Community Corner (298)

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:21

Honoring an old debt

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

The Chisholm Fork Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution honored Master Sergeant Tommy D. Harman in recognition of Valor, Service and Sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

Special  guest and presenter was Oklahoma State Regent, Dr. Orriene First-Denslow. The award was bestowed upon MSgt. Harman in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“The DAR felt it was time that Veterans from the Vietnam War era finally received the honors they were due,” said First-Denslow. All members of DAR can prove a direct linage to someone who fought in the American Revolution, she said.

Linage is very important to the DAR, which is why many of them retain their maiden names, to keep their family name going.

The Chisholm Fork Chapter of the DAR is comprised of members from Newcastle, Blanchard and Tuttle. They meet in Newcastle each second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at Woodland Hills Baptist Church.

The Honoree
Harman served in the United States Army for 26 years. He did two tours of Vietnam in 1968-1969 and 1970-1971, volunteering for the second tour, Harman said. He was in communications throughout his career, but while he was in Nam, he served as a scout.

“I volunteered for a second year in Vietnam because I missed it and found it hard to relax in the U.S. because of the lights and noise,” Harman said. “I was signed to an Armored Cavalry Platoon and spent that year in the jungles of the central highlands of Viet Nam.”

Besides the other horrors of the Vietnam war, the conditions were not ideal for living.

“I arrived in Viet Nam in the dry season and wasn’t able to bathe for three months,” he said. “In the dry season it was hot and humid and in the monsoon season it rained every day and was hot and humid”

Harman medically retired from the Army in 1989, Harman said. After the Army, he attended college on the GI Bill to study Computer Science.
He and his wife Shirley live in Newcastle, as well as their daughter and son-in-law Wendy and Lee Cortum. The couple also has one son, Jerry, who lives in Lansing, Michigan and another, Arthur, who lives in Blanco, Texas.


Wednesday, 19 November 2014 18:15

Newcastle graduate succeeds in and out of the Army

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor

Although Veterans Day was last week, there are still many of Newcastle’s fine men and women who deserve recognition.

Newcastle graduate Jeremy Hudson is one of those men. Hudson, Class of 2002, said his desire to serve in the U. S. Army came from a sense of duty.
The 30-year-old retired sergeant served for 10 years and was a Combat Engineer Squad Leader.

“I didn’t really have much of a plan for after high school so I started with that. It was a great experience and helped me to become the man that I am today,” Hudson said of why he enlisted.

During his 10-year stint, he was deployed two times. The first time was in state for Operation Noble Eagle 3, where he spent seven months on a Homeland Security mission in Arkansas.

His second deployment took him to Iraq for one year during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

“[My most memorable moment in the Army] was getting an opportunity to train and work with Special Forces units while in Iraq,” he said. “I also got an opportunity to go to Al Hilliah to help out at a small forward operating base.  It was a couple of miles away from the city of Babylon.”

Hudson said that while in Babylon he was able to visit the ruins of Babylon and see the reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate in the city of Babylon that Saddam Hussein had built.

But, as exciting and fulfilling as these deployments were to Hudson, missing his wife and two sons eventually took its toll on the young Army sergeant.

“If I did not have a family waiting at home for me, I would’ve probably served much longer, but I would definitely do it again,” Hudson said. “The separation from my family was the hardest part, but I enjoyed what I did and the relationships with the people that I met and served with.”

While serving, Sergeant Hudson garnered numerous awards including: two Army Achievement Medals, two Army Commendation Medals, an Army Good Conduct Medal, a Combat Action Badge, an Iraq Campaign Medal with Campaign Star, a National Defense Service Medal, a Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, an Army Service Ribbon and an Armed Forces Reserve Medal with M Device.

After leaving the military, Hudson continued his education, first at the University of Oklahoma where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in information studies in 2010 and then to Oklahoma State University where he completed his Master of Science Degree in management information systems in 2013.
He is currently a Senior IT Analyst at Seagate Technologies in Oklahoma City.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 17:36

HB 1020 provides quicker access to physical therapy

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By RaeAnn Thomas

As of November 1, 2014, you can access a physical therapist easier. Prior to this date, a referral was required in order  for you to receive treatment from a physical therapist.  

So, what does this mean for you? This is great news for all of us.  Improving access to physical therapy has multiple benefits. First, it allows you to seek treatment early for aches and pains and thus get faster relief. Research confirms that the earlier physical therapy is initiated for the treatment of low back pain, the shorter the duration of treatment.  

