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Pack 398 reaches out to help little girl and family who loves her

pack 398 web

By Traci Chapman

It’s a story of two children – a little girl and the boy who wants to help her.

Almost two years ago, Farrah Love was diagnosed with brain cancer – shortly before her second birthday. A little girl with a lot of love and support, that network expanded in a big way recently when a Mustang Cub Scout decided to give a simple gift.

That child was Cub Scout Troop 398 member Hayden Weathers. During the troop’s efforts to clean up a field, a benefactor stopped to pay the boys for their efforts. After the Scouts divvied up their windfall, each received $28.

What Hayden did next started something that would extend to everyone in his troop and beyond. Hayden knew about Farrah and her fight, and he told his mom, Monica Rachelle, he wanted to give his gift to Farrah and her family to “help out.” He wasn’t done, though, Monica said.

“He just wanted to do more, he really doesn’t understand what Farrah is going through or how serious it is, but he knows he wants to help her,” she said.

That help will come through a lemonade stand and bake sale, scheduled for Sunday, June 22. Held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Mustang Pizza Hut, all proceeds will go to help Farrah’s family with her care and treatment, Monica said.

“We’re just hoping we can get the community out to help in this cause – it would mean the world to her family,” Monica said.

Pizza Hut is located at 350 N. Mustang Road. For more information, see the News’ Facebook page at


Dog Days of Summer Pet Safety Tip: Should You Shave Your Dog?

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By Shawna Bostick - Friends of the Mustang Animal Shelter

Many pet owners believe that shaving their dog for summer will help them stay cool, but double-coated breeds like Huskies, Pomeranians and Australian Shepherds (three of the commonly requested breeds for “shave-downs”) have fur that is practical and useful, even in warm weather.

A double-coat means that the dog has a soft undercoat and a coarse topcoat. When well-maintained, the coat works to keep the dog cool by reflecting sunlight and allowing air to circulate through the undercoat, across the dog’s skin. If the coat is allowed to get dirty and matted, the impacted and tangled fur will prevent air from circulating and trap in the heat. Although shaving a dog whose fur has been allowed to get into this condition may offer some temporary relief from the heat, it presents other potentially long-term problems and risks of which the owner should be aware.

Shaving a dog seems like a logical way to help it keep cool, and can provide temporary relief for a hot and panting pet, but many factors should be considered before deciding to shave any dog. Shaving removes the dog’s built-in shade umbrella, and sunlight is allowed to penetrate the dog’s skin, exposing it to greater risk of heatstroke, sunburn and skin cancer. If the dog is frequently outdoors or has pink skin, these risks are much higher than for a dog that spends most of its time indoors in air-conditioning. Also, shaving disrupts the shedding process, and although this may reduce the amount of shedding in the home, the hairs that cannot shed normally are trapped and compacted, worsening the situation for the dog.  Instead of a functional cooling system, the dog’s coat becomes a fur blanket contributing to trapping in heat.

An additional risk of shaving these dogs is the possibility of permanently damaging the dog’s coat. The texture of the coat and even the color can change after being shaved, but most disturbingly, a dog with a underlying thyroid problem can have difficulty regrowing their coat evenly, and can appear to be missing chunks of fur that may never grow back correctly.

Besides helping keep a dog cool, and giving us a reason to vacuum, a dog’s coat does offer other advantages. The fur provides protection against insect bites, especially mosquitoes, which carry heartworms, and offers some protection against pollen for allergy-prone dogs. Minor scratches, cuts and abrasions are also minimalized for dogs that are traversing brush and woods.

Taking a few minutes to brush these dogs every two to three days does wonders to help reduce shedding and keep their natural air-conditioning working properly. If keeping the dog’s coat well-maintained with frequent brushing or a regular trip to the groomer isn’t an option, then shaving may be considered as a less attractive alternative. A closely trimmed coat of one-half inch to 1 inch in length will offer more protection than shaving to the skin, and still be easier to maintain for the owner. Regardless of the condition of the coat, any dog left outdoors requires constant access to fresh water and shade.

