News

Mon
16
Oct

Grand Saline searches for fire, police director

Citizens of Grand Saline packed the Grand Saline City Council chambers Oct. 10 for the Grand Saline city council meeting.

After being indicted and arrested, Grand Saline Police Chief Justin Collins submitted his resignation in writing to the City of Grand Saline Oct. 4.

Collins, who had been on paid administrative leave by the city since July 10, was booked into the Van Zandt County Jail Oct. 3 and charged with theft by a public servant and abuse of official capacity after turning himself in to the VZC Jail on warrants returned by a VZC Grand Jury indictment.

In a standing-room only council chamber, Grand Saline resident Kathy Smith took an opportunity to address the council, asking the council to consider promoting GS Police Sgt. Jason Burns as chief.

Mon
16
Oct

Suspect arrested following shooting incident

First responders, including members of the Wills Point Police Department, Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, Wills Point Volunteer Fire Department and Champion EMS were all dispatched to a local apartment complex Tuesday afternoon in response to reports of an incident involving gunshots and a resident reportedly struck in the lower extremities by a bullet.

According to reports, two males visited a mutual acquaintance at the Royal Lane Apartments located in the northern portion of Wills Point shortly after 1 p.m. Oct. 10.

The situation escalated quickly with an argument turning into a physical confrontation between the two visitors to the apartment, the resident, and a friend of the resident that was on scene at the time of the incident. 

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Mon
16
Oct

Showing our support for Veterans Special section hitting stands Nov. 5

The cat has been let out of the bag concerning the Van Zandt Newspapers featuring a collector’s edition honoring Veterans Day and those who have served or are serving our country.

The special edition will feature an extensive listing of veterans in Van Zandt County along with a number of war stories and special articles told by a select number of veterans and written by our editorial team.

The section will also include photos of veterans in the county and pre-paid ads with information about a family member that has served or is serving.

Special articles to be featured include a look inside the creation of the Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial. The article will include photos of before and after the memorial was built, and an in-depth view of the hurdles that the late Red Montgomery and founding members had to overcome to get the ball rolling to create one of the best Veterans Memorials in the country.

Mon
09
Oct

Burn ban tabled by court

Following a recommendation from Van Zandt County Fire Marshal James Lehman, the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court tabled the issue of a potential burn ban during a brief meeting Oct. 4.

Lehman reported to the commissioners’ court that there are 57 counties across the state currently under a burn ban including Henderson and Kaufman counties.

Lehman remarked that rain showers that came through the county Oct. 3 had changed his mind about requesting a burn ban.

“We have received a number of calls from citizens asking about a possible burn ban,” said Lehman. “We are close to needing a burn ban but I recommend we table this  and take another look at the situation in two weeks when we meet again. It is a concern but right now, knock on wood, we are not seeing a whole lot of grass fire calls and fire calls overall at the current time.” Commissioners agreed to bring the subject back on the agenda for the Oct. 18 meeting.

Mon
09
Oct

GS Police Chief Collins resigns after indictment, arrest

After being indicted and arrested, Grand Saline Police Chief Justin Collins submitted his resignation in writing to the City of Grand Saline Oct. 4.

Collins, who had been on paid administrative leave by the city since July 10, was booked into the Van Zandt County Jail Oct. 3 and charged with theft by a public servant and abuse of official capacity after turning himself in to the VZC Jail on warrants returned by a VZC Grand Jury indictment.

The former Grand Saline police chief allegedly paid for meals for his spouse and the spouse of another police officer while attending training and then allegedly led the city of Grand Saline to believe the meals were for official business. The transactions allegedly occurred during the time period of Sept. 27-30, 2015.

Collins was indicted by the VZC Grand Jury for theft greater than $100 but less than $750. He was released Oct. 3 from the VZC Jail on a $1,000 bond.

Mon
09
Oct

Edgewood community creates lunch ministry Free meals for those in need

 

The inception of the Community Lunch ministry, which benefits the local Meals on Wheels program as well as the entire Edgewood community, is the product of the first Edgewood Community Connect meeting hosted by Cheatham Memorial United Methodist Church in June 2016.

During the meeting, members asked “How do we reach out to help those people in need of a good meal, fellowship, a kind word or perhaps just knowing that someone cares?”

The answer was clear, a community lunch gathering that was free for those who came.

Since the original lunch in June 2016, the attendance for the meal has grown from approximately 50 meals served to over 150 meals served on the last Wednesday of each month.

During this time frame, Edgewood Community Connect has provided over 1,300 meals at the Edgewood Civic Center and has augmented the local Meals on Wheels program with

Mon
09
Oct

TCEQ evaluates Edgewood water tank, dam City joins Piney Woods 911 District


Wolf Den of Edgewood performed the Posting of Colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance at the September Edgewood City Council meeting. The boy scouts are in the second grade. From left to right, Noah Maldonado, Israel Martinez, Dillon Davis, Travis Ferguson, with leader Whit Davis.

The Edgewood City Council met Sept. 25 to discuss a resolution that would allow the creation of the Piney Woods 911 District.

 

David Cleveland of the East Texas Council of Governments spoke to the council and answered questions concerning the city approving the resolution.

 

According to Cleveland, “the creation of the district would allow 911 tax dollars to remain local rather than going to the state and allow local regulation. The new 911 District will manage the 911 system and assign addresses to make sure first responders can easily locate residents in need of service. The Piney Woods 911 District will encompass 10 counties which include 51 jurisdictions and 850,000 residents.”

After discussion, the resolution was approved unanimously.

In other business, Edgewood City Administrator Petra Marley and Edgewood Police Chief David Hammond presented findings regarding an ordinance dealing with businesses with grease traps.

Mon
02
Oct

The Blotter

The Van Zandt Co. Sheriff’s Department reported the following arrests from Sept.19-26, 2017.

Kenny Lee Bacot, 27, Chandler, was arrested on site for theft of property and on a warrant for accident involving injury or death.

Joseph Barrentine, 33, Fruitvale, was arrested on site for assault, family violence.

Cody Glenn Bednar, 30, Mabank, was arrested on a warrant for probation violation, cruelty to non-livestock animals.

Christopher Fount Bethany, 45, Forney, was arrested on a warrant for driving while intoxicated.

Christina Danielle Bogan, 21, Houston, was arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault with deadly weapon.

Austin Layne Brasher, 27, Tyler, was arrested on a warrant for obstruction or retaliation.

Jennifer Brock, 19, Ben Wheeler, was arrested on a Wood Co. warrant for theft of property.

Mon
02
Oct

Commissioners alter meeting dates Payroll schedule forces change

Following a request from the Van Zandt County treasurer’s office, the VZC Commissioners Court agreed to change the dates of their regular meetings.

Previously, the commissioners court had been meeting on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month. The commissioners court will now meet every other Wednesday. The starting time will remain at 9 a.m. The new regular meeting schedule began Wednesday, Oct. 4.

Each year, the commissioners court is required to set the date and time of each regular meeting for the new fiscal year prior to the Oct. 1 start date of the new fiscal year.

Mon
02
Oct

VZC citizens start petition process to limit tax rate

The process to call for a possible special tax rollback election in Van Zandt County has recently begun.

Chief Election Deputy in the VZC Clerk’s office Elsa Smith confirmed that two citizens have requested information on how they can start petition efforts to force the call of a tax rollback election by the VZC Commissioners Court.

On Sept. 12, the VZC Commissioners Court approved a 2017 tax year rate of $.615847 per $100 valuation after conducting two public hearings earlier in the month.

The 2017 tax year 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 VZC from the same properties in both the 2016 and 2017 tax years.

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