2018, January 15th - 20th
Our Chickasha Schools Academic Persons of the week is
High school student, …. Jakob Kennedy!
Saturday, January 20th
Teacher Suspended After Dodge Ball Incident with Student
A Ninnekah teacher is on paid leave pending an investigation into allegations that he whipped a student with a belt. It happened in a PE class this week. The student claims he was beaten, after he accidentally hit the teacher in the groin with a dodge ball. 13-year old Nick Johnson said it was an accident. Johnson said he was aiming for the teacher's chest, but the ball hit the teacher below the belt. Johnson claims the teacher chased him down and hit him several times with the belt. Johnson's mother wants the teacher fired. Ninnekah Superintendent Todd Bunch says the matter was taken care of promptly, and that the unidentified teacher is suspended with pay until an investigation is completed. The teen said he was sorry the incident even happened.
Man Arrested on Weapons Charges
A woman helping a friend who didn't have a place to stay is shocked when she alleges the friend pulls a gun on her. The woman called 911 after she found some drug items and some property her friend said had been stolen. According to Chickasha police affidavit, she told the man to leave, and at some point, the friend pulled the gun and pointed it to her head. The friend left for a short time, only to come back and try to climb through a window in woman's apartment. Police arrested 29-year old Kody Dean Jones of Chickasha. Prosecutors have charged him with a felony of pointing a firearm and for having firearm after conviction. The DA also wants to revoke a 5-year suspended sentence Jones received after he pleaded no contest to a 2014 charge of assault. Jones remains in jail pending a $100,000 bond
Federal Official Visits Kiowa Tribe
A top official from the nation's capitol meets with members of the Kiowa Tribe this week. Ryan Zinke, Secretary of the Department of Interior, spent some time in Carnegie with tribal leaders. Also joining Zinke was deputy assistant secretary, John Tahsuda, who is member of the Kiowa Tribe. The Lawton Constitution reports that Zinke told the Carnegie gathering the most frustrating issue he deals with is the government red tape which gets in the way of handling matters at the front lines with tribal leaders. He said sovereignty should mean something and that the federal government was put in place to work for and by the people, and they have to get better. Zinke said there are 562 federally-recognized tribes in the U.S. and each one is a unique and equal nation. He says he's an advocate for each. Zinke was also scheduled to meet with the Chickasaw nation.
Talk Show Topic
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Lewis Knicely with the Chickasha Area YMCA is on our KOOL Konversation program, talking about the annual fundraising campaign for the Y. There are links to this program on this website, under the Community tab.
Friday, January 19th
Chix Schools Interim Super Comments
KOOL/RANCH news sat down for an exclusive interview with the new interim superintendent for Chickasha schools yesterday. Jack Herron brings a wealth of educational experience to the post. He's spent several years lobbying for public education at the state capital, and has even given presentations to state lawmaker about Oklahoma school finances. Herron is optimistic that he can be part of the solution to a number of issues that have come forward within the Chickasha school district over the last few months.
Herron said he's been following the stories regarding the suspension of school employees, and the personalized learning curriculum and considered applying for the interim superintendent post. He said he also had some friends locally that encouraged him to apply. Herron signed a contract valued at $140,000 per year, which is about $11,700 per month. The contract runs through June 30, 2018.
Woman Dies in Car Crash
A Cement woman dies when her car runs off a rural Grady County road. 86-year old Zella Faye Fulton passed away in the accident that happened about five miles south of Verden on Lake Burtchi Road. Investigators think the crash happened between one o'clock and three o'clock yesterday. Fulton's car was found overturned in a creek bed.
Chris Mosley to Run for Mayor of Chix
Chickasha will have a new mayor later this year, as Hank Ross has announced he is not running for re-election. At least three candidates could be on the ballot in the April election. Businessman Chris Mosley has officially announced his candidacy. Mosley previously served on the city council for four years. He's a Chickasha native, and currently works in the family business at Century 21/Mosley Real Estate. Two other candidates have also announced their intentions to run for mayor, including current councilman Cody Turpin, and retired Col. Tom Rose, who lost to Ross in the 2016 mayoral election. The filing period for city council will be next month.
