Current News <Archived News>
This page describes the day-by-day events of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Center. News about the center's programs, events, and members are included here, as well as the story of the seniors as the Legion Building is being cleared of its destroyed contents and reconstruction options are considered. Please send news items to firstname.lastname@example.org
The move into the Legion Building was completed in May 2011. Almost ten years later, on February 9, 2019, the Legion Building was destroyed by fire, with all of its contents. Center volunteers are continuing the Center mission at its temporary location, the Fellowship Hall of the Medicine Park First Baptist Church. This sidebar tells the story of the move away from the Legion Building:, into the temporary location, and the journey to a new permanent location.
The Center moved from its earlier location into the Legion Building, from the Medicine Park Community Center (Subsequently named the Events Center). The Events Center was designed in 2002, by Charley Wright. The structure was spasmodically built between 2002 and 2009. The building was initially funded with $105,000 legislative and ASCOG grants designated for a Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center facility. The resulting building was never satisfactory for use as a senior center facility. With no rooms to be dedicated to senior programs and activities, the need to reconfigure the ballroom back to community use at the end of each senior center activity, no storage space for senior specific equipment and material, the seniors sought a more satisfactory place to meet, serve, and enjoy.
In October, 2010. the American Legion, Post 193, Lawton/Fort Sill, disbanded, folded its flag, and turned their building back to Comanche County.
The WMASCC asked the county commissioners to consider letting the seniors make the Legion Building its center. It was
Comanche County property because in the 1970's the US Department of Interior had deeded them the excess Fort Sill land. The Interior Dept. had placed strict public-use restrictions on the site, but finally, in May, 2011, agreed that the WMASCC could manage the building and Legion Park
In the Legion Building for the past year, the senior center is focusing of the following:
Increase membership, and the number of volunteers
Continue to update the building and grounds to support the seniors program.
Continue to develop and improve the seniors program for the Wichita Mountains area.
Choose leads (volunteer chair people) to develop activities and new ideas for the new Program.
Make the Legion Building available to the public, as required by the Interior Dept.
Establish fund-raising events to pay the increased costs of the building.
Assist Delta Nutrition Program build the County Nutrition Kitchen in a separate portion of the building.
See our Activities Page.
The seniors were forced to move from their long-time meeting place on the Lawton Water Processing Plant, in 2003 when the old Superintendent's Residence, the meeting place, was razed to make way for a large water storage tank.
Saturday, April 24, 2021: The first week of activities by the members of the center after a full year's hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic were successful. Thirty-four people ate at the potluck. Alon Williams opened the Fellowship Hall at 10 AM. He and Paul Fonteneaux waited an hour for other domino players, drinking coffee and visiting.
Noon meals were served on Tuesday and Thursday with domino players and others enjoying the day's activities. Mexican train dominoes was played in the afternoon on both days.
Thursday, April 22, 2021: Susan May, the center's yaga instructor, announced that she will delay re-starting the yoga classes until the last of May. Medical needs in her family require the delay. The center will announce the renewed activities as soon as the schedule is known.
Tuesday, April 13, 2021: The directors of the center and the leaders of the church met today to agree on the restarting of the senior activities at the Fellowship Hall.
Senior citizen center activities will begin again at the Fellowship Hall, First Baptist Church of Medicine Park on Monday, April 19.
Senior citizen center activities will begin again at the Fellowship Hall, First Baptist Church of Medicine Park on Monday, April 19.
Some COVID 19 protective procedures will be in effect: If you don't feel well, do not come to the center (But, call the cell phone below and ask for a meal or meals will be brought to your car in the parking lot.); your brow temperature will be taken upon entry; food items will be served onto your plate as you go through the food line;
The schedule is the same as the last time we met:
Open 1 pm Monday for dominoes and table games. The Monday Potluck will begin serving at 6 pm. Table games after the meal.
Open 10 am Tuesday and Thursday for dominoes, Yoga, coffee and conversation, and other activities. Closing around 3 pm.
For the potluck meal, when possible, bring the side dish of your choice or dessert. James and Center volunteers will prepare the main course. This Monday, that will be roasted pork loin.
Saturday, April 10, 2021: Noretta Ginter was appointed to fill the vacancy of the office of president of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center by the incumbant board of officers in a special meeting on Saturday, April 10. The vacancy was created with the death of long-time president, Eva Williams, in March. The vacancy of the office of vice president was also filled by the appointment of Dan Dolenar. The appointment to fill vacancies on the board is in accordance with the by-laws of the center. The general membership elects the officers of the center once a year, in June. The new officers are appointed to serve until the next election.
Friday, March 5, 2021: Eva Williams, the long-time president of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center passed away on Sunday, March 4. She was hospitalized on February 12 with heart and lung problems from which she was unable to recover. Services and enturnment will be on Wednesday, March 7, at the Paradise Baptist Church.
Friday, September 25, 2020: Buddy Dye, the center vice president, has subcummed to the cancer which he has fought so hard and so long. No plans have been announced at this time for services.
Tuesday, September 22, 2020: Flu shots will not be administered this year at the senior citizens center. Since the center is not yet offering food and activities at the Fellowship Hall meeting place, president Eva Williams, after consulting with Pharmasist Bob Dishman, that too few persons would participate in the annual activity. Flu vaccinations are offered at many places in Lawton and Elgin, and Eva encourages allPrior to moving into the Medicine Park Community Center in January 2010, the senior center met only on Mondays at the Medicine Park Town Hall. for five years. ns because of the devestating possibilities of COVID-19.
Saturday, August 22, 2020: On Saturday, 10 am, the senior citizens and the First Baptist Church gathered to distribute a large amount (300 pounds) of frozen chicken strips to people in the Medicine Park area. Many gallons of milk was also available, and the senior citizen center added all of the canned and dry food in their pantry and frozen items in their freezer to the distribution.
