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Morning Bell: High school games continue as wildfire burns

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Rhea wildire, burning south of Seilng, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This wildfire that has burned more than 283,000 acres in northwest Oklahoma since last week is 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. The "Rhea Fire" in Dewey County, burned 283,095 acres around communities like Seiling, Taloga, Vici and Oakwood, as of Thursday morning, officials said. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman
Rhea wildire, burning south of Seilng, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This wildfire that has burned more than 283,000 acres in northwest Oklahoma since last week is 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. The "Rhea Fire" in Dewey County, burned 283,095 acres around communities like Seiling, Taloga, Vici and Oakwood, as of Thursday morning, officials said. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

As his team took their positions on the field, Vici baseball coach Kris Webb did his best to turn a blind eye to the wall cloud of smoke that lingered behind right field, writes The Oklahoman's Adam Kemp

In what's been a week of heartache, loss and devastation for the small town of Vici as wildfires rage nearby, Webb wanted this moment to be for the kids.

“I wanted a normal day where they could go play the game they love,” Webb said. “I got tired of the fire controlling everything.”

Since igniting last week, the Rhea fire has burned more than 260,000 acres, destroyed more than 30 homes and claimed the lives of two people.

Kemp takes a look in today's Oklahoman at how wildfires are impacting prep sports in Vici, which you can read here

Student walkouts planned today

A second national student walkout is planned for Friday—on the 19th anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre—to call attention to gun violence, press legislators to pass stricter gun measures, and promote political participation, reports Education Week

But whether the protest—the third major demonstration against gun violence since the Valentine’s Day shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., left 17 dead—will prompt large numbers of students to walk out of class is unclear. The first walkout, on March 14, coincided with the one-month anniversary of the Stoneman Douglas shooting.

Edmond adds days following walkout

The Edmond School District has added three additional days of instruction to help make up classroom time lost in the state teacher walkout earlier this month.

During a special meeting Thursday, the school board opted to turn a previous day off, April 27, into an instructional day. In addition, students are scheduled to go to school on May 24 and 25.

Edmond Superintendent Bret Towne noted the additional days would give the district just over the 1,080 hours of instruction required by the state.

Teacher presented with 'Oklahoma Standard Award'

Each year, an Oklahoman is presented with the 'Oklahoma Standard Award' at the Oklahoma City Bombing Remembrance Ceremony. On Thursday, a U.S. Grant High School teacher received the award, reports KFOR

A photo of Drew Rhodes went viral in March when he stood next to his classroom with a chair in one hand and a broken desk in the other while the school was on lockdown due to a security threat.

“I mean I had to tell kids to get behind me because they were trying to protect me. They wanted to sit next to me and they wanted to fight with me. I told them, 'That’s not your job. The best thing you can do is take your education and turn that into inspiration later," he said.

Airline grant goes to school foundation

The Union Public Schools Education Foundation received $14,750 in the form of AAdvantage Miles as part of $145,000 in grants from American Airlines.

Related Photos
Rhea wildire, burning south of Seilng, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This wildfire that has burned more than 283,000 acres in northwest Oklahoma since last week is 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. The "Rhea Fire" in Dewey County, burned 283,095 acres around communities like Seiling, Taloga, Vici and Oakwood, as of Thursday morning, officials said.   Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

Rhea wildire, burning south of Seilng, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This wildfire that has burned more than 283,000 acres in northwest Oklahoma since last week is 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. The "Rhea Fire" in Dewey County,...

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-959cef5084b1261003923d950a5e83e3.jpg" alt="Photo - Rhea wildire, burning south of Seilng, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This wildfire that has burned more than 283,000 acres in northwest Oklahoma since last week is 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. The &quot;Rhea Fire&quot; in Dewey County, burned 283,095 acres around communities like Seiling, Taloga, Vici and Oakwood, as of Thursday morning, officials said. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman" title="Rhea wildire, burning south of Seilng, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This wildfire that has burned more than 283,000 acres in northwest Oklahoma since last week is 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. The &quot;Rhea Fire&quot; in Dewey County, burned 283,095 acres around communities like Seiling, Taloga, Vici and Oakwood, as of Thursday morning, officials said. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Rhea wildire, burning south of Seilng, on Tuesday, April 17, 2018. This wildfire that has burned more than 283,000 acres in northwest Oklahoma since last week is 15 percent contained as of Thursday morning, according to the Oklahoma Forestry Services. The &quot;Rhea Fire&quot; in Dewey County, burned 283,095 acres around communities like Seiling, Taloga, Vici and Oakwood, as of Thursday morning, officials said. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Ben Felder

Ben Felder is an investigative reporter for The Oklahoman. A native of Kansas City, Ben has lived in Oklahoma City since 2010 and covered politics, education and local government for the Oklahoma Gazette before joining The Oklahoman in 2016.... Read more ›

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