One man has been arrested and a second suspect is being held in conjunction with the 2002 murder of Oklahoma City bounty hunter Troy Neidhart.
On Sunday, Nov. 16, OSBI took Bobby Thomas Barnhill, 45, in for questioning at the McAlester Regional Office. After five hours of interrogation, Barnhill confessed to shooting Neidhart 12 years ago in Blanchard in the woods around Rockwell and South Cole Rd., but his motives were a little sketchy, said McClain Co. Sheriff Don Hewett.
Michael Hamilton, 46, has been brought in for questioning and is currently being held in the Oklahoma County jail on a car theft charge, records show.
Both Barnhill and Hamilton worked for Neidhart in his bounty hunting business, and according to the affidavit, Barnhill told OSBI agents that all three men met in Blanchard on Sept. 11, 2002, and that Hamilton intended to kill Neidhart and bury him in a hole.
“Barnhill, Hamilton and Neidhart each assisted in digging the hole,” OSBI agent David Gatlin wrote in the affidavit. “Barnhill heard one gunshot and then saw Hamilton shoot Neidhart once more with a shotgun. Barnhill and Hamilton then buried Neidhart’s body.”
According to Sheriff Hewett, Barnhill gave several reasons for the fatal shooting including a “mob hit” and that the three were in Blanchard that night under the “pretense of shooting someone else.”
“At this point, we are trying to separate fact from fiction,” Hewett said. “I think Barnhill is competent; he is just trying to throw everyone off.”
Authorities have yet to locate the two weapons that were supposedly used in the murder – a 12-gauge shot gun and a 9 mm handgun, he said. Barnhill admitted to owning and selling a 12-gauge shotgun, but said he couldn’t remember whom he sold it to.
“Both Barnhill and Hamilton were persons of interest in the original investigation in 2006, but it led to nothing,” Hewett said.
A new agent for OSBI began looking into cold cases and re-interviewed everyone in regards to the Neidhart case, he said. Barnhill was asked to take a polygraph test, which he failed; Barnhil later confessed to his involvement in the murder.
Hunters found the remains in 2004. It took the Chief Medical Examiner two years to identify them as Neidhart’s, Sheriff Hewett said. Although Barnhill has been booked for murder in the first degree, at this time, no charges have been filed against Hamilton in this case.
By Darla Welchel
Until a year ago, Newcastle junior Brannon Tallant had never thought much about writing.
But when he transferred from Dibble High School, he decided to enroll in Andrea Thomas’s Creative Writing class. And that, as they say, was that.
Tallant soon discovered that he not only had a passion for writing poetry, but that he was also pretty good at it. In fact, so good, that the young man was recently selected as one of 12 Poetry Ambassadors for the State of Oklahoma.
Saturday, Tallant and the other 11 finalists were at the University of Oklahoma to learn the results of the Oklahoma Literary Arts Alliance first ever Oklahoma Youth Poet Laureate. Although he did not win the title of Oklahoma Youth Poet Laureate, he did receive a medal signifying him as one of 11 Poetry Ambassadors.
“To even be considered for this is an honor, because they had to pick from everyone in the state,” Tallant said. “It was a very fun experience, and I will definitely be entering for next year.”
To enter, the young writer had to submit five original works of poetry. The finalist were selected from schools all over the state, Tallant was the only one selected from a small-town school.
Andrea Thomas said, “During the months of August, September and October of 2014, OLAA accepted submissions from young poets, rappers, leaders and activists ages 14-19 from across Oklahoma interested in representing Oklahoma as the inaugural OK State Youth Poet Laureate. A group ofesteemed judges choose 12 Finalists, all given the distinction of “Oklahoma Youth Poet Ambassador,”
Thomas believed her student had a good shot at winning the title because of his hidden talent.
“Brannon started writing poetry in my Creative Writing class last year. I saw promise and encouraged him to continue. He then made it his mission to get better and better, and that he did. He is not afraid of criticism and not afraid of revision. He grew so much as a poet last year, and now has reached a level that I would call professional” Thomas said.
