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Creating Beautiful SMILES A YEAR OF

Direct Mailed to the Following Areas:

Northlake - Justin - Roanoke (Canyon Falls - Harvest)


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Contents ASK THE EXPERT 15 Dentistry with Country Lakes Family Dental

ARTICLES 08 10 Hot Summer Camps For Kids 10 The Journey 11 Local Control Is Important And In Danger!

12 Inside Community and Education 18 Resin Art Sensation 20 Cajun Shrimp & Vegetable Skillet Recipe

23 A Literary Family Affair 24 Winning The Fight 26 Make Every Bite Count 28 Making It Easier To Connect With Neighbors

30 5 Things To Do



Creating Beautiful SMILES A YEAR OF

Cover Image starting from the left are Suzanne, Dr. Zachary Smith and Michelle

APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 5

Publisher of Murray Media Group,

Publisher & Editor Scott & Kelly Murray

If anything,


s the calendar flips to April, May, and then June and July, one thing that we all can stand to do more of is get out in the garden. Sure, summertime is for taking those long-awaited vacations, being with friends and family, and just enjoying some consistent weather. I’m certainly not insinuating that we kick those plans to the curb. But if you aren’t planning any trips this summer, or if you have some time in between getaways, get out and do some gardening. Mow the lawn. Plant some pretty flowers. Clean some of the excess garbage out from below the shrubs! I bring this up because gardening, at its core, is something that can be very soothing to us emotionally and spiritually during these crazy times we live in — and now is as good a time as any to appreciate everything that gardening gives us. Gardening is relaxing and can be very therapeutic. And if we do it right, it can turn any space into something beautiful. I can’t say that I’m the world’s leading authority on gardening and lawn maintenance, but I can tell you that getting out there with Scott and the kids — or even by myself — has helped me recenter and focus on controlling what I can control. The rest, as they say, will take care of itself. Here are a few inspirational quotes about gardening and life. And thank you for reading our latest issue!

“Gardening adds years to your life and life to your years.” — unknown author

“God Almighty first planted a garden. And indeed, it is the purest of human pleasures.” — Francis Bacon


Managing Editor Jana Melton Sub-Editors Bobbi Byrne Alisha Tran

Editor & Writer Steve Gamel


Caylie Howard, Diane Ciarloni Jade Kensington, Jean Eisenmann Leena Duwadi, Rebecca Beer

Advertising Inquiries


Graphic Designers Caroline Brock Cayla Thompson Fernando Gomez


Your Candid Memories Photography What’s That Guy’s Name? Guy T Photography Miranda Longoria Photography


35 West Magazine invites reader feedback, story suggestions and general comments. Email All submissions become the sole property of Murray Media Group.

Editorial Inquiries Call 972.899.3637 or email Address: 3513 Yucca Dr., Ste. 200 Flower Mound, TX 75028 35 West Magazine is published monthly by Murray Media Group. Some articles and/or content may be sponsored by advertisers. Opinions expressed in articles or advertisements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the publisher. 35 West Magazine is not responsible for omissions or information that has been misrepresented to the magazine. Advertisers and its agencies assume all liability for advertising content. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted without the permission in writing from the publisher. © 2021 Murray Media Group

Sincerely, Kelly Murray 6 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 7




1. Win Kids | 3000 Waketon Rd. • Flower Mound, TX 75028 Win Kids is all about a fun and kid-friendly experience. Their summer camp activities consist of obstacle courses, gymnastics, stories, martial arts, nature walks, petting zoos, crafts, snacks, and more! You know your child is safe and having a blast when you enroll them in Win Kids Summer Camp. 2. Excite! | 2225 Highland Village Rd. • Highland Village, TX 75077 Excite! Summer camps are fun for each child that enrolls. It keeps them entertained and active throughout the day. Excite! Summer camp was created for members of Excite! However, if you are not already a member, it is very easy to join. Kids will tumble their way into a fantastic summer at Excite! 8 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

3. YMCA | 2021 Cross Timbers Rd. • Flower Mound, TX 75028 The YMCA offers Summer Day Camps that are all about discovery, finding new talents,

trying new activities, and making lasting memories. Each campers’ day will be filled with nature and outdoor learning, games, swimming, and more! Your kids will have a ball at the YMCA Summer Day Camp!

4. IKidz | 25679 Smotherman Rd. • Frisco, TX 75033 IKidz is a woman-owned and operated, state-certified, child-care operation that focuses

on child safety, healthy food, and academic enrichment. They offer fun experiences such as sports activities and field trips that your child is sure to love! Your kids will never want to leave IKidz summer camp.

5. RNR Stables | 3114 Parkridge Dr. • Corinth, TX 76210 RNR Stables offers fun and popular horseback riding summer camp programs for kids

of all ages. Their goal is to share with everyone the joy of learning horsemanship skills.

With over 40 years of experience, RNR Stables is sure to provide your child with a oneof-a-kind summer camp experience.

