Current News <Archived News>
This page describes the day-by-day events of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Center in the Legion Building. News about the center's programs, events, and members are included here, as well as the story of the seniors in the Legion Building. Please send news items to firstname.lastname@example.org
The move into the Legion Building was completed in May 2011. Even now, almost four years later, Center volunteers continue to make changes, repairs, and improvements to the building. This News page captures information about those activities and other things happening in the senior center and Legion Building. This sidebar tells the story of the move into the Legion Building:
The Medicine Park Community Center was designed in 2002 and built between 2002 and 2009. The building was initially funded with $100,000 legislative and ASCOG grants designated for a Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center facility. The resulting building was never satisfactory for a senior center facility. With no rooms to be dedicated to senior programs, the need to reconfigure the ballroom back to community use at the end of each senior center activity, no storage 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.
Thursday, August 16, RAY KOEHN DIESOur 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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. 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. 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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. Fortuantely, during the period of this trip the museeum also has a tempoorary 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, 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, 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. Information will be posted on the Center Web Site if anything changes.
Friday, January 22, 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 ballteam. 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, 2016, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, 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, NOTE FROM THE FAMILY OF PEGGIE ANN SPENCER <Note>
Tuesday, July 28, 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.
Wednesday, June 10. AIR DOCTOR FINISHES INSTALLATION OF SECOND PAIR OF HVAC FOR BALLROOM
Winning the contract for replacement of the two pair of central heating and air condition units during a March
Tuesday, April 28. RRR DELIVERS NEW TRUE FREEZER TO REPLACE FAILED FREEZERS
Not as prompt as promised, but RRR Restaurant Supply delivered and put in place a new TRUE commercial freezer this morning. Referred to as the top-of-the-line freezer, the TRUE brand was chosen by the center to replace the older Korean-made, single-door freezers who met their demise very prematurely after only 7 years of service. RRR offered $300 to take the old freezers from the center in trade for the $4,000 TRUE
Monday, April 27, DANCE PROFESSIONALS HOSTING MONTHLY "EVENING OF LINE DANCING" AT CENTER
Line Dancing will be the activity of the night every fourth Saturday night in the ballroom of the Legion Building. Cheryl-Ann Fogle with her dance partner, Rick, will begin on Saturday, May 23d, opening the building to everyone who wants to learn line dancing, participate in an evening of line dancing, or get their exercise to beat of a line-dance tune. This line-dancing evening is on the center calendar as a senior activity, and any center member is admitted at no charge. Of course, as at any center activity, donations are welcome. Non-members are also welcome and will pay an entrance fee of five dollars. Seniors who have not extablished membership with the WMASCC can do so upon entry by filling out a membership form. Filling the form will also put the new member on the email list, if he or she has an email address, to receive announcements about center activities as well as the monthly newsletter.
Thursday, April 15, RRR RESTAURANT SUPPLY PROMISES DELIVERY OF FREEZER BY WEDNESDAY
After several days of frustration in getting information about Model and warranty of available freezers and then confirming that the chosen TRUE freezer is actually on order, RRR confirmed that the freezer was placed on order on Tuesday and will deliver the unit to the Legion Building on Wednesday, April 22. Delta Nutrition, which shares the Legion Building with the senior center, has allowed the center to use some of their freezer space in this emergency. Since Delta gets their food delivery early each Thursday, it is essential that the freezer be in place and cooled sufficiently to receive the frozen goods by the end of Wednesday. Officers and volunteers are standing by to move the items into the new freezer on Wednesday evening.
Tuesday, April 14, COUNCIL APPROVES NEW FREEZER FOR CENTER KITCHEN
The officers of the center met during the pot luck dinner last night to resolve problems experienced with the two commercial freezers in the center kitchen. Both freezers failed within two days of each other at the end of last week. In response to a request from members of the group RRR Restaurant Supply provided two estimates for replacement of the freezers and estimates for their repair. Both new-equipment estimates involved replacing the two stand-alone single-door freezers with one double-door freezer. The brands offered were BLUE AIR and TRUE. The officers considered four solutions: repair of the existing equipment; purchase two residential-type upright freezers; purchase a BLUE AIR double-door commercial freezer, made in Korea; purchase a TRUE double-door commercial freezer, made in the US. The first option was summarily rejected. Buying a pair of residential-grade freezers was discussed and rejected. Of the two new commercial freezers, the officers preferred the specifications and reputation of the TRUE brand. Purchase of a TRUE double-door commercial freezer was approved.