When the doors opened at 10 am, people gathered to receive the rations free of charge. The citizens came in a steady stream until all of the food was gone at 12 noon. Church and senior center volunteers filled boxes with the items selected and helped the infirm take the food to their vehicles.
The Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG) had made the frozen chicken available to people of the Medicine Park area and to its 8-county area of responsibility in partnership with the Regional Food Bank, after the food bank received a huge donation of meat.
Dairies in the region donated their excess milk.
Monday, May 11, 2020: County officials are in discussions with Armstrong Steel Buildings in order to establish a basic cost of delivering the 7,500 sq ft buiding components to the Legion Park site for construction of the county community center which will be completed and operated by the senior citizens. Commissioner Cargill told center representatives to day that he will soon be in a position to provide a full update on the status of the rebuilding.
Thursday, March 26, 2020: As the first citizens of Comanche County tested positive in Lawton, the center board decided to immediately suspend all activities at the center. Attendance for the past several days had been very low, with members observing the recommendations of local authorities to hunker down at home until the worst of the pandemic has passed and normal daily activities can continue.
Monday, March 23, 2020: The center announced on Friday that the Monday Potluck will take place. Warning signs will be placed on the Event Center doors advising senior "PLEASE DO NOT COME IN IF: .You have lost your sense of smell or taste .You have diarrhea or bowel discomfort .You cough, have fever or difficulty breathing .You are noticing shortness of breath .You have recently been outside of SW OK...." Seniors fitting those guidelines and arrive at the center for the potluck are advised to go back to their cars and Call 580-574-1942 and ask for CARRYOUT! A carryout box will be delivered to the parking lot.
Monday, March 16, 2020: The contracted environmental engineer has certified to the county that the Legion Park building site is not affected by floodplain restrictions. County Commissioner Cargill plans to talk to the Land-to-Parks supervisor in the Atlanta office of the National Park Service, expecting to get a verbal go-ahead to begin formal planning and engineering for the replacement of the Legion Building.
Saturday, February 22, 2020: Medicine Park officials has offered the Medicine Park Event Center as a temporary site for the senior center activities while the wall at the First Baptist Church Fellowship Hall is being repaired. The first day of activities will be on Monday, February 24. The center will open there on schedule at 1 pm Monday afternoon. The Monday Potluck will take place that night.
Friday, February 21, 2020: The town of Medicine Park seems amenable to the Senior Center using their Events Center beginning next week and until the County Community Center is constructed and ready for use. Vice President Buddy Dye has spoken with various town officials regarding the use of their building. Various issues are being discussed, and we should know later today about the possibilities.
Thursday, February 20, 2020: This afternoon a car banged into the side wall of the Fellowship Hall at the church. Logs, which are the structural components of the wall, were displaced, swaying into the room at the left of the TV cabinet toward the domino table, and the ceiling of support sagged perceptably. While the four domino players were jarred by the noise of the collision, no one within the dining room was hurt. The driver of the car, the wife of one of the domino players, had come to pick up her husband. The driver was shaken up, with her chest hurting from its impact with the steering wheel -- the air bag apparently didn't inflate. She was transported by Memorial Hospital ambulance.
The Senior Center will not be able to use the Fellowship Hall during the foreseeable future. James, the food manager, was at the building during the accident and is aware of that the center must cancel next week's potluck and activities and likely even further into the future unless another meeting site is identified.
President Eva Williams and Vice President Buddy Dye are exploring with town officials the possibility of using the Medicine Park Events Center until the building in Legion Park is completed.
Monday, January 27, 2020: The Comanche County Commission agenda item regarding the rebuilding of the Legion Building was discussed in the weekly Commissioners meeting. The agenda item stated "Discussion and possible action regarding the verification of the pad elevation, the Federal Lands to Parks Program Environmental Screening Form (ESF) and its acceptance to complete the National Park Service requirement to allow the engineering and bidding of the new American Legion Building." Commissioner Cargill told the panel that the county did not have a staff professional to complete the form item regarding floodplain data, and that a contract would be let for that service. The contracted engineer will complete the floodplain survey and provide the form data in mid-February. Commissioner Owens asked where the funds for the rebuilding would come from "...will we get a grant for something?" Cargill told him that he was in touch with Congressman Cole's office, that a grant was a possibility, but that "otherwise, it will come from our hide."
Sunday, January 18, 2020: The local Field Representative for U.S. Representative Tom Coal, Scott Chance, spoke with center treasurer, Tom Spears, and later with County Commissioner Alvin Cargill about federal funding assistance for the completion of the community center in which the senior center will operate. Chance suggested a look into the USDA Rural Development Grant program. He also offered assistance to the center in completing its stalled application for SAM registration.
Monday, January 13, 2020: County Commissioner Cargill announced at the weekly meeting of the Commissioners Court that the Department of Interior, National Parks Service, Land to Parks Commission has asked for the completion of an Environmental Survey form prior to giving a go-ahead to build the metal building to replace the Legion Building, which burned on February 9, 2019. He said that the form is pretty straight forward with only three areas needing input from the county engineering department. The commissioners approved action to complete and submit the form but required that the completed form come again before the Commissioners Court prior to its formal submission to the NPS.
Monday, January 6, 2020: Meeting with County Commissioner Cargill, Tom Spears learned that the National Parks Service has yet to send the email that will allow the county to vote the funds to build the building shell that will serve as the county community center and the home of the senior center. Commissioner Cargill spoke of his intention to call his park service contact to urge the dispatch of the message. "As soon as we receive their formal agreement to our plans, I will get with the other commissioners and bring the vote to the board." He said. "That should be before the end of January."
Tuesday, December 24, 2019: In spite of what the December calendar says, there will be no New Years Eve Dance hosted by the Wichita Sounds Band this year. The powers-who-are control the use of the hall at 911 Hilltop Drive, and they told the band that there is too much rowdiness and lack of control on New Years Eve night, so they will not allow any activity to take place in their hall. Sorry!
