Cowboy show benefits tornado victim

The Cross Brand Cowboy Church of Tyler will be hosting a benefit for Van tornado victims at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, and 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 30.

R.J. Vandygriff will be presenting his award winning one-act play “The Cowboy Ain’t Dead Yet.” The show depicts the American cowboy from the early trail drive days of the 1800s to today’s modern rancher.


Proposed county budget reflects positive revenue figures

The Van Zandt County Commissioners met Aug. 18 in a special session to discuss the upcoming local elections and the 2015-’16 county budget.

A public hearing was held on the matter of the proposed budget for the fiscal year to end Sept. 30, 2016. No county residents spoke during the public hearing held for the proposed budget.

County Judge Don Kirkpatrick said he was “pleased that the proposed budget is balanced and that the revenue exceeds the expenditures by $144,924 without a tax rate increase.”

Kirkpatrick pointed out that the proposed tax rate of $0.485847 will raise the commissioner’s budget by 1 percent more in property taxes which will raise the road and bridge budget in VZC by $293,379.


Blackwell chasing music dreams in NASH Next Competition

NASH Next, an artist development competition with a stated goal of “discovering and releasing music from prominent and talented newcomers,” is carrying a strong Van Zandt County presence in its inaugural year with the inclusion of local singer-songwriter Stephen Blackwell in the field of 100 semifinalists.

Blackwell, and Edgewood graduate who lives in Wills Point with his wife Robin (formerly Sewell), a Wills Point native, and their two sons, Dodge and Truett, entered the competition back in June.


City announces King’s resignation

The City of Wills Point joined a crowded club in Van Zandt County by announcing the resignation of Chief of Police Kirk King effective Sept. 4.

Edgewood and Canton found themselves in a similar position recently with Canton announcing this week that the city had promoted Lt. Brad Allison from within to serve as its next police chief.

In a press release announcing the resignation, city explained, “Kirk King tendered his resignation as chief of police with the city of Wills Point.”

In his statement to City Manager Pam Pearson, King stated, ‘As much as I have wanted to continue the restructuring of the Wills Point Police Department, I have other matters that also deserve my undivided attention.’ Kirk King started with the city as chief in December of last year. He replaced Scott Johnson who retired after many years of service. Sergeant Rob Powell will be instrumental in running day to day operations until the interim chief is announced.”


The Barn Fellowship celebrates building dedication along with a Gospel Jubilee

The Barn Fellowship, located at 220 Hwy 110 in Grand Saline, will be dedicating their new facility at 6 p.m. Saturday evening, Aug. 29.

“Along with the dedication there will be a Southern Gospel Jubilee Concert with the Bent Bucket Band from Athens that will make you want to tap your foot, slap your knee and clap your hands!” organizers said.


Cooper in concert at Straw Hat dinner theater

The Myrtle Springs Alumni Straw Hat dinner theater will host a concert starring Barbara Cooper. Concert official LaRea Miller remarked, “Barbara lives in VZC and is about the most talented female singer in our area with the same smooth voices as Patsy Cline, Brenda Lee and other successful country female singers. It is almost impossible to distinguish the difference between the songs rendered by Barbara and those whom she fashions and presents in her concerts.”


Council approves sales tax audit

The Wills Point City Council met Aug. 11, hearing a report on the 2013-2014 audit report conducted by Yeldell, Wilson and Company CP and putting the wheels in motion on a sales tax audit that could potentially bring in additional revenue to the city.

Council members opened business by hearing a report from Greer Yeldell of Yeldell, Wilson, and Company CP.

Yeldell advised that overall the city performed well in its 2013-2014 audit, with some minor fixes but “no significant violations.” Yeldell noted that the biggest issue for auditors came from the city’s conversion to new financial and accounting software recently, but that future audits shouldn’t suffer extra delays or lags.

After several brief talking points, council members heard a presentation from City Administrator Pam Pearson and Mark Turner on the possibility of hiring a company to come in and conduct a sales tax audit.


High speed pursuit ends in crash

Photo by David Kapitan

A Terrell Police Department officer surveys the aftermath of a single-vehicle accident involving the suspect of an armed robbery attempt at a Terrell convenience store Aug. 18.

Law enforcement officials from both Kaufman and Van Zandt counties had their hands full on Tuesday afternoon after an attempted armed robbery of a convenience store in Terrell led to a high speed chase.

The chase ended when the suspect lost control of his vehicle just west of Wills Point.

According to reports, 22-year-old Matthew Colby Johnson, of Mineola, entered the GAS convenience and gas station on South Virginia Street in Terrell attempting to commit an armed robbery.

Store owner Fahed Fatayri then pulled out his own weapon, a .38 pistol, and fired a single shot that struck Johnson in the buttocks.

Johnson fled the scene, disposed of the weapon and set off on a high-speed chase that began with officers from the Terrell Police Department attempting to apprehend the suspect.

Johnson led authorities down Highway 80 going east at speeds exceeding 100 miles per hour.


Hensarling covers local, nationwide topics at town hall meeting

Jeb Hensarling listening to a Van Zandt County resident after the meeting.

U.S. Congressman Jeb Hensarling (TX-05) held a town hall meeting Aug. 7 to update the citizens of Van Zandt County on his continued efforts to hold Washington accountable to the American people and to hear from them about the issues that are most concerning to them.


Hensarling discussed topics ranging from Obamacare, the Supreme Court, Planned Parenthood and the export and import fight. 


The meeting was opened by County Judge Don Kirkpatrick thanking the people for showing up and introducing Hensarling, “he’s a friend to Van Zandt County, East Texas and he serves us well in Washington.”





Community kids invited to Back-to-School Bash at Turner Baptist

Turner Baptist Church is having a community-wide Back to School Bash from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 15.  The church is located at 1802 VZCR 3412, Wills Point.

Children from grade school to high school are invited for an old-fashioned field day, church officials said, and parents are also encouraged to attend.  At the end of the event, school supplies and refreshments will be distributed to all children who joined in the fun.

Registration is at 10 a.m. 

Field Day Events will occur from 10:30 to 11 a.m. 

A video will be presented from 11 to 11:30 a.m. in the sanctuary and school supplies will be distributed from 11:30 a.m. to noon. 

Children should bring their school supply list.



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