One Week of Grady County Jury Duty Canceled
Grady County residents who received jury duty notices for the week of January 22nd do not have to report. The court clerk’s office says the entire week has been cancelled. However, residents who received jury duty notices for the week of January 29th will have to report as scheduled on Monday, January 29th. Anyone with questions can contact the court clerk’s office by calling 405-224-7446.
Chix Chamber of Commerce Names New Directors
New officers are sworn for the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. Ed Stanton with Liberty National Bank will serve as the new chairman for 2018. He takes over from Jeff McClure. He’s joined on the Chamber Board’s Executive Committee by Travis Posey of HSI Sensing, who will serve as vice chairman. Other executive committee members are Karen Gentry of Bank of Commerce, and Susan Routh with Grady County OSU Extension, and McClure. The board of directors will include Christie Elkins with the Economic Development Council; Michele Pace of 1st National Bank; Justin Yahola of Salt Creek Casino; Sherri Kell of Standley Systems; Brian Gerdes of Dr. Pepper; Cassandra Ersland from USAO; Warren Spellman, Grady Memorial Hospital, William Conner with Enduro Bond; Daniel Cobarrubio with PSO; LaRonda McArther of Century 21/Mosley Real Estate; Andrew Bratton of Physical Therapy Central; and Heather Witt with Bank SNB. All will take their public oaths of office at next month's chamber banquet.
School Student Recognized
This week, we're resuming our series where we highlight an individual excelling in Chickasha public schools. Our Dennis Linam reports.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX down to $63.95 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude down to $69.31.
Natural gas down to $3.19 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,334 and silver is $17.04.
Thursday, January 18th
New Interim Superintendent On Duty
The new administrator on board for Chickasha public schools spent his first day on the job Wednesday meeting school principals and many of the people he'll be working with over the next few months. Jack Herron was hired by the school board during its special meeting Tuesday night. According to his Facebook page, Herron has a background in education financing, having worked in that area at the state department of education. He also has served as a lobbyist with the Professional Oklahoma Educators, a non-union, non-partisan, non- profit group of educators. He's served as superintendent in several school districts, including Duncan and Guthrie. Terms of Herron's contract were not immediately available. While the school board terminated its monthly stipend with Superintendent Emeritus Dave Cash, he (Cash) continues to serve the district without pay or benefits. Sources say Herron can reach out to Cash if he needs information.
Rape Suspect Bound Over for Trial
A Caddo County man has been bound over for trial, for his alleged rape of a teenaged girl. 34-year old Cecil Gordon of Carnegie entered an innocent plea to the rape charge following his preliminary hearing in Caddo County District Court this week. His trial was set for August. Court documents in the case indicate Gordon's DNA ties him to the alleged sexual assault. The teen that Gordon over-powered her in the summer of 2016, when she was only 15 years old.
Chickasha Airport Important for the Region
Millions of dollars in improvements have been made to the Chickasha airport over the last several years. City Manager John Noblitt says about $5 million has been spent on things like extending the runway to just over 5,000 feet, repairs to drainage, and even developing the airport industrial park. Noblitt most of that money comes from state and federal sources.
The airport itself sits on about 300 acres just north of Chickasha, but the entire region is about 700 acres, which includes the industrial park. Noblitt said future plans include extending the runway for another 1,000 feet. About 30 planes per day use the airport.
Credit Union to Hold Ground-Breaking
A ground-breaking ceremony today (Thursday) for the expansion of a local financial institution. Work is already underway for the new stand-alone location for Focus Federal Credit Union. A building permit for the site was issued last month. It's a $600,000 project, which officials hope to have opened by this fall. The new location at 1st and Chisholm Drive is only about one block south of its current location.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX up to $63.97 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude up to $69.38.
