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Monday, September 23, 2019

Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over Campaign Kicks Off


The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office (OHSO) is teaming up with more than 100 law enforcement agencies across the state to make sure everyone has a safe end to their summer.

The campaign starts on Aug. 14 and runs through the Labor Day holiday, ending on Sept. 2.

Each year, law enforcement from Oklahoma are joined by thousands of personnel from around the nation to participate in this high-visibility enforcement campaign. The goal is simple; keep impaired drivers from killing themselves, and innocent people, on Oklahoma roadways.

Sadly, the statistics prove that we have a lot of work to do to put an end to impaired driving. According to newly released data from the OHSO, 331 people were killed in alcohol and/or drug-related crashes in 2018. That’s the equivalent of a fully loaded jetliner crashing with no survivors, all killed by someone’s choice to drive under the influence.

While Oklahoma has seen a decrease in the number of people killed in alcohol-related crashes, the number of fatalities reported in drug-related crashes continues to climb.

“These numbers are shocking and they are why it is more important than ever to team up with law enforcement to help solve the problem,” said Paul Harris, director of the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

Each year, the OHSO works with local law enforcement agencies by providing grants to agencies who have been identified as having traffic-related problems in their areas.

Programs like ENDUI Oklahoma and the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign work to address the growing severity of the impaired driving problem in Oklahoma.

“We want to make sure everyone has the chance to enjoy Labor Day and the end of the summer safely. We want everyone to have a good time, but it’s important to celebrate responsibly,” said Harris.

With the ever growing popularity of rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft, there really is no excuse to drive under the influence.

“If you’re going to the bars or to the lake, make sure you plan how you’ll get home before you start drinking,” said Harris.

“If you’re camping, get all of your supplies before you start drinking to make sure nobody has to go back to the store. If you’re going out on the town, have your rideshare app handy so that you can get home safely.”

Each year, the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign brings law enforcement across the state together to help end impaired driving. The 2018 holiday ‘Drive Sober’ campaign resulted in more than 600 DUI arrests state-wide and close to 30,000 hours worked by law enforcement.

“It takes everyone to help us ENDUI in Oklahoma. Make sure you aren’t driving impaired, but also help your friends and family by volunteering to be the designated driver now and then,” said Harris.

Results from the 2019 Labor Day campaign will be available in mid-October. Each year, the ‘Drive Sober’ campaigns take place around the winter holiday season, and during the Labor Day holiday.

In addition to the high-visibility patrols, numerous ENDUI sobriety checkpoints will be conducted around the state between Aug. 14 and Sept. 2. For information on those efforts, for checkpoint advisories from ENDUI Oklahoma on Facebook and at the OHSO Newsroom, located at http://ohso.ok.gov/newsroom.

New law to give life-saving information with breast cancer screenings


Beginning November 1, a new law takes effect to help Oklahoma women be better informed about a condition that can make breast cancer difficult to detect.  A ceremonial signing of Senate Bill 443, known as Nancy’s Law, was recently held at the state Capitol. The legislation is named for Nancy Simpson, of Edmond, who died in 2018 just months after being diagnosed with stage four breast cancer despite being given a clean bill of health in all her mammograms done in previous years.  No one involved in her care had ever explained that she should have received additional imaging because of her dense breast tissue, a common condition which can prevent mammograms from detecting cancer. 

Sen. Adam Pugh, R-Edmond is the principal author of the measure, with House principal author, Rep. Lewis Moore, R-Arcadia.  Under Oklahoma law, if a patient has dense breast tissue, she is to be notified about that condition and what additional testing she may undertake.  SB 443 also requires mammography results and notification to be emailed to the patient if she requests it.

Her daughter, Elyzabeth Simpson said her family was stunned by the diagnosis because her mother had always been diligent in getting her yearly mammogram. She felt the system let her mother down but is hopeful Pugh’s legislation will better protect other Oklahoma women.

“We were all totally shocked that she could be diagnosed with stage four breast cancer when, you know, she’d gone every year and done the mammograms and everything the doctor had told her to do,” Simpson said.  “I hope that this law will prevent other women from going through this situation and other families from losing a loved one.”

Pugh said Nancy Simpson reached out to him after her diagnosis.  She passed away in December, before the session began, but the legislation received unanimous approval in both chambers.

