October 2020

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Frozen H’20


El Reno residents were told they could haul limbs to a site at Lake El Reno after last week’s ice storm tore trees apart and left much of the town without power and water.

El Reno Mayor Matt White said residents could begin hauling limbs to the area near Reformatory Road, on the west side of Lake El Reno. He said the location would be open every day for the cleanup that will be necessary following the storm.

“The damage is terrible,” White said.

The limb drop site will be open from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily.

Ward 1 hopefuls answer questions on city


On Tuesday, El Reno voters will select a city council representative for Ward 1. The Tribune posed questions to the two candidates, Steve Jensen and Jacqueline Stevenson Smith.

The questions were:

What is your vision for El Reno and what steps should be taken to make it a reality?

In your opinion, what are the two greatest issues facing the community? And how should they be addressed?

Their responses are provided here as they were received.

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City’s emergency crews run ragged as downed power lines, trees create area-wide chaos


By Thursday morning, El Reno firefighters had responded to 111 emergency calls, one of them a house fire in Williamstown.

The ice storm that arrived Monday and knocked out power for most of the area led to a child using a candle to hunt for an item in a closet, fire department reports show. The candle apparently caught some items in the closet on fire. No one was injured in the Wednesday blaze, but damage to the house was estimated at $15,000.

Storm damage forces Halloween cancellations, White asks residents to skip trick-or-treating


Halloween doesn't mix with downed power lines and broken tree limbs, so for those reasons, the city of El Reno is telling residents to trick-or-treat only with family and friends.

Mayor Matt White said Thursday residents are strongly advised not to allow children to go door-to-door Saturday night. White made the comments during the weekly El Reno Live program that runs on Facebook.

White said the annual Spooktacular has been canceled. Main Street, which organizes the colorful event, called it off after El Reno was hit hard by last week’s ice storm.

Panel rejects project bids for fairgrounds


Canadian County commissioners will seek new options for audio-visual equipment at the new fairgrounds and expo center after rejecting the bids that were submitted for the project.

Commissioners were following the recommendation of fairgrounds director Nathan Smith, who said that all of the bidders had either altered the specifications or had failed to provide the proper bonding information.

County to seek funds for road projects


Canadian County Commissioner Jack Stewart said he is hoping grants will lead to improved roads in his district. If all goes right, four roads in his district will either be widened and rebuilt or receive an asphalt overlay next summer.

Commissioners last week approved an agreement that allows Stewart, along with other commissioners, to receive funding assistance through the Rural Economic Assistance Program fund, also known as the REAP fund.

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Canadian County Election Board flooded by residents voting early


Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold said people voting early in the 2020 election were willing to stand in line for hours and in the cold.

The early voting started Thursday morning as lines formed outside the election board in downtown El Reno early and seemed to grow by the minute.

“A person who just voted said they had been in line for two hours,” said Armold.

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Cheat Codes: Students search for shortcuts as virtual schooling expands in Oklahoma


Computer programmer Gradyn Wursten still updates a project he created to hack his high school homework.

As a sophomore, he used an old MacBook with a cracked screen and bulging battery to write the code that adds shortcuts to Edgenuity — an online education platform used by more than 3 million students.

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Couple exchange wedding vows at Heaston Church


Denise Renee Baustert of Union City and Okidi Mike Rainbow of Patongo, Uganda, were united in marriage Sept. 26 at Heaston Church in El Reno with Rev. Odus Compton officiating.

The bride is the daughter of David and Carol Baustert of Union City. The groom is the son of Obol Achan of Patongo, Uganda, and Lapong Rose of Ajiali, Uganda.

Wedding music was provided by pianist Ryan Goodrich and harpist Paula Compton performing “Praise to the Lord, the Almighty” and “I Got You.” 

Vocalist Caleigh Frahm, niece of the bride, sang “The One I Know I Need.”

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El Reno VFW Post 382 earns 16 awards at state convention


Four members of VFW Post 382 attended the state convention held recently at Wyndham Gardens in Oklahoma City. The VFW received 16 awards at the convention, including Auxiliary President Nancy Salsman recognized with the VFW Circle of Achievement Award presented by Past State Auxiliary President Iva Turman. 

VFW National Commander Hal Roesch was in attendance as well as National Auxiliary President Sandra Onstwedder and 10th Council Member Vicki McGahley.

Amy Stout, VFW Post 382 Auxiliary secretary and treasurer, made the cake and cupcakes for the reception.