Saturday, May 31, 2008

Finding blueberries in unexpected places

With the 19th Annual Texas Blueberry Festival, presented by Brookshire Brothers, just around the corner, blueberries are popping up everywhere - and on everything!

Pictured above are Narissa Harris, left, and Kayli Steger, Chamber interns checking out the new crop of blueberry writing pens that recently arrived at the Nacogdoches County Chamber office.

Find more cool blueberry stuff at the Chamber office, 2516 North Street. The 2008 Blueberry Festival T-shirts are also available at the downtown Visitors' Center.

The Texas Blueberry Festival is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14, in downtown Nacogdoches. Click here for a full event schedule.

Friday, May 30, 2008

May Fourth Friday Luncheon cash prize winner

Drew Wilson, 90.9 KSWP, wins the $50 cash drawing sponsored by First Bank & Trust East Texas during the Nacogdoches County Chamber Fourth Friday Luncheon, May 30. Corey Ashley, left, with First Bank & Trust and a Chamber director, presents Wilson with the prize.

Read full story by Michele Marcotte at

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Brookshire Brothers is first Blue Diamond Sponsor of Texas Blueberry Festival

The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and staff thank Brookshire Brothers for stepping up to a new sponsor level for the 19th Annual Texas Blueberry Festival. Brookshire Brothers is the first Blue Diamond Sponsor for the festival.

After the Texas Blueberry Festival committee meeting held Wednesday, May 28 in the Chamber board room, Teresa Darby, festival logistics chair, (on right in photo below) presented Gloria McDonald, director of public relations, Brookshire Brothers, with the commemorative 2008 Texas Blueberry Festival poster and a basket full of blueberry goodies.

“Brookshire Brothers is proud to sponsor the Texas Blueberry Festival at the Blue Diamond level,” McDonald said. “We’re able to do this, because of our loyal customers. And we’re happy that we can give back to the community in this way.”

The Texas Blueberry Festival will be 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 14 in downtown Nacogdoches and Festival Plaza. For more Texas Blueberry Festival information including a full list of all festival sponsors and event information, click here.

McDonald and Darby discuss Brookshire Brothers placement at the Texas Blueberry Festival.
Photos by Kelly Daniel.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Family-friendly celebration set for July 4

Photo by Bruce R. Partain.

Brookshire Brothers Freedom Fest will once again be offering all the sights, sounds and tastes of an old-fashioned, community-wide Independence Day celebration on July 4 in Festival Plaza.

Families are invited to enjoy delicious festival food, children’s activities and live music, including Silverleaf Nightshade, Drag Strip All Stars and the Otis Jones Project. The evening will culminate in a dazzling fireworks display sponsored by the Nacogdoches Jaycees beginning 30 minutes after dark. Admission is free.

“This is our fifth year to hold Freedom Fest in downtown Nacogdoches, and the event just keeps getting better,” said Ashleigh Endicott of the Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s a fun, safe, patriotic celebration that the whole family can enjoy – the kind of family-friendly Fourth of July you remember from your childhood.”

Freedom Fest will take place from 5 to 9:30 p.m. in Festival Plaza, located just south of the downtown square in Nacogdoches. Guests are encouraged to bring their lawn chairs and blankets to Festival Plaza. Coolers and picnic baskets are welcome, but glass bottles and alcoholic beverages are not allowed. Another great edition to this year’s 4th festivities is First Friday Nights. Downtown stores on the brick streets will be open late till eight to provide shoppers a chance to pick up on some great deals and then head down to Festival Plaza.

A fun children’s area will keep the kids entertained with a bungee run, giant slide, moonwalk, basketball shoot-out, obstacle course and rock wall. Tickets for all of these activities are $1 each. A $15 armband is also available and allows for unlimited play in the children’s area.

Other popular locations for viewing the fireworks are the University Mall, Williamsburg Plaza, Downtown Square, Nacogdoches County Courthouse, Coy Simms Softball Park, Brookshire Brothers on South Street and the Fredonia Hotel.

For more information about Freedom Fest, call the Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau at 936-564-7351 or 1-888-OLDEST-TOWN.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

LifeCare Hospice and Willowbrook Nursing & Rehabilitation Center

The Daily Sentinel recently attended a Nacogdoches County Chamber ribbon cutting for the new hospice wing for LifeCare Hospice located in Willowbrook Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, 227 Russell Blvd., (936) 564-4596.