Several states have had direct access to physical therapy for over 30 years and in those states, the course of treatment for someone with low back pain is not only shorter in duration, but it is less expensive than those non-direct  access states. Another great benefit of this legislation is that this has opened up the dialogue between the physician and physical therapist regarding your care. We will communicate our findings and treatment plan with your physician as needed.  

So, that shoulder that has been “bugging” you or that knee that you’ve “been meaning to get checked out”… you can now go directly to your physical therapist for an evaluation and begin treatment immediately. Many times, particularly if an injury or pain  is  addressed early, physical therapy can prevent more invasive treatments such as such surgery or the use of medications.  

A physical therapist can also address things like balance and falls, vertigo, general weakness, and headaches just to name a few. Physical therapists are trained in evaluation of musculoskeletal disorders and are the experts in movement science. This also means that if we find something that doesn’t  fall  into  this category or identify any “red flags” indicating something is out of our realm of treatment, we refer the patient back to their physician.  

Oklahoma was the 49th state to pass this legislation. HB 1020 changed the Oklahoma Physical Therapy Practice Act, which now allows a physical therapist to initiate treatment without a referral for 30 days. After 30 days, in order to continue treatment, a referral must be obtained from the patient’s physician or dentist. Most insurance carriers will cover physical therapy services without a referral; however, I recommend calling to verify on each policy. Worker’s compensation is excluded from this new legislation.

We are excited that people can now choose their course of treatment. We are also excited for this more cost-effective approach to healthcare that many states have benefited from for many years. If you have specific questions regarding  this  topic, please feel free to contact me at Physical Therapy Central at 387-5520 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 17:29

Finding quiet time in a busy world

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By Jeremy Freeman

My life is busy. From sun up to sun down, I am always running as fast as I can. It can be very overwhelming, and of course tiring at times.

In fact, every person I meet seems to be living a busy life too. I do not think I have ever spoken with someone who said, “I really wish I had more things to do.” If that person exists, I would like to meet them and find out their secret.

In a world full of noise, instant access to each other through social media, texting, and many other forms of technology, it can be virtually impossible to find personal quiet time.

Quiet time is critical though. There is incredible value in getting time to pray, think, reflect, listen and just be still. This is an area I am ever growing in and something I have to work hard to get, but when I get it, it is worth it.

The Bible tells us in Psalm 46:10 to “Be still and know that He is God...”  

There is simply something refreshing and calming about getting still before the Lord and listening to Him speak. When we get away from the noise and daily craziness of life, there is something about the quiet that allows us to refocus, reenergize, and regroup.

There are many benefits that come from getting some personal quiet time, but here are four quick worthwhile reasons to do it:

1.  We listen better when we are still. As a parent of five children, nothing drives me crazier than when I am trying to talk to my kids, and they will not be still. Adults can be just as bad. We live at such fast paces that we can often hear the wrong things. Getting alone and getting still before God allows for time to really stop and listen. It is amazing what we learn when we just stop and listen.

2.  We often see things more clearly when we slow down. Sometimes we can get moving so fast that everything around can seem blurry. When we sit down and get still, it is amazing the clarity that comes. Sometimes the answer is right in front of us, but until we slow down, we do not see it. Quiet time may not change our circumstances, but it often changes how we see them.

3.  We often make better decisions when we stop and reflect. No important decision should be made without careful thought and much prayer. It is difficult to do either of those things if you never slow down. In the quiet places of life, where we listen and see more clearly, we will make better decisions.

4.  We tend to trust more and stress less when we get alone with God. I heard someone say this one time, “Don’t think about it until you’ve prayed about it, and once you’ve prayed about it, don’t worry about it.” All human beings have a tendency to worry and when we worry, we stress. Getting alone with God puts you in a position to give Him your worries and to trust Him with what concerns you. I have discovered that when I do not get alone, I try and carry everything on my own, and that never works out well. God tells us to “cast our cares on Him because He cares for us.”

There are obviously many more benefits to getting some alone time, but the four I have mentioned have helped me tremendously, and I pray might help and encourage you. Even if you can just get five minutes of alone time each day, it will be time well spent. See you next week!

