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Waiting for a miracle: Mustang man on list for new kidney

By Matt Montgomery

Mustang resident Colin Meeks is waiting on something that holds his life in the balance: a new kidney.

Earlier this year, Meeks was sick but didn’t know what was wrong with him until he found out in March he had renal kidney failure.

“Last February, I went in to the hospital because I thought I was having a heart attack,” Meeks said. “Woke my wife up in the middle of the night, mom and dad came up to watch the kids, and we rushed to the hospital. They were shocked to see me walking in the building with my blood pressure as high as it was.”

Matt Montgomery/Mustang News Mustang resident Colin Meeks looks to the sky last week in front of the Mustang water tower. He is on the waiting list for a new kidney.

Matt Montgomery/Mustang News
Mustang resident Colin Meeks looks to the sky last week in front of the Mustang water tower. He is on the waiting list for a new kidney.

Meeks said his high blood pressure overtime, “killed” his kidneys.

He eventually saw a few doctors during his two-week stint in the hospital and a couple of them didn’t give him a bright outlook like Dr. Thompson did. He said Dr. Thompson gave him a glimmer of hope, that he could survive this; he just needed to be on the transplant list.

Meeks was released from the hospital and was doing dialysis three days per week, four hours per session. He eventually got a call from the doctor telling him he was done with dialysis and they needed to see him the next day. He said he was ready for some good news, but the doctor told him he was in renal kidney failure and would need a kidney transplant.

“It was a little shocking and a lot to handle,” he said. “I’m 36 years old, I’ve got two young kids. We were right in the middle of basketball season when all of this happened. It was kind of tough missing that kind of stuff.”

Meeks is a youth basketball and baseball coach in Mustang and since he found out he has renal kidney failure, he’s had to give that up for now.

He was placed on the kidney transplant list and all he can do is wait. He is officially on the list, but the wait time is about five years, Meeks said.

However, he is currently seeking a living donor. He said his sisters have signed up to see if they are matches, as well as a few of his close friends. Meeks said if one of them is a match, they will give up one of their kidneys to save his life.

Even though Meeks is going through a life-changing time, and uncertain of the future, his spirits are high and he said he is truly grateful to all of the support from the community of Mustang and from his friends and family.

“It means a lot that people are willing to do that,” he said. “They’re giving up something that they might need later.”

Meeks said he has kept his mouth shut about his condition for a long time because when he got pulled off dialysis, he left it at that.

“I’ve always looked at it like there are always people with a lot more problems than me,” he said. “I don’t like to burden other people with my problems.”

On Nov. 15, there will be a silent auction held for Meeks at Mustang High School. Also, his sister, who owns Orange Leaf in Mustang, is hosting a fundraiser day from noon to 9 p.m., Oct. 21 at her restaurant for her brother.

There will also be a garage sale on Oct. 24 and 25 at 12717 Sw 53rd in Mustang.
Meeks works for the bonds and construction department of the Mustang school district.
He said he actually feels good, aside from the swelling in his ankles.

“I could sit at home and feel sorry for myself, but it’s not going to do anybody any good,” Meeks said.

City council approves employee benefit ordinance

By Matt Montgomery
[email protected]

The Mustang city council voted to approve an agenda item Tuesday, amending the Employee Retirement System and Defined benefit Plan of the City of Mustang.

The ordinance the council approved also called for a new definition of spouse. And with the Supreme Court’s decision earlier this week, allowing several states to temporarily grant marriage licenses to same sex couples, including Oklahoma, several members of the city council, during the discussion portion of this agenda item, made it clear they didn’t agree with the Supreme Court’s decision. However, the agenda item they passed Tuesday didn’t address that issue, but rather the issue of retirement and benefits for city employees.

The new ordinance focuses on the Windsor Agreement, which is a component of federal law. In order for the City of Mustang to be in compliance with the Internal Revenue Service, a recommendation was made by city staff to pass the ordinance. The agreement specifically applies to distribution and rollover rules for city employees.

According to Jodi Cox, director of the Oklahoma Municipal Retirement Fund, the Windsor Amendment made to the OMRF, the new definition of spouse, for federal tax purposes, will be defined as same sex if the individuals were lawfully married under a state with laws to validate, authorize and recognize same-sex marriages. See letter to city here.

According to the Mustang city attorney, the U.S. vs. Windsor case dealt with a same-sex couple that lived in New York. When the first spouse passed away, the second spouse tried to claim the exemption, but was denied that right because of the Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court overturned the state’s decision to deny them that right and that spouse was allowed the exemption.