Tuesday, November 12, 2019; "After the first of the year, we will consider the allocation of funds for the new building." County Commissioner Alvin Cargill told the senior center. Citing the very busy funding schedule as the county deals with the City of Lawton, the hospital district, and the school district.
Tuesday, October 15, 2019; Commissioner Cargill told us that he is contacting the Department of Interior, Parks and Recreation Bureau to ensure that the bureau agrees with actions being taken to rebuild the Legion Building as a Comanche County Community Center. He stated that the relationship of the senior center to the new building and to the county needs to be discussed. The position of the senior center is that we currently have a contract with the county, with four years remaining, and to be automatically renewed for five-year periods. The contract gives the senior center CONCESSIONAIRE status for the building and grounds of Legion Park, with all activities within the building and park scheduled through the senior center and any costs involved collected by and paid by the senior center.
Tuesday, October 8, 2019; From the Lawton Constitution:
The commissioners also discussed, but took no action, regarding the American Legion building at 6739 N. Wildhorse Road near the Medicine Park exit off Interstate 44.
Cargill said he felt now was the time to begin discussing whether commissioners want to move forward with the building of a new structure. The building was destroyed by fire Feb. 9.
“We need to decide what we want to do,” Cargill said of the building.
He noted that there had been some discussion of the rebuilt structure being used as a senior citizen center, but he said any building would be used as a community center, with senior citizens having an opportunity to use the building just like any other community member.
Friday, August 23, 2019: The board met with County Commissioner Cargill at 1 pm in the Fellowship Hall. The commissioner said that he thinks he has identified some funds that can be applied to building a new community center building on the old slab ot the Legion Building on Legion Park. He stated that, if the funds can, in fact, be made available, and if the entire county commission approves the use of those funds for rebuilding, the size and design of the metal building will be determined by the amount of funds and the capability of the builder to maximize the use of those funds. Commissioner Cargill stated that the building, monstructed to the largest size possible, up to the limits of the pads, will be a metal shell, insulated, and with plumbing and restrooms installed and working.
Tuesday, June 4, 2019: Eva Williams was elected as president of the center in the annual Election Meeting of the Membership. All of the other incumbent officers were reelected to their offices. Out-going President Puddin McKenzie presided over the session, announcing, just before asking for nominations for the office of president, that she would not be seeking the office. The chamber fell back to a tried and true experienced person to again lead the center by nominating and electing Eva. Eva had retired from the office because of ill health in 2015 after holding the office for twenty years. During the time of her tenure, Eva guided the center through the loss of its meeting place at the Lawton Water Treatment Plant, meeting at temporary meeting places in Medicine Park, and a severely restricted Monday-only use of the Medicine Park Town Hall meeting room. Her leadership reestablished the center in a new building built by Medicine Park for the center with senior-center-directed state funds. When unreasonable restrictions were placed on the senior center by the town council, Eva found and arranged for the move of the senior citizens into a grand facility being vacated by the American Legion. She established an active senior meals, recreation, and volunteer program at the Legion Building before illness slowed her work and caused her to give up the presidency. Puddin was elected to replace Eva in 2015.
Monday, May 13, 2019: A membership meeting was called by President Puddin McKenzie for the purpose of approving a revision of the center By Laws. The change was made necessary by the relocation of the meeting place and the destruction of the storage location of files when the Legion Building burned. The By Laws were accepted by the members in a unanimous vote. A copy of the new center By Laws is available for review on this website at Center By Laws
Wednesday, April 17, 2019: The razing of the Legion Building remains and the removal of debris began on Monday. By today, the slab is virtually cleared. The county engineer says that the slab looks to be totally intact and can be used to serve a replacement building. Ray Dryz, an architect in Lawton has volunteered to work with the center pro bono and design, cost, and oversee the contracting and building of the new structure.
Sunday, April 14, 2019: Members of the Center will meet with County Commissioner Alvin Cargill on Tuesday, the 17, to discuss the future permanent location of the WMASCC, whether the Legion Building will be rebuilt or not with ite past size and capability or with a reduced capacity, and reduced public mission or not at all.
Tuesday, March 5, 2019: The First Baptist Church of Medicine Park has offered and the center gratefully accepted their Fellowship hall as a temporary meeting place for the center to continue its reduced activity program. Only one week of activities was skipped between the Legion Building activities and the move to the Fellowship hall.
Tuesday, February 12, 2019: A fire Saturday night, February 9, destroyed the Legion Building. Starting in the kitchen, it spread throughout the building, making it a total loss. We move on from that disaster, though. With the help of the community and our many supporters, our program continues, though reduced. Alice Law, singer for the Wichita Sounds Band has found a new venue for our Friday Night Dance. Beginning this coming Friday night, February 15, the dance will be held at the Medicine Park Events Center on State Highway 49. We are meeting tonight (Tuesday) with the pastor and deacons of the Medicine Park First Baptist Church to discuss our using their Fellowship Hall for our Monday Potluck, domino tables, noon meals, and Tai Chi on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Search for a permanent location or the rebuilding of the Legion Building is still in the future.
Wednesday, February 20, 2019: At the meeting with Pastor Sanmann and Deacon Dan Fuller, of the First Baptist Church of Medicine Park, the officers of the center accepted the most gracious offer of use of the Fellowship Hall at the church until a permanent home can be found or, hopefully, the Legion Building can be rebuilt and become, again, the activity center for our members.
The initial activity in the Fellowship Hall was Monday, February 18, with an afternoon of domino playing and an evening potluck supper. At 1 pm, the center domino players continued their friendly competition and display their computational and logic skills as the domino games resume. At 6 pm, James Williams, the center food manager, and senior volunteers set out the first Monday potluck meal since the devastating fire at the Legion Building on Saturday, February 9, took their kitchen. Members coming to the potluck supper brought side dishes and desserts, with James and volunteers providing the main course.
