County Blotter

The Van Zandt Co. Sheriff’s Dept. reported the following arrests for July 14 - 21, 2015


Cody Lyn Allbright, 17, Van, was arrested on site for minor driving under the influence, minor in possession of alcohol, minor in possession of tobacco, and violation of driver’s license restriction.

Jackie William Ballard, 62, Canton, was arrested on a warrant for injury to a child, elderly or disabled with intentional bodily injury.

Michael Lavaughn Banks, 35, Tyler, was arrested on a warrant for driving while intoxicated.

Paul Lewis Belyeu, 43, Flint, was arrested on an Erath Co. warrant for theft of property.

Austin Layne Brasher, 25, Tyler, was arrested on a warrant for driving while intoxicated, and on a Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 warrant for stopping, standing or parking on main traveled way.


Same-sex unions – question of law

In looking back over my service as State Representative in House District 2, I have never had more contacts, questions, expressed concerns or outright rage concerning questions regarding the recent Supreme Court decision legalizing same sex marriage. My staff and I have had many of the same questions and, like you, we want answers.

You may recall in the Regular session of the 79th Texas Legislature we approved a Resolution defining Marriage in Texas as being one of one woman and one man.  I was a co-author of that Legislation.   By a vote of the people of Texas, 253 of the 254 counties overwhelming approved this resolution to be added to the Texas Constitution. With the 10th Amendment of the US Constitution granting states the right to decide these issues, many are at loss to the position of activities judges legislating from the bench.  I am outraged. 


Pets can bring up good memories of times gone by

Carol Whatley, Guest Columnist


During my childhood, the only "vacation" we ever took as a family was going to visit other family in Ohio. It was a 500 mile trip from northern Alabama to southern Ohio, and of co8urse my father had to make it in one day. The day began about 4 am, when my sister and I were awakened, put into the car in our pajamas, and off we went. We shared the backseat, our feet in each other's faces, and tried to sleep. Along about Nashville my father would grudgingly stop for a potty break and gasoline, all the time watching the other cars and saying, "I have to pass them all over again."  In those days there was not yet an interstate highway system. This means we drove through the hilly, twisting terrain of Kentucky and I was the lucky one who was always carsick. Every single time I would throw up without warning, somewhere near Paducah. It was sort of a family tradition.



Covering the news, not making it

Brad Blakemore, Publisher


In the July 26 issue of the Van Zandt News we published a story on the front page of the paper titled “Officially Dunn.” The story was on the first same-sex marriage in Van Zandt County since the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling granting same-sex couples the right to legally wed.  

As a result of the story, we have received both positive and negative feedback from our readers. Some thanking us for running the story and congratulating the two men who were married by JP Herbert Dunn in Wills Point.  We have also had a handful of negative reactions from our readers questioning our decision to run the story at all and asking why we felt it deserved front page coverage.   

Was the first same-sex marriage news in Van Zandt County? Yes. Does everyone have their own opinion on the subject? Of course.


Capital Highlights

High court puts Texas abortion law on hold

AUSTIN — The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote on June 29, granted a stay preventing revisions to the state abortion law made by the Texas Legislature in 2013 from taking effect on July 1.

The stay will remain in effect while the court is on hiatus. When it reconvenes in October, the court will decide if the issues at stake in the Texas case, Whole Woman’s Health (and others) v. Cole, merit further review. Voting to deny the stay were Chief Justice Roberts and Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito.


Enjoy simply joy of reading this summer

By Kelli Bryant

Librarian -

There are so many ways to get involved at the library this summer. 

One of the trends that I am seeing is that more and more people are looking to have a low-key summer.  Parents want their children to have the kind of summer that they did when they were children.  You remember those days.  Chasing lightning bugs, playing in the sprinkler, lying under the stars are all fond memories from childhood summers.  It’s easy to take a trip back to a simpler and slower summer and use the library as a tool to make that happen. 

You don’t have to spend a lot of money this summer to entertain your children.  We have all kinds of free activities for the family this summer.


Library Footnotes

Summer Reading at the Van Zandt County Library has three sessions left.  Be There!  About 100 children and adults have attended each of the first four fun days, and adults may have enjoyed them as much as the kids did.  See Facebook, or the foyer of the Library for details on the rest of summer

activities. Trinity Valley Electric Co-op is the principle underwriter of Summer Reading again this year.  Their grant provided funds for programs and many of the prizes that were awarded, including the Grand Prize. The Canton Rotary Club gave the main prize for each individual meeting. The Friends of the Library organized and conducted the entire event.
FREEBIE 3rd FRIDAY will begin on July 17.  This is a noontime event once a month sponsored by


All we need is love

Guest columnist

Given enough time and work, any domesticated animal can be trained. It depends on what you want them to do. It's easy enough to teach a dog to sit, or stay, or shake paws; it's a little more difficult to train a cat. 

Most dogs respond to treats and praise. Cats love petting and head scratches. If you have an iguana, however, you'll get no help from me. Let's stick to dogs and cats.


This Fourth of July, ‘Drive sober or get pulled over” by Van Zandt County law enforcement

By Melisa Rhodes

The Fourth of July is one of America’s favorite holidays.

And, why not? Families and friends gather to celebrate our country with food, parades, parties, and fireworks.

But there is a very dark side to this great holiday. For many, the celebrations turn from festive to fatal when alcohol-impaired driving crashes occur because someone chose to drive after drinking. In 2013, “Forbes” magazine named the Independence Day holiday “the most dangerous holiday of the year.”

The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service Watch UR BAC program suggests that if you plan to celebrate with alcohol, you plan a safe ride home. Throughout the region, local police will be out in force this July 4th holiday period, cracking down on drunk driving through increased patrols. Officers remind you to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.”


Pet overpopulation can be fixed. No pun intended

During the 1970's, there was a social movement called "Zero Population Growth.”  The idea was that people who wanted children should only procreate enough to replace themselves; in other words, two children per family. It was commonly known as ZPG.

For some reason this movement just died out. For religious or other reasons, people kept having kids and more kids, thinking (I guess) that, as long as they could afford them, why not? Personally, I feel that's taking the short view. There are other things to consider when it comes to planet population. There are ecological factors, health issues, loss of animal habitat. This latter one is a big deal to me.

When we first bought the property on which we live, we saw evidence of deer. We recognized where they bedded down and occasionally saw them peeking through the trees. After a few months of zealously crashing through the woods on the tractor, we managed to run them off. I've always regretted that. 


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