City of Rusk gets wet; residents brace themselves

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - email

RUSK, TX (KLTV) - Residents in Rusk are making their way through uncharted territory. City leaders have now set brand new laws into place relating to the sale of alcohol. Back in May voters decided to allow the sale of beer and wine inside the city limits.

Welcome to Rusk. Out on the street it's small town life as usual, but change has come.

"Rusk will handle it," said Mayor Angela Raiborn. "We're up to the challenge."

Raiborn says the time is now to make the best decisions for the town's future.

"We were in a hurry to actually get something into place," said Raiborn. "We've got a lot of businesses ready to go forward."

Earlier this year, two petitions were filed, signatures were collected and the election was called. One for the legal sale of beer and wine for off premise consumption, the other for the legal sale of mixed beverages in restaurants

"This will open the door to some great economic growth here in Rusk," said the mayor.

It's something Jim Goforth says he'll just have to live with it.

"I guess there are probably some folks that thought because there never had been, there would be, and they didn't need of getting out and voting," said Goforth.

He and Lee Welch were against the idea from the get go.

"If you got a good glass of iced tea, what do you need anything else for," said Welch, pastor of First Baptist Church.

The council chamber was full. Business owners and residents tried to make a wet rusk work. Much of the debate centered around the city's new ordinance prohibiting alcohol sales within 300 feet from school property lines.

"We're trying to be smart," said Raiborn.

"I just really hope that we'll not start changing a bunch of laws to accommodate folks," said Goforth.

"I'm disappointed but, goes on," said Welch.

It's just a different kind of life in one small East Texas town.

Wednesday the Rusk City Council voted down a variance that would have allowed Runnin' Rudy's convenience store to sell alcohol. The store is located about a block from Rusk elementary school. A 300-foot door-to-door rule also applies to churches and hospitals.

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