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Karina Ramírez

Karina Ramírez: New center offers reading program to children, adults

A new center to teach reading to children and adults has opened in Ponder.

Operated by Karen Weidner and her husband, Vincent Weidner, the Academic Associates Reading Center offers one-on-one instruction and teaches students phonics skills.

“There are no flash cards, so they don’t memorize the pictures,” said Karen Weidner about her program.

Weidner said she worked in preschools for many years and through an ad learned about the Academic Associates Reading Program.

“The program has been around since 1990,” Weidner said. “It was developed by Cliff Ponder, a principal in California.”

Ponder was an elementary teacher and principal for 20 years and taught every subject on every level before launching his program.

The program is successful at home because it makes kids and their parents comfortable, Weidner said.

“Parents can stay and watch while the child is in his or her session,” she said.

Weidner began teaching the program from her home about a month ago. She has set up a home office where she spends many hours instructing kids.

On Thursday, her client, 6-year-old Gianni Ice, reviewed his lesson of the day by pronouncing a couple of words. Each time he would complete a line of words, he would place an apple sticker by the designated line.

“I like it,” Gianni said.

Weidner said her goal is to ensure children do not become part of the statistic — 40 percent of grade school children read below grade level.

“We care about children.” Weidner said. “Our mission is to help struggling readers succeed in school and in life.”

Weidner said her program is not only for children, but also for adults, especially those whose first language is not English.

“Because it is a phonics-based program, it can help adults pronounce better,” she said.

Weidner and her husband have been residents of Ponder for about nine years.

For more information, call 940-595-3937 or e-mail


On Wednesday, Denton residents saw the opening of the city’s second Mooyah restaurant, inside Rayzor Ranch Marketplace.

Aaron White, a former Marine, is the franchisee of the new Mooyah. White also owns the Mooyah restaurants in Richardson and Allen, according to a news release.

White said he wanted to expand to Denton because of the community and because residents were already in love with Mooyah.

The first Mooyah, opened in town at the Denton Town Center, 2215 S. Loop 288, Suite 300, in late March. It is co-owned by Scott Isabelle.

The new Denton restaurant is located at 2530 W. University Drive, Suite 1100. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The new restaurant will include a special communal seating area and front counter, where guests can be a part of their made-to-order meals. Created with Denton college students in mind, the new restaurant will also have a soft seating area with lounge chairs and will include free wireless Internet, the news release said.

For more information, visit


Located next door to Wal-Mart on Brinker Road, the Roomstore has been empty for quite a while now.

Since last year, the Richmond, Va.-based furniture company asked the U.S. Bankruptcy Court permission to close all of its 10 Texas stores, including the one at 1701 Brinker Road, according to court documents.

The Denton store closed in mid-August, despite being one of two best-performing stores in Texas, said Chuck Green, president of Chuck Green & Associates, a commercial real estate company in Dallas.

Green said the 28,775-square-foot building could be used for retail locations likes a woman’s clothing store or a fitness center.

“We have received three [letters of intent] thus far, but the owner is looking for a strong national tenant or a regional tenant that is growing and will be an asset to the community,” Green said in an e-mail.

The Roomstore filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December 2011.

Consistent with its court documents, the 20-year-old company had its final going-out-of-business sales in late June in 20 stores throughout Maryland and Virginia, according to a news release that is available on its website.

In addition to Denton, the company closed stores earlier this year in Arlington, Dallas, Fort Worth, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Plano, Temple and Waco.


Divine Mercy Catholic Books & Gifts at 262 S. Interstate 35 E began conducting its store liquidation and permanent closing Thursday.

Owner Brenda Zimmerer said via a flyer that she decided to close the business and family ministry after 14 years.

The store has catholic books, Bibles, gift, wall décor and a Spanish section and plans to sell all of its merchandise, store fixtures, furniture and equipment.

An invitation flyer was posted outside its doors telling customers of ways they could participate and receive bonus prizes.

Sales will continue until Wednesday, according to the flyer.

Divine Mercy is located between Alan Zimmerer State Farm Insurance and Ehrhart’s Jewelers.

For more information, call 940-484-9526.


The city of Denton issued the following certificates of occupancy in October:

* 1100 Palmwood Place, LLC, multifamily/laundry room, 1100 Palmwood Place.

* Caliber Bodyworks of Texas, light auto repair, 702 N. Elm St.

* Consignment by Sandy, retail sales, 1720 W. University Drive, No. 104.

* Dragon Fly’s Hollow, LLC, retail sales, 1429 Oakland St.

* Erika’s Salon, professional services, 1111 E. McKinney St., No. 105.

* GSAT Inc., office, 100 W. Oak St., No. 200.

* Guatemala Café, restaurant, 1813 N. Elm St.

* Leaving A Christian Legacy, professional services/

office, 924 N. Elm St.

* Top to Bottom, office, 2820 Virginia Circle, No. 109.

* Video Plus, warehouse, 600 N. Loop 288, No. 510.


In response to readers’ requests, Labinal Inc., announced this week that production associate openings are posted with Workforce Solutions of North Central Texas, located at 1300 Teasley Lane in Denton.

Interested individuals can visit the workforce center in person to complete an application.

Professional positions are also posted to and

Resumes may be submitted electronically through the respective sites or via e-mail to


Coming up

Argyle Chamber of Commerce will have its monthly mixer from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at PointBank, 302 U.S. Highway 377S in Argyle.

For more information, call 940-686-3214.


Good Samaritan Society-Lake Forest Village will have their fourth annual Spaghetti Supper from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday.

Dine-in by reservation is required. Take-out will be available from the Welcome Center.

Cost is $10 per person, and $5 per child.

All proceeds will benefit the Resident Angel Care Fund.

Lake Forest Village is located at 3901 Montecito Drive.

For more information, call Nye Word at 940-891-6438.


Earthwise Produce is opening a Denton local and organic produce shop featuring 100 percent organic and Texas-grown produce.

The store will be having grand opening events Friday and Saturday, offering discounts and free samples of artisanal cheeses, meats, granolas and other specialty products.

From 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, the business will also have a free screening of Small Farm Rising, a documentary about the expanding organic farming movement and how it can positively affect our communities to eat more locally.

For a detail schedule of events and for more information, visit


Dawa Juliet Sangmu will be celebrating the 11-year anniversary of her store, Juliet’s Jewels, with an Open House from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

A vegetarian potluck will be provided at 11:15 a.m., and the Lama Dudjom Dorjee will talk about meditation at 1 p.m.

Juliet’s Jewels is located at 315 W. Sycamore St.

For more information, call 940-566-5005.

KARINA RAMÍREZ can be reached at 940-566-6878. Her e-mail address is