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Dotson joins MPS as chief financial officer

dotson mps

Jon Dotson joined Mustang Public School District July 1 as its new chief financial officer.

Mustang Board of Education voted to hire Dotson during its June 30 special meeting. Dotson has worked in education for 30 years and was most recently Varnum Public Schools’ superintendent.

Mustang Superintendent Dr. Sean McDaniel led the team interviewing candidates for the CFO position. McDaniel said Dotson was the clear choice for the job.

“Superintendents for smaller school districts have to serve as the chief financial officer for the district as well,” he said. “It was obvious from the interview that Dotson knows school finance inside and out.

“It will be a bonus for the district that he has served in multiple capacities in school districts, including in a classroom and as a building principal,” McDaniel said. “He understands the needs at every level.”

Dotson attended Guymon High School, graduating in 1975. He earned a bachelor’s degree in math and physical education in 1979 from Panhandle State University and a master’s in school administration from University of Central Oklahoma in 1991.

Dotson began his career in education in 1980 as a teacher/coach for Fairview High School. He has worked as a math and science teacher on several levels, including chemistry, physics, anatomy, algebra, geometry and trigonometry, and has served as a coach for a variety of sports, he said. Dotson served as middle school principal for Harrah Public School District from 1996 through 2000 and is former superintendent for Paden, Madill and Varnum school districts.

Dotson was getting settled in after the long July 4 weekend, working with Interim CFO Nancy McKay to it the ground running.

“I want to thank the Mustang School Board, Dr. McDaniel and the administrative team for this opportunity,” he said Tuesday. “I cannot wait to meet the principals, teachers and support personnel when they return for the new school year.

“I have felt from my first day on the job that the priority for the central office is to affect student learning and safety – it seems apparent that my co-workers are fully engaged with the vision of Mustang Schools,” Dotson said. “I feel honored and blessed to be a part of the Mustang school family.”

 

Baseball project in final innings

WILDHORSEPARK10210C

By Traci Chapman

Mustang’s $1.52 million baseball complex is in its final stretch, as several projects wind down.

Emmons Construction was awarded a $135,960 contract on restrooms and concessions. Justin Battles, Mustang assistant city manager, said Tuesday work was moving forward, although recent frequent rains had slowed the project.

“The dirt pads have been built up and the footings have been dug out,” Battles said. “As soon as it dries up they will pour the fittings, then the slab.

Justin Battles

“Once the slab is up any rain shouldn’t affect the erection of the building,” he said.

The total project was expected to wrap up within the next few months, depending on weather, Battles said.

Work would also move forward on new LED signs for the fields. Last week, Battles told Mustang City Council about a plan to purchase two LED scoreboards. The move was possible – without a budget increase – because the $71,400 baseball park bleacher estimate actually came in at a price of $42,260. Council agreed to use $17,950 remaining from the bleachers to purchase the scoreboards.

“Two local businesses also provided funds for two more of the scoreboards,” Battles said.

Crews with Silver Star Construction, working with Canadian County employees, already finished new parking lots, which were “desperately needed” as use of the fields increased – as did traffic surrounding Mustang Aquatic Center. Fencing was finished in March, they said.

The baseball complex is the final component of a three-prong improvement package of Mustang Town Center. Voters in March 2012 approved a $3.6 million bond issue, which also added space to Mustang Public Library and the banquet hall, as well as provided funds for new paint and carpet of existing areas.

 

 

 

 

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Soos – sportsman’s club has first dibs on Cedar Lake

cedar lake web

By Ray Dyer

Judy Soos told Canadian County commissioners on Monday that if the land and building used to house the Cedar Lake Fire Department ceases to be used by Canadian County, the Western Sportsman’s Club has first dibs at buying it back.

Soos serves as fire chief of the all-volunteer Cedar Lake department. She’s been attending the weekly county commission meetings since it was learned the Cedar Lake Fire Department building was sold at a recent county surplus auction. While the property was not supposed to be coded by the county as surplus, when it was donated by the Western Sportsman’s Club in 2000, it was apparently tagged that way.

The club originally deeded the land to Canadian County so it could qualify for a state grant to help build the fire station. The Rural Economic Action Plan (REAP) grants can only go to government entities. Canadian County served as a “pass-through” for the grant, county officials said. Soos said she “believed the grant was for $50,000.” She said another $40,000 in improvements have been made to the building over the years.

Soos said in the original agreement it “clearly stipulates” that if the property ceases to be used for the intended purpose, the Western Sportsman’s Club has the first “right of refusal” to buy it back.

Commissioners agreed to table the item “indefinitely” until an agreement can be worked out with Howie Sutton, the Canadian County employee who purchased the property at the May 1 surplus auction. Sutton reportedly works in maintenance for the county. A Howard Sutton is listed as an employee on the Canadian County website. A voice message left for him at the county maintenance phone number was not returned by press time.

The sale price for the Cedar Lake property was reported to be $100.

Commissioner David Anderson said Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse has been negotiating with legal representatives for Sutton.

County Treasurer Carolyn Leck said the DA was expecting to have more discussion with Sutton’s representatives this week.

