Miami News-Record

Ace pilot earns his final wings

Best known as the Berlin Candy Bomber, retired Air Force Colonel Gail Halvorsen took off on his final flight with his new set of wings on February 16. The beloved pilot gained fame for dropping candy to German children during the Berlin Airlift from 1948 to 1949, but he touched many lives throughout his 101 years on earth. Halvorsen was born on Oct. 10, 1920, and grew up in Utah and Idaho on small farms. Growing up with his face in the dirt and planes flying overhead, he dreamed of one day taking flight himself. Originally appeared in the March 4, 2022 issue of the Miami News-Record

Guest readers, other events make books fun

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild to pick up a book and read, to a child,” said Dr. Seuss in a famous quote. In celebration of Read Across America Week and Dr. Seuss’ birthday, area schools had fun dress-up days and special events throughout the week of Feb. 28 through March 4. A big part of the excitement at Wilson Early Childhood Development Center was guest readers who came to read to the kids throughout the week. Superintendent Nick Highsmith kicked the week off by reading "Hop on Pop” to some of Miami’s littlest Wardogs. Probably the highlight of the week at Wilson was some special guest readers on Tuesday who surprised the students by bringing a fire truck and ambulance to the school for the kids to climb on and check out close-up. Later, Firefighter/Driver/EMT Kade Witten, with some help from the FirePup, read a book to the enthralled bunch of youngsters. Originally appeared in the March 4, 2022 issue of the Miami News-Record
T. D. McNiel

Feeding wild birds is fun and fundamental to their well-being

February is National Bird Feeding Month and it’s a great time to get in touch with the natural world by inviting some hungry birds to your backyard during the long, cold winter. Your new feathered friends will flourish and thank you. Jenn Donnell, an information and education specialist at the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, said feeding birds in your backyard helps them survive harsh weather. “Offering supplemental foods through a bird feeder can really help out local populations of birds especially during winter weather events,” she said. Originally appeared in the February 25, 2022 issue of the Miami News-Record

Frigid Temps pose frostbite threat for kids

Below freezing temperatures are a common occurrence in Miami during the winter, increasing parents' concern over their kids spending too much time outdoors. When the temperature dips below freezing, it can take fewer minutes than you might realize to get frostbite and even fewer to get frostnip. Kids are more at risk because their little bodies lose heat much faster than adults. Originally appeared in the February 11, 2022 issue of the Miami News-Record

Green bud taxes fund redbud school grants

Medical marijuana was legalized in Oklahoma on June 26, 2018, and dispensaries have been popping up all over the state ever since. In a move meant to ensure part of the taxes placed on the medicinal green bud helped schools, the Oklahoma Legislature created the Redbud School Funding Act. Through Senate Bill 229, part of the medical marijuana tax revenue collected by the state will be distributed to qualifying schools. The bill became effective May 28, 2021, and distributions began in the Fiscal Year 2022. During this initial year, the state has apportioned $38.5 million to be used for the first Redbud School Funding grants. Miami and other area schools were allocated part of their funds in January 2022 with the remaining funds due in June 2022. The Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) allotted half of its $38.5 million to 330 public schools across the state. These allotments are automatically figured based on whether a school district or eligible charter school falls below the state average in local property taxes and the county-wide millage per student. Originally appeared in the February 4, 2022 issue of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

Blood supplies are dangerously low

During the second week of January 2022, Harbor-UCLA Medical Center in West Carson, Calif. shut down for at least two hours when the trauma center didn’t have enough blood supply to meet demand. Susan Addison, Senior Account Manager with the Oklahoma Blood Institute (OBI), said these are the kinds of stories you used to hear about in third world countries. “The blood supply has always been kind of tough,” she said. “Only about 10% of those who are healthy and well enough are willing to donate blood so if we got up to 50% of those who are healthy and well enough, we would stop seeing messaging for emergencies.” Besides the limited number of blood donors, the COVID-19 pandemic has further fueled what’s become an unprecedented blood shortage across the nation because it disrupted regular blood drives. Originally appeared in the February 1, 2022 issue of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

