Archived News 2011
December 31, 2011 - LONE STAR TROUBADOURS MAY PLAY LEGION BUILDING DANCES
Larry Lange, leader of a Texas swing band, is in contact with the Center willing to set up some play dates for his group, the Lone Star Troubadours, and another country group, Smokin' Aces on selected Saturday nights in January, February, and the next six months to measure the interest of local dancers and music lovers for a renewal of country music at the Legion Building. With the loss of the Friday Dance Nights at the Legion Building, several senior center members have been wondering when the dancing will resume. Fortunately, the Troubadours base player, in Lawton on a Tuesday recently, dropped by the Legion Building and set the discussion in motion. Based in Wichita Falls, the two bands are well-known in North Texas and Southern Oklahoma and in Texas Swing competitions. While the details of the physical and financial arrangements have been agreed to, the exact dates are still pending. It is to the advantage of the center and the Legion Building Mission to get the word out to all interested as soon as firm dates are established.
See the Lone Star Trougadours web site: http://www.thelonestartroubadours.com
December 23, 2011 - DOGGED BY LOW ATTENDANCE, SAGEBRUSH QUITS
With only fourteen loyal fans, and they dancing almost every dance, Tex Henderson announced the night before Christmas Eve, that his Sagebrush band will no longer play their Friday night dates at the Legion Building. "With so few people comin'" Tex said. "We just can't afford to pay our band and the building rent and not make anything. As much as we enjoy playing in this great room, we have to pay the bills."
December 16, 2011 - DOGGED WITH LOW ATTENDANCE, BAND ILLNESS, LAW QUITS
Laws of the Wichitas band came to the Legion Building with a crippled band (Drummer is in the hospital, Lead guitar says the distance from Hobart to Lawton is too far to travel with few people showing up) announced that the night would be the last show for them at the Legion Building. The few fans who were on hand, regulars at virtually every Friday night dance, were dismayed at the announcement, hoping for a change of the decision or for another band to play regularly at the building. Only twenty-three people were present for the last performance, but that is just about the normal attendance at the events. "I would play over here all the time," Jim Law, the leader of the band, said, "but with this attendance, we can't even pay gas money for the band members to come the distances they travel." He announced to the audience that Tex Henderson's band will play at the regularly scheduled date on Friday, December 23."
December 14, 2011 -- USE OF LEGION BUILDING SLOWS AS YEAR WAINS
After a busy Fall season, scheduled use of the Legion Building by the general public has slowed during the last half of December. The month's calendar reflects the busyness of folks preparing for their own Christmas after celebrating the holidays with friends, neighbors, and co-workers. The agreement with Comanche County and the US Department of the Interior that gives the Senior Center responsibility for and use of the Legion Building and Park requires that the building be made available for use by the general public. Starting on Thanksgiving weekend, when the Jack family brought people together from all over the United States and the South Pacific for their family reunion, the building has been in constant use. In addition to the Senior Activities and the Friday night Dances by Sagebrush and The Laws of the Wichitas, the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Field Artillery Brigade celebrated with pizzas at their Christmas party, the Kiawa Blackleggings Association met for their annual dinner party and dance, and the Dolese Quarry brought their 150 workers into the ballroom for a Christmas luncheon. The new dining room / game room was finished just in time for the 2nd of the 4th to use it to entertain their children with supervised fun and games.
December 11, 2011 -- EIGHTY-SEVEN COME TO INDIAN TACOS / CRAFTS SHOW
A good crowd of first-timers and return visitors came to the Indian Taco Sale on Saturday. Many took the time to stroll through the three rooms of crafts, jewelry, and Christmas items on display and for sale. The individuals who had sat up tables of their own handiwork said that they were very satisfied with the number of people who visited their displays and the amount of sales.
December 7, 2011 -- NEW DINING/MEETING ROOM GETS PAINT
In progress since last spring, the new room created from the south end of the old American Legion Bar is nearing completion. Gary Howell and Leo Whitley climbed, squatted, and stood to add two coats of white acrylic latex paint to the walls of the now empty room. The first use of the room has been scheduled for Friday night when it will be the (supervised) game room for children of the members of Fort Sill's 24th Battalion who will be in the ballroom celebrating their unit Christmas party. Three hundred people, the building occupancy limit, are expected to attend the event.
December 4, 2011 -- CRAFTS FAIR ADDED TO SATURDAY'S INDIAN TACOS
As regularly scheduled, Indian Tacos will be on sale at the Legion Building on Saturday, December 10th, but there is a couple of things that will be unusual also going on. Rosanne Alnor, a longtime center member, has arranged for several talented people to set up booths to sell their hand-made crafts, just in time for Christmas. Center people will be re-arranging the ballroom after Fort Sill's 24th Battalion Christmas party. They will have used the ballroom and the new activities room until around 10 pm on Friday Night. Sometime around noon, members of the Kiowa Black Leggings Ladies Auxiliary will come to the building to decorate for their annual Christmas party taking place that night.
November 26, 2011 -- TWELVE ENJOY SAGEBRUSH MUSIC
Other than the wives and partners of the band, few braved the wind and drizzle to enjoy theSagebrush Band play from 7:30 pm to almost eleven. The twelve paying customers thoroughly enjoyed the night, the burgers, and the music and dancing. There was probably a greater percentage of couples dancing than the nights with much larger crowds. "Because youall rented the hall on the second Friday, this month," Tex Henderson opined. "we won't play again until the twenty-third..... the day before Christmas Eve." Hoping a greater number of people will start coming to his shows, he added. "If we don't get a larger crowd, I am afraid that we will have to stop playing here."
November 22, 2011 -- SAGEBRUSH PLAYS FRIDAY NIGHT
Yes, the November calendar is correct, there is a dance at the Legion Building on the day after Thanksgiving. Tex Henderson, wanting to be there for anyone wanting to get out of the house and away from the Thanksgiving leftovers and get a little exercise and camaraderie. Starting at 7 pm, the Sagebrush band will play their standard twice-a-month Friday gig. Everyone is invited to the event. Heartened by the slightly larger crowd that joined the Laws of the Wichitas for their November 19th dance night, Tex said that he is hoping there will be a lot of folks dancing at the Legion Building.
November 18, 2011 -- DANCE TONIGHT WITH LAWS OF THE WICHITAS
Finally getting the publicity hitches straight, a larger group of country music fans are hoped for at the Friday Dance night, this third Friday of November (The Laws of the Wichitas play on the first and third Fridays of each month, with Sagebrush performing on the second and fourth Fridays) Today's edition of the Lawton Constitution promoted this evening's Laws dance under "Live Music" in the "Happening this Weekend" section.
November 14, 2011 -- LARGE CROWD ENJOYS CENTER THANKSGIVING POTLUCK
More than 50 people came to enjoy turkey and dressing and ham and fixings on Monday night's annual Thanksgiving dinner. With the center providing the main courses, prepared by president Eva Williams and Facility Manager Cecil Gardner, members brought a great array of traditional and personal favorite side dishes and desserts. More domino players than normal crowded the two tables that Alon Williams had set up, giving a recruiting opportunity for the Tuesday (and the potential Thursday addition) domino day. As always, men volunteers complimented the preparation duties of the women by doing the clean-up chores, washing the dishes, and cleaning the kitchen. A great time was had by all.
November 13, 2011 -- POT LUCK DINNER IS THANKSGIVING CELEBRATION
Eva Williams, president of the senior center, announced at the Indian Taco Sale that on Monday November 14th, the center will have its annual Thanksgiving dinner at the weekly pot luck dinner. The center will provide the turkey and center members will bring all the fixings. All members are urged to attend. Eva reminds every one that people become members of the center just by attending. Members are welcome to bring guests to the pot luck.
November 12, 2011 -- EIGHTY INDIAN TACO DINERS CONVERGE ON LEGION BUILDING
Starting early and continuing well into the day, return visitors and first-time guests came to the Legion Building to feed on Cecil Gardner's Indian tacos. Center volunteers, Cecil Gardner and Eva Williams, started Thursday getting ready for the sale by going into Lawton as they do before every Indian Taco Sale and shopped for the taco ingredients. On Friday afternoon, others came to the Legion Building to process the food, slice the tomatoes and onions, cook the meat, start the pinto beans cooking. Then more volunteers joined the others on Saturday morning to finish the preparation, begin to drop the fry bread dough in to deep hot oil, divvy up and lay out the taco garnishes, the desserts, the drinks. The center volunteers make the Indian Taco Sale not only successful, but also possible.
IN SPITE OF PUBLICITY, AUDIENCE FOR SAGEBRUSH IS SMALL
While the music was very danceable and and easy to listen to, only 21 people paid entry to the ballroom for Friday's Sagebrush dance night. Tex Henderson placed a beautiful, eye-catching ad in the Lawton Constitution, placed posters throughout the area, and assembled a talented group of musicians and told many people and still only twenty-one folks came to the dance. Tex said that because of the poor fan showing, he will likely not have a new-years-eve dance at the Legion Building.
November 11, 2011 -- TEX HENDERSON TOUTS SAGEBRUSH BAND; HOPES FOR DRAW
With fliers and ads and special mentions Tex Henderson hopes to draw a larger-than-recent crowd to Friday's dance at the Legion Building. "I have put posters out all over the county." Tex said, The ad in the Thursday Constitution has brought special comment and interest at the center, several saying they intend to come to the dance for the first time. An additional mention in the Friday Constitution's "Happening This Weekend - Live Music" had brought hope that the attendance at the Friday dances will increase to a point that the gate income will at least meet the expenses of the band. James Williams assured the center that Jim's Cafe will be ready for any size crowd that shows up.
MIRROR TILES CRASH; LAST IMPEDIMENT TO PAINTING THE GAME/MEETING ROOM
The large area of mirror tiles on the east wall of the new game/meeting/dining room has been removed, making way for mounting the large-screen TV. The TV will be installed and attached to the outside antenna as soon as the wall is smoothed, holes are spackled, and the room is painted. Leo Whitley, Tom Spears, and Alon Williams worked Thursday breaking glass, removing old tile glue, and picking up the chards and chips. The room is needed as a play area for children during a contracted public-use of the building on December 8, so a deliberate effort is being made to finish the facility.
November 5, 2011 -- LAW OF THE WICHITAS ATTRACTS 33 WITH KLAW SUPPORT
The Law of the Wichitas band filled the ballroom of the Legion Building with a fun variety of beats, rhythms, lyrics moving the crowd to dance. The thirty-three country-music lovers attending was equal to the largest crowd that the band had attracted since starting playing at the building in July. Friday morning's announcement about the dance brought several new faces to the Legion Building. Jim Law, the leader of the band with his wife, Alice, said that he hopes the word gets out that they play at the venue on the first and third Fridays every month. The ballroom is routinely set up to handle one hundred and fifty people. James Williams, the proprietor and cook at Jim's Cafe, is ready to serve hamburgers to all who come asking.