Senior citizens activities continued on Tuesday and this Thursdays with dominoes. Other table games, Tai Chi, and stretch and balance are scheduled to resume next week. Lunch is served at noon, with activities continuing into the afternoon.
Senior Center President Puddin McKenzie encourages all of the senior center members to come to the Fellowship Center to play, to eat, to volunteer, and to help the seniors citizen center recover.
Friday, December 1, 2018, HOPE REFORMED BAPTIST NO LONGER ACTIVE
As noted on the December Calendar, the church that has been using the ballroom as its sanctuary for the past four years is no longer active. The number of families that made up its membership has diminished over the past year due mostly to military transfers away from Fort Sill with none of that faith being posted here. The two families that made up the remaining membership have begun to worship with local churches which share their Calvinist doctrine. Their leaving makes the building available to other community organizations and individuals that have a need for a one-time or continuing meeting place.
Tuesday, November 20, 2018, LED LIGHTING CONVERSION ACCOMPLISHED.
Code Electrical LLC finished converting all of the aged and malfunctioning fluorescent fixtures in the Legion Building to modern and power-efficient LED lighting. The major upgrade to the bui8lding was supported by the McMahon Foundation, through a sizable grant that financed half or the cost of the project as well as half of the cost of the August reroofing. The LED fixtures in the ballroom are a mixture of dimmable and standard off/on lights. This feature allows the ballroom to be darkened for dances and other occasions needing faint lighting; full bright lights throughout the entire dining, dancing, and stage area; and lighting for the mood desired for events anywhere between. Lights in other areas of the building; the TV/domino room, the quilting room, the kitchen, and storage were all converted to LED. Information that supports the LED conversion indicates that the center should experience a 55% reduction of its lighting electrical costs.
Thursday, August 16, 2018, RAY KOEHN DIES
Our old friend,Ray, passed away yesterday morning. Apparently, after his morning physical therapy, as he rested, he suffered a heart attack that took his life. His recent improvement had given us hope that he might recover from his wounds. The service will be on Monday at 3 PM at the Paradise Valley Church.
Wednesday, August 1, 2018, RAY KOEHN UPDATE
This note from last night. Today was another rough day. He has been running a fever and his medical team believes the infection is from an IV tube. They will be replacing it this evening. Ray still has a ventilator hooked up to his trach, and is still having difficulties with his lungs. He has been non-responsive for two days. He just lays there staring at the ceiling. Asking for the Lord's healing hands to hold him.
Tuesday, July 31, 2018, REROOFING BEGINS
Yesterday, I came to the legion building to find James and Cliff mopping the dance floor. It had rained a little over an inch Sunday night, and the buckets I have sitting above the ceiling tiles had filled and overflowed. After we had dumped the buckets and set the hardwood floor to drying, I called Bradley Foam Roofing and asked when they could re-roof the building. We had asked for bids for the job last month and have chosen Bradley of Burkburnett, TX, as the contractor to do the job. "How about tomorrow." Rick Bradley asked. So this morning a crew arrived to remove the loose gravel and the leaking bubbles in the asphalt surface. They will return tomorrow to begin the two-day repair and spraying.
Monday, July 30, 2018, RAY KOEHN UPDATE
Ray had a rough Sunday night. He had a breathing episode where they had to connect him back up to the ventilator on his trach. At the same time he had some heart palpitations. Because he was having such a hard time, they also gave him a slight sedative to calm him down. He has been sleeping all day Yes, this is a disappointing step backwards, but prayers are again ask for.
Saturday, July 28, 2018, RAY KOEHN UPDATE
It has come to a point where Ray's condition is stable and not much change on a day-to-day basis. Therefore, we will be updating only as changes occur. He has been removed from the ventilator part of his trach and is breathing on his own There is no change in his pneumonia. He is still coughing quite a bit of phlegm. They are still feeding him intravenously with hopes that his stomach injuries will heal enough to put a feeding tube directly there. He is generally awake five to six hours a day, depending upon how hard his physical therapy was. It will probably be close to 12 weeks before he is able to talk, and then it depends upon how much to his vocal cords was doneby the ventilator. Continued prayers are greatly appreciated.
Wednesday, July 25, 2018, BALLROOM LIGHTS ARE BEING ADDRESSED
Officers of the senior center have determined upgrade requirements for the florescent lights, not only in the ballroom, but in the rest of the building also. Those requirements include isolating the lights over the dance floor and making those 14 fixtures flat panel LED, all on or all off switched. Three strings of lights, one along the west wall, one over the coffee counter, and one along the east wall, will be dimmable with the rest switch on/off. individual low wattage LED light will be placed in the fan fixtures to give low illumination when desired. When funds are available florescent fixtures in the kitchen area, the quilting room, the office, the restrooms, and the domino room will be replaced by flat panel lights.. Fixtures in the front hall and storage room will be converted to ballast-bypass LED. Three contractor have expressed interest in completing the work with two of them submitting proposals. A fourth contractor has been invited to bid.
Monday, July 23, 2018, UPDATE ON RAY KOEHN
The news is not good. It has been reported by Ray's family that he is in a coma and brain dead. He has been transferred from the Intensive Care Unit at he OU Hospital to a facility that provides sustaining care for persons in Ray's condition. We wait, we pray.
Monday, July 2, 2018, UPDATE ON RAY KOEHN
The update I received about Ray's condition reads as follows: Ray had a Bad Day on Sunday.... the hospital has stopped visitors for a while. No visitors at all.