8. Bach to Rock FLM 6000 Long Prairie Rd., Ste. 200 Flower Mound, TX 75028 Bach to Rock Flower Mound offers a special musical experience for each child. They teach musical instruments that include guitar, piano, drums, voice, violin, trumpet, and more! If you are looking for a unique way for your child to spend their summer, Bach to Rock Flower Mound is the place to be! 9. School of Rock 6891 Main St. • Frisco, TX 75034

6. Adventure Kids Playcare | 690 Parker Square Rd. • Flower Mound, TX 75028 Adventure Kids Playcare is a unique and fun childcare and entertainment center for

kids from ages 6 weeks to 12 years old. You can be sure that your child will be safe and secure as they play, explore, and learn in this fun and exciting environment. Your child will have a blast at Adventure Kids Playcare!

7. Kids R Kids | 2660 Main St. • Frisco, TX 75033 Kids R Kids Learning Academy offers a unique state-of-the-art, technology-filled

experience. This summer camp offers an experience that you won’t be able to find

anywhere else. Your child will be sure to make lasting friendships and memories at Kids R Kids!

School of Rock is the leader in performance-based music education. Your kids are sure to have a blast learning to play music, have fun, and create great communities of musicians. Your kids are sure to be entertained at School of Rock this summer! 10. YMCA Camp on the Lake 709 Highland Village Rd. Highland Village, TX 75077 YMCA Camp on the Lake is a fun and exciting waterfront day camp environment created just for kids. This unique experience will provide your child with a variety of camp activities that are usually exclusive to sleep-away camps. Your child won’t be able to stop talking about YMCA Camp on the Lake! APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 9















by Caylie Howard | photos courtesy of Denton Color Lab


he journey to finding the right salon and stylist that meets all of your wants and needs can be a stressful path to take. You want someone who will take the time to get to know you and your desires and that shares the same vision as you do. You want a salon that is dedicated to providing you with the most luxurious salon experience.

You want to feel understood and cared for from the moment you walk in the door. Summer Miyatake, owner of Denton Color Lab, has created just the space. In just over four years, Denton Color Lab has become an award-winning salon. They have taken home two award-winning titles that include Best of Denton County and Best of Denton. And those awards are much deserved. Denton Color Lab is home to 18 unique and creative stylists. The salon’s modern boho environment offers a unique experience to each and every one of its guests. Each stylist takes the time to make sure that each person in their chair feels valued and cared for. “Each stylist goes through a year-long associates’ program.” Summer said. During this associate’s program, each stylist gets the baseline of knowledge for the salon. “Each stylist is trained in communication and formulation.”

Summer had been an independent contractor for 20 years. “I was about to turn 40, and I wanted to do something different. I wanted to be a mentor to other stylists.” Summer said. Summer wanted to create a unique work environment for the cosmetology industry. Unlike most salons in the industry, Summer provides benefits for her employees that include a 401K, college savings, and insurance. “It’s a very unusual thing for our industry to offer.” Summer said. With the success of Denton Color Lab over the last four years, Summer found that it was time to expand her business. “We were busting at the seams.” She explained. She decided to open a second location in Northlake. She loved the

location because it was similar to Denton. “Northlake is predicted to be the next Frisco.” Summer made the brave decision to open up a second location in the middle of a pandemic. “I just thought, ‘this pandemic won’t last forever.’” Summer said. And with this new addition to her business, there has not been a shortage of excitement. “We haven’t even begun interviewing for the new space, and I already have a stack of resumes.” Just like her current stylists will be able to go back and forth between locations, their guests can, too. Each guest’s formulas and information will be readily available at each location, and prices will stay the same for both salons. No matter what location you choose to visit, you are sure to receive the same relaxing and pampered experience with each and every visit.

Denton Color Lab is known for its amazing color services and experiences. While Denton Color Lab is a full-service salon that also offers cutting and facial waxing, this particular salon specializes in color. “We specialize in everything from fashion color, balayage, and basic highlight.” Summer said. 10 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021




by Precinct 4 Commissioner Dianne Edmondson photo courtesy by Commissioner Dianne Edmondson


Last session, about 7,000 different

So how do we handle this daunting task?

in Austin. These dealt with everything

as the Texas Association of Counties,

from public education, transportation,

licensing roofers, and regulating texting

to legalizing marijuana and hundreds of other topics. Some of those bills have a

direct impact on your local officials’ ability to serve you, their constituents, as you

want to be served. In many cases, very

different counties are treated identically. You, the residents of Denton County, are more aware than the lawmakers

in Austin of how you want your local

elected officials to deal with our local

issues. During the 140 days of a regular

legislative session, hundreds of committee meetings and dozens of general sessions are held, many concurrently. There is

By joining professional associations, such the Council of Urban Counties, Texas Municipal League, and other similar

professional groups such as those for

County and District Clerks, Tax Assessors/ Collectors, Elections Administrators,

District Attorneys, Sheriffs, Police and Firefighters, etc. As each of those associations identifies proposed

just minutes before a hearing. It makes

no financial or logical sense for all county judges, commissioners, and other county elected officials vainly to attempt to keep abreast of all pertinent legislation and

then travel to Austin to convey support

or concerns. Your local elected officials

urge citizens also to utilize associations to

which you may belong to track legislation and “lobby” your legislators with your

this link to follow legislation of interest to you FollowABill.aspx .)