“She knew her time was short, but she wanted to help other women get the information she never received—information that can mean the difference between life and death,” Pugh said.  “It was truly a privilege to be able to author and pass this law to help save lives and also honor Nancy’s life.”

Nancy’s husband, John Simpson, said the legislation was a wonderful legacy.

“Everyone in our family, all our friends, everyone we talk to, they all say the same thing—how wonderful.  What a legacy for what she had to go through,” Simpson said.  “She was a beacon of light—the sweetest smile.  Everyone loved her.”

Enjoying a Piece of History on Historic Journey


The reenactment of the 1909 the endurance race, which was won by  Henry Ford, is what inspired Thetan Ogle to jump in his 1917 Model T Ford and hit the open road. 

This year is the 110 year anniversary of the race. Ogle’s car is one he found in a barn in Rhode Island. The vehicle is all original. 

He left on June 14 from New York City and followed the same route of the original race. He ended up in Seattle at the end of the run. He has been on the road for a month and a half. 

The car still has its original motor.

He is traveling through Oklahoma on his return trip home because he wanted to see some new country. He was in Waurika last week getting fuel. It will take him a while to get home, the car’s top speed is 35 MPH.

During this trip he has met some interesting and friendly people. He has been invited to family reunions and some have even offered to pay for his gas. He has slept in the car and often camped on the side of the road. 

Ogle calls his car Ernie, named after the gentleman who sold him the car – Ernest Matthews.   When Matthews purchased the car he only paid $40 for it. Ogle is now its third owner. Charles Rathermel was the original owner. 

The above e picture was taken back in the 1950’s.

He has a copy of the original bill of sale along with a photograph of the car back in its heyday . 

Ogle restores antique cars for a living. 

Ardmore One of Four Oklahoma Cities Selected to Partner with the Nationally Recognized OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery to Address an Opioid Epidemic Response


Ardmore – Oklahoma is the epicenter of the nation’s opioid epidemic. In Carter County alone, 40 people died of unintentional prescription opioid overdose from 2013 to 2017, according to the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

An estimated 1,900 Oklahomans have died from opioid abuse. The estimated cost to address the epidemic in Oklahoma is $17 billion dollars. Area and state addiction experts, local law enforcement, Oklahoma Mental Health and Substance Department, and the Drug Enforcement Administration are partnering with the nationally recognized OSU Center for Health Sciences Center for Wellness & Recovery to address an Opioid Epidemic Response to the alarming overuse of opioid painkillers.

Ardmore is one of four Oklahoma communities selected for the seven-day event as part of a $1.4 million dollar grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Oklahoma State Department of Health designed to combat the misuse of opioid painkillers.

The highlight of the event will be an interactive town hall meeting on Friday night, August 16, featuring panelists Mendy Spohn, the Regional Director for Oklahoma State Department of Health County Health Departments including Carter, Johnston, Love, Marshall, Stephens, Pontotoc and Jefferson Counties; Drug Enforcement Administration Assistant Special Agent in Charge John P. Scott; Stephanie Morcom, Outreach Coordinator for Ambrosia Treatment Center and Jackie Shipp, Oklahoma State Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Senior Director.

The event will provide community resource booths such as addiction-related health screenings, and children’s art and education centers that will be open daily along with workshops focused on understanding the opioid epidemic; alternative pain treatments; red flags of addiction; the co-dependency of opioid use, tobacco and mental illness; parenting children of addiction and much more.  

“The purpose of the Opioid Epidemic Response is to provide an educational community event that brings together a broad spectrum of community members, health care providers, addiction experts and civic and business leaders to learn about this crisis and how to fight it,” said Julie Croff, Ph.D., M.P.H, executive director of, OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery.

The Opioid Epidemic Response runs from August 12 to 18 at the Ardmore Convention Center, 2401 N. Rockford Road in Ardmore. There will be free food and door prizes for the first attendees. For a schedule of events and to register for the free community event – visit health.okstate.edu/cwr.

The OSU Center for Wellness & Recovery provides comprehensive care for those suffering from addiction while advancing treatment through education, research and policy.

New policy impacts out-of-state services for SoonerCare members


OKLAHOMA CITY Significant changes to SoonerCare’s out-of-state (OOS)
services policies will take effect Sept. 1, impacting members seeking
specialty medical care outside of Oklahoma.

