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Waurika
Wednesday, June 16, 2021
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Letter to the Editor

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As having been recently elected to the city council and appointed as mayor of Waurika, I am hearing good things about our town and some things that people think should be done differently or areas where we are falling short.

   The purpose of this letter is to point out some things that I think are being done to help our community grow. Many of you are watching the progress of the Sorosis Park renovation at Main and D St. The mural is finished and the sculptures of cows and horses donated by local farmers and ranchers will soon be returned to the wall. Watch for more progress in the coming months. This is made possible by having fund raisers and receiving donations from citizens interested in making our community a more attractive and user friendly place to live.

   Recently a family from out of town who came to attend the Ranch Rodeo said, “Waurika has one of the prettiest Main Streets we have ever seen”. They noticed Veterans Park, the beautiful flowers in pots and the Yaupon trees and shrubs in the brick planters. Our beautiful Main Street is made possible by Craig Williams and community volunteers.

   As we search for new business and industry to come to our community, they invariably ask about our medical care and our school system. The Jefferson County Hospital and Waurika Clinic are great assets for our community. We have a very good school system with excellent administrators and teachers and are very fortunate to have easy access to the Red River Technology Center in Duncan. We all want our students and young adults to have every opportunity for a great future.

   Prospective businesses also ask about the city’s financial condition and residential areas. Our city financial situation is good. We have a great group of city employees, led by strong management who are willing and able to make good decisions, develop excellent budgets and stay within those guidelines to assure we have emergency funds to deal with unforeseen issues. 

   Our police force is very effective and aware of the drug issues and burglaries we have in our community. They are working diligently along with the county sheriff’s department on these problems. We also have employees making residents aware of city codes pertaining to tall grass, weeds and trash on properties.

   Yes, we do have some issues! We have been told by consultants who have helped in our efforts to bring more business to Waurika and create a better place to live that we need to clean up our town. We are working hard on this and making progress. I have talked with people from Comanche, Anadarko, Ardmore and Nocona and they have all stated they had to clean up their town before they could grow.

   Venable Pipeline Company has been here for almost a year and are extremely pleased with the way they were accepted and treated like family in Waurika. The superintendent noted they were treated fair on everything they needed in our town and this was very different than other towns where they had headquartered. This makes me proud of our town and its people.

   Do we have it all worked out? No, but we have a beautiful Main Street, the best Veteran’s Park, a mural depicting the Chisholm Trail in what will be a park that we can all enjoy. We also have a large group of citizens willing to work for community improvement. Are we making progress?  Absolutely, because so many have the vision ingrained in their mind and the possibilities for our little town are great! 

   I ask for your support in working toward an even better community to be proud of and to be seen that way by anyone who chooses to locate here. Waurika Proud!

Sincerely,

Gary “Lebo” Duncan,

Mayor, Waurika, Oklahoma

Meet the Candidates for Waurika City Commission

This is your chance to get to know the candidates for seats on the Waurika City Commission.

We listed them in alphabetical order according to last names. However, we listed Mayor Carole Eakin first because she is the incumbent.

Each candidate was asked the same general questions. We asked them to tell us a little about themselves, why they wanted to serve (or continue to serve) on the city commission, and then lastly we let them say whatever they wanted that would help voters know them better.

Editor’s Note: Every candidate was given a chance to appear on video. However, some of them chose not to do so. We respect that. All the candidate’s profiles and interviews will appear in the upcoming week’s paper.

Note: Each candidate was allowed to say whatever he or she wanted and the length of each video was determined by the length of their answers.

Carole Eakin

Mayor Carole Eakin talks a little about where she grew up and her education at Oxford in England. She then talks about her time on the city commission and the things that have been accomplished during her twelve years serving the community. Mayor Eakin addresses the water rates and the state of the finances of the city. Lastly, she talks about what she would like to see accomplished for the city in the future.

Adam Brinson

Adam is the pastor of the First United Methodist Church in Waurika.

He was asked the same questions posed to the other candidates. He talks about his education and how he came to live in Waurika. During the interview, he talks about his views and what inspired him to become a candidate for the city commission. He simply wants to serve the needs of the people and do what is best for the city of Waurika.

