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We're Denton Dammit: Dec. 14, 2017

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Lucinda Breeding

University of North Texas student and journalism major Jackie Guerrero wrote a letter to Lady Gaga. At the pop star's concert last Friday night at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Guerrero managed to get that letter onto the stage, and Lady Gaga read it to the whole arena. Guerrero penned a heartfelt message about Gaga's music keeping her afloat during her high school years, when bullies made her life painful. 

After she finished, Gaga jumped from the stage and invited Guerrero to ask her a question. "You said you want to be a journalist and you want to interview me. You got a question, right?" Guerrero asked what gets Lady Gaga through each day. 

Former Denton Main Street Association staffer Catherine Morello, a UNT alumna, has lived in California for years now. And last week, Morello was among Californians whose homes were evacuated as wildfires devoured acreage near Oceanside. Morello was able to return to her unscathed home the following day.

In this very edition of Denton Time, you can find a guide to local neighborhoods where Christmas lights are plentiful. Tuesday night, Velo Republic's women's social riders toured the city's lighted neighborhoods on bikes. We feel a little lazy doing the tour in our cars after hearing about the bike tour.

The #MeToo campaign shows no signs of slowing. As women's allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct have led to high-profile men leaving their jobs and elected offices, UNT College of Music graduate Lily Maase decided to shared her own unsettling experiences as a professional guitarist in New York City. Maase recounts a series of startling and disheartening accounts of harassment and assault in a very male-dominated field. She doesn't name names, but she alleges that UNT music faculty have given unsympathetic advice over the years. The insult to injury? The reminder that, in some instances, other women are complicit in misconduct. Her full statement is long and damning.

Andre "Frenchy" Rheault earned a President's Lifetime Achievement Award for 4,000 hours of community service. He received a plaque and a letter from the White House signed by Donald Trump. Unfortunately, the certificate spells his name "Andrea." Oops.

Have you been tormented by the two different spellings of Hanukkah, the yearly celebration of the rededication of the Jewish temple in Jerusalem in 165 B.C.E. after a small band of Maccabees defeated a vast Greek army? Some spelling it Hanukkah, and others spell it Chanukkah (there are other variations, too). The Manischewitz Co., the largest marketer of kosher foods in North America, polled 2,171 U.S. adults. Two out of three people said they preferred to spell the name for the festival of lights "Hanukkah." If it's good enough for Manishewitz, it's good enough for us. (Well, to be completely transparent, that spelling is good enough for The Associated Press Stylebook, and therefore the way we spell it.)

The American Family Association sent out a press release reminding news outlets that the fundamentalist Christian organization is still boycotting Target. The national retailer stuck to its old policy about dressing rooms: Transgender customers are free to choose the fitting room they are most comfortable with. The association credits its boycott for the drop in the company's stock price, which has dipped almost 20 percent since the boycott began. Target officials plan to close 12 stores across Georgia, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota and Texas in February. Read the release here.

Mayor Chris Watts called the Denton Record-Chronicle part of the family at City Hall when he wished business reporter Jenna Duncan, her fiance, Michael Whitaker, and his father, Charles Whitaker, a full and speedy recovery from their injuries in a car wreck Sunday night. 

Watts may have called us part of the family, but he also something about "family disagreements" before the webcast abruptly ended. That's OK, Denton. We know we're that guy at the holiday table. We're OK with that.

It's true. We published a feature about a silly phenomenon in Sunday's edition: an intense blind taste test of Denton's drive-through chicken tenders among Denton and Dallas comedians. Denton comedian Taylor Higginbotham, the officiant of the taste test, chuckled at his involvement (he drafted the rules and bought a referee shirt). "My girlfriend can't believe I'm doing this. She's like, 'Are you really doing this?' Well, here I am." He's a vegetarian. Way to take one for the team, sir.

Speaking of the taste test, don't question the devotion Denton comics Nick Fields and Javoris James have for Chicken Express. They made this video proving their allegiance. There are cowboy hats and a shirtless Fields.

Parting Shot

"There's no right way to be stupid, son." 

— Phil McGraw, UNT alumnus and media psychologist

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