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Les Cockrell: Student wins top spot at state-level contest

Peyton Luke, a home-school student from Valley View, took top honors at the state level of the oratorical competition on the Constitution sponsored by the American Legion, according to an announcement from Denton’s American Legion Post 71.

Luke received a scholarship valued at $2,000 and the right to compete at the national level of the competition, to be held April 19-21 in Indianapolis.

The state competition was held Feb. 17 on the campus of Blinn College in Brenham.

The event featured contestants from the four Texas divisions: Luke, Division 1; Joshua Upham of Austin, Division 3, second place; Scott Pofahl of Bandera, Division 4, third place; and Drew Dugger of Liberty, Division 2, fourth place.

There will be 54 contestants competing at the national level, and the first-place winner will receive a scholarship valued at $18,000.

The oratorical competition is open to all high school students, with competition beginning in January in each district. Materials will be available from high school principals at the beginning of school in August 2013 or by calling 940-727-8067.


Volunteers sought for Great American Cleanup

Anyone who wants to volunteer to help Keep Denton Beautiful with the Great American Cleanup event is asked to register before Friday.

Registration information is available at the organization’s website at, on the KDB Facebook page or by calling 940-349-8738.

This year’s cleanup is set to begin at 8 a.m. Saturday, March 2, and volunteers will be assigned to help clean up locations citywide.

After the cleanup, participants are invited to a volunteer party from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Denton Civic Center, 321 E. McKinney St.

The party will feature live music, family-friendly environmental activities and a free lunch.

Registration on the day of the event will be at the Denton Civic Center beginning at 8 a.m., but volunteers are encouraged to register in advance. Sections of roadway will be assigned or volunteers can select a site to clean.

Those who register in advance can pick up trash bags and other supplies at the KDB office on Tuesday and Wednesday.

In conjunction with the cleanup event, the city of Denton Solid Waste and Recycling Department will sponsor a free disposal day for Denton residents at the landfill, 1527 Mayhill Road, from 7 a.m. to noon. Proof of residency is required, and no commercial or hazardous waste will be accepted.

For more information, visit .


Donations needed for garage sale fundraiser

Organizers are accepting donations for a garage sale to benefit Born 2 Be Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Aubrey.

The garage sale is planned March 2 and 3 at 2324 Yorkshire St. in Denton, and anyone who has items to donate should call 940-595-8200.

Large furniture items or clothing cannot be accepted, but most other items are welcome.

For more information about the center, visit .


Local church plans history month celebration

Denton’s St. James A.M.E. Church, 1107 E. Oak St., will celebrate African-American History Month with activities including a health and wellness fair Saturday and a gospel concert Sunday.

Saturday’s activities will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The health and wellness fair will feature medical and vision screenings, a healthy cooking demonstration, information about CPR and first aid and other health information.

Other activities planned for Saturday include historical programs, skits, poster displays and an inventor’s exhibit.

Gretel L’Heureux of the Denton County Office of History and Culture will present “Historic African American Families of Denton County: The Quakertown Story” from 12:45 to 1:30 p.m.

Chelsea Stallings, museum assistant for the county office, will give a presentation of oral history interviews from Quakertown descendants.

Sunday’s concert is planned from 3 to 5 p.m. and will feature church choirs, soloists and singing groups. A musical skit, readings and poetry are also planned.

All events are open to the community. For more information, call 940-220-9054 or 940-387-1223.


Registration open for Power of a Healthy Woman event

The annual Power of a Healthy Woman event will take place Saturday, March 2, in Hubbard Hall on the Texas Woman’s University campus.

The event, designed to increase knowledge of health risks among women and to raise awareness about disease prevention and promoting good health, will begin at 8 a.m.

Early registration is available at for $35 or $20 for TWU students. Deadline for early registration is Wednesday, Feb. 27.

Keynote speaker for the event will be Linda Noble-Topf, national advocate for disability rights, who will speak on “The Spiritual Power of a Healthy Woman.”


Learning area trail guides offer night hike

Trail guides from the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area will lead a night hike Saturday.

Participants will hike through a wooded area and across sections of prairie and listen for sounds of nocturnal creatures.

Registration is required by calling 972-219-3930 or e-mailing .

There is a $2 program fee for the night hike, in addition to the regular LLELA gate fee of $5 per person.

LLELA’s entrance is at 201 E. Jones St., at the intersection of Jones and Kealy streets, in Lewisville.


Program on herbs, native plant landscaping set

Gayle Southerland will present a program titled “Herbs and Native Plant Landscaping” to members of the Trinity Forks Chapter of the Native Plant Society of Texas on Thursday, Feb. 28.

The chapter meets in the new science building on the southern edge of the main campus of Texas Woman’s University.

Refreshments will be served in the foyer at 6:30 p.m., and the program will begin at 7 p.m. in the large auditorium/classroom on the second floor.

Southerland was instrumental in starting the first Herb Society Unit in North Texas in 1986 and has been in several leadership positions in the Heritage Herb Club of Plano, regional and national herb organizations,.

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 .