Amber Delaney

Although Amber’s interview is the least lengthy of all the interviews, she is specific and to the point. Amber talks about her work at the Terral School. She discusses the importance of family, and her desires to see the city continue to prosper.

Gary “Lebo” Duncan

Gary is a native of Waurika. His family roots run deep here. In this interview, he speaks in depth about his experiences in business, his family history, and talks about things he would like to see accomplished in the city. Gary says he wants to see the city grow and he has various ideas of how that can happen. He wants to bring his business experience and leadership skills to the city commission.

As stated earlier, there will be more about the candidates in this next week’s paper.

Candidates who did not wish to participate in the video interview include:

Bobby Taylor

James Terry

Mark Lehew

New Program Instills Self Esteem in Teen Girls

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If you are the parent or grandparent of an Eight to Thirteen year old girl… please consider attending this informational Open House about a program that is coming to Waurika! Girls on the Run is a non-profit program that encourages pre-teen and early teen girls to develop self-respect and healthy lifestyles through dynamic, interactive lessons and running games, culminating in a celebratory 5k run. Waurika will have 2 “teams”, one for 3rd through 5th grades and another for 6th through 8th grades.

The Girls on the Run Southern Oklahoma Council states that “Now, more than ever, girls struggle to navigate a complex world. They struggle with belonging, finding and keeping positive friend networks, determining their own self-worth, and growing with confidence. Throughout the adolescent years, girls internalize negative messages that can have long-term effects. It doesn’t have to be this way! Girls on the Run provides a tool box, at a critical age, that allows them to access essential life skills in resolving conflict, managing emotions, making intentional decisions, finding joy and helping others. Uniquely, these provisions are rooted in their own experiential learning and through physical activity.”

The informational Open House is Wednesday, January 16th from 5:15 to 7:00 p.m. at the Waurika Elementary School cafeteria. Light refreshments will be served and there will be a fun Give Away!

The program has already garnered lots of support in our community. Local sponsors for the Waurika program include the Waurika Sorosis Club, Waurika Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson County Hospital, Waurika Clinic, Waurika Quik Mart, A&A Wind Pros, Marketing Solutions Group, Inc., Colt and Teddy Morrison, Dr. and Mrs. Rod Linzman, Ronnie and Sharon Morgan, and the Circle N Ranch. 

You can find out more about this after-school program by following this link: Girls on the Run – Official Site www.girlsontherun.org

Officiating Concerns Brought to Light in Recent Game at Ryan

Before we get to the information in this column, allow me to make a few disclaimers.

Officials in any sport are human. They can make mistakes and often do. It is unfortunate, but that is reality and since we are all human, there should be some level of understanding of this when there are bad decisions made in a game by officials.

Another issue in today’s high school sports arena is a critical shortage of officials to call the games at the high school and junior high level. Why is this? We will discuss some of those reasons further in this column.

One other disclaimer – I would never want to be an official. I will admit, however, to expressing frustration as a fan when officials make a bad call.

However, when there are repeated mistakes that are relatively obvious in a game, it is fair to bring those issues to light.

Last Thursday night at Ryan, I witnessed what was one of the poorest officiated games I have ever seen. I have been to a few in my 61 years – about 500 games.

Most of the time fans complain of the officiating when their team loses, but this time Ryan rallied for a last-second 78-74 win over Bray-Doyle.

The discrepancy in the number of penalties against each team in this game was mind-boggling. Ryan was flagged 24 times (not counting one penalty on an extra-point try), while Bray was whistled for only six penalties.

To be perfectly clear, Ryan was guilty of many of those penalties and must find a way to have more discipline during a game if they are to close out the current season with success.

Most of the critical calls came in the second half when the game became close.

Two pass interference calls, which are some of the most difficult to make in football, went against Ryan. One the Bray-Doyle receiver clearly pushed off the Ryan defender, but interference was flagged against Ryan.