Miami mayor, Nashville recording artist deliver cakes for charity

What started with an elderly lady simply buying cream cheese at a local dollar store wound up benefitting two local organizations. Miami Mayor Bless Parker turned a negative experience into something positive and the community once again proved how much it cares. The elderly lady happened to be the mayor’s mom, Margaret Anderson, and she was buying a large amount of cream cheese to make cheesecakes for Christmas. The mayor said he had no idea there was a shortage of cream cheese and there was no limit on how many you could purchase. Originally published in the January 4, 2022 edition of the Miami News-Record

COVID-19 sticks around for New Year

As we rang in the New Year, the COVID-19 pandemic unfortunately entered its third year of causing havoc in Oklahoma and around the globe. The pandemic lingers like an unwanted guest who refuses to leave, but many people are hopeful that 2022 will finally see the virus wane. On an extremely sobering note, data tracked by Johns Hopkins University indicates Oklahoma had the nation’s worst COVID-19 death rates in 2021. Data showed one death per 403 Oklahomans last year, another heartbreaking statistic hanging over the state. Originally published in the January 4, 2022 edition of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

Modoc Nation gets 28 Yellowstone buffalo

The Modoc recently received a herd of buffalo from Yellowstone National Park. The herd is an entire family from babies to bulls and considered some of the purest buffalo in the nation. On Dec. 16, Defenders of Wildlife announced that they along with the Fort Peck Tribes and the InterTribal Buffalo Council (ITBC) were facilitating the transfer of 56 Yellowstone buffalo. The Yakama Nation in Washington and the Modoc Nation in Oklahoma would each receive 28 buffalo. It’s the first time they transferred two large intact bison families under the Bison Conservation Transfer Program, which began in 2019. Originally published in the December 31, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

BIL Bikers, Commerce Firefighters make Christmas brighter

The Brothers In Law bikers have been running a relatively low-key Christmas program for over two decades. The Commerce Volunteer Fire Department started helping them with this project about 18 years ago. Together, the two groups make Christmas a little brighter for needy families in the community. On Dec. 22, members of the BIL and CFD met up at the Commerce fire station to pack food boxes for 57 families. Using a highly efficient assembly line, they made short work of the large task. “We got done in record time,” said coordinator Janet Trease. “We’ve honed it down to kind of an art. It’s taken several years to get it to go so smooth.” Originally published in the December 24, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

When School's Out, the Boys & Girls Club Is In

Parents looking for a fun and safe place to take their children over the Christmas/winter break can still take advantage of the Christmas Break program at the Boys & Girls Club of Ottawa County. The program was available Dec. 20-23 and will also be available Dec. 27-30 from 7:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Riverview Park and Teen Center sites. “The Club understands parents need to work and have a safe place for their kids to go over breaks,” said Executive Director Mackenzie Garst. “Kids no longer need to sit at home bored in front of a TV when they can be in a safe and supervised location having fun with their friends. When school’s out, the Club is in.” Originally published in the December 24, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record

Wintertime tornadoes are unusual, not unheard of

Nobody wants to think about a tornado hitting their home or business, but in Tornado Alley it’s a very real threat. When you do think about tornadoes, it’s likely in the spring and early summer when they’re most common. However, wintertime doesn’t mean the danger has passed, which was unfortunately demonstrated last Friday when 40-plus tornadoes ripped through six states causing mass destruction and numerous deaths. The best advice is to be prepared no matter the season . . . Originally published in the Dec. 21 edition of the Miami News-Record / Page 3

