County bans aerial fireworks
By Wilbur Callaway
CANTON–Due to the extended drought and sizzling temperatures over the
past few weeks, the Van Zandt County Commissioners instituted an
immediate outdoor burning ban for unincorporated areas of the county.
The ban started Tuesday and will be in effect until at least the
commissioners’ next meeting.
County Judge Rhita Koches noted the county is now in the 600-700 range
on the state fire index, even higher than the 500-600 range the county
reached last summer.
The commissioners also adopted an order regulating the use of all
“flying fireworks” for the 4th of July holiday.
The court’s order prohibits the use of skyrockets, missiles, fireworks
on sticks, or any other kind of flying fireworks.
The county “Citizens of the Year” were recognized at the start of
Tuesday morning’s meeting as a packed courtroom looked on.
Long-time ag teacher Ed Bailey of Grand Saline was named as the “Man of
the Year” and veteran Precinct 3 Justice of the Peace Ozelle Wilcoxson
of Wills Point as the “Woman of the Year.”
Koches presented each honoree with a plaque prior to calling a recess
for pictures and refreshments outside the courtroom.
“This is one of the greatest honors I’ve ever received. I have worked
with and known a lot of wonderful people in Van Zandt County over the
past several years,” Bailey said.
“My favorite project is the Old School at Grand Saline,” he added.
His daughter, Lisa Moreno, read an emotional poem she had written many
years ago, ending with the notation her father was always her “Man of
“This the proudest day of my life,” Wilcoxson said. “I do what I do for
others, not for myself.”
Precinct 3 Commissioner Kelles Miller called her “much more than just a
judge,” and Dorothy Bateman Barnes said, “Ozelle works 24 hours a day,
seven days a week, and a great amount of her work is volunteer work.
“She has helped the veterans of Van Zandt County for many years, and she
is responsible for the flag projects in every city in the county,”