HillSpring Church paints downtown storefront to help attract new businesses

HillSpring Church slapped a fresh coat of paint on the downtown Sand Springs Triangle District early Tuesday morning, helping the City clean up one of the first buildings you see when entering downtown on North Main Street.

The City of Sand Springs received a “Fresh Paint Days” grant from Keep Oklahoma Beautiful, with the stipulation that they use volunteers for the painting and not City employees. H.I.S. Paint donated materials, and the Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) and the Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality donated cash stipends to the program.

The City reached out to HillSpring Church, who frequently assists with Community Serve Days and other City events. A team of about a half dozen volunteers spruced up the building with the goal of attracting a new business into the vacant storefront.

According to Tulsa County Assessor records, the 107 North Main Street building was built in 1920 and is 3,500 square feet. It is currently owned by Frank and Catherine Suraci and managed by Bauer & Associates. Anyone interested in renting the facility can contact 918-665-1210 or visit www.bauertulsa.com.

Catherine Adkins-Suraci curated Gallery 107 art studio from 2003-2005. Their exhibits drew visitors from across the country, with the most notable being work from the late Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead. Frank “Skip” Suraci operated his law office out of the building for many years.

The building’s most recent tenant was The Parlour Hair and Ink. They opened in 2009 as MainStream Tattoo and Body Piercing and moved to 100 North Garfield in 2016. It has also housed Eagle Eye Collectibles and Antiques and I Believe in Yesteryears antique shop in recent decades.

HillSpring meets on Sunday mornings at 10:00 a.m. at 8801 West 41st Street South.

Board of Ed recognizes Susan Cox for donating kidney to CPHS cheer coach

 Sand Springs Board of Education member Rusty Gun (left) and Charles Page High School Cheer Coach Carrie Schlehueber (center) present Susan Cox (right) with a Pacesetter Award.   Click here to view full photo gallery.

Sand Springs Board of Education member Rusty Gun (left) and Charles Page High School Cheer Coach Carrie Schlehueber (center) present Susan Cox (right) with a Pacesetter Award.

Click here to view full photo gallery.

The Sand Springs Board of Education handed out a handful of awards at their September meeting.

Susan Cox was presented with a Pacesetter Award for donating a kidney to Head Cheer Coach Carrie Schlehueber. Cox is the Director at DaySpring Villa, a shelter for victims of domestic violence and sex trafficking.

Board of Ed member Rusty Gunn described Cox as “someone who is selfless in their life,” even before donating her kidney.

According to Gunn, Cox heard that Schlehueber was in need of a kidney and went in to find out if she was a match without even being asked. “That kidney was always hers,” said Cox. “I was just holding it for her.”

Schlehueber is expected to return to work on October 1st.

The Charles Page High School Student Council was presented with a Sandite Spirit Award for their work prior to the 2018-2019 school year, decorating the hallways and working around the school every day in the week before the year began. The Council consists of Stephanie Ayala, Logan Bateman, Caleb Bundy, Katie Gonzales, Chloe Graves, Savana McCabe, Abigail McGehee, Emily Phifer, and Kristen Taylor.

“When you see these kids that are here tonight, you see that public education works,” said CPHS history/leadership teacher Frank Cooper. “Every one of these kids is a product of public school education and they are competitive, academically motivated, engaged, enthusiastic.”

The Sand Springs Rotary Club was presented with a Sandite Pacesetter Award for helping to provide school supplies to teachers. The Rotary Club also hosted a luncheon recently for new teachers and gave every new teacher $70 worth of gift cards to local restaurants.

Sheila Bright was presented with a Pacesetter Award for offering her facilities at Bright Morning Farm to the school faculty for a conference before the school year began. Not only did Bright provide her facilities for two days free of charge, she also brought in a yoga instructor on day two.

Go Life Medical offers free ultrasounds and other pregnancy resources



An unplanned pregnancy is one of the scariest things a woman or couple can experience. A child can cause a massive impact on a person's health, social life, and financial well-being. Go Life Medical hopes to alleviate that stress.

Go Life is a non-profit organization that provides numerous free resources for people across Oklahoma. Not only does Go Life provide free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests at their brick and mortar clinic, they also have a mobile clinic that visits different locations throughout Tulsa.

The mobile clinic can be found at the 1150 South Garnett Walgreens from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m every Tuesday. On Thursdays it'll be at Springdale Baptist Church at 1511 North Lewis Avenue from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Go Life's primary clinic is located at 3210 South Norwood, Suite E and is open Monday through Friday. Ultrasounds are available from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday. 

Go Life is a Christian organization that hopes to guide women away from abortion and provides resources and guidance to aid in parenting or the adoption process. More important than the medical services they provide is their goal to share the love of Jesus Christ. 