The second missed call was actually a no-call as a Ryan receiver was streaking down the right sideline and was bumped by a Bray-Doyle defender keeping the Ryan receiver from reaching the ball.

Probably the worst call of the night came when Ryan coach Tony Tomberlin was giving a defensive signal. The referee blew his whistle and signaled timeout. The Ryan players and coaching staff were bewildered and when discovering none of the players called timeout, the referee was asked who called the timeout.

The referee informed Coach Tomberlin that he called it and when an explanation was given the referee refused to rescind the timeout. In my opinion, that was an easy fix. Simply call the teams back to the field and resume play.

Late in the game when Ryan was trying to drive for a clinching score and run out the clock, a Ryan player lost the ball after being tackled. The film is a bit inconclusive, but it appeared he was down before the fumble, but the officials gave the ball to Bray-Doyle and the Donkeys eventually scored the go-ahead touchdown with 43 seconds to play in the game.

 One other call in the fourth quarter that impacted the game was a targeting penalty called against Ryan’s Skylar Parkhill that results in an automatic ejection.

The film was sent to the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association. It was ruled not to be targeting and the ejection was rescinded so Parkhill will be eligible to play in Ryan’s contest with Wilson tomorrow night.

A few other calls were certainly questionable throughout the game.

This officiating crew must have had an off night. They are regarded as one of the best crews in this area and are usually found officiating at larger schools on a weekly basis.

One of the real issues with officiating in all sports is the lack of numbers of officials in Oklahoma.

As current officials are growing older and eventually hanging up their whistle, younger people are not stepping in to take on the job.

The shortage is real. Just a quick scan of the internet produced articles from Muskogee and Lawton that have been written in the past couple of years about the shortage of officials.

Games have even had to be rescheduled to a different night because officials could not be found to work a particular game.

Now in defense of the people that are not stepping up, it is a greater challenge to officiate games of all sports because kids are bigger and faster than they used to be. In football and basketball in particular the game is faster than ever before.

 

Many times people are not joining the officiating ranks because they do not want to put up with coaches and fans that at times can be irate and irrational. The abuse they some times take is often excessive. And some sports such as basketball and baseball, the officials are not far from the fans.

And there are a growing number of student-athletes that come with less than the best attitudes and when a call doesn’t go their way, the attitude of the player comes out. This is often detrimental as officials that are human take notice of this and often begin to look at that player a bit unfairly or with more scrutiny.

Players, coaches and fans need to be held accountable for some of the problems with the shortage of available officials.

But, the need for officials is real. Local organizations in Lawton, Duncan and Ardmore are actively searching for new people to join the ranks to call games in baseball, softball, soccer, wrestling, football and basketball.

If you are interested in becoming an official, go to the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association’s website (ossaa.com) and register. There is a fee and there is a lot of preparation involved to eventually become an official.

The pay level is not great, but if someone needs a little extra cash, you can make up to $1,000 a season and if you can call more than one sport, the figure will increase.

So if you can weather the criticism and you want to be involved at some level with young men and women, you are urged to take the appropriate steps and become an official.

More numbers usually results in a higher quality of product and it is no different with officials. The need is real and the issues are real, but they can be solved.

 

Round Ryan October 11 2018

Ryan Main Street

If you haven’t noticed by now, my last two articles failed to include the usual conclusion of praying for rain. He has blessed us nearly beyond measure with the answered prayer for our much needed rain. I am not going to pray that He turns it off by any means, either. I can’t even keep track now of how much or when we have received our rains over the last 2 weeks. We are getting more rain as I am writing this article. We are heading for lows in the 40s over the coming week. Highs are predicted in the 70s and a couple of days in the 60s. Enough about the weather. Thank the Lord for providing for us,weather and otherwise.

I went and picked up Brionna this past Friday evening in Bowie. We missed the ballgame, but, saw the final score of 84 to 38 in Ryan’s favor. I bet that was quite a game! Brionna, Kim and I went to the horse show Saturday morning at the Crossbrand Cowboy Church in Waurika. Brionna participated in one of the events. She showed Ruffy Tuffy in the halter show. She got a ribbon for showing. Kim participated in 3 events and got ribbons for all of the events she participated in, too. It was a fun time and we got to meet some new people and we also got to see Mary Elizabeth Pierce from the Whispers of Hope Horse Farm.  She had 6 horses and a group of riders that all had a good time, too. They travelled from Wichita Falls, Tx. 

