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Archive for: April 2013

Piedmont teen missing, feared dead in Oregon

Steens Mountain and Dustin Self

Photo courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management
The southeast face of Steens Mountain where Dustin Self was located when he last called his family to report he was lost. (Inset) Dustin Self left Piedmont in mid-March to tackle the wilderness in the remote and rugged country of southeastern Oregon. The teen was last heard from on March 15. File photo

By Becky Pearce
Reporter

A Piedmont teen, inspired by the television show “Into the Wild” decided to test himself against the wilderness in Oregon and has disappeared leaving his family and friends worried sick.

“Into the Wild” a movie made in 2007, is based on the true story of Chris McCandless, who died of starvation at the age of 23 after he ventured into the Alaskan wilderness with little food and equipment.

Dustin Self, 19 left in mid-March for the Oregon wilderness heading for the Klamath Falls – Ashland area which is located in the remote and rugged country of southeastern Oregon.

According to sources, he wanted to live in the wild and eat berries for survival. It has been reported he also wanted to investigate two  churches in Oregon, one in Portland and the other in Ashland, which practice a South American religion that uses a hallucinogenic tea as a sacrament.

Self’s parents, who tried to dissuade their son from venturing into the wilderness, last heard from him on March 15 when he called to tell them he was lost.

He reportedly called from the parking lot of a motel in northern Nevada where he apparently spent the night in the cab of his truck.

The following day, Self made a call to his girlfriend in Austin, Tex. to say he was lost after his GPS had sent him in the wrong direction. At that time he was located on a road on the east side of the Steens Mountain in the high desert of Oregon.

Self’s parents placed a call to the Harney County Sheriff’s Office on March 17.  A search was conducted along the route from Fields to Lakeview however no trace was found of the missing Piedmont teen.

A pickup truck belonging to Self was later found by a rancher on Stone House Road located on the northeast flank of Steens Mountain, approximately two-and-one-half miles west of the Fields Denio Road. It appeared the pickup  had slid off the back country track and was stuck. Read more →

State health officials stress caution during spring cleanup activities

DiGangi Deermouse

DiGangi Deermouse

For the first time since 2001, Oklahoma has recorded a death from hantavirus pulmonary syndrome, or hantavirus. The death occurred in a Texas County resident and is the third case confirmed in the state since hantavirus was first recognized in the U.S. in 1993.

Hantavirus is carried by wild rodents, particularly deer mice in Oklahoma. Infected rodents do not show signs of illness but shed the virus in their urine, droppings and saliva. The virus is transmitted to people when they breathe in air contaminated with the virus, usually when dried rodent urine, droppings or nesting materials are stirred up and tiny droplets or particles containing the virus become airborne. Breathing in the virus is the most common way of becoming infected.  However, people can also become infected with hantavirus by touching the mouth or nose after handling contaminated materials, or through a bite from an infected rodent.

As the weather warms and persons begin cleaning out vacant cabins or other dwellings, barns and outbuildings, they may disturb rodent infestations, putting them at risk for hantavirus. Symptoms usually appear within two weeks of exposure to the virus, but can appear as early as three days to as late as six weeks after infection. Early symptoms include fever, chills, headache, cough, and body aches. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also be present. As the disease progresses, the lungs fill with fluid, making breathing very difficult. Any person involved in the activities described above and experiencing these symptoms, should contact their health care provider. Read more →

Piedmont twirler wins at state tournament

Kaelyn Wood

Submitted
Kaelyn Wood proudly stands with her trophies.

Staff Reports

Kaelyn Wood of Piedmont competed in the Miss Majorette of Oklahoma tournament held in Enid on Saturday, April 20 taking first place state titles in her age group for basic strut, solo, military, and modeling.  She also was crowned State Basic Skills Queen for her age group.

Kaelyn is a member of the Encore Twirling Team and is coached by Karen Dillier of OKC.

This spunky 7-year-old attends school at Piedmont Elementary and has been twirling for one year.

Her next competition will be at Nationals held in Indiana. at the end of July.

