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An inspiration, an adventure

reyes family

By Traci Chapman

It was the kind of news that could bring anyone down, but for Kenny Reyes being told he had Multiple Sclerosis became just one more challenge.

It’s the way he’s lived his whole life, say his friends, co-workers and family – and in the process, he’s helping a lot of people who share a disease that can cripple the soul as much as it can the body.

Kenny Reyes has what many people would call a “dream” life – married to Allison for more than 12 years, the couple has two daughters, Haylee and Sydney. Kenny is a Nichols Hills firefighter and has been for 13 years; Allison is a teacher at Mustang Trails Elementary. The 36-year-old coaches both of his daughters’ soccer teams, plays soccer himself and is active in the family’s church, The Bridge in Mustang.

In July 2011, a lot of things changed, but yet, the changes were not as far-reaching as one might expect, Kenny said. It was on July 4 of that year he noticed some numbness in his legs. A trip to the doctor first garnered a diagnosis of a pinched nerve, but with the numbness spreading to the rest of his body, Kenny was referred to a neurologist. It was the beginning of a long series of tests and trials.

How to help: Visit Kenny Reyes' Walk MS page - http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?pg=team&fr_id=23552&team_id=363435

How to help:
Visit Kenny Reyes’ Walk MS page by clicking above

“In July and August of that year I had four MRIs and they found a legion on my spinal cord,” Kenny said. “It was on Sept. 1 I got the results – I learned a bunch of new words at that time.”

Those words were Multiple Sclerosis and all of the long words associated with it, the names of medications and treatments designed to keep him healthy. An unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system, MS interrupts the flow of information with the brain and between the brain and the body. Symptoms can range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis.

For Kenny, the symptoms abated with a regimen of daily injections and frequent tests to monitor his condition. It was news to a man in his mid-30s that could cause depression, desperation – what it brought out in Kenny Reyes was determination, Allison said.

“He’s always been upbeat, a happy person, and this hasn’t changed that,” Allison said. “He’s been a rock, but more than that, he’s inspired people.”

It was early on Kenny received some inspiration of his own – from people involved in Walk MS, an annual event held across the country aimed at increasing awareness about Multiple Sclerosis and raising funds for research. In the metro area, the walk was historically held at the Oklahoma City Zoo.

For two years, Kenny and his family traveled to the zoo to be part of the MS Walk. It was a time to meet others battling MS, lend and gain support and help others understand what the disease was all about. Kenny said it was an eye-opening experience.

“These people, they are so brave and some of them are facing so much,” he said. “I’ve been so blessed and fortunate because I’ve had no reoccurrences since 2011, but not everyone has been that lucky.”

Luck wasn’t really the determining factor in Kenny’s success so far, his family said. His commitment to staying physically active, positive attitude and the fact he went to the doctor quickly and got a fast diagnosis were all factors working in his favor, they said.

“We were so blessed because I had great doctors who didn’t give up and followed through until they figured out what it was,” Kenny said.

Through their journey, the walk was an annual reminder of those blessings, Kenny said. This year, Kenny and Allison moved from participants to organizers, when the walk needed a new home. Suggesting Mustang, the couple was part of the team that visited the city and discovered it would be a “perfect” place for the event, set for May 3.

“We’ve had the largest team the last two years, but it’s especially exciting for the walk to be held here, in Mustang,” he said.

Check-in will begin at 9 a.m., with the walk starting at 10 a.m. May 3. There will be two routes, Kenny said – one 0.6 miles and the other 1.3 miles, both winding through the park. Walkers must be pre-registered to participate.

“Our number of walkers are a bit down from last year right now, but we’ve heard donations are slightly up,” Kenny said. “I think some of that is to be expected with a change of venue, but we’re excited about the donations.”

According to Kenny’s Walk MS page, his team has raised more than $1,400 this year, and he hopes to go much higher. He also hopes to let people know about the disease and how much their contribution can help through the walk, he said.

“I don’t see it as a handicap or anything bad like that – I see it as an adventure,” Kenny said. “God’s put me in this for a reason, and I intend to make the most of it and do the most I can do.”

 

 

How to help:

http://main.nationalmssociety.org/site/TR?pg=team&fr_id=23552&team_id=363435

 

 

 

Crews move forward on 89th Street repairs

silver star 89th 2

By Traci Chapman

Crews with Silver Star Construction on Tuesday were winding up the first phase of Mustang’s SW 89th Street improvement project.

