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Les Cockrell: Kayak classes on tap at Ray Roberts park

Area families can learn about the different mammals found at Ray Roberts Lake State Park and how to safely use a kayak in programs planned at the park this weekend.

“The Fast and the Furriest,” a class to teach participants how to identify mammals based on tracks and other information, will be offered from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday at the park’s Johnson Branch Unit. Families should go to Pavilion 1 to take part in the class.

Two introductory kayaking classes are planned at the park on Saturday. The first, scheduled at 9 a.m., will be at the park’s Isle du Bois Unit, and the second will begin at 1 p.m. at the Johnson Branch Unit.

Boats, paddles, life vests and instruction will be included, and although there is no cost to participate, space is limited and reservations are required by calling 940-367-7433.

Youngsters 12 and older can paddle in a single-seat kayak or a double-seat kayak with an adult or another child 12 or older.

Children 3 and older can ride in a boat accompanied by an adult.

Those who plan to participate should dress in clothing that they can get wet in. Water shoes and sunscreen are recommended.

Participants in the Isle du Bois class should meet at the unit’s Deer Ridge Camping Loop extra parking area, between campsites 58 and 59. Participants in the Johnson Branch class should meet at the Walnut parking area between campsites 45 and 96.

The programs may be canceled in the event of inclement weather, and residents should call the reservation number with questions about weather conditions.

Park staff members advise participants in park events to bring bottled 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.


Free shuttle service set for area balloon festival

The Denton County Transportation Authority will provide complimentary shuttle service for the Highland Village Lions Club Balloon Fest from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

The shuttles will pick up passengers at the Highland Village/Lewisville Lake train station and drop off them off at Unity Park in Highland Village, the site of the balloon festival.

Because of limited parking at the Highland Village/Lewisville Lake station, attendees are encouraged to park at the Old Town or MedPark stations and ride the A-train.

The A-train will run its regular schedule, but the shuttles will run every 20 minutes with the return trips picking up at the drop-off point at Unity Park. Parking is free at all A-train stations, the press release stated, and on Friday, passengers can ride the A-train for free by using the secret code “Hot Air” upon boarding.

The hot-air balloon event lasts for three days, running from 5 p.m. Friday to through 10 a.m. Sunday. It is a fundraising event coordinated by the Lions Club.

Visit  for more information regarding the A-train schedule or call 940-243-0077.

For more information about the balloon festival, visit .


United Way to offer leadership training program

The United Way of Denton County will offer the Project Blueprint: Board Leadership Training program in September and applications must be submitted by 5 p.m. Aug. 28.

The program is designed to train community volunteers to become qualified board members of nonprofit organizations in Denton County.

The training consists of a series of meetings covering several key areas, which include governance, board and agency relations, operations of the board, finances and fundraising, and marketing.

Each module will be taught by an expert in that field and will consist of group exercises and a test. Each program graduate will be placed for service with the local United Way or introduced to an agency that matches their interests.

The program will begin Sept. 18 with an orientation, and graduation and presentation of certificates will be at a United Way board meeting on Dec. 6. All candidates must complete an application, and attendance is required at all classes to receive certification.


Space is limited.

Cost per participant is $100, which is due by Sept. 13. Applications must be received at the United Way office, 625 Dallas Drive, Suite 525, in Denton no later than 5 p.m. Aug. 28.

For a course application, contact Leah Jordan at 940-566-5851, ext. 105, or .

For a schedule and more information, visit .


Fundraiser to support Keep Lewisville Beautiful projects

A fundraiser to support Keep Lewisville Beautiful projects and programs is planned from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesday at the Panda Express located at 101 N. Stemmons Freeway (at Main Street).

To participate, supporters need only print a flier off the Keep Lewisville Beautiful website or pick one up at the organization’s office and present it at the restaurant when ordering on the fundraiser date.

A percentage of the food purchase will be donated to Keep Lewisville Beautiful.

Supporters can use the flier for dine-in, take out and drive-through orders.

The Keep Lewisville Beautiful office is at 101 W. Main St., Suite 102. For more information, call the organization at 972-538-5949 or visit .

Funds raised will support projects such as the Spring Clean Up, Trinity Trash Bash and Make a Difference Wildflower planting projects


Organization to present artist’s showcase Thursday

Butterfield Arthouse Productions will sponsor an artist’s showcase from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 22, at the organization’s theater, 201 S. Denton St. in Gainesville.

Admission is free, and the event will feature art, music, food and wine.

Showcase artist will be painter Clyda Fay Hall, and showcase musician will be jazz vocalist Jennifer Martin.

For more information, call 940-665-8152, visit  or e-mail .

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 .