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Olga Vesta (Sooter) Button, age 93, died Thursday, July 24, 2014 in Vista, Calif. with her family by her side.
She was born Jan. 27, 1921 in Weatherford, Texas, to John Franklin Sooter and Hattie Blanche (Tussing) Sooter (Creekmore). Olga grew up in the Choctaw/Harrah/Oklahoma City area. She married Charles Button, and they moved to Mustang in the 1960s. She worked for Western Electric. Olga had a passion for writing and published three novels, plus her own autobiography.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Charles; two sons, Paul and David Burkhalter; a granddaughter, April; two brothers, Rudy and Earl Sooter; and five sisters, Evelyn Morrow, Lavern Wyatt, Lula Burke, Bessie Brewer and Lonita Sooter.
Olga is survived by her son, Charles and wife Jeannie; two grandsons, Shelby and Jeffrey Button; two granddaughters, Helen Fernandez and Laura Nixon; and a sister, Ola Breeding.
Services will held be 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 9 at McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service, with interment to follow at Chapel Hill Cemetery in Oklahoma City. Online condolences may be made at www.mcneilsmustangfs.com.
Howard Everett Jensen, born Sept. 20, 1925, died July 31 in Yukon, after a long battle with dementia. He was 88 years old.
Howard was a California native, who spent much of his life in Ventura County. He was a U.S. Navy veteran, serving his country during World War II. He spent the last 21 years of his life living in Oklahoma with his wife of 53 years, Norma.
He was preceded in death by his son, Jerry Jensen.
He is survived by his wife, Norma; his three sons, Larry Prebble of Oxnard, Calif., Ron Prebble of Mustang and Ken Prebble of Yukon; five grandchildren; and four great grandchildren.
A private military funeral is planned at a later date in Oklahoma. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made in Howard’s name to the Veterans Administration.
Ronnie Leo Williams, age 72, went to be with the Lord on Wednesday, July 30, 2014, after an extended illness.
He was born Sept. 3, 1941, in Comanche, Okla., to Woodrow and Geneva (Petty) Williams. He grew up in Comanche and was a 1959 graduate of Comanche High School. He served in the U.S. Air Force and attended SWOSU, Cameron State College and Central State College after high school. Ronnie worked several years for Humpty Dumpty Foods, before starting his career with the U.S. Postal Service in 1973. He was a letter carrier for over 25 years, before retiring in the late 1990s. He was a member of Chisholm Heights Baptist Church in Mustang.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his stepfather, Roy Biffle; five stepbrothers, Roy, Robert, Lee, Jerry and Charlie; and one stepsister, Dovie.
Survivors include his wife of 51 years, Patsy (Pat) of the home; two daughters, Lorrie Williams of Oklahoma City and Kerri Cole and husband Keith of Mustang. Also by three grandchildren, Ashlea, Kirk and Brady; one sister, Shirley Bush and husband Jerry of Claremore; and by one stepbrother, Price Biffle of Fort Worth.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Chisholm Heights Baptist Church, either the Building Fund or Youth Ministries.
Services will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, August 4 at Chisholm Heights Baptist Church in Mustang. Interment will be in Red Hill Cemetery under the direction of McNeil’s Mustang Funeral Service. Online condolences may be made at www.mcneilsmustangfs.com.
Budget cuts impact local center, officials say
By Traci Chapman
Canadian County’s children’s justice center for the first time in recent years faces a lower budget than the year before, brought about by cuts in state contracts.
Bill Alexander, co-director of the Gary E. Miller Canadian County Children’s Justice Center, said Tuesday the problem begins and ends on the state level, where budget cuts caused Oklahoma Department of Juvenile Affairs and Department of Human Services to slash contracts with centers across the state. What that meant for Canadian County was programs basically funded by those agencies would be phased out over the coming months, Alexander said.
“We’re not completely pulling the programs, but we will only be serving our Canadian County kids,” he said. “We’re lucky we have the sales tax revenue to support that.”
According to financial documents provided by County Clerk Shelley Dickerson, last year the center received almost $3 million in contract revenues – almost $600,000 more than originally projected. For fiscal year 2015, officials are expecting just under $1.28 million in contract revenues, a more than 50 percent cut.
