February, 2014

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Boys’ golf raising expectations

By Kyle Salomon, 

Mustang boys golf returns two state qualifiers as they prepare to start the new season.

The Bronco boys golfers open the 2014 regular season at 8 a.m. Monday in Stillwater at the Stillwater Invitational.

Mustang head coach Galen Wolfe said the team has been working hard since the end of last season.

“Many of our players have participated in summer activities, tournaments and practice in order to improve their overall game,” he said. “With this many seniors on the roster, we should be able to qualify for state this year. It will be very disappointing if that does not happen.”

Mustang returns the majority of the team that had a strong season last year.

The Broncos lost two seniors from last year’s squad. Marcus Chan and Dalton Cusick have moved on because of graduation.

Mustang will have five seniors this season. Dawson Calhoun, Aaron Fife, Dylan Igo, Jacob Jennings and Joe Larch will headline the roster this year for MHS.

The starters for this year’s team in the first tournament will be Igo, Fife, Larch, Matias Nelson and Calhoun.

Igo and Fife will be counted on to lead the squad as seniors and state qualifiers a year ago.

Wolfe said he would like to see overall consistency in scoring improve.

“We need to be able to score well when are having a bad day,” he said. “The level of competitiveness will improve knowing how important their scores are each round, especially at the end at regionals and state, when it counts the most.”

Chad Charles Daniel Young

Chad Charles Daniel Young, 35 years young, suddenly passed early Sunday morning, Feb. 23, in Oklahoma Heart Hospital in Oklahoma City. 

Chad Charles Daniel Young

Chad Charles Daniel Young

Chad came into this world in Norman on May 6, 1978 to the loving arms of his parents, Ray Young and Karen (Reynolds) Young. Growing up in the Yukon/Mustang Area, Chad quickly became known for his outgoing personality, giving heart, and strong family devotion.

Chad had a long list of hobbies, from a young age Chad had a passion for riding and racing motocross, in his early years with his Granddad (Charles Reynolds) to the time he became a father himself and rode with his two kids. Chad also loved spending time on the lake wakeboarding, striper fishing, snow skiing, cooking for his family and friends and always wanted to make sure he was a part of anything his kids wanted to experience.

Chad is survived by his devoted wife and friend, Beth (Sanders) Young; one daughter, Payton Paige Christine Young, age 9 of Noble, Okla.; and one son, Zane Charles Young, age 6 of Mustang; as well as his mother, Karen Young of Yukon; father, Ray Young and wife Ronda of Yukon; and one brother, Ryan Young of Dallas. Chad is also survived by one step-sister, six nieces and four nephews.

Services to celebrate Chad’s life will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 26 at The Bridge Church in Mustang.  Interment will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 28 at Morgan Cemetery in Little Rock, Ark., under the direction of McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service. Online Condolences may be made at www.mcneilsmustangfs.com.

 

Robert “Bob” V. Dundas

Robert “Bob” V. Dundas, age 75, died Thursday, Feb, 20, 2014 after an extended illness.

He was born June 17, 1938 in Enid, Okla. to Basil R. and Martha C. (Moore) Dundas. He was a graduate of Enid High School and attended Rose State College, as well as the University of Oklahoma.  Robert proudly served his country in the U.S. Army. He worked in television news for over 23 years in the Oklahoma City, Wichita and Great Bend, Kan. markets.  He also worked 14 years for Southwest Airlines and recently worked for Diffee Motor Co. He was a member of First Baptist Church in Yukon.

Robert "Bob" Dundas

Robert “Bob” Dundas

Robert was preceded in death by his parents; three brothers, Basil, Charles and John; three sisters, Grace, Ellen and Katherine; and two grandsons.

Survivors include his wife Margaret (Wagner) of the home; three sons, David Stout of El Reno, Aaron Stout and wife Brenda of Oklahoma City and Sean Dundas; two daughters, Tonya Fowler and husband Myke of Yukon and Saudia Ellis and husband Robert of Ft. Worth, Texas.  Also by 13 grandchildren and five great grandchildren and numerous family and friends. 

