With a hot cup of coffee between her hands and the clanging of a coffee shop in the background, Katy tells me about her life. She struggles to find what she considers to be a significant event or point in her life that she deems important enough to write about. She comes up short, there is no one significant event or point. We meet up again a few days later, and after several hours of sitting and chatting with Katy, I have found that there is not one significant event worth writing about. She is the significant thing worth writing about.
Katy Hart was born on December 22, 1991 in Big Rapids, Michigan to, then single mother to 8 and 18 year old daughters, Susan Hart. Susan had been separated from her husband for seven years and was in the process of completing the divorce when she became pregnant with Katy. Unfortunately Katy’s parents weren’t able to work out their relationship and so Susan became the single mother of three girls. Katy’s two sisters, Tiffany, 40, and Donielle, 30, were like two extra moms grown up, and Tiffany had a daughter in 1997. Being the baby in the family and also shouldering the role of aunt was difficult for her. The sibling rivalry that would have existed between her and her sisters, had they been closer in age, took hold between her and her niece. The additional challenge to this relationship was that Katy’s mother expected her to also behave as an aunt and therefore be the bigger person. Much fighting took place as the aunt and niece tried to find their places in each other’s lives as well as in their family. Katy’s family hails from Michigan originally. Her mother moved her and her sisters between Oklahoma and Michigan several times throughout her childhood finally settling in Okeene, Oklahoma to be closer to Katy’s sister, Tiffany, and her sister’s children.
Rodeo is a large and important part of her family’s life, and Katy developed a passion for it early on. In 1955, the year her mother was born, Katy’s grandfather opened Buckin E. Rodeo Company, a traveling rodeo. The rodeo would travel all along the north east, going up in open fields like a circus ring, and the entire family would help out and get involved. Katy had her own jobs to do even at a young age. She worked back stage and helped set up when they would reach a new stop. When she got old enough, around the age of 7, she started to compete in the junior rodeo. She participated in events such as barrel racing, poll bending, and goat tying. In 2001, Katy was bucket by a horse and fell. Though she wasn’t hurt, she still developed a fear of riding that lasted for five years. During those years she still helped the family business by selling spinning ropes and t-shirts to audience members in the stands. It was then that she realized that she was good at selling things; it came naturally to her. In 2006 Katy finally decided to put her fears aside after feeding a rodeo bull and get back on the horse. The first year she back she won two saddles and two buckles despite the 5 year lapse. She also competed in rodeo pageants and sold tickets for them as part of the pageant participation.
In high school Katy participated in a rodeo club on the weekends. She shared her cousin’s horses since they went to some of the same rodeos. She graduated in 2011 from Okeen High School. After graduation she moved to Alva, Oklahoma to attend Northwestern Oklahoma State University, which is a rodeo college. NWOSU has one of the largest college rodeo teams in the state with 120 member, or which 70 compete. She was not able to continue using her cousin’s horses since she was now an hour away from her family and her cousin’s high school rodeos were on the same weekends as her college rodeos. Fortunately, a friend with whom Katy had competed with for years let her use her horses, though it did cause some conflict if Katy had better times or if the horses did better for her in a competition. Aside from rodeo, NWOSU was not providing her the fulfilling academic experience she was craving. With the school going through a staffing changes and teachers she had worked with for two years leaving, she was left with teachers that didn’t teach their subjects well. She was ready to excel past what the school was able to provide.
Katy was dating her current boyfriend, Thomas Foster, who had moved to Russellville to live with his family and is from Russellville. They broke up briefly after his initial move, but reconciled after just a few months. He asked her to move to Russellville also. There were a few factors that helped her make the brave decision to move. First, her family had moved to Alva shortly after she had but then moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma and were now three hours away from her. Russellville is also a three hour drive from Stillwater. Second, her school was failing to meet her needs academically and she wanted to find a better college. And, thirdly, her boyfriend had already moved. These three things made her decision easy. The main down side to moving for her is having to make up the hours that didn’t transfer from NWOSU. She is a junior but this is her fourth year in college. Though it is scary to move somewhere when you don’t hardly know anyone is scary. Moving was a brave decision, and one that will hopefully better Katy’s life and help her reach her goals.
No, there is not just one defining moment or event that is significant about Katy Hart. She is significant. By learning from her life experiences and struggles and refusing to be held back, she has enabled herself to think with a level head and make good choices while looking at the bigger picture. I know that Katy will reach her potential in her degree in public relations. She deserves to do well.
Randy “Tank” Tankersley is a 49 year old rookie in a local police department and he couldn’t be prouder of what he does. As he talks about his life and his career in law enforcement and prior firefighting career he is obviously happy with his choices. Serving his community has always been something he has endeavored to do.