November 4, 2011 -- TILE LAID IN NEW ROOM, PREPARATION FOR PAINTING LOOMS
Leo Whitley and Alon Williams met at the Legion Building on Friday and completed laying the floor tile. Several prople perused and approved the work during the Friday dance. With a little more work on the walls, painting of the room can be accomplished. There are mirror tiles glued onto a portion of the east end of the room. They must be removed. A couple of pictures are attached to the west wall with screws, and they must be removed. That done, and the wall bars installed to accept the ceramic-topped cabinet, the painting can commence. Volunteers who love to paint and/or clean up after painting are welcome come by and help.
November 1, 2011 -- FLOOR OF NEW ROOM NEARS COMPLETION
Heating, chiseling, scrapping, breaking, and removing tile squares, Leo Whitley and Bob Clark finished up the job that Leo and Tom Spears started last week, trying to get the new meeting/dining/game room floor ready for re-tiling. Finding the floor beneath the old, discolored, broken, and unsightly tile, water-damaged from years of lying beneath the beer dispensers, whiskey bottles, and glass washing areas behind the old American Legion bar, Leo and Bob smoothed, leveled, and resurfaced the floor, readying it for the new tile. With the new cement surface curing, the group is ready to begin on Wednesday applying the adhesive for the new tile. When the floor is finished, the walls will be prepared and painted, the lights re-wired, a new ceiling fan installed, and power supplied to the electrical outlets. After the television is relocated from the crafts room, the new room will be finished.
October 29, 2011 -- HAIR SPRAY GIRLS THROW A HALLOWEEN DANCE
The Hair Spray Girls from Anadarko used the Legion Building for their annual Halloween dance on Saturday night. Val Tate, their representative, said that eighty or so guests came to the Golden Oldies DJ Dance. The ballroom was specially decorated for the occasion. Center member Cheryl-Ann Fogle provided some pictures.
The Hair Spray Girls have already reserved the ballroom for their Christmas function and the Golden Oldies Valentine Dance next February.
October 28, 2011 -- 80 ATTEND LAST "COUNTRY MUSIC EVENING" OF THE YEAR
A smaller group of musicians and performers than usual entertained eighty eager enthusiasts of country music and dance on a cool Friday night. When emptied at the end of the evening, the donation jar yielded $247.40. Taking into consideration that the performers and the those who prepare the food and wash the dishes are not expected to donate, the average donation of each attendee was around $3.50. While that seems like an amount less than one would expect to pay for a burger-in-a-basket, a drink, a dessert (or two), and a night of great live country music, the center invites everyone and asks him or her to donate what seems fair to them.
October 16, 2011 -- BALLROOM TURNED INTO FANTASY ROOM OF ROMANCE
Lighted drapes, glowing large hanging paper balls, and two bands alternating on the bandstand welcomed over two hundred guests at the Hardzog-Brown wedding reception Saturday afternoon and evening on late into the night, ending around two A.M. "A great place for a reception." Andrea Hardzog acknowledged as she returned the sparkling well-cleaned building to member Tom Spears. "We did have to go over the restrooms." she said, "They were not quite cleaned up to our standards." Senior volunteers will meet on Monday and Tuesday to move tables, chairs, and furniture to get return the ballroom to the way the senior center can use it. During the re-arranging, the use of the TV/Exercise room, the Quilting Room, and the new Meeting/Dining room will be re-designated.
October 13, 2011 -- DEEP CLEAN AND LEAK FIX PRIMARY FOCUS
Five volunteers arrived early at the Legion Building on Thursday to get some long needed projects accomplished. Bill Anderson, a retired plumber and enthusiastic domino player, and Leo Whitley got to work on the seeping leak in the water line feeding the new meeting/dining room and the two restrooms. The work required chipping a hole into the concrete floor exposing the errant section of the leaking pipe. Once work room was made, the pair discovered that the leak was more extensive than supposed, requiring more work than just cutting and capping the copper tubing. After more excavating, cutting, and planning, they determined that they need additional material to link the pipe upstream of the leak to the pipe down stream of the leak. The water to the building remained shut off over night giving Leo a chance to get to the hardware store for the parts. In the meantime, Alon Williams, Gary Howell, and Tom Spears removed scrap wood, left-over trash, and unneeded equipment from the meeting/dining room and cleaned it to the point that it can be used while it awaits painting, re-tiling, and furnishing. Next, Gary repaired two benches that had been stored and placed them in the entrance hall. At the same time, Tom cleaned and readied the ballroom for a host of activities approaching this weekend and next week, while Alon did the same to the kitchen. Andrea Hardzog, arriving at the end of the day with a host of family and friends to begin decorating the ballroom for a Saturday reception following her daughter's wedding, was delighted with the result of the days work.
CHANGES TO THE ROOM ASSIGNMENT IN LEGION BUILDING BEGINS
While volunteers worked at the Legion Building on Thursday, readying the ballroom for several upcoming events, they were mindful of changes in room use. The TV/Domino Room will become the Quilting/Crafts Room. The Quilting/Crafts Room will be the Computer/Exercise Room. The new new Meeting/Dining Room will be used as the domino room as it is needed. The large entrance desk in the Ballroom will be moved into the Quilting/Crafts Room with its old shelf topper again on the desk and will be used to store craft items. The TV will be moved into the Meeting/Dining Room, but the couch and recliner will be given to one of the senior center members.
October 10, 2011 -- WORKERS NEEDED AT LEGION BUILDING FOR CLEAN UP
Eva Williams, Center President, asks everyone who wants to help get the building cleaned, cleared, and straightened for the upcoming week to come to the Legion Building around ten am on Thursday, October 13th. Not only does the ballroom need to be thoroughly cleaned for an upcoming public use (wedding reception), but the new room built at the south end of the bar area has trash, building materials, benches and tables, and sawdust that needs to be moved or removed. Also the domino players are moving to the front room (office), and the quilters are moving to the current domino/exercise/TV room. The TV is being moved into the new meeting/dining/game room. Depending on the number of people that shows up for the workday activities, some or all of those actions are to be accomplished. The ballroom and kitchen cleaning is the top priority. Tom Spears has indicated that he will be at the Legion Building on for a portion of Wednesday. Anyone wanting to assist him can call him at 580-574-1942 to see if he is at the building.
October 9, 2011 -- NICE CROWD, GREAT MUSIC, SUCCESSFUL INDIAN TACO SALE
Starting just before eleven AM, the first hungry visitors came to the Legion Building, and the stream of people continued through most of the day. In spite of the OU/Texas football game and the first real rain in the area in a year, 96 folks came to eat. Set up and ready by 12:30, the Classic Country Band played great country music to the enthusiastic pleasure of the sated listeners throughout the afternoon. Receipts for the sale came to $424.00. The center considered the day a complete success.
September 30, 2011 -- LOT OF PEOPLE, DISAPPOINTING DONATIONS
Ninety-three country music fans came to the Legion Building for An Evening of Country Music on the last Friday in September and enjoyed three music-filled hours of music played and sung by artists gathered from around Southwestern Oklahoma. With the counting of the contents of the donation jar, the senior center volunteers were again disappointed with the amount left there. The amount of only $282.15 was donated for the initial part of the evening. Not only had the attendees had really good country music to enjoy and dance to, a wonderfully prepared burger-in-a-basket with drink and dessert was served to everyone who requested wanted to eat. In face, the chef reported that one avid music fan came back to the counter for a total of three meals. After the jam session was concluded, the Classic Country Band mounted the stage to play for another hour for three dozen persistent fans. At the end of the evening, another $38.00 had been added to the evening's earlier donations. Alternative ways to make the musical evening generate more funds for the center are being considered by the center staff.
September 22, 2011 -- WASHER AND DRYER INSTALLED, FIRST LOAD CLEAN
Last week, Ray Hunt donated a washer and dryer to the center, bringing the two machines from Geronimo, and putting them in place in the building utility room. Last Winter, when the electricians and plumbers were preparing the Legion Building to accept the programs and events of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center, members stressed that there should be a place made for a washing machine and dryer. In the past, as events were completed, one member or the other would pack damp rags and wipe clothes into plastic Wal-Mart bags, wash and dry them at home, and return clean, folded cleaning material for re-use. Thus, Leo Whitley and his visiting son, Mike, converted a storeroom, installing two doors and a wall, into a large lockable pantry and a utility room accessible from both the kitchen and the ballroom, making space for the washer/dryer, the water heater, and a convenient mop tub. The center then started looking for an affordable set of equipment. With Ray Hunt's donation, that problem was solved. Ray had hooked up the washer and tested it, running a load of rags through all the cycles. The dryer needed an exhaust duct and outside access and the installation of a different 240-volt power outlet before it could be used. Today, Alon Williams changed the electrical plug. Tom Spears cut a hole in the unused steel door behind the dryer and installed the hot-air duct. They gathered all of the soiled clothes, washed them (this time with detergent and bleach), dried them, folded them, and placed them into the shelves for kitchen volunteers to use. "You old dirty dish rag, get........."
September 15, 2011 -- WATER LEAK FIXED, CABINET GETS TOP AND SINK
While Alon Williams and Tom Spears repaired a recently discovered leak in the building water system, Leo Whitley and Bob Clark near finish of coffee cabinet in the meeting/dining room. Leo completed applying the Formica to the cabinet top in his home workshop and installed the completed product to the top of the cabinet, cut the surface for the drop-in sink, and installed the sink. Also working at home, Bob made the doors for the pass-through window and brought them up from Geronimo. Bob took plywood back to his home shop to make the doors for the cabinet.
RAY HUNT DONATES WASHER AND DRYER FOR THE UTILITY ROOM
Ray Hunt found a used clothes washer for sale in Geronimo, bought it, and brought the washer and his own dryer to the Legion Building for installation in the Utility Room, next to the kitchen. After connecting the washer, he tested it with several wiping cloths that needed washing. It worked fine. The dryer electrical connection did not match the plug, so it is unusable at this time. Alon Williams will bring a proper wall connector and complete the dryer connection.
