Community Corner (278)

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 21:00

Harvest festivals in the community

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By Darla Welchel
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As the end of the month approaches, children are all atwitter about what costumes they will be wearing to either go trick or treating or to attend one of the many fall activities planned around the area.
Here is a brief summary of the multitude of events going on in the community this fall. Each event, sponsored by a different group or organization, has one goal in mind - to provide a safe and fun activity for area children and their families. The events are listed in order of date.
Oct. 23 - Library Make-up Workshop
To help you prepare for your night of spooky fun, the Newcastle Library is hosting a Halloween Makeup Effects workshop during an after school program at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday.
Tweens or teens can be part of the program, where they will learn basics in stage make-up effects to work as a Halloween costume or for any future use. The library will provide all supplies, so registration is required to attend the program.
For more information, visit the library, call 387-5076 or go online to
Oct. 25 - The Great Pumpkin Fest
Are you ready for some pumpkins? This annual event will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday at T.G. Farms located on Hwy 37, just west of Tri-City.
The family fun day will feature: hay mazes, multiple contests (pie eating, costume, pet costume, "Rattiest Overalls," "Most Worked" boots and "Best Beard"), live musical entertainment, free activities for children, food from the likes of Big Truck Tacos and much, much more.
Advance Tickets are $8 and can be purchased at Main Street Florist, Community Bank, First National Bank & Trust and New Life Bible Church. Tickets on the day of the event will be $10 each. A family pack of tickets is available for $30 (includes four tickets). Ticket holders will receive a pumpkin of choice.
Oct. 25 – PTO Fall Carnival
Moving its fall carnival from back-to-school to Halloween just seemed to make a lot of fun sense to the Newcastle PTO – allowing children more celebrating during the fall holidays. The carnival will be from 5:30 – 8 p.m. on Saturday in the gym at the 4/5 elementary building located on 10th Street west of Sonic. They will have another carnival in the spring.
This fall carnival will be Halloween Themed and children are encouraged to wear their costumes to participate in the costume contest. The organizers request that if a child's costume has a weapon, to please NOT bring it onto school grounds.
There will be hotdogs, Frito Chili pies, nachos, cotton candy, drinks and more. The cost of the event is $5 per person with a separate charge for food items. Children under two are free.
The organizers are still seeking volunteers to work shifts, and also candy donations would be appreciated. Contact Joanah Salas at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to volunteer or donate.
Oct. 26 – Newcastle UMC to hold animal blessing service
At 4 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 26, the Newcastle United Methodist Church, located at 121 E Fox Lane, will be conducting a Blessing of the Animals service. The service honors animals that act as faithful companions, as well as animals that contribute to people’s livelihood and enjoyment. It is also a reminder that animals are prominent in many Biblical stories.
All animals, large and small, are welcome at this service, along with their owners. The church requests that dogs, cats and other smaller animals be on leashes or in carriers for everyone’s protection. There is plenty of room for horse and cattle trailers if you wish to have those animals blessed.   
In addition to the blessings bestowed upon the animals, the Sacrament of Holy Communion will be available for humans. The service will be held outside in the church’s parking lot and on the churchyard. For more information, please visit the church's website, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .
Oct. 26 – Fall Festival at FBC