Friday, March 6, ASCOG SCHEDULES MEETING TO DISCUSS AREA PLAN
Each year ASCOG updates the Area Plan, In the Area Plan, the services provided to the ASCOG counties during the past year are evaluated, needs of older Americans are identified, and a plan to meet those needs for residents in the ASCOG service area are developed. The Comanche County public forum to discuss the focus of the next program year and receive the input and feedback of Comanche County residents is scheduled for Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 10:30 am at the Lawton North Nutrition Site, 1705 NW 20th St, Everyone interested in the next Area Plan should attend.
Friday, February 20, LEO BEGINS WORK ON LADIES RESTROOM HANDICAP STALL
Two things have been bothering Leo Whitley about work not completed in the Ladies Restroom. The floor tile in one corner has been, since the center took control of the building in 2011, broken, missing, and ugly. The situation makes cleaning the floor adequately, impossible, and could present a safety hazard. Leo has taken on the task of fixing that problem. The second item that requires attention is the installation of the handicap lavatory. The Americans with Disabilities Act, passed by congress years ago requires that at least one lavatory in a public restroom be approachable by people in wheelchairs. The construction of the vanity at the front of the ladies room does not allow for that accommodation. There is space in the handicap stall for a wall-mounted lavatory, and an old pedestal lavatory has been sitting there disconnected for years. Leo is taking the initiative to see that the basin is installed, the hot and cold water brought to the taps, and the drain is connected to the plumbing in the wall. He removed the broken and stained tile on Thursday will complete the floor repair next week. He is arranging for a plumber to get into the 24-inch space between the men's and ladies room so that the lavatories can be connected.
Thursday, February 19, LARR-ANCE STEEL INSTALLS NEW KITCHEN DOOR
The red kitchen door on the north of the Legion Building was as old as the building itself, and sorely showed its age. Its latch was broken and malfunctioned often, the hinges were creaky, the metal was dented and bent, and its missing insulation allowed the outside air to blow around its spaces. The new door and door frame solved all of those problems. Now the center is looking for someone to turn the grey primer paint red.
Wednesday, February 18, WICHITA SOUNDS BAND FINISHES REHEARSAL, TAKES PICTURE, READY FOR A CROWD ON FRIDAY
All but on member of the new Friday Country Dance band, Wichita Sounds gathered in the ballroom on Wednesday night to
prepare for Friday's debut. The lead guitarist, Bud Acres, was sick, maybe even in the hospital was not able to make the rehearsal, and might not be back in playing trim by Friday night. Spokesperson for the band, Alice Law, said that there are a couple of choices for a replacement, but Friday's lead was not yet determined. Most of the members of the new band are familiar with the Legion Building facility, having played there as part of the Killin' Time band, that ended its two-plus year gig last November. Wednesday only new member was bass player, John Whittington. Thomas Klenieski returns to the stage with his saxophone, an unusual but very appropriate sound for country bands. He adds the rhythm of a fiddle on some pieces and the unique swing sound of the big band dance music of the 50's. With Alice Law, vocalist, and her husand, Jim, rhythm guitar, Jack Walbrick, vocal and guitar, and Steve Guerrero on drums, the band is ready to bring back music that the previous band, Empty Bottle, could not provide.
Monday, February 9, NEW BAND NAMED TO LEGION BUILDING'S FRIDAY NIGHT DANCE. BEGINS ON FEB 20. RAY KOEHN SING ON 13TH
Falling attendance and customer complaints about the Empty Bottle band has caused the center to cancel their run and search for another band. Members of the popular Killin' Time band contacted the center council announcing that they are forming a local band and would like to take on the time period left vacant by the Empty Bottle. The new band, sounds of the Wichitas, will become available and start their run on February 20. This next Friday, the day before Valentines Day, Ray Koehn will take the stage and provide dance music for anyone who comes to the Legion Building. Attendance at the Friday Dance has been declining at such a rate, down to 6 couples last Friday, the council expressed hope that word will be circulated, and a large crowd will come to welcome the Sounds of the Wichitas..
