Our Chickasha Schools Academic Person of the week is Trish Smith. Just click on the bar to listen to her story.
Monday, April 23rd
Pedestrian Struck, Killed by Train
State troopers are investigating the death of a man who was hit by a train near Chickasha. Officials have not yet identified the victim, saying only that his is Native American. The accident happened about 7:30 p.m. Sunday, just west of 29th and Highway 62. The highway patrol reports a Union Pacific train with three engines was pulling 55 cars. The engineer was 60-year old Mark Peach of Chickasha and the conductor was 38-year old Michael Prothro of Norman. Neither were injured.
Driver Hospitalized Following Caddo County Crash
A Caddo County man is hurt in a weekend accident where his pickup ran off a wet highway and overturned. 52-year old James David Zahorsky of Aline suffered head and trunk injuries in the crash. It happened south of Alfalfa on State Highway 58 about 1:30 p.m. Saturday. Zahorsky was last in good condition at the Carnegie hospital.
Truck Hauling Fruit Overturns, Causes Slippery Mess
Officials had quite a mess to clean up south of Apache. A truck load of fruit overturned on U.S. Highway 281 about a mile south of Apache Sunday morning. The entire roadway was blocked for more than 3 1/2 hours while the highway was cleared of the debris. There were no reports of injury.
Drones, Bots, Bugs Part of OERB STEM Night Tuesday
An interesting event in Chickasha tomorrow to encourage more students to take science and technology classes. The Oklahoma Energy Resources Board is hosting what is called STEM Night. STEM is short of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Mindy Stitt is the executive director for OERB, and says the agency has provided some $2 million in grants to Oklahoma schools in the past year. Nearly every school district in Grady County has received one of the grants. STEM night will have drones and robotics, and kids will get to make slime. Stitt says there will be other exhibits, too.
STEM night has activities for students of all ages.. It’s free and open to school districts throughout the region. It' will be held at the Chickasha High School activity center Tuesday, April 24th from 4:00 p.m. to 7 p.m.
3 Chickasha Police Officers Honored by State Group
Three Chickasha police officers are honored by a statewide group of law enforcement agencies. Sgt. Matthew Schoolfield and Officers Colton Weger and Daniel Ramirez received the Medal of Valor from the Oklahoma Sheriff's and Peace Officers Association. The group held its 104th annual banquet in Midwest City last week. The group honors individuals who contribute to the conclusion of major criminal cases and others for heroism. The group posthumously honored six Oklahoma law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in 2017.
Chick Police Receives Bio-Hazard Grant
Chickasha police have also received one of a handful of grants to attend biohazard training programs and obtain biohazard equipment. The grant provided by a company called Aftermath, which has 32 regional offices and 40 mobile units nationwide. Chickasha was one of only five departments nationwide to receive such a grant. Initially, Chickasha receives 20 Personal Protective Equipment kits and will receive 30 more over the next few months. Each kit contains a bio bag, a bio-suit, arm sleeves, latex and rubber gloves, a respiratory mask, safety goggles, and shoe and boot covers.
CHS Valedictorians Announced
A baker's dozen of Chickasha High School seniors are sharing valedictorian honors this year. The students achieved the highest grade point average among their peers. They are Emily McKinley; Krishna Patel; Bailey Battershell; and Ethan Christian. Also Vatrea Ellis; Erin Powell; Ashlyn Tryczak; and Madeline Roberson. Plus, Su Xhian Lim; Emily Friend; Brayden Layman; Sam Gerdts; and Ian Turpin. There are expected to be about 160 graduating seniors this year. Graduation will be held Friday, May 18th.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.35 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $74.06.
Natural gas is $2.74 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,329 and silver is $16.93.
Saturday, April 21st
Despite Rain, City-Wide Clean-up Underway
UPDATE - The city-wide clean-up scheduled for Saturday, April 1st has been canceled because of the weather.
