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Articles written by Kathleen Lourde

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Cherokee School Board discusses student health protocols after positive COVID-19 test

A fairly somber Cherokee school board met Monday evening to discuss the student health protocols the school has been using this month – a month in which the school saw it's first positive COVID-19 test, the ramifications of which affected 24...


Freedom Public Schools: basketball begins Nov. 5, parent-teacher conferences Oct. 13, 14

Basketball will return to Freedom soon, the Freedom Schools Board of Education heard at the beginning of its regular monthly meeting Monday evening. All Freedom school board members were present: Shane Morris, Robert Babcock, Shan Wilson, Phil...


Waynoka Public Schools aces distance learning test

“September 4 was the first virtual learning day,” Elementary Principal Patricia Burrow told the Waynoka School Board at its regular monthly meeting Monday, and she expressed pride in how well the teachers and students handled the situation. On...


Freedom Town Board sets bid opening date for gas line project

The Town of Freedom Board of Trustees said adios to one board member and howdy to another, Concha Herrera, at its regular meeting last Wednesday, Sept. 9. Town Clerk Cindy Reed read aloud board member Randy Rhodes' official letter of resgnation,... Full story


Freedom Town Board handles grant-related housekeeping

The Town of Freedom held its regular board of trustees meeting last Wednesday evening, Aug. 12. Virtually present for the brief meeting were Mayor Shad Brackin and Trustee Rolando Galindo, joined later by Trustee Randy Rhodes. Also present were Town...


Waynoka superintendent expresses concern over possible financial crunch ahead

At the Waynoka School Board meeting Monday, Aug. 10, the board listened as Superintendent Scott Cline told them of his concerns about what this year will bring financially. For one thing, he's seeing a huge drop in gross production revenue. “We...


Freedom School prepares for whatever the year may bring

At the Freedom School Board meeting Monday, Aug. 3., technology was the primary topic of conversation. A federal grant of about $126,000 must be spent by the end of the year, Weber told the board, but it can only be spent on technology, professional...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    July 31, 2020

A whirlwind of good works

Donnetta Hunter is a fiery ball of energy, ideas, passion and optimism. She knows it's true. “I'm kind of like Tigger in Winnie the Pooh – a bit hyper,” she said. “I get so bored if I'm...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    July 29, 2020

Waynoka School Board approves "Return to Learn" school reopening plan

Students will return to Waynoka Schools on Aug. 12, according to the new school calendar approved Wednesday at the school's Board of Education meeting. The calendar is generally the same as last year, but it includes four special days on which...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    July 22, 2020

County assessors thrilled over new mass appraisal system's potential

County assessors are in the midst of implementing a long-anticipated but complicated new software system that they hope will result in more efficient and more accurate property valuations for tax... Full story

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    July 16, 2020

Freedom Town Board handles block grant paperwork

Freedom's board of trustees met last Wednesday evening, July 8, to wrap up some details involving the gas line replacement project. Grant consultant Jennifer Firgard presented the information to board members Rolando Galindo and Randy Rhodes, along...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    July 15, 2020

Freedom School Board gets its start-of-school (and anti-COVID) ducks in a row

Freedom Public Schools plans a number of strategies for mitigating the risk of students and staff catching COVID-19 when students return in the fall. A four-page document detailing all of it is available through the school. But among the measures,...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    July 15, 2020

CORRECTED: Cherokee School Board approves school reopening plan

(Ed note: The story “Cherokee School Board Approves School Opening Plan,” which ran in the July 15 Newsgram, incorrectly reported that the reopening plan as approved by the board included a requirement to wear face masks. That portion of the... Full story

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    July 10, 2020

Katie Hill's fervent Christianity seems well-suited to strong winds and wide-open spaces

When Rev. Katie Hill gets really passionate about what she's saying, her eyes tear up. It can happen several times in a single heartfelt conversation. It's just a fact of life, like the fact that she...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    June 21, 2020

NWOSU students organize anti-racism rally on courthouse lawn June 16

In the death of George Floyd – and the release of the video showing a police officer kneeling on his neck until he died – the impact seemed to reach every corner of the nation. It impacted...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    June 17, 2020

Freedom Town Board considers floodplain issues; votes to move forward with gas line replacement

The Town of Freedom held its regularly scheduled monthly meeting on Wednesday, June 10. The group gathered via teleconference. Present were Mayor Shad Brackin and Trustees Rolando Galindo and Randy Rhodes. Also present were Town Clerk/Treasurer Cindy...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    June 10, 2020

Waynoka graduation set for June 26, to be held on football field

The Waynoka Board of Education had lots of routine work to get through when it held it's regular monthly meet Monday, June 8. But the big news was the graduation ceremony plan Waynoka High School Principal Dustin Smith presented to the board. All...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    June 10, 2020

Assessor Roach tells Cherokee school board of expected rise in tax protests

Alfalfa County Assessor Jennifer Roach spoke to the Cherokee Board of Education about why her visual inspection bill to the school district was up $9,700 this year. The reason is because of the...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    June 4, 2020

Town of Freedom hires Luke Bolar; stray dogs also topic at special meeting

The Town of Freedom Board of Trustees held a special meeting Thursday, May 28, to discuss possibly hiring summer help for the town, and to discuss stray dogs. Present were Mayor Shad Brackin, who called the meeting to order; board member Randy...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    June 3, 2020

Cherokee School Board awards $760,000 building bonds to First Banker's

The Cherokee Public Schools Board of Education held a special meeting Thursday, May 28, to take the next step in the building bonds issuance process, and to discuss Middle School and High School Principal Jeremy Hickman's contract. Present were...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    June 3, 2020

Waynoka School Board sets Kristin Harris hearing for July 14

The Waynoka school board met Friday, May 29, for a special meeting to vote on two related agenda items. • Discussion and vote to set a date, time and place for a hearing, upon receipt of the recommendation for the non-renewal or dismissal of...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    May 13, 2020

$600,000 carryover predicted for Freedom Schools

At the Freedom Public Schools regular meeting of the board of education, Superintendent Bryant Weber told the board he expects a $600,000 carryover into the next school year. He also talked about graduation plans. Vice President Phillip Kirkpatrick...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    May 13, 2020

Waynoka School Board hears plans for wrapping up school year

As Waynoka Public Schools began wrapping up the school year, beloved coach Brett Pitts and wife Laura, who taught kindergarten, have resigned for family reasons. “We're losing a very good asset,” said Waynoka Junior High/High School Principal...

 By Kathleen Lourde    Local    May 1, 2020

Area churches consider re-opening, with variety of approaches for this Sunday

Across the state, church boards and pastors are discussing whether and/or how to reopen their church buildings now that – as of today, May 1 – state restrictions on indoor church gatherings have been eased. State-issued rules say that churches... Full story


Freedom school board, administration grapple with end-of-year plans

At the Freedom Board of Education's regular meeting April 13, the board and Superintendent Bryant Weber talked about end-of-year activities and graduation. Weber said the plans are to post the senior PowerPoint, pictures, and the recorded...


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