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We're Denton Dammit - Oct. 26, 2017

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Lucinda Breeding

Denton resident, musician and business owner Beth Heffernan has been staging "Rockers for Knockers," a breast cancer benefit show that usually blends live music and burlesque, for years now. Heffernan, who is the lead singer of Denton band Lovesick Mary, lost a beloved grandmother to breast cancer. Last weekend, Heffernan and her crew of performers staged the annual benefit at Poor David's Pub. Unfortunately, someone broke into her car at the hotel where she was bunking and stole all of the proceeds from the performance. 

"I'm devastated," Heffernan said on Monday.  

Denton resident and 1975 Miss America Shirley Cothran Barret will appear on Family Feud with her husband, Richard, and their sons David, Mark and John on Tuesday and Wednesday, Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. The show, hosted by Steve Harvey, airs on KDFI in North Texas. The Tuesday segment airs at 5 and 5:30 p.m. and the Wednesday segment airs at 5:30 p.m. Tune in to find out what the Barrets think those famous surveys said. 

Former Denton resident Tyler Donahue, who was well-known by locals who saw musicals at the Campus Theatre, has spent the last few years performing in the German staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies. In August, Donahue joined the U.S. touring company of the musical, which is the sequel to Webber's blockbuster hit Phantom of the Opera. Donahue got to meet the creator of the musical on Oct. 18. 

"The man is a genius, and he's written some of the best scores in musical theatre history. Performing his lushest and most soaring score night after night [in Hamburg and across the U.S.] is an incredible honor," Donahue said.

Denton's music community was stunned to learn that J.R. Byrd, who had been a worship leader at the First United Methodist Church, died after treatment for stage 4 colon cancer. Byrd had been making music for at least 15 years — we remember his band By Starlight — and he took on the role of Jesus in Music Theatre of Denton's Jesus Christ Superstar. Byrd was in hospice, but still enjoyed a roast from a big bunch of his best friends on Oct. 16. He was diagnosed the week of Thanksgiving last year. Byrd was 35 when he received his diagnosis. 

There was a lot of talk about fake news at Donald Trump Jr.'s UNT-sponsored appearance at AT&T Stadium Tuesday. Ironically, some of Trump's comments were actual fake news. Within a few minutes of taking the stage, he joked about UNT being a top party school. Then again at the end, giggling after "Oops, I did it again" (without giving Britney credit!). We scoured different party school lists from The Princeton Review to University Prime Time, and no mentions of the University of North Texas made those sources. Sorry, Fraternity Row, you're just not that cool. Second, he cited UNT's annual in-state tuition at $10,000. While this is almost true, (tuition and fees is $10,904 for two 15-credit-hour semesters) the actual average annual cost is $23,780, according to the school's admissions department.

First it was Weinberger's Deli. Then it was Denton's Deli (or was it Denton Deli?). Now, the shop at 311 E. Hickory St. has yet another new name: Weinberger's Sandwich ShopDenton resident Nathan Russell asked on the deli's Facebook page "WHO ARE YOU?" Dan Weinberger explained he was the bull moose in charge of sandwich artistry at the business, and that the owners of Weinberger's Deli licensed the family's name. 

"They were a group of individuals that we taught the business to," Weinberger told Russell. "I am Dan Weinberger and it will have a Weinberger on premise, so no more one-off. I will be responsible."

Denton resident and business owner Amber Briggle made news when she and her family screened Rogue One: A Star Wars Story at the White House last December. The Briggles earned the invitation because the family's high profile as activists for transgender equality.  After months of calls, emails  and "digging around," Briggle told her Facebook friends on Wednesday that she'd finally gotten a photo of the guests, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama. Amber and her transgender son, Max, are pictured on the far right of the group, next to one of two storm troopers and Darth Vader. 

Amber Briggle and her son, Max, attended a screening of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' at the White House. Briggle recently received a photo of the guests with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.Courtesy photo
Amber Briggle and her son, Max, attended a screening of 'Rogue One: A Star Wars Story' at the White House. Briggle recently received a photo of the guests with President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.
Courtesy photo

Thirteen-year-old Corinth resident Micah Pinson will be awarded the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy by the Dallas Chapter of the Association for Fundraising Professionals on Nov. 10.

Pinson has conducted annual toy drives  during the holidays for the last six years, resulting in about 25,000 toys for children at Scottish Rite Hospital for Children. The teen has taken on the organizational and promotional aspects of the toy drives.  

The award will be given at the 32nd annual National Philanthropy Day luncheon in Dallas. 

The Denton County Office of History and Culture is looking for volunteers to fill docent positions. Docents provide information to visitors to the downtown Denton Courthouse on the Square. Prospective volunteers can apply online

Parting Shot

"I learned that very often the most intolerant and narrow-minded people are the ones who congratulate themselves on their tolerance and open-mindedness."

— Christopher Hitchens, author and speaker 

Denton Dammit is an old-fashioned gossip column about people, places and things in and around Denton. Send your submissions to Lucinda Breeding at