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Les Cockrell: Woman crafts hats to help West community

A box filled with warm winter hats was recently mailed to the Church of Christ in West, just in time for the last cold snap, thanks to a thoughtful Ponder resident.

The hats were made by 91-year-old Helen Ament, who wanted to help the West community after the fertilizer plant explosion, said her daughter, Jennie Palesano of Ardmore, Okla.

The project was delayed while her mother battled lung cancer, Palesano said.

“Her declining health delayed her work and then again kept her from being able to make a trip for a special delivery to the schools,” Palesano wrote in an e-mail.

Chemotherapy weakened Ament so much that she was hospitalized for six weeks, and during this time, she forgot how to make the hats, her daughter said.

“The daughter-in-law that she once taught how to craft them now re-taught her,” Palesano wrote.

Each time great-grandchildren came to visit, they chose a hat to take home, so Ament watched the collection go up and down.

“A few weeks ago, she was hospitalized again — not for the lung cancer because she beat that — but for congestive heart failure,” Palesano wrote. “One doctor was ready to send her home on palliative care but the prayers of many brought a cardiologist to her room and she was transferred to Baylor Heart Hospital for a week.”

Ament is now home and stabilized, Palesano said, and has already started another batch of caps to help someone else next winter.

“She has been such an inspiration to all of her family, including six children and countless grandchildren, as she fought advanced lung cancer and then most recently, congestive heart failure — both entailing hospitalizations and near-death illnesses,” Palesano wrote.

Ament and her husband, Tom Ament, are members of Justin Church of Christ.


Denton High class of 1974 schedules reunion

Members of the Denton High School graduating class of 1974 have announced plans for their 40-year reunion on Friday, June 20, and on Saturday, June 21.

Various events are planned, including a mixer and dinner on June 20 at Prairie House Restaurant in Cross Roads and a mixer and dinner party and dance on June 21 at the Center for the Visual Arts in Denton.

Cost to attend both events is $82 per person and checks payable to DHS Class of 1974 can be mailed to DHS Class of 1974, 624 W. University Drive, #363, Denton, TX 76201.

Payment by PayPal can be made at

Organizers have set a registration deadline of April 1, and they are also seeking contact information for classmates. For complete reunion details and registration information, visit the website.


Krum band to host free concert to thank supporters

The Krum High School band will have a free concert at 5:45 p.m. Friday in the high school auditorium.

The concert is being held to thank those who helped the band raise money for the opportunity to perform at Carnegie Hall on Tuesday.

The band will perform music it is scheduled to play at Carnegie Hall for the 2014 National Youth Concert. Under the direction of Carol Turner, the 2013 KHS Wind Ensemble was selected for the 2014 National Youth Concert in New York City after entering a competition last May.

Members of the Krum Band Boosters and students have raised funds for the trip by manning concession stands at football games, selling raffle tickets and cookie dough, and other projects.


Artist plans silent auction to benefit Denton boy

Artist Morgan Everhart, a recent University of North Texas graduate, is having a solo exhibition at an area art studio and will auction one of her works as a donation to help a Denton boy with failing eyesight.

Everhart’s mother, Diana Yensan, said her daughter was touched by a recent article about 9-year-old Ben Pierce and his family and their efforts to raise money to help him fulfill a wish list of experiences and build visual memories.

Among other projects, the family has been making and selling truffles.

An opening reception for Everhart’s exhibition is planned from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday.

A mixed-media piece titled Battle of Casina will be sold during a silent auction to help raise funds for the Denton family.

The studio is at 139 S. Elm St. in Keller and the silent auction will continue through April 8. For more information about the artist, visit For more information about the Denton family, visit


Greenbelt hike, archery classes on tap at state park

A hike down the greenbelt corridor trail and introductory archery classes will be among activities offered Saturday at Ray Roberts Lake State Park.

The two-hour introductory archery class is best for ages 10 and older and will be offered at the park’s Johnson Branch Unit. Sessions are planned at 9 and 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.

A limited number of bows will be available for use. Participants will learn the basics of shooting and practice shooting at targets.

Class size is limited and those interested must register before the event by contacting Danielle Bradley at 940-637-2636 or

The hike will begin at 10 a.m. at the park’s Isle du Bois Unit, and participants should meet at the Elm East parking area of the trail, located off FM455 in Pilot Point.

Hikers will follow the Elm Fork of the Trinity River, visit a wetlands area and observe wildlife.

Binoculars and sturdy shoes are recommended.

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.


Environmental learning area to host night hike

The Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area will have a night hike for ages 5 and older on Saturday.

Guides will lead the hike down the Redbud Trail beginning at 7:30 p.m. No flashlights are necessary.

Cost is $10 per person, and registration is required by calling 972-219-3930 or e-mailing

The environmental learning area includes 2,000 acres of prairies, forests and wetlands managed as a wildlife preserve.

It is open to the public every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for fishing, hiking, camping, bird watching, kayaking, canoeing, picnicking and other activities. For more information about LLELA, call 972-219-3930 or visit


Fundraiser set for Denton County Friends of the Family

A fundraiser titled “Rhapsody in the Afternoon, A Day at the Derby” benefiting Denton County Friends of the Family is planned from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 12, at the Hilton Garden Inn, 785 State Highway 121 Bypass in Lewisville.

The event will feature a silent auction, luncheon with speaker, live auction and a hat contest.

Tickets cost $50 each.

Organizers are seeking donations for the silent auction by March 28. Tickets and sponsorships will be available through April 7.

For more information, contact Kaitlyn Howell at 940-387-5131, ext. 104, or


Community gardening workshop offered in Denton

The American Community Gardening Association will have its first Growing Communities Workshop in Denton from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday, March 28, and Saturday, March 29, at The Mill, 2300 E. University Drive.

Hosted by Shiloh Field Community Garden, the two-day interactive workshop will offer participants the tools to enhance community building and leadership development through gardening and new gardening ideas. Light breakfast and lunch will be served both days.

Registration is $25.

For more information or to register, 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