The two programs impacted by the cuts were sanctions and the Fort Reno group home. In the past, contract funds paid not only for out-of-county youth, but also covered the price tag for local individuals participating in both programs. With the change, the 24 beds currently filled in the group home would be cut down to 12, all holding county youth, Alexander said.
“Our biggest concern was to make sure we didn’t disrupt the programs of the kids currently in the group home,” Alexander said. “We also know that we’re losing staff positions and we didn’t want layoffs.”
The group home is a five-month program, and if individuals were forced to stop because of the funding cut, they would have to start all over, likely being put on a master state DHS waiting list, the co-director said. That would not happen, thanks to some work by center staff in negotiating a phase-out of the program for out-of-county participants, he said.
As for center staff, 25 positions will be eliminated because of the program changes.
“We are slowly transitioning so we don’t lay off any personnel,” Alexander said. “Some of our people can transfer to other county departments, some will find other jobs – it was just really important to us that we didn’t just tell someone, ‘Sorry, you don’t have a job as of today.’”
Last year’s center budget topped $8.6 million, with sales tax revenues projected at $6.05 million. According to Dickerson’s financial statement, actual sales tax revenues came in at just over $5.584 million. This year’s budget, approved Monday by commissioners, totaled $8.265 million. The justice center’s budget is retroactive back to July 1.
Other programs would remain as is and would not be impacted by the cuts, Alexander said. It was not known if the lost contracts were permanent or if things would revert to past practices once state revenues bounced back.
“That’s something none of us really know at this point,” he said.
Commissioners praised center officials for how they handled the situation, while criticizing some state moves in cutting contract rates with other counties across the state.
“I see there are cuts this year, but I am pleased with how you are handling the situation,” District 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart said.
“I want to express my feelings concerning the decisions of the state approving lower rates for counties that do not have juvenile facilities,” District 2 Commissioner David Anderson said. “It feels like they are penalizing proactive communities who have been diligent and invested in these facilities.
“This is something I would like to see brought up to the Legislature,” he said.
“This will be a transition year,” Alexander said. “We’ll slowly go to Canadian County kids only and not servicing other counties,” Alexander said. “What this contract did was it allowed us to have programs for Canadian County kids way before we had the sales tax to support them.
“Thank goodness the sales tax has grown like it has,” he said.
Mustang Kiwanis last week put out the call their food pantry shelves were bare and area families were struggling to make it through the summer. The result was an outpouring of support that surprised even longtime volunteers.
Let’s face it – we all know Mustang takes care of its own. Someone has a problem and people rush to help. Whether it’s offering prayers or a helping hand, this is a great community that cares for its members. Sometimes, though, people get busy – school is getting ready to start, the summer is winding down, and that can be expensive for all of us.
But that didn’t stop the more than two dozen people who have brought food to our office. Young and old, they have filled up the Kiwanis barrel – to overflowing – five times in as many days. On behalf of the Kiwanis and the people they help, we are beyond grateful to the people who have taken the time and the trouble to reach out to others in their time of need.
It was what we witnessed yesterday, however, that really got our attention, acts of selflessness and giving that topped even what I would expect of our residents. It was yesterday afternoon that first the Country Charm Day Care bus pulled up to our office. Out filed several children and their teachers, all holding at least one food item. They had collected things, they said, to “help the people who need it.” After smiling, letting us take their photo and filling the bin, off they went.
But that wasn’t the end of it. Shortly afterward another car pulled up. Out piled Christopher Maxeiner, Cyrus Maxeiner and Brock Carriger. The boys made several trips, carrying boxes and bags of food for the bin. The trio had read about the Kiwanis’ need and made a sweep throughout their neighborhood, asking those at home for their help. They were met with many who were willing to lend a hand.
These children are a great example to all of us. It would be easy for them to spend their last weeks of summer break playing and having fun. Instead, they chose to think of others, to give from hearts that inspire all of us to do more for those who need it.
Our task is not finished, of course. The Kiwanis food bank won’t stay full without us working to make sure it stays that way. Please, join in the effort – bring your non-perishable food items, paper goods, toiletries, whatever you can spare. Come in, have a cup of coffee, visit and let’s celebrate the goodness that is the people of Mustang, Oklahoma.
We salute you.
Mustang News office is located at 290 N. Trade Center Terrace. Regular office hours are 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Call Traci at 376-4571 or 664-4641 to make arrangements for item deliveries at other times.
