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Les Cockrell: State park offers outdoor opportunities

A Wildlife Detectives program and several opportunities to hike and explore nature are on the agenda this weekend at Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

The Wildlife Detectives program teaches children and adults how to use their observation skills to find traces of animal activity, and families can participate from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday at the park’s Johnson Branch Unit.

A short track-hunting hike will be held at the end of the program. Participants should meet at the amphitheater near the unit’s fishing pond.

Also scheduled Friday at Johnson Branch is a night hike, which will lead participants on a search for insect activity and signs of nocturnal animals. The 2-mile hike will begin at 8 p.m., and hikers should meet at the pavilion in the Dogwood parking lot and bring a flashlight.

The park’s Isle du Bois Unit will host a hike at 10 a.m. Saturday along the Randy Bell scenic trail. Hikers should meet at the Hawthorn parking area.

Two vanishing-prairie guided hikes are planned Saturday at the park’s Johnson Branch Unit. The first hike will be from 10 to 11 a.m. and the second will be from 2 to 3 p.m. Both will begin at Pavilion 1.

Park staff members said that those who plan to take part in hikes should wear sturdy shoes and a hat and bring water.

The activities are free with regular park admission, which is $7 for those 13 and older. For more information about Isle du Bois events, call 940-686-2148. For information about Johnson Branch events, call 940-637-2294.


Utley to speak to Texas Master Naturalist group

Bill Utley, president of the Fort Worth Cactus and Succulent Society, will speak to members of the Elm Fork Chapter of the Texas Master Naturalist program at 9:30 a.m. today.

Utley will discuss habitat requirements, the threats posed for native succulents and how to grow cacti and agaves.

Guests are welcome to attend. The chapter meets at the Joseph A. Carroll Building, 401 W. Hickory St. in Denton. Visit  for more information.

The Elm Fork Chapter was established in 1999 and has 110 active members from Denton, Wise and Cooke counties. Training for the 2013 class begins Sept. 3. Applications are currently being accepted.


Saturday car show planned to benefit hospice

The fifth annual Lake City Misfits Car & Truck Club Show, a benefit for Faith Presbyterian Hospice, is planned Saturday at Jim McNatt Toyota Honda Scion, 4050 S. Interstate 35 East (exit 462).

Information about entry fees, classifications and show schedule is available at .

For more information, contact Brad Soper at  or 214-796-3002.


Denton Christian Preschool in need of volunteers

Officials with Denton Christian Preschool announced this week that volunteers are needed.

Those interested can apply to help out the school in the following areas:

Kitchen assistance needed to prepare, serve and clean at lunch. Two to three hours is required before, during and after lunch, roughly from 9:30 a.m. to noon or 12:30 to 2 p.m.

Classroom aide needed to assist teacher as directed. Three to four hours is required.

Office aide needed to answer phone, direct visitors, file, copy notes and materials for teachers and sort seasonal supplies for storage. Time required is from 8:30 a.m. to noon for working in the office, with flexible hours for sorting and working in the supply room.

Special-events chairpersons needed to plan and execute fundraising events. Time required varies.

Person needed to update the school’s website and train a staff member to keep it updated.

Applicants must submit to a background check and must be willing to work under the direction of a staff member. They must be dependable and give adequate notice when there is a need to be absent. Training is required.

The preschool is at 1114 W. University Drive. To apply as a volunteer, call director Alicia Blanca at 940-383-3332.


Kiwanis Club announces winners from fundraiser

The winners in the annual Taste of North Texas event presented by the Denton Kiwanis Club were recently announced.

This year’s event raised more than $16,000 for the club’s children’s clinic, which provides medical and dental care and prescriptions to children in Denton County.

Approximately 1,200 people attended the event, and more than 30 restaurants, catering services and food service providers served samples of their menu items. Vendors and their samples were scored by a panel of judges on presentation as well as taste.

Winners included: Best Decorations, Texas Woman’s University; Best Service, The Candy Store; Best Beef, Lucy’s Mom’s on Main; Best Pork, Freebirds Burrito; Best Chicken, La Milpa; Best Italian, Palio’s Pizza; Best Tex-Mex, El Guapo’s; Best Seafood, Dani Rae’s; Best Barbecue, Texas Roadhouse; Best Comfort Food, Cartwright’s Ranch House; Most Unique Entrée, Abbey Inn; Best Finger Food, Hooters; Best Appetizer, Kolache Haven; Most Unique Appetizer, IHOP; Tastiest Dessert, NV Cupcakes; Most Decadent Dessert, Candy Haven; Tastiest Pastry, Davis Bakery; Best Beverage Alcohol, Ben E. Keith Budweiser; Most Refreshing Beverage, McAlister’s Deli; and Best Beverage, Smoothie King.

Awards chosen by the crowd were Kids’ Choice, Beth Marie’s Old Fashioned Ice Cream and Soda Fountain, and People’s Choice, Texas Roadhouse.

For more information about the club, visit .


SpiritHorse center to be in documentary film

Olive Tree Pictures will be at SpiritHorse Therapeutic Riding Center in Corinth this week to film part of a one-hour documentary.

The documentary will feature Charles Fletcher, founder of SpiritHorse. Production will continue through Friday.

Olive Tree Pictures is a nonprofit organization empowering other nonprofits and ministries to tell their stories through documentaries and short films.

The mission of SpiritHorse is “to assist individuals with special needs in reaching their full potential through interaction with horses. We change lives,” Jennifer Batchelder of SpiritHorse stated in a press release.

For more information, visit .


Don’t forget

Denton’s St. Andrew Presbyterian Church will have an American Red Cross community blood drive from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

The drive will be in the gymnasium of the church, and a photo ID is required to donate. Potential donors must be at least 17 years of age and weigh at least 110 pounds.

Walk-ins are welcome. For more information or to make an appointment, call 1-800-RED CROSS.

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 .