Paper Clover campaign a success

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By Traci Chapman

Local 4-H and FFA students were part of a partnership with Tractor Supply Company that raised $787,769 nationally to help those programs.

The 12-day in-store fundraiser’s grand total was a record-breaker for the event, said John Wendler, Tractor Supply senior vice president of marketing. At the conclusion of the annual event, the company had raised almost $4 million for 4-H programs across the country, Wendler said.

Locally, some of this year’s Paper Clover Campaign proceeds were allocated to the memorial of an area teen killed earlier this year. The decision to dedicate those funds to the Jesse Gorbet Memorial was made by local 4-H and FFA members. Fifty percent of all funds raised from bake sales were donated to the memorial. Mustang teen leader Brandy DeVous said $143 was raised for the Gorbet fund during two bake sales, one in Mustang and the other in El Reno, held in late April and early May.

“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.”

Gorbet and fellow El Reno High School student Karson Baker were killed in a March 2 automobile accident. 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.

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

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


Special athletes bring joy to all whose lives they touch

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By Traci Chapman

Although Mustang’s special athletes have all gone their separate ways for the summer, they carry with them fond memories of their year together and their time in Stillwater at this year’s summer Special Olympics.

Two of those athletes are Mahiya Stephens and Haleigh McCathern. Both girls have their own favorite things to do and ways of looking at the world, but their families say they also have something very much in common – they are loving and giving and go through life with an innate happiness.

Mahiya Stephens

Mahiya is a 13-year-old 7th grader. An enrolled member of the Wichita and Affiliated Tribes of Oklahoma, Mahiya is also Creek and Kiowa. Her name reflects her heritage; Mahiya means “teacher” in Wichita tribal language.

Mahiya loves basketball, spending time with her family and watching her favorite TV shows, Elmo and Barney. A fan of Mexican food, Mahiya loves all-you-can eat queso and chips, as well as going to Johnny Carino’s.

A family of deep faith, Mahiya enjoys attending church, and she loves to go to the park and visit Mustang Public Library, her parents say.

Although Mahiya has participated in bowling for Special Olympics in Mustang, Yukon and Oklahoma City since she was eight – and has won several medals for that sport -  this was her first time attending the Stillwater games. She competed in bocce ball this year.

Mahiya has participated in Special Olympics Bowling here in Mustang, Yukon and OKC area since she became old enough at age 8. However this will be her first year to attend Special Olympics in Stillwater. She will be competing in Bocce Ball. Over the years she has earned many medals in her Bowling sport participation.

Mahiya’s parents are Dr. Lancer and Aietah Stephens; she has a younger sister, Ahdae, and two younger brothers – Tahlee and Waukee.

Mahiya’s health struggles have been difficult at times, but she is resilient and brave, overcoming issues related to her rare chomosomal anomaly, including many surgeries, hospitalizations and sicknesses. Despite these issues, Mahiya is warm and outgoing – as her family says, she never meets a stranger. She lives a life of unconditional love, say her friends and family.

“Mahiya is the Creek word for teacher and is truly fitting for her, she has taught us so much and continues to teach us every day about living a life in love and joy despite what challenges come your way,” her parents say.

Haleigh McCathern

Haleigh is 22 years old and is a 2013 graduate of Mustang Public Schools.

She loves music – all kinds except “sappy ones and loud rock and roll – and is a dancer. She has gone through many CD players and CDs but loves iTunes gift cards.

Haleigh loves to help her dad work with the family’s cows. They are “her” cows and she works the gate to help out.

Haleigh loves to be outdoors and helps her mom with the flowerbeds. She also loves music and swimming. When the family travels, she loves the hotel hot tubs and swimming – at Special Olympics she loves swimming in the hot tub and the annual dance. In school, her favorite thing to do was ride the bus, her mom said.