We are committed to full transparency on how your tax dollars are spent.

Accountability, embodied in the form of the ballot box, provides the most

transparent way for you, as local taxpayers, to ensure that you can measure results and hold your leaders accountable for how

we spend your public funds. Your Denton County elected officials communicate to our legislators on your behalf and also

encourage individual citizens to weigh in with their state legislators. (Use this link to find your State Representative or State Senator https://wrm.capitol.

– the association notifies its members,

been the foundation of Texas’ economic

provides data regarding the legislation,

and encourages the individual members to contact their own state legislators to

express their opinions. The associations

are the conduits of important information.

jobs and head to Austin to monitor the

another way to review about 7,000 bills,

local constituents back home.

committee – sometimes with notice given

Strong partnerships between business,

members – either positively or negatively

Without these associations, for example,

progress of bills which will affect their

problematic bill is considered in

legislation which would affect its

simply no way that your local officials can – or should -- take time from their regular

and be present to testify when each

viewpoints on the proposed bills. (Use

s local elected officials, your County Commissioners and your municipal council members are the office holders closest to you, the residents of Denton County. Their actions affect you the most of any legislative body, and they are the easiest for you to contact. After all, their offices are near your home, and you probably run into them from time to time at a local store or restaurant. Virtually every political figure knows that local control is important to provide the services, events, and outcomes that the public wants. pieces of legislation were introduced

legislators sitting on relevant committees,

community, and political leaders have success. Local leaders and elected

officials have historically enjoyed a

mutually cooperative advocacy model that supports their citizens, creates jobs, and

protects the quality of life in the cities and counties we all call home.

your elected officials would have to find

Let’s remember that “all politics is

analyze them for potential impact on their

local control strong and vibrant

respective counties, communicate with

local,” and how important it is to keep here in Texas.


If you would like to receive an e-newsletter, please contact Commissioner Edmondson at 972.434.3960 | | Southwest Courthouse: 6200 Canyon Falls Dr., Ste. 90

APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 11


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ANNUAL PULLING FOR KIDS CLAY TOURNAMENT CASA of Denton County is hosting their 20th Annual Pulling for Kids Sporting Clay Tournament on June 25th! Join as a sponsor, team, or volunteer at the Dallas Gun Club from 7:30am - 5:30pm to help CASA raise money for the best interest of children in Denton County that have been abused and neglected. Go to news-events/pfk/ for more information. photo courtesy of Casa Of Denton County social media page

BIKE SAFETY RODEO The Northlake Police Department combined forces with the Pecan Square and held a Bike Safety Rodeo for children. We thank the Northlake Police Department and Officers who helped make this such a success! Bike safety is always important so make sure you wear your helmet, follow road signs, and use appropriate hand signals whenever you or your family members ride your bikes. photo courtesy of Town of Northlake, Texas, Municipal Government social media page


FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK @35westmagazine

CYLYNN BRASWELL CTAT ADMINISTRATOR OF THE YEAR Northwest ISD’s Executive director for College, Career Readiness, and Innovation, CyLynn Braswell, has been named Career and Technical Association of Texas (CTAT) Administrator of the Year! Braswell has a long list of accomplishments with almost 20 years of experience in education. Braswell has been integral in establishing a variety of district-wide initiatives with the goal of providing real-world opportunities for all students. photo courtesy of Northwest ISD

14 STEELE STUDENTS EARN ASSOCIATE DEGREES BEFORE DIPLOMAS Steele Accelerated High School allows students to enhance and accelerate their education through participation in school credit college coursework, but for 14 students, it has essentially served as college. These students will receive their associate degrees from North Central Texas College two weeks prior to receiving their official high school diplomas. Keep up the great work! photo courtesy of Northwest ISD

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POKEY O’S COOKIES & ICE CREAM COMING TO OAK ST FOOD & BREW Have you heard the good news? Pokey O’s will soon be opening at Oak St Food & Brew! Pokey O’s makes gourmet cookies with the highest quality of ingredients and pairs them with your choice of ice cream in a bowl or as an ice cream cookie sandwich. Pokey O’s started in Dallas and has quickly become a favorite throughout the state with a fleet of food trucks across Texas. photo courtesy of Pokey O’s Cookies & Ice Cream social media page

LOCAL RESIDENT HOSTS HGTV SHOW Local resident, Jennifer Todryk, aka The Rambling Redhead to her Instagram followers, is now on HGTV! Jennifer isn’t just a social media creator, but also a home reno expert and is staring in the new HGTV series No Demo Reno. This is a 10-episode series where Jennifer creates stunning home overhauls for clients in the DFW Metroplex without removing walls or tackling large-scale demo. Stream the show now on discovery+. photo courtesy of


NORTHWEST & BYRON NELSON FFA MEMBERS WIN AWARDS Two FFA members won awards at the 2021 Houston Livestock Show Junior Commercial Steer. Northwest FFA member Tanner Treadaway received a $1,500 Guardian Angel award and Byron Nelson FFA member Bailey Beltz was recognized as the Senior Rookie of the Year and received a $750 premium! What an outstanding job! photo courtesy of Byron Nelson FFA social media page