Anderson said the county will “take whatever action” is needed to have the sale rescinded. He said that includes legal action if necessary.

Leck said this was only the second time since 1994 that a property was incorrectly coded, allowing it to be purchased at the surplus auction. She said the first incident was easily corrected when the buyer agreed to have the sale rescinded.

Leck said all county properties have been re-examined to make sure coding is accurate.

Following the meeting, Soos said it was “no accident” that the property was purchased at this time. She said it’s been coded as “surplus for 14 years, why now?”

Soos said Sutton has purchased six properties in the Cedar Lake area. Each property requires a $400 per year association fee. She said Sutton may be upset with the Western Sportsman’s Club over the assessments.

Hobby Lobby gears up for June 9 grand opening

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Hobby Lobby will mark the opening of its 600th store during a June 9 grand opening in Yukon.

The 55,000-square-foot retail location is located just south of Interstate 40 on Garth Brooks Boulevard. Larry Loyall is store manager, Hobby Lobby officials said.

A grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony, open to the public, is set for 9 a.m. June 9.

“Adding new jobs, generating sales tax and increasing foot traffic in new locations have allowed us to become an important part of the communities we join, while sharing in the growth of both the city and state. As we continue our nationwide expansion program, we look forward to giving customers an unparalleled shopping experience in the crafts and home decor market,” said John Schumacher, Hobby Lobby assistant vice president of advertising.

For more information about Hobby Lobby, visit the company’s website at www.hobbylobby.com.

 

Computer skills for safety

Justin Williams

By Ray Dyer

In 1998, the San Diego Padres drafted Justin Williams out of Union City High School. His dream of becoming a Major League pitcher appeared to be on its way to becoming reality.

But after a third arm surgery, Williams decided his future was not in baseball. The days of throwing fastballs and junk balls gave way to a degree in computer programming and a job with a major cell phone provider.

But after killer tornadoes struck Moore and El Reno last May, Williams and some friends decided they should put their computer skills to use for a higher calling, trying to help keep Oklahoma children safe during severe weather.

What Williams and his cohorts have created is basically “eBay for schools” in an effort to help build safe rooms.

The site, www.supportokschools.com, allows people to place items for sale, choose a school and then designate how much the school will receive off the sale of the item.

A person can give from 1 percent to 100 percent of the proceeds from the sale to the designated school. The site uses Paypal, which Williams said, means neither he nor any of his partners ever touch a dime of the money. The funds are deposited into an account with Shelter Oklahoma Schools, a nonprofit organization created following the May 20 tornado that killed seven schoolchildren in Moore. Shelter Oklahoma Schools is administered by the Oklahoma City Community Foundation. More information about that organization can be found at www.shelteroklahoma.org.

“When a school is ready to build a safe room, the funds collected are released to it,” Williams said.

Williams said he spent months researching the issue and found the majority of Oklahoma’s 1,700 schools have no shelter or safe room. He said the state Department of Education does not have a way to raise money for shelters and neither do the individual schools.

A school can’t save up money from year to year for a shelter, Williams said. He said by law, school districts cannot save carry-over funds for a particular purpose, the funds have to be used for general operation.

So far, the website has attracted 1,200 views. It will not be approved as a fundraiser until September when individual schools approve fundraisers for the coming school year.

Williams said the website can provide a greater return to schools than “selling candy bars.”

“A school gets 20-30 percent for selling a $1 candy bar,” Williams said. With his website, a school could receive “100 percent of the purchase” if the seller wishes to share it with the school. The information is posted on the site so people can see how much and to which school the donation is being made.

Williams said he did his homework and found there are 180,000 people in the Oklahoma City area aligned with some 60 different Facebook garage sale groups. He said contacting these online buyers and sellers has led to some “good response.”

With a child in Mustang Trails Elementary, Williams said he has seen how teachers spend their own money to get things for their classrooms, not supplied by the district.

“My son’s teacher will spend $200 to $300 of her own money every year for classroom needs,” Williams said. He said that should not be tolerated and said the new website can be used for all kinds of school fundraisers, once safe rooms have been built.

 

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.”

Mustang Public Schools to hold annual job fair

Mustang Public Schools will hold its annual job fair April 10.

Scheduled for 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., the event is for both certified and support staff, said Shannon Rigsby, MPS public information officer. It will be a come-and-go event where applicants may speak with administrators, present their resume and ask questions.

“Even if a position is not open, but candidates want to be considered for future openings, they are encouraged to attend,” Rigsby said.

The fair will be held at Mustang High School’s commons, located at 801 S. Snyder Drive. Applicants are asked to bring multiple copies of their resumes, as well as a completed MPS application, if the district does not yet have one on file, Rigsby said.

To see a list of current openings for certified and support, stop by the district website, www.mustangps.org, and click on the employment tab.

