News

Fri
31
Jul

Lost Photos of Van press conference and work day

National Disaster Photo Rescue to arrive in Van to lead Lost Photos efforts

National Disaster Photo Rescue Directors are scheduled to arrive in Van Monday, Aug. 3.

 “I am honored to be able to serve our community by reconnecting them to their photos and memories but could not do it without the help of National Disaster Photo Rescue,” said Nancy Stelmach, onsite project coordinator. “Their knowledge and experience guided me through this journey and now their willingness to come to Van to teach us is truly over the top!”

NDPR will set up equipment and meet with volunteers the evening of Aug. 3, begin training Aug. 4 and plan to work most of the day. They will follow up with volunteers Aug. 5 and will continue to work with Lost Photos of Van by offering phone and tech support from their home office in Carthage, Mo.

Fri
31
Jul

Advocacy Center celebrating 10th anniversary with open house

The Children’s Advocacy Center will host a 10th anniversary open house at their new facility, 503 W. Hwy. 243, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 7. 

The new facility more than doubles the size of the previous offices and provides additional offices, counseling space, meeting and training space and a large volunteer work room. 

Refreshments, including lunch, will be served. 

A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held at noon and the public is invited to attend.

The Children’s Advocacy Center of Van Zandt County started over 10 years ago with a vision to provide justice, hope and healing for abused children, center officials said.  The agency received its nonprofit status from the Internal Revenue Service in August 2005 under the leadership of then Criminal District Attorney Leslie Dixon.

Fri
31
Jul

Officials discuss budgeting, payment of invoices

Accountability and communication were the words of the day for Van Zandt County leaders July 28, with commissioners and county auditor Kenny Edwards spending extended time talking about invoices received from various departments without the necessary purchase order numbers.

The discussion, which came near the end of the meeting, picked up where the July 14 commissioners court meeting left off. At that time, Edwards noted that his office had received several invoices for payment lacking the needed purchase order numbers.

 “I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do here,” Edwards said. “I’ve got invoices over there. I added them up yesterday, and what I currently have is approximately $17,000 worth of invoices without purchase orders. I know some things don’t require purchase orders, but a lot of things do.”

Wed
29
Jul

Five ways to know if there’s an IRS imposter on the phone

A scam by callers reporting themselves to be IRS agents was reported last week by Sheriff Randy Meeks to be active in Hunt County.

The Internal Revenue Service issued a consumer alert this week to provide taxpayers with additional tips to protect themselves from telephone scam artists calling and pretending to be with the IRS.

These callers may demand money or may say you have a refund due. Bottom line—they try to trick you into sharing private information. These con artists can sound convincing when they call. They may know a lot about you, and they usually alter the caller ID to make it look like the IRS is calling. They use fake names and bogus IRS identification badge numbers. If you don’t answer, they often leave an “urgent” callback request.

Wed
29
Jul

Resignations bring dramatic close to July meeting


Suzanne Blasingame & Dyde Manning III

Blasingame, Manning end lengthy WPISD tenures

Months of rumors swirling around the community regarding potential turnover in the upper reaches of the Wills Point ISD finally came to a head during the July 16 board of trustees meeting, with the announcement that Superintendent Suzanne Blasingame had tendered her resignation.

Moments after the news was announced, longtime trustee Dyde Manning III took the floor to voice his disappointment and frustration with the board’s actions. Manning offered his own resignation before abruptly walking out prior to the adjournment of the meeting.

Speculation about Blasingame’s position as the district’s superintendent had picked up in intensity in recent months despite the fact that trustees renewed her contract in January following an executive session item listed on the agenda as “Superintendent’s evaluation and contract.”

Tue
28
Jul

Disaster loans available to county residents

Van Zandt County property and business owners have qualified for disaster loans from the United States Small Business Administration. Those who wish to apply for a physical damage loan may apply before Aug. 27 and for economic injury loans before Feb. 29, 2016.

Types of disaster loans include home loans, business physical disaster loans and economic injury disaster loans. 

Applicants must have a credit history acceptable to the Small Business Administration.

Home loans are limited to $200,000 for the repair or replacement of real estate and $40,000 to repair or replace personal property with an interest rate of 1.688 percent.

Business loans are limited to $2,000,000 with interest rate of 4.000 percent; and EIDL loans are limited to $2,000,000 for alleviating economic injury caused by the disaster at 4.000 percent with nonprofit organizations at 2.625 percent.

Tue
28
Jul

Edgewood ISD raises bar for honor grads

The Edgewood ISD school board has voted to raise the grade point average requirement to be distinguished as an honor graduate.

The current GPA required for an honor graduate is 3.0. Beginning with the 2017– ’18 school year, the required GPA will be 3.5. Raising the requirement this year or next would be unfair to current juniors and seniors, Superintendent Andy Baker said.

The board also discussed possibly creating an additional classification for the top 10 percent of each class. The top 10 percent of a graduation class often receive tuition benefits from colleges and universities.

The change comes because the majority of each class has a 3.0 GPA and are classified as honor graduates, therefore the award isn’t recognizing those students that have truly excelled academically, district officials said. According to information from the district, most schools use a 3.5 GPA as the baseline for recognizing honor graduates.

Mon
27
Jul

Grand Saline school board gets tech savvy

The Grand Saline School Board had a meeting full of tech talk as it discussed the purchase of Google Chromebooks July 20.

Lance Caffey, director of information technology, spoke to trustees about the benefits of purchasing the Google Chromebooks for high school students.  All students would be issued a Chromebook at the beginning of the school year.

Superintendent Trish Elliott discussed why she wanted students to have the Chromebooks. “The math department at the high school adopted online curriculum therefore needing something either an iPad or a computer in the classroom,” she said.

The Chromebook costs $200 each, which is cheaper than repairing the laptops the high school currently has, school official said. 

There are 325 students enrolled at the high school and 355 Chromebooks would be purchased so there would be 30 extra in case a student forgets his or her Chromebook at home, Elliott said.

Sun
26
Jul

ESD No. 2 to contribute to warning sirens

Correction

In the June 19 edition of the Van Zandt News, it was reported that the Grand Saline Economic Development Corporation would help pay for emergency sirens and a backup generator for the city. This information was incorrect. The VZC Emergency Services District No. 2 will help cover the cost of the siren and backup generator.

According to Grand Saline City Administrator Rex White and VZC Emergency Services District No. 2 President Bill Rowton, the total cost to purchase and install a new emergency warning siren system and backup generator for the City of Grand Saline is $58,035. The warning sirens will be heard approximately three miles in circumfrence from the location of the sirens at the Grand Saline volunteer fire department at 101 N. Green Street, Grand Saline.

Sun
26
Jul

Dad hopes accident leads to parking safety


Courtesy photo An SUV driven by a 79-year-old woman jumped the curb July 7 and hit 18-year-old Jessica Bunch as she stood in front of the Redbox movie machine in front of CVS in Canton. The Edgewood girl’s father is now calling on retailers to place barricades in front of sidewalk vending machines.

Teen hit at CVS Redbox July 7 still in ICU

Don Bunch has spent most of his time since noon July 7 at Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler at the bedside of his 18-year-old daughter Jessica.

Jessica was seriously injured when a 79-year-old woman driving an SUV and pulling into a handicapped parking spot at the CVS in Canton hit the gas instead of the brake, jumped the curb and slammed into the teen who was standing in front of the Redbox movie rental machine.

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