Church That Matters holds Be The Church Sunday, helps out around Sand Springs

 Church That Matters cleared a large section of overgrowth at the Case Community Park boat ramp in preparation for the Great Raft Race.

Church That Matters cleared a large section of overgrowth at the Case Community Park boat ramp in preparation for the Great Raft Race.

Church That Matters decided to “be The Church” this Sunday instead of having church. Forgoing their regular morning service, around 200 volunteers spread out across the Sand Springs mission field to make an impact in the lives of their fellow Sandites.

Church crews spent part of the morning at DaySpring Villa, a shelter for victims of sex trafficking and domestic abuse, painting, cleaning, weeding, landscaping, and holding a worship encounter for the residents.

Church That Matters has a big focus on house churches and holding small weekly get togethers in a more personal setting. One of those house churches, located on Nassau Avenue in Tulsa, held a free block party on Nassau Ave to share the gospel and make their neighbors feel welcome. Another group held a cookout and mini Vacation Bible School session at Shannon Valley Mobile Home Park.

Case Community Park is preparing for the annual Great Raft Race, set to launch on Labor Day morning. Church crews prepped the boat ramp area for both participants and viewers, improving the beach and clearing overgrowth.

At Sand Springs Care Closet workers helped sort through clothing and other donations. They also did landscaping and gardening at Clyde Boyd Middle School, where the church got its start. After meeting for several years in the middle school auditorium, the church gave back by cleaning up the grounds before the new school year starts.

Crews handed out free quarters and detergent at the Prattville Laundromat and helped wash cars and paid for cleaning at Bubbletown Car Wash.

One group helped a client of Sand Springs Community Services by building her home a wheelchair ramp.

Finally, a large group will be volunteering at the annual Sand Springs Ministerial Alliance Back 2 School Bash at Tulsa Tech’s Sand Springs Campus from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. In addition to fun activities like inflatables and food, there will also be free backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, dental checkups, and flu shots.  Tulsa Tech is located at 924 East Charles Page Boulevard.

Church That Matters meets Sundays at 9:30 and 11:00 a.m. at 3 West 41st Street. For more information visit https://www.churchthatmatters.com/

Free Back 2 School Bash today at Tulsa Tech


The Sand Springs Ministerial Alliance’s annual Back 2 School Bash is set to kick off at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, August 12th at the Tulsa Tech Sand Springs Campus. 

In addition to fun activities like inflatables and food, there will also be free backpacks, school supplies, haircuts, dental checkups, and flu shots.  

The celebration will last from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. at 924 East Charles Page Boulevard. 

Harper's Hut Shaved Ice & Java unveils new "Little Free Library"

Harper's Hut Shaved Ice & Java added a new "Little Free Library" to their Sand Springs snow cone stand Tuesday.

The miniature outdoor library is accessible at all hours and runs on an honor system. Readers of all ages are encouraged to take a book or leave a book that they have finished reading.

According to the Children's Literacy Foundation, 61% of low-income families have no age-appropriate children's books in their homes. The Little Free Library organization aims to help the low-income community share their resources and encourage reading.

The Harper's Hut library is an official Little Free Library and also contains books for adults and teens as well. 

The Harper's Hut library is the third little library in Sand Springs. Other locations are 11 South Vermeer Ave and 4201 South Walnut Creek Drive.

Sand Springs has two public libraries, but they are only open 53 hours a week, most of which conflicts with school or work for many people. The 24/7 self-help model of little libraries offers an alternative for children in desperate need of literature.

Harper's Hut is a Sand Springs company with half a dozen locations in the Tulsa metropolitan area. The original Sand Springs stand was opened in 2014 by William Nozak and is located at 1124 East Charles Page Boulevard.

Harper's can also be found at the Case Community Park splash pad and at 3110 South 65th West Avenue in Berryhill. Nozak says he is also working on a little library for the Berryhill location.

Broadway Barber Shop hosts "Vets That Matter"


Veterans matter in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.

On the first Saturday of each month, The Broadway Barber Shop in downtown Sand Springs hosts veterans and active duty members of the United States armed forces, as well as police, fire, and paramedics whose unique experiences have left them in need of camaraderie or guidance.

Wayne Pait and Warren Hood started the Vets That Matter organization four months ago at Church That Matters in Prattville. Hood is an active duty reserves Sergeant Major and Pait is a retired Navy veteran, eleven years removed from service.

"I've had this on my heart for a few years and didn't know how to kick it off," says Pait. "When I first got out I was really bitter about being a civilian, about my career. I didn't want to be involved in anything to do with the military. The longer I've been out, the more nostalgic I've been."