Jeremy Freeman
Twitter: JeremyFreeman_
Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 17:24

Holiday celebrations and closings at the Senior Center

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By Pixie Stanford

The Senior Center will be holding its Thanksgiving Dinner on Friday, November 21. We will have the traditional Turkey and all the fixings along with some great deserts. If you plan on attending please come in and sign the sheet. This will give us an idea on how many people plan on attending and it is a big help when we go to purchase the turkeys and also if we need to set up extra tables.

Delta Transit will be closed on Thursday and Friday, November 27 and 28 for Thanksgiving. Please make a note and do not call me. The Senior Center will also be closed those two days.

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.

The last Board Meeting was held on November 12 and everything that was on the agenda was passed with the exception of our kitchen equipment item, which was tabled until January.

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.

The Senior Center welcomed new visitor John Johnson from Dallas, Texas on Monday. We might even be able to convert him to an OU or OSU fan.  Thanks for joining us John and we hope to see you back here again soon.  

20)    Taco Salad
24)    Biscuits & Gravy
25)    Burgers
26)    Chicken Fried Steak
27)    CLOSED
28)    CLOSED

Thanksgiving is an emotional holiday. People travel thousands of miles to be with people they only see once a year. And then discover once a year is way too often. ~Johnny Carson

Chef Tracie’s recipe for this week

Lemon Custard Pie
5 egg yolks
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1-1/2 cup lemon juice
Zest from lemon
1 – 9” graham cracker shell
Mix first 4 ingredients, pour into shell and bake at 375 for 15 minutes. Use lemon zest to garnish

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 17:18

Snowfall, cold weather and spiders

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By Sharon Beasley

Good, we got our first snow out of the way. I moved to Oklahoma from Wyoming in 1963; we had big snows in Wyoming. My memory of those first years here is that we did not get much snow.   I don’t recall my three years in high school in Chickasha ever having a closed day due to snow or ice. Now it seems to be a yearly event for schools to close for such weather.

I do appreciate that the snow cover is better for the plants that barely had time to go into dormancy before this spell of very cold weather. The snow seems early to me, so I looked up some snow facts for the Oklahoma City area.

This is what I found at and The earliest snowfall was Oct. 25, 1957, but it wasn’t measurable. To be measurable, the snowfall amount has to be one inch - that occurred on Oct. 26. 1913.

The latest measurable snowfall was on April 12, 1957; the latest trace of snow was April 30, in the years of 1907 and 1949, the average first snowfall is in December. During that time, we had six white Christmases.  

I am not sure if that means snow fell on Christmas or that there was snow on the ground on six Christmases. Since the records go back 106 years, I don’t think we can complain about snow ruining our Christmas get-togethers too often.  

The average snowfall was eight inches. I don’t know if it is worth knowing the average snowfall since the figures for getting it can vary so much over the years. I wouldn’t tell anyone to move here, so they can go sledding in winter on our average eight inches; they would be very disappointed. Additionally, they would be wondering where a hill was for sledding on!    

This snow talk leads me to the topic of spiders. I had an orb weaver spider hanging around a window since August. The day this latest cold front blew in, she was at the window at 11 p.m. when I checked. By morning she was gone.  I have read they don’t live long, and I wonder if the cold kills them or she hid somewhere.

Last year, another window orb weaver stayed at the kitchen window for about three months. She disappeared during the first bad cold snap that was short lived, but reappeared a day or two later and stayed around until the next cold snap that brought in permanent winter.
Not many people get excited about spiders, but I love these beautiful yellow and black orb weavers (Argiopes). Most gardeners I know also enjoy seeing them in the yard. Even though the window gets messy with webbing when they take up residence there, it is worth it to have such an easy daily view of one.

As a result of the window view of this year’s spider, I had the chance to see her finishing her first egg case early one morning.  This amounted to watching her wrap and wrap her webbing around the egg case and then spinning fasteners to hold it tight to the window. I wish I had noticed it when she started it, as I would love to witness how the egg case gets going. I imagine they form an egg case and then insert the actual eggs into it.  

I did learn that the egg case is a beautiful snow white (see, still talking snow) at first and then begins to turn gray. It also shrinks a bit as it ages.
I decided to find a bug person in Oklahoma and found Andrine Shufran at OSU. I was very excited about my spider and wanted to ask a bug person about her. You see, my spider ended up forming five egg cases at the window. I never heard of, or witnessed, one having more than one egg case.   

