People, Places & Events

    VZ commissioners proclaim ‘Texas Recycles Day’
By Wilbur Callaway
Monitor Correspondent

CANTON–The Van Zandt County Commissioners proclaimed Wednesday, Nov. 15, “Texas Recycles Day” for 2006.
Commissioners, Tuesday, called upon citizens to join in activities that promote responsible environmental stewardship.
It was noted, Texans threw away more than 29 tons of waste in 2005, equaling about 7.11 pounds of trash per person per day, a lot of which could have been recycled or composted.
Recycling could significantly decrease the amount of money Texans spend annually to dispose of trash.
Using recycled materials for production of new products requires less energy than extracting and refining virgin materials, reducing the combusting of fossil fuels for energy and the resulting air emissions and conserving natural resources.
In conjunction with the Texas Recycles Day, Lettie Clark spoke to commissioners about trash pickup around the county during the past year by volunteer groups.
In addition, the court discussed recycling cardboard generated by First Monday vendors.
In other business, the commissioners:
• paid bills as submitted, except for holding off on a bill from the National Association of Police Chiefs, pending further information.
• authorized submission of a Texas Community Development Program application on behalf of the Fruitvale Water Supply Corporation for drilling of a new water well in Fruitvale. The application is for a $250,000 grant, and Fruitvale has submitted $50,000 matching funds.
• accepted a Texas State Library and Archives Commission Lone Star Libraries Grant of $1,964 for the Van Zandt County Library. Librarian Judy Morris said this is an annual grant, and the local library usually gets around $2,000.
• heard a presentation by IT Director Lawrence Crabb regarding a TAC/CIRA conference he recently attended. He said CIRA is planning to create a one-stop shop for technology systems and services.
• heard the courthouse and annex are in need of repairs, following an inspection..
• approved a bond for district court deputy Julie Hickman.
• declared an emergency in order to transfer $4,650 to Precinct 3 Equipment Purchases fund, received from sale of old equipment at an auction held recently in Myrtle Springs.
• approved quarterly investment report.

Trinidad Trojans celebrate heroes
Special to The Monitor
TRINIDAD–There are many heroes in Trinidad, and this week has been a time to celebrate them.
From Veteran’s Day to graduating seniors, the Trojans have had a lot to celebrate, midst their continued pursuit of academic excellence.
Last Thursday, the entire school came together to recognize Veteran’s Day.
Guest speaker Jason Fitzgerald, a 1997 graduate of Trinidad, recently served a tour in Iraq with the U.S. Marine Corps and shared some of his experiences.
The elementary students, under the direction of Bart Costa, put together a phenomenal musical production including such favorites as “America” and “The Star- spangled Banner.”
Blaine Skiles, a seventh grade student, gave a heartwarming speech that reminded the community of the importance of thanking our veterans for their service.
Senior Heather Kimbrell brought tears to the eyes of many with her rendition of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA,” and senior Tutu Jenkins brought a sense of solemn respect to the crowd when he honored our veterans with the playing of “Taps.”
All grade levels were involved in this program.
Speaking of seniors, the senior class was recognized with a pep rally.
Families gathered, and friends and relatives cried as the traditional senior slide show helped them recount the memories they will cherish forever.
A tradition at TISD, the slide show is a very special way for the community and school to come together and honor the students who are graduating.
It is an event that students look forward to throughout their school years in Trinidad.
This week, the class of 2007 had their chance to shine.
Celebrating heroes is something Trojans do with great pride and spirit.
With the football playoffs around the corner, Trinidad will have many more heroes to celebrate in the coming weeks.

Financial help available
Special to The Monitor
GUN BARREL CITY–Friends of the Animals at Cedar Creek Lake Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic announces a grant from DJ&T Foundation has been awarded.
The purpose of this grant is to assist low-income residents in having their dogs over 45 pounds spayed or neutered.
Persons receiving this assistance will be responsible for paying for the rabies vaccination (if the pet has not had one in the last year – this is State law) at a charge of $6, for a $3 flea pill, for a $3 pain pill and a co-pay if possible.
There is no limit on the number of animals a family or person may have neutered on this one referral.
To qualify for this assistance program, contact either the:
• Family Resource Center in Gun Barrel City in person during the hours of 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, located just east of the intersection of State Highways 198 and 334 just inside the Tamarack subdivision, or
• Christian Life Center Food Pantry in Gun Barrel City during the hours of 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday or Thursday.
The church is located on State Highway 334 next to Alamo restaurant.
Prices for surgery range from $25 for a male cat to $65 for a giant breed female dog.
If you have questions about this assistance program or about the organization, call (903) 887-PETS.
Volunteers are always needed to help in the clinic every Tuesday.
Donations may be sent to P.O. Box 5455, Gun Barrel City TX 75147.
Visit the web site at for more information.

