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We looked back over a year of Denton Dammit to remember the most noteworthy items of chagrin, joy and befuddlement. Enjoy.

In January ...

Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios posted a flashy pair of animated graphics that say “2018” on Facebook. Could this be a teaser campaign about a reopening? [Note: Rubber Gloves’ Facebook now says 2019’s the year.]

Denton artist Eric Mancini got guffaws and glares — probably in equal measure — when he plastered the face of Donald Trump on a downtown dumpster. (Well, come to think of it, Mancini might have elicited more glares — if you consider The Dallas Morning News story about the lock Republicans have had on Denton County elected offices.)

Photos of the “Trumpster” were all over social media on Monday; by the end of the day, the image had been removed from the garbage bin on Austin Street.

This week [Jan. 18] the Denton City Council approved Denton Municipal Electric’s first contract to buy natural gas for the new power plant. George Morrow, DME’s new general manager, told council members that the contract is copyrighted by the North American Energy Standards Board so the city isn’t allowed to publish the contract online. Nor can anyone make a copy of the contract.

The public may view the contract by appointment in the city secretary’s office.

Denton Record-Chronicle reporter Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe went by Wednesday to view the contract. Large blocks of the contract were redacted, including all the financial particulars that make a contract a contract. That left us pondering the really big question: Can you copyright pages of big black blocks?

In February ...

We checked out the new paid parking lot in downtown Denton last week. During the day, the 120 spots owned by Jack Bell were mostly vacant.

Last Friday night, though, the lot was just about full. The spots aren’t cheap, either. An hour of parking rang up at $2.35 on the Parkmobile app. The app didn’t give us an option to park for less than an hour.

The adjacent 108 spots in the free, public Williams Square were full when we visited during the day and on Friday night.

Denton resident and true crime author Donna Fielder really just thought she was taking her Scottish terrier, Arabella, for a walk Tuesday afternoon. But during that constitutional, Fielder and Arabella watched as “an adult-sized figure” wearing a spotted dog costume came out of a house, tiptoed across the lawn and then bounced up and down at the gate to the backyard.

Finally, the costumed person “wagged its ears” and slipped into the backyard.

In March ...

University of North Texas student filmmaker Ciara Boniface won Disney’s A Wrinkle in Time Visionary Filmmaker Award. Boniface’s short film, “Dirty Money,” just screened at the Denton Black Film Festival. The 19-year-old won $100,000 to make her own film, a trip to the Hollywood premiere of A Wrinkle in Time and a brand-new Nissan Leaf.

Our favorite digits-of-pi-memorizer May Beth Everett has slipped in the world rankings. In 2015, she ranked 125 for her achievement, witnessed by co-workers at the Denton Public Library and the Denton Record-Chronicle. This year, she’s tied for 222nd, evidence that lots of people are learning pi. Everett says she may try again to improve her world ranking as a challenge for her 60th birthday.

Draylen Mason, the 17-year-old musician killed in the rash of package bombings in Austin, had been accepted into the UNT College of Music, where he would have been on track to study in the double bass program. He also was accepted to the University of Texas.

After his death, Mason’s family learned that he was accepted to the prestigious Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

Kirkpatrick Architecture Studio, a Denton firm, designed the new La Moderna pasta factory in Cleburne. The factory is expected to create more than 100 jobs in Johnson County, and is considered one of the most technologically advanced factories in the Western Hemisphere.

In April ...

Guess what’s for sale at the University of North Texas surplus warehouse? A sweet ride, that’s what. The university is looking for a buyer for the 2004 Regal Eagle luxury bus. So if you have a spare $350,000, you can park the 2004 Prevost Model H3-45 in your driveway (well, check your homeowner association rules before you park it there). The bus has swanky seating and features, but if you buy it, you have to remove the decals (“Green Light to Greatness” and such) and send them back to the university.

Let us have a moment of silence for the Christmas tree on the Square.

City officials said the tree was “sick” and was removed from the lawn at Hickory and Locust streets on Wednesday. A crew put in a fresh new tree, a Nellie Stevens holly. The tree can grow up to 3 feet a year and thrives on neglect. It’s a nice looking tree, but it can’t be more than about 10 feet tall. That might feel small come December.

