Sandra Plaster’s swearing-in ceremony

Appointed Van Zandt County Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Sandra Plaster is sworn into office Sept. 8 by retired VZC Pct. 2 JP Ronnie Daniell during a noon time swearing-in ceremony at the VZC Pct. 2 JP office. Shown with Plaster are her parents, William and Betty Thornton and her granddaughter, Chloe Plaster. A reception followed the swearing-in ceremony.


Hooked on worms Focus on worms turns into family business

Two words can best describe why Sherri Doss would be interested in being involved in a worm farm business and those words are “dirt therapy.”

“When I worked with emotionally disturbed kids, I always had a garden or something that involved dirt,” said Doss. “I am a big believer in dirt therapy. Fast forward to my retirement and moving to the Canton/Martins Mill area, I was helping take care of my mother who had suffered a broken wrist. It turned out that she had more than a broken wrist. She had dementia and she was not able to take care of herself. At that point, I needed dirt therapy myself.”

Sherri’s husband, Breon, first brought up the subject of working with worms which resulted in a negative reaction from Sherri.


Leadership Van Zandt County Class 2 set to launch

The Canton Texas Chamber of Commerce and the Leadership Van Zandt County Board of Directors recently announced the names of eight students that will be the 2017- 2018 Leadership Van Zandt County Class 2.

LVZC, now in its second year, is designed to incorporate key leadership objectives emphasizing professional leadership and community development. Throughout the course of the program schedule, students will be exposed to extensive training from both professional speakers and honorary community leaders as well as participate in various group events that will highlight their personal strengths and the needs of the community.


VZC Library Board approved by commissioners

New board officers and members of the Van Zandt County Library Advisory Board were approved by the VZC Commissioners Court during their Sept. 12 meeting.

Outgoing library advisory board member Russell Harris presented the recommended names to the commissioners’ court.

VZC Librarian Susie Pulley expressed her appreciation to Harris for his six years of service on the board.

“Mr. Harris has done an excellent job as president of our board and he is one of the best that we have ever had in that position,” pointed out Pulley.

In addition to Harris, who represented Pct. 3, rotating off the board, it was announced that Carolyn Daughtry, representing Pct. 4, has resigned due to scheduling conflicts.

Brenda Fuller, representing Pct. 1, is renewing a three-year term on the board which will end on Sept. 30, 2020.


Grand Saline, Edom slip in sales tax collections

Van Zandt County cities enjoyed a mostly positive month in sales tax revenue collections according to the office of Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar as Canton, Edgewood, Van and Wills Point all showing sales tax revenue gains when comparing Sept. 2017 figures against those from the same calendar month in 2016.

The city of Canton led all county cities in overall dollar change for the third consecutive month, receiving a county-best payment of $298,995.57 in September 2017, up $14,025.72 over collections in September 2016.

Van, which saw revenues slip $11,207.59 when comparing August 2017 with August 2016, bounced back in a big way in September by receiving a payment of $72,216.45. That total was $13,416.41 or 22.82 percent than the $58,800.04 collected during the same month last year.


The Blotter

The Van Zandt Co. Sheriff’s Department reported the following arrests from  Sept. 5-12, 2017.

William Neal Adams Jr., 28, Grand Saline, was arrested on a warrant for possession of controlled substance, parole violation.

Jose David Alvarenga, 31, Mesquite, was arrested on site for driving while intoxicated with child under 15.

Ronald Louis Brian, 40, Carrollton, was arrested on two warrants for possession of dangerous drug and possession of marijuana.

Aaron Devon Cooper, 31, Little Elm, was arrested on site for unlawful possession of firearm by felon, possession of marijuana, no drivers’ license and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Devan Marie Costilde, 23, Grand Saline, was arrested on a warrant for false report to peace officer.

Ronnie Dewayne Cotton, 35, Edgewood, was arrested on two warrants for burglary of habitation and failure to identify fugitive.


Chiseling out a career Kindle travels to Africa for dig

Canton resident Katie Kindle spent the summer excavating at a field school in Tanzania, Africa, chiseling through rock at the Olduvai Gorge. Olduvai Gorge in Tanzania is an ancient hominid archaeological site, with occupations dated to 1.8 million years ago.

Katie graduated from Canton High School in 2013 and University of Texas at Austin in 2017, with a bachelor’s degree in biology with a certificate in public health. After graduation, she said she wanted to take a bit of time away from school before heading to graduate school.

“Although I have a degree in biology, I never had an interest in being a medical doctor. I thought I wanted to go into public health, infectious diseases, but I had to take a human biology class. That class sparked my interest in anthropology. I started to read numerous books on the subject, just for fun,” said Katie. 


Fruitvale ISD recovering after tornadoes

Fruitvale ISD was hit hard during the April 29 series of tornadoes. Fruitvale High School was the hardest hit of the school districts in Van Zandt County.  Fruitvale received major roof damage which caused water damage to most of the classrooms and the band hall. Standing water in the school caused mold damage which also had to be removed. According to FISD Superintendent Rebecca Bain, over 300 ceiling tiles had to be replaced as well as 30 acoustic wall tiles in the band hall.


The damage continued on throughout the district, with other campuses sustaining damage as well. Fruitvale Junior High had water leaking at the transition of the roof, causing water damage to the girls’ varsity locker room, gym floor and restrooms. Roof damage to the district’s “old gym” caused insulation to fall and water damage on the walls, said Supt. Bain.


Citizens speak on proposed VZC tax rate

Around 25 citizens were in attendance Sept. 5 for the first of two public hearings on the proposed 2017 tax rate  approved by the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court.

Five citizens shared their feelings to the commissioners and expressed concern and criticism of the 4-1 decision Aug. 22 by the commissioners’ court.

All four county commissioners voted in favor while VZC Judge Don Kirkpatrick voted against the proposed 2017 tax rate of $.615847 per $100 valuation.

The proposed 2017 tax rate exceeds the preceding year’s tax rate ($.585847), the effective tax rate ($.552805) and the rollback tax rate ($.587864).

The effective tax rate is the total tax rate needed to raise the same amount of property tax revenue for the county from the same properties in both the 2016 and the 2017 tax years.


Balloon release held on Labor Day

The Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial held a balloon release in honor of veterans, prisoners of war/missing in action and those currently serving in the military on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4

The annual event attracted people from across the county with funds raised from the balloons purchased benefiting the VZC Veterans Memorial.

Each color of a balloon represented a certain status of military personnel. Red and blue balloons were in honor of veterans or anyone; black in honor of POW/MIA; yellow balloons for those currently serving in the military; and white balloons in honor of those who have retired.

VZC Veterans Memorial committee member Shorty Farmer offered remarks to those in attendance, stating that the balloon release was also in honor of the late Red Montgomery. 


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