This coming Saturday, starting at 3:00pm, there will be the Fall Festival in the Ryan park across from City     Hall. There are several activities planned for that day, so, be sure to work it into your calendar. Have your money with you, too, so that you can make purchases and donations to the Ryan Community Regeneration.

Then, Sunday, there is a benefit dinner at the Ryan Senior Citizen Center for Sammy Overstreet.  Sammy has been diagnosed with cancer. Please get out and support him by attending this benefit dinner. The food will be great, too.

There is a wedding shower for Shaylee Kimbro and Ryan Chester this Sunday at 2:00pm at the First Baptist Church in Ryan.

This last Saturday, we lost another resident just outside of Ryan. Nam an Mendoza, from Sugden, passed away and they are having his service this week.  Prayers to Barbara and their family during their loss.

Kim’s news for this week:

At the Cowboy Church Horse Show, Ruffy Tuffy won 4 ribbons and Foxy won 1. Brionna got to show Ruffy Tuffy for me.  It was a no wreck day and everything went okay.

Everyone have a blessed week. Please pray for each other.

Doris Baker Inducted into Western Swing Music Society Hall of Fame

Doris Ann Baker of Waurika joined her husband in the Western Swing Music Society Hall of Fame.

Baker and her late husband, Henry Baker, shared  their love of music ever since marriage.

In 1981 the couple began working with the Texas Playboys and began to perform what has become known as Western Swing Music.

Baker began her foray into the genre by learning  every Bob Wills song suggested to her.

In 1982, Gene Crownover took Henry and Doris to Turkey, Texas for Bob Wills Day. He asked Henry to play bass for the outdoor show. Gene predicted they’d never miss this annual event in Turkey again if they only went once.

That prediction came true.

In 1999, Henry and Doris bought the future “Church of Western Swing” (COWS) in Turkey- a 100 year old Assembly of God church-and made it into a music theater known as the “place to be” in Turkey, Texas for Bob Wills music. 

In 2011, the COWS was  named Music Venue of the Year in Texas by Governor Rick Perry, through the Cowtown Society of Western Music.

With the venue grew the band, The COWS Swing Band. 

Over the years Doris and Henry hosted Valentine, Halloween and Christmas parties in addition to organizing seven days of music shows during Turkey’s Bob Wills Days, held the last week of April.

Doris was always the hit of the evening. 

Some of the musicians and singers she worked with included her husband Henry Baker, Curly Lewis, Tommy Perkins, Benny Garcia, Eldon Shamblin, Billy Dozier, Gene Thomas, Bob Kiser, Bob Womack, Gene Casaway, Bobby Boatright and Leon Rausch.

Long-Time Ryan Coach Steps Aside From Grid Responsibilities

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Veteran Ryan football coach Stan Mueggenborg has stepped away from the program after 12 seasons as the head of the Cowboy program.

 Mueggenborg will remain on the faculty at Ryan and will coach fast-pitch softball this fall and slow-pitch softball next spring.

 Tony Tomberlin, who served as an assistant under Mueggenborg for all 12 seasons, will take over the head coaching reins and it is hoped the transition will be seamless.

 Tomberlin will be the 33rd different head coach in school history.  

 In 2006, Mueggenborg took over the coaching duties of the football program at Ryan after coaching stops at Wichita Falls Notre Dame and Grandfield. He was a football assistant at Grandfield for 19 years.

 There are a number of accomplishments for Mueggenborg in his 12 years at the helm of the Cowboys.

 Mueggenborg is the longest tenured coach in program history and no one else comes close.

 Ryan’s first football coach, G.J. Williams coached nine seasons at Ryan, but that was over three different time periods.

The only other football coach to come remotely close to Mueggenborg’s tenure would be Raymon West, who coached football on three different occasions totaling seven years.

