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Debris in Elm Fork poses no danger, state says

The mass of logs and other debris in the Elm Fork of the Trinity River near U.S. Highway 380 poses no public hazard or danger, according to an assessment by state environmental officials.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality spokesman Brian McGovern said the agency was made aware of the logjam by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sept. 20, one week after a story about the massive debris field ran in the Denton Record-Chronicle.

The collection of logs, brush and other flood debris had grown so large it could be seen from the highway bridge by passing motorists. Grass and other brush are growing in and among the log piles in the river.

TCEQ sent a team to assess the area on Oct. 5, McGovern said.

“The debris is not causing a hazard to a bridge since it is located downstream of the nearest bridge and no issues were noted concerning public safety,” McGovern said in an email.

The Elm Fork of the Trinity River is now a channel between two lakes. The area is known popularly as the Greenbelt and is about 12 miles long. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dammed the river to create Lewisville Lake and dammed the Trinity River basin upstream to create Ray Roberts Lake. Both were built for flood control and to serve as public water supply sources.

According to McGovern, TCEQ notified the Corps of Engineers on Oct. 7 that the field didn’t pose any kind of danger at this time and provided additional information to local officials.

Geezerpalooza brings era of peace and love to 21st century through music

The Industrial Street Pop Festival brought a blast from the past to Denton on Saturday with cover bands paying tribute to 1960s and ’70s legends like Janis Joplin and Santana.

The festival, affectionately known as Geezerpalooza, is an annual music festival in front of Dan’s Silverleaf that commemorates the 1969 Texas International Pop Festival — 50 years ago this year — in Lewisville. Cover bands perform music from rock groups of decades past.

Sharlene Schlieper of Era was one of a handful of people dancing close to the stage while others enjoyed the show from their seats.

“It’s the annual event and I don’t like to miss it,” Schlieper said. “I love Santana and just had to move. I work out all my issues with dancing.”

One of the things that keeps Schlieper coming back every year is the festival’s vibe — relaxing and comfortable, she said. She said it’s also a great way to catch up with friends, including Dan Mojica, the owner of Dan’s Silverleaf.

Industrial Street was closed off for the festival. A couple hundred festivalgoers sat around enjoying food and drinks while listening to cover bands play all afternoon.

Vendors sold items from food to clothing to jewelry. Businesses along Industrial had customers from the festival going in and out.

Although a cold front hit North Texas this past week, the wind was calm and the sun helped keep people warm enough.

By the time 2:30 p.m. rolled around and the Janis Joplin cover band came on, the smaller crowd of about 100 had doubled. The crowd cheered on singer Katie Robertson as she imitated Joplin’s gravelly voice.

Mark and Deanna Cody said they heard the music early in the afternoon and decided to stop by after going out for breakfast. They’ve lived in Denton for almost a year and have been married for 26 years.

“I love live music, so we decided to sit down and relax,” Mark Cody said.

While the Santana band was on, Mark played air guitar while watching from his seat.

“We’ve been enjoying it, and it’s a beautiful day,” Deanna Cody said.

Mark said one of his friends said they would enjoy living in Denton.

“It’s a very vibrant town and we’ve got people of all ages here,” Deanna said. “We’re enjoying this age of our lives.”

Patrick headlines fundraiser in Robson Ranch, promises Republican win in 2020

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and several other local Republican leaders convened Friday night at Robson Ranch at the inaugural “Power of the Purse” fundraiser for the Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club.

State Sens. Jane Nelson of Flower Mound, and Pat Fallon of Prosper, together with Patrick, spoke to the crowd of more than 100 gathered in the Robson Ranch Clubhouse about the role Denton County and Tarrant County will play in the 2020 elections.

During his speech, Patrick commented on the state of politics in Texas and underscored the importance of the upcoming elections for the Republican Party. He pointed to his narrow victory in the 2018 election and said Democrats are seeing higher voter turnout. Patrick also spoke about the presidential election and several of the Democratic candidates, most notably Beto O’Rourke, who on Thursday said he is in favor of revoking the tax-exempt status of religious institutions that oppose same-sex marriage.

“This is what we’re facing,” Patrick said. “The end of our party, the end of our state, the end of our country, and quite frankly, total chaos in the world. If you take us off the world stage, the world is finished.”

Patrick concluded his speech by thanking the Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club for organizing the event before guaranteeing a Republican victory in the upcoming elections.

“We’re going to win in 2020,” Patrick said. “We’re going to win Denton County. We’re going to win Texas, and Donald Trump is going to be elected president one more time.”

The fundraiser featured a live and silent auction to raise money for nonprofits, scholarships for young Republican women and Republican campaigns. Nelson kicked off the speeches and spoke about teacher compensation in Texas, keeping Texas red and the importance of women in the Republican party.

“What happens in your house is more important than what happens in the White House,” Nelson said. “A lot of the problems that we deal with on a state level and even on a national level are problems we have because we aren’t taking care of business at home.”

Nelson has been a member of the Texas Senate since 1993 and is its highest-ranking Republican. In the same week she announced her campaign for reelection, Nelson spoke about women’s progress in the Republican Party since she was first elected.

“I never imagined running for office myself, we [women] didn’t do that,” Nelson said. “Well guess what? Times have changed. Look at our Texas Senate. We have nine women, six who are Republicans and of those six, five of us are chairmen of committees.”xs

Like Patrick, Nelson stressed the importance of the upcoming elections and implored the women in the audience to become more involved in campaigning and politics in general.

“I think it is important that we talk about all issues,” Nelson said. “There are some who would like to say that education and health care are women’s issues. All issues are women’s issues. We pay bills, we run businesses, all issues affect us.”

Before their speeches both Patrick and Nelson spoke about the significance of Denton County, specifically the Robson Ranch development in southwestern Denton.

“When I ran in 2013, she [Nelson] told said that if you want to carry Denton County, you have to carry Robson Ranch,” Patrick said. “So I came here and the people were wonderful. We had a debate here and a few speeches because they have one of the highest voter turnouts in the country.”

The purpose of the event and those who spent months organizing it were not lost on Patrick, who said it is crucial for the number of young women in the Republican Party to continue to grow.

“We have to grow our party with younger people,” Patrick said. “The TSRW [Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club] ladies are a very important part of that effort to bring new people into the party.”

The total amount raised Friday night won’t be clear until later this week, but club members agreed the results exceeded their expectations. Toward the end of the night, a purse donated and auctioned off by Nelson sold for $1,200, and a holster donated and auctioned off by Denton County Sheriff Tracy Murphree went for $1,000.

Members of the Texas Strong Republican Women’s Club, including President Jill Tate, were pleased with the inaugural event.

“This event shows that we are relevant,” Tate said. “We are a powerhouse. We are effective because Republican women help Republicans get elected.”