Tallant said his inspiration for his prose varies, with some of the more personal topics coming from things he has actually experienced. But, he also likes to step into the shoes of others and write about their own hardships.
“I mainly write free verse slam poetry,” Tallant said. “I write these types, because it’s the type that comes naturally to me. I’m not too much of a fan of structured poetry, though I can still write them. I just prefer to not have limits.”
Lengthy poetry doesn’t deter the young man, but topic can shake him up a bit.
“The difficulty of writing a poem for me doesn’t depend on the length. It depends on the topic. If I can connect with it, I could write lines upon lines on it. If I don’t really feel the subject, it is hard,” he said.
Since he has only been writing for about a year, he really hasn’t tried his hand at other forms of literature, but he is still growing as a writer. Tallant’s other interest include drama class and performing group poems.
“In drama, we are currently working on a play scheduled for December 5th and 6th. It’s called Lizzie Borden of Fall River,” he said. “I’m also in this competition called Louder than a Bomb with some of my peers and we’re writing and performing a group poem. Four of us get to perform together.”
As a Poetry Ambassador, Tallant will have chances in the future to speak at events.
“The only other thing I would add is that I think poetry is too underrated. Slam poetry, what I do, is not ‘roses are red, violets are blue’ or Shakespeare style writing. The type of poetry I write is more self-empowering and a great emotional outlet,” Tallant said. “My favorite thing about poetry though, is that when you’re doing it, no one can tell you it’s wrong.”
A Scholastic Epiphany
By Brannon Tallant, Oklahoma Poetry Ambassador
I was told to write a poem about education and youth leadership
At first, I didn’t know what could ever materialize without
Sounding incredibly cliché and overused
But something came to me in a thought provoking revelation
So bear with me because
This is the breath that could change your life
At the very mention of the word
High school begins to fabricate before my mind’s eyes
And along with that, a disdainful association
This knowledge that I’ll acquire will
Never get me anywhere but through the year
Paper cuts and graphite dusted fingers were all I got
In a concrete shell that I couldn’t wait to get out of
All it is is
Sleep deprived lectures
Mind straining memorization
And standardized tests anyway
But that’s not what education is all about
Education is the contrast of deliberate ignorance and
Enlightenment to the third degree
It’s the difference between McDonald’s and Wall Street
Nights under city bridges and preventive ceilings
Discarded dinner scraps and a hot meal
After being put through classroom doors and contemptuous rejections
Students have resorted to
Filling out welfare forms instead of job applications
Holding cigarettes between their fingers instead of pencils
And feeling all the more anxiety taking pregnancy tests than final exams
There are too many prominent negativities left floating around
Too many girls after the D instead of a PhD
Too many guys after that green instead of the green
And teenagers picking frat parties instead of political ones
Destroying their IQs faster than they’re driving their cars to nowhere
I know that I can’t be the only one here who thinks that
There needs to be an intellectual uprising
This reality check ended my blissful ignorance
It was a smack to the face
And I want you to be next because
Innocence never changed the world
We are more than just grains in the sand
Fillers in the space
It takes a thousand ripples to make the wave
I learned that
A machine only works if every cog is working
And that it’s a team effort and
A leader is our repairman guiding us places we dare not go alone
I will be the repairman if that’s what it takes
To see this social reformation through
So I’ll tell you something that you need to know
Elicit a transcendent purpose and authenticity through my work and
Bring out your mind’s freedom and personal independence
I’ll play the embodiment of your imaginary personnel and
Spark that internal revolution
In the context of this articulate written art form
Because this educational process that we undergo
Isn’t here just to torture us
It’s here to brace our minds for the greatest inheritance of all
It’s all in our unstained hands
If only we’ll step up to bat and take it
By Darla Welchel
The Chisholm Fork Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored Master Sergeant Tommy D. Harman in recognition of Valor, Service and Sacrifice during the Vietnam War.
Special guest and presenter was Oklahoma State Regent, Dr. Orriene First-Denslow. The award was bestowed upon MSgt. Harman in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.