Medical care that currently requires a prior authorization from SoonerCare
will have new documentation requirements for approval that must be
received 10 days prior to the medical service (except for true medical
emergencies), or it will be denied. The provider performing the service
will also have to be contracted with SoonerCare.

Medical staff at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) have
constructed a list of providers outside of Oklahoma that are contracted
with the agency and can provide care for complex medical services that are
not available in-state.

SoonerCare members will no longer be able to self-refer to out-of-state
providers. All requests for out-of-state services must be submitted by a
contracted provider (M.D., D.O., A.P.R.N., or P.A.)  If the member does
not receive approval from SoonerCare, members may be responsible for the
costs of the services.

“Until we receive requests for reimbursement for meals, travel and
lodging, SoonerCare typically does not know beforehand if a member is
receiving their specialty care out of state,” said OHCA Senior Medical
Director Dr. Robert Evans. “That meant we could not always ensure our
members were receiving the best care for their medical needs or control
the costs of their services, which is part of the prior authorization
process. With these rule changes, we will be able to monitor the care our
members receive as well as keep costs down by making sure providers are
vetted through our regular enrollment process and agree to our state¹s

“It is also important for our members who live in border communities in
Oklahoma to know that if they go to see their primary care doctor, for
instance, who practices in Texas or Arkansas within 50 miles of the
border, they will still be able to see that doctor, as long as the doctor
is contracted with SoonerCare,” said Dr. Evans. “If they travel out of
state to see family and end up in the emergency room, as long as it is
medically necessary, SoonerCare will cover them, as well. Only those
specialized medical services regularly requiring prior authorization are
subject to more careful control.”
The policy revisions define coverage and reimbursement for out-of-state
services for SoonerCare members. They also spell out provider
participation and prior authorization requirements including medical
records requests for out-of-state providers.

The agency is moving away from single-case agreements with non-contracted
providers. SoonerCare members currently receiving out-of-state services
through these agreements are being transitioned to regularly-contracted
SoonerCare providers who agency medical staff have determined provide the
same level of care.

“The agency understands that a number of our members have very complex
medical needs and we are dedicated to ensuring our members currently
receiving care outside of Oklahoma have a warm, sensitive transition to a
new, in-network provider,” said Becky Pasternik-Ikard, OHCA Chief
Executive Officer. “Our medical staff has worked tirelessly to identify
facilities and providers who will continue the level of care our members

“We believe these changes will maintain and strengthen SoonerCare members¹
access to quality care as well as control our program costs. We also want
to ensure Oklahomans are using our excellent Oklahoma providers and
specialists when possible,” said Dr. Mike Herndon, OHCA Chief Medical
Officer. “Dr. Evans and our legal and medical staff worked for more than
18 months researching and writing these policies to be fair and rigorous
to ensure the highest level of care for our members and to identify an
extensive network of SoonerCare-contracted providers.

“Dr. Evans personally contacted physicians and facilities of the highest
caliber to secure contracts and vet the expertise if a service was not
available in Oklahoma,” said Herndon. “The policy also provides
transparency so providers have a clearer picture of the services available
for our members. And finally, it ensures the agency is in compliance with
federal and state regulations.”

In 2019 the Oklahoma legislature passed HB 2341 which limited SoonerCare
members¹ services to in-state providers when possible. The Sept. 1 changes
to OOS services will allow OHCA to maintain compliance with federal and
state regulations.

If you are a SoonerCare member and have questions about these changes,
please contact the SoonerCare Helpline at 800-987-7767 or visit

Summary of out-of-state services changes for SoonerCare members and
€       Members who see out-of-state primary care providers will see no changes,
as long as the provider is SoonerCare contracted and practices within 50
miles of the state border.
€       Members who need emergency care when out of state will see no changes,
as long as the trip to the ER was determined medically necessary by
€       Specialty care outside of Oklahoma for members must be with a provider
contracted with SoonerCare and receive prior authorization.
€       Complete documentation for prior authorization will need to be received
by OHCA 10 days before a scheduled out-of-state service unless it is a
true medical emergency.
€       OHCA will no longer enter into single-case agreements with
non-contracted facilities for out-of-state services.

Waurika Library News August 1, 2019


The 2019 Summer Reading Program wrapped up last week on Friday, July 26th.

