Sometimes good things come from texting.
Monday afternoon, Sydney Richardson, who will be Santa Fe’s student body president next year, was driving home and it was raining. Once home, she talked to her mother, who told her about the tornado in Moore. Then she began seeing the damage on TV.
“It was devastating,” Richardson said. “We watched it all night long. I just felt like we needed to do something immediately.”
Student leaders from Memorial, Santa Fe and North high schools began texting each other about how they could help. Before long, they were developing plans for a relief effort.
Monday evening, students spread the word about the effort via electronic social networking. They gathered at Santa Fe to clean out the student government store, Richardson said. Similar activity was transpiring at the other high schools. Before long, residents were already dropping off items. First thing Tuesday morning, Santa Fe staff members joined in the effort. After students finished final exams, they came to the spot.
“This is what happened,” Richardson said as she stood in the school’s foyer near an ever-growing area of donated items. “It’s awesome.”
Assisting the students at Santa Fe were Karen Gray, freshman counselor, and James Keeton, career counselor. Gray said she came to the Santa Fe foyer at about 7:15 a.m. Tuesday and the student council store was filled to capacity. Gray and Keeton felt a desire to help the students.
“This is what it’s all about,” Gray said. “These kids have the heart and the soul to want to help. Our kids have the spirit of giving.”
On May 3, 1999, Gray was principal of an elementary school in Noble near the path of the tornado. Some of her teachers live in the hard hit communities of Bridge Creek and Moore. It was two days before she knew they were alive.
“As an administrator that’s horrifying,” Gray said. “You’ve just got this sense that you’ve got to protect your people. My heart’s going out to the parents and administrators in Moore.”
The high school relief effort is a way to help others, Gray said.
Keeton said first thing Tuesday morning there was a need to start organizing and managing the relief effort. He said he was amazed by how many items were already there.
“After that initial surge I didn’t realize that the community was going to respond so strongly,” Keeton said. “It’s been a constant stream of donations.”
Keeton said Edmond Public Schools does a lot to encourage community service, but this effort speaks about the compassion of the students.
Monday afternoon, when school staff were making sure students were safe, Keeton was wondering how his 5-year-old son was going to be. After getting him home, seeing the devastation and knowing what the families of victims, especially of the trapped students, were going through was heart breaking.
“That could easily be his school,” Keeton said.
Amidst taking final exams the Edmond students still wanted to help others, Keeton said.
Students at all three high schools — all secondary — and volunteers at many elementary schools were also collecting items. Items being collected include bottled water, energy drinks, pre-packaged snacks, work gloves, work gloves, sunscreen and hand sanitizer.
The effort will continue through mid-afternoon Wednesday, the last day of school for Edmond Public Schools. John Ross Elementary students were writing letters to emergency workers.
Donations continue through today at local schools
Sometimes good things come from texting.
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Edmond School District’s change orders anticipated
When building new schools and classrooms there may be additional costs, but when renovating older buildings those costs can more than double, according to a Edmond School District official.
“When remodeling, you have unknown and hidden costs and you need to include in your budgeted funds for the built-in items you can not see,” said Bret Towne, Edmond’s associate superintendent of general administration.
OC welcomes missionary, military families
For the ninth consecutive year Oklahoma Christian University will host missionary and military families returning to the United States at Global Reunion 2014.
The July 23-27 camp has doubled in size in the last two years with 150 participants from 43 countries on campus.
The camp is for children who are known as Third Culture Kids (TCKs) though parents are allowed to attend sessions as well. Directors Kent and Nancy Hartman, missionaries-in-residence at OC, give tools and resources to families that have lived outside the United States and are now seeking to reenter U.S. culture. The Hartmans spent more than 10 years as missionaries in Australia and were surprised by the challenges of reintegrating their family into America.
Planning Commission approves rezoning
The Edmond Planning Commission this week voted 4-0 in favor of rezoning from a single family district. Peter and Kimberly Roberts made the request to allow a planned unit development on the southeast corner of Jackson and Lincoln Avenue, said Bob Schiermeyer, city planner.
“They would like to have D-2 family (neighborhood commercial) zoning for duplexes, 14,000 square feet,” Schiermeyer said. “They can put four units on the property.”
Out of the stressful wreckage: Scholarships for car crash victims
After the dust has settled, the injuries have healed and there’s a replacement car in the driveway, victims of automobile accidents often still face an uphill battle trying to move on with their lives. According to psychologists, for some the fear never really goes away. It’s common enough that the National Institutes of Health gives physicians specific recommendations for patients exhibiting acute stress symptoms and PTSD after motor vehicle accidents. With more than 3 million injury accidents a year nationwide, the San Francisco Bay Area personal injury law firm Appel Law Firm LLP, sees their share of the aftermath — only they decided to do something about it.