Saturday, June 30, 2018, MEMBER OF CENTER SHOT IN FAMILY DISPUTE
Many of you know Ray Koehn. He is tha guy who sang at the center fundraisers. He would arrive at the center just when the line started serving, set up his little magic music box where the music for the songs he sang was waiting. He would sing for four straight hours. His wonderful strong but mellow voice gave us renditions of old country favorites with a few old church songs scattered in. He was the guy who put the lights and the reflective material on the wall behind the band to liven up the stage. He hung the mirror ball and the two projectors that enliven the Friday night dance. He brought his mower and mowed the grass around the Legion Building. He even attempted to quell the growth of greenery on the base ball fields, and failed. He often graces us at the domino table, playing a few games when he has time..... when he isn't busy taking care of his aging and ailing parents in Apache..... and his troubled son. We have all been concerned for Ray as he has dealt with his troubled son.
Yesterday, things went bad at Ray's home. Ray was shot in the chest with a handgun. He was transported by helicopter to OU Medical Center. His son is in the Caddo County jale in Apache. Ray underwent surgery last night. He has anothe session on the operating table today. The bullet has been removed. He is no longer on a ventilator. His prognoses seems good, but his family is requesting that we do not attempt to visit him at this time. He is still in ICU, so only family members are expected there.
Monday, June 11, 2018, MEMBER URGES DIRECTORS TO FIX THE BALLROOM LIGHTS
As the special counsel meeting of the center directors was coming to an end, tonight, member Dick Huck interjected that he had an important topic to discuss. President Puddin McKenzie recognized the member to address the directors. Mr. Huck said that he was disgusted with the appearance and maintenance of the florescent lights in the ballroom. "Half of them will not light." He said. "Just look. Others blink off and on. I make the motion that we have someone fix the lights, changing them out for LED bulbs." Tom Spears asked who did Dick think should fix the lights. "Well, not volunteers!" He said. "People who know what they are doing should be brought in and do the work. If we don't have funds to do the work, we can get a grant. I will write up a grant request." He concluded. Puddin ask the directors for a show of hands regarding Dick's motion. It passed. Vice President Buddy Dye said that he would have an electrician member of the center to study the problem and recommend a solution.
Saturday, June 9, 2018, TRAFFIC LINES AND HANDICAP SYMBOLS PAINTED ON NEW VAN PARKING AREA
Tom Spears brought his paint brush, paint, and an ADA-approved wheelchair stencil to the new handicap van parking pad today to finish the job he started on June 1, marking the the new handicap van parking slab. He measured and striped and fought the wind to get the cement area marked according to ADA requirements. A stencil that Pat McKenzie had ordered allowed Tom to paint a proper handicap symbol in the middle of the two 9-foot parking spaces. Hash-marks show the wheelchair dismount areas where such space is required. The paint that Tom used had been donated by member Jose Aguilar.
Wednesday, May 23, 2018. COUNTY BRINGS CEMENT AND ROCK FILINGS TO FINISH HANDICAP VAN PARKING AT THE NEW RAMP
Commissioner Don Hawthorn and the county roads superintendent, following up on their Tuesday visit to the Legion Building to view the new ADA wheelchair ramp, had cement workers, dump trucks, and a front-loader working at the Legion Building. By the end of the day, a cement slab, sufficient to park two handicap vans, and packed rock filings along the entire of the south parking area, had been completed.
Thursday, May 17, 2018. NEW WHEELCHAIR RAMP POURED ON SOUTH SIDE OF BUILDING
That the ramp to the front door of the Legion Building is too steep for people in wheelchairs to easily navigate, whether the chairs are motor driven or powered by the arms of their occupants, has been obvious to everyone. That the steepness of the ramp was not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been mentioned frequently since the senior citizens began using the building in early 2011. Solutions have been recommended periodically, but none have been acted on, or even seriously studied. Recently, at the urging of Pat McKenzie, the only member who is confined to a wheelchair, a few members decided to have an ramp placed at the drop-off on the south edge of the front porch. Sammy's Cement poured the ramp on Tuesday and had rails installed yesterday. The next chore is to get an asphalt hardstand parking area around the opening of the ramp.
Tuesday, August 1, 2018, FINAL EMERGENCY LIGHT OBTAINED AND INSTALLED
Volunteers replaced the inoperable emergency light over the main exit to the ballroom today. The need for the replacement became apparent on Friday, July 1, when a series of storms in the Lawton area caused a widespread power failure that included the Legion Building. Being Friday, the building was filled with more than 80 people. The Wichita Sounds band had just began to to play for their weekly dance when darkness filled the ballroom. Two LED emergency lights did illuminate the back exit door and the hallway to the front door, but the route to the main exit to the ballroom failed to shine the way. Emergency lights are battery powered, and they turn on when a sensor finds a loss of electric line power to the building. The two working emergency lights were installed, replacing failed two-beam light sets, in February after they failed their monthly tests. The light replaced today had worked during its previous tests. The three light sets that have now been replaced were very old and were powered with lead-acid batteries. The new lights have LED bulbs, nickel-cadmium batteries, and will illuminate exit routes for ninety minutes when activated during power outages.
Monday, July 31, 2018, MEMBERS PARTICIPATE IN MONDAY BOARD MEETING
Center President, Puddin McKinsey, called a meeting of the board after the Monday Night Potluck Dinner. The board had not met in several months and there were five specific items that she wanted to address. In the meeting announcement she made it clear that members were encouraged to attend the meeting in order to not only offer opinions and advice to the board, but also to discuss any other topics. The announced six items were: 1) Annual Open House, Sep 9, 2) Volunteer needs and how to have more, 3) Fish Fry Fundraiser, Aug 12, 4) Scheduling cooks for Monday potluck and Tuesday noon meals, 5) Budget prep for FY2018, submission date to ASCOG, August 31. Such other topics as painting the ballroom, obtaining a large screen TV for a new regular Movie Night activity (and asking Hilliary Comm to install cable to its location), the desirability of having budget, income, and expenditures told to the membership.