September 13, 2011 -- STEPS CONTINUE TO FINISH MEETING/DINING ROOM
Another step toward the establishment of a meeting/dining room in the south end of the old Legion barroom is being taken. Leo Whitley and Bob Clark worked Tuesday on the Coffee Cabinet. The base of the cabinet is completed. Leo took the top and splash bars to his workshop to apply Formica veneer. Leading up to the cabinet construction, Leo and Tom Spears spent the bulk of Monday chipping out the cement floor around the leaking water pipe that will feed the cabinet's sink and water heater. Leo cut the pipe deep in the hollowed floor, below the leak, and sweated the copper band extending the conduit to a useful length above the surface of the floor. "Let me know when the wall is ready to paint!" called Gary Howell, stopping by from the Tuesday domino games. He had sanded and smoothed the new wall two weeks ago when Leo finished its taping and bedding. Having bought a gallon of acrylic latex paint for the wall, Gary has volunteered to do the painting. After the cabinet and painting is finished, volunteers will strip old and broken vinyl tiles, prepare the floor that has been long ignored under the heavy oak bar, and set new tiles in a pattern that will take advantage of the existing tiles that need not be replaced. No schedule has yet been set to finish the room.
September 10, 2011 -- BAND ENTERTAINS AT SUCCESSFUL INDIAN TACO SALE
For four hours of the well-attended, five-hour Indian Taco sale, a country band played wonderfully familiar songs of the '50's and 60's for the pleasure of the one hundred or so visitors who came, ate, and went. The band, called Classic Country, consists of its leader, Bill Lakey, Ron Hathaway, bass player, and drummer, Guy Thomas. They were joined for the second and third set by guitarist and singer, Vince Warner. The talented group have varied careers playing over the years with well-known names of country music. Tickets for 108 Indian tacos were sold during the day, with the last of the guests arriving around 4 pm having to scrape the bottom of the cheese-dip bowl and the pinto-bean vat. The event brought in $507.00 with $11.00 additional donations. The fundraiser was deemed very successful and especially fun.
September 8, 2011 -- ASCOG EXEC BOARD MEETING TO BE AT LEGION BUILDING
The October Executive Board of Trustees Meeting of the Association of South Central Oklahoma Governments (ASCOG) will be held at the Legion Building. The primary topic on the agenda and the reason for the location change is the status of the Delta Nutrition Project's move into the bar area of the building. The senior center will serve the board (and other attendees) a dinner of Indian Tacos. The Executive Board meets monthly, normally at the ASCOG office building in Duncan, OK.
September 7, 2011 -- THERE IS A PARASITE TO CONTROL GOATHEADS
Told by his cousin, Freddy Collins, that the goathead plant, which is plentiful around the Legion Building, can be controlled by an easy to apply parasite, Tom Spears has asked the Comanche County Agricultural Agent to assist in obtaining some puncturevine weevils for Legion Park. The time to release the weevil apparently is in mid-spring so the insect can bore into the new, green goathead seed and lay its eggs. More on this problem and its solution as time goes on.
September 1, 2011 -- NO POT-LUCK DINNER FOR MONDAY, LABOR DAY
Center president Eva William announced today that there will be no Monday meeting next week due to the Labor Day holiday. Skipping the Monday pot luck and games on Monday holidays is a normal scheduling occurrence, but since the announcement was not made at the immediately prior meeting, Eva wanted a special message to be sent. Tom Spears sent an email note to all members for whom he had email addresses. Others were notified by phone.
August 31, 2011 -- SENIORS BUSY AT THE LEGION BUILDING
Anyone dropping by the Legion Building on Wednesday would have found three volunteers busy building, cleaning, and maintaining in various parts of the building. Leo Whitley was eyeing the cabinet/sink project and planning its design and construction as he placed trim on the top and bottom of the new wall he and others constructed. The new wall divides the old American Legion bar room into two new areas: the Delta Nutrition Project kitchen in the north end and the seniors meeting and dining room in the south end. Alon Williams was cleaning the stove, griddle, and food preparation areas. Tom Spears, using a donated weed eater, trimmed the edges of the sidewalk and entrances to the building, viciously destroying any goathead vines found within reach. Later, Tom and Alon mopped and cleaned the ballroom in preparation for three events over the next four days.
August 27, 2011 -- EIGHTY FOLKS BRAVE SEARING HEAT FOR COUNTRY MUSIC
Fourteen musicians and performers and eight kitchen volunteers were joined by fifty-eight country music lovers and dancers to make this month's "An Evening of Country Music" a successful event. Three hundred and thirty-eight dollars were donated at the door, and the quilt raffle brought in an additional fifty-two dollars. A stand-up bass player joined the other musicians for the first time, adding a distinctive beat to the already wonderful country music. Most of the audience spent a great deal of time on the dance floor after enjoying the complimentary burger-in-a-basket, drink, and dessert. In spite of the 104 degree heat, the sometime limping air conditioning system kept the ballroom mostly comfortable. Leo Whitely announced that one of the eight central units will be replaced within the next week.
August 23, 2011 -- VOLUNTEERS TACKLE AIR CONDITIONING DEFICIENCIES
Almost a hundred days of 100+ degree weather, most days in August around 107, have played havoc with the atmosphere within the Legion Building and drawn criticism from the people attending the center functions. Several visitors have announced that they will not return to senior center events until the weather moderates. Leo Whitley and Alon Williams are determined to get each of the eight 5-ton units operating at full efficiency. They solved the problem of an intermittent compressor housing fan by purchasing and installing a new motor. They have replaced the surge protector junction boxes for the west side units and ordered a new compressor unit. Internal thermostats were replaced on three units. The electric company advises that the units should be left on, cooling at a higher temperature setting, rather than being completely turned off for periods when the building is inactive. With September coming soon, the members have hopes that the year-long of drought and this summer's devilish temperatures will be drawing to an end. Of course, now the natural gas central heaters must be serviced and brought up to date.
ANA WARD TAKES ON CENTER ACCOUNTS, DONATES COMPUTER SYSTEM
Longtime Financial Officer for the American Legion Post 193 (The group that built the Legion Building in the 1970's and occupied it until last October), Ana Ward is joining the seniors and has volunteered to take on the task of bringing more order and discipline to the financial accounts of the center. At a special meeting of the center officers, she described the system she would like to set up, and she offered to donate the computer system she had used with Post 193. Tom Spears picked up her computer, installed it in the center office/quilting room, and connected it to the building Wi-Fi modem/router in place of an older computer which suffered from a growling and failing hard drive. Eva Williams and Cecil Gardner will begin passing records, receipts, and past history to Ana next week. Ana's financial records will start with July 1, 2011, since the center's fiscal year runs from July through June.
August 13, 2011 -- DISAPPOINTING CROWDS AT TWO WEEKEND EVENTS
Only 22 country music fans came out into the 107 degree heat to dance to the music of Tex Henderson's Sagebrush band. Those attending expressed great pleasure at the quality and variety of the country music with Tex singing old favorite tunes and Mike, the talented lead guitarist adding vocals that drew admiring and appreciative applause. Scrumptious burgers served from the senior center's kitchen, converted to Jim's Cafe, added a flair of a "great night out" to the few who attended the event. "I don't know how we can keep coming out here and playing to so few paying customers." Jim Henderson, the leader of the band, said after the show. "We do it because we love to play this music and entertain people, but my band members just can't afford the gas and the expense, without a little bit of income." Hoping that the low number of people coming to the Legion Building for the Friday night dances is influenced by the incredibly hot and dry season, the band expects that when the weather improves more people will come out and enjoy the quality country music.
In a similar vein, only seventy-five people came to the Legion Building for Indian Taco's, the monthly fundraiser the senior center holds. Expecting more than a hundred, the seniors were disappointed in the some-what low number.
August 5, 2011 -- FEW COME TO ENJOY "LAWS OF WICHITAS" FIRST FRIDAY DANCE
Only 27 people came to the Legion Building for the First Friday performance of the country music band, The Laws of the Wichitas." "It was a disappointing number of people." Commented band singer, Alice Law. "But with the temperature over 115 degrees as the sun goes down, a lot of people just don't want to get away from their home air conditioners." Several of those attending were from counties west of the Lawton area and are frequent dancers at the Cooperton Saturday dances. James Williams, proprietor of "Jim's Cafe," which serves burgers from the Senior Center kitchen, reported, "There wasn't many folks here tonight, but just about everyone had a hamburger." Jim Law said that he hopes coming cooler weather will bring out more dancers.
August 2, 2012 -- FIVE DOLLAR CHARGE FOR BURGERS, MUSIC VOTED
At Monday's monthly center board members, the matter of the cost of providing burger-in-a-baskets, drinks, and dessert at the Evening of Country Music verses the amount of money donated by persons attending was discussed. The most recent event was given as a typical example; $277.00 donated by 83 attendees indicates an average of $3.33 per person. That amount was reported to approximate the cost of the meal's ingredients. A board member made a motion that a charge of $5.00 for the food be imposed, with donations being requested from those who want to listen to the music and dance, but not eat. The motion passed. The change will take place at the August event. Posters and newspaper announcements will announce the change to the public so they will not be surprised at the door.
LOURETTA BORSOS RESIGNS AS CENTER TREASURER; GIVEN ACOLADES
Center Treasurer, Louretta Borsos, submitted her resignation at Monday night's board meeting. She cited her health and an increasing problem with her sight. Cecil Gardner, Facility Manager, volunteered to do the Treasurer's duties until a replacement is elected. All present at the meeting expressed a deep appreciation to Louretta for her long service as a member and officer of the center. Louretta said that she will continue to do anything in any capacity for the center which she is physically able to do.
CENTER FINANCES TO BE MAINTAINED ON COMMERCIAL ACCOUNTING SOFTWARE
With the additional accounting requirements involved with the move into the Legion Building, the center officers have decided that all financial matters should be maintained on commercial financial software with formal monthly reconciliation of all accounts.
July 29, 2011 -- EIGHTY-THREE ENJOY EVENING OF COUNTRY MUSIC
With the Legion Building air conditioners struggling against the 107-degree Oklahoma heat, a crowd of 83 country music fans danced and listened in a warm 85-degree ballroom. As the evening progressed and the sun lowered in the west, the ballroom cooled and the audience settled in to enjoy the activities. The burgers were fresh and delicious, enjoyed by all. A total of $277.00 was collected in the donation jar.
July 27, 2011 -- DINING AND MEETING ROOM FURTHER ALONG
Again, this Wednesday, the Clarks from Geronimo, Bob and Jo, joined Alon Williams, Tom Spears to hang more sheet rock on the new partition dividing the old bar area into the Delta Nutrition Kitchen and the seniors' new dining room and meeting room. Insulation, donated by Butch Hunt was pressed into place between the studs, and a pass-through area was cut into the wall to facilitate serving food from the Delta Kitchen to the seniors' dining room, if the room is ever approved as a feeding center for Northwest Comanche County.
POOL TABLE ADJUSTED AND POOL-CUE RACK INSTALLED
Reggie Zimmerman, long-time member of the center, came today to adjust the cue-ball return tubes in the pool table. The return tubes had been misaligned in the move and reassembly of the table and balls have been hanging at some of the joints. After minor adjustment, the balls seemed to roll smoothly through the ball-return system. With time to spare, Reggie installed the cue-stick rack, having to make the upper retainer from scrap lumber because the original section had been lost in the move.