Haleigh began participating in Special Olympics when she was eight. At that time she would be part of Yukon Schools’ team, and her mom was her coach. After 14 years in Special Olympics – seven of them in Mustang – Haleigh has participated in a variety of events. Her favorite events are the 50-meter dash and softball throw.

Haleigh’s parents are Kim and Lonnie McCathern. She has an older brother, Cole, and a younger brother, Terry.

Haleigh has brought joy to her family her entire life, and her smile lights up anyplace she goes.

“Haleigh has always been known for her smile,” her mom says. “All through school, she would always get awards for ‘Best Smile.’

“She’s a happy girl,” Kim says.

MSA, city partner to help ‘warriors’

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By Traci Chapman

Mustang Softball Association and city of Mustang teamed up to throw $8,595 of help to Warriors for Freedom.

On Tuesday, Troy Schweinberg with MSA and Mustang Parks and Recreation’s Nic Bailey presented the funds to Warriors for Freedom during the City Council meeting. The pair helped spearhead the event, which raised funds to help military veterans and their families, said Scott Deatherage, Warriors for Freedom Foundation vice president of veteran affairs and media relations.

The fundraiser was held in April and was comprised of a girls fast pitch softball tournament. Tournament master of ceremonies was retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Rusty Dunagan, who was on hand with other Warriors officials to receive the donation.

On Sept. 22, 2010, Dunagan lost both legs and his left arm after his patrol in Afghanistan encountered an IED.

All proceeds earned will benefit Warriors for Freedom Foundation, Deatherage said. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that provides support to military and their families with activities, mental health assistance and wellness, as well as awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injuries and combat stress reaction.

“Oklahoma residents have provided this country with strong military personnel and unparalleled patriotism,” said retired U.S. Army Major Ed Pulido, founder of Warriors for Freedom Foundation.

“The amount of patriotism those young ladies showed does your city proud,” Deatherage said.

For more information about Warriors for Freedom, go online to http://




Mustang Elementary wins fourth consecutive prize

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By Traci Chapman

Two years, four wins. That’s the record held by Mustang Elementary art students.

It was announced Tuesday the group won their fourth consecutive Made by Milk contest. With the win came a prize of $1,500 students would dedicate to purchasing gym equipment, teacher Kent Hathaway said.

“John Wooden could not have said it better, ‘It takes talent to be a champion, but it takes Character to remain one,’” Hathaway said Tuesday. “Mustang Elementary students have shown that they have the talent, and character to remain a champion among the nation’s most talented students.”

Sponsored by Evergreen Packaging, officials there were “overwhelmed” at the students’ latest creation – “Smaug” from Lord of the Rings.

“The creativity from Mustang students and faculty thoroughly impresses us year after year. Their dedication to collecting and recycling thousands of milk cartons for the Made By Milk contest showcases their ongoing commitment to sustainability and teaching their students the importance of environmental responsibility.”

Students previously won for their visions of a coral reef, Golden Gate Bridge and, most recently, a space shuttle. They can now add the tally of their winnings at $16,500 on behalf of the school, Evergreen representatives said.

It was yet another honor for Hathaway, who was named both Mustang Elementary and Mustang Public Schools district teacher of the year. He said while the honors are wonderful, the best thing is helping the school and bringing art to students – while teaching them about other things, as well.

“That’s the most exciting part – that everyone gets affected by what all of us as teachers are trying to do,” he said. “It’s even more exciting when you think about the fact that most of these students are 10 years old.”



Partnership ‘cleans up’ county

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Redlands Community College and Federal Bureau of Prisons El Reno recently teamed up for a grassroots program aimed at cleaning up sections of Canadian County.

As part of the 2014 Great American Cleanup, RCC and FCI El Reno worked on a cleanup of areas of El Reno, as well as along historic Route 66 west of that city. Great American Cleanup in Oklahoma was sponsored by Keep Oklahoma Beautiful and Devon Energy.

“The Federal Correctional Institution was happy to assist with the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful project,” said Joel Rogalsky, FCI public information officer. “Eight of our minimum security inmates and three staff members picked up trash and other debris on Route 66 from Reformatory Road west to Interstate 40.