Information on developing replacement heifers
By Brian Cummins
VZ County Ext. Agent

CANTON–To save back heifers to replace old cows or cows that had to be
sold due to the drought is something that will require some extra attention to make them reach the point where they are an asset to the herd instead an unproductive mouth to feed.
Adequate heifer development is a key to profitable beef production.
The nutritional program for heifers need not be based on expensive purchased feeds, and target gains can be met easily with no, or only minimal, energy and protein supplementation.
The improved profitability of calving heifers at 2 years old as compared to 3 years old has been long proven, but some producers continue to calve 3 year olds rather than provide the nutrition needed for a successful 2 year-old program.
There is a cost for owning cattle that do not calve
until they are three years old.
The nutritional development program is divided into stages of development which include: weaning, weaning to breeding, breeding to first calving, first calving to second breeding,
and the second post-calving period.
Weaning is a time of stress, and it is a time when heifer calves can fall behind in their development.
The weight loss and
nutritional stress of weaning can be overcome by a good weaning program.
Get the calves started on some very high quality hay as soon as they are weaned, and start them on a palatable grain mix providing the recommended level of trace minerals and an ionophore.
The grain mix should contain some molasses and can contain grains and oil seed meals, or byproduct commodities.
Feeding an ingredient the calves may know how to eat (like whole cottonseed) can also help to get them to the feed bunk quickly.
I like to feed high quality square baled hay in the feed troughs, and feed about 1 lb/head of the grain mix and 1 lb/head of whole cottonseed the first day.
This is then increased 2 lb/head/day grain and 2 lb/head/day cottonseed, and the program continues for four weeks.
The calves are then
turned to high quality pasture, and the growing program is initiated.
During the “preconditioning period” is the ideal time to complete all the vaccinations needed, depending on the program developed for the specific producer.
The post weaning period goes from the end of the
weaning phase to the time the heifers are bred.
The growth rate during
this phase should be calculated to allow heifers to reach their target weight for breeding.
The growth rate can be accelerated during this
period so that heifers behind in development can catch up, but the gain should not exceed 2 lb/day.
Table 2 shows target weights and gains for
heifers at various stages of development.
The ages listed are based on the first day of the calving season, so the heifers will mostly be younger than the ages listed.
These weights are shrunk weights, and are based on average body condition. Animals can be behind in their development at any point and still catch up.
The most critical point is
that heifers be at the desired weight for breeding, which is approximately 65 percent of their mature weight.
At this weight, most of the
heifers will have attained puberty.
The daily gain of heifers will need to be about 1.25 lb/day during this stage, and while this can often be achieved with pasture alone, typical hay or average pasture rations will require supplementation with concentrate.
The supplement may need to provide protein, energy or both, and the hay should be analyzed to determine which is needed.
During wintering, grazing on small grain, ryegrass, or
fescue pastures will result in adequate gain.
A mineral mix containing
an ionophore may be used to stimulate performance if forage quality is marginal compared to the heifer’s requirements.
Heifers need to gain only about .8 lb/day from the time they are bred up until calving, and this is usually achieved on pasture alone.
Again, while it seems easy to achieve this performance goal, the heifers should not be turned out and ignored
before calving.
The producer should take steps to improve the body
condition of heifers to be 6-7 pre-calving, and should pay extra attention to mineral and vitamin A nutrition during the last trimester. If heifers are in thin body condition they should be placed on a higher
level of nutrition.
It is difficult to improve their condition as they approach calving, and it is especially difficult after they calve.
Improving condition will improve their colostrum production and quality, will decrease their post-calving anestrous period, and will increase the livability of their calves.
Some producers starve heifers to reduce birth weight, but this is not recommended.
A high-quality trace
mineralized salt (containing zinc, copper sulfate and selenium) will generally meet their mineral requirements, while a formula containing an ionophore may be useful if attempting to improve body condition.
Calving to rebreeding - If a well-developed heifer that calves in good body condition loses condition rapidly after calving, she still will have a less than desirable reproductive rate.
The producer should have
a well developed plan to provide the lactating first-calf heifer the highest quality hay or pasture available, and should be prepared to provide a grain supplement at a level to maintain body condition above 5.0.
Heavy-milking heifers are especially prone to rapid weight loss and resulting reduced chance of cycling.
While heifers are not very prone to grass tetany, it is still a good idea for the producer to use a high magnesium mineral supplement with adequate trace minerals 30 days prior to and during the first 6 months of lactation, as would be recommended for the older cows.
When the heifer is preparing for her second calf she reaches about 90 percent of her mature body weight.
She should be in a body condition of five to six, and should maintain a body condition of five or better after calving.
The heifer is still growing at this stage, especially with later maturing breeds, so they will still need a slightly higher level of nutrition than the mature cows.