July 25, 2011 -- HELP FROM GERONIMO PUSHES PROGRESS ON WALL
Three supporters from Geronimo, OK, loaded down with 2x4 studs and wallboard arrived at the center ready to build the wall. Bob Clark, a retired carpenter, and his wife, Jo, along with her bother, Ray (Butch) Hunt joined Alon Williams and Tom Spears to continue the construction that Leo Whitley and others began last week. With Bob leading the group, the entire was studded and two sheets of sheet rock hung. Tom Spears commented that there was much more progress on the wall than he had expected. Another work day has been called for Wednesday. If enough volunteers show up, the wall should be completed and made ready for painting during that work day.
July 22, 2011 -- FORTY-THREE ENJOY SAGEBRUSH COUNTRY BAND
People began to arrive early at the Legion Building for Friday's dance event, eager to see the "new" Sagebrush Band. By the 9 p.m. break, 43 people had paid at the door. Tex Henderson had spent the two weeks since the last time his band played reconstituting the group to to play his kind of music. Keeping the base player, Tex had replaced the substitute drummer he had the last time and arranged for a different lead guitar player. All there enjoyed the music, with all vocals sung by Tex, himself.
July 21, 2011 -- PARTITION CONSTRUCTION BEGINS IN BAR AREA
On Wednesday, Alon Williams and Gary Howell worked all day separating and clearing the timber that resulted from the disassembling of huge serving bar in the saloon room of the Legion Building. The purpose was to prepare the south end of the area to become a meeting and dining room. Today Alon Williams, Thelmer Hutchenson, Leo Whitley, and Tom Spears began constructing the wall. By the end of the day a ten-foot section of header, footer, and 16- inch-center studs was in place. The crew will continue construction on Monday, hoping to have the wall completed by the end of next week. The north end of the old saloon area is being used by the Delta Nutrition Project to store equipment and food for the Comanche County Feeding Program. Eventually the Delta area will be converted into a kitchen to prepare and distribute the food for the program. Next workday is Monday, July 25, at 10 AM.
July 20, 2011 -- SAGEBRUSH READY FOR FRIDAY'S DANCE
Tex Henderson reports that he has assembled a professional group of musicians to entertain locals at Friday's country music dance. Having the same bass player that played with the band on July 8th, the band will feature a different lead guitar player ("I really like to play rock and roll," the guitarist said, "But I can plan any kind of country!") and a different drummer ("I played with this drummer for 17 years." Tex admitted, "He is one of the finest drummers in the country.") The dance will begin at 7:30 at the Legion Building on Friday, July 22."
July 18, 2011 -- LOURETTA'S SHOWER BRINGS NEEDED ITEMS
Louretta's kitchen, bedroom, restroom, and living room was stocked with a few replacement items that were destroyed when her home burned in June's Medicine Park wildfire. Forty people came to the Center's Monday pot-luck supper and disaster shower to bouy her spirits and give Louretta a head start in restoring her life to normal in her borrowed home while she rebuilds her residence.
July 16, 2011 -- LOURETTA DUE A DISASTER "SHOWER" AT MONDAY'S POT-LUCK
At last week's pot-luck supper, several members decided that a "shower" would be appropriate to replace goods that Louretta Borsos lost when her home was totally destroyed during the Medicine Park conflagration in late June. The idea was widely cheered on by the senior citizens when the Public Relations officer sent an email to all computer-using members. Ray Hunt, a supporter from Geronimo, OK, brought a chest of drawers and several other items to the Legion Building on Friday, saying other household goods were being collected by Geronimo citizens for Monday delivery. A larger meeting than usual is expected on Monday.
July 15, 2011 -- SMALL GROUP, WONDERFUL COUNTRY MUSIC - ALICE MISSED
Alice Law, the singer for Laws of the Wichitas country band, missed the Friday night gig at the Legion Building after falling from a chair on Tuesday, breaking both knee bones. She remains in the hospital today. The music played by the band to a small audience of 37 active dancing couples was called "great." Jim Law declared that he was disappointed that the audience wasn't larger than their first show on July 1st, but that he is confident that the word will spread and the music and dancing will create a consistently larger crowd. The small grou[p of dancers left the
July 14, 2011 -- DANCE SHOW ANNOUNCEMENT AD MISSES NEWSPAPER
Scanning the Lawton Constitution this morning, Tom Spears learned that the expected Thursday ad for the Friday dance night at the Legion Building was missing. Alice Law, singer for the Laws of the Wichita Band, had placed ads for the first of July dance and the July 14 to advertise the dance. Limited attendance on for the first program placed greater emphasis for letting people know that the second dance was taking. Tom advised Alice (via voice mail) to contact the newspaper and be sure that the ad runs on Friday.
July 11, 2011 -- LARRY HARRIS HOLDS ART SHOW
Senior center member, Larry Harris, is displaying his art for the next several months at the hallway gallery at the Southwestern Medical Center. His opening reception will be held there at 5:00 pm on Thursday, July 14th. <See Inventation> For more information see Larry's web site at http://www.larryfineartharris.com/ .
July 9, 2011 -- ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTEEN ENJOY INDIAN TACOS
After members placed "Indian Tacos Sale" signs at critical road intersections near the Legion Building; volunteers chopped tomatoes, onions, and lettuce and cooked pinto beans and spiced ground beef; and Cecil Gardner mixed the dough for her wonderful Indian fry bread, the doors opened at 11 am to a steady stream of hungry patrons. As the volunteers closed and cleaned the building at 4 pm, Louretta Borsos announced that 115 people had bought tacos, earning $560.00 to be used for center activities.
July 8, 2011 -- ONLY 17 DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY ON FRIDAY
Tex Henderson's Sagebrush band attracted only 17 people for the second Friday dance at the Legion Building. Tex, attempting to repeat the long success his band experienced when they played as the house band at the old American Legion Post, assembled a group of talented musicians to re-create his Sagebrush country band. A bungled newspaper ad, multiple activities going on in the region, and other mis-communications apparently joined to hold the attendance down. Though the audience was very small, the musicians performed a wide variety of country tunes to which everyone enjoyed dancing and listening.
July 2, 2011 -- SMALL BUT ENTHUSIASTIC CROWD COMES TO DANCE
The first commercial dance was held at the Legion Building on Friday, July 1. Jim and Alice Law assembled their band, The Laws of the Wichitas, for its first public appearance. A small ad in the Lawton Constitution, a small banner on the large "Legion Building" sign on the edge of Interstate 44, and word-of-mouth brought 41 country dance enthusiasts to the building. Under the building-use agreement with Comanche County and the U. S. Department of Interior, the seniors allow groups to use the Legion Building for a fee. The band played a variety of country tunes to the delight of those attending.
June 28, 2011 -- TELEPHONE AND INTERNET NOW IN LEGION BUILDING
The Medicine Park Telephone Company connected telephone service to the Legion Building along with its integrated Internet WiFi service. With the building bring made of reinforced concrete, text are ongoing to determine where in the building the best Internet access can be obtained.
June 25, 2011 -- NINETY-TWO MUSIC LOVERS ENJOY MUSIC SHOW
The Medicine Park wildfire and the mandatory evacuation of the entire town affected the attendance and member support of the monthly fundraiser, An Evening of Country Music. While 92 people expressed great enthusiasm about the food and the music show, the number was significantly lower than expected. Many of the Medicine Park citizens who regularly attend the monthly event could not be there, but an almost equal number of first-timers brought the number attending to a successful level. The number of volunteers setting up for the event and working in the kitchen were also very limited. As the evening got underway, the only kitchen workers were Eva, Alon, and James Williams and Tom Spears. As serving got underway, the sparse staff was supplemented by Ana Ward, who had spent the afternoon helping Tom and Jo Ann Spears clean the building and set up the ballroom. With Ana's energetic labor, the Legion Building was in the best condition it had been since the seniors began using it. Donations for the night was an impressive $411.00.
June 24, 2011 -- LOURETTA BORSOS HOME DESTROYED IN CONFLAGRATION
As the Fort Sill range fire burned off the post into Medicine Park, one of the first residences to be destroyed was that of center treasurer and quilting lead, Louretta Borsos. With only the chimney of her home left standing, Louretta is now living with her nephew, Bruce, in Lawton. The fire continued through a sparsely populated portion of Medicine Park, over Big Rock mountain, and down to Lake Lawtonka. The fire was still burning late Friday. Thirteen Medicine Park residences were reported to be destroyed. Joretta Harris, living on Big Rock, was hospitalized due to smoke inhalation. The empty Community Center was threatened by the fire, but, defended by numerous fire fighters, was spared damage.
June 23, 2011 -- UPDATE OF WEB SITE DELAYED DUE TO SATELLITE LINK OUT
High winds on Thursday, June 16th, disrupted the web master's Internet link, delaying site updates for a week. Link returned late Wednesday, June 22. Here is the last week's news:
1. Volunteers remove shelves from west side of Utility Room, making way for Pantry
2. Electric range fails. Three top burners short out due to electrical mis-match. Extensive
and expensive repairs will be required.
3. Volunteers install a stainless steel set of shelves in Pantry area
4. Ice machine starts making ice after fault. Adjustment to depth gauge corrects problem
5. Volunteers build partition to create the Pantry in the Utility Room area
6. Leo whitley installs door, paints wall for the new Pantry.
June 15, 2011 -- MARTINEZ DONATES EXERCISE MACHINES
Wayne and Bunnie Martinez had unused, but wonderfully serviceable, exercise equipment stored in their Elgin, OK, barns, when they heard about the Wichita Mountain Seniors moving in to their new, larger facilities. Bunnie called and asked if the center could use such equipment. Tom Spears and Alon and James Williams took a trailer to Elgin to pick up the like-new, but dusty recumbent bicycle, elliptical pacer, and treadmill. Seeing that there was extra space in the trailer and pickup, the Martinez's offered other items they had stored around their new home. The center volunteers took back to the Legion Building, not only the promised exercise equipment, but also a six-foot steel table; a wheelchair, cane, and walker; and eight wooden dining chairs. The exercise equipment was placed in the back of the TV room, positioned so those using the equipment can easily see the big screen TV when it is installed and cable service is provided.
June 11, 2011 -- LEGION BUILDING PROVES POPULAR FOR INDIAN TACOS
When the publicized starting time for the Indian Taco Sale, 11 AM, passed with no one coming to the Legion Building. At 11:15 one person drove up, asked if this is the place to get Indian tacos, bought two to go, and left. At 11:30 no one else had come. The volunteers in the kitchen and at the desk had long since began to wonder what had gone wrong. Where were all those people who had told them they were looking forward with great anticipation to Indian tacos being offered at the Legion Building. Two cars with six people drove in at ten until twelve, another, and then three more. Finally people streamed into the Legion Building, standing in line, then taking the platter of Navajo fry bread, piled with spiced ground beef and cheese, to the preparing table for the tomatoes, lettuce, onions, jalapenos, and picante sauce. At the end of the day, the final count was 131 men, women, and children; a very successful day. One hundred and twenty Indian tacos were sold for $600.00, and $27.40 was left in the donation jar for children's fry bread and appreciation for the service.
