Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:22

The Newcastle Pacer Presents: ECC Letters to Santa

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

To read the 250 plus letters, be sure to pick up a copy of The Newcastle Pacer today!

Kids say and ask for the cutest things, especially around Christmas.

The children from the Newcastle Early Childhood center recently wrote their – often heartfelt – letters to Dear Old Saint Nick and to make sure the letters get delivered properly, The Newcastle Pacer is publishing them in its annual Letters to Santa edition.

After all, Santa Claus is a regular subscriber to the Pacer and never misses an issue or a letter.

Not every child participated, but the ones who did asked for a wide variety of items to be left under their Christmas tree this year. Many of the children were sure to convey to the Jolly Elf that they had been “good” all year, but some were not so sure.

Nineteen classes are represented on the next several pages, and there are some interesting requests this year. Some are not so easy to read as The Pacer printed them just as they were written.

The most asked for toy for the young ladies is an Elsa Doll from the hit Disney film, “Frozen.” It is followed closely by the Anna Doll and also Barbie. As for the boys, it is a toss-up between Legos, Remote Control Helicopters and all things to do with video gaming.

Also putting in a good showing are: make-up, Choo-Choo trains, baby dolls, Nerf guns, Little Pony, Minecraft, Cotton Candy Maker and Pokémon items.

Still others asked for one of Santa’s reindeers or a ride in his sleigh.

But, by far, the best letters were the ones that didn’t ask for anything for themselves, but asked for a sibling or a parent. Some simply wanted to thank Santa or tell him they loved him.

No matter what they asked for or didn’t ask for, the letters are adorable and fun. Merry Christmas children from The Newcastle Pacer.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:07

Cooking Christmas treats for 4-legged friends

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By Lucy Wilson

On December 5th, members of the A.S.A.P. Club (Amazing Small Animal Project Club) met at the McClain County Extension kitchen to make homemade dog and cat treats for pet goodie bags.  

The members made enough treats for 11 cat goodie bags and three different kinds of dog biscuits for 16 doggie goodie bags.  
These bags were donated to Operation Christmas for people who might also have a pet that needs a Christmas gift.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 21:03

Blanket Brigade

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Some Newcastle elementary fifth grade students have given up their recess for the past two weeks to make baby blankets for the Norman Fire Department. One of their teachers, VA Ospovat read that the firefighters take blankets on calls with them to hand out if a home has little or no heat. The children wanted to help, so the Blanket Brigade was formed and they started making child and baby size blankets. According to another teacher volunteer, Jennifer Privett, they can make about one blanket a day. Pictured from left: Special Education teacher Tiffiny Grigg; students Taylor, Joanna, Ashlynn, Lauren and Trevor; Jennifer Privett.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 20:56

Setting The Pace: Not Celebrate?

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By Jeremy Freeman

For many, the Christmas season can be a difficult one. There are many who have lost loved ones, who are battling illnesses, facing difficult circumstances, reminded of broken relationships, have wayward children or grandchildren, and on and on.

The weight of such burdens can cause some to feel so alone that they drift into despair. But, is there reason to still rejoice? In the midst of heartache, can you still find a way to celebrate? I believe you can. I believe Christmas is about hope, real hope that is found in the one true, real God.

A poem I recently stumbled upon by Ann Weems has been a real blessing to me, and for those of us who know the pain of going into Christmas with losses and heartache, I believe these words will be a blessing to you. Ann’s poem reminds us that even though our hearts are battered, we should not only celebrate, but also actually lead the celebration. I pray her words bring as much

comfort to you as they did to me:

By Ann Weems
Your burden is too great to bear?
Your loneliness is intensified during this Christmas season?
Your tears have no end?
Not celebrate?
You should lead the celebration!
You  should  run t hrough the s treets
to ring the bells and sing the loudest!
You should fling the tinsel on the tree,
and open your house to your neighbors, and call them in to dance!
For it is you above all others who know the joy of Advent.
It is unto you that a Savior is born this day,
One who comes to lift your burden from your shoulders,
One who comes to wipe the tears from your eyes.
You are not alone,
for He is born this day to you.

Christmas is about hope! Why? Because God has come to us and had made a way for us to know Him and call Him Father. Jesus has come! His name is Immanuel, God with us!

