HUGS go to … longtime Denton resident (and longtime competitive home cook) Lori McLain. Her latest win is a recipe named Thai for Two Forbidden Wild Rice and is among the 10 finalists in the Minnesota Cultivated Wild Rice Council’s “Get Wild With Wild Rice” contest. McLain uses Asian flavors with frozen pineapple, fresh ginger, onion, carrots, edamame and sesame oil in the dish, tops it with chicken and roasted cashews and stirs it into lots of cooked wild rice. In 2014, McLain was among 100 home cooks in the 47th annual Pillsbury Bake Off. She just keeps cooking and making the finals in contests.

SHRUGS go to … city of Denton staff, who did not clearly inform City Council members that, due to technical issues, Tuesday’s regular meeting was not being livestreamed to the public, as had been advertised and is customary. It was only after a concerned constituent emailed one of the council members that the meeting was temporarily halted to discuss how to proceed. City staff have argued they did try to keep council members informed of the issues impacting the meeting, but when polled, a majority of the council said they were not aware the meeting was not being broadcast. As we know all too well at this newspaper, good communication is vital, and when miscommunication occurs, the responsibility lies with the messenger. Particularly in matters of public transparency, we expect city staff to work harder and do better in ensuring council is accurately informed.

SHRUGS go to … the last-ever Dallas VideoFest, scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 3. The festival, which was always more about local and homegrown North Texas filmmaking talent and hustle than celebrity guests, turns 34 years old this year.

But HUGS go to … VideoFest founder Bart Weiss, who is a juror for the Denton-based Thin Line documentary, photography and music festival. Weiss has driven the Dallas festival for three decades, but he isn’t retiring. Instead, he’s working on a documentary about Denton’s Grammy Award-winning polka band, Brave Combo.

HUGS go to … the Jane Nelson Institute for Women’s Leadership, which partnered with The Slate in Dallas to expand business support for women entrepreneurs. The partnership will create an incubator program that provides office space, small business advertising and entrepreneurial education to members selected for the program.

HUGS go to … local high schooler Travis Harris, who scored the lead trombone chair for All Region Jazz Band. Harris is a musical pedigree. His father, also Travis Harris, is the band director at McMath Middle School, which boasts a competitive jazz division.

HUGS go to … Jerome “Bruzzy” Westheimer and the University of North Texas, which held a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week for Bruzzy’s UNT Golf Facility. The $3 million on-campus venue includes two hitting bays, a virtual putting green, chipping and putting areas as well as locker rooms, study space, coaches’ offices, a lounge and a kitchen area. UNT has not had an on-campus outdoor training facility since Eagle Point Golf Course was shut down in 2003. Westheimer gave UNT a $1.5 million gift to help fund construction of the venue. Here’s a tip of the hat to Westheimer and all those involved.

HUGS go to … Eli Koch, a football player at Lake Dallas High School. Each year, Dave Campbell’s Texas High School Football organization selects five student athletes from the state to receive the prestigious Unsung Hero Award. The award spotlights young men who represent their team, school, family and community in a way that sets them apart. Eli is one of those five. In conjunction with Texas Farm Bureau Insurance, Eli will receive a $500 scholarship to be used for the college of his choice. (Submitted by reader Maribeth Koch)

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

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