Miami group responds to tornado damaged states

By now, most Miami residents have probably seen the news about the severe onslaught of tornadoes that tore through six states on Friday, Dec. 10 and into the early morning hours of Saturday, Dec. 11. The overwhelming devastation a tornado can bring carries an emotional toll that often spans state lines. The Oklahoma Emergency Response Team (OKERT) plans to cross those lines to offer assistance to people impacted by the tornadoes. OKERT has been around since 2014 and is led by Rick Aldridge. Two of his team members will be heading to Mayfield, Kentucky this evening. Kentucky was hit the worst with at least 74 confirmed deaths by Tuesday night, including the youngest victim, a 5-month-old infant. The state still had over 100 people unaccounted for at that time. Other states in the path of the 40-plus confirmed tornadoes included Arkansas, Illinois, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee. Originally published in the Dec. 17, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record

MPS Collects Food for Christmas Break Deliveries

Coming off a successful Peanut Butter & Jelly Drive that provided food to more than 150 households during the Thanksgiving break, Miami Public Schools has set its sights on collecting snacks and easy-to-prepare foods to deliver to students during the much longer Christmas break. Whitney McGhee, the school district’s new Mental and Behavioral Health Liaison, is spearheading the Christmas Break Food Drive/Delivery. Originally published in the December 14, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

DAV announces student of the month, various projects

Josie Hayes, a senior at Miami High School, was honored as the Disabled American Veterans’ Student of the Month for Dec. at the organization’s monthly meeting on Dec. 2. Current DAV Commander Phillip Cohen presented Hayes with her certificate and a gift card. He also explained that she’d have an opportunity to apply for a $500 scholarship at the end of the year. Originally published in the December 14, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record

Miss Merry Christmas raises money for Quapaw StuCo

Quapaw High School math teacher and Student Council Sponsor Kerra Myers started a unique fundraiser 20 years ago to help the QHS Student Council raise money. The annual Miss Merry Christmas contest is always popular and a successful fundraising event for the student organization. “The girls raise money by setting out cans and asking for donations,” explained Myers. “We have all three buildings participate [elementary, middle and high schools] and there’s a winner from each building.” Winners are chosen based on whoever raises the most money. All three winners are signed up to ride in the Quapaw, Commerce and Miami Christmas parades, which were all held on Saturday, Dec. 4 at various times. Originally published in the December 10, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

Students enjoy field trips to American Legion Museum

The school field trip has a decades-long history in American public education. Students pile onto those big yellow buses to visit all types of cultural venues, including zoos, historical sites and a wide array of museums. Students from Nichols Upper Elementary’s 4th and 5th grade classes recently enjoyed a field trip to the American Legion Military Museum at 2129 Denver Harner Drive. American Legion members put on an interactive presentation, which included a demonstration of how to properly fold an American flag. Legion members John Mayes and Mike Headlee precisely folded the flag while member Ron Horn provided a detailed explanation of what each of the 13 folds in the flag represented. Originally published in the December 10, 2021 edition of the Miami News-Record
Moira K. McGhee

Wardog Thespians host cookies with Santa

Looking for some fun “reindeer games” for your kids this holiday season? Join the Wardog Thespians at their first-ever “Cookies with Santa” fundraiser this Saturday, Dec. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon in the Miami Junior High Commons Area. The festive bash is the brainchild of Kaylea Hutson-Miller, the Wardog Thespians’ adviser/coach and the speech, drama, debate and journalism teacher at Miami High School. “Years of covering Christmas events for the ‘Grove Sun’ let me see how parents are always looking for a safe, fun place for their kids to see and get to meet Santa,” explained Hutson-Miller. “We checked with local officials and realized this was a void we could fill in the community.” / Originally published in the Dec. 10 edition of the Miami News-Record
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Stillwater NewsPress (Writing as Moira K. Wiley)

Perkins Water War

PERKINS - The city and a rural water district are battling over who can sell water to developing areas. During Rural Water District No. 3’s annual meeting Tuesday, some Perkins’ residents and water district members said they were not happy with the district’s decision to file a lawsuit against the city of Perkins on Oct. 10. The lawsuit states that “Perkins is and has been selling water within RWD 3’s ‘Territory’ to potential customers” of the water district. The area in question includes developed land north of Kirk Street and west of Sadler Road, a large part of Perkins Country Estates, Cimarron Trails Golf Course, Perkins-Tryon School District property, Cimarron Trails housing development and commercial land occupied by several businesses along state Highway 33. (Previously published 1/16/2003 in the Stillwater NewsPress)

