Editor's Note: At press time, the following events and meetings were known to be still scheduled. Organizers or appropriate officials are encouraged to contact Sandra Hope at or use our newsroom email to make additions or changes.


Early voting

Early voting will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Nov. 7-13 at the Jefferson County Courthouse for the Nov. 14 special election on the Go Forward Pine Bluff tax proposals and the annual school election day in the Watson Chapel School District. The special election will be held Nov. 14 on a five-eighths-cent sales tax for Go Forward Pine Bluff projects and a three-eighths-cent sales tax for public safety. Only residents of Pine Bluff can vote on these issues. There is one ballot item pertaining to Watson Chapel, an annual referendum on the rate of 39.8 mills as approved in August 2022. Details: Jefferson County Clerk's Office, (870) 541-5322.

Friday, Nov. 10

Offices close Veterans Day

Several local agencies will be closed Friday in observance of Veterans Day. Pine Bluff City Hall and related offices and Jefferson County Courthouse and related offices will be closed. The courthouse will resume early voting and party filing Nov. 13. State Capitol offices and state buildings will be closed. However, the Secretary of State Elections Division will be open for candidate filing during normal business hours. The State Capitol building will be open to the public from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m.

EHC plans Holiday Foods Show

The Jefferson County Extension Homemakers Clubs are inviting the community to their annual Holiday Foods Show from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Nov. 10 at St. Joseph Catholic Church Parish Hall, 412 W. Sixth Ave. The last day to purchase a Holiday Foods ticket for $20 is Nov. 7 from 9 a.m. to noon and 1:30-4 p.m. at the Jefferson County Cooperative Extension Office, 500 S. Idaho St. Pecan and Peanut fund raising orders will also be accepted at that time, according to a news release. Participants may place an order by mail for the Holiday Foods Ticket -- $20, an extra Holiday Foods Cookbook -- $5, and the annual fund-raising sale of pecans, 1 pound -- $13, and chocolate covered peanuts, 1 pound -- $12. Make checks to JCEHC and mail to Delores Kelley, 509 West St.; White Hall, AR 71602. For additional information, contact Mary Ann Kizer, Jefferson County Extension Family and Consumer Sciences Agent and EHC Advisor, at (870) 534-1033.

Through Friday, Nov. 10

U.S. 65 lane to close

A full closure of the southbound ramp of U.S. 65, located 2.4 miles west of Blake Street in Pine Bluff, is scheduled until Nov. 10. The closure will begin at 7 a.m. Thursday and remain in place around the clock as crews conduct repairs and preservation work on the ramp. Traffic will be controlled with the use of barrels, message boards, and signage. Drivers are urged to use caution while traveling in the area. Additional travel information can be found at or, according to a news release.

Saturday, Nov. 11

Raven's Nest pantry to open

Raven's Nest Food Pantry at Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church, 2507 Hill St., will be open Nov. 11 from 8-9:30 a.m. or until all the food has been given away. Food will be handed out on a first come, first-served basis. Participants must bring a picture identification. The pantry is a U.S. Department of Agriculture distribution site and equal opportunity provider.

St. Luke plans Taste of Fall

The St. Luke United Women in Faith Annual Taste of Fall will be presented from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 11 at St. Luke United Methodist Church, 32 School St. Items for sale will include frozen main-dish and vegetable casseroles, chicken and dressing, pies, cakes, cookies, jams, jellies and canned beets. Local vendor tables will also be available with handmade items, jewelry, makeup, wreaths, and other products. All proceeds will be used for church missions, according to a news release. Becky Simmons is the St. Luke UWF president.

Beginning Saturday, Nov. 11

CARTI sets screenings for lung cancer

CARTI will promote the early detection of lung cancer with screening events in November. Sessions will last approximately 15 minutes, including registration paperwork. By expanding access to low-dose CT scans, CARTI aims to improve lung cancer patients' survival rates by diagnosing the disease sooner when it's more likely to be cured, according to a news release. Appointments for CARTI lung screenings are available from 9-11 a.m, at the following locations: Nov. 11: 5001 Bobo Road in Pine Bluff; and Nov. 18: 8901 CARTI Way in Little Rock. Those interested in scheduling an appointment may call 501-906-4454 or visit

Sunday, Nov. 12

St. John observes 155th anniversary

St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., will host its 155th anniversary celebration at 11 a.m. Sunday. The featured speaker will be the Rev. Alvin Smith, a former pastor of St. John. The church extends to all a heartfelt invitation to join with them as the minister delivers a spiritually impacting worship message. The service will be in person and virtual. To attend via Zoom, use meeting ID: 380 457 5496 and passcode: 1117. For an audio call in, dial 1-312-626-6799 and when prompted use 3804575496# and when prompted use 1117# or on Facebook Live, visit

8th Avenue honors pastor, wife

Eighth Avenue Missionary Baptist Church, 1200 W. Eighth Ave., will celebrate the 11th anniversary of the pastor and wife, the Rev. Kirby L. Gulley and Neshia K. Gulley, at 3 p.m. Nov. 12. The featured speaker will be the Rev. Robert Willis, pastor of Amos Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. The theme is "Preaching with the Power to help Transform Society,"1 Peter 5: 2-3. The community is invited to attend.

