Community news and events for July 3, 2019

July 03, 2019

The Cherokee County Republican Club will hold its annual July 4 picnic at noon Thursday, July 4, at Love’s Lookout Park Pavilion, U.S. Hwy 69 N, Jacksonville. The club will honor the Lone Star Military Group, Julianne Sanford will be the keynote speaker. CCTRC will furnish all the meat entrees and paper goods. Members and visitors are encouraged to bring a side dish and/or dessert to go with the BBQ brisket. Everyone is welcome to attend. Call (903) 586-7555 or (903) 683-6870 or email for more information.

Come celebrate Independence Day at the Rusk Rotary Club’s 12th annual 4th of July parade, scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Thursday, July 4, around the square in downtown Rusk. Grand Marshal is veteran and former County Surveyor Wayne Morgan. The Gauge Lankford Memorial Fireman’s Competition starts at 10 a.m. on Fifth Street in downtown Rusk. Come cheer on your favorite fire department!

Lake Jacksonville Association’s annual July 4 flotilla around Lake Jacksonville starts at 10 a.m., Thursday, July 4. Please join us in your boat or barge/pontoon boat (decorated patriotically and/or festively is encouraged). It begins near the west end of the dam. Please line up as directed behind the Lake Patrol boat. Decorated watercraft will be judged and Kathleen Stanfill at Congratulations! is preparing a special trophy to be presented to the winner.

Everyone is invited to the Lake Jacksonville Association’s annual July 4 Fireworks Show at Lake Jacksonville. This event is the centerpiece of other July 4 events and activities around the area. The fireworks show is held every July 4 at about 9:15 p.m.

Free 4th of July fun, food and fireworks for the whole family. Festivities start at 5:30 p.m., Thursday, July 4, at Branded by Christ Cowboy Church, 5592 Hwy. 110, Rusk. Brought to you by the Cowboy churches of Cherokee County – Branded by Christ Cowboy Church in Rusk, J-C Cowboy Church in Bullard and Trail to Christ Cowboy Church in Jacksonville.

The Friends of the Rusk Public Library’s monthly dance will have an Independence Day themed dance, on Friday, July 5, at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk.

Live music will be featured by the Caddo Creek country band, the first Friday of every month at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk.

Admission is $5 a person. Doors open at 6 p.m. Concessions are available.

Elm Grove 110 Riders are holding their second annual camp out and trail ride, 5 p.m. to midnight, Friday, July 5. Contact Austin, (903) 393-6546; Lisa (903) 393-8754; or Kevin, (903) 393-5736.

The Texas Hobo Cookoff starts at 6 p.m. Friday, July 5 and lasts through the awards ceremony at 5 p.m., Saturday, July 6, at the Rusk KOA (Kampgrounds Of America), 745 FM 343, in Rusk.

Lake Striker Resort is hosting its annual Independence Day Bash, 3-10 p.m. Saturday, July 6 at the resort, 18560 CR 4256 S., Reklaw. Several music acts will be featured throughout the night, including David Allen, Brad Smallwood and Texas Country Road. Tickets are available on and will be for sale at the gate, which will open at 3 p.m. A fireworks show will cap off the evening.

Jacksonville’s public swimming pool at Buckner park is now open. The pool, located at 119-123 Newbern St., in Jacksonville, is open from noon to 6 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; and 1-6 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free to Jacksonville residents.

Rusk’s public swimming pool on Euclid Street, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Mondays through Saturdays; and 1-8 p.m. Sundays. Hours are subject to change due to weather or private parties. Email to book private parties. Admission is $3 at the gate for the day or purchase a 10-punch card for $25, which reduces admission to $2.50 per day; or a 30-punch card for $60, reducing it to $2 a day. Punch cards are good for 10 and 30 entrances. The Rusk public splash pad’s hours of operation are the same as the pool’s hours.

The Joe Layne Family Splash Pad in Troup will be open every day from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. The splash pad, located in the Zach Taylor Park at the corner of E. Calvert and S. Virginia streets, is a free admission water park. The city encourages parents to supervise their children and follow the rules.

