The playoff march continues on for both the Van Vandals and Edgewood Bulldogs this week after each team picked up impressive wins in the Area round. Two other county teams, the Canton Eagles and Martins Mill Mustangs, each watched their season draw to a close after narrow losses to Bullard and Bowie respectively..

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On the road to recovery

Van pushes back despite disaster

By Britne Reeves

Staff Writer

Emergency operations continue in Van through the combined effort of law enforcement agencies, relief organizations and hundreds of volunteers.

Van Zandt County Fire Marshal Chuck Allen credits the generosity of people across the state and the nation with helping the community after a tornado May 10 destroyed 90 homes and damaged 110 others cutting a path through Van 10 miles long.

“I never would have dreamed that we would be this far along with recovery as we are at this time,” Allen said. “We have no other place to put all of the physical donations.”

Although physical donations are filling up the buildings, monetary donations are still needed.


Remembering a remarkable airman

Duward F. Sumner

Duward F. Sumner was born and spent his early life in Van Zandt County. 

His mother, father, grandparents and great grandfather are buried in the Hillcrest Cemetery in Canton, the county seat. 

The story of Sumner’s life and his outstanding record as a World War II pilot would make a good Hollywood script. Yet today, Duward Sumner’s name would draw a blank among most people living in Van Zandt County. 

Young Sumner lost his father at the age of 2, had trouble with his step-father, left home in his early teens, received a limited education, worked odd jobs to survive and found his special place in life in the U.S. Army. 

The Army provided an outlet unique to him and fitted to his talents.  His service during World War II was his finest hour. If ever a soldier’s life and remarkable war record deserves to be retold, it is Duward F. Sumner’s. 

This is a brief recap of that story.


Memorial Day event honors sacrifice

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.”


Grand Saline looks to replace warning sirens

Considered in healthy financial shape

By Kat Hinson


The Grand Saline City Council’s May meeting focused largely on measures to replace the emergency warning system for the city of Grand Saline.

The city’s sirens have not been usable for an estimated three years due to the difficulty of finding replacement parts; while efforts to replace the system have been underway for some time, the incident in Van has made city officials determined to speed up the process.

Grand Saline Fire Marshal Tully Davidson presented a report on possible replacement systems, with models ranging from about $20,000 to more than $100,000.


Moore convicted in 2012 murder of niece

Sentenced to life without parole

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.



Commissioner responds to criticism, talks about roads, budget

Pct. 3 Commissioner Bobby Chaney

“When people read or hear something, they automatically think it is true and I have an issue with that. A lot has been said it just not true.”— VZC Pct. 3 Commissioner Bobby Chaney

Most agree, Van Zandt County’s roads are in need of repair. It’s how the roads got in disrepair and where the money to fix them will come from that stirs discussion and debate. 

Pct. 3 Commissioner Bobby Chaney has been the brunt of much public criticism because of the state of the roads in his precinct. His constituents say he’s unavailable and unreachable.

At times, it’s gotten downright ugly.

The Van Zandt News sat down with Chaney and asked him about the roads, his availability and about being a commissioner.

The answers are in his own words.


Voters OK Wills Point hotel, ESD #4

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

Wills Point voters cleared a path for the construction of a Best Western Plus Hotel to be built 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).

“For several years, groups and individuals in the community have approached EDC to assist with the construction of a hotel in Wills Point,” EDC Administrator Pam Pearson said. “The search is finally over and the voters have approved the construction of a 3-story Best Western Plus Hotel at Wills Point Business Park. The EDC Board is thrilled the community is allowing sales tax dollars to fund incentives of a tourism project which will accommodate overnight guests attending events and generate additional revenue.”


Van spirit can’t be wrecked

Photo by David Kapitan The scene on East Pennsylvania Street May 13.

Spirit of community shines on

By Britne Reeves

Staff Writer

 “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.


FISD superintendent Jones resigns

By Pam Millican
Dr. Jennifer Jones submitted her resignation to the Fruitvale ISD school board at their meeting last week. Jones has been the superintendent for five years and the district has accomplished a lot under her leadership, officials said. She also serves on the board of directors for the Children’s Shelter as well as being active in many local organizations. 


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