State Capitol HIGHLIGHTS

Lawmakers get input on jails, suicide prevention

The July 13, 2015, death of Sandra Bland, a woman arrested and jailed after a traffic stop in Waller County, has prompted meetings of Texas House and Senate committees. Bland, whose body was discovered in her jail cell three days after she was put in custody, was ruled a suicide.

Charged by the lieutenant governor to conduct an interim study, the Senate Criminal Justice Committee met for more than four hours on Sept. 22. The panel listened to invited testimony and discussed jail safety and inmate suicide prevention in county jails.

Under direction of Committee Chair Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, the panel received input on how inmates are assessed and processed at intake, how inmate populations are grouped and managed based on risk category and mental health condition, and how jailers are trained.


Today’s library so much more than book

How do you library? 

Many people get stuck in their thinking about libraries and only focus on the obvious library use, checking out books.  Today’s library is about so much more than just checking out books. 

Yes, we do provide books. We also have audiobooks and DVDs for check out.  You can even checkout out eBooks, download audiobooks, and stream video with your library card. 

Your library card also give you access to several databases that can help you in every area of your life.  These databases can help prepare you for entrance exams/tests, they can help you learn about your family history, they have much better medical information can you can find on a typical internet search.  The databases have child-friendly areas where children can go to do research without accidentally finding material that is not age appropriate.  There’s information on small business, small engine repair, home improvements, and so much more. 


Hey Grandpa! Will I be Able to Retire?

Hi there!  I’m GRANDPA.  As I have said in previous articles - I am here for you.  I am here to take your questions or concerns and give you the best advice I possibly can.  Age, gender or walk of life doesn’t matter, I am here for everyone and all types of issues.

Here’s my most recent inquiry: 

Hey Grandpa, I am 35 years old and I work hard every day and I want to retire someday.  You are probably retired so maybe you know something about how to do that successfully.  What do I need to do to make sure that at least financially I am able to retire say by the time I am 60 or 65?  Signed, HopeTo.


Ask not what your library can do for you …

What can you do for your library? 

The next time you get ready to order flowers or a plant for a funeral or memorial service we would love if you would consider making a memorial donation to the library. 

All you have to do is bring by or mail in cash or a check and let us know who it is in memory of and we will send the family a card acknowledging the donation in the name of the loved one who passed.  You can also give donations in honor of someone. 

If you know someone who doesn’t want or need gifts you can give to the library in honor of them and we will send them a recognition card as well so that they know about your gift.  The next you come to the library grab some loose bills from your purse or wallet or spare change from your car and drop it in our donation jar. Every cent counts. 

There does not have to be a special occasion to give to the library. 


State Capitol HIGHLIGHTS

American Community Survey updates poverty statistics

Texas’ poverty rate improved to 17.2 percent in 2014, according to U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey released Sept. 17.

Embedded in that statistic is this: more than 4.5 million Texans — 1.7 million of whom are children — still live in poverty. In 2014, the poverty line for a family of three was about $19,000 per year.

Austin-based Center for Public Policy Priorities, a non-partisan research and advocacy organization, said the poverty rate for Texas children of 24.6 percent remained unchanged from the previous year.

“Although the state is growing, too many Texans struggle every day to make ends meet,” Jennifer Lee of the Center for Public Policy Priorities said. “High levels of child poverty continue to undermine our state economy and affect the future prosperity of our state,” she added.


We could use a few more Friends

Are you looking for a way to give back to your community?  Do you have a little free time that you would like to share? 

The Friends of the Library is always looking for new members to join their group. 

The Friends of the Library meets the third Wednesday of each month at 1 p.m. at the Grand Saline Public Library. Most months, the meeting is the only time requirement we have for people who serve on the Friends leadership team.  Although there are a few events throughout the year that the Friends sponsor and help work, the time commitment is minimal. 

Some of the events that they Friends of the Library host are our annual fundraisers such as the baked potato luncheon and the pictures with Santa event at the library.  The Library Board of Trustees serves in an administration role for the library but they cannot fundraise so the Friends of the Library is vitally important because they serve as a fundraising body for the library.  


State Capitol HIGHLIGHTS

Neighbors agree to work on trade, energy projects

Gov. Greg Abbott traveled to Mexico last week to meet with President Enrique Peña Nieto and other officials in Mexico City.

On Sept. 8, the governor’s office announced an agreement between the Texas Department of Transportation and the Ministry of Communications and Transportation of the United Mexican States “to promote and increase bilateral collaboration on future border infrastructure projects.”

Also announced was the creation of an energy task force “to foster economic growth on both sides of the border by finding new and innovative energy solutions.”

Abbott said the agreements signify Texas’ and Mexico’s “intent to expand highway infrastructure, encourage economic development and facilitate bilateral trade on both sides of the border.”


Have fun with the library

The Van Zandt County Library will be represented at the third annual Health and Safety Expo/Back to School Bash from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 19, at Canton First United Methodist Church. 

The event is free, and includes bounce house, games, and information about services and programs offered within the community. 

Help the library and maybe help your Christmas list.  An American Girl Doll and an Acer Chrome book are the raffle items offered by the Friends of the Library this fall.  Tickets are available at the library.   Only 152 tickets are available for each item.



Hi there!  I’m GRANDPA.  Hopefully you read my introductory article a couple of weeks back.  If you didn’t, I should just tell you that I am here for you.  I am here to take your questions or problems and give you the best advice I possibly can.  Your age doesn’t matter, I am here for all ages and all types of issues.

As a matter of fact I started off my first column with the following: 

Hey Grandpa, I’m a teenager and I’m getting bullied at school.  Why do people want to hurt other people like that, and what can I do about it without making things worse? Signed, Batterd Boy.

That’s a really good question Batterd Boy.  I know this is a widespread problem in schools and there’s a lot of work being put in by parents and teachers as well as school administrators to put a stop to it in their school district.  I don’t know if your school district is busy with it but most of them are.


State Capitol Highlights

Gov. Greg Abbott ordered Texas flags across the state be lowered to half-staff in honor of slain Harris County Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth on Sept. 4.

Abbott also asked that law enforcement officers turn on their patrol vehicles’ red and blue flashing lights for one minute at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, the start time for Deputy Goforth’s funeral.

Goforth, 47, reportedly was targeted for wearing a uniform.

He was gunned down on Aug. 28 while refueling his vehicle at a convenience store in the Houston suburb of Cypress. Surveillance video helped law enforcement trace, capture and arrest a suspect, Shannon J. Miles, 30. Investigators retrieved a .40 caliber handgun at the suspect’s residence. Ballistics testing matched the handgun to ammunition used in the shooting. The suspect has been charged with capital murder.


Two honored posthumously


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