Rusk Public Library’s summer reading program activities will be held at 10:30 a.m. every Tuesday through July 23. Scheduled activities include a Moon Walk at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk on July 2; Building with Home Depot, at the Rusk Civic Center on July 9; TJC Science Center – To the Moon and Back, at the Rusk Civic Center on July 16; and the end-of-program splash pad party at the Rusk swimming pool, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., on July 23.

The Stella Hill Memorial Library in Alto will hold its annual summer reading program 9:30-11 a.m., July 15-18 at the library, 200 W. San Antonio St., Alto. The library is open 2-5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays; 4-7 p.m. Wednesdays; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturdays.

Rube Session Memorial Library in Wells will hold its summer reading program at 2 p.m., every Thursday, from July 18 through Aug. 8, at the library, 298 Rusk Ave., Wells. Programs to be featured include the Creature Teacher, arts and crafts and the end of program award ceremony. The library will also provide snacks to participants each day of the program. The Rube Sessions Memorial Library is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday-Friday.

Free lunch will be served to all area school aged children from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday-Friday, through Aug. 16, at the WIC Clinic, 335 Neches St., Jacksonville.

HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Enrichment) Inc.’s Community Kitchen serves a healthy meal to anyone who walks in the door from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., Monday-Thursday, at the Kitchen, 595 S. Ragsdale St., Jacksonville.

The Alto Food Pantry is currently operating out of The Chaparral Center’s location, 176 W. San Antonio St., Alto, after the tornadoes on April 13 did extensive damage to the Pantry’s building on Cooper Street. Other food pantries serving Cherokee County residents include Wells Interfaith Pantry, 130 N. Rusk St., Wells; Rusk Cares - Good Samaritan, 190 Second St., Rusk; River of Life Christian Center, 677 S. Dickinson St., Rusk; HOPE’s Manna Pantry, 595 S. Ragsdale St., Jacksonville; Society of St. Stephens UMC, 1031 SE Loop 456, Jacksonville; and Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, 1023 Corinth Rd., Jacksonville. Donations of non-perishable food items can be made anytime to the majority of the county’s local food banks. Suitable donations include canned tuna, chicken and salmon; pastas of all kinds; dried beans, peas, lintels and rice; low-sugar cereals; applesauce, fruit cups and canned fruit cocktail in light syrup; and low-sodium canned veggies.

Raffle tickets are on sale now for a Browning Silver model field 20-guage, with a 28-inch barrel and case, provided by The Gun Room in Jacksonville. Tickets are $10 each or three for $25 and 100 percent of the proceeds benefit the Hwy. 69 Mission in Jacksonville. Tickets are available at The Gun Room, Bobby’s Tire & Auto and Hwy. 69 Trading Post, all in Jacksonville, or from any Mission board member. Drawing will be held Aug. 15; participants need not be present to win. Winner will be responsible for all taxes and licenses and must pass a criminal background check. Failure to pass records check will result in automatic forfeiture of winning ticket. All ticket purchases are final, no refunds. Call Hwy. 69 Mission, (903) 284-1710 or The Gun Room, (903) 541-1344 for further details.

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.

Covenant Church on the Hill is offering summer activities for children, 6-8 p.m. Wednesdays, at the church, 475 CR 1619, Rusk. Call (903) 683-4509 for more information.

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.

Lake Palestine Resort is offering open fishing tournaments, 6 p.m. every Thursday at the resort. Entry fee is $25 per boat, which includes a maximum of two people; $15 per each additional boat occupant. Big Bass must be six or more pounds to qualify. Prizes for first, second and third places will be awarded. Must launch from Lake Palestine Resort, 8900 Ruby Lane, Frankston. Call (903) 876-2253 for more information.

The Dogwood Chapter 991 of the Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) and Associates of the Vietnam Veterans of America (AVVA) will hold the regular July meeting on Tuesday, July 9 in the VVA/DAV Hall on Gardner Drive. The meeting will start at 6 p.m., with the meal starting at 6:30 p.m.. The business session will be at 7 p.m. The theme for this month’s dinner will be Fourth of July Picnic Food. The Hall is located at 927 Gardner Drive in Palestine behind the SH-155 North Gateway truck stop and Mattern Tire Co. All veterans and families are welcome to attend.