Don't miss this fun outdoor fall festival from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Sunday in the parking lot of Newcastle First Baptist Church. It will be a time of games, candy, live music and family fun. This event is for children, ages birth to sixth grade. Feel free to come in costume, but the church requests no scary costumes please. Everyone is asked to bring a non-perishable food item for the McClain County food bank. For more information, please contact the church at 387-4366.
Oct. 29 - NCC Fall Festival
Are you looking for a safe and fun activity to take the place of a night wandering the streets? Then check out Newcastle Christian Church's Fall Festival from 6:30-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday at NCC located at 2200 N. Main.
There will be games, prizes and free hot dogs and chips for all who attend. "It will be a safe environment for kids, and we think an enjoyable time," said church secretary Ellen Story. Costumes are welcomed, but the church requests no scary ones, please. Contact 387-4100 for more information.
Oct. 30 – Make-A-Wish “Mummy” Son Dance
The Newcastle High School Student Council is hosting a Mummy/Son Dance to raise funds a Make-A-Wish trip for a young 9-year old cancer patient. The dance will begin at 6 p.m. and last until 8 p.m. and will be held in the 4/5 gym at the elementary school on 10th St. The cost of this worthwhile and spooky event is $10 a student, with "Mummies" getting in free. All ages are welcome and the suggested dress for the evening is "Halloween Attire" (costumes)
Oct. 30 – Middle School Halloween Dance
Get your "Thriller" on at the Newcastle Middle School Halloween Dance from 6:30-8 p.m. in the gym – sponsored by the middle school STUCCO. Admission is $5 per student with drinks costing only 50 cents; this event is for NMS students only. Costumes are encouraged but not required, but there will be costume contests for willing participants. First prize is $30, second is $20 and 3rd, $10. Costumes must meet school dress code: no skimpy or short costumes and no strapless costumes allowed.
Oct. 31 - The Big Night
•Newcastle Chamber of Commerce hosting "Trick or Treat Newcastle." From 3:30-5:30 p.m., children can don their costumes and hit the streets of Newcastle. Not limited to just Main Street, the event will allow kids to visit various businesses to receive their treats throughout all of Newcastle. "We want to encourage businesses all over Newcastle to participate," Chamber President Jeannette Lore said. Any business that would like to help make Halloween safe and fun for community children can get on the list by emailing the chamber at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or calling the chamber office at 387-3232.
•The City of Newcastle has made the official spook-tacular night of trick-or-treating to be held on Oct. 31 for residents of Newcastle. The City is hoping to wrap up the trick or treating by 10 p.m.
•Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Bridge Creek has switched up their annual Halloword celebration in honor of Bridge Creek’s Homecoming. They will be joining forces with the high school to make it a night to remember by holding the annual alternative to Halloween in the school’s parking lot from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Bring your kids before the game for candy, cake walk and a few games. Halloword will have Trunk or Treat along with carnival activities such as face painting, lollipop pull, beanbag toss, basketball toss and a cakewalk. If the weather is bad, the event will move back to the church inside the main building during the same time. For more information, contact RBC at 387-2811.
Nov. 1 – GPC Craft Fair and Fall Festival
On Saturday, Nov. 1, the Glory Promise Center Learning Academy will be hosting an inside craft fair and outdoor Fall Festival at 417 S Main St. The craft fair will begin at 9 a.m. and run until the event closes, and the activities for the Fall Festival will begin at 2 p.m. until the fun is all played out. The activities include: moon bounces, face painting, live music and food – all in a carnival-like atmosphere. Children may come in costume.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014 20:32

