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Les Cockrell: State park plans nature journal class, hike

Visitors to Lake Ray Roberts State Park on Saturday can learn more about nature journal writing and take part in a short hike to explore a nature trail.

Park visitors who enjoy being outdoors and are interested in writing may be interested in checking out the journal writing class that’s scheduled to start at 10 a.m. in Pavilion 1 of the park’s Johnson Branch Unit.

The class will explore different types of journals about nature, and participants can pick the type that’s best for them and get some practice writing. Attendees should bring their own journals and art supplies if possible, although there will be some items available for public use.

Saturday’s hike will be along the Lost Pines Nature Trail at the park’s Isle du Bois Unit and it is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The hike will cover about half a mile, and participants will stop along the way to explore interesting features of the trail. No reservations are required.

Park admission is $7 for those 13 and older. For more information about Isle du Bois events, call 940-686-2148. For more information about Johnson Branch events, call 940-637-2636.


Epiphany Party in Denton to help less-fortunate

The 10th annual Epiphany Party for the poor and homeless of Denton is planned from 6 to 9 p.m. Monday at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 2255 N. Bonnie Brae St.

The event will feature clothing and food for those in need, flowers for the ladies, gifts and entertainment including clowns, a disc jockey and karaoke, according to an e-mail from Lico Reyes, event founder.

Sponsors are still welcome for the nondenominational and nonpartisan event, Reyes wrote in the e-mail.

“We need only a small commitment of time or goods,” he stated. “In 2013 we fed, gave clothes, gifts and merriment to about 150 of the Denton and Cooke County community’s needy and struggling families.”

The event commemorates the day the three wise men (Magi) came to offer gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the baby Jesus.

For more information, call 817-454-4716 or e-mail


Class of 1974 announces 40-year reunion plans

Members of the 1974 graduating class of Denton High School have announced plans for a 40-year reunion, and event organizers are seeking contact information for former classmates.

Reunion events are planned June 20 and 21, organizers said.

For more informations, visit


Red Cross blood drive set at Denton church

An American Red Cross community blood drive is planned from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, in the gym of Denton’s St. Andrew Presbyterian Church.

Photo identification is required to donate blood, and potential donors must be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds. Donors are urged to drink plenty of water, eat iron-rich foods and limit caffeine and tea prior to giving blood.

The church is at 300 W. Oak St. Walk-ins will be welcome or residents can call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit and enter sponsor code “standrew” to schedule an appointment.


County Office of History and Culture plans lecture

The Denton County Office of History and Culture has announced that a lecture titled “The Orphan Train Riders: Little Survivors” will be from noon to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 22, at the Courthouse on the Square in Denton.

Presenting the lecture in the Commissioners Courtroom of the courthouse, located at 110 W. Hickory St., will be Kathy Strauss, genealogy and special collections senior librarian for the Denton Public Library.

More than 200,000 children rode “Orphan Trains” in this country between 1854 and 1930, a press release stated. They were part of a “placing out” program created to find homes for children who were orphans or whose parents could not take care of them.

Most of the “riders” came from New York or other large cities in the East.

The trains brought groups of them to other parts of the country where they were lined up in front of crowds of curious onlookers. Interested families could then choose the child they wanted.

Several children were adopted by Denton families, according to the press release.

“Survival is the major theme in any history of the Orphan Trains,” Strauss stated. “Survival of the children of large cities left to fend for themselves; survival of those children once they were institutionalized by charity groups; survival of the Orphan Train ride and the placing-out to families of faraway cities and towns.”

Many of the children led happy lives with their new families; however, some were treated no better than slaves, the press release stated. Many survived to be reunited with brothers and sisters, and to lead successful lives, often adopting children of their own.

All exhibits and lectures are free and open to the public. The courthouse has handicapped parking and accessibility through the north entrance.

For more information, call 940-349-2850.

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