Tankersley was raised by his grandparents in Pottsville. His grandfather was the manager of the Tyson Research Farm in Pottsville. His job on the farm consisted of bringing in new chickens, collecting eggs, and dressing and cleaning chickens. While he was growing up he would go visit his aunt and uncle in Jonesboro where he had a cousin on the local Fire Department. His cousin would let him climb on the trucks and he fell in love with it. In high school he had his first paying job, hauling hay.
First, Tankersley attended the Pottsville school district. He later attended school in Dardanelle, and then went on to attend high school in England, Arkansas. During his junior year there was a stabbing in his class. He decided he didn’t want to go to school anymore, so he dropped out and went to work. At the age of 17 Tankersley and his parents moved to Jonesboro, Arkansas and he found work at Coors Rice Mill in nearby Weiner, Arkansas. While working at Coors, the company offered all employees who were interested a chance to get their GED with all expenses paid; he accepted the offer. He soon met his wife and got married. At the age of 27 Tankersley joined the U.S. Air Force.
His wife’s cousin worked at the Weiner Fire Department and offered Tankersley to come take a look at the trucks and see the department. While there he asked how to join and was hired on the spot. This began a seventeen year career as a firefighter that ended with in as Captain of the Pottsville Fire Department. About a year and a half ago he went on a few ride-alongs and then decided to take on a part time position with the Pottsville Police Department.
Soon he decided that he loved working as a police officer so much he wanted to pursue a full time position. On December 22, 2013 the chief of the Pottsville Police Department Tankersley a fulltime position which had become available after another officer had retired. Tankersley enthusiastically accepted the position and thus began his new career as a full time police officer. He left the fire department when he took the full time position.
Being 49 years old and switching careers was not a hard decision for him to make, but it was scary to leave a lifetime career to a new one. In the academy, most of the other attendees were only 18-20 years old. Though he was considerably older than his classmates, Tankersley felt that the age gap gave him an advantage over the others. He was able to take on the mental stress, process the information better, and know more when an exercise is designed to stress him than the younger trainees. On the road he isn’t so much concerned with being further on in his life than most other rookies because he feels he is able to keep a level head and talk through stressful situations with citizens. He has not yet had an altercation with any citizens because he has been able to keep calm, help them remain calm, and talk through it with them.
Tankersley has dedicated his entire life to serving his community and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He lives to serve and protect and his favorite part of his job, even as a fire department captain, is working with the kids in his community. In August he took time from his day to finger print the children at Pottsville schools. His three grandchildren are some of his main sources of inspiration. When he talks about them his eyes light up and a smile spreads across his face from ear to ear. He beams as he talks about his grandson wanting to be an Army man since he could talk and at how his other two grandchildren love his police car and that their grandpa is a police officer. He is proud to show his grandchildren, and even his 32 year old son, that they can do anything they set out to do and that their father/grandfather does something good.
Even though he claims to start everything late in his life, he still goes after what he wants and gets it. It took bravery to step away from a 17 year career and start something new. It is never too late to improve your life and be happy with what you are doing. Tankersley has dedicated his adult life to serving and protecting his community. Taking on a job to protect other people in the face of danger is not something everyone can do. It takes special people to fill those roles for our society and he is certainly one of the good special ones.
One of the items on the mile long list of things to blame on the U.S. President when his approval ratings fall is price of gas. Obviously these people do not know who is actually responsible for the rising gas prices. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) the majority of that blame falls on falls on the price of crude oil. Because you can’t make gasoline without crude oil. Well technically you can, but that’s a horse of a differ t color. What decides the price of crude oil? That would be supply and demand, isn’t that how most things are priced? And the demand is pretty high. It has dropped about 6% from 2007 to 2013 which is a good thing, but our country still used 369.51 million gallons a day last year and the effects of crude oil pricing increased by by 12 percentage points in that same time. Throw in factors that raise the demand or cut off supply like outages, war, conflict in the major oil export countries, holiday travel, and special gas blends and the prices roller coaster.Crude oil prices made up 68% of the average $3.51 per gallon last year.
What are the other slices on the gasoline pie? Federal and state taxes made up 12% in 2013, decreasing by 7 percentage points since 2007. 11% is refining cost and profits, which are also down from 2007 by 2 percentage points. Bringing up the rear is distribution and marketing at 9%, also coming down 2 point since 2007. Does anybody else see something off about this gasoline pie? Is it just me? So in a span of 6 years, U.S. crude oil demands drop 6%, yet crude oil’s slice is up and everyone else’s went down? Oh, and the price of gas in 2007 was an average of $2.45, so that is up too. Can anybody say inflation? The times, they are a changin’.