The Alto Economic Development Corporation’s next monthly health and wellness education seminar and luncheon will be held at noon, Thursday, July 11, at the EDC office, 316 Smith St., in Alto. The event is a free to the public 18 years of age and older.

Cherokee Ranch Golf Club is offering a free kids’ golf camp, 6-7 p.m. Thursdays, July 11, 18, 25 and Aug. 1 at the golf course, 14499 U.S. Hwy. 79 E, Jacksonville. Call the Pro Shop, (903) 541-4700 to get your child signed up.

A team roping benefit event for Larry DIson will be held Saturday, July 13, at the Tyler Saddle Club Arena in Mt. Selman. Participants can enter at 9 a.m.; roping starts at 10 a.m. – draw 3 for $75; pick for $25/man after draw; 12 slide to follow $40/man. A live auction will be held after the first round; silent auctions will be held throughout the event. Concessions will be available via Sale Barn Sunday. Call Nicole, (903) 721-1062 to donate auction items. Call (903) 721-0354 for more information on the roping events.

TJC will offer a free informational session on the Bachelor of Applied Technology (BAT) in Healthcare Technology and Medical Systems degree program at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 13, in Room T-350 in the Pirtle Technology, located at 1110 South Mahon Ave., on the TJC main campus in Tyler.

The Veterans Land Board is holding a veterans benefit fair for veterans, military members and their families, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Tyler U.S. Army Reserve Center, 13592 SH 31 W, Tyler. The Texas VLB, Texas Veterans Commission and the U.S. Dept., of Veterans Affairs will all be on-hand to provide assistance with land, home and home improvement loans; disability and pension claims; employment and education benefits; and healthcare and other federally earned benefits. Call 800 252 VETS; visit; or contact Jim Mickler, or (512) 417-3757 for details.

Jacksonville Athletic Booster Club is hosting the annual JISD Indian Pow-Wow will be held 7 p.m., Friday, Aug. 16, at the Tomato Bowl. All fall sports will be introduced: Cross Country, Volleyball, Tennis, and Football as well as the coaching staff for JHS and JMS. Performances will be given by the Cherokee Charmers, cheerleaders, band and twirlers.

The 2019 Take Care of Texas Video Contest will open on Sept. 3. TCEQ and Waste Management of Texas Inc. invite sixth graders through high school seniors to create and submit a 30-second video that portrays positive ways to take care of Texas. Contest deadline is Dec. 6. Six students will win scholarship funds or GoPro packages. Find all of the exciting details at

Jacksonville Beautiful Committee, in partnership with the East Texas Better Business Bureau, will hold a Personal Paper Shredding event from 9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, Sept. 14, in the UT Health parking lot, 501 S. Ragsdale St., Jacksonville.


COVLadies Ministry meets from noon to 1 p.m. every second and fourth Tuesdays of the month for Bible study, led by Bri’Ann Driver, at Covenant Church on the Hill, 475 CR 1619, Rusk. We also live stream it on Periscope so you can watch at your convenience. For more information on COVLadies Ministry, visit

The Alto Economic Development Corporation holds a free health and wellness education seminar and luncheon, at noon every second Thursday of the month at the EDC office, 316 Smith St., in Alto. The monthly luncheon is a free to the public 18 years of age and older. Healthcare providers give presentations, door prizes are given and periodically there are screenings offered. Receive one-on-one consultation and free advice from medical professionals.

HOPE (Helping Others Pursue Enrichment) Inc. holds a Mission Advisory Board Meeting every fourth Monday at noon in HOPEs Board Room. The purpose of HOPE’s Mission Advisory Board is to gather representatives from all area churches to help identify the needs of the community and advise how HOPE can help meet those needs. Call HOPE, (903) 586-7781 for more information.

The Jacksonville Public Library is open noon to 8 p.m., Mondays and Thursdays; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays; and 1-5 p.m., Sundays.

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, 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 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 Star 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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