Chandler man dies in Ben Wheeler accident

An accident involving a pickup truck and a motorcycle claimed the life of a Chandler man July 25 in Ben Wheeler.

According to Sgt. Michael Johnson of the Texas Department of Public Safety office in Canton, James Kinnaird, 51, of Chandler was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident by Van Zandt County Pct. 1 Justice of the Peach Pam Harvath.

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Proposed Van ISD 2017-18 tax rate presented

Van ISD trustees received good news on the proposed 2017-18 tax rate during their regular monthly meeting held July 31 in the newly-remodeled Van High School Library.

Danny Morrow, the Van ISD Business and Support Services Director, gave a presentation on the new tax rate to the trustees.

“If you recall back in 2015 when we were preparing for the bond election and having our meetings and discussions with people in this community about where we were going to be, what we thought we would be, the process of refunding existing debt and trying to get the interest rate down,” said Morrow. “Well, we were able to do that. With the refunding issue and where we were with our surplus fund balance, we were going to be able to do the new issue at six cents.”


Discipline program discussed by Van ISD trustees

Regulations from the Disciplinary Alternative Education Placement (DAEP) were presented to the Van School Board by Van ISD Superintendent Don Dunn July 31 during the board’s regular monthly meeting held at the newly remodeled Van High School Library.

“Their policy states that an elementary school student may not be placed in DAEP with a student that is not in elementary school,” said Dunn. “What they have done is provide us with an option. One option is that we can declare elementary classification as grades kindergarten through fifth grade and secondary education as grades 6-12 or elementary can be classified as kindergarten through sixth grade and secondary education would then be grades 7-12. The second option is the way we have it now.”


Free State Back to School Jubilee set for Saturday

The third annual Free State Back to School Jubilee will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, and will offer something for the whole family.

Texas A&M AgriLife Extension and the Child Advocacy Center of Van Zandt County have joined together to provide all the families of Van Zandt County with a free family fun day.

The Jubilee will be held in the Canton Civic Center just off Hwy 64. Look for the big yellow banners.

The event will provide free backpacks and school supplies, free haircuts, physicals, and immunizations.

In addition, there will be carnival type of games, including three bounce houses, an indoor shooting gallery and much more.

addition to all these fun activities, there will be educational opportunities to learn about gardening and recycling projects presented by the Free State Master Gardeners Association.


“Meet the Teacher” set for all five campuses Aug. 19

In addition to Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings for two new facilities in Van ISD Saturday, Aug. 19, the school district will also have “Meet the Teacher” at all five school campuses on the same day.

Van ISD and the Van Area Chamber of Commerce previously announced that they will be holding a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Aug. 19 for the new J. E. Rhodes Elementary School at 10 a.m. followed by the new Career and Technology Center at Van High School at 1:30 p.m. that day. The public is invited.

In between the Grand Openings and the Ribbon Cuttings will be “Meet the Teacher” at all campuses from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

See next week’s issue of the Banner for additional information about the activities on Aug. 19.


Van City Council set for monthly meeting

The monthly meeting of the Van City Council is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday (tonight) downtown at The Movie House.

Following the approval of the minutes from the July 13 meeting and the July 2017 expenditures, the council will hold a public hearing and take possible action on a zoning change request application from Jon Lewis to change the status from residential to commercial for the property located at 224 North Maple Street.

The council will hear an activity permit request from Van High School for the Homecoming parade scheduled for Sept. 21.


Dunn discusses Hall of Fame nomination process

Van ISD is currently taking nominations for the newly created Van ISD Faculty and Staff Hall of Fame.

This honor was established to recognize retired Van ISD faculty and staff members who have made a significant impact during their career with Van ISD.

Nominations will be accepted from now until Aug. 25. The nominator must include his/her name, address, telephone number, email address, and an explanation of why their nominee should be honored.

The nominator cannot nominate a relative of their immediate family (i.e., spouse, child, parent, etc.), and nominees must meet the following criteria:

Former Van ISD faculty or staff member who is retired or deceased.

Minimum of ten (10) years of service with Van ISD is desired.

Outstanding career as a faculty and staff member who had a direct and significant impact on students and the community.


Three-year old boy uninjured after falling in water well

No injuries were reported following a report of a three-year old boy falling into a water well Saturday morning in Van.

The Van Volunteer Fire Department responded to a call for assistance but when they arrived on the scene, the young boy’s grandfather had already pulled him out of the water well.

It was reported that the grandfather happened to be nearby when the boy fell in and was able to go inside the well and rescue the child. Both the child and the grandfather were out of the well when the firefighters arrived.


Chamber ready for busy second half of 2017

Business sponsorship opportunities for the twice-a-month movie showings and preparations for the annual Van Oil Festival are among a number of activities in the planning stages for the Van Area Chamber of Commerce during the remainder of 2017.

Van Area Chamber of Commerce President Pat Valentine recently sent out information to all chamber members on behalf of the chamber directors expressing their appreciation for the support that they have received during the first half of the year and what is on the agenda for the upcoming months.


Thomas discusses new budget concerns for VZC

There is a sign on the wall in Van Zandt County Auditor Freddy Thomas’ office that reads, “I’m the Auditor, Not a Magician.”

Those words may very well describe the challenges that Thomas faces as he continues working with VZC officials on the fiscal year 2018 budget for the county.

“The frustrating part of this process is that we have not been able to move the county forward as far as improving its financial condition,” emphasized Thomas. “Over a period of time, the county has gotten itself in a back against the wall situation.”

Thomas discussed what he believes are three primary issues facing the county as a new budget year begins October 1.


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