Community news and events for May 15, 2019

May 14, 2019

Tickets are on sale for the Jacksonville Rotary Club’s annual raffle. Tickets are $10 each or three for $25 and provide chances to get gift certificates for area businesses and a zero turn lawn mower. Contact a Jacksonville Rotarian or visit Congratulations Awards-Engraving-Gifts to get raffle tickets.

A committee has been formed to help disburse funds donated to the Alto Disaster Relief Fund, set up at the Bancorp South Bank in Alto. The committee is now accepting applications from victims of the April 13 tornadoes. All needs will be considered. The committee will meet weekly. Applications can be picked up and dropped off at the bank. The River Relief fund is also taking applications, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 112 W. San Antonio Road.

Register now for the 2019 [Un]Apologetic evangelism conference, set for Saturday, Aug. 24, at Central Baptist Church, 1909 E. Rusk St., Jacksonville. Visit to register. Registration fee is $35 per adult; $25 per student if registered through Aug. 10. Registration after Aug. 11 is $45 per adult; $35 per student.

Tickets are on sale now for Jacksonville Citizens Police Academy Alumni’s annual rifle raffle. All proceeds go to help the Jacksonville Police Department purchase non-budgetary items. This year’s raffle features a Ruger Precision .308 rifle with a Pentax Light-seeker 30mm 3x10 scope, hard cases included. Tickets are $5 each or six for $25. Winner need not be present to win, but will be responsible for all taxes and licenses, will have to pass a criminal records check. Failure to pass the record check means automatic forfeiture of the prize. All ticket sales are final. Drawing will be held Sept. 9. Tickets are available at the Jacksonville Police Department, 210 W. Larissa St., Jacksonville.

The Tree of Promise is offering wooden planter boxes as a spring fundraiser. Unpainted boxes are $15 for a 2-foot; $18 for a 3-foot; and $20 for a 4-foot box – add $2 for boxes painted white. Delivery available to Rusk residents. Call the Tree of Promise office, (903) 683-0414 to place orders.

Cherokee County Public Health Department and Whataburger are sponsoring a LINKS (Learn, Inform, Network, Know, Share) business and breakfast, 7-8 a.m., Wednesday, May 22, at 803 College Ave., Jacksonville. Door prizes will be given away. Don’t forget your business cards.

RISD Child Nutrition Department is serving free lunches to anyone 18 years of age and under from noon to 12:20 p.m., Monday-Thursday, June 3-20 at the Rusk Primary School campus, 40 Collins St., Rusk. This year’s summer menu includes pizza with pinto beans, sweet potato fries, fruit and milk; corn dogs with baked beans, corn, fruit and milk; steak fingers with green beans, mashed potatoes, fruit and milk; and chicken nuggets with steamed broccoli, carrot sticks, fruit and milk.

The program is offered in partnership with the Texas Department of Agriculture’s Seamless Summer Nutrition Program.

The city of Jacksonville, Jacksonville ISD, the Jacksonville Education Foundation and Claycomb Construction will hold a grand opening and ribbon cutting, officially reopening the historic Tomato Bowl, beginning at 6 p.m., Friday, June 7, at the facility on Commerce Street in Jacksonville. Fireworks, tours and a concert featuring Neal McCoy at 8 p.m., will be featured.

Cherokee Craft & Trade Fair will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 8, at the Ten Spot, 201 E. Commerce St., Jacksonville. Call (903) 268-1598 for details or to sign up as a vendor.

The Dirty Diamonds presents the third annual Tomato Fest softball tournament, Saturday, June 8, at 1923 Byrd Road, Jacksonville. Tourney registration fee is $100 per team; $40 pay at the plate. Team age groups include 10U, 12U, 14U and 16/18U. Prizes for first and second places will be awarded. Call Henry Canady, (903) 424-1456 to register a team or for more information.

Season tickets for the 2019-20 JISD Fightin’ Indian football season will be available at 9 a.m. June 17, at the JISD Central Office, 800 College Ave. Season tickets are $42 per person ($7 a game). First come, first served – a seating chart will be provided to map available seats. The Indians have six home games in 2019. Visit for details.

