News

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.

Fri
08
May

Turner recounts GFA trip to India

Wills Point Mayor Mark Turner recently traveled to India with the Gospel for Asia organization.

Gospel for Asia relocated from the Carrollton area and has established its worldwide base of operation to just outside of the Wills Point area.

Turner and a group of about two dozen pastors spent two weeks in India, seeing the work being done by GFA that country.

At the request of the Chronicle, Turner recounted the time spent with GFA and their efforts overseas.

Fri
08
May

Man arrested following incident at festival

The Wills Point community came out in droves April 25, crowding the downtown streets for the 22nd annual Bluebird Festival.

Even with the heavier traffic flow and bustle of activity surrounding the event, the Wills Point Police Department reported this week that only one incident requiring any type of assistance was reported throughout the day.

According to the WPPD, officers were contacted at approximately 4:45 p.m. after a suspect, later identified as 60-year old Billy Earl Wood of Terrell, drove around barricades erected on N. Fourth Street to park at his business.

Wood allegedly entered his business in the 200 block, gathered some items and returned to his 1999 Chevrolet Suburban with the intent of pulling out and leaving the festival area.

Fri
08
May

Moore trial gets underway in Canton

 

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

 

The murder trial of Michael Vincent Moore officially got underway at the Van Zandt County courthouse in Canton on Monday morning, with jury selection taking most of the day before opening statements and the first round of witnesses was called on Tuesday.

Moore was arrested back on May 6, 2013, in connection with the murder of his then 16-year old niece, Alicia Chanta Moore.

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

Four days later, on Nov. 6, 2012, Texas Department of Transportation employees working along the Magbee Creek area on Farm-to-Market 47, about four miles out of the Wills Point city limits, contacted authorities after finding a wicker trunk containing a body.

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