"It's been a struggle watching the news, seeing some of the guys coming back, and some of the problems their families are dealing with." Pait says the military spends years teaching them to be soldiers, but doesn't spend nearly enough time teaching them how to be civilians again.

Pait met Hood in October of 2017 and the two hit it off instantly due to their military connection. Church That Matters provided a launching point for their meetings, but the church location created a barrier for some vets who didn't feel comfortable meeting in a religious setting. 

Mitch, the mononymous barber, has offered to let the vets use his facility at 29 East Broadway Street for as long as they need it. Eventually they hope to have their own facility in the downtown area where individuals can come by any time for help or fellowship.

"What we do is supply active duty reservists, veterans, and first responders an opportunity to come in, talk with us if they want about what they're dealing with," says Pait. "I don't even care if you got kicked out of the military, there's still things we can do to help you."

"On the outside we don't really like talking about it with our spouses so we kind of hold things in a lot. Some don't want to talk about it to their supervisors either because some of them believe it could affect their ability to get a promotion."

"This is just a platform for them to come in and kind of hang out, meet some guys that are in their field, that have done what they've done, seen what they've seen. We have a connection."

Pait says they have a police officer from their church involved with helping first responders. They are also working with the Disabled American Veterans location in Sapulpa and the American Legion post in Sand Springs. 

Since their meetings began, they have had the opportunity to provide guidance to individuals struggling with drugs, alcohol, and transitioning back into the civilian world.

While Vets That Matter is focused on Sand Springs, they welcome anyone from the surrounding communities. They also hope to meet with local homeless veterans.

Pait says reservists in particular are encouraged to come get involved. 

"Reservists have it the hardest because they do military part time and they're civilians part time. The problem is they deploy for a year at a time and go over to Afghanistan. They fight in the wars over there and when they come back they're expected to transition back into civilian world right away."

"Us full time military guys didn't have to worry about that. We go do what we do, we come back and we're still doing military things every day. So the reservists are having a harder time transitioning. They have more problems with alcohol and domestic violence, and that's where police officers and first responders get involved. They have to deal with us in town."

The meetings last from 9:00 a.m. to noon and donuts and coffee are provided. The meeting opens and closes with prayer, but the rest of the session is informal.

"I'm new in my faith," says Pait. "But without God, I would not have been able to do what I do now."

"We're not trying to thump them in the head with a Bible, but just make them understand that we had the same problems until we decided to make a change. Most of us decided to make that change by getting involved with Christ and following Him. It's made it better for a lot of us."

"But mostly what we're trying to do is have a place for them to come in and hang out. With military people, we can know each other five minutes and it's like we've known each other all our lives. A lot of guys are just missing the camaraderie of talking with people that know what we do."

Additionally, Pait wants to help bring attention to the 20.6 veterans on average who kill themselves every day in the United States. "Our job is to try and stop that. We've already stopped one in our group. It's a beginning."

Vets That Matter have a new t-shirt available at the Broadway Barbershop. Additionally, they plan to host a car show in September and will be having a free food for homeless vets outreach. 

Find Vets That Matter on Facebook, or at www.vetsthatmatter.org

HillSpring Church holds community Serve Day across Sand Springs

HillSpring Church invaded Sand Springs Saturday morning, undertaking dozens of projects to show the love of Christ for the community.

On their annual summer “Serve Day” more than a hundred volunteers in Sand Springs joined with hundreds of churches across the nation to make an impact both physically and spiritually.

“We’re doing this so we can make a difference,” said Lead Pastor Brent Kellogg. “To show the love of Christ and show the power impact of the church.”

At the Sand Springs Care Closet volunteers helped Katie Acuna sort clothing in preparation for an upcoming outreach. On August 6 & 7 the Care Closet will partner with Clary Sage College to provide children with free haircuts and a free outfit to start the school year. The organization opened last July and offers free diapers, formula, toys, clothes, and more at 3417 South 113th West Avenue.

Helping schools was a big part of the day. Volunteers painted at Lake Country Christian, Angus Valley, and Limestone Elementary schools. At Lake Country they also repaired appliances like sinks. At Pratt Elementary they mowed the lawn and worked in the flower beds.

Kellogg led a team at American Legion Post 17 painting the exterior, replacing old caulking, and serving the community’s veterans. HillSpring volunteers have plans for additional work at the Legion in the near future. 

Workers cleaned up and organized storage rooms at the Sand Springs Cultural and Historical Museum and Sand Springs Community Services. At SSCS they cleaned out the basement and sorted through food and clothing donations. 

