News

Fri
29
May

Memorial Day event honors sacrifice

Courtesy photo

Members of the Wills Point Historical Society, including Herschel LyBrand and Mike Goggans, placed approximately 61 white crosses sponsored by family members and friends of deceased veterans at Ollie Webb Park along Highway 80 this past week. Each of the crosses is adorned with the name of a veteran along with their branch of service and rank.

Canton’s new mayor Lou Ann Everett, Brigadier General Howard N. Palmer, Jr., Commander, Army Componet Command Texas State Guard, a 21-gun salute and an airplane flyover are all part of the Memorial Day program planned for 10 a.m. Monday, May 25, at the Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial Plaza in Canton.

Everett will serve as mistress of ceremonies for the event that will also include presentation of the colors by the East Texas Stampede 4H Equestrian team.

“Last year we were all treated to a missing man, three-plane flyover, much to everyone's delight. So, this year, four local area private planes will be in the air again for all to see as they fly over,” said Diane Farmer, Veterans Memorial public relations chairman.

Pastor Dan Torina of Grace Fellowship Church will lead the opening prayer and M/Sgt Bob Borth, USAF Ret. will read “The Veteran.”

Mon
25
May

Hoop-ti-do! McNeill continues to throw hoops around competition

For those that may not know, Glenn McNeill, Jr., former owner of Van Zandt Newspapers, is concealing a secret identity.

By day, McNeill often masquerades as an ad salesman dressed in a dress shirt and slacks as he travels through Wills Point.

Get McNeill on a basketball court with a ball in his hands, however, and a much different person complete with superpowers appears.

On April 16, McNeill easily took first place overall in both the Men’s Free Throw Competition and Men’s Around the World Competition at the 2015 Texas Senior Games in San Antonio.

McNeill knocked down 24 of 25 free throws this year, beating the next closest finisher by three shots. The win marked his ninth out of the past 10 years, and the 12th time he’s finished first in his age group.

McNeill collected 19 points in the around the world competition, beating the next closest competitor by five points.

Fri
22
May

Roads group gets OK to use courthouse to gather petition signatures

By Donnita Fisher

Managing Editor

 

In a test of Van Zandt County’s new premises use policy, May 12 commissioners granted Van Zandt Citizens for Better Roads permission for an event permit to gather petition signatures on the courthouse lawn May 30, June 6, 13, 20 and 27. But the vote wasn’t unanimous.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Virgil Melton Jr. voted against issuing the permit and Pct. 3 Commissioner Bobby Chaney abstained.

“I oppose the event and would oppose all campaign events on the courthouse lawn,” Melton said. “Not someone announcing they were running for office … but any political event.”

The courthouse should have a neutral atmosphere, Melton said.

County Judge Don Kirkpatrick said while he and Melton “are good friends …. We disagree on this topic. It is never my intent to control the message delivered to the public.”

Fri
15
May

Tornado storms through Van; Spirit of community shines on

 “We are Van” is the motto that sums up the identity of the 2,600 people who live in the community of Van.

The town thrives on its oil history and the stellar performance of its school district.

The spirit of Van can be seen in the red banners and signs posted throughout the community. After all  “once you’re a Van Vandal, you’re always a Van Vandal.”

The essence of that community spirit came shining forth May 11 after an EF-3 tornado ravaged most of the northeastern part of the town during the late evening May 10.

“This is a strong city and community. They will bounce back,” Van Zandt County Judge Don Kirkpatrick told an assembled group of media in front of the Frist Baptist Church of Van Monday morning May 11.

EF stands for the Enhanced Fujita, the classification scale for tornadoes. Tornadoes are divided into six categories – EF0 through EF6.  

Fri
15
May

Moore convicted in 2012 murder of niece

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

Michael Vincent Moore, the man accused of murdering his 16-year old niece Alicia Chanta Moore and dumping her body in a wicker box along North FM 47 three miles outside of Wills Point in November 2012, officially got his day in court with a weeklong trial in Canton. 