NHS making wishes come true

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By Darla Welchel
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Having a child with cancer is probably one of the hardest things a family ever has to endure.
Long hospital stays, the disruption of schooling, not to mention a family often separated for weeks, if not months, at a time can take their toll a family.
The constant turmoil, stress and fear are why Make-A-Wish trips are such a welcome respite for those enduring the unimaginable.
For the third year, the Newcastle Student Council is raising funds to send one child on a trip of a lifetime through Make-A-Wish, which grants the wishes of children diagnosed with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength, and joy, said MAW Development Officer Katie Hargis.
"Make-A-Wish Oklahoma grants 175 wishes a year. The funds raised in Oklahoma stay here in Oklahoma to grant wishes to local children," she said.
The Past
Last year, Newcastle raised $8,000 for a Tuttle high school student, Madison "Maddie" McConnell and her family to take an all expense paid trip to Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
"This trip was important to me, because it gave me something to look forward to during the countless hours of treatment," Maddie said. "My favorite part of the trip was probably Universal Studios. I want Newcastle to know how much I truly appreciate how they stepped up taking me in as if I were their own, before I ever went [to school] here. I appreciate what Make-A-Wish does, because it does help having something to look forward to."
The 16-year-old McConnell, who is now in remission from Hodgkin's Lymphoma, has since transferred to Newcastle High School and loves it. She began her junior year as a Racer.
"Newcastle is an amazing school. I am treated great here, and transferring was the best decision I have ever made," she said. "The things I like most about going to Newcastle is how much school spirit we have, and everyone is so welcoming and caring to me."
Hargis added, "Newcastle had multiple assemblies and events for Maddie and invited her whole family to participate in every event."
Maddie is in STUCCO this year, so she will have a hand in raising money for this year’s recipient, Trevor Storie from Shawnee. Trevor suffers from Rhabdomyosarcoma.
The Present
Trevor is nine years old and will turn 10 this November, Hargis said. He is just like every other nine-year-old boy except he has cancer.
"He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in December of 2013. He is very outspoken and loves sports. His favorite color is pink, and he loves macaroni & cheese and likes to play football. His favorite show is Sponge Bob Square pants, and he cheers for the OKC Thunder," she said
Trevor's "wish" is to be a dolphin trainer for a day, said his mom, Zona Storie. He has an older sister who loves dolphins and he wanted to do this with her.
"His sister's favorite animal is dolphin and she always wanted to swim with them, so that is what he chose," she said.
The details of the trip are just in the beginning stages, Hargis said, but already, Newcastle is busy raising money.
"This year, to raise money in honor of Trevor's wish, Newcastle High School has a Halloween dance planned as well as many other activities," Hargis said. "Each year NHS does a special cheer that encourages the wish family and welcomes them into the Newcastle family. This year the cheer went," We believe that Trevor Will Win!"
The student advisors for STUCCO are from the Math Department; Melissa Rippy and Jake Phillips are helping their students make a difference.
"We have several activities that we will do throughout the school year to help raise the funds desired for Trevor’s trip." "We have two coming up this month. We are having our annual Powderpuff football game on Oct.23rd at the high school football field, and we are sponsoring a 'Mummy'/Son dance at the elementary school gym on Oct.30th."
The Powderpuff game will begin at 6 p.m, Oct. 23, she said. The admission is $2 a person and there will be a limited concession stand. Everyone must enter through the field house gate.
Then, on the night before Halloween, Oct. 31, STUCCO will hold the dance for mothers or mummies and their sons. The event last from 6-8 p.m. The admission for this spooky fundraising event is $10 a student with mummies getting in free. The dance is open to all ages, and dancers are encouraged to wear Halloween attire. There will also be spot for moms and sons to take pictures in their costumes. All the proceeds for this event also go to Make a Wish.
"This is our third year to work with Make a Wish," Rippy said. "In the past, our student council has tried to fundraise for different charity groups during the year. Three years ago, our principal challenged us to think about focusing our fundraising efforts on one charity. Our student council group thought it would be great for the student body to be able to connect with the individual we were raising the funds for; that is how we found Make-A-Wish adopt a child."
Hargis added, "We are truly thankful for everything Newcastle High School is doing for Make-A-Wish Oklahoma and Trevor! We appreciate all of their hard work to help bring countless smiles to Oklahoma children."
Trevor recently received his last round Chemo a few weeks ago and is now on maintenance, his mom said. He is eagerly awaiting his Make-A-Wish trip.
"His prognosis is good, and is showing no sign of cancer,” she said. “We have begun the phase of scans every three months and are praying for NED (No evidence of disease). Also praying for an easy transition into our 'new normal.' Emotions are running high in the Storie household as we struggle to adjust. God is good."