Memorial services will be held at 6 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 27 in the Chapel of The Good Shepherd at McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service. Online condolences may be made at www.mcneilsmustangfs.com.

Love, friendship bring lifelong gifts to special needs kids and those who help them

Special Olympics – and Special Olympians – can be a magical thing.

But it’s not just a wonderful experience for the special needs children, youth and adults who take part in the games, it’s a chance for others to help those who look at life a little differently, to walk a time in their shoes.

And what a world they can see.

column shots.qxdI know. My brother was “mentally retarded” in the days before it become more politically correct to say “special needs.” I saw first-hand the challenges he faced and the way he and his classmates looked at things. A lot of the best things about who I am are because Steven was my brother. To be part of Special Olympics, to see the drive of Special Olympians is an experience you carry for a lifetime.

In the last week, I was privileged to meet a group of people who have taken a similar journey. This group of students have chosen to take part in Mustang High School teacher Greg Oswald’s Student Assisting Students class. They help special needs students and provide them a link to the rest of the school – something that’s rare because special needs students learn in their own classrooms.

While you could say the SAS students were just getting credit or maybe just thinking of good marks on their college applications, just a few minutes watching the interaction between them showed that wasn’t the case. It was obvious these students chose to do this and they were getting as much – perhaps more – than they were giving to their fellow students.

And that’s how Mustang High School really is, overall. From No Shiver November, where a group of students got together and gathered thousands of coats to help people at City Rescue Mission to the multitude of teams across the school working toward Relay for Life to the SAS students, these teenagers show how much they care for others. In a world where sometimes that seems few and far between, it gives a geezer like me hope – hope for the future, a shining light that shows just how good people can be.

The life of a special needs student can be difficult – lonely, sometimes painful because of slurs and cruelty from others who do not understand them or the challenges they face. At Mustang High School that might go on, but what certainly does happen is a group of guardians care and help those who they, themselves say, “face things we take for granted every day.”

Of course, every program needs a leader and these kids are learning by the example of their teacher, Greg Oswald. A man who lets his actions back up his words, I watched as Greg and his students stood laughing – and freezing – at the edge of a pool last Saturday during Polar Plunge. Their spirit and dedication, as well as Police Chief Chuck Foley and the others who braved the cold to help others, were warm enough to melt the coldest heart.

These people saw how special our Special Olympians truly are – not because they have special needs, but because they are unique, wondrous one-of-a-kind individuals who will change your life if you give them the chance.

Mustang National Guard members continue tradition

By Oklahoma National Guard

More than 20 years ago their fathers left their civilian jobs and put on their military uniforms to help defeat Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi Republican Guard.  A couple weeks ago the young men of Battery A, 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment, 45th Fires Brigade, Oklahoma Army National Guard, carried on the family tradition of taking the fight to the enemy by firing rockets in Afghanistan against insurgent positions.

ok national guard-RecoveredIn late 1990, 429 citizen-soldiers left Oklahoma for the first Gulf War rather anonymously, but came home heroes. The 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment, was so good that General Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. wrote in an article published in May 1991, “They (Reserve Component Artillery Units) are part of the ground attack, with the Oklahomans achieving the highest rate of fire in Third Army.”

In all, they fired 903 rockets and traveled hundreds of kilometers in support of VII Corps in support of offensive operations that helped lead to an overwhelming U.S. victory.

Since 9/11, the 158th has deployed thousands of soldiers to Afghanistan and Iraq, but none of the deployments had the artillerymen firing rockets, they were all security and convoy support missions. That changed on Oct. 14, 2013, when Battery A deployed to Afghanistan to support Regional Command (South) with a field artillery mission.

army air and national guard (1)The soldiers of Battery A were glad to be deploying with the mission they had trained to do, but for the first few months they found themselves, once again, conducting personal security details, route convoy clearance and entry control point operations. Even though their High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) launchers were set up and ready to fire, they didn’t receive a single fire mission for more than eight weeks.

On Jan. 16 that all changed when Battery A’s 1st Fire Platoon launched two rockets on enemy targets in support of Combined Task Force Duke. The rockets destroyed an enemy communications repeater sight used to support insurgent operations against coalition forces.