Thursday, June 30, 2018, ROAD REPAVING IN FRONT OF CENTER COMPLETED BY COUNTY
Without closing traffic to the Legion Building, The Comanche County road crew finished the paving of Wildhorse Road and its access to SH 79. Oil was applied to the rock roadbed on Tuesday and the fine paving chat was laid on Tuesday and Wednesday. The rough rock was put in place in April and allowed to settle with the regular traffic driving on the rough surface. As Kenny Curry, the First Deputy Superintendent of Roads for Comanche County, told the center officers in March, they waited until the weather turned hot in order to have a better seal of the road.
Tuesday, March 6, 2018, ROAD IN FRONT OF CENTER BEING REPAVED, ACCESS NOT AFFECTED
Comanche County highway equipment has assembled along Wildhorse Road in front of the Legion Building to prepare the roadbed for repaving. Wildhorse Road has been in need of serious repair for several years with the condition of the road north of State Highway 49 having deteriorated rapidly over the past six months. Trucks loaded with rocks and aggrigates from the Dolese Richards Spur quarry have used the route to serve Fort Sill road, rock, and building projects. Kenny Curry, 1st Deputy Superintendent from Comanche County District One, has assured that there will be continued access for senior center members and citizens attending Legion Building during scheduled activities. The road work will be accomplished in two phases. The first, occurring now, has a machine scooping the existing asphalt roadway and crushing it and mixing it with gravel. The gravel mix will be spread back onto the road and packed into a smooth, usable surface. The gravel road will be used until next summer, when phase two will be accomplished. Phase two has the gravel surface prepared for paving and asphalt rock laid and smoothed. The paving work is best done in hot weather. Superintendent Curry said that if, during the machine work, passage is interrupted temporarily, delayed access will be kept to a very few minutes.
Saturday, May 21, 2018, FIRST FISH FRY FUNDRAISER SUCCESSFUL, SEVERAL LESSONS LEARNED
With more than eighty people attending today's fish fry, President Puddin McKinsey declared the day a success. "The success, of course, goes to the volunteers." she declared, looking pleased. Several lessons were learned as the tables were filled and emptied throughout the day, never overcrowding the ballroom or creating a long line at the serving counter. The variety of items available for the diners to choose from were widely appreciated, the visitors to the fundraiser told us. The choice of french fries or potato salad (or both) was a hit. The desserts were varied and well received. The cole slaw was perfect. Many of the patrons told us that they greatly appreciated that the catfish served were caught from local lakes and much preferred over the fish-farmed selections offered at other fundraisers. We can now more accurately predict how many fish will be needed for future fundraisers, and find that, with the number of volunteers we had and the design of the production line, it is likely we could serve more than 200 people during a four-hour period, if the occasion arose.
Fiday, May 20, 2018, TRIP TO SHAWNEE DELAYED BY PREDICTED WEATHER, STILL ROOM ON THE BUS TO PALO DURO CANYON
Marj Huck, coordinator for the Wichita Mountain Travelers provided the Public Relations officer with the following note today: "Due to the uncertainty of the weather over the next week, both here and in Shawnee, the people in charge of the events that we will be visiting have suggested that we not come on May 24th. I have decided to take their advice and we have rescheduled the trip to June 28. Because of the delay we have now opened the list to take more people. Five people have notified us that they cannot join the group in June. The new closing date fo sign-up for the Shawnee trip is June 20. We also have room for more people on the bus to Palo Duro. I can accept sign-ups for the Texas trip until June 1." Marj asked that the Lawton Constitution be notified of the change, with a request for an announcement.
Monday, April 18, 2018, WICHITA MOUNTAIN TRAVELERS ANNOUNCE THEIR NEXT TWO ROAD TRIPS
Excitement, information, and entertainment are on the calendar as the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens trip coordinator, Marj and Dick Huck tell fo their next two trips, announced together because of the closeness of the trip dates. The first is a one-day trip too Shawnee on May 24, and the next an overnight trip on June 9 and 10 to the TEXAS Outdooor Musical production in the Palo Duro Canyon amphitheater. Both trips are open to people of all ages. Early sign-up is encouraged for these popular destinations.
The Shawnee trip begins with a tour of what is called the Blue Jean Fatory. For 113 years the Round Housse Workwear factory has been making blue denim and brown duck work clothing. More reently many styles and colors of casual clothing have beeen added to their production. Visitors learn the histtory of the factory and see the cloth being cut, the clothing beeing sen, and the final product being wworn. Thee retail store displays the complete output styles of the oldest continuously operating clothing factory in the United States. A stop for lunch at the Grand Casino follows. Travelers who want to stay and enjoy thee casino offerings may remain, but they will miss the enjoyment and enlightenment of thee Mabee-Geffer Museum of Art. The museum offers more than 3,5S00 works of art exemplary of 6,000 years of art and culture from around the world. Fortunately, during the period of this trip the museeum also has a temporary showing of early military equipment, uniforms, and arms. The Shawnee bus leaves the Cameron Parking Lot at 7:30 and the senior center's Legion Building at 7:45 am. The $55 cost of the trip includes lunch and admissions.
The two-day trip to the Palo Duro Canyon's Texas production leaves the Legion Building at 9 am and the Cameron parking lot at 9:30 on June 9. After lunch in Memphis, TX, and checking into the Ashmore Inn in Amarillo, thee travelers will ride to and tour the spectacular canyon and enjoy a wwonderful barbeeque dinner while listening to some great country musicians. Then, as the sun sinks in the west, they will move up the hill to the amphitheater for the production of TEXAS, a musical romance of panhandle history. After breakfast the next morning, the travelers will visit the town of Canyon and the Panhandle Museum, eat lunch at the Ranch House Cafe, and head back to Lawton. The cost of the Palo Duro Canyon trip is $220 per person (double occupancy.... $265 for ssingle) The cost includes gtransportation, meals, tickets and admissions, and lodging.