This Christmas, you are not alone, you have a loving Heavenly Father who has good plans for your life. Look to Him and trust in Him. I pray that all my “fellow grievers” will remember that our suffering is not in vain. The Bible says it is producing for us a glory that will far outweigh our pain. Let us hold fast to Jesus this Christmas and allow Him to fill our hearts with true joy and hope.

Merry Christmas. See you next week!

Jeremy Freeman
Twitter: JeremyFreeman_
Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 20:51

Garden Gazeing: Shopping for a gardener is a snap

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By Sharon Beasley

So, Christmas Day is around the corner now.  I hope you have finished all your shopping, decorating, Christmas card mailing and anything else that you hoped to get done by now. I won’t say that I am so ready.

If you still need to buy that special gardener in your life a gift, buy them something for their gardening habit. A true gardener doesn’t care if it is a pretty gift as long as it is related to gardening.

The easiest thing to do if you are unsure what to give is to buy a gift certificate at any store with gardening products. A store with a variety of goods is an ideal place to obtain a gift certificate

If you just love putting bows on things, then how about a lovely ceramic pot or even a nice terra cotta one?  Marcum’s, down the road from Newcastle, has quite a good selection of ceramic pots, while the big box stores have plenty of terra cotta ones.

At the other extreme, is a bag of cow manure or compost to improve the soil.  Bags of cypress mulch or cotton hulls are also very useful. Gardeners can wear out garden gloves pretty quickly, and I recommend ones that are labeled Atlas gloves, because they are very comfortable to wear even on hot days. Atlas gloves feel like a second skin and are flexible enough to pull small weeds, which many gloves can’t do. Look for Atlas gloves at nurseries. Gloves keep a gardener’s hands sweet smelling when spreading manure. The list of gifts for gardeners is pretty long.

Now, think about the decorating around the home. If you like to have cut greenery to use around the home for decorating, consider buying trees and shrubs with good evergreen foliage for the purpose. Pine trees might be your first thought for excellent greenery, but really, there are better evergreen plants than pine.

The trouble with pines is that the foliage is not compact enough for many purposes.   The needles are too long or some have foliage that is one-sided. I like some pine, but I use many other plants also, such as holly branches, to stuff the porch pots, so they look alive again after the winterkill of summer plants. Some hollies stay under six feet and some grow taller.  For shorter ones, I like Blue Prince and Blue Princess, which, when planted near each other, will produce red berries on the Blue Princess. For a tall holly, there is Nelly R. Stevens.   

Junipers are common plants to have around a home, and they provide nice foliage. They do have a smell that some find objectionable for indoor use, but you can create a faux bush by inserting many long branches into soil of an empty outside pot. Shade-loving yews offer short-needled foliage that is very attractive. I am not a huge fan of boxwoods, but have to admit to having a couple. Their small leaves make long-lasting cut foliage.  

You won’t get the nice smell of pine foliage with these various substitutes, but they will perform well otherwise. Whether finishing your shopping or decorating, don’t get too stressed out. I hope you enjoy the holiday season with someone dear to you.

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By Pixie Stanford

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, they are filling up fast.

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.

We are glad that Virginia Sorrels made it back safely from her trip to the warm state of Florida in time to enjoy the holidays in her home state of Oklahoma. I hope she enjoyed that warm weather, but in my heart I am hoping for some snow soon for the holidays.  

It was also good to see Paul Newby and Richard Keen back in here broken foot and all.  

The Senior Center would like to wish Curtis Gilbreath a Happy Birthday that was on December 11.  May you have many more.

The Senior Center will be holding their annual Christmas Dinner on December 19 at 11:30 a.m. If you didn’t get a chance to come by and sign up for it but wish to come any way you will be welcomed and we will have plenty of food.  Please join us.

One of the great things about being a bus driver is that you get to sit in the bus and watch people. On Tuesday, I was just sitting in my bus and waiting on my seniors, and I saw the cutest thing. A senior couple was walking out of the senior center towards their car, and he just so sweetly reached over and swatted his misses on the rear end ever so affectionately. I had to chuckle over that one.  You know who you are Seniors!