By Traci Chapman
School supplies, backpacks, clothes, a new haircut – these are all things that are part of the back-to-school ritual.
They are also things some families don’t have or can’t afford. The Bread of Life Project recently worked to help change that. The third annual Back to School Bash helped more than 150 students get a good start on school, ready to go and with backpacks full of supplies, founder Kim Yoder said.
“Families who pre-register receive every single school supply on their school’s supply list – even the odd items like earbuds, play dough or baggies,” Yoder said. “Walk-ins are welcome too – we always have plenty of general school supplies to give out as well.”
The bash was held at Mustang Town Center and staffed by a group of volunteers as varied as the people they were helping. From church groups to students to hair stylists, each pitched in to help make families feel at home and get set for school, Yoder said.
“We were really fortunate to have so much help,” she said.
Yoder began Bread of Life Project in 2011. Wanting to help homeless and needy families, Yoder received a phone call from a group of women who wanted to join in on her efforts, she said.
“They had also been feeling led by God to serve the kids and families of our own community missions at home and found my website,” Yoder said. “We met, talked about our similar callings – to be the hands and feet of Jesus by serving our community – and have been together ever since.”
The group met with counselors across Mustang School District, kicking off food backpack and adopt-a-family programs for middle and high school students. As students return to school in August, the group will kick off its fourth year of sponsoring these programs, she said.
“The elementary schools were covered by the Oklahoma Food Bank, but we found out the older kids were falling through the cracks and going home hungry,” Yoder said. “The five of us meet every Tuesday night to pack the backpacks, plan out upcoming events, organize donors, sponsors and volunteers.”
The project’s sponsors and volunteers keep the project, and its various events, going, Yoder said. In addition to the Back to
School Bash, the project offers free financial peace and coupon classes each year, as well as a Christmas party, which for some families is the only holiday celebration they have. Last year, more than 200 people took part in the holiday party, she said. A new “Church Adopt a School Initiative” will begin with the start of school, connecting area churches with children and youth who need a helping hand, Yoder said.
“We rely 100 percent on the generosity of the community and we have never lacked a single thing we have needed; in fact, we always have more than enough,” Yoder said. “We are so blessed that God has chosen to use us in this way and has led so many to help us.”
While Bread of Life has volunteers and sponsors in place, the need is great and more help is always needed, Yoder said. Information can be found on the organization’s website, www.thebreadoflifeproject.com, or its Facebook page, which posts news and events at www.facebook.com/tbolp.
“The amazing thing about our group is that we are all from different churches in the community but we came together and continue to work together as a like-minded team, week after week, to help hungry kids and hurting families in Mustang,” Yoder said.
Bread of Life sponsors/community partners/volunteers
Helling Family Insurance – community partner and donor
Mustang Heights Baptist Church – clothing closet supplies all the clothes for the event
Ferguson Enterprises – provides all the food for the event
Canadian Valley Baptist Church – provides space for meetings, classes and event planning
Underwood Hotshot Service – community partner, donor, provides free storage space year-round
Henry Hudson’s Yukon – holds an annual auction and provides toys for the Christmas party, food for food pantry and school supplies for the back to school event
First Baptist Church of Mustang – Mother’s Day Out does yearly food and school supply drive, VBS does yearly school supply drives, Children’s Church volunteers stuff backpacks and do food drives
United Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd – provides space for events and school supplies
SW Oilfield – community partner and donor
Mustang High School Pon Pom Squad – volunteer at many events
Mustang High School baseball team – generous donors and volunteer at many events
Mustang High School National Honor Society – volunteer at many events
By Traci Chapman
Canadian County Court Appointed Special Advocates this week took its first step back toward its mission – helping children.
On Monday, Associate District Judge Bob Hughey swore in seven new CASA volunteers. The organization is a nonprofit, United Way partner agency that recruits and trains volunteers who work on behalf of children and youth who are involved in the legal system after being removed from their home or being determined as abused or neglected.
CASA volunteers are appointed by the juvenile court judge – in Canadian County, Hughey – and work as independent “fact finders.” CASA advocates represent abused and neglected children, working with the court system and Department of Human Services to make sure all parties have completed information about a specific case.
“The new volunteers have made the extraordinary commitment to ‘speak up’ for these vulnerable children in court and to advocate for them until they reach a permanent home,” CASA board president Debra Roberts said.