QUILT OFFERED FOR RAFFLE FOR TWO DOLLARS PER TICKET; $120 COLLECTED
The ladies from the Center's Tuesday Quilting Bee had finished their latest quilt before the move from the Medicine Park Community Center, and began the raffle of the quilt at the June Indian Taco Sale. The raffle of the quilt will continue through the monthly fundraiser through August. The drawing for the quilt will take place at 8 pm on August 26th during the August Evening of Country Music. The beautiful quilt proved popular to Indian taco lovers, with sixty raffle tickets being sold during the Indian Taco Sale.
June 9, 2011 -- OLD BAR IN LEGION BUILDING DISMANTLED
Alon Williams and Tom Spears completed the destruction of the 40+-foot 2x12 timbered bar, making the area ready for Delta Nutrition Project to build their new kitchen. The pair saved as much of the lumber as possible in order for use in two partition walls that will be soon constructed. The walls will create a new dining/meeting room at the south end of the saloon area as well as a secured pantry in the utility area next to the kitchen. Current plans say that the dining room/meeting room will be made available for use by organizations and individuals for a fee as well as being used by the center for its pot-luck meals and an eventual nutrition feeding center if one is approved for the area in the future.
June 8, 2011 -- SIGN ON I-44 NOW UPDATED
David Mills, a local sign painter and display artist, with Leo Whitley helping, completed the large sign on Legion Park along side Interstate 44, just before the exit. Now proudly proclaiming, "LEGION BUILDING," a stripe, and then smaller, "WICHITA MOUNTAINS AREA SENIORS," the sign announces the presence of the Legion Building, and, in two oval attachments at the top of the sign, "Ballroom Available" and "No Alcohol." Setting up a scaffolding provided by Leo, the two marked the signboard on Tuesday and, before the wind rose on Wednesday, placed the plastic letters along the chalk lines.
June 3, 2011 -- OLD AMERICAN LEGION BAR DISASSEMBLED
The removing of the long, heavy wooden bar that long served the imbibers and conversationalists who visited the American Legion bar in times past was completed today. Leo whitley, Alon Williams, James Williams, and Tom Spears took screwdriver and pry bar to the structure, preserving as much of the wood, bolts, and screws as possible for future construction within the Legion Building. The task was a tedious one. One Wednesday, James and Alon freed the 2X12-constructed bar top from the base by removing dozens of screws and corner braces that had made the bar a solid support for perched elbows, chilled mugs, and tales of war and peace since its construction by volunteers from the American Legion Post in 1972. At the end of the day, James inventoried the stack of 2x4 lumber to determine what purchases will be required to complete a wall that will create a dining-meeting room in the south end of the previous bar, separating it from the Comanche County Nutrition Program kitchen which will be occupy the north end of the old bar area.
Jun 2, 2011 -- INDIAN TACOS SET FOR LEGION BUILDING, SAT, JUN 11
With the "shakedown cruse" for the kitchen frying capabilities for Monday's fish fry over, the kitchen volunteers are confident that they are ready to meet the expectations of the Indian Taco lovers onslaught on June 11. Cecil Gardner, the epicure of the local seniors, has her kneading surfaces ready to continuously stir up additional Navajo Fry Bread dough as long as customers bring their hunger to the Legion Building.
May 31, 2011 -- SEVENTY-SIX ENJOY FISH FRY
The Legion Building was abuzz with members and visitors Monday night enjoying the fried fish provided by Johnny Nix. Because of the wind, Johnny did not cook the fish in his cast iron pot, outside. Using the kitchen deep fryer, he crisped the delicious morsels and browned hush puppies for seventy-six diners. Two tables of dominoes were busy all night. Others asked for playing cards, but they are still lost in unpacked or misplaced boxes. One hundred and forty-five dollars was placed in the donation jar.
May 30, 2011 -- MEMORIAL DAY FISH FRY AT LEGION BUILDING
"I have more fish in my freezer than anyone could eat in a lifetime." Johnny Nix declared at last Monday's potluck. "Why don't we have a fish fry?" After an invigorated discussion the decision was made. Memorial Day potluck will be a fish fry. Johnny will bring his cast iron pot and propane burner; the center will buy some oil, folks will bring slaw and fixings and dessert. Sounded like a plan. At Friday's Evening of Country Music, Tom Spears was making his welcoming remarks to the large audience when Johnny called to him and reminded him to mention Monday's fish fry. "I can't tell this audience about the fish fry." Tom replied to Johnny and the audience, "The fish fry is a senior citizen affair, and only seniors and their guests may attend." He continued, "All of you seniors are encouraged to attend, and all of you are encouraged to bring a guest!" No one has any idea how many people will attend the fish fry, how many fish Johnny has to fry, and how much other food will be brought. It should be an interesting occasion.
May 27, 2011 -- MAY EVENING OF COUNTRY MUSIC PLAYED IN LEGION BUILDING
A hundred and six people attended Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens' Evening of Country Music at the Legion Building. Enjoying the playing of many of the same musicians who performed at the Community Center, the audience was treated to a return of harmonicist, Frank Pew, and three new performers. The gas range that the Bob and Jo Clark and Ray Hunt donated grilled the burgers, the rewired vent hood removed the smoke, the kitchen layout was approved by the assembled kitchen volunteers, and the sound system behaved flawlessly. All in all the evening was considered an overwhelming success by the center members, the visitors, and the musicians. That success was well reflected after the event as the departing patrons left an additional $36.00 in the already emptied donation jar, adding to the $382.60 donated during the event.
BALLROOM READY FOR MUSIC SHOW
After a day on Thursday of harried activity to get the neglected outside of the Legion Building manicured and looking good for those expected to attend the Evening of Country Music on Friday, four senior center members got together to set up the ballroom and relocate the last of various items still sitting around in the way after last week's move. Don Hall moved folding chairs and tables to other rooms, Jo Ann Spears mopped and swept and cleaned the ball room, Norman Brantley hung newly delivered fire extinguishers and helped move set up chairs on the now refuse-free ballroom floor, and Tom Spears, arriving early, moved dining tables and chairs; put the microphones, chairs, power strips, and equipment in place on the bandstand, dumped trash, and moved building materials to storerooms.
May 26, 2011 -- SOFT DRINK MACHINE DELIVERY DELAYED
A representative from the 7up company informed the senior officers that the two soft drink machines, expected to be in place prior to the Evening of Country Music would not be delivered and operable until early June.
May 18, 2011 -- BOB AND JOSEPHINE CLARK DONATE GAS RANGE
Hearing from the center membership that the fry-griddle does not work adequately on the electric range the center has, Bob Clark brought an unused four-burner gas range to the Legion Building. He told Tom Spears that he and Josephine had no further use for the range, and they hoped it would be useful in the center's new kitchen. He said that if the range does not do a good job heating the fry-griddle, the center can give the range to a senior citizen that might need the appliance. Gordon Plumbers arrived before the couple left. The plumbers connected the gas range to the natural gas connection and ensured that it is working properly.
PLUMBING FINISHED, ELECTRICIANS THROUGH BY FRIDAY
Four Gordon Plumbing workers arrived early today at the Legion Building and went immediately to work to finish all the work needed to meet the senior center requirements. In addition to connecting a gas range donated minutes earlier by Bob and Josephine Clark, the plumbers finished the installation of the beverage counter, the prep sink in the south cabinet, both hand sinks, the prep sink in the cook's counter, the ice machine, the grease trap, and the dish washer. As the plumbers left, Kyle Dillard and his assistant arrived to continue the electrical installations needed for the kitchen and restrooms. Kyle indicated that he is sure their work will be finished by Friday.
May 17, 2011 -- SENIOR VOLUNTEERS FINISH PROPERTY MOVE
For a second day, senior volunteers met at the Medicine Park Community Center to remove senior center property for installation at their new home, the Legion Building. The plumbing team from Gordon's Plumbing and the electricians from Kyle Dillard Electric joined the volunteers. Equipment was un-installed and reinstalled in the Legion Building. Alon Williams had contracted with a moving team to transfer the heaviest equipment, but they informed him at 10:00 AM that they could not do the work because the leader of their team is in the hospital. Using their own pickups and trailers and aging muscles, the seniors lifted and slid and tugged the range, the pool table, the grease trap, the refrigerators and freezers, and the center island tables into the vehicles and then into place at the Legion Building. The plumbers were standing by to connect the sinks and dishwasher and grease trap. The electricians finished plugs for the refrigerators and freezers just as the equipment was lifted through the door. A tired but content, proud, even, group of senior center members (again along with Bob and Josephine Clark, who have come both days up from Geronimo to help with the move) left the Legion Building to return later to straighten, arrange, and connect the newly delivered property.
May 16, 2011 -- PRESIDENT EVA WILLIAMS SIGNS FOR LEGION BUILDING
Eva and Alon Williams, joined by Tom Spears, met with County Commissioner Ron Kirby before members of the press for the signing of the Department of Interior approved building use agreement. Commissioner Kirby told the press that a hard seven months of preparation, argument, and concessions had transpired as the county tried to reach agreement for the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Association to be able to use the vacant American Legion building north of Lawton. The last problem to be resolved was to allow the county nutrition program to be centered in a portion of the building. Eva and Kirby signed the document, and the last step in the relocation of the senior center from the Medicine Park Community Center was resolved. Tom Spears announced that a portion of the center property was being transfered today and the balance of the equipment will be moved on Tuesday after the plumbers and electricians uninstall the equipment.
TEN VOLUNTEERS MEET TO MOVE CENTER EQUIPMENT TO LEGION BUILDING
While Eva, Alon, and Tom were in Lawton for the signing ceremony, volunteers gathered at the Medicine Park Community Center to load senior citizens equipment onto trailers and pickups and transport the property to the Legion Building. In five hours almost all of the tables, chairs, and other loose equipment was relocated. Only things needed for the Monday night pot-luck dinner and equipment installed in the building that needed servicing for de-installation remained to be moved on Tuesday.
