Gone, but not forgotten

Photo by David Barber Shirley Attaways speaks to the Genealogical Society

VZC solider remembered in France

The old expression, “it’s a small world,” could apply to a chain of events that occurred involving the Van Zandt County Genealogy Library at the courthouse annex in Canton.

Benja Mize, query researcher at the genealogy library, received an e-mail in early October from Libby Sloan, a resident of Paris, France. Sloan was referred to Mize by another researcher, Betty Miller.

In the e-mail, Sloan explained that she was an American who has lived in France for 45 years and that her English neighbor has a nephew, Vincent Trotot, who lives near the American War Cemetery in Normandy.

Her nephew and his wife, Cindy, were responsible for putting flowers on three graves of American soldiers in the cemetery including the grave of Charles McAnally from Texas, who died at the age of 21 when his boat sank in June 1944.


VZC makes strides in the right direction

I would like to thank the Van Zandt News for the opportunity to address the citizens of Van Zandt County. The purpose of my column is to provide you with a look at where we came from and a glimpse of where we are headed.

Since day one, I have stated how critical it is for the citizens of Van Zandt County to hold your elected officials accountable. This starts with me and should be the same for every elected official. I believe this is the only way to get our county heading in the right direction. 

Before we look at the county's position for 2017, let's remember where we started. When I was sworn in as your county judge on Aug. 4, 2014, our county was $8.7 million dollars in debt. I am pleased to report that after two years of great teamwork, our commissioners and county auditor have worked hard and have been good stewards of your tax dollars. Our county debt has been reduced by over $2.8 million to $5.9 million.


State Capitol Highlights

Officials urge state’s high court not to expand same-sex marriage ruling


Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton last week filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the Texas Supreme Court over issues they say were not addressed in a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case declaring same-sex marriage a fundamental right.

The three officials asked the Texas Supreme Court to accept their view that Obergefell v. Hodges, the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 decision recognizing a right to same-sex marriage “does not resolve all constitutional issues relating same-sex marriage.” The brief points to Parker v. Pigeon and related cases involving a Houston mayor’s extending benefits to same-sex spouses of city employees, and asks that a lower court’s temporary injunction preventing the extension of those benefits be reinstated.


Tis the season at GS Library

Even though November just arrived we are already busy working on plans for December.  Our first event of the holiday season is a painting party with Erin Simmons of Art Studio Painting Parties from Canton. 

The event will be at 6 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, in the Depot Civic Center at the library.  The cost of the class/party is $35.  There are a limited number of spaces available for the event so you will need to contact the library to sign up to reserve your space.  Attendees are encouraged to bring a hors d'oeuvres to share with the group. 


Put reading into Overdrive

The week of Oct. 16-22 was National Friends of the Library week and  we wanted to take some take to recognize this group for all the do for the library.  The Friends work diligently each year to help provide the money needed to special projects at the library and they are the volunteers who are working at all the big events that library hosts.  Without them the library would never be able to provide the quality materials and events that we do for our community.  


State Capitol Highlights

Judge reaffirms, expands reach of injunction against bathroom directive

Fort Worth-based U.S. District Judge Reed O’Connor has reaffirmed his Aug. 21 injunction placing a temporary hold on federal guidelines for accommodating transgender students in the use of public school bathrooms and locker rooms.

In his order last week, O’Connor also denied a request by the Obama administration to limit the injunction to Texas and 12 other states that signed on as plaintiffs. The administration asked that the injunction not apply to states that did not sue for relief. In his order, O’Connor wrote, “A nationwide injunction is necessary because the alleged violation extends nationwide. Defendants are a group of agencies and administrators capable of enforcing their Guidelines nationwide, affecting numerous state and school district facilities across the country.”


Free cell phones for emergencies

Having a cell phone on your person can be useful to you if there’s an emergency at school involving one of your children. The cell phone is definitely useful if you’re job hunting and hoping a potential employer will call.

It’s important to be able to be notified if there is a sudden illness, if the car won’t start, or if the electricity has gone off. We need to know if a child or grandchild is sick, if a neighbor needs help, or if a planned event has been cancelled. It helps to know when your spouse has locked the car keys inside the car.

My wife and I both have cell phones. When we travel, each brings a cell phone. If we become separated, we use our cell phones to find each other.


Learn a new language at the GS Library

I was fortunate enough to attend a training about the databases our library provides hosted by the Texas State Library.  This was a great opportunity that over 30 library staff members from the East Texas area were able to participate in so that we will be able to better serve our library patrons.  All of our patrons have access to the databases by visiting our website ( and clicking on the Library Catalog link.  When you get to catalog page you can log on using the last five digits of your library card number and your phone number, including the area code as your email.  


Volunteers, farm animals fill up the VZC Library

Pat Howerton

Cows, horses, pigs and chickens are some of the first animals that come to mind when you think of the farm. But when Miss Rhonda reads about the farm at preschool Storytime, there's no telling what might come up!

Come to the the Van Zandt County Library at 10 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, and you will find out. Who knows, Old MacDonald may even make an appearance!

The October meeting of the Friends of the Library was really interesting. Members and guests learned about an event that happened near the end of the Texas War for Independence called the Runaway Scrape. Mayor Lou Ann Everett brought it to life with her narration.

The next big event for the group will be the Book Fair, Nov. 4 and 5. If you would like to donate books, please bring them in by Nov. 1. And there's always plenty to do, if you want to help; please leave your name and contact info with the librarians at the circulation desk.


Walking with Bob

Avoiding humongous helpings, measuring success 

The “eating out” industry is in a contest to see who can sell us the biggest sandwich, stuffed taco, loaded breakfast croissant or biggest helping on the largest plate, platter or basket. It’s OK, don’t get in a twit. There is a solution.

Order a glass of ice water with lemon, take out box, and request your meat and baked potatoes be cut in half. If they look at you strangely, tell them your health advisors told you this is what you need to have for your healthy lifestyle. That works in most situations.

Here is my helping (portion) system:

PALM SIZE: Cottage cheese, eggs, chicken, lean beef and pork, catfish, salmon or shrimp.

FIST SIZE: (a bit smaller than palm size) Whole grain bread, corn tortillas, fresh and fresh frozen fruits, root veggies like taters and sweet taters especially from east Texas. Avoid white bread and white flower. Stick with whole grain.


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