"Folks from the Sand Springs area are connecting with the agency in a way that allows for us to better utilize the donations and the items that we have," said SSCS Director Nathan Woodmansee. "It really is meaningful to us. We really appreciate the work they're doing, it's going to help us serve our clients better."

Just down the road from the those two teams was a group including Vice Mayor Phil Nollan and State Representative Jadine Nollan. The crew completely moved the Sand Springs Chamber of Commerce from their old location to a new facility around the corner. 

At the Salvation Army campus workers cleared hundreds of yards of brush along their back fenceline. They also picked up trash in downtown, cleaned up overgrown areas obstructing City traffic signs, did home and lawn improvement for the elderly, and painted the front gate at the Keystone Ancient Forest.

One group constructed a raised wooden walking path at Hamalot Pot Bellied Pig Rescue to keep the organization volunteers from having to walk in the mud and risk getting knocked down by the pigs at feeding time.

Another team spent the day making blankets for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 

Associate Pastor Matt Barnett said that they had around 130 volunteers, up from 100 the year before. He hopes to see HillSpring team up with other churches for a city-wide service day in the future. 

HillSpring meets at 8801 West 41st Street on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. They can be found online at http://www.hillspring.tv/

Sandite Michael Wilson publishes first book, "Hello, My Name Is..."


Sand Springs evangelist Michael Wilson published his first book this week. Hello, My Name Is... is a Christian nonfiction guide to finding your identity in a world of labels.

Wilson and his wife Baylee recently returned to the United States after spending eighteen months in Haiti as full time missionaries. 

In March the couple attended a conference at Port-Au-Prince and Michael was given a "hello, my name is..." sticker to wear. 

"I was sitting in that conference, and I couldn't even pay attention to what they were talking about," says Wilson. "I was thinking about who I was and about all the labels I use to have and that I still carry. The labels that have been put on me by the world and the ones I put on myself."

"There's a lot of people that are being held back from achieving what God is calling them to do because they're telling themselves 'I'm always going to be an alcoholic, or I'm never going to get married,'" says Wilson.

"You're training your mind every time you tell yourself that. If you do what the Bible says and renew your mind with scripture, telling yourself what God says you are, you're able to walk in that identity."

Wilson also says that the book isn't only beneficial to Christians. "It is a Christian book, but if you apply what is in the book, no matter what you believe, I think you can be successful in whatever you're wanting. Whether you're Christian or not, you're going to get labeled something. So being able to overcome that, you can learn that from the book."

Right now the book is only available in e-book format on Amazon and can be downloaded for $2.99 through the Kindle app, which is available for free on most smart phones. After a 90 day period on Kindle Unlimited, Wilson will be able to begin selling physical copies. 

Wilson graduated Charles Page High School in 2009, attended Tulsa Community College, Northeastern State University and Victory Bible College School of Missions before marrying Baylee Slankard and moving to Haiti.

While living in the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, the Wilsons would serve both the physical and spiritual needs of the communities they visited. Michael feels a calling specifically to help the elderly, a demographic often neglected in the poverty-ridden nation. They also preached the Gospel to a country that is 40% illiterate and often unable to read the Bible on their own. 

Now that they are back in the U.S. they plan to form a nonprofit organization that focuses on global and local missions. In addition to the local work they do with Word of Life Church in Sand Springs, they will also be leading teams into foreign nations like Haiti for both short and long-term missions. They will continue to work with the elderly here in Oklahoma.

Sandite Isiah Smith plans to preach the Gospel in 11 countries in 11 months


Isiah Smith has never left the country before, but from 2018-2019 he plans to visit eleven foreign nations in eleven months. It won’t be a vacation, it’ll be hard work, but he counts himself blessed for the opportunity.

The World Race organization will be sending a team of 42 Americans to Belize, Honduras, El Salvador, Vietnam, Albania, Serbia, Cambodia, Romania, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Rwanda in October of this year. Only three of Smith’s crew will be from Oklahoma.

On the trip, the travelers will do things like preaching, praying, and sharing their testimony, as well as providing for the physical needs of the communities they visit. They will prepare food for the hungry, paint schools, build churches, harvest firewood, teach English lessons, and whatever else is needed of them.

Every race is different, but one thing every racer has in common is the opportunity to experience true poverty and oppression in ways not often seen in the western world. They will stay in villages for weeks at a time with no electricity or plumbing, and will visit regions where preaching Christianity is illegal.

To get there Smith will need to raise $18,200 to pay for his airfare, lodging, food, and other cost of living expenses. Donations can be made towards his fees at this link. Additionally, you can keep up with his journey with daily blog postings. He is working full time and mowing lawns on the side to come up with the money. You can find his lawn care service at this link.

