DENTON FIRST

by Alyssa Stevenson
Andy Odum of Denton First.

Andy Odum of Denton First.

On the evening of February 17th, 2014, Kevin Roden hosted an "Idea Meeting" at Rubber Gloves where he asked people to come prepared to give their elevator pitch on an idea that would improve our city. That evening, Andy Odom, hoisted a beer in his hand on the stage and asked the gathered crowd of citizens "Why don't we make Denton wet?" a question so many of us have asked as we drive 15 - 20 minutes down the road to the next city to purchase our libations. 

Denton First, a local organization with the goal of making Denton's liquor laws less restrictive, spent some time a few months ago acquiring over 7,000 votes in order to get this proposition on the ballot which you'll see when you go cast your vote. We asked Andy Odom, a Digital Marketing Manager, sometimes writer for the Dallas Observer, and all around good dude, to expound a little more about his thoughts on why Denton should go "wet." You can read his thoughts below and reply in the comments with your thoughts. 


We like to think of Denton is a thoroughly modern town. We have a vibrant arts community and a world-renowned music scene, a nightlife that rivals larger cities, and an emerging technology and start-up scene that gets national headlines. Denton is ready for the 21st Century. So, why do we allow Prohibition-era policies to dictate our liquor laws?

Beer and wine are available for sale within Denton city limits, but not liquor. That is, not unless you operate a “private club”. Have you ever wondered why you have to scan your license to attend a concert at Dan’s Silverleaf or a community event at Oak St. Drafthouse? It’s not to check your age it’s to register you as a member of that private club. That might be a strange inconvenience for us, but it’s actually much worse for these local businesses.

State law dictates that these clubs must form a board and meet to “approve” new members of the club, taking valuable hours away from running the business. Banking and accounting are more expensive than normal businesses because each “club” has to form 2 separate companies to comply with TABC rules. Not only that, but each business pays up $20,000 in annual fees to the state PER “CLUB” for this privilege, in addition to renting extra equipment and paying a third party service to scan IDs. Finally, all that information they gather from your license must be kept on file for years. These laws are an undue burden on our local businesses.

But Denton First isn’t just about getting rid of these draconian fees and protecting your information. It’s about keeping our hard-earned dollars in our city. When Denton’s citizens choose to purchase alcohol, they have to do it in other cities. That means that tax revenue is also given away to other cities instead of staying at home in Denton. According to The Perryman Group, Denton gives up to $700,000 in tax revenue to other cities. By changing these laws and allowing liquor in the city limits, the city reclaims this extra revenue and could add up to 300 new jobs.

Cities all over Texas have recently modernized their liquor laws to the 21s century. Plano, Tyler, Lufkin, Longview, Lubbock, and many others have gone fully wet. They have enjoyed increased revenue for the city and new jobs, but a decrease in alcohol-related road incidents. That’s right, studies show that a wet city is safer than a dry city.

It’s time that Denton fully joins the 21 Century, casts off the state-imposed burden of a club status, and turns completely wet. Vote FOR the Local Option and the legal sale of all alcoholic beverages.

ON CIVIC DUTY: VOTING

by Alyssa Stevenson

By Alyssa Stevenson


I spend my days standing in front of 150 middle school students attempting to persuade them to become outstanding citizens. I teach Texas History. We learn about more than just the Alamo and Davey Crockett and Sam Houston, though. I teach my students to become engaged citizens. We have an ongoing lesson throughout the year on civic duty. It’s an odd little coupling of words, civic duty. The concept that citizens owe some allegiance to their government, and that the government in turn protects them is kinda crazy when you think about it. 

I think it’s interesting, of course, that we as a state make sure to include this in the long list of things to teach our students when so often we fail to engage in such activities on our own.

We need to take a look at the numbers that just don’t lie. In the last gubernatorial race, just 27% of citizens who are in the voting age population came out to vote. That’s it. That’s crazy. The governor’s race is not only an important race because of the role of the governor but because of the myriad of other things that grace the ballot in such an important election. We’re talking bond packages, proposed fracking bans, whether or not to keep our county dry… and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Surely, we’ve raised our voter turnout since then, right? We haven’t. Across the board, Texas is always one of the lowest voter turnouts in the country. Just look at our last city election. These are the people who make decisions about the things nearest and dearest to us – bike lanes, zoning changes, city budgets, convention centers –the list goes on. Only 6% of our eligible voters came out to exercise their civic duty.

Now, I know that voting is not the only way to serve your country, state, or city. But it is definitely one of the most effective ways to make a difference. What you decide in the voting booth matters. Every vote counts. At the state level and below especially – your vote counts. Want to buy liquor within city limits and not have to slide your license every time you walk into a bar? Vote. Want to ban fracking? Vote. Want to keep fracking? Vote. Want to have better roads and traffic lights? Vote.

