By Darla Welchel
Swing your partner round and round. This phrase conjures images of swirling skirts, smartly dressed gents and an abundance of good company.
The Centennial Squares square dance club would like to invite anyone who has ever thought about square dancing to come help them celebrate their 7th Anniversary. The dancers, who represent McClain County, will hold a night of food, fellowship and great dancing at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 30 at the Newcastle Community Building located inside the library.
This year's Centennial Squares celebration will have a Mexican theme and will feature great food, visiting dancers and a special intermission entertainment, said dance caller Mike McCormick.
"We expect to have most of our club members present (about 35 people) and visitors from around the south metro area, Shawnee and Yukon," he said. "This dance is a celebration of the anniversary of forming the club here in Newcastle America in 2007 - Oklahoma’s Centennial and the inspiration for our club name."
McCormick and his wife Linda took over the microphone as callers for the club in 2013, when former callers Tom and Faye Moore stepped down due to health reasons, he said. The Moores formed the club in 2007. Today, McCormick calls for Centennial Squares and is Vice President of the Oklahoma State Callers and Teachers Association (OSCTA).
"We began square dance lessons while dating in 1971 with Jim and Cathy Adams, current Centennial members," McCormick said of he and his wife.
After they graduated from lessons, the couple was married in 1972. McCormick founded the "Spirit of 76" square dance club in 1975 and called for several local clubs, regional and national events in the 1970's and early 80's, he said. After hanging up his mic to raise three adopted children, two daughters and a son in the 80's, 90's and new Millennium, Mike and Linda returned to dancing in 2008 and to calling in 2009.
Learn to dance
The Centennial Squares will be offering square dance and western line dance lessons beginning Tuesday, Sept. 16. Each class will begin at 7 p.m. and will be held in the library's community center, McCormick said.
Those new to the idea of dancing can come and try it for free for the first two lessons, he said. If they like it and decide to stay for the entire 15-week session, the cost is only $2.50 per person per lesson.
"Square Dancing is an amazing opportunity to turn off the stress and troubles of the daily grind, find a getaway with your significant other and kick it up a notch," McCormick said. "If you wonder what it is like, come out for our Open House Dance where we will give new dancers a taste of square dancing at our regular dance on Sept. 5 to get a flavor for what it is all about."
For more information about the Anniversary Celebration or the dance lessons contact either Brenda Medrano at 831-6625 or Mike McCormick, 517-4097.
By Cody Johnson
Construction started last week for a new recreational field within Newcastle city limits. Shane and Carla Tillison, owners of Bigg Papa’s restaurant, are fronting the project on land leased to them behind their restaurant.
“We are trying to give the kids the potential to be in sports and play sports, Carla said, “because there are a lot that don’t get to do it and sports does a whole lot for someone.”
The main purpose is to give any local sports team a place where they can raise funds, Carla Tillison said. It is also going to be a safe family oriented environment for local kids to come practice and to stay out of trouble.
The whole project is coming about through donations from the community, although not all the donations are officially lined up yet, she said. Bob’s Dozers Service donated four days worth of dirt work to level the one-acre lot and remove growth.
The project does not have a completion date but they hope to either sod or turf the field and add goals, Tillison said. The recreational facility will include a soccer field, however the other sports to be included are undecided. Potential sports are volleyball, Frisbee, and flag football.
“We just want people to know we opened it for the kids,” she said.
By Darla Welchel
Do you have a kid who loves to take things apart and put them back together?
You probably have come home to your toaster or DVR in pieces only to wonder if it will ever be the same.
Instead of getting frustrated at your little mechanic with the inquisitive mind, load them up and take them to the Science Museum Oklahoma’s newest permanent exhibit The Tinkering Garage.
“Tinkering Garage is a space to investigate, experiment, design and create,” said Museum Network Director Sherry Marshall. “Customized interactive programming and access to innovative tools and technology allows visitors of all ages the opportunity to dive deeper into problem solving, exploring science, engineering, math, art, and technology. By taking time to test, adapt, and retest, visitors will take part in the scientific process and discover how that process helps better explain our world.”
Although the exhibit had a soft opening a month ago “to beta test” the workstations with the museum’s target audience, the official Grand Opening took place on Friday, August 8. Filled with every kind of mechanical and technological castoffs, The Tinkering Garage is a gadget lover’s nirvana. In fact, they are always looking for donations of old mechanical items and AA batteries.
“As we move forward as a society, we want to make sure we have generations who know not just how to use technology but also who can create it,” Marshall said. “This exhibit builds critical thinking skills and logic skills.”
The new exhibit is actually a rework of the existing tinkering center, and it is filled with so many new and exciting things to do, said media director Christa Copeland. The exhibit has taken recycling and upcycling to a whole new level with hundreds of old phones, toys and other gadgets available for visitors to take apart and put back together.