The launcher crew included gunner Spc. Joshua Hale of Chickasha, driver Staff Sgt. Steven Stanley of Carnegie, and launcher chief Sgt. Matthew Schoolfield of Ninnekah.

For Hale and Schoolfield, this mission has special meaning as it carries on a tradition started by their fathers during Operation Desert Storm.  Hale is the son of Spc. Chad Hale, formerly of Battery B. Schoolfield is the son of Sgt. Richard Schoolfield, formerly of Battery C. The elder Hale and Schoolfield both deployed with the 158th Field Artillery during Operation Desert Storm and fired rockets from their Multiple Launch Rocket Systems.

“The fact that we have soldiers providing fire support in combat in the same battalion that their fathers served with in combat speaks volumes about who we are as the Guard,” said Col. Mike Chase, 45th Fires Brigade commander. “Many units can metaphorically claim to be ‘family’ or a ‘Band of Brothers,’ but as in this case, it’s factual.”

For these men, their efforts in defense of our country will forever be linked through the history of the Oklahoma National Guard, the 45th Fires Brigade and the 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Regiment.  They are expected to return home later this year.

The 45th Fires Brigade is headquartered in Mustang.

Mustang takes the plunge

polar plunge 1

By Traci Chapman

A lot of warm hearts heated up a cold event last weekend to help Mustang’s special athletes.

The annual Polar Plunge, held at Whitewater Bay, brings together a disparate collection of people from very different places across the area, but each had a similar goal – to help others.

polar plunge 2“It’s a chance for us to help support the kids – they’re definitely amazing,” Mustang High School student Kassady Craskin said.

Those kids are Mustang’s special education students, many of whom compete in Oklahoma Special Olympics. Juniors and seniors in Greg Oswald’s SAS class – Students Assisting Students – spend time with and help those in special education, giving them a link to the rest of the school’s student body, plungers said.

“We love them,” Ashton Evans said.

polar plunge 6That led the group to the Polar Plunge, an annual Special Olympics fundraiser. Held at locations throughout the country, in Oklahoma City the event was held last Saturday at Whitewater Bay. Plungers came from several schools, joined by members of law enforcement and individuals who wanted to lend a hand. All plunged into the 40-degree water to help raise funds and awareness for Special Olympians.

“It’s a great experience,” Oswald said. “I am so proud of all of these kids and how they’ve worked to help their fellow students, both in and out of the classroom.”

mhs polar plunge

Mustang students were not alone in their representation of the community. Police Chief Chuck Foley took a dip in his second plunge, sporting a Duck Dynasty motif and raising about $1,100 in the process. His goal was $1,000, and he collected $775 last year, he said.

“I was never able to take part in the Polar Plunge until last year,” Foley said. “It was a chilly experience, but there’s so much festivity going on, it’s just a great, great thing.

“We have several Special Olympians in Canadian County and particularly in the Mustang School District,” the chief said. “I want to do this for them, to help raise money and also to support them in their efforts.”

Those Special Olympians do a lot more than compete in the games, their champions said. While jumping into a cold pool to raise funds would be both fun and rewarding, it was nothing compared to their interactions with their friends in special education, she said.

polar plunge 11

“They are definitely amazing – they take for granted things we do without thinking every day,” Alexa Elders said. “They change your life.”

 

Lighthouse readies for ‘big day’

Lighthouse Baptist Church on March 9 will celebrate its annual “Big Day” service, featuring special music and dinner.

Lighthouse Baptist congregation (Photo/courtesy)

Lighthouse Baptist congregation (Photo/courtesy)

The church was started by Pastor Rick Carter Sr. in 2001, with the first service held Sept. 9, 2001, in a storefront on state Highway 152. At first called Tabernacle Baptist Church, 10 people attended that first service. The name was later changed to Lighthouse Baptist to avoid confusion with Faith Tabernacle.