I can urge my 7th grade students to become great Texans, amazing Americans, and even actively engaged citizens in their local government. We can get excited about the issues and the candidates and the rhetoric and even caught up in discussions about what political ads are really saying and how we should approach the slant of different media outlets, but none of that matters if they don't turn into voters when they turn 18. The rhetoric only goes so far. The media tells us whatever we want to hear. Your voice has to be heard at some point for it to count. Voting is where that happens.

Make your voice heard. Don’t be in the majority of people who simply think it doesn’t matter. Somebody will win either way. Make sure your candidate wins. Get informed, grab your ID, check out where to vote, get to the voting booth and make it count. 

THE DEN10: OCTOBER 22

by Alyssa Stevenson

Are you ready for the busiest week of the year in Denton? Halloween is something we take very seriously around here. A quick walk around downtown this Saturday will tell you that if you don't already believe it. If you’re interested in getting involved with stuff, the 6th Annual Neighborhood Empowerment Summit kicks off Saturday morning at 8:30AM and is focused on how you can make a difference in your neighborhoods and communities. There will be ample opportunity for people watching and we want to see what you’re doing and you can show us by tagging your photos #WDDI. Now, get out there and rage, y'all.

Questions comments and complaints should be directed via Facebook tag and glen@wedentondoit.com


Wednesday, October 22nd
To Be Takei | Auditorium Building at UNT | 8PM
A special screening of the documentary in advance of George Takei’s lecture on this coming Monday.

Ferrous Sound Presents: Old and Ill / Bridge Farmers / Terminator 2 / Plunge | Rubber Gloves Rehearsal Studios | $1

Thursday, October 23rd
100,000 Homes Kickoff Celebration & Fundraiser | Mulberry Street Cantina | 5PM
Denton has joined the 100,000 Homes campaign and is kicking things off this Thursday at Mulberry St. Cantina. If you want to get up to speed on this great campaign, check out the video. It’s a nationwide housing initiative aimed at housing 100,000 of the most vulnerable, un-housed people in America.

Friday, October 24th
Audacity Brew House Grand Opening | Audacity Brew House 1012 Shady Oaks Dr. | 4PM
Kick your weekend off right at the grand opening of the newest brewhouse in Denton. Music, beer, and much more. 

Saturday, October 25th
The 6th Annual Neighborhood Empowerment Summit: Moving Forward With Purpose | Civic Center | 8:30AM - 2PM | FREE
Do you give a damn about your neighborhood and want to make a positive impact on your community? Come check out this conference with roundtable discussions and presentations by some of our cities best citizens. It shouldn't be nearly as boring as most roundtable discussions and presentations. Especially if YOU'RE there. Oh yeah, there's also free lunch, door prizes, and awards. No awards for best eating of the free lunch, though. 

Denton Day of the Dead Coffin Race on Oak St | Oak St. Drafthouse | 11AM - 9PM
One of Denton’s most beloved holiday traditions is this Saturday and will effectively take over the entire square and shut down Oak Street so people can race down the hill in home made soap boxes shaped like coffins. This is a must-attend event for anyone claiming to be a Dentonite. Go cheer for your favorite coffin and cross your fingers that no one gets hurt (or cheer for that). Either way, it should be a good time. Coffin races are from 1-4PM.

Cirque du Horror | Dan’s Silver Leaf | 4:30PM & 9:30PM
Musical genius and macabre mastermind, David J Pierce presents his yearly Halloween musical with two shows on Saturday and then a 5PM matinee on Sunday. Buy tickets online because this incredible show will probably sell out.

Group Bike Ride to Audacity Brew House | Lot Across from OSDH | 9PM
Remember bike lights for this one! Check out the route map to the Twilight Parade and the group ride here.

Sunday, October 26th
7th Annual Bloody Mary Battle | II Charlies | 3PM
What a great way to nurse the headache Sunday Morning. Has it really been 7 years? Color us impressed.

Mulberry Mutts & Margaritas (& kitties too) | Mulberry St. Cantina | 2PM
We totally love animals and this is a great way to drink for a cause because 10% of profits will be donates to the Denton Animal Shelter Foundation. 

Monday, October 27th
The Distinguished Lecture Series Presents Takei | Coliseum | 8PM
He’s not just a clever social media user, he was also in a sci-fi show that people who don’t know a thing about sci-fi get confused with Star Wars because they're idiots. Oh yeah, dude is funny, too. Make plans to go listen to George Takei talk at UNT next Monday. 

