Community Corner (356)

Friday, 23 January 2015 18:54

Tiger safari denies allegations by HSUS

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By Darla Welchel

Managing Editor

A report and video release by the Humane Society of the United States shows Tri-City’s interactive zoological attraction, Tiger Safari in a dark light.

Owner Bill Meadows claims the allegations are bogus.

The video stems from an investigation by the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS).

In a personal blog, CEO of HSUS Wayne Pacelle says, Tiger Safari and another zoo – the Natural Bridge Zoo in Virginia – breed tigers for “two-bit photo shoots with paying customers.”

“Both these roadside zoos breed tiger cubs for the spring and summer seasons to attract members of the public who want their photo taken with a tiger cub. It’s a lucrative business, and people pay fees ranging from $50 to $1,000 for these photo shoots. Tired, overheated, thirsty, hungry or sick cubs are expected to sit still for a parade of paying customers - and are often physically disciplined to ensure that they do so. Our exclusive undercover video provides a glimpse of the suffering the cubs endure, and the entirely unnatural torment they endure day after day,” Pacelle said.

HSUS claims abuse

The Senior Director of Investigation for HSUS, Mary Beth Sweetland spoke with The Pacer Friday morning. She said an undercover investigator, employed by the HSUS worked at Tiger Safari for a total of 63 days beginning May 21. The unnamed investigator arrived two or three days before the white tiger cub, Maximus, turned three-weeks old.

HSUS reports claim that the baby tiger was taken away from his mother and immediately exposed to the public and used for photo shoots, Sweetland said.

“During one session, a little boy was sitting on the couch with his siblings holding the tiger. Maximus was pacing and crying,” she said. The little boy asked where’s his mommy, and the investigator replied she’s outside in a cage. Then the little boy asked is he going to get to go back to her? Out of the mouths of babes . . . ”

A yellow tiger named, Sarabia was also at the center of the investigation according to Sweetland.

She said Meadows picked up the female tiger from a breeder in Florida.

According to Sweetland, Meadows was told by Dr. Kevin Antle a veterinarian, that Sarabia had ringworms and should be quarantined.

However, according to the HSUS, Meadows allowed 27 people to handle the tiger on July 27, and 100 people came in contact with the tiger before the United States Department of Agriculture arrived on September 11 on complaints that Tiger Safari was using sick tigers, she said.

The USDA told [Meadows] to quarantine both tigers because they were both infected, Sweetland said.

“Our investigator said they were put in a dark room that was full of junk,” she said. “At one point Melissa told the employee to at least leave the light on during daylight hours, but Bill wouldn’t allow it.”

Sweetland said it was not the HSUS that notified the USDA, and speculates it was another employee or a patron.

Tiger Safari speaks out

Meadows spoke to the Newcastle Pacer Thursday afternoon and denied claims of any wrong doing claiming this investigation was a smokescreen to take the spotlight off Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s case against the national humane society.

In the wake of the May 2013 tornadoes, AG Pruitt issued a consumer alert, warning that the Humane Society of the United States is under investigation for deceiving Oklahomans into donating to them under false pretenses.

Meadows claims the HSUS was looking for a “scapegoat” to take the heat off Pruitt’s investigation. When asked why HSUS came after Tiger Safari, Meadows claims it was because he is not afraid to let people take photos at his park.

“I’m laid back and don’t worry about cameras; I trust people,” he said.

Pacelle claimed specific areas of abuse in his blog, “At the Oklahoma-based Tiger Safari, a white tiger cub named Maximus was dragged, punched, choked, slapped and deprived of proper food and nutrition that is essential for a carnivore of his age.”

Meadows claimed he has been training tigers for 25 years, and how he trains tigers to not bite is by “popping them on the top of the nose, saying ‘no bite’.” He said he never punched or deprived food as a training method. He also said that all his animals are well fed and that his park is beautiful, clean and well kept.