Marketing and Admissions Director Garrel Faulkner and Director Leah Brasher, welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

North Street McDonald’s Wins the Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful Landscape Leadership Award

McDonald’s restaurant located at 1717 North St. has been awarded the Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful Landscape Leadership award. McDonald’s restaurant is being recognized for replacing their store sign with a monument sign that sits lower to the ground, and in turn enhances the visual character of the community and complements the surroundings of North Street.

“McDonald’s is exhibiting leadership in this community by showing other businesses that signs don’t have to be big and gaudy to draw customers, said Buzz Dutton, Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful executive coordinator. In fact, according to Troy Schuster, supervisor for the local McDonald’s Restaurants, the McDonald’s restaurant has seen an increase in business since replacing their sign.

“Taking care of customers and having a clean store is more important than having a big sign,” said Mr. Schuster.

According to the Scenic America web-site, “The charm and appearance of commercial districts plays an important part in a community’s image. Signs say a lot about a place, yet all too often a community’s image is blighted by on-premise signs that are too large, too tall, too numerous or poorly located. On-premise signs can help encourage citizens and business owners to work together to improve and revitalize local appearance. Appealing signs that are compatible with local character contribute to a neighborhood or downtown, cultivating local pride and inviting travelers to stop.”

Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful is a non-profit organization, an affiliate of both Keep Texas Beautiful and Keep America Beautiful. KNB promotes recycling, beautification projects, litter abatement and urban forestry.

More information about KNB is available at or 936 560-5624.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Farmer's Market Weekly Update

This weekend, we are please to welcome singer/songwrite Michael Collins and musician extrodinare John Mefford starting at 10:00 AM.

We are pleased to welcome a new vendor, Louis Duffield. (STONEY-BROOK PEACHES He will have snap pinto beans, turnip and mustard greens, cucumbers and yellow squash. They will also have peaches and tomatoes in about 2 weeks and blackberries and plums in about 3 weeks.

I will be selling the new Farmers' Market t-shirts and maybe shopping bags. (We still have a few of the old t-shirts left - collector items) I will also have free Farmers' Market coloring books and crayons for children. I will also be selling blueberry festival t-shirts for $15.

We also welcome Justin Daniel, who will be selling a variety of species orchids plus a few interesting hybrids. Larry & Patti McDowell are new vendors and will be selling english dogwoods, small redbuds, flowering almonds, schefeleras, angel tear bromeliads, Christmas cactus, yellow and blue Irises, colancha, century plants, red salvia and canned pina colada and spice cakes.

NOTICE TO VENDORS: The city has a new policy that allows vendors to rent a booth for a season. For $60 you can rent a booth for June, July and August. If you have any questions, you can ask me Saturday.

photos by Bruce Partain

BodySculpture MediSpa

The Daily Sentinel recently attended a Nacogdoches County Chamber ribbon cutting for new business, BodySculpture MediSpa and Laser Rejuvenation Center, 3226 N. University Dr., Ste. 300, (936) 560-2639.

Dr. Eduardo S. Tanahui, Dr. Edwin Emborgo, Dr. Josephine D. Chua welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

Helping the Hurting

The Daily Sentinel recently attended a Nacogdoches County Chamber ribbon cutting for Christian Multimedia Resource Library at The Healing Center of East Texas, 407 E. Hospital St., (936) 569-7729.

Executive Director, Cindy Hyde, welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Blueberry Golf Bash winning teams announced

The Nacogdoches County Chamber of Commerce Board Members and staff congratulate the winning teams and thank the event sponsors and volunteers of the 11th Annual Blueberry Golf Bash held May 2 at Piney Woods Country Club.

To view photos of the 34 teams and other activities during the tournament, please click here

FIRST PLACE team MillerLite scored 50.6. Pictured from left are Robert Secrest, Chris Thomas, Bruce Hesterly and Jeff Trimble.

SECOND PLACE team Texas Pro Bowl scored 53.2. Pictured from left are Kevin Jureka, Chris Snyder, Geremy Anderson and Mike Buchannan.

THIRD PLACE team Kenco scored 53.3. Pictured from left are Jim Milam, Tony Varvel, Sammy Duncan and Jack Raines.

