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Les Cockrell: Denton resident wins Louisiana chili cook-off

Denton resident Jimmy Rodgers recently brought home first place from the Louisiana State Chili Championship Cook-Off in Minden, La.

Rodgers, a longtime barbeque and chili cook, has been concentrating more on chili for the past few years and serves as the Great Pepper (president) of the Golden Triangle Chili Pod, according to a news release from the club.

The Louisiana chili competition was pretty “hot,” with 91 entries vying for top honors, members said.

“I could count five past world champions,” Rodgers said.

If anybody would like to cook or learn more about chili cooking, they are invited to attend a meeting of the Golden Triangle Pod chili club, said member Sarah Paddack. The club meets at 6 p.m. the second Wednesday of each month at the Denton Elks Lodge, 228 E. Oak St.


Watershed Steward program to hold workshop in Lewisville

The Texas Watershed Steward program will hold a workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Upper Trinity River Water District, 900 N. Kealy Ave. in Lewisville.

The workshop is free and open to anyone interested in improving water quality in the area.

The program promotes healthy watersheds by increasing citizen awareness, understanding and knowledge about the nature and function of watersheds, potential impairments and watershed protection strategies to minimize nonpoint source pollution, according to an event news release.

For more information, visit  .


Deadline Tuesday to buy tickets for women’s prayer breakfast

A Magnificat prayer breakfast is planned from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Hilton Garden Inn, 785 State Highway 121 in Lewisville.

Guest speaker will be artist Moira Noonan.

The event is for women only, and the cut-off date for tickets is Tuesday. No tickets will be sold at the door. For ticket information, call Nancy Ferri, 817-498-7980.


Denton County Chapter of NAACP to meet Thursday

The Denton County Chapter of the NAACP will meet at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Denton Housing Authority, 1225 Wilson St.

Members will discuss the group’s annual Freedom Fund Banquet.

Newly elected officers were recently installed, and they are Willie Hudspeth, president; the Rev. Kenneth Moore, first vice president; Cornelius Love, second vice president; and Catherine Bell, third vice president.

The chapter meets from 7 to 8 p.m. the second Thursday of each month. All racial and ethnic groups in Denton County are welcome.


Two performances of ‘Annie Jr.’ to be offered at Lewisville theater

The Acting Studio will present two performances of Annie Jr. on Friday and Saturday at Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater.

Both shows will start at 7 p.m. Tickets are $18 for adults, $16 for seniors and children ages 12 and younger. To order tickets, visit  or call 817-488-0009. Advance tickets cannot be purchased at the MCL Grand.

Annie Jr. features the comic strip and Broadway character Little Orphan Annie. The Acting Studio is operated in Grapevine and Frisco by owners Shane and Erica Peterman, both of whom are members of the Actors’ Equity Association.

Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater is located at 100 N. Charles St., between Main and Church streets, in Lewisville.


Riding Unlimited to hold volunteer training sessions

Riding Unlimited therapeutic horseback riding center, located at 9168 T.N. Skiles Road in Ponder, will hold a semi-annual volunteer training from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Volunteers are needed to work as horse handlers or side walkers to assist riders with disabilities as they learn horsemanship skills, said Patricia Dellemann, volunteer coordinator.

Volunteers do not need any previous horse experience to volunteer, but they must be at least 14 years of age to work with a horse and rider during the lessons.

Anyone interested can visit to download a volunteer registration form, then contact Dellemann at  to reserve a spot in the class.

For more information, call the center at 940-479-2016.


Ann’s Haven VNA to hold volunteers training session

Ann’s Haven VNA needs hospice volunteers in Denton County who want to help terminally ill patients and their families, according to an announcement from the organization. 

A course in volunteer hospice care is planned from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 23. Each session will be held at Ann’s Haven VNA, 325 W. McKinney St., Suite 101, in Denton.

A light lunch and beverages will be provided.

There is no cost to attend the training, but reservations are required and can be made by contacting Ginny Hudson, Ann’s Haven VNA hospice volunteer coordinator, at 940-349-5900 or .


Society to offer cards with historical photos and facts

The Aubrey Historical Society is working to create a deck of playing cards that will feature 56 photos and educational facts about Aubrey, a spokeswoman for the group announced recently.

Sponsorships from $50 to $150 are being sold, and each sponsor will receive one deck of cards. The playing cards will be sold by society members at a cost of $10 per deck.

Proceeds from the project will be used to establish a museum in Aubrey. For more information or to purchase a deck of the cards, call 940-343-1313.


CASA of Denton County visit Texas Capitol

Eight volunteers, staff and board members from Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children of Denton County recently joined about 300 children’s advocates from around the state at the Texas Capitol to speak up for children in the foster care system.

“Our volunteers speak up for the best interests of abused and neglected children in our courts,” Sherri Gideon, executive director of CASA of Denton County, stated in a news release. “We wanted to make sure these children’s voices are also heard at the Capitol.”

Last year, more than 47,000 children were in the care of the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services because of evidence of abuse and neglect, the news release stated. The number of children in care is expected to increase to nearly 50,000 by 2015.

“We believed it was necessary to go to Austin and share stories about the children we stand up for who have suffered in ways we don’t want to think about,” Gideon stated. “We want our elected officials to know that there are vulnerable children, more than half who are under the age of 6, who will be directly affected by their decisions.”

CASA of Denton County met with Rep. Myra Crownover and staff members from the offices of Rep. Tan Parker and Sen. Jane Nelson to share concerns about funding for foster children and CASA programs.

CASA of Denton County recruited, trained and supported 136 volunteers who spoke up in court for 456 children in foster care in Denton County last year, according to the news release. CASA volunteers are specifically trained to advocate for children in foster care. The information they gather and their recommendations help judge overseeing the cases make informed decisions.

For more information about CASA, visit  or  or call 940-243-2272.

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 .