Natural gas climbs to $3.23 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,330 and silver is $17.11.
Wednesday, January 17th
Chix School Board President Resigns
Saying he was being blackmailed and bullied, Chickasha Board of Education president Chris Ludwell resigns. The resignation came during a special meeting of the school board last night. He read from a prepared statement which lasted about five minutes. Ludwell called some patrons cowards, and said they made it clear that they would spread innuendos and sinister suggestions about him, even though the patrons know the allegations are false.
A video of Ludwell's resignation was posted on Facebook. Ludwell said he had hoped to be a peacemaker between the district and some angry patrons over recent suspensions of school employees, and some charges of grade tampering and attendance irregularities regarding the personalized learning curriculum. Regarding the suspended employees, Ludwell said the school board did not initiate the suspensions. He said there were two inappropriate events which caused the suspensions, and that any administrator would have been negligent to ignore them. Previously, attorneys for the school district claimed allegations of embezzlement, and failure to report child abuse. After Ludwell's statement he immediately left the room, and board vice president Doug Brown presided over the rest of the meeting. It was reported that the school board did hire a long-term interim superintendent, but we have not been able to confirm the name of that individual.
City Council OKs Sales Tax Rebate Plan for Retail Expansion
By a 7-0 vote, the Chickasha City Council approves a sales tax rebate incentive proposal that paves the way for more retail development in the city. Without debate, the panel OK'd the plan with local developer Steve LaForge to make millions of dollars in infrastructure improvements south of Grand Avenue between 4th and 9th Streets. Councilman Mark Keeling and R.P. Ashanti Alexander did not attend last night's meeting. LaForge's plans include building up low-lying areas out of the flood plain, installing water and sewer lines, and building a new road behind the Grandview Shopping Center. The rebate incentive calls for LaForge to receive a portion of the sales tax revenue that comes in from any new business which locates within the improved area. It's an agreement similar to one LaForge had with the city for the development of the Shoppes at Chisholm Trail development, east of 4th and Grand. The agreement runs through 2040.
Chickasha Firefighters Get New Contract
After a 15-minute closed-door session, the city council approved a collective bargaining agreement with the International Association of Firefighters, Local 2041. The agreement runs through June 30, 2018.
Councilman Praises DAV
City Councilman Howard Carpenter likes what has been done to renovate a city building into a permanent home for veterans.
DAV Post 17 just opened this week. The post has a five-year lease with the city to use the former police department and city hall at 6th and Chickasha Ave.
City Honors Employee of the Month
The council also recognized Darren Martin as the city's employee of the month. Martin has worked in the Community Development Department for three years, and previously worked in the fire department for 27 years.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.73 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $69.15.
Natural gas is $3.13 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,337 and silver is $17.24.
Tuesday, January 16th
Chix City Council to Review Development Proposal
Chickasha officials call it a sales tax rebate incentive which supporters say would create more retail business. The plan will be reviewed by the city council when the panel meets later today (Tuesday). The proposal calls for the development of property south of Grand Avenue between 4th and 9th Streets. After major infrastructure improvements are made, the developer would receive a small percentage of sales tax revenue which results from any new business that locates within that area. That could be up to $3 million, with the agreement running through 2040. The infrastructure improvements would include elevating land out of the flood plain, and building a new east-west road behind Homeland. Also on tonight's city council agenda, a closed-door discussion to get an update on negotiations with the International Assocation of Fire Fighters Local 2041, with the possible approval of a contract for the current fiscal year. The council will also consider granting an easement to a Colorado firm which recently purchased land in the north part of the city to build a pipe yard. The group needs the easement to build a rail spur.