FOURTH PLACE team Sowell Podiatry / Story-Wright scored 53.6. Pictured from left are Mark Sowell, Robert Crow, Wayne Harris and Darren Roberts.

Photos by Robin Dawley, Chamber volunteer.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Professional Prosthetic Care

The Daily Sentinel recently attended a Nacogdoches County Chamber ribbon cutting for Professional Prosthetic Care, 3316 N. University Dr., Ste. B, (936) 559-1881.

Owners Sherri and Eddie Anderson, son Cole and daughter Claire welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Yummy Ribbon Cutting at Max's

The Daily Sentinel recently attended a Nacogdoches County Chamber ribbon cutting for Max’s Smoothes and Hot Dogs, 2801 North St. (936) 564-2800

Owners Pam and Joe Davis and Manager Mark Summers welcomed sponsors, Chamber members and guests.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

A day of blueberry golf

Click here for photos of the teams and the day's activities.

A record number of 34 teams with four players per team competed in the Blueberry Golf Bash on May 2 at Piney Woods Country Club, according to event co-chairs Patricia Clayton and Ralph Ervin.

"This is the eleventh year for Blueberry Golf Bash. It is a day of friendly golfing competition, and as a Nacogdoches County Chamber event, the fruits of our effors are realized in the healthy business climate that the Chamber works to produce in Nacogdoches," Clayton said.

"But it wouldn't have been a success without the help that came from the golf bash committee volunteers and the sponsors," Ervin added. "They deserve a big word of thanks."

Major sponsors for the 2008 Blueberry Golf Bash are Eagle Sponsor, Nacogdoches Coca-Cola; and Birdie Sponsors, Etech, Inc., NIBCO, and Clark Insurance Co.; and Par Sponsors, CMC Recycling, First Bank & Trust East Texas, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Life Care Health Services, Nacogdoches Medical Center, Nacogdoches Neurosurgery - J. Michael Randle, Pineywoods Beverage (Coors), and R&K Distributors (Budweiser).

"One-hundred thirty-six golfers, plus around 40 volunteers can produce a lot of trash," Ervin said. "Buzz Dutton with Keep Nacogdoches Beautiful personally placed 'litter-free event' signs and recycling bags and portable trash receptacles around the course that kept the greens - green."

Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers provided a lip-smacking good lunch with Raising Cane's chicken, famous sauce and toast. Pictured are Nacogdoches Store Manager Erica Serrano and co-worker Alex Troegel dishing out the delicious chicken fingers.

After the tournament golfers enjoyed a barbecued chicken and brisket dinner with help from The Smokehouse and Pilgrim's Pride.

Accent Food Services and Citizens 1st Bank are the Blueberry Golf Bash cart sponsors.

Chamber Vice-Chair, Fundraisers and Special Projects, Michelle Smith, sets up the raffle item table with great items.

Items for the Blueberry Golf Bash raffle were donated by Accent Food Services, Citizens 1st Bank, Pineywoods Beverage, R&K Distributors, Hudson Printing, Nacogdoches Coca-Cola, Regions Bank, Etech, Inc., Hardeman House Bed & Breakfast, Raising Cane's Chicken Fingers and Sunshine Ewing Park.

Pictured is Ralph Ervin, event co-chair, holding one of the two golf bags donated by R&K Distributors.

Pictured from left are event committee volunteer Cheri Silva, event co-chair Trish Clayton and Chamber President/CEO Bruce Partain checking out the "limo" provided by Lone Star Equipment.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tour offers a good look at Nac

Pictured is a colorful spot in the SFA Arboretum, one of the stops on the tour scheduled for May 13.

Residents of the oldest town in Texas are invited to join the CVB in discovering how SFA and nature tourism benefit the community on Tuesday, May 13. Home to Texas’ largest Azalea Garden, fantastic birding sites, and gorgeous nature trails, nature tourism is playing a bigger and bigger role in the way Nacogdoches attracts tourists.

The Nacogdoches Convention & Visitors Bureau and the SFA Mast Arboretum are hosting the tour in honor of National Tourism Week and Preservation Month. A bus will depart the CVB at 9 a.m. the day of the tour and return at 2:15 p.m. Cost is $10 per person and includes lunch at the Children’s Garden Pavilion on SFA’s campus. “This will be a fantastic tour that will highlight tourism and Stephen F. Austin State University,” said Sherri Skeeters, assistant director of the CVB.

