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Les Cockrell: Activities planned at state park

Area families can learn about animals and take part in a guided bike tour this weekend at Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

A program titled “Wildlife Detectives,” set for 6 to 7 p.m. Friday at the park’s Johnson Branch Unit, will teach participants how to use their observation skills to find traces of animal activity.

The program will be followed by a short, optional animal track-hunting hike, and those interested should meet at the amphitheater near the fishing pond.

Bird watchers of all skill levels are invited to a program titled “Flying Feathered Friends,” planned for 8 to 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Johnson Branch. Participants will meet at picnic pavilion 1 and then look and listen for birds as they hike about a mile over concrete and unpaved trails.

Binoculars are recommended, and a limited number of binoculars and pocket field guides are available for use.

A guided bike tour at the park’s Isle du Bois Unit will roll out at 10 a.m. Saturday. Participants must provide their own bikes and safety equipment and should meet at the Greenbelt parking lot on U.S. Highway 380 in Denton.

The tour will make frequent stops so participants can explore interesting park features.

A guided hike along the Vanishing Prairies Trail is planned for 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Johnson Branch Unit. Participants can learn about birds and trees along the trail during the half-mile hike, which will begin at picnic pavilion 1.

Park staff members advise all hikers to wear sturdy shoes and 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.


Denton Herb Society to host botanical herbalist Saturday

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

The featured speaker will be botanical herbalist Alex Cerda, who is scheduled to discuss how a curandero uses rue, rosemary, basil and other herbs in folklore and in magical and traditional ways of healing, according to an event announcement.

A curandero is a traditional American Indian healer or shaman in the United States and Latin America, according to information provided by the Denton Herb Society.

The Denton Herb Society is an educational and informational organization with the mission of teaching and sharing information about herbs.

Saturday’s presentation is open to the public and free of charge. For more information, visit


Library to host two-part program on Word 2007

A two-part introductory class to Word 2007 will be presented at Denton’s South Branch Library on Wednesday and Sept. 13, according to an announcement from the library.

Both sessions are scheduled to begin at 2 p.m.

The classes are free, but class size is limited, and those interested should call 940-349-8752 or e-mail to register.

In order to take the class, students must be familiar with using a mouse and know how to save and retrieve files in Microsoft Windows.

Those needing a refresher course in the basic functions of the word processing program also are welcome to attend. Each class session will last about an hour and a half.

South Branch Library is located at 3228 Teasley Lane.


Free concert series continues in Roanoke

Roanoke’s Evenings on Oak Street free concert series is scheduled to continue next Thursday with a performance by country band Empty Pockets.

The concert is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. at Austin Street Plaza, 221 N. Oak St. in historic downtown Roanoke. The plaza features a covered stage, landscaped green space, picnic area, restrooms and parking area, and concert-goers are invited to bring a picnic dinner, blanket and/or lawn chairs.

For more information, visit


Denton County branch of NAACP schedules meeting 

The Denton County branch of the NAACP will meet at 7 p.m. next Thursday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Recreation Center, 1300 Wilson St. in Denton.

All members are encouraged to attend. Memberships are available for $30 per year, a spokeswoman for the group said.


Diapers needed for program offered by resource center

Life Gifts at Twice as Nice Resale, 413 E. Oak St. in Denton, is in need of diapers — especially size 4, according to an announcement issued Wednesday.

The resale shop benefits Woman to Woman Pregnancy Resource Center, and gifts — including diapers and other items — are earned by Woman to Woman clients who attend education classes, Bible studies and one-on-one mentoring sessions, the announcement stated.

“If you can help, there are some young mothers (and a bunch of volunteers) that will appreciate it,” a spokeswoman for the program wrote in an e-mail.


Library offering access to material in Texas libraries

The Denton Public Library is offering its patrons access to books and articles in 500 Texas public libraries and in other libraries across the United States through a partnership with the new Texas Group Catalog, according to a press release from the city of Denton.

The Texas Group Catalog is a statewide interlibrary loan system developed in partnership with the Texas State Library and Archive Commission and the Online Computer Library Center, the press release stated. The system connects the state’s 500 public libraries and manages interlibrary loan requests for books and articles.

Users will find the library resources in a single location and can request that items be delivered to their library location in Denton for pickup.

Denton Public Library patrons can start their searches at Patrons will need a Denton Public Library card and will be required to enter their card number to use the system, the press release stated.

For more information, contact Jake Crowley at 940-349-8760 or


Keep Denton Beautiful to deliver garden kits 

Individuals and families selected on the basis of need will receive free garden kits Saturday when members of Keep Denton Beautiful host the third cycle of the KDB Garden Giveaway at Denia Recreation Center, 1001 Parvin St.

Each kit will include a self-watering container, soil, six vegetable plants, a watering can, a recipe book and planting instructions, according to a press release.

The program helps teach participants about the environmental, health and socioeconomic benefits of gardening, according to the press release, and the kits provide each selected individual or family with the resources to be knowledgeable and successful, the press release stated. 

During last year’s giveaway, Keep Denton Beautiful representatives supplied 100 garden kits, and participants planted kale, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, green beans, collard greens and basil. This year, 75 recipients are scheduled to receive vegetable container gardens.

The program is supported by sponsors including Sustainable Denton, Clear Creek Natural Heritage Center, the Denton Record-Chronicle, the Denton Solid Waste Department, the Denton Parks & Recreation Department, and Sleepin’ Dogs Website Designs.

Keep Denton Beautiful is a nonprofit organization with the mission of inspiring individuals to take greater responsibility for creating a clean and beautiful city through litter prevention, reduction of waste and community beautification. For more information about KDB programs, visit

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