Northwest ISD will be holding its graduation ceremonies for all three high schools on Tuesday, June 1 at NISD Stadium. Northwest High will be at 10 am, Byron Nelson High at 2pm, and Eaton High at 7pm. Steele Accelerated High will host its graduation on Friday, May 28 at 7pm at the Northwest High School Performing Arts Center. NISD will communicate ticket information and event logistics to students and families as soon as plans are finalized. APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 13

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Dentistry: Ask The Expert

Today’s Dentistry





by Dr. Matt Artho, Owner of Country Lakes Family Dental


ne evening before bed, my son asked me if I would buy a 3D printer. To his surprise, I informed him I already use a 3D printer at my practice. He then asked if my printer was capable of printing food, to which I explained it would be really hard. He responded, “I was hoping it would be a piece of cake.” Though my son’s expectations were met with slight disappointment, it is nothing short of a modern miracle how the advancements in 3D technology achieve incredible outcomes in dentistry.

communicate with additional equipment like 3D printers or mills that create dental evolution of 3D has propelled dentistry models and restorations. The accuracy into the future and beyond. of these models and When I consider how 3D restorations provides for ...IT OFTEN technology improves dental a more reliable and better REDUCES THE care, the first expression custom fit. In addition, it often TIME TO RECEIVE that comes to mind is reduces the time to receive RESTORATIVE CARE, restorative care, often within convenience. First, the days of uncomfortable OFTEN WITHIN THE the same day. Furthermore, impressions using a SAME DAY. utilizing digital scanning and mouthful of goop and bulky software can help predict the trays are a distant memory outcome of cosmetic procedures like with digital impressions. CAD/CAM crowns or veneers and orthodontic care technology allows light scanners to create for both traditional orthodontics and precise images of the entire mouth and aligners like Invisalign. Here are a few examples of how the

Another advantage of 3D technology

is its ability to provide data for a more accurate diagnosis and predictable

treatment. Cone beam radiographs allow a three-dimensional view of

head and neck structure and detailed

depictions of the teeth, bone, and root structures. These 3D images give the

dentist the ability to preplan procedures like implants or root canals prior to the actual treatment to ensure a reliable result.

With the immense development of 3D technology in dentistry, it is difficult to

imagine dental care without it. Only time will tell how far the seemingly endless

possibilities will be grasped through its

evolution. I know how much I appreciate its use. Talk to your dentist about how

it may be used to improve your overall dental care.

Happy Smiling!


APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 15

Creating Beautiful A YEAR OF

SMILES by Jean Eisenmann | photography by Your Candid Memories (

817.287.8575 4901 State Hwy. 114, Ste. 107 Northlake, TX 76262 16 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021


ebruary marked the first anniversary of Z Dentistry in Northlake, and the community has been all smiles ever since. It’s the place to go for beautiful, perfect smiles — thanks to the talents of Dr. Zachary Smith (or simply, Dr. Z) and his dedicated team. From the moment the practice opened in 2020, it has been Z Dentistry’s mission to deliver an unrivaled patient experience through modern comprehensive dentistry, including implants, restorative, Invisalign, emergencies, and light sedation. So many folks have made Dr. Z their dentist since 2020, and they all appreciate the difference he has made in their lives. This includes giving them the radiant smiles they always wished for. “Our vision is for Z Dentistry to be considered a widely trusted place where people value creating healthy smiles,” Dr. Z said. That vision has become a reality. To convey his commitment to the community, Dr. Z not only opened his practice in Northlake, but he also chose to live there. His busy office brings patients across Northlake, Roanoke, Justin, Westlake, and surrounding Fort Worth locations. Dr. Z’s desire to treat patients like neighbors and family sparked the team’s passion for relationship-based dentistry. Their goal is more than simply treating patients. They strive to form relationships built on trust with each and every patient, beginning with the first visit. Understandably, visits to the dentist can be unsettling. Patients who receive an unrivaled positive experience from that initial appointment feel less anxiety, and a relationship built on trust will form.

Dr. Z practices transparency with every patient regarding Z Dentistry’s processes and procedures.

Given his reputation for extraordinary skill, educating the patient, and “bedside manner,” many of Dr. Z’s new patients have heard about him through referrals. And the likelihood of his patients recommending him is high. Dr. Z earned a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at the University of Texas School of Dentistry at Houston. After graduating, he wanted to expand his technical skills further, leading him to earn a specialty certificate in a one-year Advanced Education in General Dentistry program (AEGD) at the Texas A&M College of Dentistry in Dallas. This additional training beyond dental school is typical of Dr. Z going that extra mile toward excellence. In fact, continuing education is still an integral part of his life. Always

current with the latest in technology and innovations in dentistry, he is driven by a passion to give you the smile you deserve. Consequently, Dr. Z has more educational training than many, including more complicated surgical procedures, extended training in dental implants, and being a certified Invisalign provider with the tools to give you the highest continuity of care. For the most part, he does it all. And he does it well. Adding to his credibility, Dr. Z is honored to have memberships in the Texas Dental Association, North Texas Dental Society, Academy of General Dentistry, and the American Dental Association. In addition, he is published in the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry Research. Because he cares about establishing that doctor-patient connection, Dr. Z practices transparency with every patient regarding Z Dentistry’s processes and procedures. “Instead of going to the internet for answers, I or my staff will be happy to answer your questions,” Dr. Z said. “We want to be your dental resource.”