Beginning Sunday, Nov. 12

Back to School Prayer and Pizza set

Back to School Prayer and Pizza for children will be held at the following churches from 2-3 p.m. on these dates: Nov. 12, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church and the guest speaker will be Donna Huskey of Old St. James Missionary Baptist Church and director of operations for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences Health-Home Health in Little Rock. She'll discuss "Choose Life," reminding youth there is hope. Sessions will continue Dec. 10 at East End Church of God and Christ. Intercessors will pray at each event. "Please join the movement through prayer for our children," said Dee Clay, spokesman. The event is free and open to the general public. Organizers ask that pastors and youth leaders participate.

Monday, Nov. 13

A&P panel to meet

The Pine Bluff Advertising and Promotion Commission Finance Committee will meet at noon Nov. 13 at the A&P Office in The ARTSpace, 623 S. Main St. Details: (870) 534-2121.

Tuesday, Nov. 14

Election set for Go Forward, Public Safety taxes

Nov. 14 is a special election day for the Go Forward Pine Bluff tax proposals and the annual school election day in the Watson Chapel School District, though no one is on the ballot. Voters will go to the polls this day. The special election will be held on a five-eighths-cent sales tax for Go Forward Pine Bluff projects and a three-eighths-cent sales tax for public safety. Only residents of Pine Bluff can vote on these issues. There is one ballot item pertaining to Watson Chapel, an annual referendum on the rate of 39.8 mills as approved in August 2022. Details: Jefferson County Clerk's Office, (870) 541-5322.

The Links set Caregivers Symposium

The Pine Bluff Chapter of The Links Inc. will present a Caregivers Symposium at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Area Agency on Aging of Southeast Arkansas, 709 E. Eighth Ave. The community is invited to attend, according to a news release. The symposium will discuss how to access caregiver services/support and enhance the quality of life and aging gracefully for those who need care. The presenters will be Sheena Goals of Area Agency, the Rev. Tonya Boyce of the Arkansas Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association, Trammell Howell and Kelly D. Bryant of The Links, and Eva McGee, who will give a caregiver's testimony.

Wednesday, Nov. 15

Small business group to meet

The Pine Bluff Small Business Association will host a luncheon meet and greet Nov. 15 at 11:30 a.m. at the Pine Bluff Country Club. Leon Codron, president of GTL Americas, will be the guest speaker. He will address participants at 12:10 p.m., according to a news release. "GTL Americas is developing a multi-billion dollar gas-to-liquids (GTL) facility producing 1.7 million gallons per day to be constructed in Jefferson County, 13 miles north of Pine Bluff," according to the release. The PBSBA welcomes all of Jefferson County's market area to attend the event.

DAR plans gathering

The Daughters of the American Revolution Pine Bluff-John McAlmont Chapter will meet at 1:30 p.m. Nov. 15 at Lakeside United Methodist Church, 1500 S. Olive St. The program will be "Women's Issues, Caring and Celebrating." Members are reminded to bring their Christmas shoeboxes filled with items for veterans, according to a news release. This meeting date is changed from the regularly scheduled Nov. 14 date, a spokesman said.

City plans resource, employment fair

A Resource and Employment Fair will be held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 15 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. The event is free and open to the public, according to a news release. The city of Pine Bluff's Economic & Community Development Department, in partnership with the offices of the Southeast Arkansas Economic Development District and Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, is sponsoring the event. There more than 40 employers and resource providers scheduled to participate. The fair will conclude with a food giveaway sponsored by First Ward Living Grace Food Pantry. Although the resource and employment fair is free, registration is required by Oct. 30. To register, contact Cynthia Anderson by email at or by telephone at (870) 543-1820, ext. 228.

Pine Bluff Commercial sets church news deadline

Church news is printed in The Commercial on Friday. The deadline to submit church announcements is noon Wednesday. Pastors, ministers or others interested in writing for the Devotional Page may also submit columns for consideration. Column writers should have connections to Southeast Arkansas. Articles should be submitted by email to Sandra Hope at or Details: (870) 534-3400, ext. 5.