Smith is also selling raffle tickets for an August 3rd Friday night limousine ride with a 30% discount at Texas Roadhouse. For information on the raffle, or on the mission trip in general, you can reach Smith at 918-850-1820.

Smith graduated Charles Page High School 2012 and RHEMA Bible College in 2017. He attends Harvest Church in Sand Springs and works with the youth ministry at their West Campus.

Sand Springs Spirit Grant Workshop Set for July 30

Sand Springs, OK - The City of Sand Springs recently announced a Spirit Grant workshop on July 30, at 7 p.m. at the Case Community Center (1050 W. Wekiwa Rd.) in Sand Springs. The workshop is free and open to the public. Following a brief overview of the City's new Spirit Grant program guests are invited to ask questions and learn more about for this new local economic development grant program.

Earlier this week, the City announced the Spirit Grant- a competitive grant program intended to boost economic development in Sand Springs. The program is looking for new events or projects and expansions of existing events or projects to primarily generate sales tax and tourism in the community. Community beautification and quality of life projects in Sand Springs are also eligible.

Spirit Grant projects can range from as little as $500 to projects costing $5,000 or more. With that range in mind, the grant amount will range from $400 to a maximum of $4,000 for any single grant award. Once the project has been completed, the applicant may submit original invoices for reimbursement from the City.

Examples of types of Spirit Grant awards include:

  • advertising and marketing expenses designed to attract and draw tourism to Sand Springs
  • group advertising campaign to support local merchants that results in more local sales
  • community cleanup efforts
  • special event designed to increase tourism to Sand Springs
  • exterior building facade upgrade (awning/painting/landscaping/lighting of business workplace to improve outward appearance)
  • group project to provide new community facilities or improvements to existing
  • public art (murals, statuary, etc.)
  • historical interpretation or other displays relating to Sand Springs

Grant applications will be reviewed by the City. Successful grant applications will be graded on many factors, with a focus on each grant's potential to add value to the community.

For additional information, please visit our website at www.sandspringsok.org or contact the Spirit Grant Team at (918) 246-2504 or spiritgrant@sandspringsok.org

Walmart celebrates Grand Re-Opening with donations to local charities

The Walmart Supercenter department store located at 220 South Highway 97 in Sand Springs held a Grand Re-Opening ceremony Friday morning to celebrate a recent remodel.

The three-month renovation project updated the floors, paint, signage and layout of several departments. The store remained open throughout the project.

A non-emergency veterinary clinic will soon open inside the store, which also includes SmartStyle Hair Salon, Arvest Bank, McDonald's, Regal Nails Salon & Spa, and Jackson Hewitt Tax Service. 

Walmart presented donations to three local nonprofits as part of the celebration, namely $2,500 to DaySpring Villa, $2,000 to Light of Hope, and $2,500 to the Tulsa Boys' Home.

DaySpring Villa provides shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence or sex trafficking. Light of Hope assists families and individuals struggling with addiction. The Tulsa Boys' Home is a shelter and school for wards of the State and drug-addicted minors.

Walmart first opened at its current location in 2003, and was surrounded by a new shopping center, Charlie's Chicken, Rib Crib, and many other businesses within a few short years.

The area surrounding Walmart is seeing a boom in recent years with the development of the River West and Sheffield Crossing commercial sites nearby. The $10.7 million Billie A. Hall Public Safety Center is currently under construction just across the street from Wal-Mart.

Oklahoma Blood Institute offers free Safari Joe's tickets for summer donors

May 14, 2018-  Oklahoma Blood Institute has an exciting adventure in store for donors who give blood to help patients in local hospitals!

Donors who give blood NOW through August 30 will receive a limited edition “Let the Adventure Begin” t-shirt, and a voucher for two free admissions to Safari Joe’s H2O Water and Adventure Park.*

Oklahoma Blood Institute is proud to partner with Safari Joe’s, which features the Reptile Rush Slides & Raptor Rapids Water Roller Coaster as well as one-of-a-kind reptile and animal attractions.

“With summer on the way, we want to give donors another extraordinary reason to give the priceless gift of blood,” said John Armitage, M.D., president and CEO of Oklahoma Blood Institute. “Patients need blood 365 days a year, but the summer months present a unique challenge since so many of us are busy with travel and activities, and we may get out of our normal donation routines.”

Donors will also receive a coupon for a free honey butter chicken biscuit from Whataburger and a chance to win Whataburger for a year.*

Only ten percent of people in the United States who are eligible to give blood actually do.  Blood donation takes just about an hour, and each donation can save the lives of up to three patients. 