“The DAR felt it was time that Veterans from the Vietnam War era finally received the honors they were due,” said First-Denslow. All members of DAR can prove a direct linage to someone who fought in the American Revolution, she said.
Linage is very important to the DAR, which is why many of them retain their maiden names, to keep their family name going.
The Chisholm Fork Chapter of the DAR is comprised of members from Newcastle, Blanchard and Tuttle. They meet in Newcastle each second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Woodland Hills Baptist Church.
Harman served in the United States Army for 26 years. He did two tours of Vietnam in 1968-1969 and 1970-1971, volunteering for the second tour, Harman said. He was in communications throughout his career, but while he was in Nam, he served as a scout.
“I volunteered for a second year in Vietnam because I missed it and found it hard to relax in the U.S. because of the lights and noise,” Harman said. “I was signed to an Armored Cavalry Platoon and spent that year in the jungles of the central highlands of Viet Nam.”
Besides the other horrors of the Vietnam war, the conditions were not ideal for living.
“I arrived in Viet Nam in the dry season and wasn’t able to bathe for three months,” he said. “In the dry season it was hot and humid and in the monsoon season it rained every day and was hot and humid”
Harman medically retired from the Army in 1989, Harman said. After the Army, he attended college on the GI Bill to study Computer Science.
He and his wife Shirley live in Newcastle, as well as their daughter and son-in-law Wendy and Lee Cortum. The couple also has one son, Jerry, who lives in Lansing, Michigan and another, Arthur, who lives in Blanco, Texas.
By Darla Welchel
Although Veterans Day was last week, there are still many of Newcastle’s fine men and women who deserve recognition.
Newcastle graduate Jeremy Hudson is one of those men. Hudson, Class of 2002, said his desire to serve in the U. S. Army came from a sense of duty.
The 30-year-old retired sergeant served for 10 years and was a Combat Engineer Squad Leader.
“I didn’t really have much of a plan for after high school so I started with that. It was a great experience and helped me to become the man that I am today,” Hudson said of why he enlisted.
During his 10-year stint, he was deployed two times. The first time was in state for Operation Noble Eagle 3, where he spent seven months on a Homeland Security mission in Arkansas.
His second deployment took him to Iraq for one year during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
“[My most memorable moment in the Army] was getting an opportunity to train and work with Special Forces units while in Iraq,” he said. “I also got an opportunity to go to Al Hilliah to help out at a small forward operating base. It was a couple of miles away from the city of Babylon.”
Hudson said that while in Babylon he was able to visit the ruins of Babylon and see the reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate in the city of Babylon that Saddam Hussein had built.
But, as exciting and fulfilling as these deployments were to Hudson, missing his wife and two sons eventually took its toll on the young Army sergeant.
“If I did not have a family waiting at home for me, I would’ve probably served much longer, but I would definitely do it again,” Hudson said. “The separation from my family was the hardest part, but I enjoyed what I did and the relationships with the people that I met and served with.”
While serving, Sergeant Hudson garnered numerous awards including: two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, an Army Good Conduct Medal, a Combat Action Badge, an Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Service Ribbon and an Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device.
After leaving the military, Hudson continued his education, first at the University of Oklahoma where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in information studies in 2010 and then to Oklahoma State University where he completed his Master of Science Degree in management information systems in 2013.
He is currently a Senior IT Analyst at Seagate Technologies in Oklahoma City.
PT, DPT, OCS
By RaeAnn Thomas
As of November 1, 2014, you can access a physical therapist easier. Prior to this date, a referral was required in order for you to receive treatment from a physical therapist.
So, what does this mean for you? This is great news for all of us. Improving access to physical therapy has multiple benefits. First, it allows you to seek treatment early for aches and pains and thus get faster relief. Research confirms that the earlier physical therapy is initiated for the treatment of low back pain, the shorter the duration of treatment.
Several states have had direct access to physical therapy for over 30 years and in those states, the course of treatment for someone with low back pain is not only shorter in duration, but it is less expensive than those non-direct access states. Another great benefit of this legislation is that this has opened up the dialogue between the physician and physical therapist regarding your care. We will communicate our findings and treatment plan with your physician as needed.