The blessings of devastation

MULHALL - For residents, mention of May 3, 1999 brings back memories of a day many of them lost everything to Mother Nature’s fury. Following the devastation of twin funnels that roared through the quiet community, an indomitable spirit to survive rose from the rubble. Today, the little town is scarred but still kicking and there’s not much evidence left of that fateful day. That day, two tornadoes literally rocked Mulhall’s foundation, destroying homes and businesses, throwing trees and power lines to the ground and toppling a 100-foot tower that was the town’s sole water source. (Originally published in the Stillwater NewsPress)

New traffic lights offer safety

Perkins’ residents can enjoy the convenience and safety of new traffic lights at the busy intersection located at the eastern junction of U.S. 177 and S.H. 33 in Perkins. Construction began earlier this year on the signal lights, which were officially turned on Monday. Included with the new set of lights was a crosswalk that will make crossing the highway easier and safer for pedestrian traffic. (Originally published 7/20/2002 in the Stillwater NewsPress)

Stillwater residents celebrate Independence Day

Amidst the red, white and blue bursts of light were oohs and aahs from the crowd as Stillwater residents celebrated their independence at the Boomer Blast 4th of July celebration held at Boomer Lake on Thursday. The 30-minute fireworks display over the lake was the culmination of a day full of events that attracted people as far away as Nevada and Arizona who were in town visiting relatives during the patriotic holiday. Activities included a fishing tournament, bicycle ride, live entertainment, games and more. (Originally Published July 2002 by the Stillwater NewsPress)

Getting ready for FreeWheel

Bicyclists around the country and points beyond are gearing up for the Oklahoma FreeWheel Cross State Bicycle Tour 2002. Participating riders will be traveling nearly 400 miles on a trek that runs across the state with 50-75 miles covered each day of the seven day trip. The route starts in the southwestern Oklahoma community of Snyder and ends in South Haven, Kan. A total of 488 riders have registered for the ride, thus far, with 362 from the state of Oklahoma and 22 other states represented with a total of 111 riders. Plus, this year’s event has attracted three riders from other countries, one each from Australia, Canada and France. Marking his 14th year to participate in the event is 76-year-old Stillwater resident Bill Burke. (Originally published in the Stillwater NewsPress)

How to cope with disasters

Preparing for disaster before it strikes can be a real learning experience. The Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma found this out first hand when they recently conducted three emergency preparedness exercises. The three exercises included a wildfire drill May 2 and a massive tornado and resulting hazardous material spill June 26. Coordinators of the exercises decided to run the last two drills in conjunction with each other to better facilitate an extreme disaster. (Originally published in the Stillwater NewsPress)

Author earned fans through details

Not many Stillwater residents can say they have their own fan club. Glenn Shirley could. A fan club was formed in 1992 for Stillwater’s best known author who believed in “telling it like it was” in the accurate recounting of stories based on famous outlaws and lawmen. Writing about outlaws, lawmen and famous events in history was a passion of his, which he pursued right up to his death on Feb. 27. (Originally published in the Stillwater NewsPress)

Flu has Stillwater under the weather

According to FluSTAR, a system that tracks flu activity, the flu has officially hit Oklahoma City. FluSTAR also has confirmed an outbreak of influenza in Stillwater. Local health officials seem to have differing views on the influenza epidemic. “From Jan. 1 to Feb. 9, we’ve had a total of 80 flu patients,” said Shyla Eggers, public relations director for Stillwater Medical Center. “This might not sound like a lot, but many more people may have went to the Warren Clinic or their regular doctors. (Originally Published 2/16/2002 by the Stillwater NewsPress)