Friday, February 6, EMPTY BOTTLE BAND IS A NO-SHOW FOR FRIDAY NIGHT DANCE. RAY KOEHN SAVES THE NIGHT
After Cecil Gardner called to ask of there would be a dance tonight, Tom Spears checked with the leader of the band. Gene told him that the music would go on. He said that the lead guitarist had a paying gig in Anadarko, so he would not be playing, but the band would play. He then told tom that the center might need to look for a different band, because he didn't know how they could pull in an audience. At 4 pm the drummer called Tom and told him that another band member had told her that he would not be there. She said that the remaining members of the band didn't know enough of the traditional country tunes to carry the night without repeating. She said that she was cancelling the appearance. Tom immediately called Ray Koehn asking if he would sing accompanied by his karaoke device. He said that he would be there. Tom opened the building, Twenty or so people showed up, donating around $50.00. The center is considering methods to prevent such a situation again.
Thursday, February 5, RANGE DELIVERED AND INSTALLED TO DELIGHT OF COOKS AND HELPERS
Around 10 AM this morning RRR Restaurant Supply brought the new kitchen range to the Legion Building. They removed the old range, which gave Leo Whitley the chance to scrape, dissolve,and remove the grease, grime, and assorted stuck bug corpses that had accumulated around and under the old range, just removed. The
crew from RRR brought the new natural gas range in through the Delta double doors, through the sliding door separating Delta from the Senior Center and into the kitchen. Next Monday, at the pot luck supper, the cooks and helpers will have their first opportunity to use the range.
The old range was originally bought in the 1970's with funds raised by the ladies of the senior center selling stringed colored beads. The center members gathered died hard-shelled seed pods from a source that one of the ladies had discovered. They died the seeds various colors, drilled and strung them into long strings of beads.. It took several years of dedicated labor, but the finally had enough money accumulated to make the purchase.
The range served the center well. At the time the center was located in the old superintendent's house at the Lawton Water Treatment Plant. Many meals were cooked on, heated in, and served from the old stove. When the center was required to leave the old house due to an expansion of the water plant, the stove was stored at the partially completed Medicine Park Community Center. As the community center was being made ready for use by senior center volunteers, the range was sold to the owner of a new nearby Medicine Park restaurant being funded by Medicine Park revolving development fund. The range could not be used by the seniors because the building was all-electric and could no gas service. The restaurant didn't succeed, nor did another restaurant at the same location, so the town of Medicine Park, repossessed the stove and other furnishings bought with their development funds. The range then sat for several years under an overhang at the town warehouse. During that time the senior center had moved to the Legion Building. The electric range they had bought and used at the community center didn't match the power rating at the Legion Building (207 volt appliance and 240 volt service) and gradually became inoperable. The town gave the old range back, RRR cleaned, adjusted, and installed the old range in 2012. Being old and mistreated for several years, the old range was never fully satisfactory to the cooks at the center. Enough money was accumulated through fundraisers and building-use fees over the several years to purchase the new range.
Wednesday, February 4. RRR RESTAURANT SUPPLY READY TO DELIVER NEW KITCHEN RANGE
The new kitchen range will be delivered tomorrow morning. RRR Restaurant Supply called today saying the range has arrived in Lawton. The only holdup in delivery is that the range must be routed through the double door in the Delta Nutrition area and then through the locked wide sliding door that Delta controls. The sliding door will be opened in the morning and left open for the delivery and the removal of the old range.
Monday, February 2, THIRD WEEKLY COUNCIL MEETING HELD TO STATUS, APPROVE, AND DISCUSS ACTIONS
"Tell us what has gone on." Puddin requested as soon as the minutes from last week were approved. Dan updated the roof repair. He did not know if all was finished, but he knew that Dave Miller, the roofer, was on the job on Thursday and Friday long into the evening in anticipation of Saturday's rain. The contractor for the heat and air was announced. The replacement range is on order with delivery to be determined. Leo will go on Wednesday to fix the hot water faucet on the coffee maker. The freezer is repaired and freezing. The grease trap has been cleaned. The electrician has replaced many bulbs and is working on two bad ballasts. Everyone was satisfied with the progress of each of the initiatives.
