County Blotter

The VZC Sheriff’s Department reported the following arrests for Sept. 29 – Oct. 13, 2015.

Jeremy Lujan Alanis, 28, Dallas, was arrested on a warrant for driving while intoxicated.

Travis Wayne Anders, 25, Alba, was arrested on a warrant for driving while intoxicated.

Lee Martin Biggerstaff, 37, was arrested on a warrant for possession of marijuana.

Joshua Kurtis Borth, 28, Wills Point, was arrested on a Durango County, Colo. warrant for sexual assault of a child.

Bert Wayne Bowman, 47, Wills Point, was arrested on two warrants for assault and interfering with emergency request for assistance, and on three Wills Point Municipal Court warrants for failure to maintain financial responsibility, display expired drivers’ license and expired drivers’ license.

Kristy V. Cates, 36, Quitman, was arrested on a warrant for issuance of bad check.


New newspaper deadlines announced

The Van Zandt News has new deadlines.

Deadline for all articles, photographs, display advertising and classified ads for the current week’s issue is now 5 p.m. Tuesday.

For questions, call 903-567-4000.

To send news and information, email

For questions about display advertising, email Misty Stanberry at, Heather Banks at or David Barber at or call Glenn McNeill at 903-873-2525.

For questions about classified ads, email


PAWS run set

Run for the PAWS will take place Saturday, Oct. 17 at First Monday Grounds in Canton. 

The event is put on by the youth of St. Therese Catholic Church.  Majority of the proceeds go to C.L.A.W.

Online registration is located on the website

T-shirts will be on a first come first serve basis for day of race.

Check in/registration begins at 7 a.m.  Run promptly starts at 8 a.m.  A one mile dog walk starts at 8:15 a.m.

For more information call 903-445-1833 or email


Historical marker unveiled in Van

Photos by Britne Hammons Linda Mays, left, and Tommie Mayor researched and penned the historical marker that dedicates the contribution of C.S. Nicks’ photographs that depicted the Van oil boom in 1929.

Oil photographer remembered 

A new historical marker is now in Van. On Oct. 3, members of the Van Zandt County Historical commissioner unveiled the new marker dedicated to photographer Charles Sparkman Nicks.

Tommie Mayo, member of the VZC Historical Commission, presented a history of Nicks during the marker dedication ceremony.

“Charles Sparksman Nicks was a photographer who had a dream, ambition and talent for inventions.

He captured the visual history of oil drilling, oil field fires, confusion and people of an oil boom town that would otherwise be lost to time and memory,” said Ms. Mayo.

The historical maker gives a history of Nicks, stating that he was a native of Tennessee, but frequently came to Texas to make a living.


Pilot Club ‘Waitress Night’ set for Oct. 15

The Wills Point Pilot Club annual “Waitress Night” fundraiser will be from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, at Lone Star Grill, located on U.S. Hwy. 80.

Pilot Club members will serve as “your waitress for all tips” all evening long, club officials said.

The Pilot Club of Wills Point, part of Pilot International, follows the mission statement “To serve by furthering Pilot International's humanitarian efforts through charitable, educational, and research programs in communities throughout the world.”

The local club raises funds annually to provide Lifeline units to senior members of the community.


Kirkpatrick recalls first 14 months in office

Judge Don Kirkpatrick

Says accounting on forefront of concerns 

In the March 4, 2014, primary election, Judge Don Kirkpatrick defeated incumbent Van Zandt County Judge Rhita Koches and captured over 68 percent of the votes.

With no democratic opponent in the November 2014 election Kirkpatrick was set to take office in January 2015.

Judge Koches resigned Aug. 1, 2014, and Kirkpatrick was sworn into office Aug. 4, 2014, to fill the unexpired term of Koches and also to begin his four year term.

 When asked to describe his first 14 months on the job in one word, Kirkpatrick said it had to be “challenging.”

One of Kirkpatrick’s campaign promises was to take Van Zandt County in a different direction.


RUMC hosting fall fundraising dinner Friday

Russell Memorial United Methodist Church will host its annual Fall Dinner Fundraiser from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 16, before the Kaufman vs. Wills Point football game.

The dinner will be in the Deen Building of the church located at 201 S. Fourth St. 

For a donation, dinners will get plenty of chicken spaghetti, salad and desserts, organizers said.

Those attending can also enter a drawing for a 50” Emerson LCD HDTV, 1080p LED. 

Tickets are $5 each or six for $25 and you don’t need to be present to win.  Tickets may also be purchased at the church office through 2:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 15. 

There will also be a silent auction for homemade desserts. 

“If you’re going to the game, we will hold your winnings for you to pick up after the game,” organizers said. “Whether you’re going to the game or not, please join us for dinner!”


October is domestic violence abuse month

The East Texas Crisis Center in Canton is asking for help to raise awareness to end domestic violence.  One in three women will experience domestic violence in a lifetime.  One in three children will witness domestic violence, said Crystal Mayer, Victim Advocate for Van Zandt and Rains counties.  

“Twenty people per minute are victims of physical violence (slapping, pushing, and shoving) by an intimate partner in their lifetime.  Eighteen to 35 is the age range for which domestic violence is highest.  Thirty is the average number of new domestic violence clients seen by the East Texas Crisis Center in Van Zandt County each month,” said Mayer.

“At 9 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, a proclamation will be signed during Commissioner’s Court, inside of the Courthouse by County Judge Don Kirkpatrick.  This year the HOPE award will be presented to two police officers in Van Zandt County,” Mayer said.  


Edgewood gets new, familiar police chief

David J. Hammonds is the police chief in Edgewood – for the second time.

Hammonds began work Sept. 24. He previously served as Edgewood chief of police from 2004 to 2007. He resigned the position to run for Van Zandt County sheriff. He has been retired for the past seven years but said he decided to apply for the top cop spot in Edgewood again.

Edgewood city council members said they are happy to have him back.

Hammonds worked for the Texas Department of Public Safety for 28 years spending 21 years in the narcotics division including undercover investigations. He spent three years as an investigator for the Van Zandt County District Attorney’s office before serving as the Canton chief of police from 2000 to 2004. 


GS students charged with planting hoax bombs

Left- Bracy Erin Harvey, 18; right- Justin Kyle McGallian, 17.

Two Grand Saline High School students have been arrested in connection with fake pipe bombs found at Indian Stadium after the Grand Saline versus Hawkins football game.

Bracy Erin Harvey, 18, and Justin Kyle McGallian, 17, were arrested Oct. 2 on charges of hoax bombs in school zone.

According to the Texas Penal Code, a hoax bomb is defined as “a device that reasonably appears to be an explosive or incendiary device or by its design causes alarm or reaction of any type by an official of a public safety agency or a volunteer agency organized to deal with emergencies.” 

A person commits an offense if he or she “knowingly manufactures, sells, purchases, transports or possesses a hoax bomb with the intent to use the hoax bomb to make another believe that the hoax bomb is an explosive or incendiary device or cause alarm.”


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