Donors also receive free health screenings. If they opt not to take the t-shirt, Oklahoma Blood Institute will make a monetary donation to Global Blood Fund for blood center assistance in developing countries.

As a non-profit blood center, Oklahoma Blood Institute’s donors provide every drop of blood needed for patients in more than 160 hospitals, medical facilities and air ambulances statewide including all Children’s, Veterans & Indian Hospitals. Approximately 1,200 volunteer blood donors are needed each day to maintain the supply.

Appointments are not required but can be made by calling Oklahoma Blood Institute at 877-340-8777 or visiting obi.org.

*16-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds and provide signed parental permission; 17-year-olds must weigh at least 125 pounds; 18+ year olds must weigh at least 110 pounds.  Blood donation not necessary to enter prize drawing.

Angus Elementary students raise $1037 for Make a Wish Foundation

Lots of wishes will be coming true this year thanks to the efforts of students at Angus Valley Elementary in Sand Springs.

Lilli Searcy, Allie Bradshaw, and Caryss Upton recently held a coin drive at their school to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation. The drive lasted less than two weeks and raised over $1037. 

The fourth-grade girls participate in a life group at HillSpring Church which makes fleece blankets for Make-A-Wish kids. Searcy leads the group together with her mother, Lindsey, who introduced her to the organization. The money will go to providing supplies for the group.

Make-A-Wish aims to grant the wishes of every child diagnosed with a critical illness. The kids often spend a lot of time in hospitals and a homemade blanket can provide a source of warmth and comfort to children with way too much on their plate. 


Board of Education meeting focuses on teacher walkout and school closures

The Sand Springs Public Schools Board of Education met in a regular monthly meeting Monday evening and spent most of the session discussing the ongoing Oklahoma teacher walkout.

Superintendent Sherry Durkee discussed HB1010xx, HB3705 and other pieces of legislation from the current session. The Oklahoma legislature recently passed bills generating teacher pay raises averaging $6,100, but failed to satisfy Oklahoma Educators' Association demands for general classroom funding.

A majority of the Sand Springs teaching staff is participating in a statewide walkout at press time and Thursday will mark the fourth day of school closures due to understaffing. Many district employees are lobbying at the Capitol and scores of supporters have been occupying street corners at major intersections in Sand Springs, holding signs in support of the walkout. 

"I think that we have a great set of staff that love kids and are trying really hard to do the right thing and make it better for our kids," said Durkee.

The district has two unused "snow days" left, so students can miss school till Tuesday without having to extend the school year. If the strike lasts past that point, the district may add additional days to the school year, and could add extra time to the school day. Teachers will have to make up each missed day in professional development even after the students are dismissed for the summer, regardless of snow days.

The Board also presented four Sandite Spirit Awards and two Pacesetter Awards.

Mason Turgeon received a Sandite Spirit Award for building a set of wooden stairs for an elementary school ball pit as part of his Eagle Scout project. 

Jacelyn Smith, Juliana Shipman, and Erin Smith received Sandite Spirit Awards for helping a fellow student. The girls noticed one of their classmates' shoes were falling apart so they purchased a brand new pair of shoes from their own money. 

Andrea Bays, Caroline Brown, and Janet Thompson were presented with Pacesetter Awards. The three teachers head up the Charles Page High School Business Professionals of America and helped raise $750 for Sandite Special Olympics at their annual fundraiser.

Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club of Sand Springs unveils new playground

The Sand Springs branch of the Salvation Army Boys & Girls Club officially unveiled their new playground Thursday afternoon with a ribbon cutting and prayer dedication.

"An incredible effort was made by this community," said Captain Ken Chapman. "The community here in Sand Springs is unbelievable."

The playground cost about $150,000 and was funded through donations and two annual Army of Stars banquets.

The Boys & Girls Club of Sand Springs is located at 4403 South 129th West Avenue and offers After School Care, Out of School Care, Summer Day Camp, Youth Basketball, Youth Volleyball, Youth Swim Lessons, and Water Aerobics. For membership pricing, contact the club at 918-245-2237. 

The club recently vowed to provide a Free Educational Alternative during the upcoming teacher walkout, beginning April 2nd.  

SEE RELATED: Sand Springs Schools to close Monday for teacher walkout, possibly longer
SEE RELATED: Salvation Army banquet raises $21,000 for new playground


Tulsa Boys' Home 4th Annual Derby Dash 5K approaches

The Fourth Annual Derby Dash 5K and Fun Run will be held on April 14, 2018 at the Turkey Mountain Urban Wilderness Park in Tulsa. The race will benefit the Tulsa Boys' Home in Sand Springs.