“Our vision is for Z Dentistry to be considered a widely trusted place where people value creating healthy smiles.” He will thoroughly discuss specific procedures with you and develop customized treatment plans. This doctor goes above and beyond to ensure his patients are well-informed and comfortable before and after their visits. In fact, he personally follows up with patients the day after they have undergone a dental procedure or had sedation. It would be great if your dentist offered you his (or her) personal cell phone number in case you had clinical questions, but who does that these days? Dr. Z does! Another example of why Dr. Z rises head and shoulders above others in his profession. Outside of the office, Dr. Z competes at a high level in endurance athletics. This includes triathlons and marathons, all

of which require extreme discipline and dedication. His athletics mirror the kind of professional dedication, strong work ethic, and commitment to his craft that he demonstrates daily in his practice. Z Dentistry provides patients with the finest in modern technology. Everything is digital in the office, with all the amenities to make you comfortable and give you the highest level of treatment. You can trust Z Dentistry to make your oral health a top priority and deliver an unrivaled patient experience. That isn’t just something they promise – it’s truly what they do. Now that’s something to smile about. APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 17




by Steve Gamel | photos courtesy of LR Designs facebook page

andon Rosckes figured his new resin art hobby would be nothing more than a chance to flex his creative muscles during downtime between classes. What it became was a full-fledged business and a hit among local art enthusiasts.

job, but he stumbled across YouTube videos of artists working with resin and was instantly hooked. Admittedly, he had no idea what he was looking at, but he quickly signed up for an epoxy resin course and learned as much as he could. He learned that by mixing resin with a hardener, the result is a high-gloss, clear surface. Resin artists get creative by adding color pigments or other additives to the resin, transforming what might be an ordinary table, etc. into an intricate work of art. The sky is the limit with this form of art, and Rosckes’ pieces prove that. “I definitely wasn’t expecting it to get this big,” said Rosckes, who had 340 Likes on Facebook when this story was published. “As soon as I finish something, I’m posting


with a laugh. “Sure enough, my family

it to my LR Designs Facebook page so that

and now attends Oklahoma University.

did, too. I never thought anyone would

all sorts of people messaging

graduated from Guyer three years ago He formally started LR Designs shortly

after several of his unique cutting boards, tables, and wall pieces were gobbled up by interested online buyers last summer. His first project, a 2-feet by 2-feet ocean

thought they were cool, and neighbors actually purchase anything, but once that happened, I thought, ‘I might actually have something here.’ I’ve just kept with it all this time.”

piece, sold on Facebook for $400. It is now

He added, “To see the reactions on people’s

one of more than 100 pieces he’s sold

faces when they see the different pieces —

during the last year — all in his spare time.

that’s what it’s all about.”

“My dad thought I was crazy because to

Rosckes, 21, is a pre-med chemical

especially starting off. But I figured, ‘I’m

art came to him on a whim while he was

and see where it takes me,’” Rosckes said

He didn’t have time to get a traditional 9-5

do resin artwork is pretty expensive —

biosciences major. He said the idea of resin

just going to throw this money toward it

taking a few sciences courses last summer.

18 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

my followers can see them first. I’ve had me, so it’s been fun.”

If you’re a fan of Rosckes’ work, don’t be alarmed that he hasn’t been pumping

out any new pieces lately. As previously mentioned, he is a full-time student at

OU and is currently studying to take his

Medical College Admission Test. He says that as soon as he has some free time — likely this summer — he’ll be back at work being creative.

“It’s something that I love to do,” Rosckes said.

APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 19


his quick and easy Cajun shrimp skillet is a great way to get dinner on the table fast without skimping on flavor. To save time, you can purchase pre-made Cajun seasoning. However, it is very easy to prepare at home, as well, and any excess seasoning can be stored in an airtight container for several months. As a bonus, homemade spice blends won’t include the preservatives found in prepared versions. Plus, preparing your own Cajun blend will allow you to control the level of heat by adjusting the amount of cayenne pepper used.



Note: Most commercially available Andouille sausage contains some sugar. If this is an issue, check out Niman Ranch ( for information on where to buy their sugarfree version.

2-3 large cloves garlic, minced

Prep time: 20 minutes

1-2 T. Cajun seasoning, divided*

Cook time: 15 minutes

Sea salt and black pepper, to taste

Serves: 4-6

1 small yellow squash, sliced and cut into half rounds

CAJUN SEASONING INGREDIENTS: 1 T. garlic powder 1 T. smoked paprika ½ T. onion powder 2 t. dried oregano

1 medium orange or red bell pepper, finely diced 1 medium green bell pepper (or ½ large), finely diced

1 small zucchini, sliced and cut into half rounds 2 T. fresh parsley, finely chopped *Start with one tablespoon Cajun seasoning. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired.