Stops at the Colombia Regional Geospatial Service Center, Pineywoods Native Plant Center, SFA Mast Arboretum and the Ruby M. Mize Azalea Garden are all included on the tour. Tour participants will be transported by an SFA Charter bus all day, but are still encouraged to wear comfortable shoes while perusing the 40-acres of the Native Plant Center or the 19-acre Arboretum.

Throughout May, the National Trust and its thousands of partners across the country will demonstrate the importance of our nation's heritage as they focus on many aspects of the preservation movement including historic travel, heritage education, historic homeownership, and community revitalization.

“Tourism & Preservation are extremely important in maintaining a healthy local economy and the excellent quality of life we enjoy in Nacogdoches,” said CVB Executive Director Melissa Sanford. “We hope this tour will give our local residents a new appreciation for some of our unique landmarks and a better understanding of the role travel and tourism plays and SFA play in our community.”

For more information about the tour or to make a reservation, contact the CVB at 936-564-7351.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Blueberry Golf Bash

Golf chiefs: Co-chairs Trish Clayton and Ralph Ervin, both capable managers at Etech, Inc., by day, and tournament raconteurs in their volunteer hours.

Raising Cane's feeds the hungry athletes.

Top Team: Miller Lite

CMC Recycling's Larry Walker, right, advises on chipping.
Walker won a brand new golf bag from R&K Distributors in the raffle.

Coca-Cola's Mike Andress lines up a putt on the fifteenth hole, under the watchful eyes of his teammates.

Thirty-four teams of golfers descended on Piney Woods Country Club on Friday, May 2, for the Chamber's 11th Annual Blueberry Golf Bash.

Although meteorologists called for rain and wind, the weather held for the event, with only light sprinkles in the early morning.

Taking first place was the Miller Lite team of Chris Thomas, Jeff Trimble, Robert Seacrest and Gary Steffey.

Second place went to Texas Pro Bowl's team of Kevin J, Mike Buchanan, Tom Corbitt and a Mystery Golfer (at least to us. Call us!)

Third place went to Kenco Golf Car's Jim Milam, Jack Raines, Sammy Duncan and Tony Varvel.

Fourth Place went to Sowell Podiatry's Wayne Harris, Robert Crow, Mark Sowell and Darren Roberts.

The shot shapers and hackers were equally well-fed with lunch courtesy of Raising Cane's, and supper courtesy of the Smokehouse and Pilgrim's Pride. Parched lips were avoided with the help of Nacogdoches Coca-Cola, R&K Distributors and Pineywoods Beverage. Academy Sports + Outdoors traversed Baja Nacogdoches and crossed the perilous Angelina River to manage the putting contest. Accent Foods and Citizens 1st Bank sponsored the carts. Amazingly, only golfer LeAnn Riley decided it was such a nice day, she'd walk.

Many thanks to Etech Inc's Trish Clayton and Ralph Ervin, who co-chaired the event, and their loyal band of committee members. A special tip of the golf cap to Doug Brown, Don Silva and Sherry Silva, for their expertise and longtime commitment to the tournament. Photographer Robin Dawley and Raffle Wrangler Jan Dawley performed so well. Online Auctioneers Michelle Smith and Lindsey Vardemann outwrestled the electrons with aplomb. Gap Broadcasting's Ron Johnson, Danny Merrill and Sean Ericson broadcast our messages effortlessly. Our team wouldn't have been complete without Teresa Darby, Kathy Joslyn, Brian Stevens, Kim Luna Snyder, Steve Whitbeck and Bobby Bridwell. There would have been no Bash without this Merry Band. Thank you, Women of The Sports Shack, for without you, how could we have sold so many raffle tickets? And the sorority sisters of Zeta Tau Alpha were super-accurate hole-in-one auditors. We picked up several day-of-event helpers (Michael! Lace!) whose names will soon appear here in full glory!

Chamber staffers Kelly Daniel and Ennetta Dunn also helped immensely in organization and execution. Chamber info specialist Sherry Banks held down the fort while the rest of the staff exited for tournament activities.Pineywoods Country Club staff were gracious hosts - thanks to Joe Anderson and his capable crew.

(Visit this blog again soon - we're just getting started with thank-yous! And many more photos will appear here and elsewhere!)