In addition to The Tinkering Garage, the Science Museum Oklahoma has hundreds of other exhibits for the science-minded - most of them interactive. Also available is Destination Space, filled with items like one-of-a-kind space artifacts such as the actual Apollo Command Module Mission Simulator and Science Live a daily live science performance show where visitors can see first hand chemistry and physics in the form of some amazing chemical-reaction explosions.
There are also several areas for children just to run, play and be physical such as the Gadget Trees, which feature the world’s tallest spiral slide. And of course, the museum formally known as the Omniplex still has its famed planetarium.
The Tinkering Garage is fun and fascinating for all ages of children and adults, as is the entire Science Museum Oklahoma. But if you intend to visit, be sure to plan for the whole day as you can not see and do it all in just a couple hours.
By Darla Welchel
What will every well-dressed Racer be wearing this year?
Well, the Newcastle Senior Class of 2015 hope that it is some of their Spirit Sleeves and Checkered toe socks, said senior sponsor Theresa Hendrix.
The senior class will be selling Spirit Sleeves and checkered toe socks to raise money for their end-of-the-year senior trip, she said. The class will accept orders and payment until September 5 and special order spirit items will arrive two weeks after that day.
"The sleeves are kind of like socks that you put on your arms to like you are wearing long sleeves," Hendrix said. "We have school colors in stock, but we can order any color."
The spirit sleeves are perfect to add to your Racer t-shirt for cooler days. The colors and styles available in stock are royal blue and white, black and white, royal blue and black, black, white, royal blue, checkered and zebra, she said.
"If the fundraiser goes well, we will put in another order later," Hendrix said.
The sleeves can also be used as tights or leg warmers for little girls, she said. Both the sleeves and the socks are being sold for $10 a pair.
Contact co-senior sponsor Stacy Wright 387-6487 or Theresa Hendrix 387-6332 for more information.
July's Golden Spotlight honors Ellamae Thompson Dobbs.
Ellamae, 84, was born in Foster, Okla. but moved to Canute, Okla. within a couple years of birth where she started kindergarten and continued her education unto graduating high school.
At 16, Ellamae married Iver Thompson and had three children: Betty Jetty of Newcastle, 67, Ronald Thompson of Dibble, 64, and Darrell Thompson of Dibble, 59. The Thompson family moved to Oklahoma City in 1965.
Iver worked at O'Brien Paint Company while Ellamae worked at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in the operating area taking care of office work. While working one day, a surgeon pulled Ellamae into the surgery room where she watched the first open-heart surgery performed at the OU Medical Center.
"I saw it in his chest beating while they hooked up hoses to the new one," Ellamae said, "One of the surgeons asked, 'are you alright?' or if I was going to faint?"
Iver suffered a stroke in 1985 and passed away two years later. Ellamae tried to retire several times, but always went back to work at the OU Medical Center. She supported her mother until her passing in 2002.
After having her own open-heart surgery in 2005, Ellamae officially retired and moved to Newcastle with her daughter Betty.
Ellamae enjoys traveling. She has gone to many places including the western Oklahoma beehives, Kansas, and Branson, Mo. Her favorite trip was a steamboat trip that floated up the Mississippi River into Nebraska where she stayed in a big lodge. While traveling in April 2009, she met a man named Gayle Dobbs.
"When you love someone, age doesn't matter," Ellamae said, "I never really thought about my age." She was 80 when her and Gayle Dobbs were married in November of 2009 in Rocky, Okla. with around a 100 people in attendance, mostly seniors.
"A big wedding for me," she remarked.
Ellamae moved to Rocky with Gayle and they traveled on senior tours. Gayle Dobbs had five children from a previous marriage; Clint Dobbs of Yukon, Okla., Jeff Dobbs of Missouri, Trudy Berlander of Dallas, Tex., Molly Jones of Snyder, Okla., and Bridget Walker of Fort Cobb, Okla.
"I finally had a big family," Ellamae said, "Molly even called me 'mom.' She didn't have to, but she did."
Gayle fell sick and was taken from Ellamae two and a half years after they were wed. Afterward, she moved back in with her daughter Betty in Newcastle.
"I can't seem to get well since he died," Ellamae said, but she tries to stay active.
"It's not funny getting old, but I guess you know you are old when even your doctor says so," Ellamae chuckled.
Ellamae enjoys playing Bingo. She and her daughter travel to Moore on Tuesdays to play. On Mondays and Fridays, she travels to Dibble to see her sons.
Ellamae is a member of Cole Baptist Church and is able to attend on Sundays because James Carol Ferguson offers to drive her.
"I'll just like anybody I'll see. I'll talk to anybody. I don't care," Ellamae said.