May 14, 2011 -- EIGHTY-FIVE FAMISHED FOLKS FAVOR FLAVORFUL FOOD
"When are you going to move?" was a constant refrain, as many return visitors savored Cecil Gardner's wonderful Indian tacos at the Medicine Park Community Center. For the first time the seniors were able to reply with some assurance, "Next week, for sure!" Word from the County Commissioners was "Come to the Commission Meeting Room on Monday for the signing of the building-use agreement." Anticipating the labor and expense of the impending move, the sated crowd left an overflowing donation jar for a total days collection of $499.00. Several patrons, as they left the building, said that they would like to help with the move. Bill and Josephine Clark, Kirk Cox, and Leo Whitley arranged to meet with Puddin McKensey on Monday to start moving senior center equipment to the Legion Building.
May 12, 2011 -- JAY JOHANEK STARTS MOWING OF LEGION PARK
Jay Johanek, mounting his 1945 Allis Chalmers tractor, as he has for the last several years for the American Legion, Post 193, volunteered to mow the vast acreage for the senior citizens. The tractor has been in his family since it was bought new by his grandfather. He said that he loves to drive his tractor and loves the rolling hills of Legion Park. The seniors are very appreciative of Jay's actions.
May 6, 2011 -- PLUMBING, OTHER WORK NEARS COMPLETION AT LEGION BUILDING
A crew from Gordon Plumbing worked through Friday running a cold-water pipe from the east-side water source to the kitchen area, installing sink and water heater tubing, and preparing the building for the move of the kitchen equipment. Alon and James Williams prepared for the moving of a 17-foot portion of the American Legion bar top into the ballroom to be used as a serving counter. The center has begun receiving equipment ordered in the past two weeks to ready the building for full operation. A mop sink with hardware is in place, ready for the plumbers' installation. Two small water heaters will be delivered on Monday, one to deliver hot water to the women's and men's restrooms and one to boost the temperature of the water for the dishwasher.
May 4, 2011 -- LEGION BUILDING KITCHEN CONNECTED TO SEWER
Johnny Nix drove his backhoe to the Legion Building this morning to dig the trench from the kitchen sewage outlet to the sewer pipe running from the building restroom to the waste-water lagoon, north of the building. He dug down until he located the sewer drain pipe and the building water-supply pipe. With the pipes exposed and drop-distance calculated on his ancient "eye-level" device, Johnny dug the trench from the kitchen egress point to the sewer pipe. The Gordon Company plumbers arrived at 1:15 and installed the three-inch drain pipe. Johnny covered the pipe and was on his way by 2:30 pm.
May 3, 2011 -- SENIORS ALLOCATE FUNDS FOR CENTER MOVE
At the monthly meeting of the Senior Center on Monday night, the seniors voted funds to finish the plumbing and electrical work and purchase the functional items to make the Legion Building ready for the move. They set a goal of the last Friday of May, Country Music night, to have the building ready for activities.
April 29, 2011 -- SMALL CROWD, GREAT FOOD, WONDERFUL MUSIC FRIDAY
Only sixty-three people attended the Evening of Country Music at the Medicine Park Community Center on Friday night. Those there were very enthusiastic about the evening's music. The appearance of a professional base-guitar player, a great harmonica artist, and other top-notch performers added to the regulars of Jim and Alice Law, Jack Walbrick, J. O. Howard, Freddy Burnnet, and others. Instead of ending the evening at 8:30 pm, the normal ending time, the performance went on for an additional hour to the delight of the rapt audience.
LAWS OF THE WICHITAS FINALIZE PLANS FOR TWICE-MONTHLY DANCE
Jim and Alice Law, of Rosevelt, OK, have booked the Legion Building for a twice-monthly country music dance beginning the first Friday of July. Their newly organized band, tentatively called The Laws of the Wichitas, will perform the first and third Fridays, charging between $7.00 and $8.00 per person at the door.
April 28, 2011 -- DEPT OF INTERIOR GIVES TENTATIVE "YES' FOR LEGION BUILDING
In correspondence to the County Commission Thursday, the Department of Interior affirmed that the proposal from the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Association satisfies the requirements of the 1972 use agreement for Legion Park and its associated Legion Building. There are some points in the original use agreement that require adjustment and updating before the county can officially assign the concessionaire status to the seniors for the management of the park and the building. The seniors have stated their intention, with county approval, to continue the improvements to plumbing and updating of electrical service in the building, to ensure that the building is ready for use by the general public when the concessionaire agreement is signed. That action is expected within seven to ten days.
April 27, 2011 -- SENATOR GIVES HELP TO SENIORS' SEEKING LEGION BUILDING
Senator Tom Coburn, R-OK, concerned about how long the Comanche County Commission has been waiting for an answer to their Department of Interior query, contacted Interior asking why their decision on allowing the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens to begin using the former American Legion Post 193 building at Legion Park is taking so long. The response he received indicated that the commission should have its answer "the last of this week or early next week." Eva Williams, upon hearing this news, declared, "I hope we get some word by Friday night, in time to make an announcement at the Country Music show! I am sure we can be moved by the last Friday in May, the next show!"
April 22, 2011 -- NEW WORK ON LEGION BUILDING SUSPENDED UNTIL "GO AHEAD"
Anticipating the three-week hiatus between fundraisers would be the optimum period to move from the Medicine Park Community Center to the Legion Building, the seniors have expressed a great deal of disappointment that the move has not been approved by the Department of Interior. On the 8th of February, the Interior Department's agent indicated that the agency's response would be delivered between four and eight weeks. That period has passed, and there is still no word. The seniors have decided to not spend any more labor or money (other than paying the bills for insurance, electricity, natural gas, and water) until there is an official "permission" for the seniors to occupy and use the building. Some cleaning and disposal of some of the items left by the last tenant might be effected, but wall construction, plumbing and electrical work, and moving of any more senior-owned equipment has been suspended. With the next Evening of Country Music scheduled for the twenty-ninth, no move will be attempted next week, even if approval is received.
April 12, 2011 -- COMMISSIONER STATES STILL NO RESPONSE FROM INTERIOR
County Commissioner Ron Kirby told Tom Spears today that he has had no response from his contacts at the Department of Interior. "No news," He said. "is still no news."
April 11, 2011 -- ELECTRICIANS PLAN ADDITIONAL WORK AT LEGION BUILDING
Kyle Dillard from Dillard Electric met Tom Spears at the Community Center this morning to review the equipment that they will be installing in the Legion Building. They gathered information from the nameplate of each of the electrical appliances as Tom provided the new location information. Then the group traveled to the Legion Building to complete the tour. Satisfied that they will be prepared to complete the move as soon as the go is given, Kyle said that they are looking forward to getting the senior center operational at the new location.
April 9, 2011 -- APRIL INDIAN TACO SALE DEEMED A SUCCESS
After a slow start, only seventeen people had shown up at the Medicine Park Community Center thirty minutes after the 11 AM serving start, the pace picked up around noon and people continued to arrive until the 4 PM closing time. A total of 113 diners bought tickets for a total of $538.00 (children are fed at a discounted price). The donation jar contained thirty-five dollars at the end of the day, showing how much the patrons of the feed appreciate the efforts of the center's volunteers.
April 3, 2011 -- SENIORS PLAN NEXT INDIAN TACO SALE AT COMMUNITY CENTER
With no positive response from the Department of Interior approving the Senior Center operating the Legion Building and Legion Park, Eva Williams told the center members that the April Indian Taco Sale will again be at the Medicine Park Community Center. She indicated that she hoped that "we will be moved into the Legion Building in time for the May event." "Really," She said, "we hope to be moved for the April Evening of Country Music on the 29th. But it all depends upon when we get permission from Interior and sign the agreement with the county."
March 31, 2011 -- KITCHEN FLOOR RE-TILED, CLEANED. BUILDING RE-TITLED
Leo Whitley and Tom Spears cleaned up the kitchen floor in the Legion Building, readying the space for replacement of the three rows of tile that were destroyed when the plumbers trenched the floor to place hot and cold water pipes and the drain pipe from one side of the kitchen to the other. They glued vinyl tiles that were a near-match to the originals over the newly cemented floor area. After covering the cement wall behind the range and fryer space, Leo decided to cover the bare cement floor with tile, completing the entire kitchen floor. The kitchen is now ready for the relocation of the kitchen equipment from the Community Center. As soon as the equipment is in place, the plumbing work can be completed.
After Tom cut the appropriate 21-inch letters from some cardboard he had found in the back storeroom, he and Leo scaled the side of the building and painted out the "American" and "Post 193" from upper side of the north and south sides of the building, leaving the red-lettered "Legion." With the cardboard letter templates, Leo painted in the letters to make the newly titled signs read "Legion Building."
March 26, 2011 -- SMALL CROWD, DISAPPOINTING SOUND MAR EVENING
Sixty-four people signed into the Community Center for An Evening of County Music last night. The number included the workers, the performers, and an enthusiastic audience. The placement of components of the sound system created both squealing and a low rumble feedback faults. Folks, as they left at the scheduled 8:45 pm end of the show, were complementary to the staff and musicians, saying that they looking forward to next month's country music, hopefully at the Legion Building. Disappointingly, only $172.00 was donated by the by the attendees to support the senior citizens program.
March 19, 2011 -- TENTATIVE WORK EDGES FORWARD AT LEGION BUILDING
Gordon Plumbing completed initial work to provide water and sewage pipework to the kitchen area this week. They chiseled out a trough in the concrete kitchen floor and laid hot and cold water pipes and a building drain between the outside kitchen wall and the utility room. Leo Whitley and his son, Michael, mixed and filled the completed chasm with concrete, smoothed and finished the concrete, and made it ready for re-tiling in ten days or so. Alon Williams and his son, James, cut the counter top of the south wall cabinets and placed a new stainless steel sink, ready for the plumbers to connect into the newly installed plumbing.
Dillard Electric installed conduit from the power panel to the range and fryer cook area and to the utility room to provide power for the relocated hot water heater and a clothes dryer. Leo and Mike connected an electrical plug to power the coffee pots on the beverage counter in the ball room. Dillard Electric workmen will return to pull the cables soon.
Leo and Mike painted the several signs around Legion Park covering traces of the American Legion presence. They placed lettering on the sign at the front of the building, announcing the activity of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center, the building name, "Legion Building" and the facility's 911-appropriate address. They also placed components of the main Interstate-44 sign which stated "Ballroom Available" and "No Alcohol." The rest of the sign will be lettered after the signing of the building occupation agreement.
MARCH EVENING OF COUNTRY MUSIC AGAIN AT THE COMMUNITY CENTER
Hopes that the March An Evening of Country Music would take place at the Legion Building were dashed Friday when word failed to come from the Department of Commerce that the seniors could take possession of the facility. Since advertising and other publicity must go to the media over the weekend, the venue must be established at least a week in advance. The key to the move is the kitchen equipment which must be in place and connected to the power and water to support the seniors' activities. Plans are in place to accomplish the physical move in a two-day period assuming the availability of plumbers and electricians to disconnect and re-connect the equipment. Only items not needed for the country music show will be moved to the Legion Building during the week of March 21-26.
