HUGS go to … Christopher Novinski, senior studio art major at the University of North Texas, who installed his public art sculpture at the Lewisville Lake Environmental Learning Area in December. Novinski worked on the steel sculpture, which represents the bison herds of old North Texas prairies, for four months beginning in fall 2019. Novinski’s efforts represent the importance of increasing accessibility to arts and culture by bringing works to public, everyday spaces.

SHRUGS go to … the Texas Attorney General’s Office, which is trying to withhold all messages AG Ken Paxton sent or received while in Washington, D.C., for the pro-Donald Trump rally turned riot. Under the Texas Public Information Act, the public has a right to government records, including those stored on personal devices or public officials’ online accounts, but the AG’s Office is resisting efforts by news media such as The Dallas Morning News and Texas Tribune to obtain the documents. The AG’s office is supposed to enforce the state’s open records laws, but at issue is the lack of a policy regarding the release of work-related messages stored on Paxton’s personal devices. We understand the heat is turned up on Paxton, who is currently under federal investigation, but we remind the AG that the law that covers all state public bodies extends to his office, as well. Turn over the records.

HUGS go to … those stalwart Denton residents who have turned out every Friday this month to gather rubbish and clean roadways, waterways, parks and trails as part of this year’s 33rd annual Great American Cleanup. Organized by Keep Denton Beautiful, the great cleanup is usually a one-day affair that draws about 2,000 volunteers, but this year’s pandemic version ran the entire month of March, with just under 1,000 volunteers participating. We salute their efforts in trying to make the best of difficult times and ensuring our city continues to shine.

HUGS go to … Argyle senior Nate Atwood and Ponder junior Tate Wells for being named MVP of the Denton Record-Chronicle’s All-Area boys and girls basketball teams. Atwood averaged a double-double and led Argyle to its second state championship in school history. Wells led Ponder in scoring and guided the Lady Lions to their second state semifinal appearance in program history.

HUGS go to … the University of North Texas men’s basketball team, which this past week completed one of the more remarkable runs in the history of the school’s athletics program. The Mean Green won four games in four days to capture the Conference USA tournament title and earn the school’s first bid to the NCAA tournament since 2010. UNT didn’t stop there and pulled off a huge upset of Purdue in the first round, the program’s first NCAA tournament win in program history. The Mean Green’s season came to an end with a loss to Villanova in the second round. Congratulations are in order for coach Grant McCasland, his assistant coaches and especially his players for bringing UNT fans and the Denton community along for a remarkable postseason ride that will be remembered for years to come.

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