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Les Cockrell: State park offers array of outdoor activities

Area residents who want to spend a little time outdoors over the Labor Day weekend may be interested in several activities planned at the Johnson Branch Unit of Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

First up will be a program titled “The Fast and the Furriest” from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday in Pavilion 1 at the park. Participants will learn how to identify animals found in the park.

A night hike is planned from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday. The 2-mile hike along a paved trail will begin at the pavilion in the Dogwood parking lot, and hikers should bring a flashlight.

Participants will search for signs of insect activity, as well as signs of nocturnal animals.

On Saturday, the Johnson Branch Unit will host “Flying Feathered Friends,” a hike from 8 to 9 a.m.

Participants will gather at picnic Pavilion 1 and then look and listen for birds as they hike just over a mile on paved and unpaved trails. Hikers may want to bring binoculars.

Another hike is planned from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday on the Vanishing Prairies Trail. The half-mile hike will start at picnic Pavilion 1.

The activities are free with regular park admission, which is $7 for those 13 and older.

Park personnel recommend that those who plan to take part in organized hikes wear sturdy shoes and bring water.

For information about Johnson Branch events, call 940-637-2294.


Businesses plan events to raise money for United Way

September is Live United Month, and several businesses will be offering special promotions to help area residents support the United Way of Denton County.

Kicking off the month is the Taste of Industrial Street, planned from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Dan’s Silverleaf, 103 Industrial St. in Denton.

The event is sponsored by Dan’s, Fuzzy’s Taco Shop, Wente Vineyards, Royal’s Bagels and Deli, Rooster’s Roadhouse, Mellow Mushroom and Miller of Denton.

Featured will be live music, drinks and raffle items, and tickets cost $30 for singles and $50 for couples. To check ticket availability, call 940-566-5851, ext. 111, or e-mail

Other fundraisers also have been planned, with participating restaurants donating a percentage of proceeds on selected dates to the United Way of Denton County.

These include:

Tuesdays through Sept. 24 at the Smiling Moose Deli, 501 W. Hickory St., 10 percent of proceeds, all day

Wednesdays through Sept. 25 at Chick-fil-A at Loop 288 and University Drive, 10 percent of proceeds, all day (diners must say they are dining for United Way)

Thursdays from Sept. 5 through Sept. 26 at Cartwright’s Ranch House, 111 N. Elm St., 15 percent of proceeds, all day

Sept. 14 at Royal’s Bagels and Deli, 503 W. University Drive, 10 percent of proceeds, all day

Sept. 16 at Crickles and Co., 2430 Interstate 35E, Suite 136, 5 percent of proceeds, all day

Sept. 21 at Jupiter House Coffee, 106 N. Locust St., 10 percent of proceeds, all day

For more information about the United Way of Denton County, visit


Equestrian center plans volunteer training session

Born 2 Be Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Aubrey will have a volunteer training session from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 7.

The training will be at Valhalla Stables, 3575 Sauls Road in Aubrey. Volunteers must be at least 14 years of age, and no experience with horses is required.

The center provides safe and affordable therapeutic horseback riding and carriage driving programs for children and adults with disabilities, according to the center’s website.

For more information about serving as a volunteer, call 940-595-8200.

For more information about the center, visit or


Prosper slates community picnic at Frontier Park

The Prosper Community Picnic returns for its second year from 5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7, at Frontier Park, 1151 W. Frontier Parkway in Prosper.

The event will feature free hot dogs and soft drinks. The Lighthouse Christian Fellowship Church and its congregants will supply the hot dogs, buns, condiments and utensils, and members of Prosper United Methodist Church are supplying the soft drinks and water. Serving will be from 5 to 6 p.m. while supplies last.

Kona Ice will have frozen drinks available for sale at a reduced price, and the event also will feature bounce houses, rides, games, attractions, music, a show by basketball magician Crazy George, face painting, balloon artistry, a Lego station and an obstacle course for youngsters.

Planners are encouraging attendees to bring blankets and lawn chairs.

Families can also bring their own picnic supplies, but park rules prohibit glass containers or public display of alcoholic beverages.

Following the conclusion of the picnic, Live & Prosper magazine, in conjunction with Grace Christian Church, is scheduled to present the final outdoor movie in the monthly series that began in May. Admission is free, but there will be a charge for drinks and food items to raise funds for charity.


Keep Lewisville Beautiful slates gardening class

Keep Lewisville Beautiful has scheduled a class titled “Fall Bulbs” from 6 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Lewisville Public Library.

Reservations are required and must be made by Sept. 9. The free class, which is part of Keep Lewisville Beautiful’s Garden Secrets series, is open to all area residents.

Master Gardener Nancy Wilten will teach the class. She will explain how to successfully grow and propagate fall bulbs in North Texas and will answer questions from participants.

The class will meet in the Crawford Room of the library, 1197 W. Main St.

For more information, or to reserve a spot in the class, call 972-538-5949 or e-mail


Argyle Civic League offers upcoming home tour

The Argyle Civic League recently announced that a tour of homes will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 22, to help support the organization’s efforts to help children in need.

Tickets for the tour, which will feature four homes located in Argyle and Bartonville, cost $10 each.

The Argyle High School UNICEF club will be selling tickets at home football games leading up to the event.

Funds raised by the event will be used to purchase clothing and school supplies for children who would otherwise not have these items because of financial hardships.

Funds will also help support the civic league’s Angel Tree Program, which provides children with clothing, gifts and necessities, and also helps seniors during the holidays.

For more information, contact Marlene Tackett at or 940-391-0527. More information is also available on the Argyle Civic League’s Facebook page.

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