Monday, January 26, SECOND WEEKLY COUNCIL MEETING TAKES FURTHER ACTION, MAKES FUNDING ALLOCATIONS
Calling the council meeting to order, Puddin McKenzie, council secretary and chairing the meeting in the absence of the president, Eva Williams who is in the hospital and Alon Williams, who is tending to Eva's needs, introduced Dave Miller, from Medicine Park, a roofer, there to tell the council his roof repair proposal. The council approved expenditure of funds for roof repair and Dave as the repair person. Puddin asked the attendees to give status of the solutions to the problems discussed last week. Regarding the heating and cooling units on the west wall, one more bid is expected tomorrow. Selection of the repair solution will be made during a special session of the council next Monday. Heating and cooling of the restrooms and game/TV room by extending the duct work from the ballroom east-side duct will be considered next Monday. That solution will be in lieu of installing electric heaters in each room. The odor in the kitchen was solved by Tom pouring water in the water heater over-flow sewer opening, filling the trap. The grease trap will be cleaned by a commercial grease trap cleaner for $50. LaRance Steel will replace the kitchen door during the first week of February. Puddin will meet with a source for a new kitchen gas range and arrange for its purchase, with the approval of the cost to be voted next Monday. Leo will have a refrigerator repairman come this week to install the new compressor. Each of the council members and those observing and commenting were satisfied with the results of the meeting. The meeting was adjourned.
Thursday, January 22, RAY KOEHN SINGS FOR FIRST THURSDAY AFTERNOON DANCE
Blaming the weather and it being the first of a series of Thursday Afternoon Dances, Ray said that only two old men showed up for the dance, asking, "Where are the women?" Ray sang his wonderful variety of traditional country songs, and the men played dominoes. "Next Thursday, we will be her again," Ray proclaimed, "and I will get the word out to more people." The Legion Building will be open from around 12 noon to 4 pm each Thursday for dancing to the music of Ray Koehn and for all the other activities that normally take place there. Snacks will be available throughout the afternoon.
Monday, January 18, CENTER BOARD GETS SERIOUS ABOUT FIXING PROBLEMS
After several years of listening to Tom Spears, Leo Whitley, and Alon Williams talking about problems within the center building that needs to be repaired, updated, or installed, Puddin McKenzie and Cecil Graham finally got tired of it all and told the guys to move over, they were going get something accomplished instead of talked about. At the Monday night meeting, Puddin took the agenda that Skip Shaak had circulated, him taking the side of the ladies, and she laid out the future with few uncertain terms. Ascertaining the status of the leaking roof, the lame commercial freezer, the failed air conditioner/heater situation, the freezing cold of the ladies restroom, uncertain quality of the ballroom lighting, the odor emitted ostensibly from the grease trap in the kitchen, and the failed digital locking system on the kitchen door, Puddin wanted to know what needed to happen to make those problems go away. After a few meekly provided, but overwhelmingly logical responses from the men who could have already taken the actions, Puddin called for a vote of the council for each problem's solution. "For the things we can't fix this week," she declared, "we will meet again next Monday and finish up." Tom and Leo were to call the door man and get the kitchen door and its frame replaced. Tom, Dan, and Leo were to clean the grease trap. A roof man would meet with the council next Monday and detail what he was going to do to stop the leaks. Puddin and Leo would get the someone to replace the compressor on the freezer, Bids to replace the west central air and heat equipment would be considered next Monday and Leo and Tom would arrange for the bids to be submitted. Puddin would get an electrician to look into the lighting in the ballroom. By next Monday, Leo and Tom will have suggested a heating solution for the ladies' room, and as long as they are at it, also warm the men's room and the game/TV room. Puddin called for the council to meet again on Monday, January 26, for everyone to give status, consider bids, and approve future expenditures.
Tuesday, January 13, THURSDAY AFTERNOON DANCE STARTING
Responding to a request from some of our senir citizens center members, Ray Koehn will open the Legion Building on Thursday afternoons for anyuone motivated to come and dance to ray's vocal accompaniment of his extensive collection of traditional country and popular standsrsa ranging from the 1940's to the 1990's. The music will begin at 1 pm and continue to 5 pm, or as long as people are there. The weekly event begins on Thursday, January 22, and will be supported by donations from the attendees. Refreshment and snacks will be provided but anyone whishing to bring additional snacks is welcome to do so.
Ray Koehn is a retired Sergeant First Class and is also a licensed activities director. He has been entertaining folks in area rest homes, nursing centers, and retirement communities for several years. He also has sung to the delight of diners at the monthly indian Taco Sale. While his forte is popular country songs of yesteryear, his repertoire also includes standards and Gospel music, when requested. During the one-week hiatus between bends when Killing Time moved away from Lawton and Empty Bottle band was formed to play at the Friday Country Dance, Ray provided dance music for those who came to the band-less building. Many of the 45 people who attended wanted Ray to continue to provide his kind of music for dancing at the Legion Building. The idea of a Thursday afternoon country dance matured from that time.
Ray can be contacted at: Ray Koehn, PO Boxx 947, Apache, OK, 73006, (717)881-3186, or by email at: email@example.com.