After a day of jury selection and three and a half days of testimony and evidence in the 294th District Court, it took jurors less than two hours of deliberation to seal the fate of the now 57-year old former resident of Grand Prairie.

 

Background

Alicia Moore, a Greenville High School student, was last seen alive while getting off a Greenville ISD school bus near her home Nov. 2, 2012.

Fri
15
May

Board undergoes reorganization following election

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

The Wills Point ISD Board of Trustees held their regularly scheduled board meeting on May 12, swearing in newly elected members and reshuffling the board per their annual practice.

Business opened with the canvassing of election results, and the swearing in of C.W. Wilson, Ray Thomason and newcomer Jeff Etheridge. Following the brief swearing in ceremonies, business shifted to the nomination and election of the board president, board vice president and board secretary for the next year.

C.W. Wilson, who held the position of president over the previous year, was reappointed unanimously by fellow board members.

Bryan Southard, the vice president over the past year, nominated board member Chuck Allen for his position. The board unanimously approved the appointment of Allen.

Fri
15
May

Group gathers at courthouse as part of National Day of Prayer

Photo by Donnita Fisher

By Donnita Fisher

Managing Editor

 

Groups around the country gathered May 7 as part of the National Day of Prayer and those in Van Zandt County joined in by congregating on the east side courthouse steps shortly after noon.

“This is the largest crowd we’ve had,” Word of Victory Pastor Mike Burns said. “We’re asking God to hear the cries of our hearts as we cry out to Him.”

The National Day of Prayer has been observed since 1952. It is held the first Thursday of May. This year’s theme was “Lord, Hear Our Cry.”

Five individuals offered prayers and the program was opened and closed by the Van Zandt County Choir led by First Baptist Church Music Minister John Bell.

Mike Roberson offered the prayer for America. He asked those in attendance to remember to pray for the U.S. Supreme Court as it makes historic decisions and reminded that “God is bigger than can we imagine.”

Fri
15
May

Voters show support for ESD, EDC propositions

Photo by David Kapitan

Jeff Etheridge, joined by his wife Christy and sons Austin, Dilan, and Kyle, was sworn in as the newest member of the Wills Point ISD Board of Trustees on May 12. Etheridge will serve in Place 3.

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

Even with several key items of community interest on the ballot, including the establishment of an Emergency Services District and the green light for a construction of a hotel locally, as well as three seats for both the Wills Point City Council and Wills Point ISD Board of Trustees up for grabs, voting proved to be steady but not spectacular on Election Day.

 

Propositions

Proposition 1 on the ballot passed with ease clearing a path for the construction of a Best Western Plus Hotel to be constructed in the eastern portion of the city with no property tax increase for residents.

Voters overwhelmingly supported the measure by a 283-67 margin, (80.86 percent for, 19.14 percent against).

Fri
15
May

Council reviews street project

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

The Wills Point City Council met briefly Tuesday night, swearing in three elected council members – Kyle Anderson, Oscar Rogers and Lance LyBrand – as well as Mayor Mark Turner for new terms before shifting focus to work being done to fix drainage issues in the Juanita and Gordon Street areas.

Per a request made by Kyle Anderson made at the April meeting, council members took a closer look at repair work that had started under a previous city administration in the Juanita and Gordon Street neighborhoods.

Anderson noted that the original estimates for the work to be done was approximately $70,000, but due to a decision made at the time not to have the project engineered, and subsequent work that has been done, that total has jumped to $386,451.67 with other repair projects still needed.

Fri
08
May

Slow early voting period wraps up

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

Potential voters will have one final chance to cast their ballots after early voting wrapped on May 5. Items up for a vote include three seats on the Wills Point City Council, three seats on the Wills Point ISD Board of Trustees, and two propositions.

The first of two propositions would pave the way for the construction of a three-story Best Western Plus Hotel in Wills Point and the second would establish an Emergency Services District that encompasses the city and outlying areas.

Wills Point City Council

In the Wills Point City Council election, local voters will elect three council seats, including seats currently held by Kyle Anderson and Oscar Rogers and the expiring seat of former council member Sherry Bailey Walker.

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