Canton police chief retiring

Chief Mike Echols

Canton Police Chief Mike Echols has announce his retirement effective Aug. 31.

Echols has been with Canton PD since 1987. He has been chief since October 2007.

A reception honoring Echols time with the city will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Canton Senior Citizens, 200 W. Groves St.

Canton City Manager Lonny Cluck said a new police chief should be named in the next few weeks.

“I believe in promoting internally if you have good candidates,” he said. “We posted the job internally and had two good applicants – very qualified candidates.”

A five-person panel interviewed both candidates and made a recommendation, Cluck said. 


New dance coming to Canton Senior Citizens Center

The Country Drive Band

Beginning Aug. 14, John Rugg hopes you dance – at least every second and fourth Friday evening.

The Country Drive Band will be hosting a dance every second and fourth Friday at the Canton Senior Citizens Center, 200 W. Groves St.

Rugg is the drummer for the band, which has been performing in the Van Zandt area for the last seven years.  Comprised of six area musicians with four of the members performing together at any one time, the band has a vast repertoire of dance music that is appealing to all ages to keep you boot scootin’ on the dance floor, Rugg said.  

The group is enjoying its third year of Thursday night dances in Mineola, he said, and the band is excited to add the Canton Senior Citizens Center dance as their newest local venue in their busy performance schedule.  


Brookside planning fun in the Outback for VBS

Brookside Church is hosting Outback Rock VBS from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 11 and 12.

The event is open to children from birth through seventh grade.

“During the fun-filled two evenings, kids will go on a trek to discover God’s love in exciting ways that make Scripture come alive!” organizers said. “Get ready to explore the rock-solid height and depth of god’s love while experiencing fun, laughter and excitement.”

Children will be divided into crews that rotate through learning stations that reinforce a Bible point. Pre-schoolers will have their own age-appropriate fun, according to organizers, but everyone will be together at the start with praise and at the evening’s big finish, Rockin’ Wrap up – an closing time filled with music, drama and humor.

Instead of traditional VBS crafts, kids will participate in Projects with a Purpose and “create meaningful items that will bless others,” organizers said.


Hunting out haunts

Courtesy photos Van Zandt County Paranormal investigator Dominic Harris investigates a fallen headstone during a preliminary walk through of a VZC cemetery to determine if it is haunted.

Paranormal team investigates county

In this little corner of the country, hunting usually means camouflage, guns and four legged creatures. But hunting, according to the Van Zandt County Paranormal Investigators, means looking for things or spirits that go bump in the night.

Normally, people tend to shy away from the spooks and spirits that make the hair on the back on one’s neck go up, or that cause that eerie sixth sense feeling when one walks into a room. But, the Gatzert family of Canton is anything but normal.

Alisa Gatzert and her family are to put it bluntly, ghost hunters; and they hunt ghosts and spirts right in Van Zandt County and in parts of Texas.


Seal coating taking place on area highways

Texas Department of Transportation crews are resuming the annual summer seal coat operations to help preserve roadways throughout the Tyler District.

Work kicks started this week State Hwy. 11 in Wood County.

Seal coat is the department’s preventive maintenance program that utilizes a two-step process to cover existing roadway surfaces with a layer of hot asphalt followed by rock. The process seals the roadway to keep water out thereby adding years of life and requiring less maintenance while providing a new driving surface for motorists, according to TxDOT officials.

TxDOT said motorists can expect some travel delays and lane closures as the work continues for the next five weeks across seven of the district’s eight counties. Traffic control will be provided by flaggers.

The expected completion date for the $8.5 million contract is the end of August.


Missing man found dead near Ben Wheeler

On July 20, a resident of Canton filed a missing person report regarding her son, 34-year-old Shane Earld Corson.

The resident, Paulette Vick, reported that she had not heard from her son for a couple of weeks and she had contacted his friends in attempt to determine his whereabouts. She told police she was unable to locate anyone who had seen or spoken with him recently.
 Vick told police her son suffered from depression.

Canton Police launched an investigation to locate Corson and check on his well being.

“During the investigation, information was gathered that placed Corson’s last known location on VZCR 4406, just outside of Ben Wheeler, CPD Det. Mike King said. 


Texas disaster declaration incident period extended for individual assistance

More Texans may be eligible for disaster assistance with news of an extension of the original incident period for Individual Assistance under a May 29 major disaster declaration for severe storms, straight-line winds, tornadoes and flooding.

The new incident period is May 4 through June 22.

Incident Period Extension

Survivors who previously registered with FEMA for damage between June 20 and June 22, whose applications were not fully processed, will be automatically reviewed.  Survivors with questions should call the FEMA helpline, 800-621-3362.

Applicants already registered with FEMA, who have additional damage incurred from June 20 to June 22, should call FEMA to receive an evaluation of whether they may be eligible for additional aid.


Lakeside to ‘Get Soaked’ at VBS Aug. 3 through 5

Lakeside Baptist Church will host its Get Soaked Vacation Bible School 2015 at Splash Kingdom Waterpark from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Aug. 3 through 5.

The VBS is for those kids who have completed kindergarten through sixth grade.

Cost is $10 per person with a maximum of $25 per family.

The cost includes three nights at the waterpark and a T-shirt.

Sign-up by visiting the Lakeside Baptist Church office at 1291 Old Kaufman Rd in Canton, calling 903-567-4787 or downloading the registration form at


Fruitvale hires home-grown superintendent

FISD superintendent Dr. Jennifer Jones and Mrs. Rebecca Bain

Rebecca Bain has been named superintendent of Fruitvale ISD after Dr. Jennifer Jones leaves the end of August to teach upcoming principals and superintendents at the university level.

Bain is a Fruitvale ISD product herself. She attended Fruitvale schools from kindergarten on and graduated from FHS in 1992.

After graduation, Bain attended Texas A&M University – College Station, where she was on the dean’s and distinguished student’s lists while enrolled in the TAMU Honors program.

She returned to her hometown and became a substitute teacher in the Fruitvale and Grand Saline school districts, before being offered a permanent position at Fruitvale ISD. After a semester as a second grade teacher at Hallie Randall Elementary, Bain was offered the junior high/high school science position and she began teaching and coaching Fruitvale Junior High and high School. 


Girl hurt at CVS Redbox out of ICU

Don and Jessica Bunch

Jessica Bunch is out of ICU.

After 17 days in the hospital, Jessica was moved to a room a room last week, according to her dad, Don Bunch.

“She is trying to eat a little, we have got to get the pace picked up a little or they will have to put a feeding tube in,” he said.

Jessica was seriously injured July 7 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. Jessica was taken by air ambulance to Trinity Mother Frances Hospital in Tyler where she has been in a fight for survival ever since.


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