Ms. Shufran said it does happen. I was ready to put my spider in the Guiness World Book of Records. I think I may scoop one case into a large jar to observe it until it hatches. I will have all winter, snowy or not, to watch it.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 20:48

Giving thanks and serving a community

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor
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Are you faced with eating alone on Thanksgiving? Or perhaps your house isn’t quite big enough for your extended family?

Maybe this has been a difficult year for you and the idea of a big turkey dinner is just out of reach, or perhaps you just don’t feel like cooking this year?

Whatever your situation, Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Bridge Creek would like to invite you to their 11th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner. Beginning at 11 a.m. and running through 1 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 27 at the church, located four miles south of Hwy 37 on Sara Road (1118 S Sara Rd, Blanchard) in the heart of Bridge Creek, members and volunteers will serve a delicious meal to the community.

This free dinner will feature a full turkey dinner, ham, rolls, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, green beans, corn, lots of desserts and drinks!

“Church volunteers will be preparing and serving the meal. Volunteers handle everything from buying, preparing and serving the food to setting up tables and cleaning up afterward. The volunteers have as much fun as the guests,” said Church Administrative Secretary Kim Rivers. “The community dinner isn’t just about enjoying a good meal. It also offers people an opportunity to get out and interact with others.”

Organizers are expecting between 100-150 guests for Thanksgiving Dinner. Some people join them every year, including one homebound couple that receives carryout each year, Rivers said.

The community dinner is for senior adults, singles, couples and families with children. Everyone is free to join them anytime during the event and stay as long as they like to enjoy the food and the fellowship, she said.

“We know from our track record that people look forward to this because they get to see the same people that they saw a year ago. So there’s the fellowship component as well,” Rivers said.

If you have any questions or you need more specific directions, please contact the church office at 387-2811 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . You can also find info at the church’s website

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 20:45

Sometimes the struggle is OK

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I used to absolutely love this time of the year. From October to January, I have always loved everything about the fall and winter seasons. That has all changed now.  

Things are just not the same since our son Trey went to be with the Lord. It is not that I go around moping or am sad all the time – life is just different. In all that we do as a family, there always seems to be a little something missing. It is just life as we know it, and we are still learning how to adjust to the new normal every single day.

I know that Trey is not missing out on anything though; we are just missing him. He lacks nothing in the presence of God. I also know that when we see him again, it will be as if we were never apart. But, the in between phase is what is so hard. Truly, everything has changed so much, and our struggle remains. This fallen world is just so hard, and with every heartache, it makes me long for the New Heaven and the New Earth.
I am reminded of two things:

1)    Life in the fallen world is not pleasant! The Bible says that this world is not our home and that Christians are “aliens and strangers” in it. The pains and heartaches of this world are to serve as reminders that we are made for eternity. For those of us who are in Christ, this is good news, GREAT NEWS! One day, we will be with the Lord forever and forever, and we need to remember that daily.

2)    In the fallen world, God has promised to be with us! I love that one of God’s promises for His children is to never leave or forsake them. Today, if you are hurting like me, just know that you are not alone, God is with you!  We simply must look to Him and ask Him to carry our burdens. God understands our heartaches and burdens, and takes no joy in seeing His children suffer or hurt. One day though, He will restore all things in the final New Heaven and New Earth (Revelation 21). I, for one, cannot wait for that day.

From time to time someone will say, “I hear you and Emily are really struggling.” My answer is something like this. “I appreciate your concern, but as long as we are here on this earth, we will have hurts and pains. As long as Emily and I are alive, we will grieve the loss of our son. But, we grieve with hope. We weep with trust in our Savior. We get up each day and will continue to get up each day and trust God with our pain. So, we will probably keep struggling, for as the Bible says, ‘We have been struck down, but not destroyed.’”

I think some Christians feel like people who struggle are somehow not walking with the Lord as they should, or that there is a deficiency in their faith.
I actually feel the opposite. The Bible teaches “in our weakness, HE is strong.” Yes, Emily and I and our family continue to struggle, and we are okay with that. Yes, we have good days, yes, we are making new memories, yes, we are continuing to move forward, but we are still struggling, and for us, that is okay. The struggle makes us depend on the Lord. The struggle keeps us focused on eternity. The struggle reminds us God is in control and is our only source of true joy. The struggle is real, but it is okay, and because God is God and He is good, we will be okay, and so will you. See you next week!

Jeremy Freeman
Twitter: JeremyFreeman_
Instagram: JeremyFreeman_

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 20:40

Feeding the hungry and reducing fines

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor
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Has your library fines outnumbered the amount of items you have checked out? Have you built up quite a tab at the Newcastle branch of the Pioneer Library System?

Now is the time to eliminate, if not reduce, our literary debt during the annual Food For Fines event. The event began Nov. 8, but will run through Nov. 16  to not only give patrons a chance to pay off their fines, but will also help out a Newcastle food bank, said library assistant Holly Saunders.

During the Food for Fines period, library cardholders can bring in one non-perishable food item to count $1 towards their overdue fines. The maximum amount of overdue fines waived will be $20, and this event does not count for lost or damaged materials, she said.

The Newcastle library has chosen the Newcastle United Methodist Church’s food pantry to donate the collected food. Please bring only canned, boxed or bagged undamaged items that have not expired or been previously opened.

For more information call the library at 387-5076 or visit the PLS website,

Wednesday, 12 November 2014 19:41

Exposing the truth of BIG Food: School Lunches Pt. 3

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By Darla Welchel
Managing Editor
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For decades, America has been obsessed with health and fitness. In spite of that, obesity, especially in children, has climbed at an alarming rate, with two out of three people being overweight or obese.

Children don’t have a chance with every part of their day being bombarded with images of sugary foods on the television and the Internet, but what is most alarming is the lack of dietary standards in most public schools.

Long gone are the days of a school cafeteria actually cooking a meal. With cutbacks in the school lunch program, most schools have traded in their pots and pans for pre-packaged and heavily processed foods.

Any die-hard label reader knows that processed foods add high amounts of not only fats and preservatives but also sugars to make the foods palatable and to prolong shelf life.

Many larger schools have also added fast food chains into the lunchrooms further exploiting the health of our youth. Even schools that do not have a McDonalds or an Arbys within its walls, still offer nachos and pizza everyday as a “food choice.”

In 2010, concerned politicians tried to buck Big Food and introduced a bill to eliminate such choices, but lobbyist again rallied and countered by having pizza re-classified as a “vegetable” on the nutrition charts.  

As the before mentioned school lunch budget had been drastically cut, most schools had no choice, as healthy, unprocessed food is much more expensive.

However, in 2012, the USDA increased the lunch budget by six cents a meal and doubled the amount of fruits and vegetables required on a student’s lunch tray. This was part of the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act and was made available to schools that certified its menus.

Our School

Newcastle schools fortunately are not among the schools that offer fast food. According to Sodexo Food Services Manager Starla Peterson, all of their recipes are in compliance with the State Department of Education, which sets standards on calories, fat and sodium intake (notice sugar is not on this list).

Sodexo Food Services is responsible for all breakfasts and lunches served in the district. The compliance also requires a certain amount of meat (2 oz) and vegetables and fruit (up to one cup) to be served to each student, Peterson said.

They prepare a “home” cooked meal every day, but also offer items like salad bar, hot vegetables, deli bar (in the high school), pizza, hot dogs, mac and cheese and hamburgers or other hot sandwiches, she said.

“We make our own pizza with whole grain crust and low sodium cheese,” Peterson said. “We cook no raw food, which reduces the chance for food born illnesses.”

She went on to say that five items are offered and each student must take three of them including a fruit or vegetable – but this doesn’t mean they will eat the healthier choices. The school has also stopped serving desserts.

“I think the more we offer the healthier items, the more kids are getting used to them and liking them,” she said.

Sodexo Food Services Regional Dietician Heather Steal added that Newcastle Schools is in compliance with the USDA Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act.

“There are regulations we are expected to follow in order to receive funding for breakfast and lunches,” Steal said. “I think its going in the right direction with whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Instead of filling up on just pizza, we now only give one slice of pizza and the children have to take a fruit and vegetable.”

In spite of all the strides Newcastle Schools has made towards healthier meals, the simple truth is processed foods still contain too much sugar. And even though children are offered some healthier choices, they don’t always eat it – not to mention what they choose at home.

Peterson concluded, “I think community outreach is needed to teach parents how to cook and how easy it is to prepare good nutritional meals for kids.”

This is the final installment in this series; for more information about the how Big Food is killing America, view the movie Fed Up.


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