You've got a friend

Newcomers can make new friends at the Buddy Bench Students at Monaco Elementary School who feel lonely can find a friend on one of the school’s new buddy benches. Sitting there gives other students the opportunity to come up and invite their seated classmates to play. “Our kids are really good at recognizing other kids in need or maybe who want to talk or need somebody to play with,” Principal Derek Leary said. That being said, sometimes expressing aloud that they are lonely is difficult for the young students at the elementary school. “Behavior in children is their language, so it’s hard sometimes for littles to find the words to say, ‘I’m lonely,’ or ‘I don’t have anyone to play with,’” As

Learning nature's ways

Chloe the Speckled King Snake made dozens of human friends Saturday morning while welcoming visitors to the grand reopening of the Isle du Bois unit’s newly renovated Nature Center. Meeting the sociable serpent was one of many outdoor activities hosted by park rangers in celebration of the updated attraction. Fishing practice, nature hikes, and arts and crafts were also a part of the morning festivities. “The new Nature Center’s been in the planning phases for a little over a year,” park ranger Rick Torres said. “It’s been an awesome long-term project that turned out really cool. We’re very happy with it.” The old Nature Center closed in February, and renovations began shortly thereafter. Th

Rain can't slow season preparations

The area needs rain to battle ongoing drought conditions, and lots of needed moisture arrived in North Texas throughout the last week. But what’s good for soils, vegetation and reservoirs may not necessarily be helpful for high school football teams, but teams adjusted when heavy rains fell early Monday, relocating for short spells to gyms for practice. The first day of practice Aug. 6 saw scorching temperatures in the 100-degree range, but the weather turned to relatively mild the rest of the week and some practices were done under cloud cover. "RAINING LIKE CRAZY" “The whole deal is, we got practice started, and it was raining like crazy,” Bearcat coach Danny David said Monday morning afte

Playing for a cause

For the last 10 weeks, Aubrey High School teacher Annelise Harris has been preparing for more than just the first day of class. Hanging high above piles of textbooks and school supplies in the biology teacher’s classroom, a small pink banner reading “Team Blonde” flutters proudly against the whiteboard. This Saturday, Harris and her “Blonde” teammates will take on Team Brunette (also known as the Bru Crew) in a highly anticipated, incredibly competitive game of powderpuff football held at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The charitable event is hosted by BvB Dallas, a young philanthropist group founded by sisters whose father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s over a decade ago. The annual fundraiser

Hydroponic gardeners focus on freshness

A freshly planted garden faces a multitude of potentially disastrous enemies: A bit of bad weather, an insect infestation, a run-in with a rodent or a smidge of dry soil can spell death for seedlings struggling to flourish. Cat and Steve Elliott were well aware of those risks when they first decided to build a hydroponic greenhouse in their backyard more than 10 years ago. Their biggest adversary, however, ended up being one they’d never considered: the home owner’s association. “The neighbors were fine with it, but the HOA put up a fight,” said Cat, a self-described full-time jack-of-all-trades, laughing. “They made us wait a very long time before they’d OK it.” The Elliotts persevered, des

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