 Mueggenborg will end his career at Ryan with an 81-52 mark. That is the most wins by any Ryan coach in school history.

 The winning percentage of .609 is the third best among coaches who have served at Ryan for at least three years or more.

 In his first season as head coach of the Cowboys, Mueggenborg directed the squad to an 11-2 record and an appearance in the state semifinals where the Cowboys were upset by Temple, 26-7.

 In 2009, Mueggenborg coached the Cowboys to a 10-0 record in the regular season and then helped.

 In 2009, Mueggenborg coached the Cowboys to a 10-0 record in the regular season and then helped Ryan make another semifinal appearance where the Cowboys fell to eventual state champion Canton, 42-8.

 The 2009 campaign is one of only four seasons in school history that Ryan posted an undefeated record in the regular season and each season had a different head coach.

 Those two semifinal appearances are part of nine semifinal contests for Ryan and only Phil Elerick has coached more state semifinal games at Ryan than Mueggenborg.

 In his last season, Mueggenborg helped the Cowboys to a 6-5 mark and a playoff appearance that ended a two-year drought of post-season play for Ryan.

 Mueggenborg led the Cowboys to nine playoff appearances in his 12 seasons and has two district titles to his credit.

 The Ryan teams that Mueggenborg coached were always highly competitive, hard-nosed and hard-hitting.

 The Cowboy squads coached by the veteran coach did not quit – even in the midst of tremendous adversity such as was experienced in the 2015 and 2016 seasons when the Cowboys won only three total games.

 Mueggenborg was also the baseball coach for 11 years and his teams won two conference tournament titles and one district championship. Mueggenborg gave up the baseball coaching duties last season to coach slow-pitch softball

 Another noted achievement for Mueggenborg during his coaching reign was the construction of a new stadium for Ryan in 2008. The metal bleachers and press box replaced the stadium seating that had been in existence since 1947.

 Tomberlin, who has primarily been in charge of the defense during his 11 years as an assistant, will face a tough challenge in returning the Cowboys to the playoffs.

 Ryan is assigned to District B-4 for the next two seasons and will face stiff competition in the upcoming season from Central High, Wilson, Waurika and Empire.

 However, Tomberlin will be one of five new coaches among the district schools. Only Central High will have the same coach from the 2017 season.

 The Cowboys have been engaged in summer conditioning and Tomberlin noted that those who have been participating have been working hard.

 Ryan has been the only coaching responsibility for Tomberlin and he has served in nearly every sport.

 He has been the head coach for boys’ and girls’ track for nine seasons where he coached one individual state champion and six individual regional champions.

 In 2009, he was the head coach of the Cowgirl basketball squad for the second half of the season. He also was the boys’ coach for the 2010-2012 seasons and he led the Cowboys to a pair of district titles.

 For the past 12 seasons he has also served as the assistant for baseball and was named the high school principal in 2014.

 The Cowboy football season gets underway on August 24 when Ryan will welcome Snyder to Bob Givens Sports Complex.

Sparkman Legacy Began in Jefferson County

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When you write about past things, you never know what memories it might invoke in the minds of people.

 In a recent article about Waurika track, one of the outstanding athletes mentioned was Hurschel Sparkman, an outstanding hurdler for the Eagles in the 1930’s.

 A cousin of Sparkman made a point to reach out and share a few more stories about this family that had deep roots in Jefferson County.

 Hurschel was one of two boys born to Frederick and Willie Pearl Glazner Sparkman. The other brother was named Carl, who was born in 1918. The family also had a sister, Theda. They made their home in Ryan, but moved to Waurika at some point before Theda was born in 1922.

 All three siblings eventually ended up in Great Bend, Kansas, with the two boys heading there about the same time – probably in the early 1940’s.

 The family was known for strict discipline and one summer evening Carl tested that discipline of his father and it resulted in Carl taking off that night and running eight miles in the dark to his grandparents that lived near Ryan.

 Carl ended up graduating from Ryan High School. He followed his brother to Great Bend and became a businessman, insurance salesman and entrepreneur having founded Sparkman Aerial Photography.