The 5K race begins at 9:00 a.m. and is immediately followed by the fun run. Participation is $30 for the 5K and $15 for the one-mile fun run. Kids under twelve years of age pay $25 for the 5K and $10 for the fun run. Click HERE to register for the event. 

The Derby Dash pre-race packet pick up will be Friday, April 13th from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the New Balance store located at 2030 Utica Street, Tulsa. 

The course is a USA Track and Field certified route that starts and finishes at Turkey Mountain. Participants will run on paved trails and City streets. The park is located at 6800 South Elwood Avenue in Tulsa. 

Awards will be presented to the top three overall male and female 5K winners, and the top three finishers of the fun run. 

The Tulsa Boys' Home serves at-risk Oklahoma youth on a 150-acre facility in Sand Springs. The nonprofit provides a home, school, and positive learning environment for forty wards of the State and 24 privately-placed youth with substance abuse problems. 

SEE RELATED: Tulsa Boys' Home celebrates 100 years of miracles in 2018

Selfless: Youth groups spend Spring Break serving Sand Springs


The City of Sand Springs held its annual Clean Up Day on Monday and more than a hundred youth volunteers came out to participate. Approximately 125 teenagers filled up 300 bags of trash and two dumpsters with debris across downtown, the Highway 412 corridor, Katy Trail, River West, and the Early Childhood Education Center area. 

The youth groups from HillSpring Church, Angus Church, Broadway Baptist Church, First Assembly of God, Olivet Baptist Church, Fisher Baptist Church, and Osage Hills Christian Church are sacrificing their Spring Breaks to serve the community of Sand Springs, and Clean Up Day was just the first stop.

The volunteers will be working with Sand Springs Care Closet, Salvation Army, and Sand Springs Community Services later this week, and doing projects at individual homes of families in need. 

The #SELFLESS2018 program brings together the seven churches for four days of church service and service to others. The youth play dodgeball, basketball, volleyball, video games, putt-putt and more, and attend daily church services. 

HillSpring Church
8801 West 41st Street
(918) 446-9273

First Assembly of God
501 N Wilson Ave
(918) 245-4413

Olivet Baptist Church
155 N 65th West Ave
Tulsa, OK 74127
(918) 245-2241

Osage Hills Christian Church
4500 W Edison St
Tulsa, OK 74127
(918) 583-9482

Angus Church
4401 South 129th West Ave
(918) 245-0266

Broadway Baptist Church
1000 North Adams Road
(918) 245-7513

Fisher Baptist Church
4008 S 137th W Ave
(918) 245-7875

Sand Springs Care Closet
3417 S 113th West Ave
(918) 269-8434

Sand Springs Community Services
114 West 4th Street
(918) 245-5183


Word of Life church holds Serve Day, paints Limestone Elementary cafeteria

Word of Life, a non-denominational Christian church in Sand Springs, held a "Serve Day" Sunday afternoon, and more than sixty volunteers donated their time to various organizations around town.

Following their 10:00 a.m. Sunday service, the church members headed to Limestone Technology Academy, Sand Springs Community Services, and Green Tree Assisted Living & Memory Care. 

At Limestone Elementary, the workers painted a large cafeteria in the district colors. They also cleaned up an outdoor classroom area. Another group visited with elderly residents at Green Tree Assisted Living, leading them in praise and worship.

At Sand Springs Community Services, volunteers helped to spot clean the facility to get it ready for its annual Tulsa Area United Way Panel Review. According to SSCS Director Nathan Woodmansee, the organization served over 1000 households from the Sand Springs community in 2017. The nonprofit can provide families with a full week’s worth of food up to six times a year, or more if there is a verifiable emergency. They also offer clothing, household items, a computer lab and job-search assistance, utility and rent assistance, and other client-specific assistance.

“SSCS does not receive government funding,” says Woodmansee. “It depends fully on donations and partnerships from churches like WOL, local coprorate sponsorships, individual donations, partnerships with Sand Sprigns Public Schools, local foundation grants, and its partnership with the Community Food Bank of Eastern Oklahoma.”

Word of Life, whose motto is "we exist to reach people," has a long history of serve days, most recently partnering with local schools. In August they painted the Limestone gymnasium and auditorium, and improved the grounds and landscaping. In October they painted the gym, a classroom, and a pair of bathrooms at Angus Valley Elementary. 

Founded in 1981, Word of Life has been serving Sand Springs for 37 years. Lead Pastor Chad Stewart has led the congregation since 2011.

Word of Life
1402 North 81st West Avenue
Sand Springs, Oklahoma 74063
(918) 245-0262
Service: Sunday 10:00 a.m.
Office Hours: Monday - Thursday 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Facebook: @Wordoflifess
Instagram: @Wordoflifess

Sand Springs Community Services
114 West 4th Street
(918) 245-5183
Hours: Monday - Thursday 10:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Friday 9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.
Facebook: @SanditesHere2Help

*Contact SSCS by phone or web to volunteer.