If the council had voted to not approve the agenda item, city employees such as fire fighters, police officers and all other city employees’ retirement plans would become taxable after Dec. 31. They are not taxable right now.

And with Tuesday night’s approval of the agenda item, they will not become taxable.

Mustang City Councilwoman Linda Bowers, Ward 3, voted “no” on the agenda item.

She said during the discussion period before casting her vote, if the council votes “no,” city employees will be taxed.

“We have to make a decision for or against what God’s word says,” Bowers said. “That plays a huge part in my decision. I’m going to have to stand before a living God and report everything that I’ve done. This is important for me to stay true to God. It doesn’t matter about the taxes for me. God can provide whatever money we need.”

Some of the other council members voted to approve, but with protest. A with protest “yes” vote is still considered a “yes” vote, but essentially means that council member may not agree with it personally.

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OMRF letter to City of Mustang

OMRF letter from Jodi Cox copy

Canyon Ridge student wins fire prevention poster contest

Photographer/Matt Montgomery Canyon Ridge Intermediate students Bethany Hutto, Ella Emillio, Lily Dilbeck, Paige Gulley and Maya Beesley join Mustang Fire Cheif Carl Hickman and fire department representative Eric Halter to show off their posters they won trophies for during the Fire Prevention Month Poster Contest held by the fire department.

 By Matt Montgomery

[email protected]

Several students from local schools participated in a poster contest for Fire Prevention Month, in which they had the opportunity to learn a few things about fire safety while having fun drawing.

Canyon Ridge Intermediate students had five of the top 10 poster contest winners. The top five from Canyon Ridge were Bethany Hutto, first place, Ella Emillio, third place, Lily Dilbeck, fourth place, Paige Gulley, fifth place and Maya Beesley, 10th place.

Canyon Ridge art teacher Nancy Matheson, who worked with the kids on the posters, said the students really enjoyed learning about fire safety and using art to do so.

“The kids loved designing the posters,” she said. “They took them (posters) home with them so they could focus on it. Sometimes they work better when it’s quiet at home.”

The most prominent was the smoke detector.

Mustang Fire Chief Carl Hickman said it is important to reach students at the elementary age to teach them about fire safety and how smoke detectors work.

“We know the younger we can instill in people’s minds the fire safety messages they need to know, then the easier it is to keep it in their minds,” Hickman said. “This is the perfect age to address those safety issues. Also, those kids are going to go home and pressure mom and dad to do what they were taught that day at school. It’s a good age for us to get in and spread that message to them.”

District judge rules in land dispute over Cedar Lake fire station

Cedar lake copy

By Daniel Lapham,

The Cedar Lake fire station belongs to Canadian County.

That’s how District Judge Gary E. Miller ruled after hearing arguments presented by Assistant District Attorney Paul Hesse. The action came Friday.

County employee Howie Sutton purchased the property in April after a clerical error allowed the property to be placed for sale as a tax delinquent property.

According to court documents, the county has owned the property for the last 14 years. The error in how the property was coded led to the Cedar Lake real estate being placed up for auction.

Seeing the property up for bid, Sutton purchased it for $100. According to documents, Sutton, through his attorney Mark Osby, asked the court to award him title to the property or pay Sutton more than $75,000 for the property plus fees associated with the case.

The judge agreed with Hesse that the county did not have authority to sell the land and vacated Sutton’s deed. Sutton’s $100 was reimbursed and the land went back to the county to be used by the Cedar Lake Volunteer Fire Department.

Hesse filed the initial petition on June 3 in district court asking that the deed be returned to the volunteer fire department. The property in question was donated to the county by the Western Sportsman Club to be used for the fire department. According to the deed the Western Sportsman Club was entitled to “right of first refusal” to buy the land back. The judge agreed with the county’s claims it did not have authority to sell due to this stipulation

In addition, Miller said Sutton did not do anything wrong by purchasing the property, but because there was no authority to sell the property, the sale was not legal and thus void.

County officials, energy companies prepare for more production


By Daniel Lapham,

Canadian County commissioners approved nine permits related to energy exploration and production at their Sept. 22 meeting. And, according to District 1 Commissioner Phil Carson, more permit requests are on the way.

“It looks like a new shale layer could lead to more oil and gas traffic in the county,” Carson said. He encouraged Dist. 3 Commissioner Jack Stewart to begin meeting with energy firms to address infrastructure needs. Much of the energy exploration is taking place in Stewart’s district, which includes the west side of the county.

“Jack, I’d like you to meet and discuss a plan to prepare for this next boom,” Carson said.