Interim Super May be Hired for Chix Schools
A new long-term interim superintendent may be hired for Chickasha schools tonight. The board of education has a special meeting to discuss a possible contract with one of three individuals who were interviewed last month. The contract discussion will be held behind closed doors, with any announcement to come after the panel returns to open session. The school board is also to consider putting a halt to its $2,500 per month payment to Superintendent Emeritus Dave Cash. Cash is expected to continue some part-time work for the district without pay or benefits.
Veterans Center Opens
The new Grady County DAV Center is now open. The Disabled American Veterans Post 17 welcomed its first group of veterans yesterday. The DAV recently obtained a five-year lease for the former Chickasha Police Headquarters and city hall at 6th and Chickasha Avenue. Volunteers spent the last 2 ½ months making improvements to the building, which had been empty for about three years. Michael Chavers and Chris Mackey have spent a lot of time making repairs. Chavers says they want to help all the veterans in the area.
Right now, the center will be open Tuesdays and Thursdays, with a goal of being open five days a week, once they get staff trained.
Exercise of Any Kind Beneficial for the Elderly
Falling is one of the most frequent ways that senior citizens get hurt. It not only costs them their freedom and mobility but many times also leads to expensive medical bills. Susan Routh with Grady County OSU Extension points to a new study suggesting that seniors who get even a minimal amount of exercise benefit from the activity.
Right now, there are free Tai Chi classes at the Chickasha Library, held in cooperation of the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative. You might also check with local senior nutrition centers, or YMCA or other health clubs.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $64.30 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $69.87.
Natural gas $3.20 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,334 and silver is $17.05.
Monday, January 15th
Chix School Board May Halt Supe's Pay
There's another special meeting of the Chickasha Board of Education tomorrow. On the agenda is a proposal to stop paying Superintendent Emeritus Dave Cash a monthly $2,500 payment for his services. Cash will remain as superintendent emeritus without pay, and his financial services to the district would also end, if the item is approved. Cash was allowed to take an extended leave of absence to work with another company to recruit other schools to implement the controversial Personalized Learning Curriculum he brought to Chickasha schools. His pay was reduced from his normal salary to $2,500 per month. The school board is also expected to name a long-term interim superintendent to fill in for the rest of the school year for Cash. The board interviewed three candidates last month. Cindy Schmidt has been the interim superintendent for the last couple of months. The special meeting will be at 5:30 tomorrow afternoon at the school administration building.
Duncan Girl Dies after Dog Attack
A Duncan girl has died after being attacked by a family dog. KSWO-TV reports that Duncan police were called to a home about 3 o'clock yesterday. The child was taken to a hospital where she died. It wasn't known how old the child was. When police arrived, the medium-sized mixed breed dog ran away, but officers were able to track it down. Reports indicate the dog started toward an officer, who then shot the animal. It wasn't clear if the animal also died, but it has been taken to a veterinarian to determine its breed.
CHS Robotics Team Begins Project
Over the next several weeks, several Chickasha High School students will be building a robot for a couple of upcoming competitions. The team will once again build the robot for the international FIRST Robotics competition. FIRST is an acronym meaning For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology. Teams just learned of their assignment last week, and have only six weeks in which to put their project together. The team has other responsibilities, too. Lexi Hendricks is in her third year with the program.
The team only works on the project after school and weekends.
Wildfire Scorches Marlow Area
We've been talking about the risk for wildfires, and there was one near Marlow yesterday that had fire crews busy for quite a while. Firefighters from Rush Springs, Marlow, Duncan, Bray, and Central High responded. Officials said the fire had the potential to threaten some structures, but there were no reports of damage.
Donation Benefits Chix Animal Shelter
Another donation to the Chickasha police department. This one will help out the animal shelter. The state branch of the Humane Society of the United States sent items that included a cat den, a couple of traps, protective bite gloves, and about 25 leashes. Lt. Traye Alexander, who is the animal control division commander, said he was going to purchase some bite gloves, but now he doesn't have to. The delivery arrived with a note which thanked the department for its work for animals.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $64.30 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $69.87.
Natural gas is $3.20 per million BTUs.
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