March 12, 2011 -- ONE-HUNDRED AND TWENTY EAT INDIAN TACOS
The crowd was not a record in number, but very close, as hungry patrons of delicious food streamed into the Community Center on Saturday. The first of the visitors arrived exactly at eleven o'clock, and there was not a break in the line at the kitchen window until around three-fifteen when the fixings began to run low. One-hundred and twenty people signed in at the door, buying 132 Indian tacos. Several Indian tacos were taken in to-go boxes, but the majority brought smiles and tummy-rubs to the people eating in the center. There was no exception to the compliments that Cecil Gardner and the other volunteers got for the excellent preparation of the fine meal. $660.00 had filled the til when the road signs were taken down, and $56.00 was left in the donation jar.
March 11, 2011 -- PLUMBERS INSTALLING KITCHEN DRAIN IN LEGION BUILDING
Workmen from Gordon Plumbing, Lawton, have begun the preliminary work to install the kitchen drain at the Legion Building. Working on the word of Tom Spears, that indications are fairly certain that the Department of Interior will grant stewardship of the building and grounds of Legion Park to the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Center, the Larry Gordon had his men insert a 4-inch drain pipe through the foundation of the building, cut a trough across the wash area of the kitchen and into the utility area, and lay the drain pipe in the trough. Their next job will be to position the hot and cold water pipes along the drain pipe and prepare the connectors. Tom said that, with the installation of the hot water heater in the kitchen's utility area, the rest of the plumbing will be installed along the walls and under tables and counters to serve the sinks and drains in the wash area, the three sinks in the preparation area, and the water needs of the beverage counter being installed in ballroom.
Leo Whitley and Tom Spears moved some cabinets in the kitchen, removed shelving in the utility area, and cut a doorway between the wash area and the utility area. A 36-inch door will be installed in the doorway, providing direct access from the ballroom through the utility area to the wash area of the kitchen. Tom explained that, with these changes, the soiled dishes and glassware from the ballroom can be brought directly into the kitchens wash area without going through the prep and cooking areas of the kitchen. The utility area will be completed when a mop sink is procured and installed and when a clothes washer and dryer are donated to the center. The washing machine set will be used to launder wash cloths and fabric towels.
March 9, 2011 -- "HOLD ON THERE, OLD TIMER!" COUNTY CLARIFIES AGREEMENT
Concern about the county's liability and uncertainty about the seniors prematurely expending funds on improvements and alterations to the Legion building has created a new understanding between the county commissioners and the officers of the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens. Commissioner Kirby said that, while the seniors can continue to make plans to move their activities and expend effort and money to make the critical changes, he did not want the seniors to start having the seniors activities, including having fundraisers and letting others use the ballroom or building for a fee, prior to the formal signed agreement between the county and the senior center. He repeated his earlier statement that any funds or labor expended on the building by the seniors will not be reimbursed to the seniors by the county if the senors are not granted use of the building by the Department of Interior or Comanche County.
March 8, 2011 -- INDIAN TACO SALE, STILL IN COMMUNITY CENTER
While the seniors work to move into the Legion Building, this month's Indian Taco fundraiser is still being held in the Medicine Park Community Center. A note to the center members from the officers: We hope everyone gets out to the center on Saturday to enjoy Cecil's Indian tacos. Come early (well, not before 11 am, but somewhere around there) because we might start running out of the good stuff before closing time. --We won't, but you might as well tell them that we might!) Oh, and if you want to help with the preparation, serving, or clean up, get in touch with Eva (405-829-0838) or Cecil (580-529-2621) and find out what they would like for you to do.)
March 4, 2011 -- COMMISSIONER KIRBY SAYS, "USE THE BUILDING."
County Commissioner Ron Kirby told Tom Spears today that he has telephonic word from the representative at the Department of The Interior that the draft of the use-agreement the seniors had proposed is acceptable to the Parks Agency. Formal written agreement could take up to two months, he said, so Commissioner Kirby approved full use of the building for the Senior Citizens program. The seniors immediately began planning for the move from the Medicine Park Community Center building to the Legion Building. The kitchen at the Community Center will remain intact through the Indian Taco sale on Saturday. In the meantime, Gordon's Plumbing will begin the water and sewage upgrades to the Legion Building, and Dillard Electric will wire the kitchen for the range, fryer, and dish washer. During the upcoming week, chairs, the pool table, some storage bins and racks, the TV, the sound system, and some furniture will be moved. .As soon as the kitchen is ready to support the Evening of Country Music, the rest of the senior-owned equipment will be moved.
March 3, 2011 -- AWAITING DECISION ON LEGION BUILDING, SENIORS ACT
While the seniors are still waiting for a decision from the county commissioners and the Department of the Interior, they are building a set of plans to move their equipment from the Medicine Park Community Center. A work day to clean, remove trash, and get the building read to use will be the first action the seniors will take. "The most important thing we will need when we start working on the building is a restroom!" Leo Whitley proclaimed. With that in mind, Leo and Tom Spears started working on the leaky plumbing left open in the old bar area of the Legion Building after the December auction of the bar equipment. Those leaks prevent water being available in the restrooms. After Leo plugged a major leak and Tom turned on the building water supply, they confirmed that both restrooms were in working order. Thinking the job was done, they checked the rest of the building and found that the freezing February weather had caused a major leak in the hot water supply to the kitchen. The ballroom was being flooded. The balance of the day was spent vacuuming and mopping up the water. Fortunately the hard wood dance floor was not touched by the water. Alon Williams joined in the clean up.
February 26, 2011 -- MODEST CROWD ENJOYS TERRIFIC COUNTRY MUSIC
A modest crowd of sixty music-loving Oklahomans came together Friday night for the center's monthly fund raiser and expressed their hearty appreciation for the eight musicians and singers that plied their talents for two-and-a-half hours. The music drew dancers to the floor often during the night. The kitchen volunteers, led by Facilities Director Cecil Gardner, sated the crowd with burger-in-a-basket, fries, and home-made desserts. The donation jar yielded two-hundred and twenty-six dollars at night's end. Unlike the January event, the center's sound system performed splendidly, protected this time by two new surge protectors. Musicians and listeners were one in their praise for the rich professional sound provided by the just repaired equipment.
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS DETAIL NEXT MOVE IN LEGION BUILDING ASSIGNMENT
Ron Kirby, Comanche County Commissioner, in a telephone call Friday Morning, said that the county has approved the seniors suggested changes to the building use agreement for the county-owned Legion Building. He told Tom Spears that he had read portions of the changes to the Department of the Interior representative who has the authority to approve the seniors' proposed use of the building. The Interior agent asked that Kirby fax the entire document to him, stating that he would have agreement or comments within the week. Mr. Kirby stated that he thought the move of the senior center and the Delta Nutrition proposed sub-lease is just a matter of time. He said that if everything goes as he expects, an agreement can be signed withing the next few days.
February 22, 2011 -- COMMISSIONER LOOKS FAVORABLY ON SENIORS' VERSION
County Commissioner Ron Kirby told Tom Spears, today, that the Board of Commissioners would be discussing the assignment of the Legion Building to the Wichita Mountains Area Seniors at next week's commissioners meeting. He said that he felt the problems of the insurance requirements and the seniors use of the building can be resolved and that the seniors will be able to move into the building soon. Commissioner Kirby had reviewed the changes that the seniors had proposed to the county's first drafts of the building-use agreement and found them well-reasoned and probably achievable. A decision will be made early next week.
February 21, 2011 -- SENIORS WRITE THEIR OWN VERSION OF LEGION AGREEMENT
After discussing Comanche County's building-use document that put serious obstructions to the seniors move from the Medicine Park Community Center to the recently vacated Legion building, the officers and members of the senior center decided to propose their own building- use document. Using as a guide a copy of the second revision the county had sent, the seniors removed the most restrictive wording and clarified concepts that would let the seniors share the building and the building costs with like-missioned non-profit organizations,;allow bands and community organizations to lease portions of the building for benefits, shows and special occasions; and give the seniors the right to rent the ballroom for reunions, receptions, and other gatherings. The income from each activity will help the seniors bear the expense of operating the building and support the full seniors' program. The revision removes the least affordable portions of the insurance requirements, letting the seniors insure only those hazards and events over which they have some control, and letting existing county insurance policies cover other hazards and eventualities. Their proposal was sent to the county this afternoon.
February 20, 2011 -- SENIORS ANNOUNCE NEXT COUNTRY MUSIC SHOW
Media Announcement: An Evening of Country Music will be presented Friday, February 25th at the Medicine Park Community Center. The Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens is assembling a group of talented musicians from around southwest Oklahoma for an enjoyable evening of traditional country music and will serve burgers-in-a-basket and desserts. The kitchen opens at 5 pm, and the music starts at 6 o’clock. The public is invited. Donations accepted at the door. The Community Center is located at 19001 State Highway 49, six miles west of Exit 45, I-44 (Love's Exit).
February 17, 2011 -- LEGION BUILDING PLANS STUMBLE, MOVE 0N HOLD
Broaching the final, and this time, written, agreement with County Commissioner Ron Kirby for the senior center to relocate to the county-owned vacant American Legion building, the officers of the center ran into what seems to be insurmountable obstacles. The document held the following surprises: the seniors must insure the building against all hazards including rebuilding the $700,000.00 structure in case of its destruction from any cause; the seniors liability insurance must protect the county and county officials from any legal action or awards as well as the senior center and center officers if they are sued because of any incident at the park; the county or the Department of Interior can take back the building at any time for any reason; the center cannot rent out the ballroom for any purpose unless to a governmental agency; the center cannot partner with the County Nutritional Program contractor, letting the contractor use a portion of the building as the county food preparation kitchen and share the expenses. Officers of the center are conferring to determine if there are any alternatives to staying in the Community Center.
February 11, 2011 -- MEDICINE PARK COUNCIL INTERESTED IN LEGION PARK
Gordon Dye, Medicine Park Councilman, said today that the town plans to ask the Comanche County Commissioners that the 40-acre trac on which the American Legion building sits be deeded to the town of Medicine Park. Mr. Dye stated that, if the request is acted on favorably, the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center can have use of the Legion Building, as is currently planned. The advantage to the seniors, Mr. Dye explained, is that the grounds, fences, and ballpark area would be maintained by the town, relieving the seniors of a major high-labor responsibility. He said that the town would use the park, the grassy areas, and the ballparks for the public events like carnivals, fairs, and sporting events for which the the town does not now have room.
February 7, 2011 -- BROKEN AMP/MIXER DELIVERED TO REPAIR SHOP
Tom Spears delivered the amplifier/mixer, the heart of their building sound system, to the repair shop at the Frontier Music Company in Lawton. Promised that an estimate of the cost of repairs to be provided on February 8th, Tom left the unit for evaluation. He had written a detailed report of Friday night's failure and left the report with the unit for the information of the repair personnel.