What that means for drivers is the reopening of SW 89th Street between Mustang and Sara roads, hopefully on Friday, Silver Star officials said. Work began a few weeks ago and on Tuesday, crews laid asphalt following work by crews with Canadian County District 2, who helped grade the road surface and leveled the shoulder. Temporary striping and grass seeding the shoulder should be done, with the road open to traffic Friday, barring any weather issues, Silver Star President Steve Shawn said.

“We’ll do permanent striping next week, again weather permitting,” Shawn said.

Next, it’s on to round two, as crews prepare to begin Friday digging up the old asphalt in preparation for laying a new SW 89th Street between Sara and Morgan roads, Shawn said.

In between the two projects, crews would head to Wild Horse Park to work on parking areas for the city’s new baseball complex, Silver Star asphalt superintendent Jack Shannon said. Silver Star will use materials from the SW 89th Street project to complete that project, he said.

Residents and other drivers have generally been good about staying outside the barriers where roads were being worked on, Shawn and Shannon said. However, as they headed to their next section, the men warned drivers the next section could contain hidden hazards.

Crews with Silver Star Construction work on repairs to SW 89th Street Tuesday. The next phase of road repair – from Sara to Morgan roads – is expected to begin Friday. (Photo/Traci Chapman)

“It could really be a dangerous situation because we are going to be doing work on pipes and tinhorns so people need to stay off that section until we are finished,” Shawn said. “Someone could go into a ditch and have damage or worse – there’s going to be a lot there.”

The projects were made possible when Mustang City Council voted in March to pay for $450,000 of improvements from the city street improvement fund. Council approved the project on what several members called “some of the worst roads” in Mustang. The fund had about $650,000 before the project was approved, Mustang City Manager Tim Rooney said.

“Pavement conditions along 89th Street have really deteriorated rapidly over the last several months,” Rooney said at that time. “We did utilize our own contractor to perform some patches and repairs beginning in January to address the most serious surface conditions, but those were temporary and we knew they weren’t a long-term fix to the issues on SW 89th Street.”

That’s where Silver Star came in, Shawn said. The company, which does work for Mustang, Oklahoma City, Moore and other municipalities, is familiar with Mustang projects and were able to get started quickly on the two one-mile segments east and west of Sara Road.

Phase 1 of the project was a $280,000 road replacement. Crews first milled the stretch, performed base stabilization, replaced tinhorns and smoothed out the road shoulder. Their final “major” step – to add the 4-inch asphalt overlay – was done Tuesday, Shannon said.

The remaining section – from Sara Road east to Morgan Road – would also be milled, with a chip seal overlay. The expected cost of that portion was about $150,000. Council approved a $20,000 contingency to address any possible issues with the project.

Residents have been happy with the city’s decision to make the repairs, on stretches of road heavily traveled by those in Mustang’s 12-mile radius and beyond, Rooney and Silver Star officials said.

“We’ve had a lot of people stop and tell us how glad they are the city decided to do this – it was in rough shape,” Shannon said. “It’s been a good project and we’ve been relatively lucky with the weather.”

 

 

State testing glitch impacts Mustang students

sg4xnwos copy

By Traci Chapman/Ray Dyer

Some Mustang students were among about 6,000 across Oklahoma impacted by a glitch that brought state testing to a grinding halt Monday.

The exact number of Mustang students impacted was not known, but some reported issues with tests that caused the online exam to “short-out.” In the case of some students, that meant a test taken except for a few questions, “disappeared,” they said.

Sixth- through eighth-grade students, as well as high schoolers taking end of instruction exams were impacted by the problem, which affected online tests administered by the state through vendor DTB/McGraw Hill, said Tricia Pemberton, Oklahoma Department of Education assistant director of communications. State officials suspended online testing for the day, and on Tuesday, some districts had begun the process to restart those exams, although it was unknown what the status of testing in Mustang was.

Mustang district officials did not answer questions concerning the number of students in the district affected or when those individuals might retake the tests.

“We have suspended testing until we learn more about the issues,” Mustang Superintendent Sean McDaniel stated via email Monday.

Third-grade reading tests, also conducted Monday, were not affected because they were not computerized, Pemberton said. Online tests impacted were: grade 6 – reading and mathematics; grade 7 – reading, mathematics and geography; grade 8 – reading and mathematics; and End-of-Instruction assessments.