Carson said if the projections being made are correct, it would make this area “one of the largest oil and gas fields in the country.” Stewart agreed to begin the discussion to review plans for roads and other county infrastructure that will partner with energy companies.

“We need to figure out something to do about the roads in the area between Highway 281, 164th Street and Highway 270,” Stewart said. “It’s killing me. I don’t have the money to keep up with the roads. It’s just not there.”

Stewart said state Sen. Ron Justice, R-Chickasha, has been keeping commissioners apprised of the energy outlook. And it appears more activity is on the horizon.

“From everything I can understand from the people I’ve talked to in the industry, there is another shale layer that they are looking at,” Justice said. “From what I understand right now, we could see the rigs in the Canadian County area doubling. From what I am hearing, this is just the starting point.”

Stewart compared the current energy boom in sports terms.

“I’ve heard it described as if this were a ballgame and we were asked what inning we are in, the answer would be the game hasn’t even started yet,” Stewart said.

Justice agreed.

“This could be bigger than the Bakkan from what I am hearing,” Justice said, referring to the massive oil play in North Dakota. He said a natural gas processing plant “like what is in Calumet” is being built for Stephens and Grady counties.

“I visited with a pipeline company the other day that is putting in a line in Grady County. These are all planned. The main thing is there seems to be tremendous opportunities all through Canadian County, Grady and all through the south,” Justice said. “When companies are building this kind of infrastructure, you know this is not short-term speculation. I think these infrastructure investments are indicators that we are positioned for growth.”

Woods prepares to hit century mark

Ethel Woods copy

By Daniel Lapham,

On Saturday, five generations of the Woods family will celebrate the 100th birthday of life-long Union City resident Ethel (Ellie) Lillian Woods. The celebration will take place at 2:30 p.m. at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall in Union City.

Woods was born Oct. 4, 1914, six miles east of Union City. As the youngest of five, Woods has lived through some of the most memorable decades in our nation’s history, and although she said she remembers much of it, it’s the present that continues to drive her to live life to its fullest.

“I just live in the now,” she said. “I bake bread and give it away to my neighbors, I walk to church every week and I play cards with my friends.”

When asked how she has stayed so happy and healthy in her 100 years in Union City, the petite 5-foot, silver-haired great-great-grandmother said she works out, eats healthy foods and just tries to have fun every day.

“It’s just about staying busy, eating right and working hard,” she said. “I raised seven kids, one girl and six boys. I worked with my husband, Robert, on the dairy farm and after the children were grown I worked as a cook for 14 or 15 years.”

Ellie’s family came to Oklahoma as homesteaders in the early 1900s as did her late husband’s family, settling in Union City in 1911. The couple married in 1933 and now Woods stands at the roots of a tree that spans five generations. She has 22 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren and 15-great-great-grandchildren, with two more on the way.

“She went in for her check-up the other day and her doctor told us if all of his patients were as healthy as her, he’d be out of a job,” said Janice Woods, Ellie Woods’ daughter-in-law. “We just got her driver’s license renewed for her 100th birthday last week.”

The family matriarch said she just enjoys every day as it comes and enjoys the simple things in life.

“I have a good time with the girls,” she said about playing cards. “I can still drive if I want to, but I’d rather walk and stay active.”

The birthday party is an open invitation to anyone who has known Woods throughout the years.

Program offers grants to expand specialty crops

Plasticulture pic

Mustang News Staff Reports,

A program directed toward small, limited resource producers wanting to expand specialty crop production is offering grants and up to one acre of plasticulture installation. Applications to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture, Food and Forestry must be postmarked by Oct. 17.

Plasticulture implements the use of plastic in gardens and can help with weed control, water erosion, nutrient leaching and compaction. The use of raised beds covered in plastic can increase plant and product quality and bring greater yields. Each bed includes a drip irrigation line under the plastic covering to supply water and fertilizer.

Limited resource producers are defined as having direct or indirect gross farm sales of not more than $100,000 in each of the previous two years and receiving little or no assistance from the government.

The program emphasizes marketing and requires a three-year commitment as funds are provided in increments of a maximum of $500 each year. Micah Anderson, ODAFF plasticulture coordinator, said applicants will be evaluated based on experience, marketing plans and application date.

Farmers selected for the program supply water and soil testing, plants and soil preparation in addition to production reports. ODAFF will provide plastic, drip tape and shut-off valves.

Grant funds may be used for soil and water testing, animal depredation control, wildlife fencing, fertilizer, scales and plants. The plasticulture grant program currently has $17,000 available.