Alto Economic Development’s Health Fair & Block Party starts at 10 a.m., June 13, at 123 Busy Bee St., Alto. Booths offering free health screenings, scans, tests, assessments and more for your overall wellness needs, plus lots of fun children’s activities will all be featured. Healthcare providers and other vendors are welcome to set up a free booth. Call (936) 858-4412, email; or visit for more information or to register for a booth. Sponsored by Alto Family Medical Clinic.

Cherokee Golf Ranch Club will hold a Business after Hours event, 5 p.m. Thursday, June 20. Make sure to bring business cards, Sponsored by the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce.

Palestine’s Christ Community Church having a Kid’s Crusade June 21-23, with Pastor Mike Muzzerall and team from Jimmy Swaggart Ministries. This is a family event! We invite all adults and youth to come join in this very special event. So parents, grandparents, friends, family members and whosoever are invited to come be a part and be blessed, along with all the kids! Service times are 6:30 p.m., Friday, June 21; a 10 a.m. service, followed by outdoor activities (weather permitting) and a 7 p.m. service on Saturday, June 22; and 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. services on Sunday, June 23. The church is located at 5625 N. Loop 256 in Palestine. For more information, call (903) 729-3178.

National award winning Christian artist Whitlee Casey will be live in concert, 7 p.m., Saturday, June 22, at the First Baptist Church-Rusk, 372 E. Fourth St., Rusk. Special guest will be Riley Riley.

Central Baptist Church, Jacksonville will hold its vacation Bible school, June 24-28 for children ages 5 through sixth grade. VBS sessions will be from 8:30 a.m. to noon, at the church, 1909 E. Rusk St., Jacksonville. This year’s theme is ‘Join Us in the Wild – An Amazing VBS Experience.’


Visit for a list of organizations that assist U.S. military veterans with emergency funds, transportation, health, homeless, jobs and business, social, legal, women vets, transition services, and events.

The Cherokee County Veterans Service Office is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Thursday and 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., in the basement of the courthouse in downtown Rusk. The office can assist with VA disability benefits and VA pension for low income veterans. If possible, bring your DD-214 with you. Call the office at (903) 683-4012.

Services offered to veterans in Cherokee County include the Lone Star Military Resource Group in Jacksonville, 903-810-0303; The Military Veteran Peer Network, 903-810-0303; and Sheltering Arms Coalition, 903-571-1790.

The Dogwood Chapter 991 of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Associates of The VVA (AVVA) holds their regular monthly meeting at 6 p.m. every second Tuesday of the month, at the DAV/VVA Hall 927 Gardner Drive, Palestine – behind the SH-155 North Gateway truck stop and Mattern Tire Co. Dinner is served. All veterans and family are welcome. VVA membership is open to veterans who served (except for training only) in-country between Feb. 28, 1961, and May 7, 1975; and to all veterans who served on active duty anywhere in the world between Aug. 5, 1964, and May 7, 1975. The Palestine Dogwoods Chapter 991 of the VVA primarily serves Vietnam veterans from Anderson, Cherokee, Henderson, Houston, Freestone, Leon and Limestone counties.

The Jacksonville Kiwanis Club meets at noon every Thursday at UT Health Jacksonville, 501 S. Ragsdale St., Jacksonville.

Alto Food Pantry’s next monthly food distribution day is 4-5:30 p.m., Tuesday, May 21; June 18; and July 16, at 166 Cooper St., in Alto. These days are offered by the Pantry and the Chaparral Center, to provide supplemental food to low-income families in the Alto ISD area. Since the Pantry does not deliver, clients who may be unable to make pick-up can consider giving permission, in writing, to a trusted individual to pick up food boxes. Program officials can arrange, on a case-by-case basis, for late pick-ups as well. Call Siu Chapa, (936) 465-9797 before distribution day to schedule a pick-up or for more information.