Piedmont student takes prize in ODOT litter poster contest

Ashton Raymond with poster

Courtesy ODOT
Piedmont student Ashton Raymond with his third-place winning poster.

Students raise litter awareness through art

Staff Reports

Solutions to large problems can often come from unexpected sources. Solving the enormous litter problem may have started with a group of artistic and ambitious youngsters from the across the state as part of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s 22nd annual Trash Poster Contest, which rewards students for their outstanding artwork raising awareness for litter.

This year’s top-winning poster, chosen as the 2013 Promotional Display Poster of the Year, is a map of all the counties in Oklahoma bearing the slogan, “77 Reasons to Keep Oklahoma Clean.” Created by 6th-grader Sara Eaton of Pocola Middle School, the poster was selected out of approximately 12,000 entries.

All 13 winners of the statewide contest were honored Wednesday at a luncheon at the R.A. Ward Transportation Building in Oklahoma City. Also attending the luncheon were the artists’ parents and teachers, along with contest sponsors, Trash Poster Contest committee members and other guests.

Winning posters that will appear in the 2014 Trash Poster Calendar include a drawing of a taco saying “I think we need to taco ‘bout trash,” a tearful Native American pleading “Don’t turn our grand land into a wasteland” and a helpful owl volunteering to help pick up trash saying “Owl do it!” Read more →

Travel Insight

Mike Bailey

Mike Bailey
Guest Columnist

Here’s a question we get asked from time to time. Why should I use a travel agent?

In this information age that we live in today, anyone can search for travel on the internet and book their own vacation without the help of an agent.

But here’s the problem.  If you type “cruise vacation” into a search engine you will get millions of pages. Even if you narrow it down to say “Alaskan cruise” or “Caribbean cruise”, you will still get thousands.

So where do you start? If you are a veteran cruiser, you may know just what you want. But how do you know you are getting the best deal?

The travel providers (the cruise lines, tour operators, hotels, and resorts) have set prices. Because the travel providers consider travel agents as their principle distribution system, they provide special discounts and value-added amenities that are not always provided to internet sites.

Large travel agency groups such as Cruise Planners/American Express often reserve large blocks of cabins which allows for extra discounts and added values.

How do agents get paid? Do they have to charge more for a trip to pay for their service? Read more →

DEA’s National Drug Take-Back Day April 27

Medicine bottleWhat should be done with unused prescription pills and over-the-counter medications? Should they be thrown away? Flushed down the toilet? Should they just be  left  in the medicine cabinet for a rainy day?

Doing any of the above can provoke tragic consequences including enabling the drugs to get into the wrong hands or find their way into drinking water and irrigation supplies. That’s why it’s crucial to safely dispose of unused prescription drugs, over-the-counter drugs, veterinary medications and nutritional supplements.

According to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, one-quarter of first-time illegal drug users 12 years and older began by using prescription drugs non-medically.

Prescription drugs are abused far more frequently than illicit drugs for one simple reason: they can be found in almost every home, free for the taking. What’s more, drug overdose deaths, mostly related to addictive painkillers, rose for the 11th straight year in 2010, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Read more →

Piedmont Odyssey of the Mind advances to World Finals in May

Piedmont High School Odyssey of the mindOdyssey of the Mind

(top) Piedmont Elementary Odyssey of the Mind members Gabrielle McGarraugh, Dylan Kling, Nate Brant, Colby Bethea, Justin Whiting, Ashton Raymond and Parker Taggart placed second in a wooden structure competition.
(Left) Piedmont High School Odyssey of the Mind members (front row) Jaidyn McAdoo, Chad Weemhoff, (back row) Payton Strubhar, Parker Strubhar, Lennart Denecke, Quent Wheeler and Jake Loper show off their costumes.

 

Fourteen Piedmont students will be traveling to Michigan State University, May 22 – 25 to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. The students, sponsored by the Piedmont Kiwanis Club, competed at the State competition on April 13 at Oklahoma State University.

 Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem solving competition where students are encouraged to think outside the box. The program challenges students to find creative solutions to problems they encounter and prepares them to be the innovators of the future.

