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Archive for: November 2010

Success found beyond the field in Piedmont band program

Piedmont High School senior Kaylie Wilson practice during a summer camp earlier this year. The Pride of Piedmont marching band would eventually win its ninth state title in 10 years.

When it comes to high school athletics or activities, coaches and instructors will tell you it’s not all about winning, but instead about helping students become successful adults.  For the Pride of Piedmont marching band, both success in life and in competition have become a routine.

Piedmont’s marching band has made winning state titles the norm, winning nine in the past 10 years, but for band director Darnell Zook, winning competitions has never been the primary goal.

“Pursue excellence, and success will pursue you,” Zook said in an interview before the start of the marching season.  “I tell our kids that if they work hard and do their best, we are going to be successful.”

Zook is proud of his band’s achievements, but he also loves to talk about the impact the marching program has had on the lives of hundreds of students who have passed through Piedmont High School.  When speaking to former band members, the constant theme heard is often how much the hard work and commitment in band prepared them for life after high school.

In this week’s Piedmont-Surrey Gazette we speak to two former band members who say their experience has prepared them for success in life.

Brandon Michael, a 2010 Piedmont graduate, said his favorite part about band was, “the feeling of being in a family.”

Megan Murphy, a 2009 Piedmont graduate, also said she enjoyed the community-feel of band and both talk about their ability to overcome challenges as a part of the state championship band program and how their success in high school is leading to success in college.

Pick up this week’s Gazette (Dec. 2) to read the complete article, Success found beyond the field.

The Pride of Piedmont, 2010 state champions.

Give me five: School district’s new website

Each week on PiedmontToday.com we offer a list of five covering an issue, topic or event in the Piedmont community.  This week we present five benefits of the Piedmont Public School District’s new website.

1. User friendly
In this day and age, the first place people go to get information is the Internet.  Businesses, restaurants, churches, cities and really any other organization or business does itself a huge disservice by not having a strong web presence.  As one of the biggest attractors of new residents to Piedmont, the school district’s website is a often the first place potential Piedmont parents go to find more information.  When a family is discussing the idea of moving to the burbs late at night, a community and school district with a website is going to get the leg up on others that do not.

2. Connection and familiarity
The district’s new website includes a directory of board members, administrators and teachers, including e-mail links and mugshots (some are up now with many to be added in the future).  The ability to put a face with a name is huge in today’s Facebook world.  Parents can easily communicate with their child’s teacher and become more familiar with them thanks to the new website.

3. News and information
To be honest, I love the new website, but I realize its a competitor with those of us who strive to be a source of news and information to the community.  If the district can maintain a regular schedule of updates it will attract parents and residents to regularly log on to the new site, meaning it will become a great source for district news and information.  The beauty of the Internet is its potential.  The district has the opportunity to expand on its new site over the years with the addition of audio, video and social networking tools to better connect with the community.

4. Encourage more online use
The new site will also allow the district to encourage more parents, students and employees to take advantage of the online tools available.  Services such as Moodle, PowerSchool, Webmail and other services allow for better communication, grade management and access to educational resources.

5.  The look.
You can’t underestimate good design and the district’s new website has definitely taken a step forward in its look.  Photos of facilities, students and teachers are highlighted on the site, and the site looks and feels like that of a district that is serious about embracing technology and quality as it builds for the future.

District’s new website: www.piedmontschools.org

Councilman proposes school speed limit changes

Citing the pain of having to slow down along several of Piedmont’s major roads, councilman Vernon Woods made a proposal to reduce the hours for local school speed limit zones.

The council discussed limiting local school zones to only be functional during the hours of 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., and 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., but decided to table the issue until its next meeting when a closer review could be conducted.

“We are one of the few (cities) that brought that speed limit down all day,” Woods said.  “It’s a pain, you have to apply your brakes and slow down.”

The council asked for the opinion of police chief Jerry Koester, who said he felt it would be a good idea to first consult with the school district and consider the fact that the primary school and other schools have children coming and going during the day.

Currently, school speed limit zones are valid during school hours.  The timers in each sign are set before the start of the school year and the city pays for a crew to come out each year to set the timers.  City staff said they were unsure how much it would cost to reset the timers.

Piedmot resident elected V.P. of state bar association

Piedmont resident Reta M. Strubhar was recently elected The Oklahoma Bar Association’s vice president.

The Oklahoma Bar Association elected retired Judge Reta M. Strubhar of Piedmont to serve as its 2011 vice president. The elections were announced at the OBA’s 106th Annual Meeting last week in Tulsa.
Strubhar will begin serving her term on Jan. 1, 2011, and officially will be sworn into office Jan. 14 at the Oklahoma Supreme Court courtroom in the State Capitol.

In 1993, Strubhar was the first woman appointed to the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals since the formation of the court in 1907. In 1999, she became the first woman to be presiding judge of the court. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business education from Phillips University, a master’s degree in English from the University of Central Oklahoma and her J.D. Oklahoma City University School of Law.

She is the chairperson for the retired judges of Oklahoma and has been successful in the passage of legislation for retired judges. She is active in the Judges Helping Judges Committee, OBA Law-related Education Committee, American Inn of Court and served on the Juvenile Justice Oversight Committee. Strubhar has retained her senior status and serves as an appellate settlement conference judge for the Oklahoma Supreme Court and serves on the three-judge panel for the Oklahoma Workers’ Compensation Court.

The office of OBA president for 2011 will be held by Deborah A. Reheard of Eufaula. This year Reheard served as OBA president-elect, a position which automatically elevates her to president on Jan. 1. She will succeed Allen Smallwood of Tulsa, who will remain on the Board of Governors for one year as immediate past president.
Cathy Christensen of Oklahoma City will serve as president-elect for 2011. She will take office as OBA president on Jan. 1, 2012.

With the election of Reheard, Christensen and Strubhar, this will mark the first time in the OBA’s 106-year history that women will hold its top three leadership positions.

Also elected to the OBA Board of Governors to represent their judicial districts are Gerald C. Dennis, Antlers; O. Christopher Meyers, Lawton, and Scott Pappas, Stillwater. Renée DeMoss of Tulsa will serve as an OBA member-at-large. They will serve three-year terms. Muskogee attorney Roy D. Tucker, who will chair the Young Lawyers Division next year, will serve a one-term on the board.

The 16,000-member Oklahoma Bar Association, headquartered in Oklahoma City, was created by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to advance the administration of justice and to foster and maintain learning, integrity, competence, public service and high standards of conduct among Oklahoma’s legal community. The 18-member Board of Governors meets monthly at locations across the state and governs the association.

PHOTOS: Wildcats at SNU scrimmages

John Stephens goes for a layup at the SNU scrimmages.

Collin Bricker fights for a basket at the SNU scrimmages.

Keith Vick goes for a layup at the SNU scrimmages.

Blake Robinson fights for a rebound at the SNU scrimmages.

FELDER: Rational thought hard to come by in drive-through line

Ben Felder, News Editor

On the off chance you’re a smoker who doesn’t know the health risks of your habit, the government is about to make sure the dangers of smoking are made perfectly clear, in graphic detail, each time you buy a pack of cigarettes.  It’s an attempt to address the problem of smoking, which kills an estimated 450,000 Americans each year, but new regulations for cigarette packs are based on the assumption that human beings are rational creatures.  I’m not sure we are.

Last week, the Food and Drug Administration announced cigarette packaging and advertisements will now have to include graphic warning labels that include pictures of cancerous lungs, dead smoking victims and other images designed to discourage people from purchasing cigarettes.  The new regulations will go into effect in 2012 and is the first major change to cigarette packing in more than 25 years.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the new regulations will make the realities of smoking even more real for consumers.

“We want to make sure every person who picks up a pack of cigarettes knows exactly what the risk is they are taking,” Sebelius said.

I’m not a smoker but I wonder how effective these new regulations will be.  The assumption is made that when smokers are presented the cold hard facts of what a life of smoking can lead to they will inevitably choose to resist their urge.  But besides the fact, most smokers are already well aware of the risks, assuming consumers will choose rational thought over a craving may be too idealistic.

Some believe the regulations will have a reverse effect on the youth they are trying to keep from picking up the habit.  The continued push by government and authority figures to restrict a certain action can lead some teenagers to intentionally seek that action out.

I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle and eat foods which are good for me but at times it can be a losing battle.  There are times in a moment of weakness, and hunger, when I make a trip through the drive-through and grab a burger and some fries.  I know it’s not good for me but  sometimes a personal craving trumps rational thought.  It’s possible that if a hamburger wrapper had an image of a clogged artery on it I might abstain but I’m not sure I would.

I don’t disagree with the decision to place graphic warnings on cigarette packages, I just think it’s an exercise in fighting the battle too late.  How many people do we expect to pick up a pack of cigarettes, only to turn them back in once they get a glimpse of the cancerous lung on the package?  It just seems to me that when someone is in line at the convenience store or the drive-through, the battle might already be lost.

District ready for bond push

An election to approve a new bond measure for the Piedmont Public School district is less than four weeks away and the district is gearing up to inform voters on why they feel a $19.5 million bond is necessary.

On Dec. 14, voters will be asked to approve a bond measure which would fund the construction of a new fifth- and sixth-grade school.  If approved, current bonds would be extended to cover the cost of construction and also pay off some debt on the new Northwood Elementary School.

“I think people are pretty aware of this need,” Superintendent James White said.  “We are getting ready to get out there and talk to a lot of groups about this issue.”

White said over the next few weeks he will be meeting with each school’s PTO, booster clubs and other school organizations.  White will also be addressing the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce next month in an effort to highlight the need for a new school building.

“You want to get out there and talk about it when it can be fresh on voter’s minds,” White said.

The district said growing student enrollment has made a new school building necessary.  With large numbers of students about to hit middle school age, White said the new center would relieve overcrowding at the current middle school.

Your Take: The Gazette wants to hear from you on the proposed new fifth- and sixth-grade center.  Share your opinions by leaving a comment or submitting a letter to the editor to bfelder@piedmonttoday.com

Swimming: Getting their feet wet

Kasey Rein, the first student to swim for Piedmont, had her first meet earlier this week. Results of the meet were unavailable by press time.

While the news might come as a surprise to many people, the Piedmont High School swim team competed in their first meet this week.

The team is coached by Oralia Rein, mother of the only swim team member, Kasey. While one swimmer isn’t much of a team, yet, Rein said  Deer Creek started their swim team in a similar way and now has 16 members.

“There are a lot of swimmers at Piedmont coming up,” Rein said. “They all swim with club teams, and many wanted to swim for Piedmont.”

Rein said the process to get a swim team was a long one, but all that time paid off in the end.

“We had a lot of support from the administration,” Rein said. “Lots of people were influential in the process.”

This is Rein’s first time as a swim coach, but she says she has been around swimming for a long time.

“I’ve been around (swimming) a lot,” Rein explained. “Around meets and at lessons, I’ve picked up a lot of things. I’ve also learned a lot from John Brown, the head coach of the Chesapeake Swim Club.”

Rein has also completed the National Federation of State High School Association’s Concussion in Sports test and 25 hours of care and prevention of athletic injuries.

Kasey is an active member of the Chesapeake Swim Club, in addition to her participation with Piedmont. Rein said that the Chesapeake Swim Club tries to have members swim 12,000 yards a week.

Members of high school swim teams are allowed to enter two events per meet, and how well the athlete does at the various meets will qualify them for the state meet in February. The state meet takes place at Oklahoma City Community College.

The team already has the warm-ups and suits and is ready to represent Piedmont in a sport that has yet to see a Wildcat compete. The team is currently holding practices at Lighthouse Sport and Fitness in Oklahoma City.

“As our school continues to grow, we’ll have to add sports like swimming,” Piedmont Athletic Director Tom Ewing said. “Not many schools our size have a swim team.”

Meet your Neighbor: Greg Smith

Greg Smith shows some Piedmont Boy Scouts how to clean a fish during a recent troop camping trip.

Greg Smith is the quartermaster for the Piedmont Boy Scouts. He is charged with taking care of the scouts’ gear and equipment. Smith has been involved with the Boy Scouts for 16 years.

Why did you start working with the Boy Scouts?

I started working with them because of my sons. I wanted to help.  I enjoy working with the boys. Watching them grow and do things they have never done is very rewarding. The Boy Scouts always need people to help, so helping was something that I felt strongly about.

How much time do you spend helping the scouts?

I go to their weekly meeting every Tuesday at the First United Methodist Church. I also attend their monthly camping trip. I really enjoy camping and it’s always fun. They have various fundraising events, which I always try to attend.

I still have one son who is active in the scouts, but I anticipate staying involved even after he is done. I’m also in charge of the troop bus and trailer. There are about 50 scouts in our troop, so there are a lot of things to look after and take care of.

What are some things the boys in Piedmont have been able to do?

Last year, the group of scouts went to Sea Base in Flordia. They got to snorkel, kayak; things I wish I could have done as a kid. This year, they went to Camp Alexander in Colorado. The boys got to go hiking, see an Air Force base, and spend a week at the scout camp. It was a great trip for them.

They also do a lot of work for the Piedmont community. They worked with the Wall Memorial; where they took care of the flags and directed traffic. The scouts do a lot of community service projects. Our troop is currently doing their yearly Thanksgiving food drive.

Two taken to hospital following accident

Two people were transported to area hospitals following a car crash at Edmond Raod and Mustang Road on Thursday morning.

Two people were transported by ambulance to area hospitals following an auto accident at the intersection of Edmond Road and Mustang Road, shortly after 11 a.m. today.

Police say a female driver failed to yield while heading north-bound on Mustang Road and collided with a car headed east-bound on Edmond Road.  Traffic had to temporarily be rerouted along Edmond Road but police have cleared the accident scene.

Neither injuries are considered life threatening.

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