By Darla Welchel
Members of the Lions Clubs International have been prowling around Newcastle for the past couple of weeks hunting down community members interested in reestablishing a new Lions Club in Newcastle.
Marvin Ainsworth, Global Membership Team District Coordinator and Dawn Miller, Oklahoma State Secretary and District Governor, visited local businesses and city offices to sign up people for the new club.
“Lions meet the needs of local communities and the world. When you join Lions, you join a global service network. So, at the same time you’re doing local community service, you can also contribute to Lions volunteer efforts around the world,” stated the organizations website.
Ainsworth stressed the “we serve” mantra of the club.
“We have three teams in Newcastle today seeing how the Lions Club can help the community,” he said. “We are not here to take away from anything anyone else is doing, but to add.”
Newcastle used to have an active Lions Club many, many years ago, and its Ainsworth goal to see one here again.
Jeannette Lore, President of the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce said, “We don’t have a civic organization like this in Newcastle. They can do so many things that the chamber or the city can’t do, and they can step up and help complete ongoing projects.”
Lore pointed out the Lions Club do many things for communities like helping with parks projects, the schools and the senior citizen center; they also put on health screenings and they have a great eye glasses program. Another way they help the community is by volunteering at various community events.
In order for the Lions Club to re-organize in Newcastle, they will need at least 20 members to sign up, Ainsworth said. So far, they are a few members short. The Lions Club is the world’s largest organization with 1.3 million members, but it is looking to add some younger adult members, he said.
“There is a tremendous need for the Lions Club,” he said. The only thing the Internet can’t replace is a couple of hands to do community service – for that you need people.”
To become a member of the Newcastle Lions Club requires a $10 a month membership fee. And although communication is mandatory, attendance to the bi-monthly meetings is no longer mandatory, Ainsworth said.
“They do a broad spectrum of things as an organization to help a community,” Lore said. “I am an official charter member of the Newcastle Lions Club.”
The Lions Club is hoping to be able to use the community room located inside the library for their meetings. You can pick up an application at Stephanie’s Place located at 994 North Main or by calling Marvin Ainsworth at 819-1045.
By Darla Welchel
Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir was certainly singing the praise of Newcastle Assistant Police Chief Gary Boggess when he found himself in a high-speed car chase last Friday.
After reaching speeds in access of 130 mph, the suspect crashed a $90,000 stolen Mercedes sports car and attempted to flee on foot. Assistant Police Chief Boggess, with the help of PHP Trooper Pitman, chased him for one half mile before apprehending him, Weir said.
Around 8:20 a.m. on August 15, Weir said he received an OHP bolo for a stolen pearl white Mercedes SL convertible, which was just seen heading north on I-44 near the Chickasha tollgate.
“I was traveling south on I-44 when I observed a white Mercedes SL550 northbound at approximately the 100 mile marker,” he said. “I caught up with the vehicle and ran the tag displayed, which showed not in file meaning it was stolen.”
The sheriff called for backup but pulled up next to the car to get a look at the driver for identification purposes, he said. As he pulled up next to the Mercedes, the driver, later identified as Aaron Christopher Rhodes, motioned to him as if asking if the sheriff wanted him to pull over.
“Being the only unit at the time, I shook my head no and fell back. Rhodes slowed to about 60 mph and continued northbound,” Weir said.
When backup arrived, Weir had reasonable suspicion to stop the vehicle and “engaged” his emergency lights and sirens. This action prompted Rhodes to accelerate reaching speeds over 120 mph.
“My vehicle topped out at 120 mph, and Rhodes was pulling away from me very quickly,” he said. “Assistant Chief Boggess was had been monitoring radio traffic and was north bound on I-44 around mile marker 108 when Rhodes passed him in excess of 130 mph.
“Boggess said he was a little nervous, because there was a curve coming up and Rhodes’ vehicle was drifting, and he was afraid the suspect was going to hit heavy traffic.”
Rhodes drove the Mercedes into the rear of a gray Silverado pickup. He lost control of the sports car slamming it into the center cable barricade where is came to rest more than 200 feet away, Weir said.
That is when Rhodes attempted to elude arrest by trying to run away. But Boggess and the trooper got their man and Rhodes was arrested in Grady County, he said.
The Mercedes was searched at the scene, where it was confirmed as the car stolen from the Lawton area, Weir said. Also, Newcastle Master Patrolman Holden found a Visa debit card and a social security card in Rhodes’ pocket at the time of his arrest in the name of Jerry Dean Frewaldt.
“Lawton P.D. advised these items were taken during a second burglary and had been used the morning of the burglary,” he said.
Newcastle Police Department worked the accident, recovered and impounded the stolen sports car, Weir said.