“We look forward to our continued partnership with Redlands Community College and the Keep Oklahoma Beautiful project,” he said.

The Great American Cleanup is touted as the “nation’s largest grassroots community improvement program,” according to its website. Redlands President Jack Bryant said it was important for the college’s faculty, students and staff to take part in the effort.

“I am extremely proud of the students, faculty and staff that participated in the cleanup day,” he said. “We are glad to provide service opportunities that benefit our community.”

GAC is a “call to action” for communities to work toward beautification as well as green energy, recycling and other measures, said Jordan Scott, Keep Oklahoma Beautiful projects director.

“Service to the community is the ultimate demonstration that you love where you live,” Scott said. “Participating in the GAC can become the foundation for uniting Oklahomans in activities that create long-lasting effects.”

In 2013, more than 66,000 volunteers and participants took part in GAC events across Oklahoma, collecting 5.2 million pounds of litter and debris, along with cleaning 14,300 acres of parks, public lands and open spaces, Scott said.

Friends of animal shelter kick-starts its efforts


By Traci Chapman

Friends of the Mustang Animal Shelter is gearing up to help animals in need.

The organization’s first step is a public meeting, set for 7 p.m. on May 28 at Mustang Police Department’s community meeting room.

We will be introducing the goals of the organization to the community, connect with residents that are interested in helping animals, and opening a line of communication with the city council about the problems facing the city in regards to animal welfare and propose solutions that our organization can spearhead,” Friends member Shawna Bostick said.

The effort comes as city officials ask for more volunteers to help man the municipal animal shelter. While one volunteer recently started at the shelter, in his May 16 report, City Manager Tim Rooney asked council and staff members to spread the word about the need for assistance.

There are several ways to contact the shelter’s friends organization, Bostick said. Online, the group’s website is; it’s Facebook page is located at and friends’ members can be contacted at, she said.

Mustang Masonic Lodge will also a fundraiser breakfast for the group, from 7 a.m. until noon on July 26, Bostick said.

To learn more about volunteering, call 376-2488.

Father Joe leads Holy Spirit into the future

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By Traci Chapman

For the first time in more than 17 years, Mustang’s Holy Spirit Catholic Church has a new voice and a change in its spiritual leadership.

Father Joe Jacobi was transferred to the Mustang parish in January. He took over a congregation led by Father Jim Greiner, who recently retired after more than 17 years at Holy Spirit.

Jacobi himself has extensive experience, not only in his service but in his travels. But, although he has traveled throughout the world since his invocation, Jacobi said it’s gratifying that he really has remained close to his roots. It was there his parents first instill a faith that would grow to become the primary passion and meaning of his life, the father said.

“My parents are people of deep faith who planted the seeds,” Jacobi said. “We also had lots of good friends who were priests and who came to the house often – I saw what they did and how they helped others.”

Jacobi’s journey began in Lone Grove, Okla., where the soon to be 50-year-old priest grew up. The oldest of five, part of Jacobi’s earliest inspiration came from his twin sister, Maureen, who died when the children were five years old.

“She has always been with me, always been an inspiration,” he said.

Although he was faithful in those early years, it wasn’t until he was a sophomore in college he first decided to pursue the ministry.

“I went to the seminary when I was about 20 or 21,” Jacobi said. “It was there – in the classes, the formation, I realized the chance to serve.”

It was a nine year process, Jacobi said. Part of that included an internship at Christ the King in Oklahoma City, where he met someone who had been part of Holy Spirit’s past – Father Gerald Mayfield, who was Mustang’s pastor in 1996-1997, Jacobi said.

“I knew him really well and that would later come back to me when I came to Holy Spirit,” he said.

Ordained in 1991, Father Jacobi has served at several parishes in the metropolitan area. While the church is his primary focus, lessons learned from his parents – now living in Norman – are still a large part of his life. And not just where his faith is concerned, he said.

