News

Fri
10
Jul

Farmer’s market brings local flavor

Courtesy photo

Mary Keller has been a regular vendor at the Wills Point Farmers Market in 2015, selling a collection of herbs including oregano, sage, rosemary, basil, parsley, thyme and chives. Other items being sold by vendors include jams and jellies, fruits and vegetables, eggs and baked goods.

By David Kapitan 

Staff Writer 

 

The Wills Point Community Farmers’ Market is currently in the midst of celebrating its third year of existence, setting up shop each Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon at the historic Depot Museum in downtown.

In previous years, the market had been held on the grounds of Bill “Ike” Allred and at Bruce Cabin, the site of Wills Cabin, during the summer months.

This year’s event, which began on May 15, got off to a slow start due in large part to the rollercoaster weather that wreaked havoc with growers and farmers throughout the first half of 2015. Even with the minor setback early on, items for sale at this year’s market have included homegrown produce and herbs, eggs, as well as jams, jellies, canned and baked goods.

Sat
04
Jul

Gray skies can’t cloud Jubilee

Courtesy photo

Looking Back Texas provided the boot scootin’ music.

By Payton Weidman

Staff Writer

 

A few rain clouds couldn’t stop the fun at the first Free State Jubilee held on First Monday Grounds in Canton June 27. 

The event had a cakewalk booth, three different bounce houses for kids, live music, a Corn Hole tournament, a salsa and canning competition and information about gardening and beekeeping.

“The Free State Jubilee was a huge success by all accounts,” said county extension agent Melisa Rhodes. “The rain clouds may have darkened the skies and rained down on Van Zandt County but it did not stop the first annual Free State Jubilee! The rain stopped just in time for everyone to enjoy the cooler temperatures and experience all the fun and educational opportunities that the Free State Jubilee had to offer.”

Fri
03
Jul

VZCRA soaring to new heights

Courtesy photo

Heavy equipment has been in action at the Van Zandt County Regional Airport in recent months for the latest improvement project. The airport, which has already seen the installation of a terminal building and fuel tank, is currently in the midst of a runway overlay project.

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

The Van Zandt County Regional Airport has been a hive of activity in recent years, growing and blossoming with the addition of fuel tanks, a new terminal building, a growing events calendar and, lately, the start of work on a runway overlay project.

Efforts for the revitalization began in earnest back in 2007, with the Wills Point EDC forming an Airport Advisory Board to conduct an assessment of the airport, focusing on future growth and demand of the community.

Those initial efforts led to the pursuit of grant funding which eventually helped pave the way for a beautification project that helped add striping to the runway and the replacement of the airport’s lighting system.

Thu
02
Jul

Fourth of July celebrations mark America’s birthday

By Payton Weidman

Staff Writer

 

Looking for things to do this Fourth of July?  Well look no further, here’s a list of the celebrations going on in or nearby Van Zandt County.

 

ATHENS – Saturday, July 4 at the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center after 4 p.m. free admission for the annual firework show will begin.

Visitors are encouraged to fish in the stocked pond until 8:30 p.m.  No license is required to fish, and bait and tackle are furnished for free.

The fireworks will begin at 9 p.m.  Food and beverages will be available for purchase, and people are encouraged to bring picnics.

Pets, alcohol and private fireworks, including “snap caps” and sparklers are not allowed.  TFFC is a tobacco-free facility and smoking or the use of tobacco products are not allowed on the premises.

Mon
29
Jun

Annual rodeo, parade drawing near

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

Preparations for the annual Wills Point Riding Club Rodeo Parade and WPRC Rodeo continued to find another gear this week with dates for this year’s editions, scheduled for July 17-18, drawing closer with each passing day. 

Events, and event information, includes:

Queen Competition

Ticketing for the UPRA Rodeo at Bill “Ike” Allred Arena got underway last week with challengers for this year’s Queen title hitting the bricks to sell advance tickets.

Rodeo queen contestants are broken down into three age groups: Tiny Miss, age 6 years and younger; Princess, ages 7 to 13 years; and Queen, ages 14 and up.

Rules for Tiny Miss, Princess and Queen include:

-Each contestant will be given $250 in tickets at the time of registration.

Sun
28
Jun

Commissioners appoint ESD #4 board

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

The Van Zandt County Commissioners Court met in regular session on Tuesday morning, greenlighting the appointment of board members for the soon to be established Emergency Services District #4 and spending extended discussion on a request made by M. Lee Thornton to donate labor and funds to repair a stretch of County Roads 3105 and 3109 located in Precinct 3.

Business opened with two housekeeping items, the approval of minutes from the previous meeting and the payment of bills, before Ronnie Jones addressed the commissioners court during the agenda item designated for public comment.

Sat
27
Jun

Free State Jubilee offers free family fun, educational activities

The Free State Jubilee Saturday, June 27, will offer something for the whole family. 

There will be carnival type of games, three bounce houses, an indoor shooting gallery and an archery shooting area plus face painting and tattoos – all free to the kids, according to Van Zandt County Extension Agent Melisa Rhodes.

“In addition to all these fun activities there will be educational opportunities to learn about gardening, recycling projects  and demonstrations on knitting and crocheting,” Rhodes said. “And for all you anglers, we will also be having a casting/pitching contest with the assistance of the Grand Saline High School Fishing team.”

The Van Zandt Extension Education Association will be conducting a cakewalk and there will be other contests and competitions.

Fri
26
Jun

Community celebrates end of slavery with Juneteenth event

Photo by David Kapitan

Cyclists, including some with homemade signs and balloons fixed to their respective bikes, rode through the streets of Wills Point during the parade.

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

Mother Nature has wreaked havoc with plenty of events throughout much of 2015 with rain, cold and everything in between but she gave attendees of this year’s local Juneteenth festivities a reprieve by providing relatively mild temperatures and holding off on showers until later in the day.

For more than two decades, the city of Wills Point has been the site of the largest Juneteenth celebration in Van Zandt County. It maintained the tradition this year June 20. 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. 

Mon
22
Jun

Sales tax figures trending upward

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

The office of Texas State Comptroller provided good news to most Van Zandt County cities this month, releasing figures that indicate five out of six local cities would be receiving larger sales tax revenue figures than what was collected in June 2014.

Hegar’s report shows that Canton, Edgewood, Edom, Grand Saline and Wills Point all saw their respective arrows trend upwards, while the city of Van ended on the opposite end of the spectrum by trailing behind last year’s monthly figure.

The city of Canton posted the largest positive dollar change for any county city in June 2015, collecting $277.988.53. That figure was up $18,085.44 over the $259,903.09 collected back in June 2014.

Sun
21
Jun

Juneteenth event to draw crowd

From staff reports

For the 18th consecutive year, the city of Wills Point will be the site of the largest Juneteenth celebration in Van Zandt County.

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.

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