More information about these two trips and others upcoming but un-announced can be obtained by calling Marj or Dick Huck at 580-429-3378 or 580-678-6112 or Erika at 580-713-1902.
Monday, March 7, 2018, DAN DOLENAR BEGINS WEEKLY BLOOD PRESSURE CHECK PROGRAM ON MARCH 9
Dan Dolenar will be checking blood pressure every Tuesday morning at the Legion Building. He will keep records of each participants blood pressure and periodically review the records for important trends. Dan is a retired registered nurse.
Thursday, March 3, 2018, Inaugural Tai Chi Session Delayed on Thursday due to illness of the leader.
The many persons coming to the Legion Building at 10:45 to participate in the 11 am Tai Chi session were met by Tom Whittenberg, the husband of Erika, the Tai Chi leader. He informed the group that his wife was ill and confined to bed. There were a good many disappointed individuals who had looked forward to participating in the session. Tom assured each person that the class would take place on Thursday, March 10, 2018. Information will be posted on the Center Web Site if anything changes.
Friday, January 22, 2018, WATER LINE BREAK AT BALL FIELD DUMPS 33,000 GALLONS INTO THE DITCH
Cold weather and inadequate insulation caused the shut-off valve for the baseball fields to freeze and crack, allowing a free flow of Legion Park water supplied by Rural Water District #1 to flow freely unnoticed for several days. The clerk at the water district call Tom Spears just after noon and told him that the meter reader had noticed that the meter was spinning wildly, indicating a major break. Investigation quickly identified the eruption of water at the ball field. The agreement between the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens and the Lawton Roughnecks placed the responsibility for the valve and pipe with the ball team. Spears called the team contact, Andre, and told him of the leak, that Spears would shut off the water at the meter, and that it would be very beneficial for the rupture to be repaired prior to the Friday Night Dance. Members of the ball club came immediately and had repaired the leak by 4 pm. Andre notified Tom that the repair was completed, and Tom went to the meter location and turned on the water to Legion Park.
Friday, January 1, 2018, NEW YEARS DANCE A HUGE SUCCESS
Eighty-three party goers attended the first New Years Dance of the Wichita Sounds Band. There was little advanced publicity for the event other than email and word of mouth, but the dance floor was at near capacity for every number. A bus brought members of the Mustang Senior Center. Every comment by those attending was full of praise for the event, with all hoping that it becomes a New Years tradition.
Saturday, December 5, 2017, WICHITA SOUNDS BAND SCHEDULES NEW YEAR'S EVE DANCE, 8 PM TO MIDNIGHT
Alice Law announced today that the Wichita Sounds band will play on New Year's Eve from 8 pm until midnight. Admission will be $10 and will include favors, non-alcohol sparkling drinks, and snacks. Alice emphasized that "Everyone is welcome to enjoy the band's sounds of the 50's and 60's."
Monday, November 16, 2017, TRAVELERS QUOTA MET WITH 40 SIGNED UP. SPACE FOR 14 MORE, AVAILABLE UNTIL DECEMBER 5
Dick Huck, coordinator for the Wichita Mountain Travelers, has announced that the minimum number of travelers to justify renting the bus has been met. He and his co-coordinator, Marj Huck, have extended the deadline for sign-up for the rest of the available seats on the 54-passenger bus. With that announcement, members and other adults have until December 5 (or until the bus is full) to join the Saturday, December 19, trip to Moore, OK, for the Dean Martin Home for Christmas show at the Yellow Rose Dinner Theater.
, Saturday, November 14, 2017, CENTER NEW ROAD TRIP PROGRAM GETS LAWTON CONSTITUTION NOTICE
Following is a newspaper article telling the public about th. Lawton, OK 73507e center's recently approved establishment of Wichita Mountains Travelers road trip program:
"Area senior road trip program starts Dec. 19, 2017, by Judi Borland (staff writer, SWOKNEWS.Com
"The Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center has organized a new road trip program for seniors and other area adults who are interesting in group travel to places and events of interest. Marj and Dick Huck, in alliance with the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Center are organizing trips to various locations. The first trip will be Dec. 19 to the yellow Rose Dinner Theater in Moore. The Yellow Rose is Oklahoma's only fully original production theater. All performances are family-style entertainment. The entertainment slated for this date is Dean martin Home for Christmas. This will be a matinee one of only two slated for December, said Dick Huck. 'this isn't just for members of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Center, but is open to 7all mature adults.' he said.
"The cost is $99 and will pay for the meal, the theater performance, transportation, gratuities, and a mystery stop on the way back to Lawton, he said. The $99 is due upon sign-up and must be paid before Saturday, Dec 5. Huck said 'We need at least 40 and so far have a little more than 30.' He said. The bus will hold 54 travelers.
"There is a choice of chicken or brisket for a dinner including salad, fresh bread, green beans, corn and potato casserole and dessert choice including Heavenly Havana, Dean's Dream, apple pie, chocolate coconut cake, strawberry crunch or bread pudding.
There are two departure points in the area. The first will be from the Cameron Football field departing at 8:30 am and returning at 5:30 pm and the second will be from the Wichita Mountains Senior Center at the Legion Building with a departure at 9 am and returning at 5 pm. The Legion is located at exit 45, off I-44, turn east on Highway 49 and bear left.
Mail Checks to Wichita Mountains Travelers, 395 NW Apache Dr., Lawton, OK, 7507. For more information call Marj or Dick at 580-429-378 or 580-678-6112.
