Heatwave Cooldown for the kids!
Children cool off on an inflatable water slide during the McCurtain Independence Day celebration July 2. Story, Page 3. More photos, Page 17 in this weeks News Sentinel
An American flag flies from a storm blasted tree near the ruins of a Joplin, Mo., church destroyed by a tornado. Local people have been donating their time, money and more to help the residents of Joplin almost since the storm hit the area on May 22.
Susan Satterfield and Lynette Morrison
Helping out in Joplin
By Heather Bekoff
Lynette Morrison stood in the supply closet of Head's Pharmacy looking at outdated over the counter medicines and toiletries. She turned to her friend and co-worker, Susan Satterfield and said, "We should take this to Joplin." It was that simple. A single moment of this is something we can do and they set out to do good. Pharmacy owner, Larry Godfrey explained, "There are too many people that don't go that extra mile to help other people. The good Lord gave us an opportunity to do good and these girls did."
It was only three weeks after the devastating tornado hit Joplin when they set out on their mission.
On May 22 an EF5 multi-vortex tornado hit the mid-western city. It ranks as one of Missouri's and America's deadliest tornadoes, with a death toll reaching 155. The cost to rebuild Joplin is estimated at $3 billion. The television news for days after the disaster was saturated with images that kept calling people to engage in helping in some way.
Satterfield had been looking for a place to volunteer locally. She explored different avenues in Fort Smith such as the children's hospital to volunteer. But they no longer accepted volunteers. She kept hitting dead ends. Then Morrison brought the idea to her and they took the idea to Godfrey. "He is all about this kind of work. He told us to find out what they need and he said he would order more, " said Satterfield. "Everything kept falling into place for us."
Word of mouth throughout the town kept pushing them forward. Duke Dunn gave them a Ford Excursion to use to deliver the supplies, Twin Lakes Motel gave them lotions and soaps, and Swink's Dental Clinic donated toothpaste and mouth wash. "Even the court clerk's office gave us a monetary donation and Assistant District Attorney Donita Williams, who is always into giving and mission-type work, had me come to her house so I could pick up her donations. One of which was men's work gloves, which turned out to be something that was really needed," said Satterfield. (more on this story in this week's Stigler News Sentinel)
Top Prority - new classrooms
By Karen West
Classrooms, safety and repairs — these are the top three priorities facing the Stigler School Board.
A new classroom building at the Stigler Grade School is top priority. Architect Jim Newcomb visited with the school committee and presented a plan to the board to increase space at the grade school by 13 classrooms, getting away from the portable buildings. The addition of these classrooms will accommodate two grade levels of students.
"There is a shift in the student population, moving from grade school to middle school," said Bill Self, superintendent of Stigler Schools. "We can't totally get out of portable buildings, but will move them from the grade school to the middle school or kindergarten to accommodate growth there.
The second highest priority is safety. With images of the damage from a tornado to the school in Tushka fresh in their minds, members of the board agreed it's time to get a saferoom for the students. The cost of the proposed saferoom would be around $1 million. Self said he is hoping to get help from the city or county, or possibly even a FEMA grant, to help pay for it.
"It can be used as a community saferoom when we're not in school," he said. Located on the grade school grounds, it would also double as the school cafeteria. Plans have been drawn up, and it consists of an aboveground, concrete and steel reinforced building which will accommodate 1,000 or more people. It is designed to withstand winds of up to 250 mph.