Join the March for Meals

Meals on Wheels Ministry announced that it will be participating in the national 2016 March for Meals campaign.  On Thursday, March 30, festivities will include a special showing of support by “Community Champions,” both elected officials from the organization’s six county service area as well as local celebrities who have volunteered to deliver meals and help bring awareness to the mission of Meals on Wheels. The month of March mobilizes hundreds of local Meals on Wheels programs across the country to reach out to their communities and build the support that will sustain them all year long.

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Lady like

Photo by Ayla Rightenour

This up and close photo of an Asian beetle on a dandelion was shot by Ayla Rightenour at her home in Grand Saline. This year, the county was plagued with the Asian Lady beetles who bite and release an odor when threatened. Asian lady beetles have a white marking behind its head in the openings of what looks like a black M. The general ladybug does not have the “M” marking.

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Business News

Supporting youth at the VZC Fair

Why some local businesses invest in the future

The climax of each year’s Van Zandt County Fair is the animal auction, and more often than not it is businesses buying those animals. It’s a great way to “give back” to the community, but is there any business benefit for these companies?

We asked several local animal-buying businesses, and found out that business benefit doesn’t really even show up on their list of reasons for paying those high prices for the fair animals and most of these businesses just give back or sell back the animals after the bidding is over.

Tommy Clark, owner of Tractor Ranch on I-20, has been supporting the fair since 2010, when his business moved to Van Zandt County, and before that, supported the Kaufman County Fair for years.


Safe Haven: Life in the Humane Society

When some hear the word animal shelter, it can mean one of two things. Either it’s a shelter designed to help sick or abandoned animals or it’s a death sentence.

According to the ASPCA pet statistics, approximately 7.6 million animals enter animal shelters nationwide every year. Of those, approximately 3.9 million are dogs, and 3.4 million are cats. Each year, approximately 1.2 million dogs and 1.4 million cats are euthanized.

Some shelters provide only the basic needs such as food, water and a small enclosure. While some may see this as cruelty, it is better for the animal rather than being left alone in the world. There is no way to get an accurate count on how many abandoned pets die from exposure, illness or even fights with other animals.


GS man arrested for theft in six counties

The arrest of a Grand Saline man around 9:30 p.m.  Thursday, March 16 led officers to evidence tying him to burglaries in six northeast Texas counties, as well as the unlawful restraint of a young woman in his company.

Brenda Jelane Reynolds, 27, of Grand Saline, had initially willingly left with Michael Bernard Barry, 39, of Grand saline several days prior, but was alarmed  when Barry refused to take her home. After that, she  secretly texted her husband of the predicament and began occasionally sending him their GPS location. The husband forwarded the information to her father, who then notified Camp County officials that the couple was in their vicinity.


Some like it hot: 18th annual CASI chili cook-off April 1

The 18th annual Buffalo Girls Hotel CASI Chili Cook-off will be held Saturday, April 1 on The Mountain in Canton. The event is a fundraiser for the Therapy Dogs of Van Zandt County while also recognizes the rebirth of The Mountain.

CASI  members  raise funds for local charities throughout the year by competing or holding CASI chili cookoffs.
Each year CASI sanctions nearly 500 chili cookoffs internationally as qualifying events for the CASI Terlingua International Chili Championship, known as TICC.   These sanctioned local events raise over $1 million for the local and national charities which work with the local organizers.  This ultimate chili championship is held the first Saturday of November annually at Rancho CASI de los Chisos, near Terlingua, Texas.   The CASI Championship event is a fundraiser for local Terlingua charities and organizations and also fund CASI's National Scholarship programs. 


IMPACT Van Zandt: Taking ACTION to end child abuse

April is right around the corner and for 20 years Sandy Hilliard, President of the Child Welfare Board has been a driving force behind the mission to end child abuse and neglect in Van Zandt County.

Unfortunately, Hilliard, her board of directors and countless numbers of volunteers and family resource groups in the area have been fighting an uphill battle.

How serious is the problem? Out of 254 counties in Texas, Van Zandt County ranks in the top 15 percent in terms of children who have been removed from their home due to child abuse and neglect.


TxDOT projects for March 13-20

Van Zandt County –Maintenance resumes fog seal operations on SH 64 between FM 279 and FM 16 as well as on FM 2339 between FM 279 and FM 773. Expect lane closures and delays with flaggers providing traffic control.

Van Zandt County construction projects updates:

FM 314 Widening Project

  • Limits: From I-20 to the Van Zandt/Henderson County line
  • Contractor: A.L. Helmcamp, Inc., of Buffalo
  • Cost: $11.9 million
  • Anticipated Completion Date: Summer 2018

Structure work continues along with roadway rehabilitation activities. Expect daily lane closures at various locations throughout the project limits of this job to widen FM 314.

FM 1256 Widening Project


Meals on Wheels to serve breakfast

After several weeks of successful deliveries, the Meals on Wheels Ministry’s pilot program called Sunrise Senior Servings is officially underway and growing. The breakfast meal program is designed to meet the nutritional needs of the organization’s most nutritionally at-risk clients, and it offers a box of shelf-stable breakfast foods designed to complete seven breakfast meals.

“The boxes contain a combination of non-perishable items like dry cereal, dried fruit, milk and juice that satisfy 1/3 of the Recommended Daily Allowance for the senior population we serve,” said Meals on Wheels Ministry  President and CEO, Mike Powell. “The boxes are delivered weekly, directly to the doors of the homebound elderly and disabled clients we serve. We believe that this program will make a profound impact on the lives of some of our community’s most vulnerable people.”


VZ Business News

Ex-restaurant to be razed

The former Church’s Chicken restaurant in Canton that had been closed for years will be demolished. The restaurant – which for some time has sat vacant despite a sign indicating a Golden Chick restaurant would be coming in its place – will be razed soon. That is according to information presented by City Manager Lonny Luck to Canton City Council at its latest meeting.

Door Controls USA sold

Don Gilchrist, who founded Door Controls USA and Door Control Services in Ben Wheeler in 1973, has sold Door Controls USA to two of his children, Paxton Gilchrist and Summer Gilchrist-Haltom. The company deals in a broad range of parts for commercial and industrial doors. Don Gilchrist remains as chief executive officer of the company, and also continues as owner and CEO of Door Control Services, which repairs and maintains doors.

Myrtle Springs car sales lot


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