HUGS go to … Debbie Weigenant, the co-owner of the Denton Sewing Center, who is trying to pick up the pieces after her family’s longtime business was destroyed in a fire May 24 while also trying to rectify the allegations that her adult daughter started the fire. Just days after the fire, Weigenant paused from sifting through the ashes to share her story, and the yearslong struggles her daughter has had with mental health issues and drug abuse, with a Denton Record-Chronicle reporter. Doing so took tremendous courage and strength, but the candor and continuing compassion and love she holds for her daughter will surely help other families in our community experiencing similar distress.

HUGS go to … everyone who made the 2020-21 high school sports season a reality. From the UIL to all the coaches, students, parents, administrators and community members, thank you for helping to bring our community something to cheer for over the past year. After the UIL was forced to cancel the 2019-20 spring sports season, there was plenty of uncertainty over whether there would even be sports played this year. But thanks to endless sacrifices, every high school sport was able to finish their seasons.

SHRUGS go to … whoever vandalized the face of Alice Alexander, an influential Black educator in Denton, on the mural artist Dan Black just finished on the railroad bridge at Robertson and Bell Avenue. While it’s impossible to know if there’s a coordinated effort to deface public art honoring Denton’s Black leaders, this is the second depiction of a beloved Black leader to be vandalized.

But HUGS go to … the hardworking staff in the Denton Parks and Recreation maintenance program. They carefully monitor our public art collections installed in outdoor areas, and their work is often invisible.

HUGS go to … incoming Chamber of Commerce President Erin Carter, who will begin her new role July 6. Carter brings a wealth of experience, having been the president of the Metrocrest Chamber of Commerce since 2016 and previously working at the Lewisville chamber. She attended graduate school at the University of North Texas and, with her husband, has been a longtime resident of Denton County. Welcome, Erin!

HUGS go to … Bell Leadership Academy, a group from Bell Elementary School that last week hosted a charity softball game benefiting Hallie Barnard. The 13-year-old girl has suffered from a host of medical issues and had her left leg amputated above the knee in 2019. The academy has raised more than $20,000 through three events over the past four years to benefit families in need. Here’s a tip of the hat to Andy Kane, one of the founders of the group, the boys who participated in the event and all the others involved in helping those in need in the Denton community.

HUGS go to … the drummers who practice at South Lakes Park. It makes our walks, jogs and picnics more fun, and we love to see the toddlers wiggle along to the beat.

But SHRUGS go to … the aggressive gander who menaces joggers on the South Lakes Park trail. The hissing and honking is anxiety-producing. We’re getting our exercise, sir, not stealing goose eggs.

Send us your Hugs & Shrugs: We’re always looking for contributions to this editorial from readers like you. If you wish to share your praises or concerns, email them to drc@dentonrc.com.

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