Meadows also claimed the tiger, Maximus, who was born at Tiger Safari, was removed and fed by hand because the mother “didn’t show any interest in him.”

“Animal parents are like real parents, you get some good ones and some not so good,” Meadows said. from an earlier interview. “This is one of only 25 white tigers bred in captivity.”

In conclusion

The HSUS filed complaints with the USDA against Tiger Safari and Natural Bridge Zoo in 2014 requesting that both attractions be shut down.

“Our investigator had to sign an affidavit as to the accuracy of the complaint we filed [against Tiger Safari], so that shows how willing we are to support what we are saying,” Sweetland concluded.

To read more of Pacelle’s blog or watch the entire video visit www.humanesociety.org/wayne/2015/01/roadside-zoos-investigation.html.

 

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:22

January Senior Spotlight

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Darlene Faires may have spent the middle of her life in that “other” state to our south, but she considers Oklahoma her home.

Faires was chosen as the Newcastle Senior Center’s January Senior of the Month.

She was born and raised in western Oklahoma near Arnett, but graduated from Enid High School. Her parents moved to the Bridge Creek area after she graduated, and Faires soon found herself at business school.

However, after she met and married her husband Frank the couple soon moved back to his home state of Texas. He was in the Army but was stationed at Tinker. They raised their family in Orange, Texas.

Faires had lots of family in Bridge Creek and Newcastle, which brought them back to Oklahoma quite often. Seven years ago, Darlene and Frank moved back to Bridge Creek where they live by her sister and brother-in-law Roberta and Otto Morse.  

“I consider myself an Oklahoman,” Faires said. “But he considers himself a Texan.”

Frank may be a Texan, but it was his idea to move back to Oklahoma, she said. The one thing she does like about Oklahoma over southeast Texas is that Oklahoma has four distinct seasons.

“It was hot and humid [where we lived], and we traveled a lot, so we decided to come back,” Faires said. “My sister said, ‘you left Texas to get away from hurricanes’ and I said, ‘Roberta, I sure wouldn’t move to Tornado Alley if I was running away from hurricanes’.”

They have been visiting the Senior Center going on seven years, enjoying the lunches and the friends. They are also members of Newcastle First Baptist Church and attend Senior Faith and Fitness two times a week, Faires said.

The couple used to travel a lot, RV’ing around the United States in their motor home, she said. In fact, they have visited 49 of the states by vehicle, but they flew to Hawaii. They have since sold the motor home and now only take shorter trips by car.

“Whatever’s over the next hill,” Faires said about her next trip. “Its not the destination, it’s the fun of getting there.”
The Faires have one daughter, Jeri Beard, a son-in-law, three grandchildren and one great-grandchild who lives in Vinton, Louisiana.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:17

Chamber excels in helping its business members

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

The Newcastle Chamber of Commerce recently announced five new Business Education Workshops to benefit its members.

Although the first class, Excel for Business, took place on Jan. 20, there is time to get involved in next month’s class.

The workshops, which are presented by Mid-America Technology Center, were selected based on member’s recommendations, said Chamber President Jeannette Lore.

The remaining classes are:

•Windows 8
•Small Business Accounting Basics
•Effective Website Design
•Intro to QuickBooks 2013

There will be one workshop per month, which began January 20 and will run until May, and each will be held at the Newcastle Storm Shelter located at 851 North Carr, she said.

The registration fee is $20 for Newcastle Chamber members and $25 for non-members. Members can register online to reserve their spot at www.matech.edu/bis/sbm.

The times and dates for the remaining four workshops are as follows:

Windows 8, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Feb. 17
Accounting Basics, 5-9 p.m. on March 24
Website Design, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on April 21
QuickBooks, 5-9 p.m. on May 19

For more information about these workshop contact the Chamber at 387-3232 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:13

It is never too early to plan ahead

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By Kevin Self
Assistant City Manager

Spring is just around the corner; the season that causes people to start thinking about planting gardens, flowers, mowing lawns, and fishing if time permits. But as all of us know, springtime in Oklahoma is often a season of tumultuous storms as well.