Pistol Pete portrait

A portrait of Frank “Pistol Pete” Eaton was officially unveiled Thursday at the state Capitol in Oklahoma City. The portrait was commissioned as a gift to the Capitol by Sen. Mike Morgan, D-Stillwater. It was one of two original paintings presented. The second, a portrait of William “Bill” Tilghman, was commissioned by Sen. Brad Henry. “Most Oklahomans probably think of Pistol Pete as OSU’s mascot,” said Morgan, “but may not realize he was a real person and very much the product of the Wild West. (Originally Published 02/09/2002 in the Stillwater NewsPress)

Tornados and true love

The 1996 hit movie, Twister, brought a whole new meaning to storm chasers. Real life storm chasers, Val and Amy Castor, have a passion for chasing tornadoes even greater than the on screen characters. Val became fascinated with weather as a young boy when his father would rouse him in the middle of the night to run to the family's outdoor cellar to hide from potentially dangerous storms. Playing baseball as he grew up, he remembers paying more attention to the sky than he did the game. He then went on to earn a physical geography degree from Oklahoma State University and a meteorology degree from the University of Oklahoma. Val's first year at OU, he and fellow weather enthusiasts, Bill Pryor and Steve Nelson, began chasing storms on their own. After chasing for about five years he decided to give News Channel 9 a call. After proving himself as a competent chaser, Gary England offered him a staff position. (Originally published February 2002 in the Stillwater NewsPress)

Virus battle covers state

Health officials stress vigilance, but not alarm or panic, about the West Nile virus making its way across Oklahoma. The disease is spread by mosquitoes who feed on infected birds, then bite other birds, animals or people. The virus made its first appearance in the United States in New York City during the summer of 1999. At the end of 2001, West Nile virus had been confirmed in 28 eastern states, including Arkansas and Louisiana, so the Oklahoma Department of Health developed a surveillance program for West Nile virus called “On Watch.” The first case of West Nile in Oklahoma was identified July 17 in the northeastern part of the state. (Originally published January 2002 in the Stillwater NewsPress)

Dummies show their intelligence at OSU

You can learn a lot from a dummy. The use of crash test dummies in collision simulations plays a significant role in the design and safety engineering of automobiles. Modern dummies are high-tech sensor systems that allow car makers to accurately predict bodily injuries during a crash. As part of the 2002 Awesome Design Committee activities, a detailed presentation on crash dummies and other events will be held Friday. This is the 12th year for the activities, hosted by Oklahoma State University’s College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology. (Originally published circa January 2002 in the Stillwater NewsPress)

City woman training to become a Doula

Kristy Scott is training to be a doula, or labor support specialist. Scott completed her required training in September through Doulas of the Heartland, a nonprofit organization based in Enid that trains and certifies doulas. She’s now working toward her certification, which requires her to attend and help with three births then get evaluations from each mother and delivering doctor. Doula comes from the Greek language and means handmaiden. The word has come to refer to a woman experienced in childbirth who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the laboring couple before, during and just after childbirth. Eleven studies have shown using a doula has several effects on birth outcomes. These include shorter labor, fewer complications, Caesarean rates are reduced, less need for induced labor, use of forceps is reduced and fewer requests for pain medication and epidurals. (Originally published circa December 2001 in the Stillwater NewsPress)

Local trio confront challenges

Jacobson has climbed 50 of the 53 mountains in Colorado classified as 14ers. His goal is to climb them all. “I tried to play golf, but it didn’t give me the same thrill. Some people ask me if I’m crazy or why would I want to do this. But, no one asks an overzealous golf player why they drop everything and go play golf every chance they get. It’s the same concept with me and mountains. Many people ask me if I’m afraid of falling or dying. To which I always respond, I’m not afraid of dying, I’m afraid of not living.” (Originally published circa December 2001 in the Stillwater NewsPress)
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Perkins Journal (Writing as Moira K. Wiley)

The Perkins Journal - May 14, 2003 / Page 1

• "City to develop emergency plan" (Continued Page 7 - • "County to participate in feasibility study" (Continued Page 7 - • "Resident's tort claim for sewer damage denied" (Continued Page 7 - • "County commission approves waterline permit" (Continued Page 2 -

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