Three years later, the congregation had outgrown the storefront and the church purchased land at its current location at 516 West Park Place Drive. Groundbreaking took place in April 2004, with church members writing Bible verses on the red iron outer walls, and each cross beam also displays Scripture. Big Day celebrates the first service held in the new location on March 6, 2005.

Sunday school will begin at 10 a.m., with worship service starting at 11 a.m. The celebration is open to the public.

For more information, call the church at 376-6522 or see its website at www.lighthousebaptistmustang.org.

Broncos survive Pirate scare

Demarion Love Two

By Kyle Salomon

Senior guard Demarion Love drained two free throws with six seconds remaining in the game to force overtime, and eventually secured a Broncos win at Putnam City 73-66.

Love scored a game-high 19 points, but none were bigger than the two foul shots the 6-foot-3-inch guard knocked down to keep Mustang’s hopes alive and force an extra session against the Pirates Feb. 11.

Junior guard Terrell Williams took over in the overtime period, scoring five points and forcing Putnam City into several turnovers. Williams finished the game with nine points and one rebound.

Sophomore forward Austin Meyer had 13 points and seven rebounds, and sophomore guard Jakolby Long had eight points and five rebounds. Both Meyer and Long fouled out of the game late in the fourth period.

The Broncos and Pirates battled neck and neck throughout the game. Neither team led by more than six points until Mustang pulled away in overtime.

The MHS victory completed the season sweep of Putnam City. The Broncos won the first game in a rout at home 72-45.

“We were fortunate to win this game,” coach Long said. “Putnam City played their tails off. I’m proud of our guys for finding a way to win a tough road game.”

Mustang totaled 31 rebounds, forced 28 Pirate turnovers, committed 21 turnovers themselves and missed 17 free throws on the night, going 20-of-37 from the line.

The Broncos close out the regular season this week as they traveled to Putnam City West Tuesday night and will host Putnam City North for senior night Friday night at 7:30.

Mustang to host regional

Mustang was awarded the fourth seed on the west side, which means they are hosting a regional, which begins Feb. 27.

Putnam City, Norman North and Westmoore are the three other schools in the regional. Mustang will take on Putnam City in game one.

McNeil named Officer of the Year

camie mcneil

By Traci Chapman

Nineteen years ago, Camie McNeil joined Mustang Police Department.

Last week, the veteran detective was named American Legion Post 353’s Outstanding Police Officer of 2014, an award her boss, fellow officers and people throughout the community said was very well-deserved.

“Camie consistently maintains empathy for crime victims while methodically investigating offenses of all types,” Mustang Police Chief Chuck Foley said. “McNeil has traditionally been the primary investigator in crimes against children and sexual assault victims.”

In addition to her case duties, McNeil has taken a lead role in communication relations for the department, including Shop with a Cop, begun in 2011 as a partnership with Yukon Police Department and last year expanded to include Mustang students, Foley said. She also was assigned the task of meeting with local media about cases, arrests and other police activity, he said.

It was September 2011 when a case that demanded all of her skills as an investigator and communicator would thrust Mustang Police Department – and specifically McNeil – into the national spotlight. For McNeil, it would not only be a challenge as a detective, but it would also extend into her personal life, because she knew both the victim and the woman who would be accused of killing him.

Mustang detective Camie McNeil testifies during Rebecca Bryan's preliminary hearing. (Photo/Glen Miller)

Mustang detective Camie McNeil testifies during Rebecca Bryan’s preliminary hearing. (Photo/Glen Miller)

It was the night of Sept. 20, 2011, when McNeil was called to the home of former Mustang City Councilman and Nichols Hills Fire Chief Keith Bryan. The Mustang man had been shot by an intruder, his wife, Rebecca Bryan, said. It was a difficult case from the start because McNeil knew the Bryans from church. It became more so as the investigation quickly took a turn detectives didn’t expect. Working with Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation agents, McNeil learned things were not as they seemed in the Bryans’ marriage.

“Camie’s tasks included coordination of investigative and forensic tasks and conducting interviews of witnesses and involved persons over an extended period of time with OSBI team members, who had joined the investigation at its inception,” Foley said.

