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  1. Inmate details 4 prison killings: ‘I did it for nothing’ View Full Article
  2. Blotter: Couple caught having sex in vehicle, issued citation View Full Article
  3. Behind the bright yellow walls of the Little d Guitar shop sits Denton’s local stringed instrument enthusiast Gregory Lange, a guitar building luthier who found a way to turn his View Full Article
  4. Incoming freshman orientation is a tradition that universities across the nation participate in. UNT’s three-day orientation experience is a huge part of a student’s college career and is hosted to View Full Article
  5. Blotter: Wife catches husband with girlfriend, trashes apartment View Full Article
  6. Alexander Willis | Staff Writer After eight years, Dani Rae’s Gulf Coast Kitchen, a Cajun restaurant located off of I-35 and Loop 288, closed indefinitely. The expansion of Interstate 35 View Full Article
  7. Kayleigh Bywater & Rachel Kressin The Denton Square’s history extends beyond the Courtyard As Julie Glover takes long, drawn out strides down West Hickory Street, she stops, taking in the barren streets and empty shops surrounding her. One family sits on the Courtyard Lawn, sharing a picnic while surrounded by silence. An older woman quickly scurries into the Downtown Mini Mall, anxious to see what new trinkets and knick-knacks were added since the day before. The parking spots are empty. While these snapshots images are from Glover’s memory, she carries them with her every time she currently sees The Square bustling with people, patrons and parties. Back in the 1990s, this was a daily sight on The Square. Storefronts were boarded up, visitors were scarce and morale was low. The Square was not the popular tourist attraction that it is today. Instead, it kept tourists away. “We would have something planned, and we would be so excited for it to get started,” Glover said. “And then nothing happened for another seven or eight years after that.” From the ground up Since the mid-1800s, The Square and the Courthouse have been focal points in Denton – through both good and bad times. Just like many towns, The Square has gone through trial and error alongside cosmetic mishaps and unfinished projects. While Glover didn’t begin to step foot into the everyday actions of The Square until 1994, the desire for a new and improved Square was already felt among many. “The thing about revitalization in downtowns everywhere is that they didn’t deteriorate overnight and they won’t come back overnight,” Glover said. “It was a long, slow process to get from where we were in the late 80s, when there was hardly anyone downtown and we were only about 50 percent occupied, to where we were when I joined.” When Glover joined in the mid 90s, only about 85 percent of the storefronts housed some sort of business. And while 85 percent may seem like a good percentage of occupancy, what really matters is what type of stores called The Square home. Glover said that 95 percent of the businesses then were some sort of retail shop, mainly antique shops. Out of all the opportunities for business ventures back then, The Square only housed two restaurants. “People were using the businesses for ridiculous things,” Glover said. “For the longest time, there was a room next to the pawn shop that was actually a storefront, but they were using it as a store room. They could have been making so much more money leasing that spot.” Making changes The biggest shift to The Square’s business came in the early 2000s, when a Houston-based developer bought the block known popularly as “Fry Street.” “He wanted certain things that he couldn’t get, so he just had a fit and tore everything down,” Glover said. “He ran tenants out.” The developer shut down local favorites on Fry Street, including what is now known as The Abbey Inn and More Fun Comics and Games. Popular businesses at that time, like the beloved pizza restaurant The Tomato, were left with nowhere to go. Slowly, business started making its way to The Square. Restaurants and shops that were run out by the developer made their way to a permanent home downtown. When one door closed, another one right down the street opened. “It’s kind of a sad thing that Fry Street had to fail for us to thrive,” Glover said. “But it was a big boost to Downtown because the kids had to find a new place to eat, drink and hang out.” Now, The Square is home to 30 restaurants and bars, allowing people to immerse themselves in the shop and dine experience that The Square desperately needed to offer. And while the restaurants and shops on The Square seemed to be packed, things aren’t always easy on the other side. Because of the boom of The Square, businesses are thriving and suffering in unison. Rent has skyrocketed, competition is high and space is limited. The Chestnut Tree Teahouse and Bistro is one of the longest running shops on The Square. The retail space turned restaurant has been in business for 23 years, coming in at a time where The Square wasn’t as known and trying to thrive in a time where it’s the focal point of North Texas. “We’ve been here before there were more than 15 restaurants downtown,” owner Suzanne Johnson said. “Because there was nothing downtown, rent was cheap. Now, rent is [too] expensive.” Glover said some restaurants pay around $17 per square foot per year, with retail and office spaces coming in a little less. Some larger spaces on The Square can cost more than $5,000 a month in rent alone. That doesn’t include other utilities, content, product or money to keep running every day. “There’s numbers when you’re writing your business plan – 30 percent of cost will be rent and utilities,” Johnson said. “There are businesses downtown that pay $8,000 a month in rent, and so if you’re talking $8,000 times 12, you have to do a lot of sales to cover rent [alone].” That’s why properties along The Square and Fry Street, especially pertaining to restaurants, have a hard time staying afloat. “We have these businesses come in downtown, and after a year they close,” she said. “And that’s incredibly sad. But we’re in the hospitality program, and it takes at least two years to recoup your money. At least 75 percent of all restaurants fail within two years of business.” View Full Article
  8. Blotter: Woman says teenage cousin glued her cats' eyes shut View Full Article
