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Les Cockrell: Valley View student wins oratorical contest

Peyton Luke of Valley View took top honors in the Division 1 oratorical competition conducted by Denton’s American Legion Post 71 on Feb. 3 at the Courthouse on the Square.

Luke, representing District 13, was one of four contestants. District 4 representative Lauren Bellati of McKinney took second place, and District 5 representative Andrew Pernadi from Coppell came in third. District 12 representative Brianna Young from Burleson also competed.

Luke will now represent Division 1 at the state oratorical competition on Monday in Brenham. The title of her speech is “Remember the Revolution.”

She has won scholarships valued at $1,050 so far and will be competing for a first-place scholarship of $2,000 at the state level.

The American Legion high school oratorical competition on the U.S. Constitution has been held annually for 76 years. Any high school student is eligible to participate. Information is available from high school principals or by calling 940-727-8067.


Red Cross blood drive planned Tuesday in Denton

An American Red Cross blood drive is planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday at the Center for Leadership & Service, 1155 Union Circle.

A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health are eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.

For more information, visit  or call 1-800-RED-CROSS.


Two Denton County FFA members exhibit winning entries

Two Denton County FFA members recently exhibited winning entries at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo, held Jan. 18 through Feb. 9 in Fort Worth.

Denton FFA member Skylor Schertz exhibited the first-place lightweight Polled Hereford in the Junior Steer Show, and Lewisville FFA member Haley Breedlove exhibited the first-place senior yearling heifer in the Junior Simmental Show.

The show had nearly 10,000 junior exhibitors from across Texas.


Guided hike planned at Ray Roberts Lake State Park

A guided hike through scenic sections of prairie and typical Eastern Cross Timbers terrain with a view of Ray Roberts Lake is scheduled Saturday at the Isle du Bois Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

A 1 p.m. start is planned, and hikers will meet at the unit’s Hawthorne parking area.

Sturdy hiking or walking shoes, water, a snack and binoculars are recommended.

The hike is free with regular park admission, which is $7 for those ages 12 and older.

For more information, call 940-686-2148.


Environmental learning area offers tours of historic log home

Visitors to the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area on Saturday are invited to tour the Minor-Porter Log House and learn more about Denton County frontier life, circa 1870.

The restored house is furnished with items from the pioneer era and will be open from noon to 3 p.m. Volunteers will guide visitors and answer questions in the informal tour.

Cost is regular park admission, which is $5 per person for visitors older than 5.

For more information, call 972-219-3930 or visit .


Professor to speak at organic society meeting

Members of the Denton Organic Society will meet on Wednesday for a program on “The Philosophy of Food” by Dr. David Kaplan, a professor at the University of North Texas and director of The Philosophy of Food Project.

The meeting will be at the Denton Senior Center, 509 N. Bell Ave., and is free and open to the public.

A seed and information exchange will be held at 6:30 p.m., and the program will begin at 7 p.m.

Kaplan will discuss food safety and food politics as well as explore many of the questions that society faces in attempts to improve food knowledge, practices and laws.

For more information, call Mike Mizell at 940-382-8551 or visit .


County office offers free lecture on Thursday

The Denton County Office of History and Culture will present a program titled “Bare Feet to Iron Rims: Denton’s Transportation System and the Black Experience” from 12:15 to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 21, at the Courthouse on the Square, 110 W. Hickory St.

Guest speaker Deborah Kilgore, a doctoral candidate at the University of North Texas, will discuss Denton’s transportation history and the role played by generations of black residents.

All Courthouse-on-the-Square Museum exhibits and lectures are free and open to the public. The courthouse has handicapped parking and accessibility through the north entrance.


Symphony to present Stars of the Future

The Lewisville Lake Symphony will present a Stars of the Future program featuring William Chiang, grand prize winner from the Vernell Gregg Young Artists Competition, on Friday, Feb. 22, at Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater.

Show time is 7:30 p.m., and tickets are $25 for adults, $20 for seniors and $10 for students. To order tickets, visit  or call 800-595-4849.

Advance tickets cannot be purchased at the theater.

The evening’s program will feature works by Mozart and Haydn along with Chiang’s performance of a work by Beethoven that won him the grand prize in the Vernell Gregg Young Artists Competition.

Chiang has been recognized for his superior interpretation and piano technique with prizes at competitions in Lewisville, Plano and Houston.

The theater is at 100 N. Charles St.

For more information about Lewisville Lake Symphony, call 972-874-9087 or visit .


Police association to have daddy-daughter dance

The Carrollton Police Officers Association with have its seventh annual Daddy-Daughter Dance from 6:30 to 9:30 pm. Saturday, Feb. 23, at Bent Tree Bible Fellowship, 4141 International Parkway in Carrollton.

The event is open to the public.

Proceeds benefit the association, which assists police officers and their families in times of need and also supports community projects.

The dance will feature cookies, punch, crafts, games and prizes, but no dinner will be served.

Advance tickets are $10 and are available at Advance ticket sales end Feb. 22.

Tickets at the door will be $15 per person.

Photo packages can be purchased in advance or at the door, and mini rose corsages are also available.

Check the website for more details.

Daughters of all ages are welcome to attend with their fathers.

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 .