News

Fri
30
Jun

Volunteer fire department returns to 'status quo'

Photo by David Kapitan

Wills Point Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ed Leipply addressed a room of his fellow firefighters June 22 explaining his position that the ESD board had overstepped its jurisdiction emphatically stating, “I am still the chief of the WPVFD. The members of the WPVFD remain intact. Citizens of the area serviced by ESD #4, we have you covered.”

Days of uncertainty about the fate of Wills Point Volunteer Fire Department Chief Ed Leipply and the status of the WPVFD and its relationship with Emergency Services District #4 were put to rest at least temporarily last week after a series of meetings essentially resulted in all parties pushing the reset button.

ESD Meeting – June 20

Questions about both Leipply and the WPVFD came to the forefront early last week after the ESD board’s published agenda for their June 20 meeting included holding a potential vote of no confidence on the chief.

Fri
30
Jun

Leipply out as Wills Point Fire Chief

Vote of no confidence ends tenure

It was a night of high drama at the Wills Point Fire Department headquarters June 20 with the Van Zandt County Emergency Services District #4 taking on an agenda that included potentially taking a vote of no confidence on Chief Ed Leipply.

Word of the agenda item gradually spread since it was posted at both the department and the VZC Courthouse, eventually resulting in a larger than usual crowd finding its way to the fire house for the meeting.

After opening the meeting by approving minutes from the board’s previous meeting on June 6, ESD business shifted to the public comment portion of the agenda (by law, board members are not allowed to directly address or respond to public comment.)

Public Comment

Thu
29
Jun

Sen. Hall calls on Gov. Abbott to prioritize grid security

As Texas Legislature heads into a special session, threats to electrical grid security loom

Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) called on Gov. Greg Abbott to add electrical grid security to the agenda items for the legislative special session starting in July.

"There are several very real threats to the Texas power grid, and the consequences would be so severe that we should address this now,” Hall said. “There are hostile countries that might cause this, but there are also natural forces that may also cause the same result soon. Either way, we need to be prepared.”

Tue
27
Jun

Relay For Life and Survivor dinner rescheduled

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Van Zandt County and the Survivors’ Celebration Reception Dinner have been rescheduled for Friday, July 7, at The Arbors at the First Monday Grounds in Canton. The events, originally scheduled in May, were postponed due to the tornadoes that hit Van Zandt County in April.

Mon
26
Jun

WPPD to host second community outreach event

The Wills Point Police Department will be doing its second major community outreach event of the year July 15, hosting a Back the Blue BBQ Cook Off, Car Show and Audio Competition benefitting the department's K-9 and highlighting the work done by the high school automotive program.

Back in March, the department hosted a Community Spring Fling that drew a sizeable crowd to the south ball park for an afternoon of food, fellowship, music and dancing.

The July 15 Back the Blue Car Show, hosted by the WPPD and Unique Karz, is set to include a Full 28 Class Show with first and second place being awarded in all classes. Additionally, several Best of Show Awards will also be presented.

Those interested in entering a vehicle are asked to pay a $20 entry fee with 100 percent of the proceeds from the event going towards the K-9 and WP Youth Programs.

Mon
26
Jun

Juneteenth celebrated with parade, gathering

Photo by David Kapitan

Participants of the June 17 parade, which included a variety of vehicles ranging from bicycles to classic cars, make their way down South 4th Street in Wills Point. 

Members of the Wills Point community and beyond joined together June 17, braving warm temperatures and high humidity once again for the largest Juneteenth celebration in the area.

Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. On June 19, 1865, Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston with the news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free. 

This announcement came two years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation on September 22, 1862. The celebration of June 19 became “Juneteenth,” and the observance has grown beyond the borders of Texas and traveled to other countries. It became an official state holiday in Texas after having been signed into law on June 13, 1979.

This year's local Juneteenth celebration commemorated the 152nd anniversary of Granger's arrival in Galveston.

Sun
25
Jun

Donations roll in for county after tornadoes

Several donations earmarked for the Van Zandt County Tornado 2017 Fund were recognized and accepted June 13 by the VZC Commissioners Court.

Monetary donations were presented by WESTEX of FMC Motor Coach Rally Chapter, $1,200; and VZC employee Bonnie LaPrade, $1,800.

Commissioners also recognized and accepted the donation of a portable building from Winslow Carport to be used at the current VZC debris site near Wills Point.

A donation of 450 gallons of fuel and a fuel tank from Duko Oil Co. of Emory was recognized and accepted by the commissioners’ court.

The free installation of a culvert at VZCR 3104, north of VZCR 3106, from citizen Lee Thornton was also recognized and accepted by the commissioners.

Sun
25
Jun

Valve issue leads to boil water notice

Wills Point water customers were given a boil water notice earlier this week after an issue with a valve at the water plant late June 18 resulted in pressure being below the minimum water pressure threshold.

Due to the low-pressure issue, officials within the utilities department began a process of issuing a boil water notice while also taking water samples that could be tested by an outside lab.

Sat
24
Jun

Jail generator, insurance dominate meeting

Replacing a generator at the Van Zandt County Jail and supplemental insurance for county employees were two main topics of discussion June 13 during a two-hour regular session of the VZC Commissioners Court.

Commissioners discussed foregoing the bidding process or proposals for the purchase and installation of a new generator for the Van Zandt County Jail.

The old generator at the jail was damaged by lightning during the April 29 tornadoes and the jail is currently operating with a generator borrowed from the city of Tyler.

Sat
24
Jun

Cartwright School receives historical marker

Photo by David Kapitan

The historical marker dedication at the Cartwright School included a presentation of the United States and Texas flags.

The Cartwright School in Wills Point received its just recognition June 19 with a special ceremony to unveil a historical marker bringing back former graduates and school staff members to the building located at 315 Bertha Street. The Cartwright School was approved as a historical site by the Texas Historical Commission in December 2016, with donors for the marker including Tommy C. Scott, Ora Dell Howard, Corliss Brown, Clarence Harden, Don Skinner, Esther Moorehead-Gibson, Shirlene Shields-Cook, Leatha Williams-Buchanan, the Wills Point Historical Society, Phillip Williamson, Stepz All Star, Junita Myers, Thelma Myers and Cassandra Haynes.

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