderator War; the murderous bank robbery in Longview by the Dalton Gang; the 1888 murder and lynching at the Panola County courthouse; the 1869 death of desperado Cullen Baker; and the 1878 shooting of famed actor Maurice Barrymore in Marshall. In addition, O’Neal will demonstrate the evolution of revolving pistols and holsters.

               Bill and Chuck will be on hand to greet fellow gunfighter buffs in the ballroom at the Phoebe Sue Perlman Student Center located on Panola College’s main campus in Carthage, Texas. Admission is free, and the conference will begin at 8:30 am. So that we can know how much seating and refreshments to provide, if you plan to attend please RSVP to Bill O’Neal (, or 903.693.5266) or Jackie Sanders (, 903.693.2017).


One Center Resident Killed; One Injured Late Saturday Night

DPS confirm one Center resident died and one sustained injuries following a one-vehicle rollover on Highway 87 a little after 11:30 Saturday evening. 


Troopers say 44-year-old Arlondine Shaw was headed north on the roadway when her vehicle left the roadway and overturned. 


Her passenger, Montrell Pennington, 27, of Center was transported to Shelby Regional Hospital where he would be pronounced dead.  Shaw was said to be in good condition with contusions and abrasions.


DPS have not officially commented on what may have caused the accident.


On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 Ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foot- hold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high -more than 9,000 Allied Soldiers were killed or wounded -- but more than 100,000 Soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.

Shelby County Memorial Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 8904 and the Ladies Auxiliary will lay a memorial wreath in remembrance of the 69th Anniversary of D-Day on Thursday, June 6th, 2013 at Veterans Memorial on the grounds of the Historic Shelby County Courthouse.  The program will begin at 10 am and the public is cordially invited to attend. 


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