News

Sun
30
Jul

A new cockatoo at the zoo

East Texas Zoo and Gator Park expands

 Come meet a new face, or 200 new faces, at the East Texas Zoo and Gator Park, located on Van Zandt County Road 1255. 

Formerly known as the East Texas Gator and Wildlife Park, co-owners Miguel Rocha and Justin Scoggins changed the name after purchasing the venue in December 2016 and have transformed the attraction into a tropical setting and are offering a whole lot more bang for your buck.

“When we bought the venue in December 2016, we realized the previous owners were only using the front three acres of the property. So, we expanded the zoo to encompass all 25 acres,” said Rocha. “We want people to know that this is a whole new place. We still have what everyone liked, which was the alligators, but we have added so much more to enhance it.” 

Sat
29
Jul

VZC employee handbook updated after 21 years

For the first time in 21 years, Van Zandt County employees will have a new employee handbook following approval July 25 by the VZC Commissioners Court.

VZC Human Resource Director Dan Maucieri highlighted the new 71-page handbook in a presentation to the commissioners.

“This handbook is very much changed from what we have had,” emphasized Maucieri. “The employee handbook that we are working under now was originally published in 1996. Updates were added as they were required by the commissioners’ court. When an update was approved, it was sent out to all department heads and then the page was swapped out in the handbook. We did a great job keeping up with that but the time had come for our employee handbook to go under a complete revision.”

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Fri
28
Jul

Edom VFD to celebrated 50th anniversary

The Edom Volunteer Fire Department will celebrate its 50th year from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Aug. 19 at Station No. 1 on Highway 279 east. The celebration will include a review of the department’s history and a barbecue dinner for those who attend.

Before being organized into an actual fire department, fighting fires in the community was a group effort. When a call came in of a fire, the Jordan boys, Pat, Sam, and Mike, Noah Price, Joe Jimmy Crow, and any other able bodied young man available, would pile into a pick-up truck and go try to help. Their firefighting equipment consisted of a tow sack, a rake or shovel, and if they were really lucky, a bucket of water to wet down the tow sacks. This was in the mid-1960s.

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Wed
26
Jul

West Nile makes first appearance

County residents enjoyed a relatively uneventful year in 2016, dodging the brunt of most new and emerging illnesses that have made waves across much of the county in previous years. A case of West Nile Virus, among the most notorious of these illnesses, was not confirmed in Van Zandt County until a Sept. 17, 2016 report by the Texas Department of State Health Services last year.

Hopes that the county might best that outcome this year with no reported cases officially came to a close July 11 with the DSHS publishing a report confirming someone had tested positive for having the West Nile Virus. The local case is among eight confirmed cases statewide through the week ending July 7.

Other counties in the state of Texas with confirmed cases of West Nile include Collin, Cooke, El Paso, Montgomery, Panola, Tarrant and Val Verde Counties. 

Tue
25
Jul

Abbott gives lawmakers initial marching orders for special session

AUSTIN — Gov. Greg Abbott on July 10 issued a formal proclamation for the special session that begins July 18, directing the Texas Legislature to extend expiration dates for the Texas Medical Board and other state boards that regulate psychologists, marriage and family therapists, professional counselors and social workers.

Abbott said he plans to issue a supplemental proclamation further directing lawmakers to pass another list of items he previously announced. The areas of legislation would:

— Reform laws governing ad valorem property taxes;

— Increase average salary and benefits of Texas teachers;

— Establish a statewide commission to study and recommend improvements to the current public school finance system;

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Tue
25
Jul

Five show sales tax revenue growth

Van Zandt County cities came close to making it a clean sweep in sales tax revenue collection gains in the month of July with the office of Texas State Comptroller Glenn Hegar announcing last week that Canton, Edgewood, Grand Saline, Van and Wills Point all outpaced collection totals from the same calendar month in 2016.

Edom, which has enjoyed a solid year overall in sales tax revenue growth after a rocky 2016, proved to be the county’s outlier by seeing sales tax revenue collections drop from $1,599.52 down to $1,302.75. The drop of $296.77 when comparing July 2016 totals to those posted July 2017 amounts to a negative dollar change of 18.55 percent.  

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Mon
24
Jul

Sen. Hall files key special session legislation

Senator Bob Hall filed Senate Bill (SB) 14 to protect the private property rights of landowners from political subdivision rules, regulations, and ordinances that interfere with a private property owner's right to plant, transplant, and remove, trees and vegetation from their own property.  

This bill addresses an issue within the scope of the special session called by Governor Abbott last month. "It's difficult to find a perfect solution to this issue," remarked Sen. Hall.  "Yet one thing remains clear - local government overreach in Texas has become a persistent and serious problem. It is my intent to ensure that the final version of this bill unequivocally upholds private property rights by prohibiting, in additional to the removal aspect, other heavy-handed local regulation of trees and vegetation on private property."

Mon
24
Jul

Low pay, lack of staff plagues VZC Jail

Several issues including budget needs for the Van Zandt County Jail and Sheriff’s Department were the main topics of discussion during a special session July 18 of the VZC Commissioners Court.

No decisions were reached as staff members of the VZC Sheriff’s Department and VZC Jail, VZC Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell, VZC District Judge Teresa Drum and other county employees were among those in attendance meeting with VZC Judge Don Kirkpatrick, VZC Pct. 1 Commissioner Brandon Brown and VZC Pct. 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton Jr.

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Sun
23
Jul

The Blotter

The Van Zandt Co. Sheriff’s Department reported the following arrests from July 4 to July 11, 2017:

 

Sean Michael Bridges, 31, Mineola, was arrested on a warrant for tamper/fabricate physical evidence.

Cedarrion Deshaun Coleman, 22, Arlington, was arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Noah Richard Lee Dyer, 19, Canton, was arrested on site for disorderly conduct.

Zachary Sebastian Dyer, 22, Myrtle Springs, was arrested on site for disorderly conduct.

Ricky Darnell Eudy, 40, Gainsville, was arrested on site for assault causes bodily injury family violence.

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Sun
23
Jul

Beckham named as third-party attorney in Collins investigation

The City of Grand Saline and the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) have reached agreement to bring in a third-party attorney to investigate allegations against Grand Saline Police Chief Justin Collins.

Attorney Justin Beckham of Wynne & Wynne in Wills Point was named July 20 as the third-party attorney.

Joel Elliott of the Elliott Law Firm in Canton and attorney for the City of Grand Saline informed the News July 20 about the details of the arrangement.

To read the full article, subscribe to the Van Zandt News or pick up a copy from one of our vendors. 

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - News