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Les Cockrell: Students receive prizes in annual card contest

For more than a decade, James and Shirley Wood have called upon young artists from the Denton school district to provide ideas for the perfect James Wood Autopark Christmas card.

This year, more than 4,500 second- and third-graders put their creativity to work on the project, according to a news release.

For the first time in the history of the contest, the top three prize winners are all students at Ginnings Elementary School.

Ithais Romero took the top prize of $250, Frida Gomez came in second and won a prize of $125, and Gabriela Sanchez took third place and a prize of $100.

All three of the winners are under the direction of art teacher Kay Adamson, who in April was named the Denton school district’s elementary teacher of the year.

“I think we know why,” Russ Ellis, executive manager of James Wood, stated in the news release. “She’s a great leader, teacher and is very enthusiastic about this contest.”

Students from all participating schools submit their entries to their schools.

Staff members at each school submit their top three selections to James Wood.

The top three picks from each school are guaranteed a $25 cash prize from James Wood.

All entries are then selected by a secret vote by managers of James Wood to award the top three entries overall. The top winner’s design is printed on more than 15,000 Christmas cards for James Wood.

“We are excited about the response we have received from our local teachers and students,” Susan Miller, marketing director for James Wood, stated. “We had more entries this year than ever before, and I say that every year.”


Aubrey Area Library receives $13,048 grant

The Aubrey Area Library was recently awarded a $13,048 CoServ Charitable Foundation grant to aid in the replacement of aging technology in the library.

“Our current technology was put in place in 2005 through a collaborative technology grant and we are pleased to receive this grant,” Kathy Ramsey, library director, stated in a news release. “Through its ‘Round Up’ program, CoServ Charitable Foundations provides a means for local citizens to help local organizations.”

The funds will provide a new server, computers and other items for use by the public and library staff, Ramsey said.


Denton exhibits offer items related to Dickens

Four free Denton exhibits featuring items related to Charles Dickens are now open to view.

A first edition of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol will be on display through Friday in the Sarah T. Hughes Reading Room on the fourth floor of Willis Library on the University of North Texas campus. This holiday classic will be showcased along with other related artifacts.

Exhibits dedicated to Dickens are also on view at the Courthouse on the Square, the Bayless-Selby House Museum and the North Branch Library. All exhibits will be on view during regular business hours through the end of the month, officials said.


Nighthawk Composite Squadron cadet solos

Denton’s Nighthawk Composite Squadron Cadet 2nd Lt. Jordan Caldwell, 15, recently took his first solo flight in a SGU 2-22 sailplane.

Caldwell completed 31 flights with an instructor throughout the year prior to his solo run, and he is now working toward his private pilot’s license.

Caldwell is the deputy cadet commander of the Nighthawk Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol in Denton. His gliding instructor was Lt. Col. Bryce Herkert.

Caldwell’s solo flight was witnessed by his parents, grandfather and other cadets.

Following his flight, Caldwell had a large container of water dumped on him and then every witness signed his shirt as a keepsake.

Orientation flights in gliders and powered aircraft are part of the Civil Air Patrol cadet program. Many cadets choose to pursue pilot’s licenses in both types of aircraft.

The CAP cadet program is open to young people ages 12 to 18.

For more information about the organization, visit CAP’s national website .  For information about the Denton squadron, visit .


Christmas tree recycling program available

Keep Lewisville Beautiful is partnering with the city of Lewisville’s Parks and Leisure Services to encourage Christmas tree recycling.

Recycling reduces the debris at the curb on trash day and extends the life of landfills.

After the holidays, residents should remove all ornaments, decorations, tinsel and lights and take their tree to the drop-off site at Lake Park, located at North Mill Street and Lake Park Road, near the soccer fields. Trees can be dropped off until Jan. 18.

The trees will be chipped into mulch starting Dec. 31. Any mulch left on site is available to the public free of charge between Dec 31 and Jan. 18. To pick up free mulch, residents should bring a bag or bucket and a shovel.

For more information, visit or call 972-538-5949.

LES COCKRELL is interested in your input for Out & About. Help share information about Denton County events and people by calling him at 940-566-6887. His e-mail address is .