ELECTION WEEK: THE BOND PACKAGE

by Alyssa Stevenson
Keep up with Scott at dentoning.com

Keep up with Scott at dentoning.com

Today, Scott Campbell of Dentoning writes to us with his thoughts on the 2014 Bond Package. 50 nominated citizens worked for months putting together this package (including two members of We Denton Do It and Campbell himself). Suffice it to say, on this issue, we're wearing our bias on our sleeves. The package is actually divided up into four separate items on the ballot. We should also note, that while it doesn't mention it below, the "parks" portion of the bond package includes plans for building a splash park in Carl Young Sr. Park. 

Keep in mind that in order to vote on these local propositions, you need to make sure not to vote "straight party." You have to go through and vote on every candidate individually to get to the propositions which are at the bottom. Now on to that "Dentoning" guy...


We live in an awesome town. What makes Denton so great has been written about in WDDI, and in other blogs, and a multitude of various media outlets innumerable times. Part of what makes Denton so special is its age.

Our town is OLD....and with its age comes an old infrastructure. If you have left your driveway in the past 30 years, you know the state of decline our streets have reached. The bond package in the election before us is comprised of four NEEDS: streets, public safety, drainage and parks.

It is time for a change......which means change from our pockets.......literally pocket change.

No one likes tax increases, but to put things into perspective, a 2009 study showed that JUST to bring Denton's streets up to par would require an outlay of $157 MILLION. 

This bond package asks for $98 MILLION in FOUR categories....

Streets: $61,710,00 (38% of what is truly needed)

Public Safety: $16,565,000 (replacement of two sub-par fire stations, improvements for our emergency first responders and more)

Drainage: $8,545,000 (takes large areas out of the flood plain which increases property values and thus the tax base...and would prevent flooding of Denton homes and businesses)

Parks: $11,355,000 (who doesn't like parks, green space and the recreation opportunities they bring? Again, a part of what makes Denton so richly liveable)

Denton has been recognized countless times by prestigious entities for being the incredible place we choose to live. To maintain that uniqueness, and the money it brings into our fair city, we need to invest. This bond package gives us the opportunity to make that investment in Denton and its future. 

Denton isn't South Lake or Plano (thank goodness).....they come to Denton to mimic what we have.....to create what we have naturally. Keeping Denton the way so many other towns wish they were will cost the average tax payer (average home value of $166,728) about $50 a year... 

.....or $4.16 a MONTH.

That is the cost of one double-chuck chili-cheese latte.......the "change" mentioned above.

Denton is our workground, our lifeground and our playground........

Let's keep our little oasis of coolness cool! Denton needs a touch up and voting YES for all four parts of the bond package will insure that Denton continues to be the DENTON we love!

VOTING WEEK: FRACKING BAN

by Alyssa Stevenson

It's early voting time and Voting Week here at We Denton Do It. During this week, we hope to help get people informed on the various issues that you'll face at the polls when you go to vote. We'll cover quite a few issues, but always encourage you to do research on your own, too.

We've had a few people write in with their thoughts on various issues and we've reached out to a few others. Adam Briggle, an associate professor at UNT and board member of Denton Drilling Awarness Group, wrote to us with his thoughts on the proposed hydraulic fracking ban in Denton. Below are his thoughts on why people should vote in favor of the ban. 


Eight months ago, we initiated a citizens’ petition to ban hydraulic fracturing in the city limits. That was the spark. We have since been humbled to watch the people of Denton fan that spark into a flame that is lighting the path toward a brighter future – a future when parents can set down their heavy burden of worry about the specter of fracking near their homes.

We can see that possibility now. On November 4, we can write the story of a new tomorrow for Denton. What was going to be a tale of industrialized neighborhoods and poisoned playgrounds can become the story of a vibrant city, proudly announcing its right to self-determination.

We felt a shift the moment we announced the petition for the ban. People came out from the dark corners of apathy and hopelessness. They rekindled a sense of citizenship and put their creative talents in service of the commonweal. And now we can feel our city rising up. Now we can see a new dawn on the horizon. Now we can hear the voices of the people. We are saying in unison: this is our air and our water. This is our health and safety. This is our Denton and we are taking her back. 

Video above: FLIR GF320 is an IR camera for optical gas imaging (OGI) that visualizes and pinpoints leaks of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). FLIR cameras are calibrated to make visible the invisible VOCs coming from oil and gas facilities. These videos were taken by a certified optical gas imaging thermographer in the city of Denton, Texas.  Map of  these and other FLIR videos.