Newcastle residents have experienced some of the most violent storms in Oklahoma during the past few years. On May 24, 2011 and May 20, 2013, tornados cut paths through Newcastle leaving several houses and businesses severely damaged or destroyed. Thankfully, only one injury occurred amidst the destruction. This is due in part to preparing before the storm and having a safety plan in place.

Now is the time to start thinking about a safety plan and getting prepared for the spring storm season.

If you do not have a storm shelter, where will you go in the event of a tornado? Does your neighbor have a shelter in which you can take refuge? Are you prepared to take shelter inside your home?

Do you have a 72-hour preparedness kit should you become displaced from your home? Are you registered with the City of Newcastle’s Blackboard Connect system?

These are just a few questions to consider before a storm. Newcastle Emergency Management will be offering suggestions and tips over the next several weeks as the spring storm season approaches. However, please feel free to call us at 387-2922 if you have any questions.

Remember, it is never too early to plan ahead.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:10

Sooner State Bank donates check to senior center

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Sooner State Bank helped make the purchase of new carpet possible for the Newcastle Senior Citizen Center when they presented President Roy Wilson (pictured left in photo) and Treasurer Paul Boone (pictured right) with a check for $2,500 last week.

The center’s Board of Directors voted to replace the carpet and have chosen some from Oklahoma Flooring located in Newcastle. 

Assistant Vice President Patrice Wesnidge (center) had the privilege of presenting the check. Between Sooner State Bank and the $1,500 the center received last month from B&B Steel and the discount that Oklahoma Flooring gave them, they will have enough complete the job, Wesnidge said.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:03

Caring and helping a community

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Tri City Counseling Center came as an outgrowth of Second Story Ranch – an extended care recovery facility located in Blanchard.

Both Sheila Ridley, Executive Director and Founder of Second Story Ranch, and Derek Talkington have their Roots in Newcastle; they each grew up and graduated from Newcastle although they were not familiar with one another until they went into business together.

After Ridley built the luxury recovery community designed for professional men seeking sober living and extended care addiction treatment in Blanchard in 2014, she hired Talkington as the facility’s Director of Recovery Services.

Shortly after their doors opened, Ridley and Talkington wanted to expand to a private practice and thought, “why not open one in our hometown,” Talkington said.

“[Tri City Counseling Center] is a place that we wanted to be able to help the community. Sometime in the spring we’ll be offering some free services and classes for community members. We are probably going to do a free addiction education series,” Talkington said. “This is our way of building the community up. We’ve already talked to all the schools (in Tri-City) about helping them train teachers to recognize drug and alcohol addiction.”

The clinic can assist families and individuals in many areas such as family conflict, emotional disturbances and addiction.
“We specialize in relationship issues, depression, anxiety and drug and alcohol issues,” Talkington said.

Tri City Counseling Center see patients from six years old and up and a Psychology Today website lists around 40 different areas of specialization. Currently the clinic doesn’t accept insurances, so all appointments are private pay. The two centers are not connected.

The counseling team has a pretty impressive resume. Ridley, Newcastle class of 1980, holds degrees from UCO, OSU and the University of Denver and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has a Master’s in Education. Talkington graduated from NHS in 1998 and then earned his Bachelor’s degree from OSU and went on to receive his Master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Southern Nazarene University.

Ridley is the daughter of Tom and Rita Gilliam, and Talkington is the son of Mike and Jan Talkington from Newcastle.
For more information about TCCC call 697-2652 or visit secondstoryranch.com to learn more about Ridley and Talkington.

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I have recently been preaching through the book of 1 Timothy on Sunday evenings. This has been a rewarding time of study for me personally and for our church family. I am always amazed at how powerfully the Bible speaks into the human heart and helps change the way we think and live.