Last week, we mentioned the clever name of the Denton Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s upcoming rummage sale: the fifth annual Repentant Hoarders Church Garage Sale.

But the Unitarians have changed the name. Why? Because the church received “some strongly-worded feedback from someone outside of the fellowship about it being insulting to people with obsessive-compulsive disorders.” The new name of the rummage sale is the fifth annual Repentant Pack Rats Garage Sale. (Expect a tart email from a wound-up pack rat, Unitarians.)

When it comes to squirrels, Denton Municipal Electric will try just about any deterrent. Squirrels cause many electric outages, and conflicts usually don’t end well for the critter either. For example, a short experiment with fox urine proved effective until it rained. Instead, DME linemen are installing two new kinds of covers that are heat-resistant, difficult to co-opt for winter nut storage and not delicious.

In June ...

Are you thrashing the bushes in Denton for a place to meet or teach a class? Serve Denton just announced that it has spaces for both. One space is a 667-square-foot classroom for meetings, training, information sessions, classes and more. “It includes one dry erase board, eight tables and up to 45 chairs. The room can hold up to 24 people classroom style and up to 45 people lecture style,” the nonprofit announced in a news release.

We haven’t had chiggers for decades, but the rest of Denton seems to be scratching and mumbling a la Yosemite Sam about the terrible creatures that are boring into the flesh of Denton County residents. Gird your loins and stay out of the tall grass, folks.

Congratulations to former City Council member Sara Bagheri and her husband Chris Robles on the birth of their daughter, Seeb Robles. Seeb is the Persian word for “apple,” Bagheri announced on social media. The baby is named after her great-grandmother.

In July ...

Don’t know if we’d call it good aim or not, but someone at the Yankee Doodle Parade last week hurled a rubber ducky toward the rooftop of Lone Star Attitude Burger Co. and beaned Emily Laughlin in the face. She wasn’t seriously injured (of course), but her husband, Jake, caught the flying bath toy. Work on those blocking moves, Jake.

A caller recently gave us a tip about something that truly marks the end of an era. The Holiday Lodge, a long-running Denton motel location on East University Drive, removed its iconic midcentury sign after a motorist reportedly hit it. Crews started installing the new sign, which doesn’t look like the old one at all. Rest in peace, old sign.

In August ...

Denton band Sad Cops tweeted to popular beverage company La Croix asking for a sponsorship, seeing as the band just made its second music video including the bubbly drink. La Croix sent the band what looked like a small shipment of cases of the drink. (For those of you who don’t know what La Croix is, another tweet said it best: “La Croix tastes like someone ate a fruit salad and then burped into your water bottle.” It’s basically seltzer water with a hint of flavoring.)

There is photographic evidence that two monks bought drinks at the Bearded Monk. But we suppose it could have been two guys in costume.

In October ...

He’s never mentioned wishing his last name was Smith, but Denton resident and teacher Stu Hollowell is used to his students at Lewisville High School messing up his last name. The cheeky devils have called him some interesting variations so far this year: Mr. Holywall; Mr. Halloween; Mr. Holla; Mr. Hologram; Mr. Hallpass; Mr. Hotsauce and some others. Hollowell is also a comedian, so he’s conditioned to take laughs at his own expense.

In November ...

Is it just us, or is Denton mad for heated feline houses? We’ve seen lots of social media posts about setting out heated shelters for feral cats, who rank among the most entitled and least grateful of the cat universe. We’re cool with feline reticence and kindness toward critters, but that seems like an extra nice thing to do for an animal who is probably using your mulch as a litter box.

In December ...

Sure, you’ve seen Denton-themed T-shirts, ballcaps, tote bags and wall art, even recycled Barbie dolls. Now there’s a pinball game.

Free Play Denton, the retro gaming arcade and craft beer joint on Hickory Street, now unveiled what it calls “the best Denton themed pinball machine in the entire world.” Denton Heat is a modified Hollywood Heat pinball machine that’s still in beta testing mode — the management says on Facebook that they’re continuing to tweak and refine the gameplay.

Denton Dammit is an old-fashioned gossip column about people, places and things in and around Denton. Send your submissions to Lucinda Breeding at

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