Community news for the week of July 24, 2019

July 24, 2019

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce is collecting school supply donations through Friday, July 26, for the 2019 Back to School Fair, to be held 4-7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 1, at the John Alexander Gym, 811 Farnsworth St., Jacksonville. For more information on how to make a donation, call (903) 586-2217 or visit

The Tree of Promise’s annual More than a Backpack school supply drive is going on now. To make a monetary donation, visit Austin Bank-Rusk and deposit funds directly to the Tree’s account or visit the Tree of Promise’s website, and make donations through PayPal’s Giving Fund, an IRS-registered 501(c)(3) public charity. RISD's Back to School Fair will be held 4-7 p.m., Monday, Aug. 12, at the Rusk Civic Center, 555 Euclid St., Rusk. Backpacks with school supplies will be given to RISD students on a first-come, first-served basis.

Rusk’s public swimming pool on Euclid Street, is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday- Saturday; and 1-8 p.m. Sunday. 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.

Rube Session Memorial Library in Wells is holding its summer reading program at 2 p.m., every Thursday 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.

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.

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.

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.

Cherokee Ranch Golf Club is offering a free kids’ golf camp, 6-7 p.m. Thursdays, July 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.

Sweet Union Church of God & Christ is holding a church homecoming and revival, 3:30 p.m., Sunday, July 28, at the church, 3008 Chapman Road, Alto.

Bullard High School invites its community to a meet and greet event honoring the district’s newest head coaches, Shane Chambless and Tiffany Cooksey, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Tuesday, July 30, at the Bullard High School foyer. Refreshments will be served.

The Rusk Church of Christ’s vacation Bible school will be held 9 a.m. to noon, July 31 to Aug. 2, for students in kindergarten through sixth grade. Register at the church, 397 S. Main St., Rusk.

Jacksonville Fire Department’s second annual Splash Day event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 3, at Nichols Green Park splash pad at the park in Jacksonville.

A softball and kickball tournament will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 10, at the Bullard ISD baseball/softball complex. Proceeds of the event benefit Coach Megan Dobrinski, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. Kickball teams of children in the eighth grade and under can register for $100 a team. Coed, slow-pitch softball teams can register for $200 a team. Call Cory Zahirniak to register, (903) 372-5432. Full concessions will be available and a fireworks show is planned to kick off at dark.

The Texas Veterans Land Board (VLB) 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 1-800-252-8387; visit; or contact Jimmy Smaragdis, or (512) 463-9299 for details.

8U Lady Patriots will be holding open tryouts for the upcoming Fall season on Sunday, Aug. 11 at the Bullard Baseball/Softball Complex, 21781 CR 173, Bullard. Girls with 2011 and 2012 birthdays are eligible. Contact Andy Alexander ,(903) 330-0553, or Shon Dickson, (903) 714-3915, if interested or if you have any questions. If you cannot make this tryout, please contact one of the coaches above about a private tryout.

New Summerfield Lions Club meets at 6:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 12, at the Tri County sale barn café. Come enjoy a meal and see what Lions are about.

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.

Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce’s next Business After Hours event will be held 5-6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 22, at the Vanishing Texana Museum, 300 S. Bolton St., Jacksonville. Doors prizes and a cash drawing for Chamber members will be featured. Don’t forget to bring business cards.

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.

The Cherokee County Republican Women-Texas club will meet, 6:30-7:30 p.m., Monday, Aug. 26, at the Woodmen of the World building, 315 CR 3101, Jacksonville.

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.

Lake Striker Resort is holding the BraveHawk Forge axe throwing tournament, 4-9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 21 at the resort, 18560 CR 4256 S, Reklaw. Open to all ages, tourney fee is $10. No charge to come to the event.

The Cherokee County Republican Women-Texas club is holding the fourth annual CCRW Dinner fundraiser, 6:30 p.m., Monday, Sept. 23, at The Landmark Event Center, 402 E. Rusk St., Jacksonville. Nick Adams -- Fox News commentator, four time best-selling author and runs a national non-profit called Flag -- will be the guest speaker this year.

Trail Racing Over Texas is holding the Mission Tejas Trail Run, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 28, at Mission Tejas State Park, 120 Park Road 44, Grapeland. Come run 50k, 25k, 10k and 5k in the tall pine trees and the amazing single track trails of the Mission Tejas State Park. Sign up at

Neal McCoy & Friends and LeTourneau University Belcher Center are teaming up to present the 25th annual concert, benefitting the East Texas Angel Network. Tickets are available at This year’s annual fundraiser concert features Neal’s energetic and captivating performance; country music’s legendary group, Diamond Rio; and a very special performance by the Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders.

The 2019 theme for the AgriLife Extension Agency’s Fall Conference and Sale is ‘From Bulbs to Blooms,’ and will feature hardy, hard-to-find and heirloom bulbs adapted to growing the east Texas area. The conference is free and open to the public and will be held at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, at Harvey Hall, 2000 W Front St., Tyler. Speaker will be Smith County Horticulturist Greg Grant.

The Rusk Chamber of Commerce’s 32rd annual Fair on the Square event will be held 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, on the square in downtown Rusk. Call the Chamber, (903) 683-4242 to become a vendor in this event.

The Bullard Chamber of Commerce will hold the 20th anniversary Red, White & Blue Festival, starting at 7 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 2, in Bullard.


The 10 Spot Education & Event Center holds Music Circle Monday, 6-9 p.m., every Monday at 205 E Commerce St., Ste 205, Jacksonville. Bring your instrument and come jam along with our music friends. Rotating schedule of hosts include Sonny Powers, Jodi Westendorf, Wayne Yeargain and Eddy Chastain. Concessions available.

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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