Grayson County Chief Appraiser Shawn Coker accompanied Tax Assessor-Collector Bruce Stidham to speak at the first of the monthly Senior Information Series, presented and held at the Van Alstyne Senior Center.


During that first talk, Coker and Stidham explained the four phases of the tax cycle and what each office is responsible for in that cycle. These are the only two state mandated elected offices, since they were split apart in 1946, Stidham said; and in 1936, both became four-year terms.


Stidham talked about penalties and interest, age 65 and older and disabled exemptions, homestead exemptions and tax ceilings.


The crowd for the talk, about 35 interested people, asked numerous questions, all of which were answered.


The next session will be at 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 7, with attorney Tohnie Hynds providing information on wills, powers of attorney, trusts and other legal matters.


There is no charge to attend these sessions, which will also be held on the first Saturdays of September and October. Future speakers will talk about items of major interest to seniors, and their families, loved ones, or anyone else who might be interested.


Senior Center board member Linda McConnell previously said that, in addition to providing the information so critical to seniors and their families, the board also wants to introduce the Senior Center to the newcomers in Van Alstyne.


“This is informational only,” she said. “Nobody is going to be selling anything. It’s not just for the seniors, but for those who love them, or who may be looking into their own retirement.”


The Van Alstyne Senior Center, located at 148 S. Main Street across from the government center in downtown, currently is the home base for the county’s Meals on Wheels distribution. It provides lunch beginning at 11:30 a.m. Monday-Friday for those who come in, at a nominal cost. It also serves as a social center for the many who play dominoes and card games, and like to work puzzles. The games begin each weekday morning and go into mid-afternoon. The center has live music on the second Saturday evening of each month, when it also serves free pizza. Other activities at the center include occasional daytime field trips, such as recent ones to the fish aquarium in Dallas and to a Frisco RoughRiders game.


After these three months’ Senior Information Series programs, there will be a short break, during the colder winter months, and then the program is slated pick up again in March, McConnell said.