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We should take a minute to thank both county and city work crews that got the downtown Denton Square ready for last Friday’s holiday lighting festival. The fencing around the gap where the Downtown Mini Mall was located, was moved to clear the Locust Street sidewalk. Landscaping crews spruced up the lawn around the courthouse, and the lights looked beautiful. Denton police also were speedy and friendly as they warned revelers that lightning and a coming storm forced officials to shut down the festival about an hour early.

The bad weather was a bummer because it ended the festival right as the “Very Merry Denton: A Holiday Spectacular” concert was set to start.

Denton musician and concert bandleader David Pierce has developed a really good show, and we’re bummed we didn’t get to see it this year.

We were a little surprised to see that director Eric Ryan launched a fundraiser for the Music Theatre of Denton’s 2019 production of Newsies. Denton’s performing arts groups are seasoned fundraisers, but this is the first time we’ve seen a director post a fundraiser for a show on Facebook.

Ryan is trying to raise $2,000, and the online campaign says the money is earmarked for the production.

We’ve been following the Denton comedy scene for a few years — including the rise and fall of two local comedy festivals. The scene just got an angel of sorts.

Bill Hensley, a member of the local band Wirerims, donated a PA system to the Bearded Monk for the 7 p.m. open mic the growler bar hosts each Sunday. Denton comic Joey Johnson is the master of ceremonies for the weekly open mic.

Bus and train passengers, take note: Denton County Transportation Authority won’t run the train or buses on Christmas or New Year’s days.

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.

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You’ve seen Denton-themed ballcaps, totes, shirts and even upcycled Barbie dolls. Now there is a Denton-themed pinball game.

The Denton City Council was poised Tuesday night to pass an anti-bullying policy, a statement that would help improve the city’s score on the Human Rights Campaign’s Municipal Equality Index. It was a non-controversial consent agenda item. Deb Armintor, who is an English professor by trade, asked that two words be added to the policy that made it controversial — at least to a few of her council colleagues. The council’s intent for the policy is to protect everyone using city facilities and participating in programs from bullying. As a reminder, the policy lists groups of people who are often bullied. Armintor asked to add “or expression” so part of the listing would read “gender identity or expression.” That was enough to knock several council members off their axis and call for the policy vote to be postponed a week. Still standing after the request, however, were council members Paul Meltzer and Keely Briggs, who apparently had no problem with the suggested edit. But couldn’t it be left as it was? The term “gender identity” in an anti-bullying policy implies that bullying someone for their expressed gender identity isn’t OK, doesn’t it?

Is it too early to remind Denton residents that you can recycle your Christmas tree by putting it on the curb the week after Christmas? It’s a no-brainer, but the collection is only for real, unflocked trees. Trees with any ornaments, lights or other decorations won’t be collected and turned into Dyno Dirt.

The Republican Party of Texas tried to burn defeated Democratic senatorial candidate and sitting Congressman Beto O’Rourke. They gave Beto’s sign design a facelift, making it read: “Beto luck next time.” The party sent out the emails with the jab — offering it as a sticker for people who joined the party within 72 hours, even as the hubbub about O’Rourke making a 2020 presidential bid was cresting. Republicans? We don’t think this worked the way you meant it to. This is exactly the kind of thing Texas dems could easily appropriate to support Beto.

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The Republican Party of Texas designed a sticker intended to skewer defeated Democrat Beto O’Rourke, but the sticker could easily be adopted by Texas Dems who want O’Rourke to make a bid for president in 2020.

Our Daily Bread, the nonprofit soup kitchen in Denton, has a new volunteer coordinator: Candace Wallace. Wallace grew up in Denton and went to the University of North Texas. She was working as a floral designer before joining the team at Our Daily Bread.

Gov. Greg Abbott appointed Arch “Beaver” Aplin, the president and CEO of Buc-ee’s, to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Aplin, who was appointed along with Texas Labor & Employee Relations Consortium founder Oliver Bell and Trans Global Solutions Inc. co-founder Dick Scott, will serve in his term through 2023. The commission manages and conserves the natural and cultural resources of the state and gives hunting, fishing and outdoor recreation opportunities for Texans and visitors.

Parting shot

“Democracy depends on citizens being informed, and since our media, especially television (which is the most important source of news for most Americans) reports mostly what the people in power do, and repeats what the people in power say, the public is badly informed, and it means we cannot really say we have a functioning democracy.”

— Howard Zinn, writer

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

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