 In 2010, Carl passed away in Hutchinson, Kansas, which had been his home for a number of years. He was less than a month short of his 92nd birthday at the time of his death.

 Carl had two sons, Dean and Gene, who is a well-known artist. Gene held art shows up and down the east coast and makes his home in Maryland.

 

Dean, who currently is a resident of Hudson, Wisconsin was a successful businessman as well, but also served as a lobbyist and worked for Elizabeth Dole lobbying for some of her causes at one time.

 Carl, or Sparky as he was known in his younger days, also ran track at Ryan, but results from that time for the Cowboys are scarce.

 Hurschel, who carried the nickname “Speedy”, was one of the stars of the Waurika track dynasty in the 1930’s and much of his success is well-documented.

 The older Sparkman won both hurdles races at the OU Invitational in 1935 and that was considered the state championship at the time. His time in the 120 high hurdles at the OU meet set a meet record and was the fastest time in the United States that season among high school thinclads.

 He also won the 200 yard low hurdles at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State) a week later.

 In 1936, Hurschel continued to dominate the hurdles’ events. He repeated as champion in the 200 low hurdles and 120 high hurdles at OU and helped Waurika earn the team title that season.

 At the 1936 Oklahoma A&M meet, he won the 220 low hurdles and helped the 880 and mile relay teams claim first place.

 Later that fall in 1936, Hurschel scored three touchdowns in Waurika’s 71-0 rout of rival Ringling.

 Hurschel went on to run track at Oklahoma A&M.

 Hurschel was not the only Waurika native that made a mark on track success of Oklahoma A&M. R.V. Wright, also an accomplished hurdler at Waurika, was a star for the Aggies and eventually was named the Aggies’ freshman track coach in 1940 after completing his collegiate career.

 One of Hurschel’s dreams was to compete in the Olympics. In 1936, he competed while still a high school student at Waurika in the regional Olympic tryouts and he finished second in the 120 high hurdles. The winner of the race advanced to a semifinal competition in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

 However, in that day, competitors trying to fulfill that dream had to pay their own way and Hurschel’s dreams were quickly dashed as he could not afford the expense it would take to earn a spot and then actually travel and compete in the Olympics.

 When Hurschel made his way to Great Bend, he actually hopped on a freight train that was departing Waurika.

 The area was good to Hurschel as he eventually married and had four children – Randy, Tommy, Mike and Carla. He retired as an engineer of the Missouri Pacific Railroad after 33 years of service.

 Hurschel was a veteran who served in the U.S. army during World War II. He died in 1983 in Great Bend.

 While the Sparkman family made more of a mark in central Kansas, it all started in Jefferson County.

 NOTE: Thanks to Waurika News-Journal/The Ryan Leader reader Ramona Bryant who provided some of the information for this article. She is a cousin to the Sparkman boys and resided near Ryan for many years. She is currently a resident of Duncan.

Woods and Waters July 5 2018

Hope you had a great “4th of July” holiday and had a chance to celebrate the founding of our great nation! In doing so I also hope you had a chance to get on the water and enjoy a little fishing.

   While out casting on your favorite body of water catching bass, crappie, catfish or whatever your quarry is, hopefully you didn’t encounter any snakeheads! What is a snakehead you ask? Well, I’m going to tell you more than you probably wanted to know about them.

   Snakeheads (Family Channidae) are native to Africa and southern Asia. About 28 species have been identified. Equipped with a lung-like organ, these fish can gulp air and survive in waters with low dissolved oxygen levels. They can also live out of water for several days if they are kept moist. All snakeheads are aggressive predators and may eliminate other fish in waters they invade. They have even been known to bite humans who got too close to a guarded nest. The northern snakehead (Channa argus) is fairly cold tolerant, and could probably survive winters in many parts of the United States. This species also has the ability to cross land by wriggling or “walking” on its pectoral fins. Snakeheads have been imported to North America for the aquarium trade, and at one time were sold live in Asian-style fish markets. It’s thought that in some instances some of these live fish were released in waterways to reproduce as they are a sought after food source in Asia.