The Cherokee County Extension Office holds a monthly breakfast continuing education unit (CEU) meeting every third Tuesday of the month at various eateries around the county. The ‘dutch treat’ breakfast is followed by a one-hour pesticide topic, worth one CEU. A one-time fee of $10 gets admission into all meetings. Anyone attending should bring their pesticide license number with them, to receive credit. Driver’s licenses will not be allowed on re-certification credits. Meetings will be held at 7 a.m., at Mollie’s Diner in Alto, on Aug. 20 and Nov. 19; at 6:30 a.m., at Beverly’s Café in Jacksonville, on Sept. 17 and Dec. 17; and at 6:30 a.m., at Whataburger-Rusk, on June 18 and Oct. 15. There is no July meeting. Call Aaron Low, (903) 683-5416 or email

HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Enrichment) Inc. holds a support group, 10 a.m. to noon, every Tuesday at HOPE, 595 S. Ragsdale St., Jacksonville. Adults living with severe stress, anxiety, depression, health issues, caregiving, or have other major life challenges, are invited to attend any or all of the groups and reservations are not necessary but are encouraged. These are not counseling groups but are support groups, facilitated by an experienced counselor, and there's no charge for attending. Come talk, or just listen.

The federal government has established a 24-hour hotline for veterans experiencing difficulties with the VA. Call 855-948-2311 for help.

Friends of the Rusk Public Library sponsors a dance, featuring Caddo Creek country band, every first Friday of the month at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk. Admission is $5 a person. Concessions are available. All are welcome.

Tyler Junior College Dental Studies is providing dental services including dental x-rays, cleanings, head and neck screenings and more for a one-time flat fee of $20 for any or all services provided during a semester. Services provided by dental hygiene students under the supervision of registered dental hygienists and general dentists. Clinic hours for the spring semester are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; and 8 a.m. to noon Thursday. Hours for the fall semester will be 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday and Friday. Call the TJC clinic, (903) 510-2342 for details.

HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Enrichment) Inc. holds open registration for its Senior Box Program 1-3 p.m., every third Wednesday of the month, at HOPE, 595 S. Ragsdale St., Jacksonville. Senior citizens interested in signing up for food boxes must be minimum 60 years of age. Proof of income is also required, unless you already receive SNAP, SSI or Medicaid benefits. Supported by the East Texas Food Bank.

Cherokee County AgriLife Extension office’s annual Food Handler’s classes are held 9-11 a.m. every first Monday of the month (second Monday in September) at the Cherokee County Extension office in the Cherokee County Courthouse Annex, 165 E. Sixth St., in Rusk. Class fee is $20. Checks and money orders only are accepted and should be made payable to AgriLife Extension Account #23020. Practices that will be covered include good personal hygiene; cross contamination and how to prevent it; and time and temperature abuse.

The city of Jacksonville has started a new surveillance camera loaner program to help fight illegal dumping. The cameras are available to the residents of Jacksonville free of charge for up to two weeks at a time. The cameras come complete with batteries and memory cards. Any resident who would like to borrow a surveillance camera can come to the Felix Lane Public Works Building, 1220 S. Bolton St., between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For details, call (903) 589-3510.

Military and veteran friends and families are invited to the Lone Start Military Community Center’s Military Family Care Group, at 5:30 p.m. every first Tuesday of the month at the center, 804 S. Main St., Jacksonville. Call (903) 810 0303 or email for more information.

Living Alternatives is open from noon to 5 p.m. Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday each week. The organization assists pregnant women and new mothers. The office is located at 805 A, S. Jackson St., in Jacksonville. Call (903) 586-9016 for more information or to gain assistance.

The Cherokee County Child & Family Welfare Board meets at 4:30 p.m., every fourth Monday of the month at the Jacksonville First United Methodist Church, 1031 Loop 456, Jacksonville. Meetings are open to the public. To be included on the agenda, contact Nancy Washburn a minimum of 30 days prior to the meeting.

