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Les Cockrell: Civil Air Patrol helps assess tornado damage

Members of Denton’s Nighthawk Composite Squadron of the Civil Air Patrol deployed to Oklahoma to help assess tornado damage.

Team members deployed May 23 to the Army Reserve Center in Norman, Okla., where they were assigned to take photos of every house in one hard-hit area. The photos will be used by Oklahoma State Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency to catalog the full extent of the storm damage.

The squadron is typically used in air search-and-rescue operations, but team members walked every street in their assigned zone while in Oklahoma, according to a press release. Capt. Jared Cryer, team leader, stated that the squad took about 650 photos a day.

More than 100 members of the Civil Air Patrol from Texas, Arkansas and Kansas have been assisting the Oklahoma Wing. After a four-day deployment, team members returned to Denton on Sunday night.

The Nighthawk Composite Squadron is located at Denton Enterprise Airport and has more than 100 volunteers who provide air search-and-rescue services and disaster response to local, state and federal agencies.

For more information about the Civil Air Patrol, visit and .


Carter BloodCare slates drive at Denton center

Participating Carter BloodCare donor centers are hosting Memorial Day blood drives this week, and the Denton Donor Center invites area residents to give blood from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today.

During this event, all potential donors will be treated to refreshments and receive a free goody bag.

The donor center is at 2215 S. Loop 288, Suite 335. For more information, call 940-383-2055.

Potential blood donors can volunteer beginning at age 16 with a parent’s consent and 17-year-olds can give independently.

There is no upper age limit for donors.

Donors must weigh at least 110 pounds, be in good general health and present a photo ID. For more information, call 1-800-366-2834 or visit   


Hikes planned at Ray Roberts Lake State Park

The Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park will close out May with an “I Heart Texas Hike” on Friday and then kick off June with three activities on Saturday.

Friday’s hike will be from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the Vanishing Prairies Trail and will cover half a mile. Hikers should meet at the amphitheater near the fishing pond.

First up on Saturday will be a “Flying Feathered Friends” hike from 8 to 9 a.m.

All levels of bird watchers are welcome, and the hike will cover a little more than a mile. Hikers should meet at Picnic Pavilion 1, and binoculars are recommended.

A program titled “Hiking: How To” is planned from 10 a.m. to noon. The 1.1-mile hike will begin at the picnic pavilion in the parking lot of the Dogwood camping area and go through a shaded area.

Participants will learn about the seven basic principles of “leave no trace” hiking.

A program titled “Canines and Campers” from 1:30 to 3 p.m. is open to dog owners and their pets, and all pets must be leashed. A 2-mile hike will begin at Picnic Pavilion 1.

The events are free with regular park admission, which is $7 for those 12 and older. For more information about Johnson Branch events, call 940-637-2623.


Denton Herb Society to meet at library

The Denton Herb Society will meet from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the North Branch Library, 3020 N. Locust St.

Dakota R. Lemme, an artist and herbalist, will speak on “Survival Sprouting.” She will discuss herbs, wheat grass and alfalfa sprouting.

For more information, visit .


Prosper Police Department plans bicycle rodeo

The Prosper Police Department will have a bicycle rodeo from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday.

Co-sponsored by Richardson Bike Mart, Shawnee Cycle Club and the Baylor Health Care System, the rodeo will be at the north parking lot of Prosper High School.

Featured will be a safety inspection of each bicycle, an obstacle course and a lecture on bicycle safety and the rules of the road.

A helmet-fitting session and instruction on using helmets will be included.

A limited number of bicycle helmets will be offered free to those who cannot afford to purchase one.

The rodeo is free and open to the public.

Participants should bring bicycles and helmets.


‘Chalk This Way’ family festival set in Lewisville

The “Chalk This Way” family festival is planned in the heart of historic Old Town Lewisville on Saturday, in and around the city-owned Medical Center of Lewisville Grand Theater.

Festival hours will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and activities will include professional chalk artists, amateur sidewalk chalk competitions, a children’s gallery for on-site chalk creations, arts and crafts vendors, festival food, sidewalk games and live entertainment.

Admission is free, although some activities will have an entry fee.

The Lakeside Arts Foundation is holding the event in partnership with the Greater Lewisville Arts Alliance and the city of Lewisville.

The entertainment lineup on the outdoor main stage will include the David Gallegos Band at 12:30 p.m. and the Stoneleighs at 4 p.m.

Area performing groups will take part in the festival with shows scheduled inside the MCL Grand, 100 N. Charles St.

For more information, visit .


Battle of the Badge softball tourney set Saturday

First responders will join forces to raise funds for children in crisis during the 11th annual Battle of the Badge softball tournament planned for Saturday, June 8, at the Toyota of Lewisville Railroad Park softball complex.

The event, organized by the Lewisville Police Academy Alumni Association, will begin at 8:30 a.m. and benefits the Children’s Advocacy Center for Denton County.

Scheduled to participate are the Denton police and fire departments, Lewisville police and fire departments, Carrollton police and fire departments, the Flower Mound police and fire departments, the Irving Fire Department and a team composed of Lake Cities/Little Elm firefighters.

Several intercity games will be featured, including one at 10 a.m. between the Denton police and fire departments.

Other activities will include video games from Game Truck of Tarrant County, clowns, a concession stand, face painting and silent auction.

Tickets can be purchased at the gate for $5 each, and children ages 12 and younger will be admitted for free.

The advocacy center is a nonprofit agency that serves child victims of sexual or physical abuse after a report has been made to Child Protective Services or law enforcement. Services, such as counseling, are provided free of charge to the children and family members.

For more information, visit  or call 972-317-2818.

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 .