  9. Blotter: Police investigate report of improper student-teacher relationship at Ryan High View Full Article
  10. Blotter: Mausoleum vandalized at IOOF Cemetery View Full Article
  11. Blotter: Wife pushed after finding husband in bed with another woman View Full Article
  12. By David Urbanik Nestled among the bars, restaurants and the blocks of apartments that run along Fry Street in Denton, Texas is a squat and ancient looking building, painted with zebra stripes and lined with shoots of bamboo. If not for its color scheme, it probably wouldn’t attract much attention from passing college students or bar hoppers. Without its stripes and upturned sign, the little shop that inhabits 113 Fry Street might not stand out as anything more than one of the few remaining structural relics in the century-old neighborhood. To a keen eye, however, the cracked and overgrown sidewalks, distinctive facade and weathered appearance all provide clues to the building’s unique past, kept a secret only by the passage of time. As the Fry Street neighborhood continues to develop and with the inevitable yearly succession of new college students passing through, it is easy to miss the historical value that local institutions like The Zebra’s Head Smoke Shop have to offer. Many may be surprised to learn that the old zebra building is steeped in nostalgia and local history, and is a living fossil in an otherwise evolving community. It is a part of Fry Street’s culture that has survived the test of time and has managed to be successful in a competitive industry. Its story and its ability to thrive continues to contribute to the central legacy of the neighborhood, even as that neighborhood transforms. The structure now known as The Zebra’s Head Smoke Shop, originally erected in the 1940s, spent its early years as a hair salon. The salon eventually closed but the building remained, and in 1967 it was reopened as the Birminghem Balloon Company, an alternative novelty shop with a hippy flair that also sold smoking accessories. “It has always been a smoke shop, but in the beginning, they had more of a lifestyle emphasis,” General Manager Tyson Wright said. “They sold tapestries, balloons and art from the far east.” It was the first shop of its kind in Texas and the third of its kind in the country behind only New York and San Francisco, according to owner and former UNT student Travis Sample. In 1969, the original owners took out an advertisement in the Denton High School yearbook that promised to offer customers “things for the head.” Legend has it that this ad prompted customers, such as UNT student Don Henley of the Eagles, to refer to the store as the “head shop,” thereby coining the term. This trend then encouraged the owners to rechristen the store, Texas’ Original Headshop. “That is probably more of an urban myth,” Wright said. “I don’t know if that’s true, but it is interesting, because now it is vernacular for any smoke shop that offers more than cigars.” View Full Article
  13. Could the hiring freeze impact Wren's ability to make organizational changes within his department? View Full Article
  14. Matt Brune | Staff Writer I’m from San Antonio and an avid sports fanatic. I watch more than my fair share of college football, basketball and baseball, and am familiar with most Texas universities. Two years ago, when it was time to choose a school, I chose North Texas — a school almost no one, including myself, knew anything about. Most people associate large, powerful schools with having grandiose sports teams. With that in mind, it’s painfully obvious why a majority of people, like my 16-year-old self, had not heard of UNT. In general, athletics at North Texas has historically sucked, especially the revenue generating powerhouses of football and men’s basketball. But that’s all changing. The Mean Green are a few years from no longer being cellar dwellers and a few years from being a top-four program in Conference USA. I say this with confidence, because first-year Athletic Director Wren Baker has shown a vision, a plan and a concise approach for making North Texas better now. Not later. While he did not make the decisions to hire women’s basketball head coach Jalie Mitchell or football head coach Seth Littrell, Baker has given them the resources to succeed and had their backs throughout these growing times. North Texas has six core sports in football, volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, women’s soccer and softball. The 2016-17 average winning percentage in Conference USA play across those six sports is 46.5, up exactly five percent from the 41.5 percent average in 2015-16. That’s including the dumpster fire that was men’s basketball. View Full Article
  15. Rickey Brice Jr. Warrants for three University of North Texas students were obtained on Tuesday according to a release sent by the university. The UNT police department is leading the criminal investigation. According to a release, two of the students are former members of the men’s basketball program, one is a former student manager and the fourth is unassociated with the university. The warrants were for organized criminal activity – promotion of prostitution for two students. “The alleged actions of these students are contrary to the values of our university and our Student Code of Conduct,” UNT President Neal Smatresk said. “The university is cooperating fully with investigators and working diligently to obtain all facts pertaining to this issue. We will be transparent as possible with the university community.” One warrant was for drug possession, and a former men’s basketball player, center Rickey Brice Jr. was arrested for marijuana possession of less than two ounces. Brice was booked into jail on May 1, and cha Brice was with the Mean Green for two seasons before leaving the program on April 14 after the hiring of new head coach Grant McCasland. Brice played in 27 games last season and averaged 5.1 points per game. Smatresk and Vice President and Director of Athletics Wren Baker are using the law firm Bond Schoeneck & King to conduct an independent review and ensure that there are no cultural or climate issues within the men’s basketball program, according to the release. The firm will begin its review immediately. The athletics department has deferred all comments through the university. Representatives from UNT could not be immediately reached for comment. View Full Article