Agencies ask for volunteers to support grandparents who raise grandchildren
Local law enforcement agencies are helping Sunbeam Family Services provide much-needed school supplies to grandparents who are faced with the challenge of raising their grandchildren. According to a recent census poll, there are nearly three million grandparents raising more than five million grandchildren in the United States.
Ganns earn Yard of the Week honors
This week’s “Edmond Yard of the Week” winner has been in existence for 44 years at 105 Barbara Drive, but looks fresh and new thanks to longtime residents Betty and Gordon Gann as they fill their garden spaces to overflowing with colors and textures.
Krazy Daze hits downtown Edmond
Newly transplanted Edmond residents Hannah Brenning, Cheyenne Middle School 8th grader; Jordan Brenning, Cross Timbers 4th grader; and Sydney Brenning, North High School freshman; check out the items in front of Sterling's in downtown Edmond during the Krazy Daze Sale lasting through Saturday. Businesses will open their doors at 10 a.m. and close at 5:30 p.m.
Chances for rain to follow triple-digit highs
Chances for rain on multiple days will follow near triple-digit highs during the weekend.
A National Weather Service-issued heat advisory is in effect until 7 p.m. Saturday and afternoon temperatures are expected to top out in the upper 90s to lower 100s into the weekend. Maximum heat-index values will range from the upper 90s to 105-110 degrees through Sunday.
Cooler weather is expected next week as a strong cold front passes over the region.
Candidates disagree with White House’s minimum wage
Gubernatorial candidate Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, said the state needs to have serious growth in high-paying living wage jobs that will provide for Oklahomans.
Dorman cautioned that while Oklahoma’s jobless rate improved in June, the state’s rankings for the well-being of children has dropped from 36th to 39th place, for one of the largest declines in the U.S., according to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Project.
The unemployment rate in June dropped to 4.5 percent, down a percentage point from 4.6 percent in May, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission, Gov. Mary Fallin said this week.
The state’s unemployment rate was more than 7 percent when Fallin was elected during the brink of the Great Depression. Alex Weintz, communications director for Fallin, pointed out that per capita income in Oklahoma was second in the nation from 2011 to 2013.
The non partisan Congressional Budget office reported in February that raising the minimum wage could kill a half-million jobs in the United States.
According to The Washington Times, CBO analysts reported, “Once the other changes in income were taken into account, families whose income would be below six times the poverty threshold under current law would see a small increase in income, on net, and families whose income would be higher under current law would see reductions in income, on net.”
President Barack Obama in February signed an executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 an hour.
Weintz said the governor believes tax cuts have enabled families to keep more of their money.
No one is talking about the under-employment rate of families working minimum wage jobs, Dorman said.
“It’s all fine and good when you have fast-food jobs that don’t cover the bills and that counts toward your unemployment rate.”
Oklahoma’s minimum wage reflects the federal minimum wage set at $7.25 an hour, a standard set in 2009.
Fallin signed legislation this year to prohibit municipalities from raising their local minimum wage above $7.25 an hour.
“If the minimum wage goes up to $15 in Oklahoma City, all of the sudden you would drive retail, business, service industry locations outside of the city limits and that would be detrimental to the economy, consumers and to businesses,” Weintz said.
Fallin has said that she opposes raising the minimum wage in Oklahoma because it would stifle job growth for small business and lay off workers. A lot of people earning the $7.25 minimum wage are part-time workers and many of them are students, Weintz said.
“We believe raising the minimum wage is not a good way to address poverty,” Weintz said. “A lot of people earning the minimum wage are actually people living with their parents or other people who are employed full time, and in many cases they are middle class families. So it’s not a good tool to reduce poverty.”
Dorman said he does not necessarily support the proposed $10.10 an hour minimum federal minimum wage that is being discussed by Congress.
“I think we need to have a living wage in Oklahoma that is reflective of our economy,” Dorman said.
About 102,300 jobs have been added in Oklahoma since Fallin took office in January 2011, according to her office.
The cost of living in the national economy tends to be higher in some other states, Dorman said.
So a minimum wage increase should be tied to economic gains so that families can pay their bills and afford to care for their children, Dorman said.
Independent candidates for governor include Richard Prawdzienski of Edmond, Joe Sills of Oklahoma City and Kimberly Willis of Oklahoma City.
Firefighters sharpen forced entry skills
Of all burglaries, 60.5 percent involved forcible entry, according to recent FBI statistics.
As a result, many home and businesses are installing a greater number of complex mechanisms on their doors and windows. Edmond Fire Maj. Joe Elam said 10 local firefighters recently sharpened their skills during a forcible entry class offered by IRONS and LADDERS, LLC., of Lawrence, Kan.
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