GSISD forms committee to study facility needs

The Grand Saline ISD Board of Trustees has formed a facility planning committee to look at the district’s facility needs.

At the Sept. 21 board meeting, Trustees Matt Strickland, Micah Lowe and Paul Moreno volunteered to be on the committee. Superintendent Trish Elliott will contact members of the community to also serve on the committee.

UIL academics

Grand Saline Intermediate School will be hosting the University Interscholastic League academic competition this year for the west zone.

Grand Saline will compete with Alba Golden and Mineola.

Information regarding the various events is currently being shared with students and team tryouts will be held within the next two weeks, school officials said.

Two new events have been added this year – chess for grades three through five and music memory for second grade.


Building leaders for tomorrow, one at a time

This year Fruitvale’s Hallie Randall Elementary guidance program will be concentrating on building Leaders for Tomorrow by concentrating on the Seven Habits of Highly Successful Students based on Stephen Covey’s program “The Leader in Me.” 

The mission at Hallie Randall is to build leaders, one student at a time, principal Zach Masterson said.

The first month students are working on Habit #1 which is  “Be Proactive.”  The goal is for all students to have a “Can Do" attitude, Masterson said. 

Habit #I states, “I choose my actions, attitudes and moods. I don't blame others. I do the right thing without being asked even if nobody is looking.”

Teachers and staff will recognize students exhibiting these characteristics by placing a certificate on the Leader Wall of Fame and announcing student names and actions over the intercom each week.


VISD superintendent to talk about bond in Edom

Van ISD Superintendent Don Dunn will speak about the district’s Nov. 3 bond proposal at 6 p.m. Oct. 1 at the Edom City Limits.

VISD is proposing a $13.2 million bond issue on the Nov. 3 ballot to fund expansion of school facilities. School officials said the expansion is needed to accommodate the district’s enrollment growth.

Dunn will meet with those interested in learning the details of the proposal and answer questions about the proposition. 

The Edom City Limits building is located two miles west of downtown Edom on FM 279.


New Journey holding special service Oct. 4

Host pastor Bishop Casey and First Lady Cassie Cook are inviting the public to New Journey Church of God at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 4. Guest minister will be Peggy Harris from Grace Family Church in Canton.

“Come and experience a mighty move of God,” Bishop Cook said, “It’s time for a release of what has bound you.”

New Journey Church of God is located at 15877 E. Hwy. 80 in Edgewood


Historical marker to honor oil boom photographer

The Van Zandt County Historical Commission will dedicate a historical marker honoring photographer C.S. Nicks in the Van downtown garden at 2 p.m. Oct. 3. 

The public is invited to attend.

The city of Van is co-sponsor of the event.

Charles S. Nick was a professional photographer who arrived in Van shortly after oil was discovered on the W.T. Jarman farm on Oct. 14, 1929. 

He came to Van looking for work during the depression and through his photography, provided a visual history that otherwise would have been lost in the memories of those who experienced the event.


Rolling Oaks VFD takes delivery of new rescue vehicle

Courtesy photo Douglass Hall, Kimberly Joslin and Caleb Joslin with the Rolling Oaks Volunteer Fire Department’s new rescue vehicle

Three Rolling Oaks volunteers have helped their department get a new rescue vehicle.  

“Thanks to Kimberly Joslin, Caleb Joslin and Douglas Hall, we were able to obtain this much needed vehicle from the Ben Wheeler Volunteer Fire Department,” said Tammie Noah, ROVFD communications director. “ROVFD realized it needed such an apparatus and the trio was instrumental in finding it.”

The department got the vehicle several weeks ago and is currently equipping it to custom fit its needs, Noah said. 

Once this is completed, crews will be trained on its features and the truck will be placed into service.

“The increased firefighting capacity, improved safety features and equipment upgrades are providing the department with the best tools to protect our community,” Noah said.


Farm bill deadlines near

Time is running short for Texas farmers who would like to participate in one of the new farm bill’s safety net programs.

The deadline to sign a contract and enroll in the Agriculture Risk Coverage, Price loss Coverage and the Margin Protection Program for Dairy is Wednesday, Sept. 30.

“These programs provide a great service to Texas farmers,” said Van Zandt County Farm Bureau President Brian Cummins. “They provide a much-needed safety net when Mother Nature interferes.”

Most farmers have already made their ARC or PLC choice. Farmers now need to sign their contract and officially enroll for their 2014 and 2015 crop years.

For dairymen, the selection will cover 2016.

“We’d hate for anyone to miss out on this much-needed protection,” Cummins said. “Visit you local Farm Service Agency office before the deadline.”

For more information, visit your local FSA office or


Advocacy Center receives community leadership award alongside state counterparts

Photo courtesy Office of the First Lady The recipients of the 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Awards

In an evening ceremony Sept. 21, the Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas was recognized for its efforts on behalf of child victims of physical and sexual abuse across Texas.

Recognized by First Lady Cecilia Abbott, Honorary Chair of the 32nd Annual Governor’s Volunteer Awards and the OneStar Foundation, CACTX joins a select group of individuals, groups and organizations honored for a significant and measurable contribution to their communities.

“The power of the public-private partnerships our membership has established at 69 different children’s advocacy centers across the state cannot be overstated. Through these intricate collaborations, our network is able to provide much needed assistance to nearly 40,000 Texas children every year who have been subjected to heartbreaking abuse,” said Joy Hughes Rauls, executive director of CACTX. 


County Blotter

The Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Department reported the following arrests for Sept. 15 - 22, 2015.

Jeremy Lujan Alanis, 28, Dallas, was arrested on a warrant for driving while intoxicated.

Noal Mazahaem Algamedi, 17, Wills Point, was arrested on a warrant for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Dylan Austin Alvarez, 19, Van, was arrested on a Justice of the Peace Precinct 4 for no drivers’ license.

Daniel Horton Amador, 25, Canton, was arrested on site for possession of a controlled substance, and on a Grand Saline Municipal Court warrant for driving while license invalid.

Britney Adelene Ashley, 26, Wills Point, was arrested on a warrant for burglary of habitation.

Miranda Diane Balt, 20, Wills Point, was arrested on a Dallas Co. warrant for assault causing bodily injury, family violence.


GS principal arrested in domestic incident

Brad L. Swain

Grand Saline Middle School Principal Brad L. Swain, 41, was arrested Sept. 18 and is facing felony charges stemming from a domestic incident.

According to Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Department reports, Swain’s estranged wife called 911 around 3 p.m. Sept. 18 and reported that Swain was trying to run her vehicle off the road as she drove on FM 16 from Martins Mill toward Van.

Mrs. Swain had the couple’s two children with her in the car.

Mrs. Swain had filed divorce papers and Swain had been served with those as well as a restraining order, officials said. Authorities believe he was driving in a reckless manner, trying to get her to pull over.

Swain was charged with two counts of felony endangering a child/criminal negligence and one count of reckless driving.

He posted $25,000 bond and was released from jail Sept. 19.

Grand Saline ISD officials said Swain has been placed on paid leave until the case can be resolved.


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