Monday, October 26, 2017, MEETING OF DIRECTORS CALL FOR THURSDAY, 4 PM
Puddin McKinsey, Center president, has called a meeting of the board for Thursday at 4 pm at the end of the activity day. She stated, "The meeting is needed to approve several expenditures that are needed, to discuss the restrictions on spending restrictions placed on the FY2016 ASCOG CENA grant, and to consider the establishment of a center sponsored day and extended bus tour proposal. While only directors may make motions and vote on those motions, discussions of the topics is open to any member. All members are invited to attend the meeting which will be held in the ballroom of the Legion Building.
Saturday, August 15, 2017, WICHITA SOUNDS BAND DRAWS LARGER AND MORE ENTHUSIASTIC CROWS
With 70 people swing and stomping to the music of the Wichita Sounds Band last night, the fortunes of not only the band, but even more for the community, are on the up-swing. Having an idea that the there is a desire among their mature target audience than just good early country music, the band has put together a musical offering that resembles the eclectic mix of tunes that were played at the "sock-hops" of the senior's younger years. Remembering that the music of the '50's and '60's teen's gatherings depended on what records were brought from home, the band decided to play the same wide range of tunes, from country, through salsa and ballroom pops, to rock and roll. The decision has been cheered by most of the folks who come to the Friday night dance at the Legion Building, and the number of attendees keeps growing, Alice Law, a singer for the band, says that as long as the audience likes the mix, the band will keep offering the music that brings the most folks to the dance floor.
Monday, August 3, 2017, NOTE FROM THE FAMILY OF PEGGIE ANN SPENCER <Note>
Tuesday, July 28, 2017, OFFICERS ELECTED FOR FY16, FIRST ACTION IS APPROVE THE UPCOMING BUDGET
The officers for the next years settled into their positions last night and performed their first function, approval of the upcoming year's budget and the package for forwarding to ASCOG's CENA grant board. The officers were elected in a general membership meeting that took place after the assembled seniors ate a delicious fried fish pot luck dinner. The meeting resulted in the election of Puddin McKensey as president, Buddy Dye as vice president, and Christine Shaak as secretary. Confirmed to continue in their incumbent positions were Cecil Gardner, retaining both the position of treasurer and center food manager, Skip Shaak still the comptroller, and Tom Spears, the public relations officer. Toward the end of the meeting, Tom Spears moved that the center By-Laws be amended to create the position of president emeritus, the outgoing president to be installed in that position and being made a non-voting member of the board of directors. The membership voted to amend the By-Laws. Eva Williams, the outgoing president, was then honored by the members by loud applause as she closed the last meeting of her nineteen-year tour as president.
Sunday, July 26, PRESIDENT, EVA WILLIAMS, CALLS ANNUAL OFFERS ELECTION FOR MONDAY JULY 27, AFTER POTLUCK
Eva Williams, senior center and Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center President for the past, what, 18 years, is giving up the office and calling for July elections after the potluck dinner on Monday. The slate of candidates is open, and Eva will be accepting nominations from the floor. All offices are open for reelections. Those offices are President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Officer, Comptroller, and Center Food Manager. The term of office is one year with no restriction on number of terms. Elections are to be scheduled each year in the month of July. Results of the election will be reported here on Tuesday, July 28. The first order of business for the new officers will be approval of the center budget for FY 16. All members are invited to stay for the budget approval meeting to be held immediately after Eva adjourns the membership meeting.
Thursday, July 23, WATER HEATER LEAK DISCOVERED. REPLACEMENT IMMINENT
Upon arrival at the Legion Building this morning in anticipation of the Thursday Game Day, members heard the sound of water running in the utility room. Closer inspection showed that the old water heater had sprung a leak. Water was pouring from the bottom of the tank into the holding pan and draining into the overflow drain of the sewage system. When Leo Whitley arrived around 1:30, he sprang into action, finding a replacement at Lowe's and developing a replacement plan. After the trip into town and returning to the legion building with the new 50-gallon water heater, Leo enlisted the aid of the domino players to move the broken appliance out of the way (Leo having drained the tank before the shopping trip) and the new water heater onto the raised surface and spill tank. Bill Anderson and two other domino players elbowed Leo out of the way and connected the water lines and power leads to the top of the new tank. With the water and power turned back on, all appeared to be normal, with the Legion Building again served with an adequate water supply..
Tuesday, July 21, ASCOG ANNOUNCES SENIOR HEALTH FAIR DAY IN DUNCAN IN SEPTEMBER
The Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments will host a Senior Health Fair Day from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sept. 24 at the Stephens County Fairgrounds. Individuals 60 or older who live in Caddo, Comanche, Cotton, Grady, Jefferson, McClain, Stephens and Tillman counties are eligible to compete in multiple contests during the event. There will be a poetry contest, spelling bee, a photography contest and arts and crafts contests.
The deadline for the poetry contest is Aug. 1. Contestants may submit up to three poems they have written.
There will also be blood pressure, blood sugar, and other wellness checks. There will be door prizes throughout the day, as well as bingo, live entertainment and lunch; all provided by ASCOG.
Anyone wanting to set up booths to sell arts, crafts, or other products will be permitted to do wo with a nominal booth registration fee.
Certified Medicare counselors will be available to answer questions about Medicare.
For registration, rules, and entry forms, call Allison Everett at 580-736-7983.
Friday, July 17, QUILT RAFFLE WINNER CLAIMS PRIZE AT FRIDAY NIGHT DANCE
Kathleen Kirkpatrick of Lawton, shown on the right in the photograph, won the lottery of the latest quilt raffle. Her entry was randomly selected during the drawing on July 11. Kathy was notified and she elected to pick up her quilt during the Tuesday activities. Shown on the left is Almeta Coyle, one of the leaders of the senior center quilting circle.
As the space on the ballroom wall was freed, the ladies of the quilting circle hung their latest product and announced that the new raffle is underway. The winning raffle ticket will be drawn on December 12, just in time for someone to win a very neat Christmas present.