Saturday, December 20, GARY HOWELL MEMORIAL DRAWS CAPACITY CROWD
The Legion Building was used by Ruth Ann and the Howell family to host a farewell, life celebration, and remembrance of Gary Howell, a long time center member who died recently. The crowd coming to honor Gary swelled the ballroom to its capacity. Center volunteers provided desserts, cold drinks, and coffee. Every active senior center member will miss Gary both as a friend, a volunteer, a karaoke champion, and a tireless worker. He came to the center when we were located in the Medicine Park Community Center building enthusiastically offering to teach hydro-culture and to build and run a lending library. He volunteered to take charge of the Tuesday activities, ensuring that the building was open on time, made the coffee, clean and made the building orderly and secure when closed. He was ready to sit in as the fourth domino player when needed. He worked the computer for less qualified members when they asked. He was a unique, strong, and wonderful person prematurely taken from us.
Saturday, December 13. EMPTY BOTTLE BAND PLAYS FIRST ENGAGEMENT AT LEGION BUILDING
The Legion Building hosted 47 people on Friday night, coming to hear the first public engagement of the newly formed Empty Bottle. The band consists of musicians from around the Medicine Park-Lawton area who have previously paid in professional band, were local pick-up artists for bands passing through Lawton, or have long experience with their chosen instruments. During the tune-filled night, dancers said that the music was both varied and very dancable. "The band has a good
beat. I love dancing to their music." said Ann Brookings, a long time participant in Legion Building events from Cache. The members of the band are Leon Chandler, lead guitar and rhythm, Gene Wilkerson, rhythm guitar and vocal, Chuck Mantooth, rhythm and lead guitar and vocal. J. Johnson, bass, Fred Phillips, Sax, and Jacki Miller, Drums. The band says that they play old-time country with musical variety enough to meet the dancers half way.
Wednesday, December 3. BAND FOR FRIDAY CALLS IT OFF, RAY KOEHN WILL TAKE THE STAGE
The band that played for the potluck dinner on Monday made a good impression. Although their bass player could not be there, a decent beat was maintained through the several songs they played. Those who came to dance gave a tentative thumbs-up to the band, but wanted to be sure that the band's playlist included enough songs to keep a steady stream of music for the three-hour evening and was varied enough to include a couple of line dance number and some '50's rock and roll. The band told the audience they would be ready. Then Tuesday night, one of the band members called and said they wouldn't be ready to play on Friday. Ray Koehn had told the audience last Friday that he would provide dance-able music on Friday, the 5th, in order to keep the program moving during the search of the band. Thus, on Friday, he and any other musicians he can pull together will take the stage. The door will be contributions only, and Ray will arrange for food and drink. Doors open at 6 pm, and the music starts at 7.
Monday, December 1. NEW BAND TO TRY OUT FOR FRIDAY DANCE HOUSE BAND
Tom Spears sent an email on Sunday explaining the future of the Friday Dance. He stated, "Ok. Here's the deal. Some fellows who have been playing traditional country music for their entire lives, playing with bands and for fun, gathering for the entertainment of others and themselves and forever loving country music, have formed a band, and they want to try out for the center Friday Night Dance. They want to take the bandstand as a permanent gig. The center does not know the band, and we want to hear them play before we commit." With this criterion the newly formed band will set up and play at the Monday Pot Luck. The band will play a few tunes, a variety of dance steps and beats. Just how long they play will depend on the band and the people there as judges.
"Even if we find the music acceptable," Spears said, "we still may have other bands interested in playing at the Friday Dance. In that case, we will listen to the other bands and make any changes that we think are right for the center in the future."
Friday, November 14, KILLIN' TIME BAND ANNOUNCES END OF FRIDAY NIGHT DANCE
Jim and Alice Law have announced that the Killin' Time Band will not play at the Friday Night Dance after the end of November. The band has been providing a wonderful blend of country, early rock and roll, and ballroom music for the past two years. The band organized itself into a band after they played as individuals at the Country Music Jam Session at the Legion Building on the last Friday night of each month for several months in 2012. Four of the band members came down to Lawton from Moore, and the distance to Lawton was a contributing factor in their decision to stop playing the Legion Building. The band has recently established itself in Midwest City, playing to a increasing number of fans on Thursday nights. It is not currently known if another band will be brought in to continue the Friday Night Dance. Killin' Time will play their last Legion Building gig on Friday, November 28.
The rest of 2014 can be found at <2014 Archive>