For additional information and grant forms, contact Ashley Bender at (405) 522-4330. Application forms are also available online at

Mustang elementary teacher Kent Hathaway a Rising Star in Oklahoma


By Daniel Lapham,

Mustang elementary teacher Kent Hathaway was honored earlier this month as one of six Rising Star Teachers from across Oklahoma.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi recognized six Rising Star Teachers on Sept. 16 during the state Teacher of the Year ceremony at the Oklahoma State Fair.

Rising Stars are teachers who show an amazing amount of promise in their profession. They are selected in addition to the 12 finalists for the state Teacher of the Year.

Hathaway said he believes the future of education lies in the integration of five specific subject areas into lesson plans for all ages.

“All students regardless of age, intellect or ability can experience success in learning science, technology, engineering, art and math,” he said. “Oklahoma educators will understand the integration and relationship in teaching these multiple subjects, and they will find that students achieve far more than they ever could in any subject alone.”
The selected Rising Star Teachers also received the title of Teacher of the Year for their respective districts. Each Rising Star is selected based on portfolios reviewed by the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year regional selection committees. The judges are made up of award-winning teachers, past Teachers of the Year and past finalists.

“It is an honor to recognize these teachers for the tremendous contributions they have made in the classroom and the promise they show for the future,” Barresi said. “Our students need teachers who think beyond the conventional bounds of education and who are interested in finding creative solutions so that each student can achieve his or her potential. These teachers show they are committed to making a brighter future for all their students.”

The five other Rising Star Teachers from across Oklahoma are Kent Lee, U.S. history, economics and government teacher at Vanoss High School; Georgia Ramsey, a kindergarten teacher at Oologah Lower Elementary School; Susan Thompson, an eighth-grade vocational family and consumer sciences teacher at Owasso Eighth Grade Center; Anita West, a fourth-grade teacher at Elgin Elementary School; and Meredith Ziegler, a vocal music teacher at Wilson Arts Integration Elementary School in the Oklahoma City School District.

In addition to recognition at the Teacher of the Year ceremony, Rising Star Teachers each receive $500 in cash from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, as well as gifts from the Oklahoma Education Association and Professional Oklahoma Educators.

Mustang has 29 students earn AP Scholar Awards


By Daniel Lapham,

Twenty-nine students at Mustang High School have earned AP Scholar Awards in recognition of their exceptional achievement on AP exams.

The College Board’s Advanced Placement Program® (AP®) provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to take rigorous college-level courses while still in high school, and to earn college credit, advanced placement or both for successful performance on the AP exams. About 22 percent of the 2.2 million students worldwide who took AP exams performed at a sufficiently high level to also earn an AP Scholar Award.

The College Board recognizes several levels of achievement based on students’ performance on AP exams.

Three students qualified for the National AP Scholar Award by earning an average score of 4 or higher on a 5-point scale on all AP exams taken. In addition, they received scores of 4 or higher on eight or more of these exams. These students are Skyler Cornaby, James Nguyen and Corban Recknagel.

Nine students qualified for the AP Scholar with Distinction Award by earning an average score of at least 3.5 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on five or more of these exams. These students are Skyler Cornaby, Connor Forsythe, Lance Frost, Nicole Groves, Tanner Martin, Duy Nguyen, James Nguyen, Corban Recknagel and Deborah Samkutty.

Six students qualified for the AP Scholar with Honor Award by earning an average score of at least 3.25 on all AP exams taken, and scores of 3 or higher on four or more of these exams. These students are Lyndon Crouch, Ethan Gorrell, Emma Moore, Lauren Oliver, Visha Patel and Emilee Romero.

Thirteen students qualified for the AP Scholar Award by completing three or more AP exams with scores of 3 or higher. The AP Scholars are Ty Astle, David Burke, Jessica Clough, Lane Driskill, Jessica Garner, Christopher Hampton, Scott Kersh, Brandi Lazarus, Ryne Martin, Jacob Moore, Ali Morrison, Christine Thomas, Meenu Thomas and Tosha Williams.

Through 34 different college-level courses and exams, AP provides willing and academically prepared students with the opportunity to earn college credit or advanced placement and stand out in the college admission process. Each exam is developed by a committee of college and university faculty and AP teachers, ensuring that AP exams are aligned with the same high standards expected by college faculty at some of the nation’s leading liberal arts and research institutions. More than 3,600 colleges and universities annually receive AP scores. Most four-year colleges in the United States provide credit and/or advanced placement for qualifying exam scores. Research consistently shows that AP students who score a 3 or higher on AP exams (based on a scale from 1 to 5, with 5 being the highest) typically experience greater academic success in college and have higher college graduation rates than students who do not participate in AP.

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than 7 million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success — including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators and schools.