One passage that has been particularly meaningful to me is 1 Timothy 2:1-3 which says, “First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.”

There is so much truth in these verses, and our world could benefit greatly if Christians would actually put these things into practice.

As I continue to think about a new year and seek to establish some new and better patterns of living, here are a few things I have pulled out of this passage that are helping me and I pray help you, too.

First, without question, Christians are called to pray. We are to pray at all times, in all seasons, and for all people. There should be lots of variety in our prayer life. In fact, there is no person you should not pray for. I recently told my church that the best and most important thing you can do every day is pray. We should never underestimate the power of prayer. God delights in hearing His people call out to Him and has chosen to sometimes even use our prayers to accomplish His purpose. Prayer is one of God’s greatest gifts to His people.

America, we obviously do not have a king, but we do have a President and other governing leaders. We need to pray for those who lead us. What is interesting is that the king ruling during the time these verses were written was Nero. Nero was a godless king who brought tremendous persecution to Christians. In fact, during this time, there would have been very few, if any, Christian leaders, and Paul tells the Christians to pray. I have been very challenged by these verses to pray for our President and leaders every day. I may not like every decision made and I will always stand for the truth and for the Gospel, but I will pray and pray hard for those leading our nation. Make it a goal to pray for our nation’s leaders every day.

Third and finally, these verses also tell us to us to “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” How many people do you know who live like that? You may know some, but they are definitely the minority. Christians are called to set the example in faith and love. We need to remember every day that we represent the Lord and are here to please Him. Yes, there are times we must take a stand, and yes, there are times we must confront evil, but in the daily routine of life, we need to be known for being godly and dignified. Why? Because as the last verse says, “This is good and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior.” Christians, we are here to please God and this verse tells us one way to do that. Let us be a people of prayer and exhibit godliness in all we say and do.

There is so much more we can learn from these verses, but those are three simple things we can all seek to implement in our daily lives. Take some time today and pray, and seek to make a difference by leading a godly and quiet life. The world is in need of some great examples, and who better to provide the example than Christians? Have a great day and I will see you next week.

Jeremy Freeman
www.pastorjfreeman.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeremy.freeman.3538
Twitter: JeremyFreeman_
Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

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Did you enjoy the balmy weather last weekend? I had signed up for a month’s membership at the local gym the day before the weather turned warm. Had I known I was going to be able to get my exercise in the garden, I would have held off on the membership. No way I have enough energy to work in the yard and then go to a gym.

I turned over soil in the vegetable garden where Bermuda grass had crept in. There’s my back, arm and leg exercise. I pruned some trees and shrubs and cut down cane grass for more arm muscle building. Dragging the tarp full of trimmings to the burn pile worked several muscles, so who needs the gym when you can work in the yard.

Many years ago, the Daily Oklahoman interviewed me about my labor in the garden for an article for that paper. Basically, the article discussed how much exercise value there is in gardening. Some exercise expert was quoted in the article, saying gardening activity did not provide that much exercise value.

My thought was that the exercise expert was not a gardener. Maybe he was thinking of someone with a very small garden. I won’t say that there is enough cardio exercise in gardening, but if you walk back and forth around an acre, like I do, there has to be some value in that.

You definitely build muscles and stretch them while accomplishing all there is to do in a garden. You are up and down, stretching this way and that to pull weeds and trim plants. You become a weightlifter when pulling out dead plants, dealing with bags of soil amendments and moving potted plants. Whether you move quickly with such activities or slowly as you age, it is much better exercise than sitting around indoors.

Shall I mention the fact that it makes for good mental health as well? Sure, there are frustrations with gardening. Gardeners deal with sudden plant failure, plant-destroying weather occurrences, and destruction caused by a variety of critters - to name a few problems. But all that frustration is forgotten at the first sign of spring.

