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Blacklands Cafe

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Commerce Chamber of Commerce manager Paul Voss says this year's Independence Day celebration takes place Sunday evening, July 1 at Centennial Park.  The event includes music from the Cross Trails Cowboys Church Band and Twisted Whiskey.  The event will include with a major fireworks display.  Paul says the former Taco Bell location in Commerce is being remodeled for a new Burger King, which is expected to open this summer.

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Commerce-area photographer Rick Parent has published a book, "The Hunter Chronicles," about his experience of more than 17 years with a pet wolf, Hunter.  The subtitle of the book is, "Life Lessons from Another Species," and it includes many surprising stories of life with what would ordinarily be considered a wild animal.  Rick will have two book signings at Mugs in downtown Commerce at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Tuesday, June 19.

Ocean's 8, Facebook

Alice Reese, Herald-Banner movie critic, says "Ocean's 8," the latest in the series of heist films, stars an all-female cast, with Sandra Bullock as Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny Ocean, played by George Clooney in the recent "Ocean's" films (and by Frank Sinatra in the orginal).  Alice says the cast, also including Cate Blanchett and Anne Hathaway is dressed in haute couture, but otherwise it's another entertaining "Ocean's" movie.  Alice notes that "Incredibles 2" comes out next wee

Texas A&M Agrilife

Royce Lee, the manager of the Commerce Community Garden, says 45 individual garden plots are available in the garden, located behind the First United Methodist Church on Highway 24.  The garden plots are rented for $35 per year, and water is provided.  Royce says people interested in obtaining a gardening plot may call him at 903-366-6047.

Byron Taylor, president and CEO of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, discusses plans for a 6,700-acre industrial and residential development on the west side of Greenville.

Hardin-Simmons University Library

Carol Taylor, chairman of the Hunt County Historical Commission, says the Triple-Crown run of race horse Justify has reminded her of the days in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when Greenville was a regional horse-racing center.  The North Texas Fairgrounds, located at Moulton and Stanford Streets, near the long-standing YMCA building, were the site of a popular race track.

Texascourthouses.net

Cindy Roller, the editor of the Cooper Review, says a "farm and wares" market will start in downtown Cooper as part of the next "Cruisin' the Bricks" event Saturday evening, June 30.  "Cruisin' the Bricks" is a monthly opportunity for drivers to show off their cars on the brick-paved square of downtown Cooper, but also is an occasion when people can meet and socialize.  Also, Cindy reports Interstate 30 Exit 110, the main entrance to Cumby, has reopened.  It has been closed for about a year while new

CASA-Hunt County, Facebook

The director of CASA (the Court-Appointed Special Advocates) of Hunt County, Lori Cope, says the organization plans to provide funding for foster parents and others to provide fun summer activities for children.  CASA was boosted in this effort by $10,000 raised by the Altrusa Club.  CASA will be having another training session for volunteers in July.  CASA serves children in foster care.

Texas A&M Agrilife

Dr. Velvete Womack, our wellness commentator and owner of Balanced Nutrition in Rockwall, discusses a Mayo Clinic article on exercise.  Individuals can determine the intensity of their exercise routine, and what's best for them, by several recommended methods.  Lower intensity exercise -- in which you can still carry on a conversation with a partner -- is recommended for beginners.

Texas A&M University

Hunt County Master Gardener Byron Chitwood says fire ants can be combatted with what's called the "Texas Two-Step" method.  Step one is less well-known -- spreading fire-ant bait over the entire yard.  Step two is more familiar -- placing the bait on top of individual mounds. The Master Gardeners are hosting a tour starting at 9 a.m. Saturday (June 2), including the Heritage Garden in downtown Greenville.  Tickets are for sale at the Hunt County Agrilife Extension office on Washington Street.

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Dr. LaVelle Hendricks, associate professor of counseling at Texas A&M-Commerce, recently took a group of students to Mexico to study the Mexican system of dealing with illegal drugs. Despite the notorious drug gangs in Mexico, Dr. Hendicks says Mexican laws against use of illegal drugs are much tougher than American laws, and Mexico does not provide government-funded rehabilitation programs.

Northeast Texas Trail, Facebook

Jack Neal, the executive director of the Northeast Texas Trail, and trail user Hank Pickering of Wolfe City discuss a recent Texas Monthly article on the trail.  Jack says the trail is not considered complete, although hikers, bikers and others can traverse its entire 130-mile length from Farmersville to New Boston.

Solo: A Star Wars Story, Facebook

Alice Reese, Herald-Banner movier reviewer, loves "Solo: A Stars Story," in theaters this weekend.  Although it does not star Harrison Ford, Alice says it reminds her a lot of the "Indiana Jones" movies.  Alice also enjoyed "Book Club," with Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen, which she says shows that even older ladies need love.

Hunt County United Way

Frances Dalbey, executive director of the Hunt County United Way, says summer meal programs for children have started from 11 a.m. to noon Monday-Friday at the First Presbyterian Church and the Norris Community Center in Commerce.  Meal programs will begin Monday, June 4 at Ja-Lu Park in Greenville and at the Celeste High School football stadium.  The United Way's second Mobile Learning Cafe at Celeste, after the Celeste ISD donated a bus this year.  The original Mobile Learning Cafe in Quinlan will open for business Monday, July 9.

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This program features a conversation on the student-produced "Lions After Dark" program with host Elizabeth Rodriguez and guest Brandon Bailey, a recent Texas A&M-Commerce graduate, sharing their perspective on the city of Commerce.  It may surprise you how positive it is. "Lions After Dark" recently won second place for student radio entertainment programs in the National Broadcast Society competition.

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