1 t. dried thyme 2 t. cayenne pepper 1 t. ground white pepper 2 t. fine sea salt SKILLET INGREDIENTS: 1 lbs. jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined 3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided 3 3-oz. Cajun Andouille sausage links, sliced ½ medium white onion, finely diced 20 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

DIRECTIONS: 1. Prepare the Cajun seasoning by combining all ingredients together in a bowl. Stir to combine and transfer to an airtight container. Set aside. 2. Toss the shrimp with one tablespoon olive oil and one-half tablespoon Cajun seasoning. Set aside. 3. Set a large skillet over medium heat and add the Andouille sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sausage is browned, approximately 4-5 minutes. Transfer sausage to a plate and set aside. 4. Add one tablespoon olive oil to the skillet, along with the seasoned shrimp. Spread the shrimp into a single layer without overcrowding. Cook, stirring once,

just until the shrimp is opaque and starts to curl, approximately 2 minutes. Do not overcook. Transfer shrimp to the plate with the sausage. 5. Add remaining olive oil to the skillet, along with the onion, garlic, and the diced bell pepper. Sprinkle with additional Cajun seasoning, to taste, and stir to combine. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables soften and develop some color, approximately 4-5 minutes. 6. Add the yellow squash and zucchini to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, just until browned and crisp tender, approximately 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Andouille sausage, shrimp, and fresh parsley. Stir to combine and serve immediately. Enjoy!

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a Literary FAMILY


by Jean Eisenmann | photos courtesy of Diana Brodeur


ort Worth’s Droege family are readers. Avid readers. And when February’s winter storm kept most folks huddled indoors, the four Droege kids were outside building – not a snowman, but a winter reading fort! For most of the day, they hauled snow in 5-gallon buckets, building the structure to resemble a fort. Large enough to fit two or three kids at a time, they stuffed the fort with pillows for comfortable seating and, of course, books. The siblings and their neighborhood friends enjoyed the masterpiece for two days. Before its demise, the sign in front of the fort read, “Winter Reading Fort: A Seasonal Extension of the Summer Garage Library.” What’s the story behind the sign? In the summer of 2019, then 10-year-old Penelope Droege was looking for a summer job. She always had wanted to be known as the girl with the most books, and over time had acquired quite a collection to feed her passion. With that in mind, Penelope and her mom, Diana came up with the idea of sharing her

pictured above is Honorary Fort Worth Librarian - Penelope

Near summer’s end that year, the library was mentioned on a local TV news program affiliated with NBC5. The Kelly Clarkson Show was about to launch, and the show’s staff heard about this unusual family project. Turns out, the Droeges were flown to California and appeared on the show. Talk about a summer project turned success story. The family reopened the Summer Garage Library in June 2020, this time bigger and better. Social media spread word of the library, an app tracked books, and they redesigned the library card. The pandemic required the Droeges to take COVID-19 precautions such as canceling guest readers, limiting the number of guests, and quarantining books a couple of days before reissuing. Between 300 and 400 books were checked out each month, and by the end of summer, the library housed 1,600 books. The highlight of the summer came when the director of the Fort Worth Public Library presented Penelope with a plaque for being an “Honorary Fort Worth Librarian.”

“Once the library closed, I lent the books books with others by running a library to teachers at Granger to use for the out of their garage. Brian, Penelope’s school, rather than leaving them dad and a 4th-grade teacher in boxes all year,” Brian said. at Kay Granger Elementary, The family’s busy planning “THE LIBRARY said, “The library started for the garage library’s STARTED WITH BOOKS with books from my third season. “We buy FROM MY CLASSROOM classroom library and from some new books every LIBRARY AND the family’s collection.” year,” Brian explained. FROM THE FAMILY’S Her brothers, Clark (10), “This time, we’re COLLECTION.” Dax (8), and Edmund (13), concentrating on books have played a part in the that illustrate diversity.” family business since that first year. Additional books were donated for an even greater selection. Christened the “Summer Garage Library,” their business was in full force as they opened their (garage) doors three to four times a week during set hours. Guest readers – Brian’s colleagues from Granger –volunteered their time reading in the driveway to as many as 30 kids in one sitting. Penelope took on the role of head librarian, and together the family designed a logo and pictured above is The Droege Family an official Droege library card. APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 23


athy O’Keefe is a remarkable woman. She’s exceedingly compassionate, sharp as a tack, and she can recall the smallest numerical details from events that happened years ago. She is also Flower Mound’s self-proclaimed “Drug Lady.” After the drug-related death of her son, O’Keefe founded the 501c3 organization Winning the Fight in 2011 to provide drug education to Flower Mound’s youth and to provide resources to families struggling with the disease of addiction. “On March 20, 2010, we lost our 18-year-old to an accidental overdose of Xanax and heroin,” O’Keefe said. “God immediately said, ‘You need to do something.’” After her son, Brett O’Keefe, overdosed three times, was hospitalized and attended rehabilitation programs, Kathy O’Keefe found that she - and her community - were in dire need of practical, informative drug education. “We took a breath, and we realized that we lacked education, we lacked support, we lacked resources. It created isolation,” she said. “We brought a strategic plan to the community and said, ‘What do you need?’ Ultimately, we needed a conduit between kids and resources.”