Tulsa Boys' Home celebrates 100 years of miracles in 2018

The Tulsa Boys' Home has been serving at-risk Oklahoma youth for a century, as of 2018. The 150-acre facility in southwest Sand Springs houses the most damaged wards of the State, those who have washed out of more than a dozen foster homes, as well as privately-placed drug addicted youth.

"For many of them, we give them the first family that they've ever had," says congressional candidate and Boys' Home Board Member Tim Harris. Nearly 13,000 boys have stayed at the Home since 1918, and many have overcome drugs, sexual and physical abuse, and behavioral issues to become functioning, productive members of society.

The facility typically operates at or near full-capacity, with forty wards of the State and 24 privately-placed drug addicts. The Home accepts kids from eleven years of age till eighteen, providing counseling, family, schooling, and character-building recreation.

"These are the orphans of the 21st Century," says Executive Director Greg Conway. "Not orphans because of war or disease, but because of what's been done to them."

Most had their parental rights severed by the courts due to mental, physical, or sexual abuse. Many develop behavioral issues and are kicked out of more than a dozen foster homes before making their way to the Boys' Home. "We get the kids that have been kicked out of everywhere else, that nobody else wants to deal with," says Conway.

However, the Boys' Home is far from the stereotypical image of a poverty-ridden early twentieth-century orphanage. To an outsider, the grounds would appear to belong to a resort. Perfectly manicured lawns, fountains and statues, and amenities that could compete with any country club in the state. Billiards, horseback riding, a pool, a full gymnasium with free weights, cardio machines, basketball and tennis courts. 

"We have everything these boys need out here," says Youth Minister/Volunteer Coordinator Jeff Johnson, "but not the one thing they want. Family."

The staff does its best to be that family. Substance-abuse resident Ryder said "you can talk to the staff about anything you're going through anytime." Ryder hopes to get a doctorate in physical health and help special needs kids. "I want to do something good so I can come back here and tell my story."

Each member of the staff has success stories of kids they remember who went on to succeed in life outside the program. Director Conway spoke of Grant, a former meth addict, who went from being expelled from Union High School to graduating with a Charles Page High School diploma six months ahead of the rest of his class. 

The Boys' Home has an on-campus school staffed by certified teachers provided by the Sand Springs Public School district. They participate in Sand Springs curriculum and calendar, and graduate with CPHS diplomas. The school boasts small class sizes with technology to rival any public school. They use Virtual Academy and summer school to help students recover credits and get ahead. Most students arrive semesters or even years behind their peers due to transferring in and out of dozens of schools as they migrate from one foster home to another. 

More important than academic learning is mental and spiritual recovery after enduring untold hardships. One of the tools that helps facilitate that recovery is equine therapy. Through both individual and group sessions, the youth often form emotional connections to the horses while caring for them.

Equine Counselors Johnny Clark and Shannon Ross lead the boys in games with the horses, and even offer workshops for visitors to come participate. "When you get with a horse, the horse can reflect back emotionally what's going on with you," says Clark. 

For those who don't respond to the horses or traditional means of recreation, Chief Operating Officer Mike Murphy promises to find something for everyone. From ropes courses to chess and even a running club, the Boys' Home offers countless opportunities for kids to open up and be themselves.

Ultimately, the Boys' Home has three primary goals. "We think of our work as rescuing these guys, rebuilding them while they're here, then reintegrating them into our community," says Conway. 

The rebuilding is the hardest part. According to Conway, the most prevalent diagnosis among the youth is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, a condition typically associated with veterans of war. 

"They come from the most broken of families and they are deeply wounded boys," says Conway, who holds a Master's degree in counseling. "For many of our boys, before they come here, they've never had a positive male influence in their lives."

The organization looks to provide those positive influences not only through the staff, but also with volunteer mentors and tutors. The Home provides "Hope Tours" for anyone interested in getting involved in the organization, or who simply want to learn more about it.

During the Hope Tour, guests meet many key people in the organization, including volunteers, staff, and even residents. The tour lasts about an hour, including question and answer opportunities. The tour focuses solely on educating the community and does not attempt to solicit donations. 

Upcoming Hope Tour dates are Tuesday, March 13th and Tuesday, March 27th at 5:30 p.m. To RSVP or request more information, contact Shannon Curry at 918.245.0231 ext. 5055 or scurry@tbhinc.org or contact Karen Clark at 918.245.0231 ext. 5004 or kkclark@tbhinc.org.