Community Corner (319)

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 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, 10 December 2014 21:35

Plan to take some risks this holiday season

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By Jeremy Freeman

With Christmas rapidly approaching, there are lots of plans being made – travel plans, family plans, church plans, eating plans, gift exchange plans, etc.

Planning is a natural part of the holiday season, but also of life. In fact, I am by nature somewhat of a planner. I am not nearly as much of a planner as some, but I do like to have a plan for things. I like to wake up each morning and know the plan, and when there is not a plan, I can quickly get frustrated. Plans help me keep my crazy life organized.

Being a planner is an excellent strength to have, but with every strength also comes some weaknesses. One weakness of being a planner is that it is easy to get into such a routine that you never take any risks in life. Planners do not typically like change. Planners can also potentially over think things too much and “plan themselves” out of some excellent opportunities that are right before them.

My brother-in-law, who I might add is much more of a planner than me, sent me this quote last week: “There are some people who get so picky about what door they go through that they miss the opportunities God puts before them. They wait around for something wonderful to happen, but it never does because they’ve not shown a willingness to go through a divinely prepared and open door awaiting them. If a door is open now, you should seriously consider entering it rather than sitting around and waiting for something better.’”

This quote reminds me that life is too short to play it safe all the time. In life, you have to plan to take some risks and plan to change. Planning and changing should be friends, not enemies!

As a pastor, I face this all the time. I am a part of growing, thriving and exciting church, and it would be very easy to keep playing it safe and not rock the boat. But, the minute I do is the minute our church has taken a serious step into complacency. I often say,

“If you’re not changing, you’re dying.” Simply put, Christians should make necessary changes to keep reaching a changing world with the unchanging Gospel. Planning and changing go hand in hand.

As you approach the New Year, perhaps you need to start planning to step out in faith in some way. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:6, “Without faith, it is impossible to please God…”
A good question to ask God is this, “God, what am I trusting You for, that only You can do?”

At the heart of all we do as Christians, there should be faith. Yes, plans fail for lack of wise counsel. Yes, you need to use wisdom and truly think through important decisions. But, you should also plan to change. You need to plan to step out in faith and truly trust God.

Aren’t you glad God didn’t play it safe? He made a plan to change our lives. His plan involved sending His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, that you and I might have forgiveness of our sins and new life in Him. I am thankful God never changes, but incredibly grateful for the change Jesus has brought to this world. What a great plan that brought great change! See you next week!

Jeremy Freeman
Twitter: JeremyFreeman_
Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 21:30

Who’s that beautiful red head hanging around?

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By Sharon Beasley

I set up my bird feeding station about two weeks ago.  It didn’t take long for the birds to show up to eat.  It is about five feet from a picture window, which provides many opportunities for good pictures of my winged visitors.

I have been very excited to have a male Red-bellied woodpecker visiting. I know it is a male because a red strip goes from the top of the bill to the back of the head. The female has red only at the back of the head and a bit at the top of the bill.   As large as it is, I am surprised to see it hanging on the not-so-large hanging feeder.  It looks awkward trying to remove food from the seed bin. There is a seed bowl on a small table as well, and it feeds from it also.

I don’t recall seeing any woodpecker at my feeding areas before. This visitor repeatedly comes to eat. Many times, it seems to grab a seed and fly off to a tree branch 42 feet away to eat it. I decided to read a bit about the Red-bellied woodpecker.  

I learned that this woodpecker does not migrate. It is listed as being only in the eastern half of Oklahoma, so we are on the edge of its range; its entire range is the eastern half of the United States. It was given its name due to its having red on its belly. Unless it is hanging at a feeder, it is not easy to spot that light red area on the lower belly. I only noticed it in my pictures. I used to think it was a Red-headed woodpecker, but that particular bird has its entire head covered in red; the Red-bellied one has the red running over the middle part of the head. There are several woodpeckers with red on their heads to some extent, so you have to study them to know which ones you see.

The Red-bellied woodpecker pecks at wood, more than it drills wood, to find bugs. It also grabs at bugs in the air, which not all woodpeckers do. It likes to eat peanuts (which is in the food I have been buying this year), suet bird food, berries, sunflowers and dried fruit. It likes to live where there are deciduous trees (trees that drop the leaves). It is known to store its food in tree hollows, and it also eats little creatures, like frogs, lizards, fish, birds and bird eggs.