Winning the Fight by Rebecca Beer | photo of group by Kathy O’Keefe

24 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

In 2010, O’Keefe said that despite three teens dying from heroin use within a few miles of one another, Flower

Mound didn’t have a narcotics unit

specifically designed to investigate

incidents involving narcotics. Eventually, a massive DEA investigation led to the

indictment of 17 individuals for heroinrelated crimes.

“I thought, ‘Something big is going

on here,’” she said. “Kids were dying so quickly.”

WTF exists as a pipeline that connects

schools, parents, and kids to potentially life-saving information. In August 2014, WTF released its first documentary

entitled, “Not Me.” O’Keefe said 641 parents, adolescents, and members

of school administration attended the film’s screening. Since then, WTF has

Photo names from the front: Kathy Duke (President), Chris Robinson, Kathy O’Keefe (Executive Director and Founder). Back: Michael Hall, Cassandra Forest, Missy Distel, Mark DeWitt and Crystal Godsey

released two other documentaries

detailing the real life danger and issues behind drug use.

Recognizing the vital part mental health plays in reducing drug use, WTF staff

“Our most recent documentary is called

and volunteers provided 313 referrals to

shown it at McKinney high schools and

facilities to ensure adequate resources

‘Just Once,’” O’Keefe said. “We’ve

middle schools for two semesters.” O’Keefe emphasized that drug

education needs to start earlier than when many parents think. “This conversation needs to be in middle school,”

she said. “We also need to pay attention to

mental health. We have

to start paying attention to why kids are

mental health professionals, visited 26

are provided, and attended 18 seminars

focused on mental health in 2019 alone. “There are lots of really good things that

happen, but you’re battling Satan,” O’Keefe said. “It’s a horrid

If you NEED me, CALL me.

self-medicating.” O’Keefe believes school may

have been a major factor in her son’s self-medication with drugs.

“Brett hated school because his

battle. It’s exhausting.”

Another aspect of WTF’s mission is providing

resources specifically

to parents in families

affected by drug use.

The organization hosts a

revitalization retreat geared

toward parents of children

suffering from drug dependence.

stigma of addiction that often

exacerbates drug use and leads to further loneliness.

“Our biggest thing is don’t sit in

isolation,” she said. “If you have a

problem, come forward, get help. You don’t need to be alone.” O’Keefe said families can

request help by contacting WTF via

You can also request help by calling

the number listed on WTF’s website O’Keefe’s personal cell number.

“My phone number’s everywhere,” she said. “If you need me, call me. If you’re in a jam, call me. Just reach out.”

The one-day retreat has five different

Despite leading a group dedicated

feelings and experiences.

youth for the past 10 years, O’Keefe

therapies to help parents process their

ADHD made it difficult for him to

“These parents have PTSD,” O’Keefe

a point where he didn’t want to go

hours of the night expecting a phone

work,” she said. “His anxiety grew to

said. “You know, they’re waking up at all

to school anymore.”

call saying their kid is in jail or dead.”

O’Keefe hopes to fight the

to saving the lives of its community’s insists that she’s simply dedicated to a higher purpose.

“I didn’t do this,” she said. “God is doing this. He’s just using me.”

APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 25

Every Bite Count Make

by Dr. Rebecca Butler (Lantana Resident), Board Certified in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics


very five years, the Federal civil rights law, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) releases new/ updated dietary guidelines for people of all ages. As a pediatrician, I get the most questions regarding the 12 months to two-year time frame when they are discontinuing breast milk or formula and transitioning to regular table foods.

Developmental Readiness for

As most know, you should exclusively feed infants human milk for the first six months of life. Continue to feed infants human milk through at least the first year of life and longer if desired. Feed infants ironfortified infant formula during the first year of life when human milk is unavailable. When exclusively breastfeeding, it is important to provide infants with supplemental vitamin D beginning soon after birth (By at least one month of age).

Zinc-rich complementary foods (e.g.,

infants develop the gross motor, oral, and

are important from age six months

complementary foods. As an infant’s oral

which supports growth and immune

foods can gradually be varied.

Around 4-6 months of age, we start to introduce infants to nutrient-dense complementary foods. Studies have shown that at six months, the introduction of infants to potentially allergenic foods along with other complementary foods helps to prevent food allergies.

half (54%) of U.S. infants fed human milk

Encourage infants and toddlers to consume a variety of foods from all food groups. Include foods rich in iron and zinc, particularly for infants fed human milk.

The age at which infants reach different

developmental stages will vary. Typically, between ages of four and six months,

meats, beans, zinc- fortified infant cereals)

fine motor skills necessary to begin to eat

onwards to support adequate zinc status,

skills develop, the thickness and texture of

function. Although the zinc content of

Signs that an infant is ready for

human milk is initially high and efficiently

absorbed, the concentration declines over

complementary foods include: •

Being able to control head and neck.

Sitting up alone or with support.

Bringing objects to the mouth.

have inadequate zinc intake. Prioritizing

Trying to grasp small objects, such as

age to complement human milk feedings

Swallowing food rather than pushing

the first six months of lactation and is not affected by maternal zinc intake. During

the second half of infancy, approximately

zinc-rich foods starting at six months of

will help infants meet their requirement for zinc.

