Commissioners adjust salaries, positions

Van Zandt County Auditor Freddy Thomas goes over a series of fiscal year 2017 budget amendments March 14. Photo by David Barber

Following a closed session March 14, the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court announced adjustments in salary and positions at the county’s district clerk and tax assessor-collector offices.

Chief Deputy District Clerk Melissa Chaney was given a $1,000 salary increase after the commissioners agreed to decrease the salary of another position in the office by $1,000.

In the tax assessor-collectors office, commissioners approved the elimination of two part-time positions to open up a full-time position in the office.

During the open session, the commissioners covered their agenda in 15 minutes as various proposals received approval.

VZC Judge Don Kirkpatrick began the open session by expressing his appreciation to everyone involved who made the trip to Austin for Van Zandt County Day March 7.


Cattleman’s Conference set for March 24

The 2017 Upper Sabine Cattleman’s Conference is scheduled for Friday, March 24 at the Van Zandt County Fairgrounds.

Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. The conference ends around 3 p.m.

The conference is sponsored by Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service offices in Wood, Rains, Kaufman and Van Zandt counties.

Cost is $20 per person. Organizers ask that attendees RSVP through the four AgriLife Extension county offices, including Wood at 903-763-2924; Rains at 903-473-4580; Kaufman at 972-932-9069 or Van Zandt at 903-567-4149, by March 17 for an accurate lunch count.

Three Texas Department of Agriculture continuing education units, including two integrated pest management and one general, will be available. Three Beef Quality Assurance credits will also be available for attendees. 


VISIONS talk child abuse, neglect

Events slated in county, cities

The Council of Van Zandt County Communities met at the Van Zandt Country Club in Canton March 14. The VISIONS group heard a presentation from Dr. Dana Harader, executive director of the Children’s Advocacy Center of VZC and Brad Blakemore, publisher of the Van Zandt News.

Dr. Harader has an “extensive,” background in working with children and youth with emotional disturbances in school and mental health facilities.

Dr. Harader and Blakemore both spoke on IMPACT Van Zandt, an organization that has a goal of “

reducing the number of children affected by child abuse and neglect by joining together to cross promote resources, obtain needed resources and gain community awareness throughout the year.”


Van Zandt County Retired Teachers Meeting

The Van Zandt County Retired Teachers Association will meet at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, March 21 in the American National Bank building in Canton.  Benja Mize will be the speaker.  All retired school personnel are invited to attend.  This is a critical time for teachers as the state legislature is considering changes to retired teacher’s health insurance.  “Come and find out how you can make an impact,” said spokesperson.

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Van journalism grabs State Champs title

Courtesy photo From left, Van ISD Journalism Sponsor Jeanette Germany, Dylan Turner, Tommy Crow, Shelby Reynolds and Stephanie Stanger at the UIL Young Filmmakers Festival for the 2017 state awards night.

Earlier this month, five Van High School Journalism Department students traveled to the historic Paramount Theatre in Austin for the UIL Focus on Film contest.

Senior Dylan Turner and his team produced a documentary that advanced to the state level and won first place.

“I've never felt so accomplished in my educational career,” Turner said, “I'm so grateful for such a supportive sponsor and a hard-working team.”

“Unconditional” is the story of a couple from Van who  have been married for 56 years. For the past few years, Martha Brey, wife of Paul Brey, has been non-verbal, at some points unresponsive, and just recently passed away.

Through all of this, Paul portrayed his unwavering devotion as he visited her for several hours every day, most of which he spent with her sitting at the end of the sidewalk waving to all who passed by.


Grand Saline man killed during home invasion

Cecil Spain, 31, of Grand Saline was shot during an attempted home invasion and robbery in Athens March 5.

Spain, and his accomplice Steven Kelley, 49, of Winona were shot and killed by the homeowners during the invasion.

According to the Henderson County Sheriff’s Office, one of the men had posed as a potential customer for a dog the man and woman were selling through social media and gained access to the home. The second man entered undetected by the couple at a later time. The men overpowered the couple and restrained them. 

 A press release stated the men were in possession of handguns. Sheriff Botie Hillhouse said that the couple “worked free of the restraint, and when the men were inattentive broke free and were able to get their own weapon in the house and shot the intruders dead.”

The couple suffered minor injuries in the incident.


Understand hardiness zones before planting

USDA Hardiness Zone map courtesy of the USDA. USDA website.

Gardening benefits the environment in myriad ways. Maintaining natural landscapes and preserving green spaces can reduce the collective carbon footprint of the human race. Trees, flowers and other greenery filter the air and create welcoming habitats for all species of animals and insects.

Many home gardeners set out each spring to create landscapes that cater to all of the senses. But choosing plants that are unlikely to thrive in certain climates can lead to dissatisfaction and premature plant demise and may require gardeners to use more fertilizers, pesticides and other not-so-Earth-friendly techniques to help plants thrive.


Clothes Closet to hold giveaway March 18

The Clothes Closet at East Oak Street Church of Christ will hold an Edgewood community clothing giveaway from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, March 18. 

The Clothes Closet offers a variety of sizes and styles for men and boys, ladies and girls and infant wear along with shoes.   Clothes Closet is located at 508 East Oak Street, Edgewood.  For more information call Terry Johnson at 972-832-9978.

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County Blotter

The Van Zandt Co. Sheriff’s Department reported the following arrests from Feb. 28 – March 7, 2017.

Brandy Michelle Ballard, 37, Grand Saline, was arrested on a warrant for theft of service.

Jennifer Nicole Braly, 29, Henderson, was arrested on warrants for criminal nonsupport/mtr and issuances of bad checks.

Kenneth P. Bridges, 62, Quitman was arrested on theft of property.

Charles Wesley Brock, 23, Dangerfield was arrested on a warrant for theft of service.

Jonathan Scott Cannon, 23, Mesquite, was arrested on warrants for burglary of habitation and burglary of building.

Jason Trevor Celum, 35, Grand Saline, was arrested on a warrant for driving while intoxicated 2nd.

Erick Tyrone Cole, 49, Terrell, was arrested on a warrant for interference with emergency phone call.

Taylor Leon Davidson, 25, Grand Saline, was arrested on warrants for theft of property and criminal mischief.


Looking back…

Courtesy photo

Cox’s Drugstore in Martins Mill in 1911.  In the photograph on the right is a horse and a cart. The signs on the shop advertise “candies, cold drinks and stationary.” 

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