 

Dahl given patriotic honor

dahl award

Pete and Sheila Dahl are presented with the Patriotic Employer plaque commending Dahl Heat & Air for their support in the reintegration of fighting men and women who have returned home from active duty and putting them to work in good jobs. The Office of the Secretary of Defense recognizes those companies who support the Guard and Reserve by hiring those who have bravely served.  Pictured from left to right are general manager Justin Eisenhour, operations manager Jana Robinson, owners Pete and Sheila Dahl and Lt. Col. (Ret) Billy Maxwell. (Photo/courtesy)

Martinez brings skills to new Mustang restaurant

Enrique Martinez (Photo/Traci Chapman)

By Traci Chapman

Oklahoma City’s Petroleum Club is classic, sophisticated, expensive – it’s a far cry from the down-to-earth atmosphere that is Mustang. And it’s where Enrique Martinez worked for 15 years.

As Petroleum Club head chef, Martinez created culinary masterpieces – and members and their guests paid a pretty penny for his food, as much as for the club’s atmosphere. However, when he came to a fork in the road, Martinez decided to change his path, opening a restaurant near his Mustang home.

“I just want to cook for my neighbors,” he said.

His neighbors are excited he made that decision, based on the packed restaurant that is Texcalco, located behind Luigiano’s in a space previously held by another longtime eatery. With a completely redecorated space and a fresh way of looking at Mexican food, residents have been spreading the word on social media about Martinez’s Texcalco, open just about six weeks.

“It’s amazing the response we’ve had – we can’t believe how busy it is,” said Ivan Gonzalez, friend/general manager/waiter, who has helped Martinez bring Texcalco to life. “We have people who can’t get in because we’re so crowded who come back the next day.”

(Photo/Traci Chapman)

(Photo/Traci Chapman)

Martinez said while he enjoyed his years at the Petroleum Club, he always wanted to work closer to home, to shape his own dishes his way for people he knew and cared about. It was a dream he held onto despite some interesting temptation – the day he closed on the new restaurant, he was offered a chance to work at an upscale hotel in downtown Oklahoma City.

“I knew this is what I wanted to do, that this was the right decision,” Martinez said.

Living on five acres just south of Mustang, Martinez said he purchased the restaurant with the hope of keeping a small, bistro feel to it. Customers had a different idea, Gonzalez said.

“Mustang wanted more – they really responded so we took a look and made some additions to the menu,” he said.

That menu is constantly evolving as Martinez tests his customers’ preferences, all the while using flavors he learned from his mom. With two helpers, he cooks all of the food prepared at Texcalco, training them the skills he’s honed over the years.

“I’ve always wanted to do this because it’s my roots,” Martinez said.

While the restaurant starts and ends with Mexican food, the menu has already branched out to steaks, shrimp and other “American” favorites, served with the Martinez touch. While his 13-ounce steak dinner has a higher price of other menu items, Martinez and Gonzalez said the dinner – served with salad, vegetables, potatoes and classic chips/tortillas and salsa – was competitively priced.

“You just try Enrique’s steak once and you’ll never forget it – it’s something special,” Gonzalez said.

Diners agree, and some of Texcalco’s “non-Mexican” fare is receiving rave reviews, according to those who have tasted the cuisine and posted reviews on sites like Facebook. It’s a great start to something Martinez said he hopes lasts for a long, long time.

“This is my dream, this is something that I can do for me and my family, but also for Mustang because I love it,” he said. “I appreciate that people have already enjoyed it and are coming back for more.”

Texcalco is located at 32 W. Armstrong, near the intersection of state Highway 152 and Heights Drive. The restaurant is open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, call 376-3996.

Mustang Flowers rises like Phoenix after storm

mustang flowers web

A Mustang business may have seen its building crumble after last May 31’s tornado, but the owners’ spirits led to a rebirth celebrated last week.

Teresa DeBord owns Mustang Flowers and Gifts with her husband, Dale and parents, Bill and Pat Null. Located on state Highway 152 for several years, the business’ roof was destroyed by the May 31 storm, which then allowed a torrent of rain into the structure.

“The storm took off the whole roof, which then let in about 12 inches of rain,” DeBord said Monday. “Basically everything inside was damaged or destroyed.”

mustang flowers web 2

The storm not only caused significant problems for Mustang Flowers’ inventory and roof, it also caused structural damage that couldn’t be repaired – at least not without a “huge” amount of money, DeBord said. The DeBords and Nulls decided to take the most prudent action and rebuild on the same site, a project that took more than six months to complete.

The hard work paid off on Dec. 16, when Mustang Flowers reopened to the public. Last week, the business’ new building and the owners’ commitment to the city were celebrated with a ribbon-cutting which brought the chairman of the board of Teleflora to Mustang.

“Tom and Becky Butler came out to celebrate with us and that was a big deal – it meant a lot to us,” DeBord said.

As Mustang Flowers heads toward one of its busiest days – Valentine’s Day – DeBord and her family were looking both to the past and the future, she said.

“We look at it, and me and my mom both worked for the previous owner, then we bought it in 1985, and it’s been a great business, we’ve been able to meet and know so many great people,” she said. “We’re looking to many more years here, with our new building and new, fresh start.”

Mustang Flowers and Gifts is located at 208 E. state Highway 152 and is open 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. until noon on Saturday. More information is available online at http://www.mustangflowers.com or by calling 376-4171.