Although Rebecca Bryan said an intruder entered the couple’s home and shot her husband, evidence found in the Bryans’ dryer – including the gun, shell casings, a glove and a blanket – cast doubt on her story. McNeil was tasked with interviewing Rebecca Bryan, collecting evidence and working a high-profile case which would garner national interest.

“Now challenged with what was likely the biggest case in her career, Camie had to act on behalf of the deceased, innocent victim Chief Keith Bryan, who deserved the best investigation possible,” Foley said. “Detective McNeil was not only willing to accept this challenge but overcame all obstacles based on the eventual, successful outcome of the case.”

It was McNeil’s testimony in Rebecca Bryan’s preliminary hearing that gave many people, including the Bryans’ friends and even some family members, a completely different picture of the Mustang woman. The work leading up to that testimony continued for months, while McNeil also served as the department’s only detective on other cases running through it, Foley said.

“Not only did McNeil have to deal with the death of someone she knew, she was forced into considering someone else she knew as the prime suspect in the homicide,” the chief said. “This just enhanced the pressure of investigating a high profile crime with a lot of local and national media attention along with the responsibilities of being a wife and mother.”

It was McNeil’s hard work, her ability to work seamlessly with OSBI agents and get to the truth of the matter – no matter how difficult – that helped prosecutors obtain a conviction of Rebecca Bryan on May 21, 2013, Canadian County District Attorney Michael Fields said. The verdict was a victory for prosecutors and law enforcement, many of whom knew Keith Bryan, as well as the Bryan family and his many friends, the district attorney said.

“Camie McNeil’s work in the Bryan case exemplified professionalism, diligence, and a willingness to go above and beyond the call of duty,” Fields stated in a Tuesday email. “The citizens of Mustang and the state of Oklahoma are well served by her desire to seek the truth and pursue justice.”

“We are proud of Detective McNeil and congratulate her on the award,” City Manager Tim Rooney said Tuesday. “It’s always gratifying when a member of our staff is recognized for the great work they do.”

While McNeil’s accomplishments in the Bryan case were known to many, it was the quality of her work, day in and day out, that really set her apart, Foley said.

“We as a department are very lucky to have a person of Camie McNeil’s caliber,” the chief said. “She is an outstanding detective, a top-notch investigator and a great person.”

Mustang bitten by Timberwolves

Austin Meyer Two

By Kyle Salomon

Mustang boys basketball team’s comeback attempt fell short in a 72-68 loss to Edmond Santa Fe last Friday night at home. The defeat at the hands of the Timberwolves was the first sweep the Broncos have suffered this season. MHS fell to Santa Fe earlier in the season in an overtime thriller.

Scoring was hard to come by against the T-wolves’ 2-3 packed-in zone defense. Mustang had only two players in double figures.

Sophomore forward Austin Meyer led the Broncos with a double-double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Senior guard Demarion Love had 12 points and three rebounds.

“They just made more plays down the stretch than we did,” Mustang head coach Terry Long said. “I thought we battled back, but we put ourselves in a tough position with how we played coming out of halftime.”

Mustang trailed the Timberwolves by just three points at halftime, but Edmond Santa Fe quickly increased that margin to double digits in the third period.

The Bronco offense was flat as it struggled to find open lanes to drive to the basket.

The T-wolves offense wasn’t lighting up the scoreboard either, but was efficient enough to get baskets on key possessions as they slowly built on their lead.

ESF reached its peak early in the fourth period when it took a 16-point lead on a fast-break layup. From that point, the Broncos mounted a furious comeback, cutting the lead to two points with just under a minute left.

However, that would be as close as Mustang would get as Edmond Santa Fe stopped the Broncos’ run and made clutch free throws to secure the four-point road win.

“You can’t dig yourself a hole like we did against a good team and expect to win the game,” Long said. “We have to play better basketball in every facet of the game if we want to achieve our goals.”

Mustang was without junior forward Geoffrey Hightower because of health reasons. Hightower was slated to start, but was a late scratch just before tip-off.

The Broncos totaled 32 rebounds, made 16 out of 25 free throws and committed 16 turnovers on the night.