Make no mistake. As these videos show, fracking is uniquely invasive, secretive, and toxic. A blowout in Denton last year released thousands of gallons of hydrochloric acid and proprietary chemicals. Nearby homes were evacuated. A new report shows chronic emissions of benzene at a frack site by McKenna Park. Fracking is a major reason why our area has the worst air quality and asthma rates in the state.

Arsenic and fracking chemicals were just found in water wells near Denton. To date, fracking has contaminated over 1.6 billion gallons of our freshwater forever. And a growing body of peer-reviewed research shows the health impacts, confirming what Denton families near fracking have long said: headaches, nosebleeds, breathing difficulties, nausea, and sleepless nights. Even the CEO of Exxon Mobile sued to keep fracking away from his home, citing well-grounded concerns of property devaluation.

For years, we tried to negotiate with the industry. We asked for some simple things. Could they install devices to reduce pollution? Could they eliminate the use of toxic waste pits? Could they stay at least 1,200 feet away from homes, parks, and schools?

Their response: “no, we don’t have to pay attention to your rules.”

Well, we have their attention now.

They have unleashed a flood of deceptions and distortions. But they have underestimated the intelligence of Denton voters. Every slick mailer of breathless hyperbole only strengthens our resolve. Every trumped up threat only emboldens us. Every bogus economic claim only swells our numbers as we learn that each acre of fracking actually means more pollution and less economic productivity.

They are hoping we will roll over at the prospect of a lawsuit. But we know the ban is legally sound and that this is a fight worth waging, because the very soul of our city and health of our bodies are at stake. We will not be bullied any longer.

The brighter our light grows, the more desperate they get. They’ve resorted to bizarre claims about our swing sets falling into disrepair after the ban. They are self-imploding, spinning out accusations of Russian conspiracies like a trail of debris from a dying star.

95% of donations to Frack Free Denton came from local citizens. Compare that to 0.2% from the other side. This is what it looks like when the people stand up. 

Denton is on the rise. Now is the time for action. Everything hinges on the vote.

On your vote.

Vote FOR the ban and together we write the story of a stronger Denton.

 

WHAT WE DID: OCTOBER 20TH

by will milne

Every Monday, we like to run a few of our favorite images that have been tagged with #WDDI on Instagram in the past seven days. We call it What We Did. It normally gives us a fairly good idea of what Dentonites of all different backgrounds have been up to. This week was a good one. 

In addition, this week is Voting Week here at We Denton Do It. It also just happens to be early voting time for the November election. We'll have coverage of several of the various components that will be making up the ballot. In addition, Glen Farris has gone on record as saying that he will personally give a high five to anyone that shows him an "I Voted" sticker on the street. We purchased him some anti-bacterial hand-wash to keep on his person, too. 

Anyway, back to the pics. Click the photos, themselves, to be led back to the photographer's Instagram account and follow those people, yo! Tag your Denton fun this week with #WDDI and come back here next Monday to see another collection. 

Shaina Sheaff leading us off with some sweet sunset action.

Shaina Sheaff leading us off with some sweet sunset action.

We co-hosted a watching party of Moonrise Kingdom last Friday evening on the courthouse lawn. We had a blast hanging with all y'all and hope to do it again sometime soon!

We co-hosted a watching party of Moonrise Kingdom last Friday evening on the courthouse lawn. We had a blast hanging with all y'all and hope to do it again sometime soon!

@zach_ashcraft and some courthouse lens flare. 

@zach_ashcraft and some courthouse lens flare. 

We wonder how many turnip slices were lost in the making of this photo. 

We wonder how many turnip slices were lost in the making of this photo. 

What's the over/under on the amount of film cameras that were present at this dinner? 

What's the over/under on the amount of film cameras that were present at this dinner? 

The Mi Casita drive thru line was soooooo long.

The Mi Casita drive thru line was soooooo long.

We're hearing good things about the new Beirut Mediterranean Grill in the old Royal East spot. Have y'all checked it out yet? What did you think? 

We're hearing good things about the new Beirut Mediterranean Grill in the old Royal East spot. Have y'all checked it out yet? What did you think? 

Stephen Masker took this photo of the courthouse at dusk last week. 

Stephen Masker took this photo of the courthouse at dusk last week. 

More Moonrise Kingdom action. 

More Moonrise Kingdom action. 

Y'all all seem to have some sort of rooftop addiction going, but we don't blame ya. 

Y'all all seem to have some sort of rooftop addiction going, but we don't blame ya. 


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Michael Little, his bike, and the sunset. 

Michael Little, his bike, and the sunset. 

Donuts and church on the square. 

Donuts and church on the square. 

Photo from Kati Trice. 