Volunteers Alex Corbitt, Viola Dinwiddie, Kathy Islas, Ramona Liddell, Christi McRee, Angela Tunstall and Mary Young completed a 30-hour training program and will work about 10 to 12 hours a month as CASA advocates, Roberts said.
CASA was also recently certified by national CASA, officials said.
“The National CASA quality assurance process is very rigorous, and reflects our commitment to ensure every child we serve has the most powerful volunteer advocate working on their behalf,” National CASA Association CEO Michael Piraino said. “This certification says Canadian County CASA has demonstrated to us a strong capacity to provide excellent services to the abused and neglected children within their community.”
CASA volunteers work on behalf of children throughout the country, and a growing metropolitan area like Canadian County has a particularly strong need for individuals willing to stand up for them, officials said. Locally, there are more than 300 open cases in Canadian County involving the alleged abuse or neglect of children and only a fraction of those are represented by a CASA advocate.
“Canadian County CASA has a need for approximately 100 additional volunteers,” Roberts said.
Anyone interested in working as an advocate is asked to attend an informational meeting scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 11 in Integris Canadian Valley Regional Hospital’s meeting room A/B. CASA’s next training class is slated to begin in late August or early September, officials said.
CASA will also be holding an Aug. 23 fundraising event. A Zumbathon is set from 10 a.m. until noon at Christ’s Church of Yukon, located at 620 W. Vandament. The $10 entry fee will be used solely to support Canadian County CASA, officials said.
For more information about CASA or the August event, contact the county office at (405) 264-5508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Traci Chapman
As Canadian County’s population has grown and the threat to officers increased, officials say they needed to find a way to protect those officers.
Their solution came thanks to the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Support Office, which made it possible for the county to acquire an armored vehicle for “less than pennies on the dollar,” Canadian County Undersheriff Chris West said.
LESO works with the federal Defense Logistics Agency. Together, that partnership makes it possible for local law enforcement to procure at little or no cost military grade items that are no longer used by soldiers, West said. In Canadian County, the program has brought rifles and other similar items to local deputies, he said.
As the county has seen a surge in population – and with it, the potential for “high risk” situations facing officers and deputies, it was necessary to form a Special Operations Team that would not only handle sensitive or highly dangerous matters, but would also have the ability to offer aid to other counties when needed. Thus was created a Special Operations Team comprised of Canadian County sheriff’s deputies and officers from Mustang, Yukon and El Reno police departments, West said.
“No one in the county has a SWAT team, like other larger municipalities,” West said Monday. “This is our version of a SWAT team.”
With the team’s mission – handling dangerous and high-risk situations – in mind, West began looking for something to help transport members. An armored personnel carrier would be ideal, he said. Oklahoma Highway Patrol had the perfect vehicle, which could cost anywhere from $250,000 to $400,000.
That, the undersheriff said, was the problem.
“We didn’t have funds like that, so we knew we’d have to be creative with a solution,” West said.
That’s where LESO came in. The agency came into possession of several mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles – MRAPs – and Canadian County’s special operations team could get in on the deal, West said.
“These were vehicles used in combat and built to withstand IEDs,” West said. “They were retrofitted with new engines and chassis, and the best part was we could get them for free – just a $2,500 administrative paperwork fee.”
West traveled down to Sealey, Texas, to pick up the vehicle, a Caimen built and retrofitted by BAE Systems. With all of the military hardware taken off, the vehicle would be the perfect protection for team members and the price tag was definitely right, the undersheriff said. It holds a driver and five passengers, he said. The “retail” price tag for the vehicle would be $733,000, he said.
“We’re into it for about $10,000 total, between the fee and painting it, things like that,” West said.
It’s a small price to pay to keep team members safe, the undersheriff said.
“This is a game changer, it’s a way for us to serve the public and keep our guys safe,” West said. “It’s a great deal for the county.”
By Shawna Bostick, Friends of the Mustang Animal Shelter
We love spending time with our dogs. From cuddling on the couch to taking them with us everywhere we go, just spending time with them makes us happy. Taking a walk or going to the dog park are the typical go-tos for getting our dogs out of the house for some exercise and socialization, but there are many, many more options that you and your dog might find intriguing.
Here is an introduction to some of the fun activities that are available for people and their dogs. Although certain breeds of dogs may overwhelmingly populate some of these, most are open to any type or size of dog.