The Clothes Closet & More is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week. Clothing donations are always needed. If you are interested in volunteering or would like to know more about our purpose or programs, call (903) 586-0204 or come by 314 S. Main St., in Jacksonville (directly across the street from the park behind the fire station).

HOPE Inc., in conjunction with Gateway Community Partners’ sheltered workshop, is providing transportation to those without other means of getting around, taking them to doctor, dentist, hospital appointments, banks, and grocery stores. Rides are available through HOPE from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Monday, Tuesday and Thursday of each week. A $4 donation is requested, with an additional $2 for each additional requested stop, to help pay for gasoline and insurance. A week notice is required, and rides can be scheduled by calling HOPE at 903-586-7781.

Widows and widowers are invited to have coffee with First Baptist Church-Rusk’s Pastor Brian Givens, at 9:30 a.m. every first Tuesday of the month.

The Good Samaritan in Rusk is open from 9-11:30 a.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The organization is located at 190 W. Second St., in Rusk.

The Rusk Rotary Club meets at noon every Wednesday at the Rusk Public Library, 207 E. Sixth St., just off the square in Rusk.

The Sacul Opry starts at 6 p.m. in the Blue Building every second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Sacul is located halfway between Jacksonville and Nacogdoches on State Hwy. 204.

The Heritage Center of Cherokee County is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1-5 p.m. Sundays. The museum is located at 208 Henderson St., one block off the square in downtown Rusk. Group and private tours are available upon request, by emailing

The East Texas Council of Government’s Area Agency on Aging (AAA) provides rural public transportation to Cherokee County senior citizens ages 60 and up. GoBus rides are scheduled Monday through Friday -- 24 hours’ advance notice is required. Rides to Tyler are provided every Tuesday. Standard fees are $2 for each one-way trip; and $1 for each additional stop. Rides to medical appointments and dialysis are free. Rides to senior centers, for seniors who qualify for AAA assistance, are also free. Military veterans ride for free as well. To find out if you qualify for AAA assistance or to schedule a ride before 2 p.m., for next day service, call (800) 590-3371.

Jacksonville ISD’s Athletic Booster Club is still looking for sponsors of one or more player chairs that will be at John Alexander gym in 2018 and beyond. For $125 you can sponsor the purchase of one chair and have either a single first/last name or a Mr. & Mrs. first/last name added to the bottom back of the chair. To sponsor, please send an email to with the name for the chair and phone number. Checks should be made out to JABC and mailed to PO Box 1867 in Jacksonville.

The Wells Development Corporation is offering personalized bricks at the Veteran’s Memorial Plaza. Any active or honorably discharged military vet, living or deceased of any military branch, including Reserves and National Guard can be honored with a memorial brick. Proceeds of brick sales benefit planned improvements for the city park. Visit the city of Wells’ website,, to order a brick.

A Cherokee County Peer Support group meets from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Wednesday of the week at 410 Tilley St., in Jacksonville. The group creates a safe haven for people suffering from mental illnesses like anxiety, bipolarism, schizophrenia and depression. Call (903) 586 3786 for more information. All are welcome.

Cherokee County’s ACCESS offers a recovery group to anyone experiencing depression, anxiety and/or anger from 1-2:30 p.m. every Thursday of the week. This support group is led by an ACCESS counselor and focuses on sharing coping skills needed to overcome depression, anxiety and anger. Call Sarah Tunnell, LPC, at (903) 316 5688 to join or for details.

The Vanishing Texana Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 300 S. Bolton St., Jacksonville. Parking and admission are free. Visit for more information.

The Rusk Public Library’s Thursday morning story time for toddlers and younger children starts at 10:30 a.m. every Thursday morning. The library’s hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and is located at 207 E. Sixth St., just off the square in Rusk. Visit the city of Rusk’s website,, for more information on the Rusk Public Library’s programs.

The Jacksonville Public Library is open from noon to 8 p.m., Monday and Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. The library is located at 502 S. Jackson St., in Jacksonville. Visit for details on programs offered at the library.

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