It is the second year in a row CTB’s online assessments caused issues for students taking exams. State officials declined to speculate why state Superintendent Janet Barresi chose to utilize the company again this year, after those issues. They said they did not believe the problem “would impact individual students’ scores.”

While Mustang officials did not have much to say about Monday’s issues, one area superintendent said he was “livid” about the repeat CTB issues, and he disagreed with state officials’ assertions the glitch wouldn’t impact test scores.

“It’s exactly what happened last year,” El Reno Superintendent Craig McVay said. “The very same thing.”

McVay said the district suspended testing after computers continuously “kicked” students off the test site. The problem apparently occurred with software used by the state Department of Education.

CTB/McGraw-Hill, the vendor contracted to supply the software, took responsibility for the failure. The state Department of Education reported the system was up and working properly by 11 a.m., but for McVay and other districts in the state, it was too late.

McVay was upset by the developments, saying the computer failures simply add more stress to students who are already in a stressful situation.

“This happened to our AP students,” McVay said. “They are our best students and they take these tests very seriously.” He said one student was sent home, the stress apparently causing her to become nauseous.

McVay has said he is not a fan of mandated testing. A few weeks ago, he told an El Reno Chamber of Commerce gathering the nation has had enormous accomplishments prior to the dawn of mandated tests that are more and more becoming an education hot button. In his earlier remarks, McVay pointed to two world wars won by the United States, as well as overcoming a great Depression, and putting a man on the moon as some of the notable achievements prior to mandated testing.

“I’m a huge fan of knowing, did our kids learn anything,” McVay said. He said he is not in favor of testing the younger children because of the anxiety it creates in them. Oklahoma now requires children to pass a third-grade reading test before they can be moved on to the fourth grade.

“We gather data like crazy on every child,” McVay said. “I want to know if they can read after the first grade.” He said the data helps to know where a child is progressing and where he isn’t. It also helps teachers have “an honest conversation with every parent.”

McVay called the emphasis being placed on “high stakes tests out of control.”

 

Students bring Smaug to life

smaug 1

By Traci Chapman

It was anything but desolation in Mustang Elementary’s art room last week, as Smaug from the Hobbit book and film series came to life.

Led by teacher Kent Hathaway, the giant dragon and his treasure were made completely of milk cartons. It’s the fourth project completed by the school for the Made by Milk contest. Hathaway and his students have won the last three contests they entered with creations of a coral reef, Golden Gate Bridge and space shuttle.

On Friday, Hathaway introduced students to the Hobbits’ story. With full voice impersonations, props and a “Gollum” move or two, the Mustang Elementary “artist in residence” made the characters real to groups of elementary schoolchildren.

 

Pictured with Smaug:

 

Miguel Lara

Olivia Scott

Lauren Johnson

Gracelyn Higgens

Trajen Williamson

Cadence Keller

Tritan Santillan

Mason Lake

Truit Barnes

Cameron Bell

Lane Hartwick

Hudson Hague

Hunter George

Tyson Wilson

Jaelyn Barker

Jett Preston

Jackson Jones

Brett Shannon

Casey Woods

Emily Yates

Teacher Kent Hathaway

Paper Clover proceeds to help fund memorial

Jesse Don Gorbet

By Traci Chapman

Some of this year’s proceeds from a national 4-H fundraising campaign will go toward the memorial of an area teen killed earlier this year.

The 4-H Paper Clover Campaign is in its fourth year of partnership between National 4-H Council and Tractor Supply Company. The two have combined forces to raise funds for 4-H in communities where Tractor Supply has a store.

This year, fundraising will be different, after 4-H’ers lost one of their own, officials said. Fifty percent of all funds raised from bake sales held as part of the event will be donated to the Jesse Gorbet Memorial. Gorbet and fellow El Reno High School student Karson Baker were killed in a March 2 automobile accident.

County 4-H teen leaders will hold two bake sales – one from 1:30 p.m. until 4:30 p.m. Sunday, April 28 in El Reno and the other in Mustang on Saturday, May 3 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. Both sales will be held at the community’s respective Tractor Supply stores.

The other 50 percent of funds raised will be used to purchase Paper Clovers.