Lunch begins at 11:30 and the cost is $4.
18)    Pizza
22)    Beans & Cornbread
23)    Ham Salad Sandwiches
24-26) CLOSED
29)    Chili
30)    Chicken & Dumplings
31)    Fish
1 &2) CLOSED

Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time. ~Laura Ingalls Wilder

Pecan Sandies
1/2 c softened butter
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 c flour
1/2 c chopped pecans
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together; mix in flour until well blended. Stir in pecans. Chill 30 minutes. Roll into 1-in balls, cook at 325 for 20 minutes. Let cool then roll in powdered sugar.


Wednesday, 17 December 2014 20:05

Hoping for a Merry Christmas

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Duane Alexander or just “Alex” is no stranger to helping others.

He runs Professional Recyclers: Recycle for Charity in Tri-City and has been helping local organizations turn recycled items to cash all the while returning some of the donated items back to the community.

The drive-thru recycle/donation center located at 1621 NW 32 just west of TG Farms, has been collecting donated items for charities like Tri City Hope Center in Newcastle for nearly five years.

They also host fundraisers like the Fill the Truck event Newcastle Elementary School recently held in which they earned $1,500 to beautify the grounds.

But this time of year, Alex’s giving spirit really kicks in, and he puts on a certain red suit to help give out some extra cheer for area children.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 23, Santa will appear at the Tri City Hope Center at 201 S. Main St. to give out gifts to the children of families who receive help each week. Professional Recyclers purchased all the gifts for each family.

Those registered with Tri City Hope Center receive food and household items each week. The center is for residents of Newcastle, Bridge Creek, Tuttle, Blanchard and some surrounding rural areas, he said.  

“I live in Blanchard and drive through Newcastle every day to and from work and saw the need to help there with a drive-thru center,” Alexander said. “I contacted the chamber and became a member. I wanted to find a local charity to help out and to partner with. [The chamber] had recommended Shannon Kowals [with Tri City Hope Center]. We have been working together ever since.”

Professional Recyclers also helps the March of Dimes, American Diabetes Association, as well as the American Veterans, he said.

“The reason we support multiple organizations is that I feel the items donated by the public to help out should be their choice as to who they want it to go to,” Alexander said.

Recycle for Charity will be having a community thank you day at the drive thru center to show its appreciation for all the support in the spring, he said.

“Our web site is, and our phone number for 100 percent free fundraising is (405) 681-9926,” Alexander said. “We are a local company helping local charities helping local people.”

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 20:01

Newcastle praise singers perform at Carnegie Hall

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

What singer wouldn’t want to play Carnegie Hall?

The glamour, the acoustics, the size of the hall would all make for a dream come true.

On November 24, in New York City, 13 vocalists from Newcastle were able to cross one more thing off their bucket list when they performed with the American Festival Choir at Carnegie Hall.

The singers, most of them members of Newcastle First Baptist Church’s Voices of Praise Choir, traveled to the “city that never sleeps” for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, said FBC music pastor Dave Watson. They joined 17 other churches from eight states for a total of 330 vocalists to perform the musical by Phil Barfoot called “The Heart of Christmas.”

Four other non-singers joined the group for a whirlwind trip of rehearsals, sightseeing and of course, the concert, which featured 25 original songs by Barfoot, he said. As one of the directors, Watson was able to be one of the guest conductors on the song “For Unto Us.”

The Heart of Christmas musical featured 25 songs, and featured guest narrator Beth Moore, guest musical soloists Travis Cottrell, Marcia Ware and April Duren, guest pianist Jeff Bennett, and the musical arranger Cliff Duren.

“This was the experience of a lifetime for us. It’s a rare opportunity to even visit New York City, but to sing in a 330-voice choir in the most famous concert hall in America with such wonderful guest artists was just incredible,” Watson said. “God gave us many opportunities to represent the Lord and our church in this city, and worshiping at Carnegie Hall and also at Brooklyn Tabernacle was just fantastic.”

As each choir was given the musical score well in advance, it only took a couple of rehearsals with the large group to prepare for the 4th Annual American Festival Choir performance, which left ample time for sightseeing, he said.

“Our group was able to take in many of the sights in NYC including: the 9-11 Memorial, a sunset harbor cruise past the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center with the Christmas Tree “in progress” as they were hanging the lights, the Top of the Rock Observatory at Rockefeller Center, Central Park, Broadway musicals including Les Miserable, the famous Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall, the giant digital billboards in Times Square, worshipping at the Brooklyn Tabernacle and hearing the world-famous Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, visiting famous stores like Macy’s, FAO Schwartz, the Apple Store, eating in several well-known restaurants, and much more!”