February 3, 2011 -- BLIZZARD FREEZES AMP/MIXER REPAIRS
Taking the broken amplifier/mixer into Lawton to find a repair shop proved impossible for Tom Spears, as he sat at home watching a frozen world through his snow-coated windows, with the failed electronic equipment resting in the trunk of his car. Using the telephone to coordinate the repairs with local repair shops proved fruitless for Tom, since the snow drifts kept the shop personnel from going to work. Phones went unanswered. Finally getting into town on Friday, Tom found the two repair facilities he has been trying to reach still closed, their parking lots piled with snow. Vowing to get the critical equipment repaired by the next Evening of Country Music on February 25th, Tom cringed at the latest weather forecast of freezing wintry mix coming to the Lawton area most of next week.
January 31, 2011 -- SENIORS SAFE LEGION BUILDING FOR COMING BLIZZARD
With the prediction of temperatures in the single digits, senior officers worried about the empty and unheated building that they hope to move their center into in the coming weeks. Knowing that the building had not been prepared for winter temperatures when the Post 193 personnel left the building, Tom and Jo Ann Spears ensured the water into the building was off, flushed the toilets to empty the reservoir tanks, and, with the permission of County Commissioner Don Hawthorne, activated the central heaters in the bar area, which also warms the restrooms, and in the kitchen. Tom set the thermostats to 55 degrees, the lowest setting.
January 29, 2011 -- SENIORS MOVE TO LEGION BUILDING MAKES TV NEWS
KSWO-TV interviewed Ron Kirby, Central District County Commissioner, and Senior Center Public Relations Officer, Tom Spears this week regarding the pending decision to allow the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens to use the recently vacated American Legion building for its senior support program. The news segment aired on Saturday night. As long as the news piece is available on the News 7 Web site, it can be viewed at <KSWO-TV> web site.
January 28, 2011 -- NINETY-THREE ENJOY COUNTRY MUSIC, NEW AMP BLOWS
A joyful crowd of country music lovers assembled at the Community Center, marveled at the crisp, melodic sounds of the amplifier/speaker system the senior center was using for the first country music show. The final count of the donation jar showed three hundred and forty-two dollars. At 8 o'clock, the amplifier/mixer began to smell of acrid burning insulation and the microphones all stopped working. A low hum filled the room. The musicians walked out into the crowd and continued to play without voice amplification for another twenty minutes before the evening was declared over. Tom Spears stated that he thinks a secondary winding on the main power supply had failed. He stated that he would contact the repair facility for further information. The sound system was a used system, new to the senior center, bought from a used equipment dealer in Altus. Tex Henderson, one of the musicians, told Tom that he has an amplifier that will drive the senior's speaker set and offered to make it available to the center as long as it is needed.
January 21, 2011 -- SENIORS' SOUND SYSTEM DECLARED "SPECTACULAR!"
Leaders of two area country bands played into the night tonight in a test and learning session for the seniors' new sound system recently installed in the Community Center. After connecting and setting levels on the mixer and having Tom Spears correct one incorrectly assembled Voice-On connector, Jim Law and Jack Walbrick settled in to playing, with Alice Law adding a vocal element to test each of the five new microphones. Jack said, "This sound system is as good as I have ever heard. Spectacular!" Fifteen seniors sat in rapt attention, supping on desserts and coffee, as the guitar players and the singer plied their talent. Jack Walbrick leads theWichita Valley Boys band that is featured every Saturday night at the Cooperton (OK) Senior Center's weekly dance and potluck dinner. Jim and Alice Law lead the recently formed Law of the Wichitas group. The Law of the Wichitas will begin to perform twice a month in the new Senior Center location, the Legion Building, after the center moves. The sound system will be reinstalled in the ball room of Legion Building.
January 20, 2011 -- SENIORS CAN COME LISTEN TO SOUND SYSTEM CHECKOUT
After volunteers installed the recently obtained seniors' sound system at the Community Center, musician-leaders Jim and Alice Law have scheduled a time to become familiar with the system prior to next week's Evening of Country Music. Friday the 21st at 4 pm, they and other country musicians they bring with them will gather and play for a while as they set the microphone levels and sound amplification of the new audio mixer and study the placement of the stage monitor speakers. Since the Town of Medicine Park removed their system from the building in May of last year, the country music stage has been powered by amplifiers the couple brought from home. Members of the center are invited to come over and enjoy a free show while the musicians test the system. Coffee, lemonade, and some desserts will be available for those who need additional enticement.
January 18, 2011 -- COUNTY COMMISSIONERS WAITING ON DEPT OF INTERIOR
Tom and Jo Ann Spears visited the County Commissioner's offices today asking if the draft letter that Tom had sent had sufficient information for the county to justify letting the Seniors lease the vacant American Legion building. County employee Carrie Tubbs said the letter contained all of the information necessary, that Commissioner Kirby was waiting to get in touch with the DoI and fax the letter to them. She said that they hoped for a decision from the department prior to the end of the week. Tom emphasized that Delta Nutrition needed to be out of their present location prior to the 28th of this month.
January 13, 2011 -- CENTER OFFICERS MEET WITH COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
Eva and Alon Williams and Tom Spears met with County Commissioners Ron Kirby and Don Hawthorne at the court house today. Commissioner Kirby reviewed the background of the American Legion building and the restrictions the Department of the Interior had placed on the use of the building and grounds when it was deeded to the county in December 1974. Tom agreed to draft a letter from the county to the Interior Department recommending that the senior center building use will meet the covenants to the deed. Commissioner Kirby agreed that the seniors did not need to carry insurance on the building itself, only liability insurance and on the value of the contents of the building that belongs to the senior center. The county is in the process of drafting a facilities use agreement which will likely be presented to the seniors sometime next week.
January 10, 2011 -- COUNTY COMMISSIONERS SCHEDULE MEETING WITH CENTER
County Commissioner Don Hawthorne called Center officers to ask them to meet with him and Commissioner Ron Kirby later this week to discuss and agree on the terms of the Center's lease contract for the now-vacant American Legion building. Commissioner Kirby has indicated that the draft agreement must be forwarded to the U. S. Department of Interior (DoI) for approval. The property, originally Fort Sill surplus acreage, was deeded to Comanche County by DoI in the 1960's with a permanent restriction that the property must be dedicated to public use.
January 8, 2011 -- FIRST INDIAN TACO SALE OF YEAR SUCCESSFUL
The first Indian Taco Sale of the year attracted a hundred and twenty-three diners to the Wichita Mountains Area Senior Citizens Center. A steady flow of hungry people started at eleven A.M. and continued until just before three in the afternoon. A total of $495.00 was collected in ticket sales. Center president Eva Williams expressed satisfaction with the turnout and thanked the volunteers for their work in making the sale successful. A special thanks went to Cecil Gardner who, as she always does, made the fry-bread dough and cooked that taco base to its golden perfection. Return visitors, having heard that Center operations might be relocating, were especially interested in getting current news about the American Legion building. Virtually all expressed the sentiment, "....anything to get away from the climb or walk to the building is a positive change!"
January 7, 2011 -- ELECTRICIAN LOOKS AT THE AMERICAN LEGION BUILDING
Bob Dillard, Dillard Electric, met with Alon Williams, Gordon Dye, Gary Howell, Leo Whitley, and Tom Spears at the recently vacated American Legion building to gather information with which he will provide an estimated cost to the senior center for rewiring electrical circuits at the American Legion building for the centers kitchen and beverage equipment. He discussed the proximity of the main breaker boxes to the service area and solutions he will suggest for delivering electric circuits to the range, fryer, and kitchen island. Bob said that he will have a quote for the removal of the equipment from the Medicine Park Community Center and installation into the kitchen and ballroom of the American Legion building early in the week of January 10th.
January 6, 2011 -- PLUMBER LOOKS AT THE AMERICAN LEGION BUILDING
Larry Gordon, Gordon Plumbing, met with Alon Williams and Tom Spears at the recently vacated American Legion building to gather information with which he will provide an estimated cost to the senior center for plumbing the American Legion building for the centers kitchen and beverage equipment. He discussed the need to cut short trenches in the cement floor in which to install drain pipes and water lines. Larry said that he will have a quote for the removal of the equipment from the Medicine Park Community Center and installation into the kitchen and ballroom of the American Legion building early in the week of January 10th.
January 5, 2011 -- CENTER MOVE TO NEW LOCATION GAINS MOMENTUM
State Code Enforcement Agent Gary Kirk met with Alon Williams and Tom Spears at the recently vacated American Legion building to discuss problems that might exist or should be addressed by the center early in its occupation of the building. Few discrepancies were pointed out by agent Kirk; primarily associated with the adequacy of the range hood in the kitchen and installation errors in several of the central heaters.
County Commissioner Ron Kerby reported to the center that he is in the final stages of preparing a lease and use agreement between the county and the center. He said that he has submitted a proposal to the US Department of the Interior nominating the Wichita Mountain Senior Citizens Center be satisfy the "Public-Use" mandate imposed when the land was transferred to Comanche County.
Members of the center who spend a significant part of their volunteer duties in the center kitchen visited the empty kitchen area of the American Legion building this evening to agree to a design of the placement of the center kitchen equipment. Puddin McKenzie, Dora Hilliary, Cecil Gardner, Eva Williams, Jo Ann Spears, and others walked the site, considered the various equipment placement, and made final decisions which will passed to the plumbers and electricians so they can prepare cost estimates.
January 4, 2011 -- MOVE PLANNERS MEET WITH INSURANCE AGENT
Alon Williams and Tom Spears met with Keith McBride of McBride Insurance Agency at the old American Legion building to give him a tour of the building and grounds, tell him of design and plans for use of the building, and let him evaluate the risks associated with the building that will impact the cost of insurance. The information he gathered will be forwarded to an insurance underwriter to determine future costs.
January 3, 2011 -- SENIORS PLAN RELOCATION AT MONTHLY MEETING
The primary subject at the Center monthly meeting was the possibility of changing the meeting location from the Medicine Park Community Center to the Comanche-County- owned, recently vacated, American Legion building. Tom Spears discussed the information-gathering activities that has taken place in order for a rational decision can be made. He reported that the State Fire Marshal regional agent stated that the building is grandfathered under previous rules and that only the addition of an ansul fire-suppression unit for the range hood is necessary for full use of the kitchen. Additional information from the State Codes Enforcement Office will be sought. In order to plan the proper placement of the kitchen equipment, all of the members who will be working there are asked to visit the American Legion building on Wednesday at 4 pm to offer kitchen-design recommendations to guide the plumber and electrician plans for the move, if it takes place.