The Paper Clover Campaign runs through May 4. Shoppers at El Reno and Mustang Tractor Supply stores may purchase paper clovers for $1 or more at checkout. Funds go to benefit local 4-H programs and fund everything from camps and after-school programs, to scholarships and other activities, officials said.

Gorbet, an El Reno High School sophomore, was a member of Extreme 4-H Club from 2006 to 2011. He showed sheep at the Canadian County Livestock Fair, as well as junior livestock show and jackpot shows. He also participated in Farmhand Olympics, Share-the-Fun and several bake sales to raise funds for the Oklahoma City Ronald McDonald House.

The Paper Clover Campaign nationwide has raised more than $3.3 million, national 4-H officials said. Seventy percent of funds go back into state and local programs, officials said.

“Our Paper Clover efforts are one of the key ways our stores can give back to the community,” said John Wendler, Tractor Supply senior vice president of marketing. “By providing essential funding for hundreds of thousands of 4-H young people, we are able to support local organizations that are important to both our customers and our team members.

“We’re proud to help improve the many communities in which we have stores through our partnership with 4-H,” he said. “That is what Tractor Supply is all about.”

Mustang teen leader Brandy DeVous said the Tractor Supply Clover Campaign is a great way to support county 4-H programs.

“This year the Teen Leaders wanted to give back to the community, a bake sale is a great way for us to be able to give back to a cause that was a part of our 4-H family,” she said. “4-H teaches us so much about helping others and we are honored to be able help by giving back in the name of Jesse Gorbet.”

Donated funds will be tracked online and recorded by state and individual stores, Wendler said. For more information or to view the donation tracker, go online to www.tractorsupply.com/4-H.

Donated funds will be tracked online and recorded by state and individual stores, Wendler said. For more information or to view the donation tracker, go online to www.tractorsupply.com/4-H.

 

YFS wins ONE Award

yfs one award courtesy

Canadian County Youth and Family Services has been named Oklahoma’s top nonprofit for youth development, with an award from Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence Awards and Devon Energy.

The organization was also awarded $7,500 at the April 12 ONE ceremony.

“Youth development is what we do,” said YFS board president Nathan Richter when accepting the award. “From helping youth reclaim success to helping them achieve a better future, we strive to help our youth put their lives back together for good and for the future of our community.”

Youth and Family Services was one of 24 finalists for the award – out of about 19,000 nonprofits statewide, executive director Dee Blose said. The organization is a 501(c)3 nonprofit formed in 1974. While originally begun to meet the need for an emergency shelter for children and youth in Canadian County, YFS now has more than 10 programs serving Canadian, Oklahoma, Kingfisher and Blaine counties, among others, Blose said.

“Programs include counseling, foster care, school consultation, GED/educational services, mentoring, tutoring, independent living, youth employment services, parent training courses, drug and alcohol education and first-offender programs,” she said. “YFS is a critical social services nonprofit in our area and annually helps 2,600 individuals.”

ONE Awards Selection commissioners determine award finalists, Blose said.

“The finalists are selected because they are the best of the best at what they do,” commission chair J. Jerry Dickman said. “From the top level of management down to the part-time staff, these are committed individuals pulling together to achieve missions as big as Oklahoma.”

Virgil “Roy” Sharp

Virgil “Roy” Sharp, age 86, died peacefully with his family by his side on Sunday, April 20, 2014 in an Oklahoma City health facility.

Virgil Roy Sharp

He was born Feb. 21, 1928 in Moore to Virgil H. and Ina N. (Brown) Sharp. Roy grew up until his teenage years in Oklahoma City and then moved with his family to Bakersfield, Calif., where he lived until 1961 when he returned to Oklahoma.  He was a truck driver by trade and lived in Pauls Valley, Moore and Mustang. While in Pauls Valley, he served as a reserve deputy for the Garvin County Sherriff’s department. He attended the Nazarene Church.

Roy was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Lorena; granddaughter, Debra, one sister, Edna and five brothers, Ramond, Lee, Harold, Mike and Randy.

He is survived by one son, Ken Sharp and wife Gaya of Rogers, Ark., two daughters, Jeannie Loyd and husband Bob, and Patty Land, both of Mustang. Also by eight grandchildren, 15 great grandchildren, sister, Paula Sharp of Bakersfield, Calif. and a host of other relatives and friends, including special buddies Bob Tabor and Bob Kimble.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that contributions be made to your favorite charity or hospice. Graveside services will be held at 2 p.m. Friday, April 25 in the Memorial Pavilion at Mustang Cemetery. Arrangements will be under the direction of McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service. Online condolences may be made at mcneilsmustangfs.com.

