Fruitvale ISD recovering after tornadoes

Fruitvale ISD was hit hard during the April 29 series of tornadoes. Fruitvale High School was the hardest hit of the school districts in Van Zandt County.  Fruitvale received major roof damage which caused water damage to most of the classrooms and the band hall. Standing water in the school caused mold damage which also had to be removed. According to FISD Superintendent Rebecca Bain, over 300 ceiling tiles had to be replaced as well as 30 acoustic wall tiles in the band hall.


The damage continued on throughout the district, with other campuses sustaining damage as well. Fruitvale Junior High had water leaking at the transition of the roof, causing water damage to the girls’ varsity locker room, gym floor and restrooms. Roof damage to the district’s “old gym” caused insulation to fall and water damage on the walls, said Supt. Bain.


Citizens speak on proposed VZC tax rate

Around 25 citizens were in attendance Sept. 5 for the first of two public hearings on the proposed 2017 tax rate  approved by the Van Zandt County Commissioners Court.

Five citizens shared their feelings to the commissioners and expressed concern and criticism of the 4-1 decision Aug. 22 by the commissioners’ court.

All four county commissioners voted in favor while VZC Judge Don Kirkpatrick voted against the proposed 2017 tax rate of $.615847 per $100 valuation.

The proposed 2017 tax rate exceeds the preceding year’s tax rate ($.585847), the effective tax rate ($.552805) and the rollback tax rate ($.587864).

The effective tax rate is the total tax rate needed to raise the same amount of property tax revenue for the county from the same properties in both the 2016 and the 2017 tax years.


Balloon release held on Labor Day

The Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial held a balloon release in honor of veterans, prisoners of war/missing in action and those currently serving in the military on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4

The annual event attracted people from across the county with funds raised from the balloons purchased benefiting the VZC Veterans Memorial.

Each color of a balloon represented a certain status of military personnel. Red and blue balloons were in honor of veterans or anyone; black in honor of POW/MIA; yellow balloons for those currently serving in the military; and white balloons in honor of those who have retired.

VZC Veterans Memorial committee member Shorty Farmer offered remarks to those in attendance, stating that the balloon release was also in honor of the late Red Montgomery. 


Daniell retires

Ronnie Daniell, right, the retiring Pct. 2 Justice of the Peace, receives an appreciation plaque from Van Zandt
County Judge Don Kirkpatrick during a retirement reception for Daniell Sept. 7 at the VZC Courthouse.
Daniell recently announced his retirement after 14 years of service. Sandra Plaster was sworn in Sept. 8 by
Daniell as the new Pct. 2 JP.


West to present research on courthouses of VZC

The Van Zandt County Courthouse that county residents drive by on the square in Canton is not the first, and hopefully it is not the last, according to Precinct 4 Commissioner Tim West.

West was elected three years ago is also a respected Van Zandt County historian.  During his research, he has discovered that the county has had seven courthouses through the years.

West will present his findings at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 11, at the Heritage Park Museum in downtown Edgewood,

According to Commissioner West, the courthouse that is currently in use on the square in Canton was built in 1936-37, but six courthouses preceded the current one and were at different locations since the county was founded in 1848.

West has an extensive research career and is a member of the Van Zandt County Historical Commission and has served in several leadership positions.


Fruitvale ISD increases tax rate

The Fruitvale School Board gathered Aug. 17, after Meet the Teacher which was deemed a “huge success,” according to the faculty and staff in the FISD campuses.  The Fruitvale ISD Board of Trustees also announced that enrollment within the district was up for the 2017-‘18 school year.

The board then took to business, adopting a new tax rate at $1.26 per $100 valuation, which is an increase from last year’s tax rate, which was $1.17. The increased tax rate would levy an additional $54.78 per household in the district.

FISD Superintendent Rebecca Bain began the meeting by recognizing Dr. Michelle Cline for all her hard work getting the school and teachers ready for the upcoming school year. Dr. Cline handles staff development, writing grants, and a variety of other duties.

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GSPD leads raid on meth bust

A search of a property in Grand Saline yielded a cache of methamphetamines and equipment used for manufacturing and delivery of the drug. 

On Aug. 25, 2017, the Grand Saline Police Department executed a search warrant in the 400 block of S. First Street in the city of Grand Saline. The Grand Saline Police Department received information that there were stolen items along with illegal drugs at the property, which resulted in a search warrant being obtained.

The Grand Saline Police Department led the raid with assistance from Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, Van Zandt County Pre. 1 Constable’s Office and Edgewood Police Department. Once the residence was entered by officers, they located 43-year-old Lori Ann Rush who was detained while the search was conducted. 

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Life of “Red” Montgomery remembered

The man credited with being instrumental in the initiating, planning, development and creation of the Van Zandt County Veterans Memorial in Canton has passed away.

Services for “Red” Ronald Montgomery, 80, of Canton were held Aug. 28 at Eubank Funeral Home in Canton with the Rev. Mark Young, Rhita Koches and Kirby Montgomery officiating. Interment followed in High Cemetery. Montgomery passed away Aug. 24,2017, in Canton.

Close friends of Montgomery recalled the many good memories they had being around him.


Beating the odds The Rally for Rylan


Rylan Greene wants to be a police officer when he grows up and his favorite thing to do is to play outside and race his brothers from one end of the yard to the other. He is the youngest of Torrance and Amanda Greene’s sons, and is still very much the baby of the family.

This year, Rylan walked down the hallways of Wills Point Primary School to his first-grade classroom, to officially begin his first day of school Aug. 28.

Last year on the day he was to start kindergarten, Rylan was walking down a different hallway, the sixth-floor hallway of Children’s Medical Center in Dallas.

Facing the Odds


Heeding the call for help VZC team headed for rescue mission

Personnel from the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office and VZC Constable Pct. 4 office are headed south to the Port Arthur area to help with rescue, evacuation and search efforts for Hurricane Harvey victims.

A team comprised of VZCSO Chief Michael Bates, Lieutenant Heath Burton, Sgt. David Wheeler, Deputy Chuck Daugherty, Chief Deputy Constable Bob Keltner and Retired US Marshal John Lewandowski left Aug. 30 to “answer the call of assistance with search, rescue and evacuations.”

The officers participating all agreed with Chief Deputy Keltner’s statement, “they came to help us twice, now we are going to help them.”

The team took equipment to help aid in rescue efforts, including a boat and a MRAP military truck and headed down to Port Arthur, which was 100 miles east of Houston.

 They also loaded up on supplies such as food, lifejackets, water and essentials needed for those who have lost everything due to the aftereffects of Hurricane Harvey.  


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