So, that shoulder that has been “bugging” you or that knee that you’ve “been meaning to get checked out”… you can now go directly to your physical therapist for an evaluation and begin treatment immediately. Many times, particularly if an injury or pain is addressed early, physical therapy can prevent more invasive treatments such as such surgery or the use of medications.
A physical therapist can also address things like balance and falls, vertigo, general weakness, and headaches just to name a few. Physical therapists are trained in evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders and are the experts in movement science. This also means that if we find something that doesn’t fall into this category or identify any “red flags” indicating something is out of our realm of treatment, we refer the patient back to their physician.
Oklahoma was the 49th state to pass this legislation. HB 1020 changed the Oklahoma Physical Therapy Practice Act, which now allows a physical therapist to initiate treatment without a referral for 30 days. After 30 days, in order to continue treatment, a referral must be obtained from the patient’s physician or dentist. Most insurance carriers will cover physical therapy services without a referral; however, I recommend calling to verify on each policy. Worker’s compensation is excluded from this new legislation.
By Jeremy Freeman
My life is busy. From sun up to sun down, I am always running as fast as I can. It can be very overwhelming, and of course tiring at times.
In fact, every person I meet seems to be living a busy life too. I do not think I have ever spoken with someone who said, “I really wish I had more things to do.” If that person exists, I would like to meet them and find out their secret.
In a world full of noise, instant access to each other through social media, texting, and many other forms of technology, it can be virtually impossible to find personal quiet time.
Quiet time is critical though. There is incredible value in getting time to pray, think, reflect, listen and just be still. This is an area I am ever growing in and something I have to work hard to get, but when I get it, it is worth it.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still and know that He is God...”
There is simply something refreshing and calming about getting still before the Lord and listening to Him speak. When we get away from the noise and daily craziness of life, there is something about the quiet that allows us to refocus, reenergize, and regroup.
There are many benefits that come from getting some personal quiet time, but here are four quick worthwhile reasons to do it:
1. We listen better when we are still. As a parent of five children, nothing drives me crazier than when I am trying to talk to my kids, and they will not be still. Adults can be just as bad. We live at such fast paces that we can often hear the wrong things. Getting alone and getting still before God allows for time to really stop and listen. It is amazing what we learn when we just stop and listen.
2. We often see things more clearly when we slow down. Sometimes we can get moving so fast that everything around can seem blurry. When we sit down and get still, it is amazing the clarity that comes. Sometimes the answer is right in front of us, but until we slow down, we do not see it. Quiet time may not change our circumstances, but it often changes how we see them.
3. We often make better decisions when we stop and reflect. No important decision should be made without careful thought and much prayer. It is difficult to do either of those things if you never slow down. In the quiet places of life, where we listen and see more clearly, we will make better decisions.
4. We tend to trust more and stress less when we get alone with God. I heard someone say this one time, “Don’t think about it until you’ve prayed about it, and once you’ve prayed about it, don’t worry about it.” All human beings have a tendency to worry and when we worry, we stress. Getting alone with God puts you in a position to give Him your worries and to trust Him with what concerns you. I have discovered that when I do not get alone, I try and carry everything on my own, and that never works out well. God tells us to “cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.”
There are obviously many more benefits to getting some alone time, but the four I have mentioned have helped me tremendously, and I pray might help and encourage you. Even if you can just get five minutes of alone time each day, it will be time well spent. See you next week!
By Pixie Stanford
The Senior Center will be holding its Thanksgiving Dinner on Friday, November 21. We will have the traditional Turkey and all the fixings along with some great deserts. If you plan on attending please come in and sign the sheet. This will give us an idea on how many people plan on attending and it is a big help when we go to purchase the turkeys and also if we need to set up extra tables.
Delta Transit will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28 for Thanksgiving. Please make a note and do not call me. The Senior Center will also be closed those two days.
The Senior Center will not be holding a board meeting in December due to the holiday’s. We voted to close the center on December 24, 25 and 26 and also January 1-2. Please make note of these dates so you will not make a trip over here for nothing.
