The Talent Box reaches out to deaf community

The Talent Box, a nonprofit community theatre located at 244 N. 4th Street, Wills Point, will host encore performances of "Exit the Body," written by Fred Carmichael.

There will be a matinee performance at 2 p.m. and a dinner theatre performance with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and performance at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19.

Limited regular seating may be available at the dinner theatre performance. There will be an ASL Interpreter for the benefit and enjoyment for deaf patrons.
Admission for the matinee is $15 per person and the dinner theatre performance is $25 per person. Prepaid reservations are required for dinner and may be made by calling the theatre, 903-873-8945.


Auditor discusses budget concerns for VZC

There is a sign on the wall in Van Zandt County Auditor Freddy Thomas’ office that reads, “I’m the Auditor, Not a Magician.”

Those words may very well describe the challenges that Thomas faces as he continues working with VZC officials on the fiscal year 2018 budget.

“The frustrating part of this process is that we have not been able to move the county forward as far as improving its financial condition,” said Thomas. “Over a period of time, the county has gotten itself in a back against the wall situation.”

Thomas discussed what he believes are three primary issues facing the county in the new budget year beginning Oct. 1.

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VZC employee handbook updated after 21 years

For the first time in 21 years, Van Zandt County employees will have a new employee handbook following approval July 25 by the VZC Commissioners Court.

VZC Human Resource Director Dan Maucieri highlighted the new 71-page handbook in a presentation to the commissioners.

“This handbook is very much changed from what we have had,” emphasized Maucieri. “The employee handbook that we are working under now was originally published in 1996. Updates were added as they were required by the commissioners’ court. When an update was approved, it was sent out to all department heads and then the page was swapped out in the handbook. We did a great job keeping up with that but the time had come for our employee handbook to go under a complete revision.”


Suspect arrested following brief chase

A routine traffic stop by the Wills Point Police Department July 29 turned into something more when one of the passengers in the vehicle was identified as having an outstanding warrant out of Oklahoma. After being told he was under arrest the suspect, 26-year old Joshua Andrew Yabara, briefly led officers on a chase before being arrested at a local residence short time later.

According to the police narrative of the incident, a WPPD officer was patrolling near N. Mary and N.E. Commerce Street when he noticed a marron truck “with the front license plate not displayed properly.”

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Senate races through agenda to get to other-than-Sunset bills

AUSTIN — The 85th Texas Legislature convened at the Capitol on July 18 for its first called session, the main purpose being for lawmakers to extend the life of certain state agencies scheduled for termination, before proceeding to other matters.

At the urging of Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the Senate moved quickly to pass legislation continuing the function of the Texas Medical Board and several other health-care related state oversight boards through 2019.

The House, led by Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, tentatively passed similar legislation (House Bill 1) through its State Affairs committee but 10 amendments to the bill have been pre-filed, and those, plus the main bill, will be subject to a full-House floor debate scheduled for July 24.


Football highlight video made available

Wills Point ISD Assistant Superintendent Damon Davis, son of legendary Tiger head football coach Ken Autry Davis, announced this week that a DVD of football highlights from the 1964-1976 football seasons, including a copy of Wills Point’s 14-0 win over White Deer in the 1965 Class A State Championship game, are now available to the public for a $10 donation with all funds going towards funding the Ken Autry Davis Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Ken Autry Davis began building his legacy as a local legend during a standout athletic career in Wills Point.

Davis would go on to play collegiately at Stephen F. Austin where he would letter in football all four years, including three as the starting halfback for the Lumberjack program.


Low pay, lack of staff plagues VZC Jail

Several issues including budget needs for the Van Zandt County Jail and Sheriff’s Department were the main topics of discussion during a special session July 18 of the VZC Commissioners Court.

No decisions were reached as staff members of the VZC Sheriff’s Department and VZC Jail, VZC Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace Ronnie Daniell, VZC District Judge Teresa Drum and other county employees were among those in attendance meeting with VZC Judge Don Kirkpatrick, VZC Pct. 1 Commissioner Brandon Brown and VZC Pct. 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton Jr.

“We wanted to post this meeting to make it legal,” pointed out Kirkpatrick. “We met with representatives of the sheriff’s department and the jail last week and there were some issues that came up at that meeting that were beyond my control. Our thought then was to bring in everyone involved today (July 18) for a roundtable discussion.”


Back to School Fair set for Aug. 12

For the sixth consecutive year, the Wills Point ISD, Wills Point PTO and Wills Point Chamber of Commerce have joined together to collect and distribute school supplies at a Back to School Fair for students who qualify for free and/or reduced lunches.

This year’s Back to School Fair has been scheduled for Aug. 12 from 9 a.m. – noon at the Wills Point High School campus.

The Back to School Fair has grown every year since its inception, growing to provide 413 students with school supplies, haircuts, dental supplies, eye screenings and vaccinations in 2016 alone.

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Wreck on FM 751 shuts down road

FM 751 north of Wills Point was temporarily closed to traffic both ways July 25 after a single vehicle accident occurred just south of Union Grove Cemetery. The driver, identified as Louis Loza, was reportedly traveling south towards Wills Point when he lost control of his truck. Witnesses reported seeing the vehicle flip multiple times in the air, spreading debris over the roadway before landing on the passenger side. Loza escaped serious injury in the accident but was transported to a hospital via ambulance. The Wills Point Fire Department and Texas Department of Public Safety each responded to accident.


Governor Abbott announces growing support for school finance reform

l finance reform

Governor Greg Abbott today announced that his call for school finance reform is generating growing support across Texas.

School finance reform is part of the Governor's 20-item agenda for the ongoing special legislative session.

“The current school finance system is complex, inefficient, and not family-centered. We hope that the legislature establishes a commission to study the system, and recommend fundamental reforms which will benefit all Texas children.” – Michael Barba, Associate Director of Public Policy, Texas Catholic Conference of Bishops.

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