Teams from around the state competed on Saturday with the teams that finish in first or second place advancing to the World Finals in East Lansing, Michigan.

Both teams competed in a problem that required them to design and build a structure using only balsa wood and glue. The structure had to be featured in a team created performance and tested by being released down a ramp so it drops on the floor. The team tests the structure by balancing and supporting as much weight as possible.

Fourth graders Parker Taggart, Nate Brant, Dylan Kling, Colby Bethea, Gabrielle McGarraugh, Ashton Raymond, and Justin Whiting competed in the elementary division and finished in second place.

The structure they created held 372 pounds which was more than any other elementary team in the state of Oklahoma.more

Read more →

Central Oklahoma was all shook up earlier this week

USGS Community Internet Intensity mapBy Greg Evans
sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Early Tuesday morning, residents all around the Oklahoma City metro were jolted awake thanks to a series of earthquakes in the early morning hours.

According to the United States Geological Survey’s earthquake site earthquake.usgs.gov, the first seismic activity was a 3.0 magnitude quake, which started 5 kilometers west southwest of Chandler at 1:45 a.m. The largest quake came at 1:56 a.m. 12 km east northeast of Luther, when a 4.3 magnitude quake shook the metro.

The other quakes came in at magnitude 2.0, 9 km north northeast of Luther at 2:15 a.m.; magnitude 3.3, 10 km northeast of Luther at 2:16 a.m. and then a magnitude 4.2 quake originated 8 km east northeast of Luther at 5:16 a.m.

The four quakes near Luther originated at a depth of 5.0 km deep and the event near Chandler originated at a depth of 4.9 km deep.

Tuesday’s seismic activity was felt as far north as Wichita, KS and as far south as Lawton. One person near the town of Sparks, OK reported light to moderate damage from the earthquake. Read more →

Area veterans’ group moves forward to build new center

By Roger Pugh
Publisher@piedmontnewsonline.com

The Piedmont Area Veterans Association continues to move forward with the group holding an organizational meeting last week and electing permanent officers.

Gary Layton was elected president of the group, while Kate Kearby will serve as secretary and Leon Meyer is the treasurer.

The group began organizing in 2012 and began work to raise funds and find a location on which to construct a veteran’s center in Piedmont. The planned facility is to provide space to display military memorabilia of local service men

and women and among other things, will provide space to offer services for local vets, including a designated area for counseling. Read more →

State drug officer reveals ways youths access illegal drugs

By Roger Pugh
Publisher@piedmontnewsonline.com

That bag of potpourri in your child’s room or backpack might be more than just something to freshen the air, Mark Woodward, Public Information/Education Officer with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, told the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce last week.

Woodward said most middle school age students have fairly easy access to a wide array of synthetic drugs, including synthetic marijuana that has been flooding the market.

“Every town has a “gas station” that openly sells this as such things as potpourri, or they can get it in the back room.” Woodward told the audience. He said the synthetic marijuana is often sold as a bag or jar of potpourri.

Woodward explained that as these products crop up in the marketplace, an effort is made to outlaw that particular chemical component. However, as soon as that specific component is banned, the makers simply change a single component, and for the time being, that new mixture is legal.

He said the synthetic marijuana is becoming popular because it is stronger than the plant version. He said as the user’s marijuana tolerance increases, they move on to something stronger.

“Kids are becoming bored with traditional marijuana and want something stronger so they are turning to this,” Woodward explained.

He also said they think the synthetic products are safe because they are sold in the store.

Woodward noted that manufacturers even try to give it the appearance of being a safe and innocuous product by putting icons such as Scooby-Doo on the packaging.  He said a lot of the stores carrying these products will not sell it to adults, only to their youthful patrons.

The veteran drug enforcement officer also expressed concern for the recent legalization of medical marijuana in several states.

He said drug cartels are very pleased with the legalization because the cartel is paying some of those who have been issued a medical grow card so the cartel can grow their own on the cardholder’s land. Read more →

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