TxDOT removes Bigfoot trail

TxDOT crews remove Bigfoot footprints on Highway 279 in Edom June 19.

Footprint project washed away in Edom

Downtown Edom said adieu to a project started two weeks ago by the Edom Chamber of Commerce. The Bigfoot Footprint Project was washed away by Texas Department of Transportation crews June 19. What remains of the brightly painted footprints is now a shadow of the once colorful, attention grabbing markers.

The project was designed to draw traffic down to the end of Edom and across the street for a way for visitors to follow and visit merchants. The original project included plans for artists in Edom to paint and embellish the footprints to add color, imagination and creativity for all those to see, stated Beth Brown of Potters Brown in a Facebook posting.

Opinions swirled from Edom residents and business owners concerning the legality of the footprints being painted on Highway 279 and if proper procedures were followed by the Edom Chamber of Commerce when the project was approved.


Fire chief let go during meeting

Ed Leipply

It was a night of high drama at the Wills Point Fire Department headquarters June 20 with the Van Zandt County Emergency Services District #4 taking on an agenda that included potentially taking a vote of no confidence on Chief Ed Leipply.

Word of the agenda item gradually spread since it was posted at both the department and the VZC Courthouse, eventually resulting in a larger than usual crowd finding its way to the fire house for the meeting.

After opening the meeting by approving minutes from the board’s previous meeting on June 6, ESD business shifted to the public comment portion of the agenda (by law, board members are not allowed to directly address or respond to public comment.)

Public Comment

In total eight people, including six current or former fire department members, Leipply’s wife Carolyn, and community member Charlene Miller spoke during the session to voice their support for Ed Leipply ahead of the potential vote.


Grand Saline Salt Festival

The Grand Saline Salt Festival was held in downtown Grand Saline June 10. This year’s festival was a fun fest for all ages which included bicycle races, hula-hoop contests and a sack race. 



Splash Kingdom Waterpark still open after fire

Splash Kingdom Waterpark owners Johnny and Marcie Blevins stand with their son, Brett, in front of temporary buildings at Splash Kingdom.

On April 28, a portion of the Splash Kingdom Waterpark was destroyed by an early morning fire. According to Splash Kingdom Owner Johnny Blevins, no official cause for the fire has been given after investigations from local and county fire officials.

 “The investigation is over,” said Blevins. “The fire officials investigated for two or three days before being interrupted by the massive outbreak of tornadoes that struck April 29 and we totally understood that. Everything in front was burned so completely. They were able to determine that there were no accelerants but they could not determine the start or the cause of the fire.”


East Texas Medical Outreach June 28-29

On June 28-29, the Fifth annual East Texas Medical Outreach Event will be held at Van Junior High School (630 South Oak Street in Van,).

Free health services will be provided to anyone without health insurance, starting at 8 a.m. on both days and will conclude at 4 p.m. on both days.

“Our goal for this program is to provide preventative and primary medical and dental screenings to uninsured East Texans. We want to refer participants that do not currently have providers to medical homes as much as we can and ultimately want to encourage participants to adopt healthy lifestyles to improve their quality of life,” says George Roberts, Chief Executive Officer of NET Health.


Displaced animals head way to Tulsa

The four legged victims of the East Texas Tornados are now ready for the next part of their journey in finding a forever home of their very own. Over the past month, the Canton Animal Shelter took in more than 80 animals that have waited to be reunited with their families. A month later, many did not get reclaimed.

Animal Investigation & Response, a DFW based organization that specializes in large scale emergency situations relating to animals, arrived in Canton on May 1 to assist the shelter with the influx of animals and provide resources to care for, maintain and find placement for the large number of furry companions.

AIR has secured transport and transfer of the unclaimed tornado animals though a well-known, east Texas born celebrity’s foundation to an Oklahoma-based organization. A rescue mobile unit, aptly named Muttnation Foundation, arrived in Canton to assist the animals in getting to their destination where they will prepare them for adoption. 


Texas A&M AgriLife to offer food handlers class

Texas Department of State Health Services accredited food handlers program is being offered by Melisa Rhodes, County Extension Agent.  This class is now required for all food service employees to help promote the service of safe food. The class is a basic overview of food safety practices that are necessary to ensure you serve safe food at your establishment. Some practices discussed are:     

· Good Personal Hygiene

· Cross Contamination

· Time and Temperature abuse

“If you would like to learn more, please come to our two-hour food handlers training. The class will be held from 9 to 11 a.m. July 7.  The cost will be $20 per person.  Upon completion of the program they will earn their food handler’s certification.  Reserve a place today by calling 903-567-4149. Deadline to sign up for the class will be July 5,” said Rhodes.

The class will be held at the Texas A&M AgriLife Van Zandt County Office, 235 East Groves St Canton. 


Brookshire’s, KVNE/KGLY donate $40K to East Texas tornado victims

Representatives from Brookshire Grocery Co., 89.5 KVNE and 91.3 KGLY presented $40,000 in Brookshire’s gift cards to the Rev. Jon Thornsbury, pastor of First United Methodist Church in Canton, who is coordinating disbursement to East Texans impacted by the recent tornadoes.

It all started with an idea from the radio stations to help people in need by collecting some grocery gift cards. BGC stores began serving as gift card collection points, and the company offered to match up to $10,000 in donated cards. The East Texas community and people from other areas responded so generously that the $10,000 goal was quickly surpassed and Brookshire’s extended its match to $20,000. From May 4-24, KVNE, KGLY and BGC stores – including Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, FRESH by Brookshire’s and Spring Market – served as collection sites and collected more than $20,000 in cards, which BGC matched.


Kids eat free at Applebee’s

Just in time for summer vacation, Dallas-based Apple Texas has announced that kids eat free all day, every day in all 67 of their Applebee’s restaurants from June 1 – 30.

“This is a great way for us to give back to the communities where we have restaurants,” said Chris Dharod, chief operating officer of Apple Texas.  “Families are an important part of our business and not only is this a special offer for the kids, it’s an opportunity for families to go out for a great meal and save money at the same time.”  

Kid's meals range from a mini burger or chicken tenders to chicken mac and cheese, Caesar salad, or even a sirloin steak.  All kids’ meals include a side item as well as a choice of juice, milk or chocolate milk.

Details of the offer:  One “Kids Eat Free” meal per adult meal purchased.  Kids’ meals are for kids 12 and under.  Dine-In only.


Grand Jury docket released

The VZC District Attorney’s Office released the Grand Jury Action Docket for May 31

Bryce David Anton, evading arrest, detention with vehicle.

Weston Karl Oxford Bramhall, possession of controlled substance.

Richard Issac Brown, driving while intoxicated.

Rexanne Harris Brumbelow, possession of controlled substance.

Jennifer Genell Clark, theft of property.

John Cumba, deadly conduct.

Stanley Christopher Danner, aggravated sexual assault of a child, indecency with a child, sexual contact, indecent exposure.

Hunter Wade Davidson, forgery of financial instrument.

Zack Aaron Dean, burglary of habitation.

Kelly Jean Dickens, driving while intoxicated.

Shannon Barry Dodds, Aggravated assault.


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