Weatherford Democrat

Online Only

November 15, 2013

Tornado wary schools get money for shelters

MOORE, Okla. — Schools in this Oklahoma City suburb devastated by a tornado last spring will soon get $500,000 to build safe rooms to protect students and teachers from future storms.

Shelter Oklahoma Schools, a nonprofit created after the May 20 tornado that killed 24 people in Oklahoma City and suburban Moore, plans to give the money to Moore's schools on Dec. 9, said Mark McBride, a state legislator and one of the group's cofounders.

Among those killed in the EF-5 tornado were seven students huddling from the storm in Moore's Plaza Towers Elementary. Another school, Briarwood Elementary, was also heavily damaged.

McBride said he and a fellow Republican legislator, Jon Echols, watched as rescue crews searched the rubble of Plaza Towers for the missing students. The lawmakers launched the nonprofit with a local businessman, John Hunt, soon thereafter, having decided it would be faster than waiting for the Legislature to act.

“We were looking for a private sector solution to a problem,” said McBride, noting that legislators also have been in talks with Gov. Mary Fallin's office about improving school safety.

The non-profit quickly raised $200,000 from a car dealer, Norman Chrysler Jeep Dodge, as well as $500,000 from the oil and gas company Apache Corp., which pledged additional matching contributions.

Three of Moore's newest elementary schools do not have safe rooms, nor were shelters planned in schools under construction, though those plans have since been revised.

The nonprofit is giving money to other districts, as well.

The group donated $25,000 to a rural school near Chickasha, southwest of Oklahoma City, where students had already raised $27,000 for a shelter.

Next week it plans to give $100,000 each to schools in Drummond, about 90 miles north of Oklahoma City, and Calumet, about 40 miles west of Oklahoma City. Both are building new classrooms and have since added saferooms to those plans, said McBride.

Text Only
Online Only
  • Lindley, Tom.jpg Grandstands feel a little empty at NASCAR races

    Two decades after NASCAR started running at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the crowds have thinned considerably. It's probably no reflection on the sport's massive following, which stretches from coast to coast, but it surely doesn't NASCAR's image help when the cameras pan across all of those empty seats.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • The virtues of lying

    Two computational scientists set out recently to simulate the effects of lying in a virtual human population. Their results, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, show that lying is essential for the growth of a cohesive social network.

    August 1, 2014

  • Why a see-through mouse is a big deal for scientists

    A group of Caltech researchers announced in Cell Thursday their success in making an entire organism transparent. Unfortunately, this isn't any kind of "Invisible Man" scenario: The organism in question is a mouse, and the mouse in question is quite dead.

    August 1, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Impeachment arms Democrats, doesn't end the Obama disaster

    Republicans may have grounds to impeach President Barack Obama but they would be daft to pursue a case they cannot win in a Senate controlled by Democrats. Impeachment would only drive the Democrats' fundraising and potentially squander the GOP's best opportunity in years to capture both houses of Congress then, in two years, the White House.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-31 at 2.12.55 PM.png VIDEO: Five-year-old doesn't want her brother to grow up

    Sadie, an adorable 5-year-old from Phoenix, wants her brother to stay young forever, so much so that her emotional reaction to the thought of him getting older has drawn more than 10 million views on YouTube.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Rodden, Danny.jpg Sheriff accused of lying about relationship with prostitute

    The sheriff of Clark County, Ind., faces an eight-count federal indictment that accuses him of lying about paying a prostitute for a sex act and giving her a badge so that she could claim a discount rate at a hotel.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Sunburn isn't the only sign of summer that can leave you itchy and blistered

    You've got a rash. You quickly rule out the usual suspects: You haven't been gardening or hiking or even picnicking, so it's probably not a plant irritant such as poison ivy or wild parsnip; likewise, it's probably not chiggers or ticks carrying Lyme disease; and you haven't been swimming in a pond, which can harbor the parasite that causes swimmer's itch.

    July 31, 2014

  • 'Rebel' mascot rising from the dead

    Students and alumni from a Richmond, Va.-area high school are seeking to revive the school's historic mascot, a Confederate soldier known as the "Rebel Man," spurring debate about the appropriateness of public school connections to the Civil War and its icons.

    July 31, 2014

  • wd saturday tobias .jpg Stranger’s generosity stuns Ohio veteran

    Vietnam War veteran David A. Tobias was overwhelmed recently when a fellow customer at an OfficeMax store near Ashtabula, Ohio paid for a computer he was purchasing.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Must Read
Top News
House Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction