Community Corner (264)

Wednesday, 24 September 2014 19:16

Paulene Harryman passes away at age 101

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By Darla Welchel

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The town of Newcastle lost one of its oldest citizens last week. Paulene Ida (Bass) Harryman passed away on Thursday, September 18 at the age of 101.

Although I did not know her as well as many others in our community, I will never forget this indomitable lady. 

I was working on the history book for Newcastle, and everyone I spoke with said, you need to interview Ms. Paulene, she’s been here a long time. 

When I met Paulene Harryman, she was already 93; she was born August 2, 1913. But I did not find a frail old woman; I found a plucky lively spirit, who was still mowing her own lawn – with a push mower! 

Paulene wasn't just an older Newcastle resident; she had lived here almost her entire life. She witnessed more than most as she watched her hometown grow, struggle and succeed. She moved to Newcastle in 1921 with her family – parents Cora and Clarence Bass and siblings Viola, Ernest and Clell – in the back of her father's Model T. 

Paulene attended primary school at Old Newcastle School and after a short time, her teacher, Jessie Barefoot, realized that she needed to move at a faster pace. She soon completed three grade levels. She told me that it wasn’t because she was "that smart," it was that she learned while her mother taught her older brothers. I personally think she was "that smart."

She graduated in 1931 as the class Valedictorian and soon after leaving high school she married her sweetheart, Vencil Harryman on October 10, 1932 in Oklahoma City. City life wasn't for Ms. Paulene and they soon moved back to her beloved Newcastle. 

She was first and foremost a homemaker and raised her family in this town, but she also worked along side her husband first in farming and then in the Harryman Insurance Agency. 

Although Paulene was involved in many community activities, such as a supporter of the Newcastle FFA, what she was most passionate about was her church, Newcastle First Baptist Church, which she was a member for 89 years. 

The reason I wanted to talk to this sweet lady about the history of Newcastle was because, in a town where written records were few and far between, Paulene's passion for journaling and keeping records was invaluable. She had scrapbooks of old photos and news clippings dating back to the mid-1920s. 

Because of time constraints, I was not able to pour over this treasure trove of information, but I hope that someday I might be delve into the records about the town Paulene loved. She was a force to be reckoned with and this town will feel her passing.  

To read more about this amazing woman and pillar of our community, please read her obituary and a tribute written by her pastor, Jeremy Freeman in the Newcastle Pacer hardcopy.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014 19:01

Get your Float on during the homecoming parade

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By Darla Welchel

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You won't want to miss the chance to Blast the Boomers during the 2014 Newcastle Homecoming Parade on Oct. 3.

This year's event is sponsored by the City of Newcastle in partnership with the Newcastle Chamber of Commerce, said Chamber President Jeannette Lore.  Lineup begins at 12:30 p.m. in front of the Newcastle Library on Veterans Parkway, with the parade starting at 1:30 p.m., rain or shine. 

The parade will run north on Veterans Parkway, east on NW 14th to Main Street and travel south to the high school.

To make sure your group or business is set to be in the parade, you must pre-register with the chamber. You can get a pre-registration form by emailing Lore at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . 

All participants must adhere to this year's theme - Blast the Boomers and need to check-in with the parade coordinators on time; late arrivals will be placed at the back of the line, Lore said. 

This year, for safety reasons, parade entrants may only pass out candy on the west side of the floats and vehicles. An adult must supervise all children under the age of 18 at all times during the parade, she said. 

Immediately following the parade, the Newcastle student council will be hosting its annual carnival. To date, there is no information on this yearly fun activity. 

For a complete list of rules and a copy of the parade route, contact Lore at 387-3232.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014 17:23

Route change for first ever color run

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By Darla Welchel

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In order to make the Racer Dye 2014 more fun and safe, organizers have changed the route for the first ever 5K-color run.

The new route will begin at the Newcastle Middle School at 611 E. Fox Lane and stay east of Main Street, said Chamber President Jeannette Lore. Originally the run was to begin at Veterans Park and run south up US 62. 

Also new are two options for runners, she said. 

"Everyone will start in the parking lot of the middle school," Lore said. "They will travel west down 2nd street, go south on Wright and then east on Fox lane. When they get to Walker they can decide to be a true athlete and do the three-mile to Portland or turn north and do the two-mile option." 

Lore said the three-milers wouldn't miss any of the color fun if they decide to complete the 5K challenge. There are multiple color stations where volunteers will "shower" runners with the special Hippie Powder – a non-toxic, food grade colored cornstarch. Also, the chamber has procured 1,200 color packets to hand out to the runners.

"At the start, everyone will have color packets, and we will do one giant color bomb," she said. "The runners will also be given individual color packets, so they can bomb the other runners, their friends and just have a lot of fun."

If you haven't signed up to run in this year's Racer Dye 2014, it is not too late, The event is being held this Saturday beginning at 9 a.m., with early packet pickup still taking place from 4-7 p.m. at the Newcastle Community Center. 

For more information contact Jeannette Lore at 387-3232 or the Racer Dye Color Run/Walk Facebook page.


Wednesday, 24 September 2014 17:09

These dogs are a girl's best friend

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By Darla Welchel

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Two students in the Newcastle 4-H club brought home the gold during the Oklahoma 4-H Dog Show at the State Fair this past week.

Senior Jackie Elliott and freshman Taylor Elliott both represented their 4-H club during the dog show, and both girls and their dogs came away with top honors, said 4-H leader Tammy Elliott. 

Jackie, age 17, showed her English Pointer, Stone, and her younger sister Taylor, age 14, showed Oliver a black Labradoodle. Jackie and Stone won gold medals in Showmanship and Rally, and Taylor and Oliver brought home a gold in Showmanship and a bronze in Obedience.

"Competing in 4-H is a really unique experience," Jackie Elliott said. "When I show my dog, winning is great, and it gives that 'Yes. Look at this, look what I've accomplished,' feeling. But failure isn't a set back, because when you are part of the 4-H family, everyone is pushing and striving for the same thing: to make the best better. So you may fail this time, but you can take that experience and use it to advance yourself next time, and you know that your 4-H family is going to be there encouraging you the entire time."

Both girls attend Newcastle High School and are active members in the Newcastle 4-H Club. Jackie is the 4-H State Recreation Leader. They are also involved in the McClain County club, ASAP – Amazing Small Animal Projects, which meets in Newcastle. 

On Sept. 21, Jackie and Stone started volunteering at the Newcastle Library as part of the Read to Therapy Dogs program. Stone recently was certified as a therapy dog. 

"It is an amazing program that we are lucky enough to have here at our Newcastle Library where kids come and read to the dog," Tammy Elliot said. "Thanks to Jackie's work with Stone as her 4-H dog project, they are now certified and qualify to take part in the program."

Both girls will take their four-legged, tail wagging projects to compete at the Tulsa Fair on Oct. 5.


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By Darla Welchel

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By the time fall rolls around, most people put severe weather season out of their minds. 

However, now is the time to get prepared for next storm season's fury. From noon to 5 p.m. on October 11, Newcastle Emergency Management will conduct an Emergency Preparedness Expo and Blood Drive. This free event will take place at the Newcastle Storm Shelter at 851 N. Carr.

Everyone is invited to come listen to experts as they demonstrate how each person can be prepared in the event of another community disaster like the tornadoes that have struck Newcastle on three separate occasions in the last 15 years, said Assistant Emergency Manager Johnny Wingate.

"We welcome our industry leaders here to show you what you can do to prepare your family for emergencies," he said. 

The Newcastle Emergency Management will partner with the Oklahoma Blood Institute to host a blood drive from 12-4 p.m. during the expo. 

"Every two seconds, someone needs blood, yet less than ten percent of those eligible to give blood do it," according to the OBI. "Blood donors with Oklahoma Blood Institute know they are, literally, saving the lives of their friends, family and co-workers, some who may have no idea they will need blood in an urgent situation. One blood donation can save up to three peoples' lives."

Other contributors to the Emergency Preparedness Expo include the National Weather Service, Oklahoma Forestry, the Medical Reserve Corp and OK-Strong, Wingate said. Also, attendees can learn how to join Newcastle's Community Emergency Response Team.

The Emergency Management will be giving out free smoke detectors for Newcastle homeowners, and everyone in attendance can enter in a drawing for a chance to win an Emergency Preparedness Kit Go Bag, he said. 

For more information contact Johnny Wingate at 387-2922 or at City Hall at 387-4427.


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By Darla Welchel

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When Newcastle resident and history lover Alan Klein took his family on a trip to Alaska, a tour bus trip to an obscure desert led to the creation of a new app for mobil devices.

"My family and I were on a tour bus trip in the Yukon, when we came to the site of the World's Smallest Desert," Klein said. "I asked myself, 'why is this not on my phone?' The tour guy was telling all these interesting stories and no one knew about them."

This simple question led the retired military man with a degree in computer technology to begin work on Roundabout, the first app that allows people to share old stories they enjoy telling by putting them on a map based on where the story happened.

Klein launched his new app on iTunes on May 9 of this year, and he has already garnered nearly 3,000 users. 

 Essentially, Roundabout creates an entirely unique way for people to discover and engage others with the stories that have passed down for generations. It contains unique categories that allow users to sort points of interest based on their individual preference: Attractions, Folklore, Historic Sites, Landmarks, Local History, Monuments and Oddities.

The free app allows users to put a "pin" in an online Google map and attach stories, photos, audio recordings and videos to the point. This informational history lesson is then available to all users, thus passing on legacies and folklore, Klein said. 

"There are so many interesting things around Newcastle that people don't know about," he said. "It is a great way to record stories that have been passed down from grandparents or parents before they die. This app is good for use in education, newspaper or town history." 

The Roundabout App uses the GPS in a phone or tablet to locate the user within a 150-mile radius. The user can zoom in to pinpoint their exact location and begin telling their story.

"Using audio or video options makes it more real when you can see the movement or hear the sounds," Klein said. "I took a video of the Old Mill in Little Rock, Arkansas, and it was nothing but the image and sound of the water wheel." 

"It is so close to I-40, but people drive by and don’t even know its there. This app helps them locate points of interest."

Klein realizes that not all of the stories and historical data might be 100 percent accurate, but he feels that all stories have a place in history.

"Sometimes, the best stories might not be the most accurate, but they are funny and draw you in," he said. 

Every user of Roundabout is allowed one story and one review per point, but they can go back in and edit and add to their previous story, he said. But, you cannot edit anyone else's story lending protection to the app. 

Another interesting feature is the Virtual Trip maker allowing users to create a "bucket list" of sorts for either a real or imagined trip pinpointing all the interesting (to them) features along the way, Klein said. 

Klein and his wife Monique live in Newcastle with their two sons. Their oldest son, Nathan is a 3013 graduate and Keegan is in sixth grade at Newcastle Middle School. Monique is a 1982 graduate of Newcastle High School. Klein co-owns the Roundabout App with his parents and sister, George, Clara and Shelia Klein who live in Iowa.

"I believe this app will help history be discovered," he said.  


Tuesday, 16 September 2014 21:41

A nod to history

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By Darla Welchel

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Ever since The Newcastle Pacer published Newcastle: Looking Back at Looking Forward, the history book about Newcastle, it has needed to be updated.

That is what happens with history; everyday new things happen, thus outdating itself all the time.

The arduous task of compiling a book of a town's history gets more difficult as each founding father (and mother) passes. It is difficult to get all the stories, and get them correctly. 

We at the Pacer have talked ever since the first book came out about updating or adding to it, both to advance the history or to correct misinformation.

Unfortunately, in a town where there is very limited written records, word of mouth is all we have to go by – and sometimes memories fail or contradict.

That is why I, as the writer of the first history book am excited about Alan Klein’s new history app for iPhones and tablets – Roundabout – that allows anyone to contribute to recording the history of our town. (See: A Point in History on pg. 1)

If everyone would download the app and start recording what they know about the history of Newcastle – even if it just happened like last Friday’s stupendous win over Tuttle – it would make compiling an update so much easier. 

Currently, there are no additional copies of the current history book. 


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By Darla Welchel

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Are you the type of person who jumps in whenever a need arises? Do you have the desire to help out your neighbors or community in an emergency?

Have you ever considered joining the Newcastle Community Emergency Response Team – or CERT for short? Then now is the time to get involved. 

The City of Newcastle will be holding a CERT training course over three consecutive Saturdays in September, said Emergency Manager Jon Tankersley.  On Sept. 13, 20 and 27, citizens looking to become part of the Newcastle CERT team can receive training free of charge. Classes start at 9 a.m. and last until 5 p.m. each Saturday except the last one, which will end around 1 p.m.

Space is limited, so people need to register online at the Oklahoma Homeland Security website by Sept. 10, he said. That website is Click on the Training Calendar at the top center of the page; find Newcastle and select that link.

"We already have eight signed up, but we can take up to 30," Tankersley said. "If they miss the online deadline, we will accept and register them at the first class."

In order to become a certified member of the team, participants must complete all the classes. Some of the topics that will be covered will be: 

Introduction, Disaster Awareness

Disaster Fire Safety Techniques

Disaster Medical Operations

Light Search and Rescue Operations

Team Organization and Management

Terrorism and CERT

"Participants can learn how to take care of themselves, their families, their neighbors and their neighborhoods in case of an emergency," Tankersley said. "It is a very good course, free of charge and they will receive approximately $80 worth of equipment when they complete the course."

The class is open to ages 12 years old and up, but a parent or guardian must accompany all minors, he said. 

The Oklahoma Department of Homeland Security CERT program was developed because of the need for a well-trained civilian emergency work force. These teams assist the government by responding during disaster situations where the number and scope of incidents have overwhelmed the conventional emergency services. 

For more information, contact Jon Tankersley or Johnny Wingate at 387-2922 or visit

Tuesday, 09 September 2014 22:04

New virus threatens children

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By Darla Welchel

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Everyone dreads cold and flu season, but when you have a particular virus that targets children, that becomes a parent's worst nightmare.

A rare respiratory virus called human Entrovirus D68 or EV-D68, which has sent hundreds of children to hospitals in Colorado, Missouri and Kansas is causing alarm across the Midwest. 

And although there are no confirmed cases of EV-D68 in Oklahoma, yet, officials for the Oklahoma State Department of Health said they suspect it is here.

"We are suspecting the virus is circulating in Oklahoma based on increased admissions of children with sudden onset of respiratory diseases and on some screening lab test results that suggest an infection with an entrovirus," said Kristy Bradley, DVM, State Epidemiologist. "And, the testing to actually type the entrovirus as D68 is very sophisticated and can only be done at a laboratory like the CDC."

Bradley said this strain of the entrovirus is very rare, mostly because it is hard to identify. 

"In most instances of respiratory infections, there are no tests done. However, I expect with the increased awareness, many more doctors will be testing," she said.

Doctors can test for the entrovirus with a swab test of the nose and throat, Bradley said. They would need to send the swab to a commercial lab to confirm it as an entrovirus, but only the CDC has the equipment necessary to identify it as EV-D68.

What is it

The virus is related to rhinovirus, which causes the common cold, health officials said. Enteroviruses, which bring on symptoms like a very intense cold, aren't unusual. There are more than 100 types of enteroviruses causing about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States each year, according to the CDC. They are carried in the intestinal tract and often spread to other parts of the body.

The enterovirus season usually hits its peak in September, but what's unusual at the moment is the high number of hospitalizations. Already, close to 1,000 children have been sent to hospitals in Missouri and Colorado, where about 15 percent of them were placed in intensive care, officials said.

The virus can start as just a cold. Signs include coughing, difficulty breathing and in some cases a rash. Sometimes it can be accompanied by fever, wheezing and low blood oxygen levels (also known as hypoxemia). Respiratory problems appear to the hallmark of EV-D68, and in some cases, however, the symptoms can be severe — particularly for children who already suffer from asthma or other respiratory problems, officals said.

"Most enteroviruses cause either a little bit of a cold or a diarrheal illness -- a few cause meningitis," said William Schaffner, head of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University. "This one is the, if you will, odd cousin. It causes prominent respiratory symptoms. Why it does that, we’re really not sure."

The good news is that enteroviruses usually aren't deadly.

"All of these folks are going to get better," he said. "Some of them have more severe illness, such as these children who have developed asthma and are hospitalized. But they should all get better."

How to prevent

Like other enteroviruses, EV-D68 appears to spread through close contact with infected people. That makes children more susceptible, because of their contact with multiple people in public schools and their reduced hygiene skills.

There's not a great deal you can do, health officials say, beyond taking commonsense steps to reduce the risk, Schaffner said. Wash your hands with soap and water for 20 seconds -- particularly after going to the bathroom and changing diapers. 

Clean and disinfect surfaces that are regularly touched by different people, such as toys and doorknobs. Avoid shaking hands, kissing, hugging and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick. And stay home if you feel unwell.

"Parents should not become too anxious about this because persons who are infected will be able to recover as if they were recovering from the classic cold," Bradley said. "Awareness is needed to watch for any signs of difficulty breathing, such a wheezing or a rapid respiratory rate."


To date, there is no vaccine for EV-D68.


Tuesday, 09 September 2014 21:54

Golden Spotlight

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Cody Johnson

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Phillip Hanson is the Golden Spotlight for the month of August. Hanson was born in 1955 in Bloomington, Indiana. 

Having a typical Indiana childhood, Hanson grew up playing basketball. With eyes wide, he said at 18 years old, he walked onto Bob Knight's team and was good enough to start. 

"They didn’t have a scholarship for me," Hanson said "and I was a dumb 18-year-old kid, so I walked away." 

Before leaving though, Hanson taught Kent Benson, who was a freshman at the time, how to hit a hook shot. Hanson said he liked Indiana growing up despite the northern weather. 

"Winter-times are a little bit tougher up there than they are down here," he chuckled. 

In 1976, he moved to Ada, Okla.; Hanson soon met his future wife Gayle in McAlister at a church meeting. The two started dating and were soon married. The couple had their 38th Anniversary last August 21. 

Hanson started throwing papers for the Daily Oklahoman. Sometimes he would start at 11 p.m. and would continue throwing until halfway through the next day. Hanson worked his way up to District Manager with the Daily Oklahoman and is currently retired. 

Phillip and Gayle have lived in Newcastle for 11 years; Gayle teaches music classes at Bridge Creek Public Schools. They have two sons, Mikel and Steve, which live in Oklahoma City and a daughter that lives at home and attends college in Chickasha. Hanson enjoys the Newcastle area except for the occasional bad weather. 

After some bad storms a couple years ago the one tree he wanted gone, a cottonwood, was left standing, he said laughing behind his wide smile. Hanson has 25 pecan trees and a walnut tree but has never had a single pie from them, a fact he seems to find ironic. 

Hanson likes to travel and has a trip planned for Thanksgiving break. He and his family are going to Indiana to visit and then will spend a weekend at Grand Lake on their way back. 


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