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. 


Don't Grow Immune to the Value of Vaccines

By Frankie L. Trull

The fight against rubella, the deadly German measles, has finally paid off. Global health authorities say the terrible disease has been eliminated in the Americas. It's a rare dose of good news in the fight against the debilitating disease, which can cause birth defects or even fetal death if contracted by a pregnant woman.

The eradication was possible by one of modern medicine's most indispensable tools -- routine vaccination. Immunization's value has never been more apparent. Yet Americans have grown skeptical of vaccines -- and the science behind them. That has to change. Few medical innovations have saved more lives than vaccines, which may play an even larger role in the years to come. 


Mt. Zion Community

The information in “The Gospel According to Ruth” is from the work of Ruth Stout Abbott. Mrs. Abbott was born in Van Zandt County in 1926 and she died here in 2007. The articles published here are from her work on the history of the county and its communities; therefore, the information is historical and there might have been changes since its original publication.

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Playground will honor family killed in crash

By Jami Johnson
On Nov, 19, 2014, my boys joined their dad and stepmother to travel to Disney World. Within hours, they experienced tragedy. My 16-year-old, Andrew Hardman, was driving and the only person wearing his seat belt. Everyone else was thrown from the vehicle as it spun and rolled. Michael and Trudi Hardman were both killed, along with my 7-year-old, Adam Hardman; Trudi’s 15-year-old son, Dakota Watson; and their 4-year-old daughter, Kaci Hardman. Trudi’s 12-year-old, Hunter Watson, suffered minor injuries. My 12-year-old, Aaron Hardman, had severe injuries.

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Seatbelts save lives but there are still many myths about wearing them

Guest columnist
When it comes to wearing your seat belts, some motorists may believe that they are protected by the size of their vehicle, their seating position, or where they are driving.
Truth is wearing a seat belt is the best way to protect yourself and your passengers in a crash. Fortunately, most Texans now buckle up, but some groups of motorists still aren’t taking the message to heart and aren’t consistently using seat belts. Let’s look at the myths about seat belt. 
Vehicle type:
There seems to be a misconception among those who drive and ride in pickup trucks that their large vehicles will protect them more than other vehicles in crashes. Numbers say otherwise.


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