One couple, Bob and Jenna Conner were even able to extend their stay to witness the world-famous Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thanksgiving, he said.

Alto vocalist Judy Dennis said, “I was blessed to see New York City with some of my favorite people.  I saw the Statue of Liberty on a dinner cruise, Times Square, The Rock, The Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, the Rockets, sing in Carnegie Hall, Central Park and much more.

 “When my husband, Ace, asked me ‘what was your favorite part of the trip?’ I said “When your favorite part of New York City is Central may belong in Oklahoma!”

In all, 17 Newcastle and Tri-City residents made the trip to New York City. They were: Dave, Dian and Joey Watson, Jenna and Bob Conner, Debbie and John Espen, Gayla Everett, Stacey Bonham, Judy Dennis, Casey Day, Cindy Frizzell, Janie McCandless, DaWayne and Sherry Smith, Linda Wasserbeck and Karen Wynne.

On December 14, a combined Voices of Praise Choir made up of 120 adults, youth and children performed several selections from the Heart of Christmas musical during the evening worship service, Watson said. There were over 550 people in attendance.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014 19:52

Christmas notes and voices

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

The Newcastle High School Band and Choir performed in the grand auditorium last Thursday evening for a nearly full house.

The Racer Band began the program with Christmas On A Snowy Night arranged by John Moss followed by Mel Tormé and Robert Wells’ holiday classic The Christmas Song.

Director Todd Baker took a few moments to shine a light on his students’ accomplishments so far this year, both on the marching field and in the concert arena.

The band finished its portion of the concert with everyone’s favorite Hallelujah from Handel’s The Messiah. A short intermission ensued while the band quickly broke down the stage to ready for the Racer Choir.

As Diane Watson began playing to an empty stage, soft voices could be heard coming from the rear of the auditorium. The singers walked in by candlelight to Personent Hodie arranged by Leavitt.

After the choir took their places, Director Lisa McLean led them in bringing holiday cheer with their renditions of Christmas Canon Rock by Pachebel and O’Neill, Wolfgang’s Christmas Canon by Mozart, Christmas Pipes by Gragam and Holiday Favorites Christmas Medley by Emerson.


Monday, 15 December 2014 21:03

Catherine Coreen Rowland Obituary

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Catherine Coreen Rowland age 91 of OKC, formerly of Newcastle, went home to be with her Lord on Saturday, December 13, 2014 at the Sommerset Assisted Living Center in OKC. She was born April 13, 1923 in Paris, Texas. Catherine was the 2nd child of seven children born to Roy Melvin Smith and Leona (Melton) Smith.   Catherine grew up in South Oklahoma City where she later met and married the love of her life, Derral Rowland. They were married on December 10, 1949 in Oklahoma City and this past year celebrated 65 years of marriage. Catherine and Derral together raised two daughters, Sharon and Sandra. While they were growing up Catherine worked as a stay at home mom, wife and homemaker. After her daughters were grown Catherine worked outside the home at various jobs. They lived in OKC until they moved to Newcastle in 1976. While living in Newcastle, Catherine was a faithful member of the Newcastle First Baptist Church. In her later years she and Derral enjoyed going to the Newcastle Senior Citizens Center. She was a wonderful cook, she also enjoyed sewing and traveling.

She will be remembered as a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and great grandmother. She will be greatly missed.

She was preceded in death by:

Parents, Roy and Leona Smith; Three sisters, Wilma Hamman, Helen Kisor, and June Scott; Three brothers, Rufus Smith, Ray Hungerford and Norman Devine; One granddaughter, Kristi McCullough;

She is survived by:

Husband, Derral Rowland of OKC; Two daughters, Sharon McCullough and husband Delbert of Mustang, Sandra Holmes and husband David of Edmond; 9 grandchildren, 23 great grandchildren, 2 great-great grandchildren, many nieces, nephews and a host of other relatives and friends.

Funeral Services will be 9:00 am Tuesday, December 16, 2014 at Chapel of Roses at Resthaven Memory Gardens in Oklahoma City. Arrangements are with Wilson-Little Funeral Home in Newcastle. Send online condolences @

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