Thursday, Nov. 16

Retired teachers group to meet

The Jefferson County Retired Teachers Association will meet at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 16 at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Services Center, 211 W. Third Ave. The guest speaker will be Mark White, the new executive director of the Arkansas Teacher Retirement System. There are 100,000 working and retired members under White's direction, according to a news release. Member reservations are required for the luncheon provided by Rice First Class Catering at $12 per person. Members are asked to bring a package of healthy snack bars to be donated to Neighbor to Neighbor to assist families in need. For details on JCRTA and to make luncheon reservations, call (870) 543-0127.

Family agency sets meeting

The Family Community Development Corp. (FCDC) will have its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Nov. 16 at the agency, 1001 N. Palm St. All residents in Ward 4 are encouraged to attend, according to a spokesman.

Christian Women's Connection

The Christian Women's Connection invited the community to its luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Nov. 16 at the Pine Bluff Country Club. The speaker will be B.J. Tassin of Gravett. Participants will also be vocalists Justin and Christina Wendel of Pursuit Church in White Hall. The luncheon costs $21, which includes the meal, drink, dessert, tax, and gratuity. For reservations or cancellations, call Jennifer Keahey at (870) 540-9302. All reservations must be made three days in advance. Participants will be charged for reservations not kept, according to a news release.

Preserve Arkansas to meet in Pine Bluff

Preserve Arkansas, the statewide nonprofit advocate for historic preservation, will hold its annual membership meeting and members-only tour at 5:30 p.m. Nov. 16 at The ARTSpace on Main, 623 S. Main St. A a beer and wine reception will be followed by a brief business meeting and a tour of the building. Participants will learn about current historic preservation efforts in Arkansas and network with their peers, according to a news release. For details, to join or renew a Preserve Arkansas membership, visit or call (501) 372-4757.

Saturday, Nov. 18

St. John to give away food

St. John AME Church, 1117 W. Pullen St., and partners, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, will give away food boxes to people in need Nov. 18 from 9 a.m. until all the food is gone. State ID's are required to receive one box per family. Food can be picked up in front of the church on Cherry Street. For safety reasons, recipients are asked to stay in their vehicles and open their trunks, according to a news release.

TOPPS to give away food

TOPPS, 1000 Townsend Driv, will give away food boxes at 10 a.m. Nov. 18. Food boxes will be distributed via drive-thru method and a valid ID is required. One box per household will be given away and participants must be present to receive a box, according to a news release. Details: (870) 850-6011.

Faith church sets bazaar

Faith Community Church (formerly Good Faith Carr United Methodist Church), 3703 Ryburn Road, will host its annual bazaar from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 18. The annual holiday crafts show will include baked goods, frozen casseroles and quart jars of soup. Hand-made items such as Christmas centerpieces, wreaths, doll furniture, totes, gift baskets, and rustic wood decor will also be for sale, according to a news release. The bazaar has been held the Saturday before Thanksgiving for more than 30 years at the church.

Celebrate! Maya Project plans local event

The Celebrate! Maya Project of Arkansas, which celebrates the life and legacy of poet and writer Maya Angelou, will host an event in Pine Bluff. At 5 p.m. Nov. 18, the Southeast Arkansas Sharing and Listening FriendRaiser will be held at the Pine Bluff Jefferson County Library, 600 S. Main St. Co-hosts are Janetta Kearney, coordinator; Brenda Johnson, Erma Toney, Juanita Burton, Teija Kearney-Ramos, Janis F. Kearney and Janice Davis Kearney. Special guests will include representatives of the Pine Bluff mayor's office, the Pine Bluff School District; Bob J. Nash, former director of White House personnel; and Judge John L. Kearney of Pine Bluff. The project honors Angelou's life by creating literacy and arts curricula for Arkansas youth, and sharing Angelou's life story, including her childhood years in Stamps. Details: .

Sunday, Nov. 19

Old St. James to honor pastor, wife

Old St James Missionary Baptist Church, 4512 S. Ohio St., will celebrate the 27th appreciation service for the pastor and wife, the Rev. David M. Smith and Arbradella Smith, at 10 a.m. Nov. 19. The featured speaker will be the Rev. Omar Davis, pastor of the St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church of Sherrill. Everyone is invited to attend and celebrate with the congregation.

Summit plans Thanksgiving concert

Summit Baptist Church, 901 Ridgway Road, will host a special Thanksgiving program at 6 p.m. Nov. 19. Vocalists will include Bethany Gere, Jessica Lake, and Aaron Grice. The 50-member Summit Soundz Celebration Band will be featured throughout the program, according to a news release. "We want this to be a time of reflection and gratitude for the abundant blessings we enjoy each day," said Lewis Hinkle, director of Summit Soundz. "In all reality, this holiday should be the most celebrated of all holidays. Plan to attend this program and bring others with you."