Monday July 22nd, Ramona Johnson returned to take over coordinating the last week.

After Drop Everything And Read, the kids made abstract art with some craft sticks and paint.

Thanks to Pat McGriff for preparing chicken, fruits and vegetables for lunch. Thanks to Starr Heron and Melicia McFadden for serving.

On Tuesday, after Drop Everything and Read, the kids continued working on their craft sticks. They painted them the day before and then glued them together.

Next, the kids went outside. Some of the kids made sidewalk art with chalk while others played kickball.

Thanks to Pat McGriff for preparing and serving spaghetti and green beans for lunch.

On Wednesday, after Drop Everything And Read, Nicole Hill and Jacey Smith from the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center came to talk to the kids.

Bill Eakin, Debbie Brandon, and Melicia McFadden serve pizza.

The kids each got a piece of lettuce to put in front of them while Franklin, a tortoise, went around and ate all of it.

After learning about turtles and tortoises, the kids made chimes out of small clay pots with nuts and bolts.

Thanks to Kristie Gaines and the Waurika Quick Mart for providing pizza for lunch. Thanks to the Waurika Lions Club for serving.

On Thursday, Heidi Townsend filled in for Ramona Johnson.  After DEAR time, the kids worked on making a book about what they had done over the summer. The covers of the books were coloring pages made from pictures of the kids.

As they finished up working on their books, the kids went outside to make sidewalk art with chalk and play kick ball.

Thanks to Mark Lehew and Susan Howard of Doc’s Place for providing chicken and french fries for lunch. Thanks to Carol Prewitt for serving.

Friday was the last day of the 2019 Summer Reading Program 🙁

After Drop Everything And Read, Ramona Johnson showed the kids how to churn butter with a family churner over 100 years old.

Once all of the kids churned the butter, they each got to taste a sample alone and on some bread.

Next, it was time for lunch. Thanks to Juan Alvarez and his team at Sonic for providing grilled cheese and tater tots for lunch. Thanks to Melicia McFadden for picking it up.

Thanks to Ramona Johnson and Heidi Townsend for planning activities last week. Thanks to Karlee Berthiaume for her assistance. Thanks to Brittney Helterbran for all of her help.

Thanks to Jazmine Simon, Presley Parker, Merzedez Brown, Jon Campiche, Tye Kier, and Tegan Kier for volunteering to help with activities and serving lunch.

Thanks to all of the volunteers, sponsors, local businesses and organizations that made the 2019 Waurika Summer Reading Program a great success!

Cindy’s Culinary Corner


This week’s recipe is perfect for summer get togethers. Don’t let all the ingredients and steps scare you. It really is very simple. I find it easier to use an electric knife to slice into small appetizer sandwiches. When sliced there should be a pickle slice in each sandwhich. Your appetizer will be the hit of the get together!

Stuffed Bread Appetizers

2 pkgs. (one 8 oz, one 3 oz) cream cheese, softened.

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 cup chopped sweet red pepper

1/2 cup chopped water chestnuts

1 tsp. Garlic salt

1 loaf (26 in) French bread (halved lengthwise)


Dried Parsley flakes

4 Dill pickle spears

4 slices deli ham

1. In a large bowl, combine the first 6 ingredients; set aside.

2. Hollow out top and bottom of bread, leaving 1/2 inch shell (discard removed bread or save for another use). Spread thin layer of mayo over bread and sprinkle with the parsley. 

3. Fill each half with cheese mixture. Wrap pickle spears in ham; place lengthwise over cheese mixture on bottom half of loaf. Replace top; press to seal together. 

4. Wrap in foil. Refrigerate overnight. Just before serving, cut into 1 inch slices.

Yields: About 2 dozen. 

Round Ryan August 1, 2019


 If you have been paying attention, you will have noticed a young lady perched atop the scaffolding by the mural on Highway 81.  Her name is Maris Blanchard, she is the daughter of the late Bobbie Blanchard and the granddaughter of Teresa Blanchard.  We have all become accustomed to its faded appearance but I believe that if you look at it now or wait until she is finished, I think you will agree that it looks much better.  Ms. Blanchard is doing a wonderful job and she told me that it means a lot to her to be able to do this for her fathers home town and also that she has fond memories of coming to Ryan to visit when she was younger.  Thank you Maris.