Wednesday, 15 October 2014 19:59

The Horse Handler

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By Cody Johnson
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From his blonde hair styled short in the front and long in the back, Kaden Judkins is not your average looking Newcastle resident. With a scar encircling his right arm and thick country accent, Judkins has a relaxed country charm about his person.
 He attends vo-tech in Wayne for equine production, but already has his own business at the age of 18.
 Judkins has horses sent to him from a ranch in Petersburg, Nebraska and sometimes from around the Newcastle community. He can be found breaking two or three of them at a time.
 "When I first get them, I will work with them on leading and sacking them out," Judkins said.
Sacking them out is a process of rubbing a sack all over the horse’s body. After the horse becomes accustom to the sack, a saddle can then be placed on the horse without it becoming jumpy. Once a saddle is put on the back, Judkins will ride the horse around his grandpa's land.
"I will take them out back and through water to get them used to that. I will put a tarp down and get them used to that. Basically, I work with them, so they are used to everything and won’t be jumpy," he said.
This is a skill that is past down from generation to generation.
"When I was five or six, I really liked horses. My grandpa knew Tom Ferrell who had some, so he took me over there. I was looking at them, and he asked me if I wanted to ride one," Judkins said.
The Newcastle native started breaking miniature horses and has worked his way up to full size breeds.
"I went to my aunts' who lives in Oregon, and I started team pinning there and have done it ever since," he laughed. "Then I started cutting with Tom Ferrell."
The first horse Judkins broke on his own was at the age of 15.
"It was different. I was working on figuring things out and learning from everyone that I could," he said with a shy voice.
Over the years, he has learned new tips and tricks from around twenty people.
"You learn something new everyday," Judkins said. "The people I learn from say that they learn something new everyday too, so it's just different everyday."
Already Judkins has been drug by a horse with a rope wrapped around his leg, has had a horse flip over on top of him and has had a horse run him into a barbed wire fence.
He was all cut up and admits it was not fun, but nothing has ever made him want to stop what he does.
"You just get back up and go," Judkins proclaimed.
Vo-tech has taught him how to give shots to equine, check their vital signs and diagnose problems with their health. He will graduate in May.
In the future, Judkins hopes to own a ranch and continue working with equines. He has thought about moving somewhere else but says he knows more people around here.
"I'd rather just travel to wherever I need than move," Judkins said. "There is some pretty good money if you have a good horse."


Wednesday, 15 October 2014 19:24

Golden Spotlight - Johnny Files

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By Cody Johnson
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The Golden Spotlight would like to shine a light on Johnny Files, a 79-year-old resident of Newcastle. File has lived on Fox lane by the Middle School campus for 49 of the 54 years he has spent in Newcastle.
Johnny had been living in Oklahoma City before the move to Newcastle, although he was raised in Rush Springs on a watermelon farm.
"I wish I had a nickel for everyone of them [watermelons] I handled," Johnny said in his thick country accent. "I would have a few dollars in my pocket, I'll guarantee you."
In the second grade, he became acquainted with a first grade girl by the name of Dorothy. Her family however moved to another school district west of Comanche where she attended school until moving back to Rush Springs during Johnny's junior year. They rode the same school bus.  
"Well she was dating an old boy from Comanche, and I looked at that cute little thing and said 'well this is just not gonna work,'" he chuckled out loud.   The two have been married for 60 years now.
Johnny and Dorothy raised five children, all of which graduated from Newcastle. They had eleven grandchildren. Two of the children died at a young age; one girl with heart problems since birth and one boy in a car wreck his senior year. They also have six great grandchildren.
"I'm talking about the whole town [of Newcastle] that I have met and known. Hey, you couldn't ask for a better town," he said.
Johnny has worked a variety of places including a lumberyard where he went from a delivery truck driver to lumberyard supervisor. He has also worked on a freight dock and drove a cement truck.
"I enjoyed it. As long as I was getting a little bit of money where me and that little woman could survive, I'd do a lot of things, ya know," he said with a grin on his face. "When they were out there building new houses, I'd be out there working for some of those guys, cleaning out footing, pouring footing and stem walls on the house. In fact, me and one of my brothers framed our house up on the weekends."
Johnny and Dorothy moved out to Newcastle before it became a city, he said. "It was just a little town."
"These are as good of people as you will find anywhere in the United States," Johnny said. "I could make a phone call right now and I'd have help. They wouldn't ask questions of why or what; they'd be here."
"It's not just the Newcastle area. It's all around. The whole community of Blanchard, Tuttle, Newcastle." he said. "You are gonna have a bad apple every once in a while but I am talking as a whole. It's just a good group of people. We might argue at the ball games, but that's about it."
Johnny retired sixteen years ago, but poured cement up until two years ago. In fact, he poured cement all over the community.
Files can't find anything to "belly ache about, except maybe the casinos," saying they can take money away from a community and make it where people can't make their payments to the bank, "if you aren’t careful." But overall, "We’ve been blessed."