Non-threatening injuries after Centennial Elementary accident

sg4xnwos copy

By Traci Chapman

It was a scary ride for several Centennial Elementary students and their teachers when a horse-drawn carriage overturned during the school’s annual Land Run.

The call came in at 1:30 p.m., when police and emergency medical workers were called to the scene after a wagon overturned, injuring as many as 13 people, Mustang Police Detective Camie McNeil said late Tuesday. Nine third-grade students, two teachers, a high school helper and the driver had just loaded up for a ride on the horse-drawn wagon when a part of the wagon dropped to the ground, spooking the horses.

“The driver actually tried to get the horses to stop, but they were scared more, they took off, left the roadway, got to the grass and made a turn,” McNeil said. “At that point the wagon flipped, throwing all of them off.”

None of those involved were seriously injured, although the driver and one teacher were both transported by ambulance to the hospital, McNeil said. A student may have been taken to the hospital, either by ambulance or private car, but the detective said there was no official confirmation of that. Both Mustang Fire Department and EMSA responded to the school, McNeil said. Names of those injured were not released.

“The driver was transported to Presbyterian Hospital,” Shannon Rigsby, Mustang Public Schools public information officer, stated in an email. “A teacher was taken to Canadian Valley Integris.”

“Multiple kids were treated at the scene, and the police department’s basic role was helping triage children, helping to determine the severity of injuries,” she said.

The wagon ride had taken place throughout the day, and the Land Run is an annual event held by local elementary schools to help students learn about the state’s history.

 

 

Eddie LeeRoy Fields

Eddie LeeRoy Fields, age 84, died Monday, April 21, 2014 after a period of declining health.

Eddie LeeRoy Fields

He was born Oct. 31, 1929 in Gotebo, Okla. to Lloyd and Lillian (Grant) Fields. He grew up the community of Lake Valley, Okla. and was a graduate of Lake Valley High School. He proudly served his country in the U.S. Navy during the Korean Conflict. Eddie attended Central State College, where he received his Bachelor’s Degree in Education. He taught at Capitol Hill High School for 19 years before going to work for Teacher’s Credit Union, retiring in 1991. He was a longtime member of Wheatland United Methodist Church. He loved to work in his garden and was an avid Sooner sports fan.

Eddie was preceded in death by his parents and wife Alma.

He is survived by four sons, Eddie Lloyd of Houston, Michael Wayne and wife Brenda of Loveland, Ohio, Larry Duane and wife Maggie of Mustang and Glen Ray of Oklahoma City. Also by six grandchildren, five great grandchildren, one brother, Jimmy Fields of Yukon and one sister, June Williams of Hobart, Okla.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to The Bella Foundation, P.O. Box 20035, Oklahoma City, Okla., 73156 or the American Lung Association.  Memorial services will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 26 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, 5401 N. Brookline, Oklahoma City. Arrangements are by McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service. Online condolences may be made at www.mcneilsmustangfs.com.

Julila Mae Ramay

Julila Mae Ramay, age 71, died Thursday, April 17, 2014.

Julila Mae Ramay

She was born Nov. 12, 1942 in Altus, Okla. to Julian and Anita (Jones) Cargile. She grew up in the Mangum area and attended school in Oklahoma City.  She was a cafeteria cook in the Oklahoma City public school system. She loved to travel and spend time with her family. Julila was a member of the Pentecostal Church of God.

She was preceded in death by her husband, Bob Ramay; son, Elvert L. Newton, II; and father, Julian Cargile.

She is survived by her mother, Anita Hill and husband Donald of Oklahoma City; daughter, Janet Hamilton and husband Jerry of Big Cabin, Okla.; sons, Randy Newton and wife Kimberley of Kingston, Okla., Thomas Newton and wife Elaine of Daulphin, Ga., David Satterlee of Oklahoma City, Shane Toon and wife Brandy of Ft. Worth, Texas and daughter, Julila Toon of Oklahoma City.  Also by 23 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and her sister, Beverly Ann Thompson of Oklahoma City. Services will be held at 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 22 at McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service, with interment to follow in the Mustang Cemetery. Online condolences may be made at www.mcneilsmustangfs.com.