The gardener that can move at all is ready to grow again once the dust settles. A garden gives you something to look forward to and something to plan for. It provides a way to share with others when you hand them a lovely bouquet of flowers or vegetables for their dinner (well, maybe they don’t always get excited about squash when everyone is gifting them with the ever-prolific vegetable).

There are quotes about gardeners being optimistic people, always ready to start again, despite last year’s disappointments. A good state of mind is good for our overall health. I truly feel sorry for people who have no delight in growing a plant or seeing a plant. If you are reading this, you surely must be a person who understands what I am saying. I hope you are able to garden this year. Write down that mental list of what you want to try this year.

The warm spell is stirring our garden souls. We know what that exercise guru did not know.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 20:43

Senior Center celebrates with music, music, music!

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This past week, we welcomed new visitor John Wright of Newcastle. He pointed out that he was tired of his own cooking and decided to try us out! Hope he was pleased.

Also, I left off a last name on some of my first time visitors so please allow me to correct that. We had two new visitors last week: Margaret Henson and Jerry Cetrangolo from Newcastle; thank you all for joining us.

The Senior Center would like to send thoughts and prayers to Ellis Stanford for the loss of his brother Jack Stanford, and to all of Jack Stanford’s relatives in the Newcastle area.

The Center held its monthly Birthday Party on January 9 with a lot of people in attendance. The musical entertainment was great. The musicians were: Carolyn Esemon (Guitar), Jerry Myers (Guitar), Jeanne Diaraj (Accordion), Joyce Swanson (Spoons), Jack Rains (Lead Guitar), Sandra Brown (Bass Guitar), Barbara Brown (Bass Guitar), Larry Brown (Lead Guitar), Earl Hunter (Guitar), Jerry Matthews (Guitar) and Jeff Bohanan (Horns). We had a lot of people in attendance not including the musicians. It was a very good night for music, food and fellowship.

If anyone has a big family event coming up, please remember that we rent out the senior center. 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.

The Senior Center serves lunches Monday thru Friday to seniors 55 and older starting at 11:30 a.m. and we are usually done by 12:30 p.m. Our cost is $4 per person, which includes a drink of tea, coffee and/or water, soup, salad bar, which has at least four to five different salads on it along with some fruit and then your main meal that is served with two sides and a roll or biscuit most of the time. Please come join us we have plenty of seating.

January Menu

22) Chicken Fried Steak
23) Fried Chicken
26) Enchiladas
27) Turkey Pot Pie
28) Biscuit & Gravy
29) Chicken Fried Steak
30) Fish

A lot of people like snow. I find it to be an unnecessary freezing of water. ~Carl Reiner

This week’s recipe
by Chef Tracie

Ribbon Bars

1/2 cup butter softened
2/3 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 cups oats
1 cup chopped walnuts
3/4 cup jam or preserves (any flavor)

Heat oven to 375º. Beat together butter and brown sugar; stir in flour, oats and nuts - reserve 1 cup for later. Press the remaining oat mixture into an 8x8 pan; spread jam over crust within a half inch of edges. Sprinkle with reserved mixture; bake for 25 minutes.

Wednesday, 21 January 2015 19:44

Hendricks leaves PLS after 10 years

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

The staff of the Newcastle Branch of the Pioneer Library System bid farewell to one of their own last Friday.

The library had a retirement party for Johanna “José” Hendricks in the small meeting room adjacent to the library. Hendricks has worked for the Pioneer Library System for 10 years, the past five years as Newcastle’s Children’s Director.

In that role, she was responsible for all the children’s programs including the popular Summer Reading Program.

“I counted it up and figured I had done over 400 different craft projects,” Hendricks said.

She leaves behind many young friends, including Chelsea Green who Hendricks described as her “best volunteer.” Green helped Hendricks for three summers in a row, plus helped with some after school activities.

Many, like Green, came to say goodbye to Hendricks and wish her well in the future. And, many did so with tear-filled eyes.

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