It is very territorial and will even kill another woodpecker that intrudes into the neighborhood. It makes its home in the holes of dead trees, but will live in a manmade birdhouse if it is made in the correct proportions.

I have been delighted to see so many visits by this gorgeous bird. You can read more about it and other birds at I hope you too are feeding the birds for the winter. On gray days like we’ve had recently, they can be very entertaining while lazing around the house.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014 21:25

Happenings at the Newcastle Senior Center

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By Pixie Stanford

The Senior Center would like to wish Loretta Garrett a very Happy Birthday;  she celebrated another year on November 30.

The Center would also like to express their appreciation to Jerry and Judy Stillwell from Tuttle. They donated two turkeys to the center for us to use. 

Thank you so much; we sure can use them, and we appreciate it a lot.

It’s good to know that Dorothy Fletcher is back home and recovering very well. We will start delivering her lunch meals once again after several long months off.

It is also good to see Johnny Hahn back at the center. Johnny had a recent fall. Thank goodness he didn’t break anything, but he did have some sore muscles and had to stay in the hospital for a couple of days. Welcome back Johnny.

The Senior Center welcomed a new guest on Tuesday, December 3 –  Connie Mitcham, who is also the new Manager at the Cottage Park Senior Living Center.  She had a great time with a lot of the Cottage Park visitors that day, and we hope to have her back here on a regular basis.  

The Center would like to express its appreciation to B&B Steel from Newcastle for their generous donation to our center. Thank you, it was very much needed and we really appreciate it.

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. 


11)    Chicken Fried Steak
12)    Pork Chops
16)    Hamburgers
17)    Fried Chicken
18)    Pizza
22)    Beans & Cornbread
23)    Ham Salad Sandwiches
24-26) CLOSED
29)    Chili
30)    Chicken & Dumplings
31)    Fish
1-2)  CLOSED


“It came without ribbons! It came without tags! It came without packages, boxes or bags!... Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before! “Maybe Christmas,” he thought, “doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas... perhaps... means a little bit more!” ~Dr. Seuss, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!

Foolproof Fudge

3 – 6 oz. Packages of chocolate chips
1 can Eagle Brand Sweet Milk
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
Dash of salt
1 cup of chopped nuts (optional)
* orange or peppermint oil or extract
Heat chocolate in microwave for about 2 minutes until soft – chips will burn so don’t overheat.
Stir in other ingredients and pour into a wax paper lined 8x8 pan. Chill for 2 hours, cut into 1 inch squares and store in airtight container.
*For added flavor, try adding orange or peppermint to melted chocolate.


Wednesday, 10 December 2014 19:32

AutoZone to hold benefit car show

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Guys and beautiful cars – it is an irresistible match made in heaven.

Honestly though, who could resist the sleek shiny glow of a hot rod that has been polished to mirror perfection?

And, if you throw in the added bonus of raising money for a wonderful cause, it becomes a trifecta of joy.

On Saturday, December 20 from 1-4 p.m., the Tri-City AutoZone will hold a benefit Car Show in their parking lot to raise funds for the Newcastle Fire Department’s Firehouse Santa program. This will be the first fundraiser for the 2015 Christmas season, said store manager, Jerrel Henson.

“Everyone likes to look at nice cars whether they are old or new,” he said. “What better way to look at some beautiful cars and help out our community, far and wide, than to be apart of a benefit car show?”

The car show has a minimal entry fee of $25, and currently, there is room for 30 cars, Henson said.

“There is an entree fee for the contestants but all of the money goes to the Firehouse Santa program. Of course donations will be accepted also,” he said. “There will be a trophy for Best in Show.”

AutoZone opened its doors in June 2014 and jumped in quickly as part of the Newcastle community by supporting the Chamber of Commerce and other organizations, he said.

“Not only are we here to be a successful business, we are here to be involved in the community,” Henson said. “We want to be a part of the Newcastle family, and we’re looking for a way to help the community around this time of year. We heard about the “Firehouse Santa” that the Newcastle Fire

Department puts on and decided to help out by offering our parking lot for the car show.”

As a corporation, AutoZone also helps out the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital by taking donations and donating themselves.

“We will have two donation buckets set up at the car show, one for the Firehouse Santa program and one for St. Jude’s,” Henson said.

To enter the car show either call or come by the store, he said. The number is 392-4300.


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