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Les Cockrell: Program to offer Civil War focus

Genealogist Nancy Calhoun will visit Denton’s Emily Fowler Central Library at 3 p.m. Saturday for a Civil War-era genealogy program.

She will discuss how to find out if someone served in the war and how to locate information about the person’s experiences. Calhoun dresses in period costume for her presentations and brings homemade cookies made from Civil War-era recipes.

Calhoun is the genealogy librarian at the Muskogee, Okla., public library and is a 40-year veteran of genealogy research. Her previous experience includes 20 years in newspaper work, teaching, publishing and photography.

“Civil War research can be challenging,” Calhoun stated in a press release. “In addition to finding the facts, we will discuss how to flesh out the bones of those facts.”

She will explain how to obtain Union and Confederate service and pension records and other resources with information about Civil War veterans and their family members.

The library is at 502 Oakland St. The program is part of a comprehensive series of exhibits, lectures and other programming that looks at Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and the lasting impact of decisions he made during the Civil War. More information about the series, titled “Lincoln, the Union and Crisis,” is available at


Catholic school to host supper, open house

Immaculate Conception Catholic School will have a spaghetti supper and open house from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Friday.

Tickets for the spaghetti supper can be purchased at the school office or at the door. Admission will be free for children younger than kindergarten age, $5 for those in kindergarten through eighth grade and $8 for all other guests. Maximum family price is $35.

The event is planned to help kick off Catholic Schools Week activities at the local school. Students and staff join more than 2 million Catholic school students nationwide in celebrating Catholic Schools Week — Sunday through Feb. 1. The national theme of this year’s celebration is “Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge and Service.”

The school is at 2301 N. Bonnie Brae St. in Denton.

For more information, call the school office at 940-381-1155 or log on to the school’s website at


Event to help encourage creative family playtimes

An event called “The Big Denton Playdate” is planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Emily Fowler Central Library, 502 Oakland St.

The program is free and is designed to help parents and caregivers learn easy ways to play with their children who are age 5 and younger to encourage mental, physical and social growth.

The event will feature ideas for creative, inexpensive playtime activities to boost brainpower, social, vocabulary and thinking skills.

For more information, call Michelle Lynn at 940-369-2673 or Stacey Irish-Keffer at 940-349-8752.


Speculative fiction convention set for Sunday

A speculative fiction convention called Helio Con is planned from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the MCL Grand Theatre in Lewisville.

The family event is sponsored by the League of Extraordinary Jews, a speculative fiction fan club based at Congregation Kol Ami in Flower Mound. Although it will be hosted by a synagogue, it is not a religious event, organizers stated in a press release.

The convention is a fundraiser and money raised will go to Habitat for Humanity and to support the synagogue.

In addition, Delete Blood Cancer will have a bone marrow registration drive at the convention.

Special guests invited to participate include: Felix Silla, stuntman and actor; Michael Jan Friedman, science fiction and comics author; Rachel Caine, fantasy novelist; Sonny Strait, comics artist/author and anime voice actor; Steve Erwin, comics artist; Lewis Lovhaug, fandom blogger and commentator; Kristin McGuire, comics artist and anime voice actor; and Weldon Adams, comics editor and historian.

The event will feature an exhibition hall for dealers, businesses and artists, a gaming miniatures “paint-and-take” sponsored by Reaper Miniatures (, a tabletop game room with demonstrations and competitions sponsored by Roll2Play (, costume contests and a green screen photography booth.

The MCL Grand is at 100 N. Charles St. in Lewisville. For more information about the event, visit or


Hix to address Denia community group

Quentin Hix, director of aviation at Denton Municipal Airport, will speak to members of the Denia Neighborhood Community Group at their monthly meeting Monday at the Denia Recreation Center, 1001 Parvin St.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Hix is scheduled to provide an overview of the airport, including information on new projects.

For more information, call 940-382-5962.


Two blood drives planned in Denton County

Officials with the American Red Cross want to remind residents as winter continues, blood donations are especially critical because of seasonal illnesses and weather that may discourage potential donors.

Two Denton County blood drives are planned later this month to help meet the need, and appointments can be made by visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

The first drive will be from 9 am. to 1 p.m. Wednesday at SYSCO Dallas, 800 Trinity Drive in Lewisville.

The second drive is planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at Retractable Tech, 511 Lobo Lane in Little Elm.

All blood types are needed. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in.

Individuals who are 17 years of age, weigh at least 110 pounds and are in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood.

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