Wednesday, 15 October 2014 19:09

Newcastle Poultry Show

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By Cody Johnson
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Eighty exhibitors from five different states will take over the Newcastle Fair Barn this Saturday in the 13th Annual Newcastle Poultry Show starting at 9 a.m.
Competitors from Missouri, Texas, New Mexico, Kansas and Oklahoma will compete in four divisions: Bantam, Waterfowl, Large Fowl Chicken, and Turkey. Each category has a separate junior division as well.
The show will be fun for the whole family and is free to watch. Exhibitors will also have birds for sale.
"It's just something neat. Not many people know you can show birds," said show director Scoots Hames. "It's a good little hobby."
Hames has been putting on the show since it started along with help from Johnny Files, Kenny Adams, James Flag and several others.
Hames said there used to be a poultry show in Newcastle a long time ago so one year he   got together with Files, Adams, and Flag and they decided to bring it back.
The Newcastle Poultry Show has been held the third week of October in the Newcastle Fair Barn since its start and has helped competitors prepare for the Texas All Game Show the following week.

Wednesday, 08 October 2014 15:12

Craft your way through Christmas shopping

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By Darla Welchel
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Fall is a wonderful time of year; the weather is nicer, the smells are wonderful and craft shows start filling up a person's calendar!
Just in time to help with your Christmas shopping, the Craft Fair & Market Bazaar Event will be held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., this Saturday at the Newcastle Fair Barn at 400 N. Main Street.
The semi-annual event premiered this past spring, and since that time, has doubled its amount of vendors, said organizer Mindi Stucks. Admission and parking are free, and you can shop over 40 vendors inside and out.
"Attendees can come enjoy the open atmosphere of the craft show and have lunch as well," Stucks said. "We will have lots of different types of vendors planned for this bazaar event, and Ridgecrest Baptist Mission Team will once again be selling their famous Indian Tacos, as well as cotton candy, hot dogs and more. Ridgecrest will also be doing face painting."
Stucks, who is from Bridge Creek, said she chose Newcastle to host what she plans to be an continuing event because there wasn't anything like this in town.
"The surrounding towns of Blanchard and Tuttle are always having some kind of free craft fair," she said. "I love craft fairs and thought it was time for one to be held at the Newcastle fair barn. So instead of waiting for one to happen, I thought I would get the ball rolling and host one myself and make it an annual event."
When the Craft Fair & Market Bazaar was first premiered last spring, Stucks planned it through a local Bride Creek church.
"Ridgecrest Baptist Church had a fall craft fair last year in Bridge Creek to raise money for mission trips. They still needed to raise more funds, so I decided to find a place in Newcastle to host a spring craft fair in 2014," Stucks said. It was a success with a great turn out of vendors and people.
"The vendors asked if we were going to host any more at this location. I then decided, 'why not have a fall event when the weather cools off'. I started in August planning this event. Ridgecrest is planning to host their own fall craft fair, Sellabration, on November 15," Stucks said.
Some of the booths that people can expect to find at this Saturday's craft event are:
*Boutique gifts like: purses, leggings, jewelry and more.
•Hand crafted items like: home decor, wreaths, hair bows, jewelry, aprons, paper crafts, furniture and repurposed items.
•Product vendors like: Young Living Oils, Jamberry Nails, Zeal and much more.
•Specialty Food items like: baked goods, popcorn and candies.
•Local businesses like: She Said Yes Wedding & Events Coordinating, Paine & Carlin Insurance and Clint Welchel Metro First realtor.
For more information, check out the Facebook fan page


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By Darla Welchel

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Grady County Sheriff's Department and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol responded to a one-vehicle accident in Bridge Creek early Monday morning.

At approximately 8 a.m., a driver for Oklahoma Waste Services, located in Oklahoma City, lost control of his garbage truck and rolled it one and a half times, said deputy sheriff Roy Spratt. The accident occurred in front of the Triple Creek addition on Sara Road.