 Ryan Fire Chief Randal Garcia tells me that they had a good turn out for the first annual Stop, Drop and Run 5K fun run and walk.  It is great to see so many people participating.  They had hamburgers for lunch after the run but I was unable to attend as I had a family reunion to attend at the same time but I bet the food was good.

 The reunion mentioned in the above paragraph was a lot of fun.  Mostly we sat around talking and eating.  Some of our relations from the east side of the county as well as some nice folks from Texas came to visit.  Bob Cates started off life in Ryan but his family left after a fire destroyed the family business.  Bob told me his brother, Utah Cates (is that a cool name or what), worked for the railroad.  I am hoping that some of my elders around town can enlighten me in regard to the Cates family.

 Wednesday was the last day for the children’s reading group here in Ryan because school will be starting in a couple of weeks.  T J Dewbre tells me that there are already plans in the works for a possibly expanded reading group next year.  As you can imagine this is a cause that is near and dear to my heart.  I believe that the earlier that you expose children to reading and books the better.  I am taking this opportunity to thank a few folks, Michelle for getting the ball rolling, TJ, Heidi Townsend, Emily Smith, Amanda Reagan, Cheryl Carter and the town council (I know that I am missing a bunch of people but you know who you are), thank you for picking the ball up and running with it.

 It is easy to let personal feelings color our thinking, but all of these stories, the mural, the fire department and the children’s reading group are examples of people working together for the common good.  Call me Pollyanna if you like but I think things are looking up in Ryan.

 The book I am reading is called “Dancing At the Harvest Moon” by K.C. McKinnon.  The harvest moon of the title is a dance hall and eating establishment open seasonally on a lake in Canada.  This is a tale of love and loss, re-birth and starting over when life kicks you in the teeth as happens from time to time.  I am not sure from whom I acquired this book but so far it has been good reading.  The art work alone makes it worth looking through.  I frequently get books given to me.  Sometimes it is a case of someone cleaning out a cupboard and sometimes it is hey I just read this and you need to read it as well.  In ether case the gifts are greatly appreciated, I can’t think of a better gift than a book.

 I am thinking about a time when my younger sister came home from college to visit and when she walked through the door, I’m stretched out in the living room floor listening to “Freebird” and reading a volume of Walt Whitman that she had given me.  This comes to mind because as I sit here writing this I have music playing, it is hard to type and rock out as well. (I have my earplugs in so to anyone watching, I must appear spastic). Other than the first song, none of the music was selected by me, so I have run down the list of several great songs, from “Sweet Home Alabama” to “Can’t You See” to “With a Little Help from My Friends” and now it’s “Freebird”.  I’m not sure why books and music go together for me, maybe it’s the story telling inherit in both.  I’ll see if my sister remembers.   

Waurika School Enrollment Aug 6,7, & 8


 Open enrollment for Waurika Elementary is August 6th, 7th, & 8th from 8:30- 12:00.

Enrollment for Waurika Public Schools MS/HS is August 7th & 8th. 9:00 am to 1:00pm for 6th – 8th graders. 5:30 – 7:30 pm for 9th – 12th graders.

Back to School Night for Waurika Elementary is August 13th at 6:00pm.

The elementary school supply list is posted on the school website, waurikaschools.org, under elementary.

The first day of school is August the 15th.

Garcia Settling in as New Fire Chief


Randal Garcia has been the Ryan Fire chief since May of this year. However, he has been a member of the fire department since around 2008. 

He says everyone has come together and the support he has received has been great. 

He is the brother of Stephanie Wesberry and the son of Josey and  Mio Garcia of Terral. (Josey is pictured on the back page at her restaurant known as Mama Josey’s in Terral.)

Randal is grateful for how things have progressed and the way Waurika and Ryan have worked together. 

We’ve had some training with Waurika he says. 

Last Saturday the Fire Department held their first 5K Run fundraiser. Many of the Ryan track teams as well as members of the community participated. 

The money will go toward the upgrading and repairing of some of the fire trucks. 

Along with the 5K Run the department sold T-shirts that said, “Stop Drop and Run 5K and Fun Run.”

Participants had the option of running or walking the 5K. 

There may still be some shirts available. The cost of each shirt is $10 for small through XXL and $15 for #XL. 

The hot dogs and hamburgers served at the fundraiser were excellent. Donations were taken for the meal. 


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