Gov. Abbott calls Special Session

No one who serves in the 85th Legislature was surprised by Governor Greg Abbott’s call for a special session to convene on Tuesday, June 18. When the regular session adjourned on Memorial Day, most of the legislators knew that there were critical items which did not pass both houses that would bring us back in special session. 

The primary reason the special session has been called is to pass legislation to continue the Texas Medical Board and several other licensing agencies. Such legislation, known as a “sunset  bill” is necessary to prevent the automatic closing of a state agency after a pre-determined amount of time. The Governor emphasized that no other issues would be placed on the agenda until after the sunset bills pass. 


Looking Back

Tornado takes heavy toll of life, property in 1919

Editor’s Note: The following was an article published in the April 11, 1919, Canton Herald regarding a tornado that went through Van Zandt County. The path of the tornado was similar to that of the April 29, 2017, tornadoes.

A destructive storm passed about five miles south of Canton around 4 a.m. Wednesday resulting in a number of deaths and damaging residences and property.

At press time, the number of fatalities reached 10 in Van Zandt County and the number may continue to rise.

The tornado entered the county near the southwest corner passing about three miles northwest of Eustace and then moved entirely through the county in a northeasterly direction before leaving the county a few miles southeast of Grand Saline.


Senior Box Program set

Manna is participating in the Senior Box Program through East Texas Food Bank.  Applicants must be 60 years old and qualify by gross income guidelines. 

“If you are on Medicaid or Food Stamps you automatically qualify.  We must see proof of age and income.  You must apply for this program and you may do so at Manna,” said organizers.

For questions about the program, call 903-567-6107. Manna is open the third Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon.


On the road to reading

Photo by David Kapitan

The Wills Point ISD’s Bookmobile made its weekly trek around the community July 12, delivering books to local children in order to keep them engaged with reading and learning throughout the months between school years. Participation in the WPISD Summer Bookmobile program is free for all children. Library cards are issued to children after a first visit unless the child still has their card from last summer. Stops each Wednesday for the bookmobile include the First Baptist Learning Center from 9-9:45 a.m.; Country Meadows Day Care from 10-10:30 a.m.; the Cartwright Center from 10:45-11:05 a.m.; the Wills Point Community Center from 11:15 a.m.-noon; Methodist Day School from 1:15-2 p.m.; the Dairy Queen parking lot from 2-2:30 p.m.; and Oak Grove Baptist Church in Elmo from 3-3:30 p.m.


Campmeeting set in Canton

The 20th Annual East Texas Baptist Campmeeting Revival, presented by Edgewood Evangelist Dennis Erwin, will be held July 17-21 at the Civic Center in Canton.

The non-profit meeting is free and open to the public. Services begin at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday with special events daily, including a golf tournament, picnic and other special events.

The Wednesday morning service from 9:30-noon will feature sermons from young preachers and a revival sermon by Dr. Russell Rogers.  A gospel concert will be presented in each service by nationally known southern gospel and Bluegrass groups.

Erwin stated, “Feel free to bring your comfortable chair and meet us at the Civic Center, July 17-21.”   For more information or questions call Evangelist Dennis Erwin at 903-896-7727.


City approves sewer repairs along Wynne Road

The Wills Point City Council doubled up on meetings Tuesday night, holding its regular monthly session with a called emergency meeting to address a collapsed sewer line immediately following suit.

Regular monthly business began with the council hearing from two speakers during the public comment portion of the agenda: Kay Crosby and O.B. Thompson.

Citing a lack of local activities, especially for children of the community, Crosby used her time to request that city leaders look into obtaining a splash pad.


Officers pay homage to those killed

Photo by Mark Turner

Local law enforcement officials, including officer (from l-r) Cassie Mosley, officer Adam Wall, WPPD Chief Lonnie Carroll, officer Troy Tucker and Precinct 3 Constable Robert Tisdale met at the flagpole near the veteran’s park memorial along Highway 80 July 7 for a moment of silence to commemorate the one-year anniversary of an attack that took the lives of five Dallas officers.

A number of law enforcement agencies throughout Van Zandt County participated in a moment of silence July 7 to honor the fallen Dallas Police Department officers that were killed in the line of duty in downtown Dallas one year ago.

Last year, one day after the shooting in downtown Dallas that took the lives of five police officers and wounded numerous others, Van Zandt County came together in a prayer vigil to honor the fallen and wounded Dallas and DART police officers.

Pct. 4 Constable Bob Keltner was one of the organizers of the event last year and said that he felt a “deep sense of brotherhood,” with the men and women of law enforcement during the July 7, 2016, attack.


Fatal crash claims lives of mother, son

On July 7, 2017 at approximately 9:53 p.m., Troopers responded to a three-vehicle fatal crash on IH-20 in Van Zandt County near the city of Van. Preliminary crash investigations revealed that a 2014 Ford F-350 was traveling east on IH-20 when it struck the back of a 2004 Ford Taurus that was also east bound. The impact caused the Taurus to crash into the back of a 2007 Audi.

The driver of the Ford F-350 was identified as 48 year-old Terry Donte Rose of Garland. Rose was not injured.


WPISD Education Foundation gets green light

The Wills Point ISD Board of Trustees held their regular monthly meeting on Monday night, taking a giant leap forward in the district’s effort to establish an education foundation while also reviewing reports on the district’s STAAR test results and awarding a fuel bid for the 2017-’18 school year.

Board business opened with a series of administrative items, including a brief update from Assistant Superintendent for Instruction and Accountability Barbie McMath regarding the district’s preliminary STAAR report.


Body recovered after apparent drowning

Photo by Larry Briscoe

Tawakoni South Volunteer Fire Department members prepare to move their boat from the Lake Tawakoni State Park boat ramp Saturday evening after the recovery nearby of a drowning victim. Capt. Kevin Torrance and firefighter Colby Cope deployed the department’s boat. Other members assisting at the scene were Assistant Chief Delmar Waldrop, Secretary Holly Neagle and firefighters John Jones, Dakota Lowe, Cassie Jones, Blair Villegas, Jessie Villegas and Austin Simmons.

The body of a 46-year-old man who apparently drowned was recovered Saturday evening near the Lake Tawakoni State Park boat dock.

Justice of the Peace Jennifer Reeves of Commerce pronounced the man dead and ordered an autopsy by the medical examiner. Judge Reeves said at press time Tuesday that she had not yet received a report from the medical examiner on cause of death.

She identified the victim as Johnny Wayne Aday, a 46-year-old white male, of Wylie.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department State Park Police Officer Nick Eaton and Game Warden Gary Miller Jr. responded to the incident.

Officer Eaton said he was on patrol inside the park when he was flagged down and told of the incident.


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