Fall events calendar to include annual favorites

The first day of fall is still be several weeks away (Sept. 23) and temperatures may still be hovering near triple digits, but that’s not stopping the Wills Point Chamber of Commerce from working on several community favorite events scheduled to take place before the end of the year.

BOO on the Bricks

The annual BOO on the Bricks celebration sponsored by Dukes Travel Plaza will return to the brick streets in downtown on Saturday, Oct. 31. Family friendly events are scheduled to begin at 9 a.m., and stretch into the early afternoon.

The overall event schedule is set to include the Harvest Health Fair hosted by Alinea Family Hospice Care, trick-or-treat through the entire downtown, a kid’s costume contest hosted by STEPZ a pet costume contest hosted by Blair Dog Center, the annual Trunk-or-Treat and more.


Time to get hay tested: Winter Pasture program set for Tuesday, Sept. 8

The Van Zandt County Extension Livestock/Forage Committee will be collecting hay samples for the annual hay evaluation clinic from 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 8, at the Farm Bureau Building in Canton. 

Following collection of the hay samples at 5:30 p.m., there will be a program on winter pastures, soil fertility and gearing pastures up for spring that will be available for producers in Van Zandt County.


Burn ban still in effect

The Wills Point Fire Department flies a flag indicating whether or not a burn ban is currently in effect in Van Zandt County. The flag currently flying outside the WPFD was raised on Aug. 11 after county commissioners voted to put a 90-day burn ban in effect. The ban could be lifted as soon as the next commissioners court meeting, scheduled for Sept. 8.

Thanks to the fickleness of Texas weather, even during the summer months, many local and county residents have questioned whether Van Zandt County is still under the burn ban enacted by commissioners back at their Aug. 11 meeting.

At that time, Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen approached commissioners requesting a burn ban due to temperatures over 100 degrees, a lengthy stretch of no rainfall and a high rating in the Keetch, Bryam Drought Index.

The index cited is used by the Texas A&M Forestry Service to predict fire danger for the area, rated the county in the dangerous range. Allen told commissioners that the county is at a level of 700 with the max level being 800. “Right now, we are at the 700 level, but that could potentially rise within the next two weeks to a 750. Unless we get some significant rain soon, we will remain under the burn ban,” said Allen.


Five-year reunion set for Sept. 26

A rivalry game, a milestone anniversary and a major reunion are coming together to create a perfect storm for Wills Point alumni to return home, celebrate and reminisce during the final full week in the month of September.

Beginning Sept. 21, and culminating Sept. 26, the Wills Point Alumni Association, Wills Point ISD and Wills Point community as a whole will celebrate not only the annual homecoming week and game against the Canton Eagles, but also the big 5-year reunion honoring every graduate of the WPISD.

This year’s festivities will include an added wrinkle, with 2015 marking the 50th anniversary of the 1965 State Champion Wills Point Tiger football team.


Turner named interim police chief

The City of Wills Point moved swiftly in finding a bridge to its next full-time chief of police, hiring and administering the oath of office to interim Chief John Turner in a brief ceremony Sept. 2.

Hiring someone to fill in the chief of police position for the city became a necessity after Kirk King announced his resignation effective Aug. 25.

Shortly after the resignation, the city issued a press release explaining “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.”


Texas Inmate Families Association sets Tyler Parole Packet workshop

The Texas Inmate Families Association will hold its next Parole Packet Workshop from noon to 3 p.m. Sept. 19 at the Freedom Fellowship Church, L2915 SSE Loop 323L in Tyler.


Master gardeners to host rose program

The Free State Master Gardener Association (Van Zandt County) will host a rose program at 6 p.m. Sept. 10 at the Farm Bureau Building, 281 E. Hwy. 243, Canton.

Mark Chamblee of Chamblee’s Rose Nursery will be the guest speaker. His program will be titled “How to Grow Beautiful, Low-Maintenance Roses In Your Landscape.”


Alligator gar topic of naturalist program

The East Texas Chapter of Texas Master Naturalist will meet Thursday, Aug. 27, for its regular monthly meeting.   

Spencer Dumont, Texas Parks and Wildlife Inland Fisheries Region 2 director, will present the program, “A Dinosaur Among Us, the Life and Times of an Alligator Gar.” 

The meeting will be held in The Nature Center at 11942 FM 848 in Tyler. The meeting begins at 6:45 pm.  The program will start at 7 p.m.  The public is invited to attend.

The multimedia presentation will highlight the alligator gar’s unique life history from spawning through old, old age.  Dumont will also review the history of alligator gar management, as well as the status of and distribution of alligator gar in Texas and the U.S. 


Van Zandt professionals attend Crimes Against Children conference

Seventeen local professionals attended the 27th Annual Crimes Against Children Conference held Dallas earlier this month as part of the multi-disciplinary team of the Children’s Advocacy Center.  


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.


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