Avoid foods and beverages with added sugars.

Limit foods and beverages higher in sodium.

940.455.7200 | 74 McMakin Rd., Ste. 100 • Bartonville, TX 76226

Mon, Tues, Thurs: 7:30am-6pm | Wed: 7:30am-1pm | Fri: 7:30am-5pm Sat: 9am-12pm

26 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

Beginning to Eat Solid Foods

toys or food.

it back out onto the chin.

Calorie level ranges: Energy levels are calculated based on median length and body weight reference individuals. Calorie needs vary based on many factors. The DRI Calculator for Healthcare Professionals, available at, can be used to estimate calorie needs based on age, sex, and weight. This is an excerpt of some helpful guidelines, and you can read the entire document at Talk with your pediatrician about your child’s appropriate nutritional needs.



APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 27

Making It Easier To

CONNECT with eighbors by Steve Gamel | photos courtesy of Candace Culver


andace Culver has a very busy job as the Lifestyle Manager at Pecan Square. This bustling master-planned community in Northlake has only been around for a little more than a year, but Culver’s list of fun events, virtual and in-person activities, resident-run groups, and community firsts is practically a country-mile long and continues to expand by the day.

28 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

“The feeling is like no other — just how nice people are and how much they want to be a part of everything,” Culver said.

some heavy furniture. Other times, they’ll set up a poker night, create a makeshift campfire in a buddy’s driveway, or just be available to each other as a trusted sounding board for advice, quips, and new ideas.

If you find that hard to believe, look no further than the 20 — yes, 20 — residentrun groups that have made it ridiculously easy to find something you’re interested They’re also invested in helping the in. These groups help neighbors connect community as a whole. Recently, the with other neighbors, ignite lasting Men’s Group generously set up and relationships, spark memories broke down 200 flags that lined that will last a lifetime, and the Pecan Parkway over six give residents a sense of major holidays throughout genuine community that the year. “The feeling is like simply can’t be found no other — just how The list of fun residentanywhere else in North nice people are and run groups doesn’t Texas. And the best stop there, though. how much they part is that they were Culver said there’s want to be a part all created by also a Helping Hands of everything.” the residents. Group, a Ladies Group, a For example, there’s the collection of residents known Men’s Group, which already has as the Whiskey Fanatics, Pecan 145 members and five administrators. Square Crafters, and A Novel Bunch This collection of dads and husbands Book Club that read 10 books last year. gives guys a chance to connect and create There are groups exclusively for Veterans, camaraderie. Sometimes, their efforts will motorcycle enthusiasts, walkers and be as simple as helping each other move runners, and even moms. The Mom’s

Group hosts a park playdate twice a

month for kids to burn off some of that extra energy.

“I encourage every resident here in

Pecan Square to find something that

they are interested in and create a group around it if they see a need for it,” Culver said. “It makes me very happy, and I’m thrilled that we have so many people

who take the initiative and lead groups as they do. We were limited in a lot of

ways because of the pandemic, but we’re slowly opening back up and giving them space to interact.”

Pecan Square by Hillwood is just 25

miles from DFW International Airport in

Northlake and has homes from the $300s

to $600s. The community has more built-in amenities than you could possibly ask for, including multiple gathering spaces such

as Jackson Hall, The Greeting House, and The Arena, an upcoming 22,000 square foot space coming in April.

“It’s definitely unique living out here,” Culver said.

APRIL 2021 | 35 WEST | 29

Things 5TO DO TRINITY RIVER KAYAK CO. Trinity River Kayak is a destination adventure company located on the Elm Fork of the Trinity River in Coppell, Texas. Their Urban Adventures run 22 miles of the Elm Fork River with two three-hour runs and two six-hour runs. Fun for the whole family. DENTON COMMUNITY MARKET Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon April through November at 317 W. Mulberry St. in Denton, Texas. Denton Community Market is a producer-only art and farmer’s market in downtown Denton. Featuring live music, kids’ activities, local farms, local artists, food trucks, food vendors, and more!

TEXAS-TULIPS 10656 FM 2931, Pilot Point, TX 76258 Smell the tulips north of Dallas and enjoy the Sunnyside of life! Stroll through their wonderful tulip field of six acres, and pick your own tulips to create your own tulip bouquet. You can choose from thousands of tulips in exuberant different colors to be packed in pretty paper! Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

BARNHILL VINEYARDS 11917 County Road 509, Anna, TX 75409 Beautiful sunsets, fantastic live music, and wide open skies. Experience country life with their Texas vineyard, horses, donkeys, split-rail fence, and rustic barn at one of the more popular LIVE music events in North Texas. Texas wine - S’mores - Food Trucks - Open Fire! photo courtesy of BarnHill Facebook page 30 | 35 WEST | APRIL 2021

BENDT DISTILLING CO. Spend an evening enjoying scratchmade craft cocktails in their one-of-a-kind whiskey garden under the big Texas sky! With a rotating seasonal cocktail menu and a variety of whiskey and non-whiskey distilled spirits, they offer vibrant flavors for every palate. Check out their website for Distillery Tours too!

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