According to the calendar, summer won’t officially make its entry for another eight days, but already we’re easing into the lazy, hazy days of that season, though thus far the thermometer has only flirted with the ninety degree mark. Several who have been on vacation are home now; others are presently gone.

Homer and Aren Howell are home after spending two weeks in Windsor, Colorado visiting with her daughter. They say they had a good time, but they nearly froze. They faced mornings in the 30s, and some days “buckets” of rain fell. On a positive note, the two puppies they adopted back in January accompanied them, and they behaved perfectly, according to Aren. The only thing better than having your puppies behave well on a family visit is having kids do you proud when you’re visiting family or friends.

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Freda and Bob Flatt are back home after being gone for several days. Freda entered a large painting entitled “Controlled Burn” at the Kiamici Owa-Chito art show at Beavers’ Bend on June 2. The four-state art show had more than 300 entries from Arkansas, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma, so it was particularly gratifying to Freda which she won Best-of-Show. She will return to Beavers’ Bend next weekend to pick up her painting and receive her award and prize money. Freda says she did the preliminary drawings when she visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon last year and watched firefighters as they supervised controlled burning among the stately, tall trees as a measure against forest fires.

Freda then attended the “Prix de West” seminar at the Cowboy Arts and Heritage Center (formerly Cowboy Hall of Fame). She heard lectures by several prestigious artists.

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Other returning vacationers are ten upcoming freshmen from Byng who are back from a trip to Washington, D.C. with the GEAR UP project who sponsored the bus journey. GEAR UP is an acronymn for Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs. The group was composed of students from Allen, Byng, Milburn, Pickett Center, Roff, Stonewall, Tupelo, Vanoss and Wapanucka.

Byng participants include Stormy Kiefer, Page Leal, Sarah Jones, Sarah Thompson, Ashley Vercelli, Holly Wade, Shundiin Bohan, ShaLane Cobble, Ashley Scott, and Jessica Painter.

These Byng students, like those from the eight other rural schools on the area became a part of GEAR UP when they were in the seventh grade. East Central University received a six-year-grant to provide services to strengthen and encourage academic achievement, expand career awareness, provide mentoring services with activities and information geared toward students’ doing well through junior and senior high school, gaining admittance to college, and being equipped for success there.

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All people in the area who are friends or relatives of Dave and Jodi Jackson are invited to a reception to honor their 50th wedding anniversary next Saturday, June 16, from 2-4 p.m. at the Elks Lodge. The actual anniversary was March 1, but their three children told them that summer was a better time to celebrate wedding anniversaries and they were prepared to host a party for them in mid-June. Their children are Donna Bennett and husband Kermit, Ada; David D. Jackson Jr., and wife, Dawn, Superior, Wis., and Dennis Jackson and wife, Kathy, Ada. Dave and Jodi have 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The couple was married at NAS Cabiness Field, Corpus Christi, TX.

Over the next 23 years they served tours of duty in California, Tennessee, New Mexico, Guam and Texas. Following his retirement from the Navy in 1974 the family moved to Ada and then to Byng.

During the following 33 years they have worked at a variety of jobs, probably the most memorable of which have been the six years they spent as cast members of the Passion Play in Eureka Springs, AR. They currently work part time at the Pontotoc Technology Center. They belong to New Bethel Baptist Church, Hereford Whirlers Square Dance Club, and PAST foundation.

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Byng High School class of 1982 will hold its 25th Class Reunion at Fossil Ranch on July 7 from 4 p.m. until every one is ready to go home. Cost is $35 per person or $60 per couple. For further information contact Kyra Childers at 580-320-2239 or Cissy Nemecek Winton at robinrollins@cableone.net.

Some members of the class of 1980 are planning to attend the All-School Reunion Saturday, June 23, at Byng High School. Any member of that class is invited to contact Debbie Painter at 436-4587.

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It was a unanimous vote Sunday morning in a special business meeting. Members of New Bethel Church voted on calling Jasper Ligon who has been serving as interim to become their regular pastor. Seventy seven members voted by secret ballot, in an unprecedented all-in-favor vote. Jasper made the briefest acceptance speech known to Baptist-dom by saying “Okay.” (It should be noted that the long hand on the wall clock was already past the Twelve mark and everyone knew that all the other church members had beaten us to the restaurants.) Joe and Lynda Dixon who came as interims and stayed 34 years did not voice an opinion, but Lynda helped count the ballots.

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