The last Board Meeting was held on November 12 and everything that was on the agenda was passed with the exception of our kitchen equipment item, which was tabled until January.
If anyone has a big family event coming up, please remember that we rent the senior center out. The cost is $100, which includes a $25 refundable deposit if the building is clean when your event is over. We have a lot of room for a whole lot of people, and we don’t charge by the hour. Please check with the center for availability dates.
The Senior Center welcomed new visitor John Johnson from Dallas, Texas on Monday. We might even be able to convert him to an OU or OSU fan. Thanks for joining us John and we hope to see you back here again soon.
20) Taco Salad
21) THANKSGIVING MEAL
24) Biscuits & Gravy
26) Chicken Fried Steak
Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. ~Johnny Carson
Chef Tracie’s recipe for this week
Lemon Custard Pie
5 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cup lemon juice
Zest from lemon
1 – 9” graham cracker shell
Mix first 4 ingredients, pour into shell and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Use lemon zest to garnish
By Sharon Beasley
Good, we got our first snow out of the way. I moved to Oklahoma from Wyoming in 1963; we had big snows in Wyoming. My memory of those first years here is that we did not get much snow. I don’t recall my three years in high school in Chickasha ever having a closed day due to snow or ice. Now it seems to be a yearly event for schools to close for such weather.
I do appreciate that the snow cover is better for the plants that barely had time to go into dormancy before this spell of very cold weather. The snow seems early to me, so I looked up some snow facts for the Oklahoma City area.
This is what I found at newsok.com and koco.com. The earliest snowfall was Oct. 25, 1957, but it wasn’t measurable. To be measurable, the snowfall amount has to be one inch - that occurred on Oct. 26. 1913.
The latest measurable snowfall was on April 12, 1957; the latest trace of snow was April 30, in the years of 1907 and 1949, the average first snowfall is in December. During that time, we had six white Christmases.
I am not sure if that means snow fell on Christmas or that there was snow on the ground on six Christmases. Since the records go back 106 years, I don’t think we can complain about snow ruining our Christmas get-togethers too often.
The average snowfall was eight inches. I don’t know if it is worth knowing the average snowfall since the figures for getting it can vary so much over the years. I wouldn’t tell anyone to move here, so they can go sledding in winter on our average eight inches; they would be very disappointed. Additionally, they would be wondering where a hill was for sledding on!
This snow talk leads me to the topic of spiders. I had an orb weaver spider hanging around a window since August. The day this latest cold front blew in, she was at the window at 11 p.m. when I checked. By morning she was gone. I have read they don’t live long, and I wonder if the cold kills them or she hid somewhere.
Last year, another window orb weaver stayed at the kitchen window for about three months. She disappeared during the first bad cold snap that was short lived, but reappeared a day or two later and stayed around until the next cold snap that brought in permanent winter.
Not many people get excited about spiders, but I love these beautiful yellow and black orb weavers (Argiopes). Most gardeners I know also enjoy seeing them in the yard. Even though the window gets messy with webbing when they take up residence there, it is worth it to have such an easy daily view of one.
As a result of the window view of this year’s spider, I had the chance to see her finishing her first egg case early one morning. This amounted to watching her wrap and wrap her webbing around the egg case and then spinning fasteners to hold it tight to the window. I wish I had noticed it when she started it, as I would love to witness how the egg case gets going. I imagine they form an egg case and then insert the actual eggs into it.
I did learn that the egg case is a beautiful snow white (see, still talking snow) at first and then begins to turn gray. It also shrinks a bit as it ages.
I decided to find a bug person in Oklahoma and found Andrine Shufran at OSU. I was very excited about my spider and wanted to ask a bug person about her. You see, my spider ended up forming five egg cases at the window. I never heard of, or witnessed, one having more than one egg case.
Ms. Shufran said it does happen. I was ready to put my spider in the Guiness World Book of Records. I think I may scoop one case into a large jar to observe it until it hatches. I will have all winter, snowy or not, to watch it.
By Darla Welchel Managing Editor
Humans are weird creatures. We will live like animals, so our animals can live like humans!