Native Bowfin

   That was prior to the Snakehead being added to the list of injurious wildlife under the Lacey Act in October 2002, which banned import and interstate transport without a permit from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Snakeheads were sold in pet stores and in live food fish markets and some restaurants in several major U.S. cities, including Boston, New York, and St. Louis. Live specimens have been confiscated by authorities in Alabama, California, Florida, Texas, Virginia, and Washington where possession of live snakeheads is illegal. Some snakeheads living in natural waters of the U.S. may have been released by aquarium hobbyists or those hoping to establish a local food resource. Also, some cultures practice “prayer animal release”, a faith-based activity in which individuals purchase, then release, an animal (fish, amphibian, reptile, or bird) to earn merits with a deity.

You Don’t Want To Lip A Snakehead!

   Snakeheads are a freshwater fish with little, if any, tolerance for saltwater. Within their native and introduced ranges, they live in small and large streams, canals, rivers, ponds, reservoirs, and lakes. Many species can tolerate a wide range of pH, and one species living in Malaysia and parts of Indonesia prefers highly acid waters (pH 2.8-3.8). The northern snakehead and several other species prefer to live in somewhat dense aquatic vegetation where they feed and reproduce. Northern snakehead may tolerate a wide range of water temperatures and environmental conditions which contributes to their success as an invasive species.

   During all stages of their life, snakeheads compete with native species for food and habitat. A major concern is that snakeheads may out-compete and eventually displace important native or other established predatory fish that share the same habitat.  As adults, snakeheads can be voracious predators. Should snakeheads become established in North American ecosystems, their predatory behavior could also drastically disrupt food chain and ecological conditions, thus forever changing native aquatic systems by modifying the array of native species. This could be disastrous!

Northern Snakehead!

   In the summer of 2002 and again in late spring 2004, Channa argus, the northern snakehead, generated national media attention when anglers caught these fish in a pond in Maryland and, more recently, in the Potomac River in Maryland and Virginia. Fisheries scientists consider snakeheads to be invasive species because they have the potential to threaten native fish, the recreational fishing industry, and aquatic ecosystems.

   A mature northern snakehead female can carry as many as 50,000 eggs, although some will not develop and others will be eaten by insects and small fish following fertilization. Depending on water temperature, eggs can hatch in about 24-48 hours. The fish also can spawn several times a year.

   Snakeheads are easy to identify with their large mouth-full of sharp teeth, a mottled appearance much like a snake and a dorsal fin that runs back to their tail. They have a slight resemblance to the native bowfin common in our southern states but they are not related. 

   Hopefully you never run into these creatures but you can search YouTube and pull up videos of people fishing for snakehead fish in the northeast.

    But for now you don’t have to worry about swimming in Lake Waurika. Get out and enjoy our Oklahoma.

John William Henderson

November 16, 1947 – June 18, 2018

Age: 70

John was born to Herbert Guy Henderson & Sally Katherine Love in Waurika, OK. He proudly served his country in the Army during Vietnam. John owned Superior Concrete Construction for over 30 years. John was also a wonderful husband, father, grandfather and a great friend.  John was preceded in death by his parents & 2 brothers. He is survived by his wife, Shirley; daughters, Michelle Gray & fiancé Billy Gilmore; Vanessa Walker & husb. Jeff; Andrea Henderson; Jessica Henderson & fiancé June Williams; grandchildren, Zachary, Ayden, Brennan, Calen, & Jaidyn, great granddaughter, Norah & many extended family & friends. A visitation will be held at Vondel Smith Mortuary at South Lakes 4000 sw 119th st OKC, OK 73173.  Thurs. & Fri. 4-8pm with family greeting friends 6-8pm on Fri. Services to celebrate his life will be 1PM Sat June 23, 2018 at First Baptist Church of Newcaslte with burial to follow at Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle. Memorials may me made to: Veterans Corner PO BOX 722160 Norman, OK 73070. Please visit www.vondelsmithmortuary.com to leave condolences for the family.