A fast-paced sport where the dog listens for commands to run an obstacle course. It is great for high-energy dogs of every size. It also helps build confidence in nervous dogs.
Teaching dogs to tap into their natural ability to track scent. They learn to follow a scent trail, and then indicate the object at the end of the trail.
A very fast-paced sport where dogs learn to work in a team of dogs to race, in relay fashion, over jumps, retrieve a ball, and race back over the same jumps, before the next dog in the team can complete the same task. Typically, this is done as a team of four dogs that race side by side against another team of four.
In simplest terms, dogs jump for and catch Frisbees, but for those that compete in this sport, it is much more exciting. Two basic types of competition focus on Distance/Accuracy and Freestyle, where you can see some of the top teams’ jaw-dropping and high-flying tricks.
A sport created for sighthounds, although any breed of dog can take part. It involves chasing a mechanically operated lure over a large area. Think of it as a dog chasing a rabbit through a field.
Volunteering with your dog at places like hospitals, libraries, assisted living centers and with hospice organizations. Before being able to volunteer, the dog and its human are tested and then certified with a therapy dog organization. Good therapy dog candidates are good with people of all ages and dogs of all sizes. They should be well-mannered and quiet with a relaxed temperament, even when in a stressful situation. Volunteering with your dog to bring happiness to people can be hugely rewarding.
Obedience and Rally Obedience
Beyond basic sit and manners training, this training refers to training toward a focus and precision at the competition level.
Teaching tricks and movements that are choreographed into dance performances between the dog and its human.
The dog uses its nose to find rats (in containers) that are hidden in a course of hay bales. The human must correctly read their dog’s signals, and then voice the location of the rats.
Dogs learn to respond to herding commands, and corral sheep, chickens, etc. Typically populated by herding breeds, like border collies, but any dog can learn to herd.
Created for terriers to work their instinct to track and kill vermin that hide underground. The prey, or rat, is protected in a cage at the end of a small tunnel, which the dog must navigate.
A newer sport imported from Germany that is similar to herding. Dogs take and follow commands to direct large balls through a goal.
For dogs that love to pull, harnessed dogs learn to pull weights or other objects.
Dogs jump distances into water to retrieve items. In competition, many dogs jump distances exceeding 20 feet.
Experienced trainers work with their dogs in tracking, obedience and protection. This is not for novice handlers, and you should never try to teach your dog any type of protection behavior without first having an experienced trainer’s supervision.
Most of these sports are available to interested participants locally around the metro and around the state. Some schools offer classes to get you started, but there are also local dog clubs that offer classes to the public. Clubs typically charge less than schools.
Dog sports and training with your dog can be a lot of fun, but there are other benefits too. Besides the obvious exercise and socialization for the dogs, this also gets us humans out of the house for some socializing too; it can be a great way to meet new people. The dogs are challenged physically as well as mentally, so many behavior problems that stem from boredom are helped if not eradicated by regular participation in these types of activities. Even some of the most basic obedience training can do wonders for building confidence in frightened and skittish dogs, really helping them gain the courage to come out of their shell. Perhaps most beneficial is the noticeable increase in the bond that you will build with your dog.
Whether participating in an event once a month, going to class once a week, or whatever you make time to do, you and your dog will enjoy the extra time together, and benefit from the experience.
Michael Scott Sanders, age 48, went to be with the Lord on Monday, July 28, 2014.
Mike grew up in Moore, Okla., the son of Don and Sue Sanders. He graduated from Moore Christian Academy and attended OCCC for a time. Mike married Brenda Wright on March 15, 2001 in Mustang. Mike worked at Tinker Air Force Base as landscaper/carpenter for 18 years. He attended Clear Springs Free Will Baptist Church. He enjoyed making others happy, undertaking special projects and generally just family time. Mike’s pride and joy were his wife and girls.
Mike is survived by his wife, Brenda of the home; two daughters, Brooklynn Nicole and Savanna Marie of University of Oklahoma; mother, Anita Sue Sanders; a brother, Gregory Dean and wife Kristi; a sister, Donna Sue and husband Tony Wildman; and several nephews.
He is preceded in death by his father, Don; grandparents, Bill and Edith Harkins, Earl and Elsie Sanders; and one niece, Morgan Wildman.
Graveside services will be held at the Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle on Thursday, July 31, at 10:30 a.m. McNeil’s Funeral Services is handling arrangements.