The driver managed to pull himself from the vehicle and was transported to an Oklahoma City hospital in a non-emergency manner, where he was treated for head and back injuries, he said.

What the Highway Patrol could ascertain was that it appeared the vehicle's tire left the road and slid down a small ditch causing it to roll. The Highway Patrol's weight unit determined that the truck was not overweight and did not add to the accident.

The vehicle did minor damage to the pavement on Sara Rd. There is no further information on the driver at this time as the accident is still under investigation. At this time, the waste management company could not be reached. 


Thursday, 02 October 2014 15:19

City sets Trick-or-Treat date

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By Cody Johnson 

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The City of Newcastle has made the official spook-tacular night of trick-or-treating to be held on Oct. 31 for residents of Newcastle. 

"They [city council] are trying to stick with the normal date as much as they can," city manager Nick Nazar said. 

This decision was carefully decided after realizing two factors were in play. The date of the holiday fell on a Friday night, or in other words, football night. It is also a home game and the day set to play the only team ranked up above Newcastle in class 4A. 

This could mean many people in the community would not be home to give out tricks or treats when children came by in their costumes. 

"We would like to get it over before ten, if we can," Nazar said.   

The second factor in play was if the night for trick-or-treating were moved to Thursday night, the children would stay out abnormally late and still have to wake up for a normal school day the next morning. 

"That was the issue with potentially moving it to Thursday, it is a school night," he said. 

In the end, the City chose to hold the official day for trick-or-treating to be on Friday and compete with football. 


Wednesday, 01 October 2014 20:13

Long time City treasurer announces retirement

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By Darla Welchel
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During last months City Council meeting, Sharon Ferguson announced her plans to retire at the end of this year.
Ferguson who has worked as the City’s treasureer since April 1987 said she wanted to give the City plenty of time to hire someone and help train that person. Also, she said she still has a lot to do before she retires, and she needs to "kind of work into it."
A lot has changed since she first walked into the City Hall, which was then located in the old First Baptist Church at the corner of Hwy 130 and Main.
"I had a little IBM 2-disk computer that I paid all the bills off of," Ferguson said. "Payroll was on one disk and the accounts payable was on the other, and Shirley Guffey was also paying water bills on it as well."
At that time, the City had just 25 employees, which did not include a paid fire department, she said. Today, there are 94 full and part time employees, as well as some volunteer reserve firefighters. In addition to Ferguson and Guffey, the City also employed two other women to run the office, Loycie Kerr was the City Clerk and Laura Minor was the court clerk.
"Between the four of us, we could tell you a lot about the city, streets, water lines, etc.," Ferguson said. "Glen Long was the interim City Manager, and he was good to work with. We had a good atmosphere to work in."
Her duties over the years have been to oversee the incoming and outgoing moneys to the City. She takes care of the daily deposits and pays all the bills, as well as doing the budget by herself until Assistant City Manager Kevin Self joined the staff and started helping her.
"A budget is hard; you never know when a [city] car will break down or is involved in a wreck or when there is going to be a natural disaster," she said
Although she will be officially retiring at the end of the year or the first of next – even she is not sure when she will leave her work home – Ferguson hopes to continue taking care on the Newcastle Cemetery, she said. She has overseen its operation since it opened in 2010.
"I have been the one since day one to sell lots, arrange for burials and make sure the cemetery was taken care of," she said. "I was in the cheering section when the council started talking about the cemetery, and mine was the first lot purchased."
When she does retire, Ferguson plans do more sewing; she loves to work on her Christmas quilt projects, and she also does a few alterations for friends and family. She plans to spend time visiting family, but what she is really looking forward to, is traveling with her old chorus group watching them perform.
"I used to sing with Sassy Quarter, a Sweet Adeline International Quartet for about six years. I also sang with Sooner Sensations Chorus, Spirit of Oklahoma Chorus and the OKC City Chorus," Ferguson said.
Ferguson sang with the Sweet Adelines for 24 years and still enjoys supporting them.
"We would go to regional contest; we did place in the top ten one year. I no longer sing with a chorus, but I go to the international contest when OKC Chorus is competing. This fall, they are going to Baltimore and I'm excited about this trip," she said. "We have a tour scheduled for Washington D.C., a place I have never been."
 Ferguson has enjoyed seeing how much Newcastle has changed over the years and says that is part of what she will miss the most.
"I will miss knowing about the growth of Newcastle and seeing some of the old-times. I don't get to see too many people where my office is located now, but I still get to see a lot of people that I have known for years," she said.
She said the people that work for the city are a good crew.
"The street, water, police, firemen, dispatchers, sewer and city hall have great crews working for the citizens and are all devoted to the city," she said. "I will miss coming to work every morning and having a cup of coffee that Michael makes for me."