“I believe the facts demonstrate probable cause to charge the defendant with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, two counts of receiving and concealing stolen property, felony eluding a peace officer and speeding,” he said.
By Darla Welchel
As a former Racer, Blake Riojas could be seen Friday nights carrying the ball up and down the field as a running back, but he was also a dedicated student.
In fact, the 2011 graduate was a Valedictorian for his class. With his Valedictorian scholarship, he has been attending the University of Oklahoma majoring in Aerospace Engineering for the past three years, and as he heads into his senior year, he’s getting another scholarship for his work in the field of research and design.
Riojas was recently awarded the Science, Mathematics And Research for Transformation (SMART) Scholarship for Service Program, which has been established by the Department of Defense (DOD) to support undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines. The program aims to increase the number of civilian scientists and engineers working at DOD laboratories, Riojas said.
This scholarship will not only pay for his last year of school, including books and tuition, it will also grant him a monthly living stipend, health insurance and mentoring in exchange for one year of civilian employment with the DOD. It is specifically set up for “first generation” students – meaning students that are the first in their families to attend college.
When Riojas applied for this amazing opportunity, he had to list his top three choices of places to work after graduation. Although he picked Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton Ohio and Naval Air Station at Patuxent River, Maryland as his two top choices, he put down Tinker Air Force Base just for his mom, Sherrie Ardies, he said.
The young scientist recently got his orders, and he was assigned to Tinker, which has made his mom quite happy, he said. Riojas won’t know until sometime after the first of the year which department he will be placed in at Tinker, but he is hoping he will be able to work with the propulsion or structure (designing internal structure of an air craft) teams.
Even though school is back in session and football will start soon, nothing let’s you know that fall is upon us like the annual Newcastle FFA Fall Livestock Show and Cake Auction.
This fun and tasty show will be on Saturday, Aug. 23 at the Newcastle Fair Barn. The show allows FFA students to showcase their livestock, while the Cake Auction is designed to raise much-needed funds for the program, said Ag teacher Brandon Morgan.
Also, back by popular demand this year is the Booster Club’s Pig Poop raffle. One hundred squares will be sold at $10 each, and whichever square gets “pooped on,” wins, he said.
This year all animals are required to be in place in the barn by 4:30 p.m. on August 23. The Cake Auction will be held immediately following the livestock show.
“There will be cattle, goats, swine, sheep and poultry exhibited at the show,” he said. “The cakes brought for the auction will also be judged with a prize given for best cake.”
Every exhibitor in the livestock show is required to bring two cakes, he said. The proceeds from the auction will go towards the upkeep of the Newcastle Fair Barn.
“All the cakes will be homemade by FFA and 4-H students and other adult supporters. In the past, cakes have sold beginning at $10 and gone up from there.”
The schedule for the day will go as follows:
4:30 p.m. - All animals in place
6:00 p.m. - Poultry Show
6:00 p.m. - Goat Show, Beef Show, Sheep Show and Swine Show
7:15 p.m. - Cake Auction
In other FFA news, the Newcastle FFA will be selling Blue and Gold sausage, as well as T&D meats until September 3. Items available for order include sausage, bacon, chicken, hot links, sausage biscuits, sausage rolls, fajitas, salsa, turkeys and hams. If you would like to place an order and support the Newcastle FFA chapter, contact any FFA member. Orders can also be placed through Brandon Morgan or Aaron Aubrey at 387-6398 or 387-6399.
By Max Terrell
Robert Dean Bell, 45, of Blanchard pled guilty in Federal Court on July 29, to possessing and transporting contraband cigarettes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bell admitted that he traveled from Oklahoma and Kansas City, Missouri, on various occasions between August 2011 and January 2012 to purchase untaxed cigarettes. Bell transported approximately 17,400 cartons of cigarettes into Oklahoma.
It is estimated that the total amount of excise tax lost is $275,163.
Under federal law, Bell may be sentenced up to five years in federal prison without parole and a fine of $250,000.
On January 21 Missouri State Highway Patrol stopped Bell and his girlfriend Suzanne Ruby, on the way to an undercover warehouse to purchase contraband cigarettes. After the arrest police seized $82,000 and a small amount of marijuana, according to the Department of Justice.
According to prosecutors, the Kansas State Highway Patrol had stopped Bell and Ruby just two months prior while they were on their way to another warehouse. The police seized $75,000, marijuana, and a firearm.
Bell was caught as part of an undercover investigation that involved multiple states and lead to the federal government seizing $266,000 from the bank account of a tobacco company owned by the Seneca-Cayuga Tribe of Oklahoma, according to the Department of Justice.
The investigation also led to a New York wholesaler being detained and according to the U.S. Department of Justice must pay a 1 million dollar fine.