Canton OK’s hotel deal

By Donnita Fisher

Managing Editor

June 16, The Canton City Council approved a Canton Economic Development Corporation agreement and added its own incentives to a deal to bring a hotel and conference center to property on I-20 adjacent to Splash Kingdom .

The city agreed to give C&E Group $200,000 incrementally with payments based on reaching construction benchmarks. 

This loan will be forgiven incrementally based on the amount of property tax being paid after the new building is on the tax rolls.

“The amounts paid each year in property taxes will reduce the outstanding principle amount by that amount,” Mayor pro tem Shawn Stewart said.

The city’s additional funding brings the total incentive package to $376,000.

The three-story Country Inn and Suites by Carlson is projected to have up to 88 rooms, a 5,000 square foot conference center and space for two restaurants pad sites.


Edom Water customers get boil water notice

Due to a line break from road construction, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has required Edom Water Supply Corporation to notify its customers of the need to boil their water prior to consumption.

The boil water notice affects the area east of FM 314 from Hwy. 64 to FM 279.

To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and making ice should be boiled and cooled prior to use. The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil and then boiled for two minutes, officials said.

When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, the water system officials will notify residents that the water is safe for consumption.



Inmate escapes for 18 minutes

Wade Glenn Matthis

A 19-year-old escaped from the Van Zandt County jail for 18 minutes June 15.

According to information from Sheriff Lindsey Ray, at 4:52 p.m. Monday, June 15, Wade Glenn Matthis broke out of the jail by scaling a 12-foot perimeter security fence topped with razor wire.

Matthis then ran into a wooded area north and west of the sheriff’s office traveled west about half of a mile and emerged on Hwy. 64 “where he was arrested without incident at 5:10 p.m.,” the sheriff said.

“Sheriff’s deputies were establishing a search perimeter at the time of his arrest,” Ray said. “An inmate count was conducted immediately after the escape and it was determined that all other inmates were present and accounted for.”

Mathis is in jail pending trial for three charges of possession of controlled substances, felony theft and evading arrest or detention. Bond on those charges is set at $165,000.


Sales tax figures trending upward

By David Kapitan

Staff Writer

The office of Texas State Comptroller provided good news to most Van Zandt County cities this month, releasing figures that indicate five out of six local cities would be receiving larger sales tax revenue figures than what was collected in June 2014.

Hegar’s report shows that Canton, Edgewood, Edom, Grand Saline and Wills Point all saw their respective arrows trend upwards, while the city of Van ended on the opposite end of the spectrum by trailing behind last year’s monthly figure.

The city of Canton posted the largest positive dollar change for any county city in June 2015, collecting $277.988.53. That figure was up $18,085.44 over the $259,903.09 collected back in June 2014.


Grand Saline Salt Festival gets better with age

Gracelyn Taylor pedaled her way to victory in the kiddie kaper’s 9 and up bicycle race.

By Payton Weidman

Staff Writer

The 41st Annual Grand Saline Salt Festival held last weekend is said to have been the best yet when the headline concert drawing the biggest crowd the city-wide celebration has seen yet.

The festival kicked off June 11 with a 42 tournament, the Friends of Virginia Milam sponsored a lunch, people played bingo in the pavilion and contestants dropped off entries for a baking contest.  Winners of the baking contest were John Corrales in third place with a cash prize of $50; Shayne Carnes, second for a prize of $75 and Linda Easley, first place with a prize of $100. 

June 12 lunch was sponsored by Country Trails Care Center and the entries from the baking contest were served as dessert.  That night Grand Saline local Tommy Joe Wilson performed a concert/street dance.


Corn Hole Contest to be featured at Free State Jubilee

Grab your partner and start practicing your tossing skills as the Free State Jubilee will be hosting a Corn Hole Tournament for adults and youth ages 8 through 17. 

The tourney will be part of the Free State Jubilee set for June 27 on First Monday grounds in Canton. The Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Committee is sponsoring this “free, fun day event for the families of Van Zandt County,” Extension Agent Melisa Rhodes said.

In the Corn Hole competition, the winning team in the adult tournament will win a cash prize of $200 and the title of tournament champion. The second place team receives $100 and the third place team $30.

Entry fee for the adult tournament is $20 per team of two.

Entry for the youth tournament is $10 per team of two. 

The youth division winning team will earn $100 for first place, $50 for second and $20 for third. 


Tornado cripples community, not residents

By Britne Reeves • Staff Writer
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.

Night of praise, thanksgiving set to benefit Van area disaster relief fund

The Erwins set to preform at 7 p.m. June 25 for “A Night of Family, Faith and Friends,” a free concert celebrating the heart and faith of the city of Van.

The night of May 10, changed the lives of several thousand people in and around the Van community when an EF3 tornado ripped a path of destruction from just south of Van, north almost to Grand Saline.

In the days and weeks that have followed there has been an avalanche of outpouring of support into the Van community. Volunteers have shown up to cut down trees, remove trash and debris, serve meals to those in need, provide supplies including food and financial resources. East Texans have come together to “Stand With Van” in towns from Athens to Paris and Longview to Dallas.

In all of these communities, people have banned together to hold several large-scale events. But to date, nothing has been held in the city of Van. Until now.


Judge details county’s capital murder expenses

By Donnita Fisher

Managing Editor


Although the county budgeted more than $450,000 to try three capital murder cases in 2014 and 2015, to date less than $112,000 has been actually spent, 294th District Court Judge Teresa Drum told Van Zandt County Commissioners last week.

Drum provided an update on the county’s capital murder budget during the commissioners court meeting June 9.

Commissioners originally budgeted $457,316.10 for three capital murder cases – Danny Greenhow, Larry Maples and Michael Moore, Drum said. “Expenses were budgeted for the DA’s office, the Sheriff’s office, indigent defense expenses, as well as jury and district clerk expenses,” she said.

The county also anticipated receiving $150,000 in grants from the state if the cases were tried as death penalty cases. “None of these tried as death penalty cases,” Drum said, “so we were not eligible for the grants.”


Edgewood Heritage Park hit by thieves

Photos courtesy Ricky Niell The 6-foot vintage Gulf Oil sign at Heritage Park in Edgewood became the target of thieves last week. The sign has an estimated value of $1,000.

By Pam Millican



The Edgewood Heritage Park in downtown Edgewood was fell victim to theft last weekend.

Heritage Park employees reported that a 6-foot round Gulf Oil sign was taken from the back wall of the old Gilliam Station early last week.

The sign was attached to the back of the station approximately 10 feet off the ground. The sign has a value of about $1,000.

Gilliam Station is located on the corner of the park on Main Street and approximately 100 feet from a street light. It would have taken at least two people and a 10-foot ladder to take down the sign.

The Heritage Park is located one block from the police station.

As of presstime, the Edgewood Police Department could not be reached for comment. 



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