Wednesday, 01 October 2014 19:25

Golden Spotlight - Virginia Sorrels

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By Cody Johnson
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The recognized Golden Spotlight for the month of September is Virginia Sorrels. Virginia was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1941.
"My mama always said 'I was the one that started World War II,' because they broke the mold, and when Japan found out I was born, four days later they said 'we can't take it.'"
Virginia's father was stationed in Pearl Harbor during the bombing but was on one of the few destroyer ships to survive, although she was too young to remember it at the time.
When she was ten, her family moved to Tampa, Fla. where she graduated from Hillsboro High School.
"After two tries, I finally found the man of my dreams," Virginia said in her sweet Georgia accent.
She was wed to Elton Lee Sorrels in 1975, and the couple moved to Mesquite Texas. Elton worked for the Dana Corporation until he retired, and the couple began traveling around the United States and Canada in an R.V. They ended up traveling for seven years.
"When we went down to the Tampa area, there was a band that we joined in with. We were known as the Generics," Virginia chuckled, "because all of us were on generic medicine of some kind."
She was a singer while Elton played the guitar along with several other people who played instruments.
The Sorrels stopped traveling in 2004 after Elton developed Alzheimer’s and became gravely ill with Parkinson’s. The couple came to Newcastle, despite Virginia wanting to spend retirement in Florida, because his daughter and son-in-law lived here.
Elton passed away in 2009 and had his brain donated for medical research.
"He said if he can help make a discovery for Parkinson that he wanted to do that," she said with pride in her voice. She now has a lifetime lease at her home in Oklahoma.
This spunky young lady has not slowed down at all in her golden years. She goes out dancing three nights a week to twirl, dip and shake all over the dance floor.
"I love it all," she said before the question was even finished being asked. "I like ballroom, country, and now I'm taking square dancing lessons here at the library on Tuesday nights. It's great exercise, and if it's got a beat, I can do it," she said as her laugh filled the room.
Virginia frequents the Forty and Eight Dance Club along with The American Legion, because they have live bands and no smoking.
Her smile could not stop showing as she talked about her church, The Newcastle Christian church, which she said has wonderful kids' programs.
"I gave up that [working with kids], when I became old," she said through a soft laugh.
Virginia's sense of joy for life and humorous personality came through in every word she spoke.
"I'm feisty for 72," she said with a serious look on her face before she broke into a laugh.
She claims playing dominos with the men at the senior center helps keep her mind sharp, and it shows when she speaks.
"The food is out-of-this-world there [talking about the senior center], of course it is though it's government funded," she said.
With a proud tone in her voice, she spoke of her brother Jimmy Dunn who was too small to be looked at for college football until the championship game in Gainesville his senior year.
"The used to call him 'Spider Dunn'," she laughed.
Jimmy Dunn ended up with a full ride after that game and played quarterback for the University of Florida Gators from 1957 to 1960. Every week Virginia watches the Gators play during football season.
"I'm a Gators fan in Sooner territory," she proudly said. "No, I like the Sooners; until they play the Gators."
With every sentence her life screamed of excitement.
"I'm like a soap opera. The only thing in my life that has not happened is, I don't know anyone that’s been murdered," she laughed. "I have even joined I have gotten a lot of free dinners from there."


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