I’m all for keeping animals warm, but they should not “run” your home. With the recent freezing temperatures Oklahoma has been experiencing, my Facebook has been blowing up with dozens of pictures of dogs (and cats) covered in snow with quotes like “Dogs are family,” “bring them in, if you are cold, they are cold,” and “it is inhumane to leave your pets outside.”
I’m sorry, but I take offense to this. Number one, most of the photos of snowy dogs are of huskies or of other longhair dogs that prefer it a bit cooler. And two, I’m not inhumane because I treat my animals like animals!
I get really tired of someone else making me feel guilty for not conforming to their ideas of pet housing.
Don’t get me wrong; I love animals, and just because I won’t let my pets tear up my house doesn’t mean I don’t love them.
I once tried to convince my dad to let me bring my horse inside and spent one wet winter afternoon trying to cover him with my raincoat. The horse looked at me like I was stupid and ran off kicking his heals, and I got a terrible cold.
I learned a really important lesson. THEY ARE ANIMALS! And God created them with fur coats and meant for them to live outside!
Would we bring in cows? Deer? Water buffaloes?
Do I have indoor pets? Sure, you bet. I have one or two purring cats on my lap any time I sit down. And, I would prefer it if they all stayed indoors, but so far I have never been able to keep one in when its begging to go outside to explore and hunt like God intended them to.
I think that is cruel.
But do I let animals ruin or run my house? No.
I love them, but my husband and I have worked really hard to have a nice home, and when a cat starts using my house as his litter box or a dog decides to eat the carpet; I curtail their freedoms.
I actually had a post from a friend that said (in reference to my dog getting into everything) that her trash can has permanently been moved to her kitchen counter! Okay. Yuck! I’m sorry, but that is not healthy.
Animals are not sanitary, and it doesn’t matter how much you bathe them, the simple truth is they walk in their own potty. We wouldn’t step in our own toilet and walk on the carpets (or our counters), but we turn a blind eye to when our animals do it.
My two cats refuse to stay locked up. I try when the temps are turning to the teens or below, but they meow and fuss until I can’t stand it anymore and let them out. It is usually on the coldest night, and I fret and worry about them, but they always come back fat, fluffy and happy.
Even when I choose to ignore the screams of protest, they will make a break for it when the door is open. I have spent more than one cold night trying to coax, cajole or capture the escape artist - freezing my PJs off to no avail.
I had a German Shepherd who would forgo his very warm, very insulated dog house on the covered porch and lay out in the middle of the yard letting the snow and ice fall on him. I tried to bring him indoors (because I was convinced he would be happier), but he panted until I was afraid he would have heat stroke.
Sometimes animals want to be animals and refuse all our “human” melding to anthropomorphize them into behaving like real children.
Pet owners talk about how intelligent animals are, but when they prefer to stay outdoors in the weather instead of inside a sweltering hot house, we think we know best.
Who is really being inhumane? Someone who “lets the dog (or cat) out” or someone who forces them to remain indoors when they would rather be outside, behaving like animals?
By Sydney Cannon FFA Reporter
On October 27-31, six members of the Newcastle FFA Chapter made the road trip to Louisville, Kentucky to attend the 87th National FFA Convention.
Sydney Cannon, Austin Hey, Nicole Lee, Josh Miner, Makenzie O’Brien and Derick Price attended as well as Newcastle FFA advisor Brandon Morgan and Newcastle Superintendent Tony O’Brien.
En route to the convention, the FFA members toured the National Corvette Museum, Churchill Downs and Louisville Slugger. As a token of appreciation, two personalized Louisville Sluggers were brought to Newcastle High School principal Rob Gilstrap and assistant principal Robbin Sanders in order to thank them for their cooperation with the local ag program.
At the opening session of the National Convention, FFA members from all fifty states, as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands heard from motivational speaker Nick Vujicic. Vujicic, who was born with no arms and no legs, spoke about going all out in everything you do, regardless of your limits. Newcastle FFA members took his words to heart, and came home ready to Go All Out for the FFA and to better lead the members of this great organization.