Beginning Tuesday, Nov. 28

Work to impact Lock and Dam 4

Boaters should expect to experience intermittent delays at Emmett Sanders Lock (No. 4) Nov. 28-30, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The intermittent delays are required to facilitate underwater dive operations near the Lock chamber, according to a news release. Questions or requests for additional information should be directed to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Little Rock District Office, at (501) 324-5096, or by email to

Beginning Saturday, Dec. 2

Blues concert series set

The "Blues By Budweiser" concert series will be back for a second season. In collaboration with MK Distributors and RJ's Grill & Bar, Port City Blues Society will again host live blues concerts the first Saturday of the month at RJ's Grill & Bar, 128 S. Main St. The doors open at 7 p.m. and music begins at 8 p.m. Port City Blues Society members are admitted free. It's a $5 cover charge for non-members. The 2023-2024 concerts include: Dec. 2 -- Johnie B and Queen Iretta Sanders Blues Review; Jan. 6, 2024 -- Charlotte Taylor and Gypsy Rain; and Feb. 3 -- Chad Marshall Band. Details: or

Sunday, Dec. 3

Sherrill church observes anniversary

Antioch Missionary Baptist Church, 500 N. McKinney Road, in Sherrill, will celebrate its 155th anniversary at 2:30 p.m. Dec. 3. The guest speaker will be the Rev. James Rice Jr., pastor of Greater Battle Chapel Church in Pine Bluff. The Rev. David Holmes is pastor at Antioch.

Through Friday, Dec. 8

ASC hosts 'Voices and Votes: Democracy in America'

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas is hosting the national traveling exhibition "Voices and Votes: Democracy in America" through Dec. 8. This multimedia and educational exhibition features historical and contemporary photos, video, interactive games, information; and historical objects like campaign souvenirs, voter memorabilia, and protest materials. The display is part of the Museum on Main Street, a collaboration between the Smithsonian Institution and State Humanities Councils nationwide. The exhibition is made possible by the Arkansas Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Humanities.

Be Pro Be Proud registration open

Registration is open for employers interested in the Be Pro Be Proud program. The program will host eight events throughout the state as part of its 2024 Draft Day Series, including local sessions. The two-day event matches employers with qualified graduating students based on student interest and employer needs. At Pine Bluff, a Draft Day for the Arkansas Delta will take place March 12-13 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center, presented by Central Moloney, according to a Be Pro Proud news release. At Stuttgart, the Draft Day Arkansas Grand Prairie event will be held April 3-4. This session will be presented by Riceland Foods. Draft Day 2024 registration ends Dec. 8. For details on Be Pro Be Proud's Draft Day events or to register a company, visit

Saturday, Dec. 16

AKA Cotillion Ball set

The 55th Debutante Cotillion Ball, sponsored by Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc.® Delta Omega Omega Chapter, The Cotillion Ball will be held on Dec. 16 at the Pine Bluff Convention Center. This year's Debutante Cotillion chairmen are Laurel Hall, Jennifer Johnson, and Dr. Jacqueline Pryor. Details: Yaminah Roberts, president of the Delta Omega Omega chapter,

Beginning Friday, Jan. 12

Artist INC LIVE free seminars set

The Arkansas Arts Council will sponsor Artist INC LIVE, an eight-week professional development session for Pine Bluff, in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance. People are urged to join local creatives Jan. 12-14 in virtual, three-day workshops to learn what it takes to succeed in a creative field. Registration and participation is free. The sessions address the specific professional challenges creatives in all disciplines face. The organizer waves the $150 participation fee. Registration deadline is 5 p.m. Jan. 11. To register for the free professional development sessions or for details, visit

Through Saturday, Jan. 13

USDA extends deadline for discrimination form

The U.S. Department of Agriculture extended the deadline for the Discrimination Financial Assistance Program from Oct. 31, 2023 to Jan. 13, 2024. The new deadline will give eligible farmers, ranchers and forest landowners more time to apply for assistance, according to a news release. This program delivers on Section 22007 of the Inflation Reduction Act, which provides financial assistance for farmers, ranchers and forest landowners who experienced discrimination in USDA farm lending programs prior to January 2021.


Covid-19 vaccines, testing available

The Arkansas Department of Health, various pharmacies and healthcare providers offer the covid-19 vaccine, tests and other information about coronavirus. Details: Call the Arkansas Department of Health at (800) 985-6030, visit the website at or contact area medical professionals, according to spokesmen.


Unity Christian offers free financial classes

Unity Christian Fellowship Church (UCFC), 2712 S. Bay St., invites the community to its free Small Business and Personal Financial Education classes at 7 p.m. Tuesdays. Recent subjects included "The Importance of Having a Financial Plan" and "Financial Literacy," according to Stuff in the Bluff website. "You cannot afford to miss out on these life-changing classes. We are practicing social distancing and will have hand sanitizer wipes available," according to the site. Anthony Armstrong is the senior pastor. Details: or (870) 329-1182.