Precinct 3 inmate work program taking shape

Van Zandt County drivers may soon be getting some relief from the wear and tear their vehicles receive by traveling on local roads from an unlikely source courtesy of the newly minted program being put in place by Precinct 3 Commissioner Keith Pearson.

Throughout the 2016 election cycle, Pearson’s platform included his hopes of utilizing inmates from the county’s jail as part of a supervised work crew to help fix potholes and clean up county roadways.

Those plans were officially put in motion a short time after Pearson’s win in the Republican primary with the newly elected commissioner taking the unique step of attending jailer’s school. In an interview conducted shortly after being sworn in, Pearson explained that in order to attend the school he had to receive a sponsorship.

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Gilmer sentenced to 30 years

Joe Marlin Gilmer

Joe Marlin Gilmer, 59, of Canton, was recently sentenced to 30 years in prison for the aggravated assault of Charles “Lindy” Lawler, 89.

Gilmer’s conviction and sentence stemmed from an assault that occurred on March 16, 2015, when the Canton Police Department responded to Lawler’s home around noon and found that Lawler had been struck in the back of the head with a 1” x 4” board.

Lawler explained to officers that Gilmer, his wife’s son, arrived at his home while he was working in the garage and began to verbally berate Lawler regarding financial and property issues.

The confrontation subsequently erupted into Gilmer becoming physically violent as he threw a brick at Lawler, chased him with a garden hoe, and struck him in the back of the head with a board.


Daylight Savings Time begins March 12

It is time to “spring forward” for the start of Daylight Savings Time which goes into effect Sunday, March 12.

Beginning at 2 a.m. Sunday, March 12, move your clocks forward one hour to 3 a.m. or adjust your clocks before going to bed Saturday night. The time change will remain in effect until Nov. 5.

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VZC Day celebrated at State Capitol

The Van Zandt County choir performed in the Texas State Capitol Rotunda March 7. State Sen. Bob Hall, State Rep. Dan Flynn and local officials were present at the event.

Van Zandt County Day 2017 was held in the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday, March 7 during the 85th session of the Texas Legislature.

The opportunity was coordinated and largely funded by the Council of Van Zandt County Communities President, Lisa Morrison; Vice President, Tam Erwin; Secretary, Nancy Hammonds; Treasurer, Karen Samples; and the board of directors.

Van Zandt County Day provides officials and citizens of Van Zandt County an opportunity to show support to our representatives in Austin and for elected officials to hear from the citizens.  

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County Blotter

The Van Zandt Co. Sheriff’s Department reported the following arrests from Feb 21 - 28, 2017.


Caleb Shane Asbill, 36, Eustace, was arrested on a warrant for evading arrest detention with vehicle.

Bayleigh Nicke Bradshaw, 20, Quinlan, was arrested on a warrant for possession of controlled substance.

Amy Renee Brown, 44, Canton, was arrested on sight for assault by threat.

Marty Kyle Brown, 44, Kemp, was arrested on view for deadly conduct discharge firearm, unlawful carrying weapon on alcohol premises, disorderly conduct discharge/display firearm and possession of marijuana.

Gerardo Cardenas, 28, Quinlan, was arrested on a warrant for fraud/probation violation/Cook Co.

Brian Terrell Cawthon, 42, Canton, was arrested on a warrant for assault family/house member impede breath/circulation.


Barstool Race event set in Ben Wheeler

The Forge Bar & Grill and Moore’s Store to host the third annual Motorized Barstool Races in Ben Wheeler
Saturday, March 18.

Now in its third year, The Forge and Moore’s Store are ready to host the fastest two minutes in Ben Wheeler history!

This family friendly event attracts hundreds of people to downtown Ben Wheeler to enjoy food, live music, local merchants and of course, the famed Barstool Race. Each year, participants race their motorized barstools down a small strip of Hwy 279 in downtown Ben Wheeler. Each barstool is built at home by the participant following the rules provided by The Forge and Moore’s Store.


Commissioner gives update on county developments

Photo by David Kapitan Precinct 3 Commissioner Keith Pearson was the featured speaker at the quarterly Donuts and Developments meeting held at the Van Zandt County Regional Airport Feb. 24.

Precinct 3 Commissioner Keith Pearson took center stage last week, speaking to a group of local leaders at the quarterly Donuts and Developments meeting held at the Van Zandt County Regional Airport Feb. 24.

Pearson, who was just on his 55th day in office at the time of the meeting, opened his comments joking, “President Trump and I both knew our first 100 days were going to be pretty tough.”

The new commissioner recounted that during his initial meeting with the Precinct 3 crew, he advised that, "some things are going to change...Some of the procedures that y'all have been doing like putting white rock on a hard surface or reclaimed millings on top of hard surface that won't stay there and goes off into the ditch - we're not going to do that anymore. Every one of them said 'Yes!', because they knew what they were doing was just wasting taxpayers’ dollars. Time is money, and we were wasting money on material and wasting that time."


VZC 4H Beef Club grabs top spots

Courtesy photo Members of the VZC 4H Beef Club took home awards during competition.

Van Zandt County 4H Beef Club has been busy during this 2017 show season. The Fort Worth Stock Show took  Jan. 19-23.

The club was there in full force with 15 members among 9 different breeds. Congratulations was extended to the newest and youngest member, Presley Rushing, for winning Grand Champion Red Angus. Other members who had great results were Bryntlee Wilkerson who won Reserve Grand Champion Charolais and Tyler Massey who won Junior Calf Division Champion with his Santa Gertrudis. The remaining members also fared well with several members placing in the top 10 of their class.

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Police investigating incident at local restaurant

The Wills Point Police Department responded to a potentially dangerous situation over the weekend with officers being dispatched to Ramsey's Roadhouse for a possible disturbance with a gun involved.

According to reports, the WPPD was contacted at approximately 9:30 p.m. Feb. 25 in reference to the incident. Numerous units responded to the call, with one of the WPPD officers receiving information that one of the two parties in the incident had fled the scene in a tan color Chevrolet truck.

Another WPPD officer en route to assisting in the incident came across a truck matching the description given near the intersection of S. 4th St. and W. Park St. a short time later, initiating a traffic stop on the vehicle while an investigation could take place.

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Mobile radios for VZC constable vehicles approved

A request for new mobile radios for all Van Zandt County constable vehicles was approved by the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court during its regular meeting Feb. 28.

Bob Keltner, the Precinct 4 reserve constable, made a presentation to the commissioners requesting the purchase of the mobile radios for $3,400.

After the commissioners discussed where the funding for the request would come from, Van Zandt County District Attorney Chris Martin spoke and volunteered to have the money taken from the bond forfeiture funds of the DA’s office to pay for the mobile radios.

It was pointed out that no taxpayer money was being used for the purchase and the request was approved unanimously by the commissioners.

In other business,

—commissioners ratified the grant application for Victim Assistance Program #2830703 following a request from Martin’s office.


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