Photo from Kati Trice. 

@blevlace and some light-hearted graffitti. 

@blevlace and some light-hearted graffitti. 

@baileygillreath

@baileygillreath

Geezerpalooza celebrated year two on Industrial St. with Queen, Pink Floyd, The Band, and The Allman Brothers cover bands. 

Geezerpalooza celebrated year two on Industrial St. with Queen, Pink Floyd, The Band, and The Allman Brothers cover bands. 

Scrap held their annual Masquerade on Saturday. 

Scrap held their annual Masquerade on Saturday. 

Shifted again. 

Shifted again. 

WHAT WE DID: OCTOBER 13TH 2014

by will milne

We officially made it through the horrible middle of the night storm that wasn't, y'all. It's Monday and we're mostly safe and sound save for a few downed power lines. It also just happens to be Columbus Day/Fair Day/Indigenous Peoples Day. So, if you've got the day off, make sure you celebrate it accordingly. Take the train all the way down to the fair if you want. It's better than paying for parking and you get dropped off so close.

The past week has been a good one. We love when we walk through town and see people taking photos of Denton. Seems to happen more and more now. We were behind a young lady in Hypnotic on Saturday who was taking pictures of all of the paintings and fried dough. One of our recent favorite activities is trying to get in the background of as many senior portraits as possible. It seems to be pretty easy since someone is always shooting them on the square. 

Scroll down for some photos of the past seven days of life in Denton, TX. Click the photos, themselves, to be led back to the photographer's Instagram account. Tag your Denton moments with #WDDI throughout the next seven days and then come back here next Monday to see another collection. 

Rose Costumes recently strung up dozens upon dozens of T-shirts along a fence on the 35 axis road. Drive by it on your way to score some costumes. We already know what we're gonna be this Oct. 31st. 

Rose Costumes recently strung up dozens upon dozens of T-shirts along a fence on the 35 axis road. Drive by it on your way to score some costumes. We already know what we're gonna be this Oct. 31st. 

We know how difficult it is to wait just five seconds so someone can take a photo before grabbing a bit of a blueberry fritter. 

We know how difficult it is to wait just five seconds so someone can take a photo before grabbing a bit of a blueberry fritter. 

Project Snake Fox had some sort of beautiful dinner event that they didn't invite us to. Maybe too many spoons for us, though. 

Project Snake Fox had some sort of beautiful dinner event that they didn't invite us to. Maybe too many spoons for us, though. 

Reader @candus813 going 88mph at Burger Time Machine. Also, fries. 

Reader @candus813 going 88mph at Burger Time Machine. Also, fries. 

That's swinging the right way, y'all. 

That's swinging the right way, y'all. 

The front door of Ravelin Bakery. Croissants for the win. Denton can support so many morning-centric eateries, it isn't even funny. 

The front door of Ravelin Bakery. Croissants for the win. Denton can support so many morning-centric eateries, it isn't even funny. 

@zach_ashcraft has a thing for old film cameras. We don't blame him. 

@zach_ashcraft has a thing for old film cameras. We don't blame him. 

Fracking forum at Dan's on Saturday. Did you go? 

Fracking forum at Dan's on Saturday. Did you go? 

Fun sky on Sunday night. 

Fun sky on Sunday night. 

Old Alton Bridge. We hear rumors of a haunted house that is getting put up near here this season. Anybody got additional info on that?

Old Alton Bridge. We hear rumors of a haunted house that is getting put up near here this season. Anybody got additional info on that?

Shift Coffee week #2. 

Shift Coffee week #2. 

Pho at Viet Bites will warm your soul. 

Pho at Viet Bites will warm your soul. 

More of Old Alton Bridge. If you're looking for a good local haunt for this Halloween season, this is the spot for you. 

More of Old Alton Bridge. If you're looking for a good local haunt for this Halloween season, this is the spot for you. 

Oaktoberfest. Denton has so many opportunities for drag. 

Oaktoberfest. Denton has so many opportunities for drag. 

Oh yeah, you know we're co-hosting a movie event on the courthouse lawn this Friday evening, right?

Oh yeah, you know we're co-hosting a movie event on the courthouse lawn this Friday evening, right?

Wool and wool and wool and wool at Dime Handmade. Go get warm with Pendleton. 

Wool and wool and wool and wool at Dime Handmade. Go get warm with Pendleton. 

Sometimes, the lighting, the shadows and the beer all coalesce to make one super sweet drink pic. Ask Ray Velazquez. He knows all about it. 

Sometimes, the lighting, the shadows and the beer all coalesce to make one super sweet drink pic. Ask Ray Velazquez. He knows all about it.