“My mom was a PE director and by 8 or 9 I knew just about every sport,” Jacobi said. “I enjoy sports a lot – that was my mom’s gift to me.”

As he gets to know his Mustang parishioners and settles into a routine here, he is looking very much toward the future – something that is very bright and full of changes for Holy Spirit, he said.

“There is, of course, the matter of the church building – money has been raised for that and we are looking at plans and how we want to move forward with that,” Jacobi said. “We hope to be into a new building in perhaps three to five years.”

The new building is something literally 30 years in the making. Built in 1986, Holy Spirit’s long-time home was built as a temporary church, which became permanent. With more than 600 families attending Holy Spirit, it’s time to seriously look at new quarters, Jacobi said.

“We want to do more, to reach out, and having more space is an essential part of that,” he said.

Reaching out is a large part of the father’s philosophy, something exemplified by Holy Spirit’s incorporation of Spanish masses. Fluent himself in Spanish, part of Jacobi’s travels included two months in 1989 he spent in Monterrey Mexico, learning the language. Now, all of these years later, he believes making sure Spanish-speaking parishioners feel at home and invested in the church is essential.

“That’s something about Holy Spirit I really liked from the start – everyone is very friendly, they welcomed everyone and both the English and Spanish speaking parishioners know this is their spiritual home,” Jacobi said. “There is a harmony.”

That harmony will help Jacobi and his parish move beyond Holy Spirit’s building and its walls to fulfill the church’s true mission, he said – to help others and share their faith.

“The church is meant to reach out to people, instead of maintaining what we have we are meant to share our gifts,” Jacobi said. “We need to expand our social action ministry and continue to welcome people to our church and to our community.

“It’s an exciting time and I am thankful to be a part of it,” he said.

Holy Spirit Catholic Church is located at 1100 North Sara Road in Mustang, 376-9435. More information is also available online at

Nightriders end year on high note

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By Patrick Osborne

The Mustang High School Nightrider Band reeled in the awards and achievements all year long, making school history in the process.

The Nightriders started the year placing fourth at the Moore Outdoor Marching Festival after completely restarting their show the Tuesday before the competition. They were then selected as a finalist at the Renegade Review Marching Festival where they placed fifth overall and second for in-state bands.

(Photos/Traci Chapman)

The Nightriders made school history competing for the first time in the 2013 Bands of America Grand National Championship in Indianapolis, where they placed 34th, just missing out on Grand National semifinals. They finished the year in fifth place out of all 32 Class 6A schools.

The band also had many firsts and achievements throughout the year, receiving superior ratings in marching, concert, sight-reading and jazz bands. Wind Ensemble and Symphonic band both earned Sweepstakes in Class 6A, the OSSAA’s highest level of concert band evaluation. Jazz Ensemble 2 earned a superior rating from all the judges at the OSSAA Jazz competition, where they placed fifth out of all 6A schools. Director Ryan Edgmon said this added the prestigious Accent Award to their Sweepstakes plaque, making them the only school in the state of Oklahoma to have a double Sweepstakes award with Accent. The band also boasts the privilege of having the reigning state champions for Jazz Combo in the Open Class Jazz Combo division.

Individually, the band had 44 students perform at the prestigious OSSAA State Solo and Ensemble competition. Of the 44, 38 earned superior ratings at the highest level of individual competition in the state. Out of all 230 students the band boasted an overall GPA of 3.45, with 107 earning better than a 3.5. More than 60 percent are enrolled in at least one college level course, with many taking up to four.

The band looks toward next year looking not only to continue to improve on an impressive and successful year but also grow. The band is set for a second consecutive year of Grand National competition, heading to St. Louis in October. With 348 sixth-graders set to join band this next year, that takes the band number from grades 6-12 to more than 940. Combine that number with the multiple classes that will be offered, the band staff will see more than 1,000 Mustang High School students each day in the 2014-2015 school year. With so much growth under the leadership of the band staff, the Mustang High School Nightrider Band is set for continued success in the upcoming years.