Despite rain and cool temperatures, a city-wide clean-up effort for the City of Chickasha is on for this weekend. Code Enforcement Officer Lisa Perkins says a central meeting point for the Saturday effort will be at Chickasha Police Headquarters. She has 500 trash bags, 250 pairs of gloves, and reflective vests provided by the state department of transportation in conjunction with its statewide “Trash Off” campaign. Perkins encourages civic and student groups to lend a hand, even its only for an hour. Perkins says they'll focus on Choctaw Avenue (U.S. Highway 62) between the H.E. Bailey Turnpike and U.S. Highway 81 North. They’ll also tackle U.S Highway 81 South, from about Pikes Peak Road and north. Perkins also said that a large roll-off dumpster will be located at the Public Works Headquarters both Saturday and Sunday, where residents can take large items (but not appliances). The Public Works Headquarters is north of the city’s animal shelter. That location will accept passenger car, truck, and motorcycle tires. Tires must be off the rim, and rims will not be accepted.
Apache Rattlesnake Festival Runs through Weekend
Officials are hoping the morning rain won't scare away visitors from the Apache Rattlesnake Festival. This is the 35th year for the event, which features one of the largest flea markets in southwest Oklahoma, a carnival, and even opportunities to go on an actual rattlesnake hunt in the nearby Slick Hills. It's one of several rattlesnake festivals held in Oklahoma communities during spring months. There are similar events in Waurika, Okeene, and Waynoka. The flyer promoting the Apache festival boasts that the hunters captured the largest rattlesnake in the world in 2004. At 88 1/8 inches it was more than seven feet long! The Apache Rattlesnake Festival runs through tomorrow.
Chickasha Couple Prepares for Walk to Stillwater
Chickasha's Stewart and Beth Ann Meyer spend a lot of time on the road with their hot-shot business. But coming up next month, they'll take a week out of their schedule to go to Stillwater - on foot. This will be the 18th year that the Myers' take the 125-mile walk. They do it to raise money for Special Olympics, which will hold its state games at Oklahoma State University May 16-20. It takes five days for them to make the trip - walking about 25 miles a day regardless of the weather. Since they started the annual program, they have raised more than $100,000 for Special Olympics. Their work begins Thursday, May 10th, when they hold their Craig Meyer Memorial walk. That event will be held at the Chickasha High School football field. All proceeds of that event go to Special Olympics of Grady County. Registration is $25 and participants get a t-shirt. They will also have copies of their book Craig's Story for sale with proceeds also going to Special Olympics. For information, e-mail Beth Ann at email@example.com
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. How Oklahomans can minimize opioid abuse is the topic of our KOOL Konversation. We'll have representatives from Red Rock Behavioral Health Services, the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) and the Grady County sheriff's office to address the issue on a local level. On Real Estate Today with John Mosley, the guest is Mindy Stitt, executive director of the Oklahoma Energy Resources Board. We have links to both programs on this website. Find them under the Community tab.
Friday, April 20th
Former Educator Enters Plea in Child Molestation Case
Former Ninnekah school administrator and long-time Duncan preacher Jody Hilliard has pleaded no contest in a child molestation case in Duncan. The 73-year old Hilliard entered the plea to five felony counts of lewd or indecent acts to a child. He was arrested in April of 2016 for allegedly molesting a 10-year old girl in his care. While a plea of no contest is not an admission of guilt a judge can determine punishment, which is a minimum of 25 years on each count. Sentencing is set for June 20th.
Grants Awarded to Transit Sytems in Chickasha, Lindsay
Public transportation systems in Chickasha and Lindsay are awarded federal grants to help with their programs. Washita Valley Transit System in Chickasha picked up a $43,000 grant to purchase a new van compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Delta Public Transit out of Lindsay was awarded a more than $21,000 grant to buy an ADA light duty bus. The grants were part of a more than $3.5 million grant from the Federal Transit Administration to the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. The Chickasha and Lindsay systems are among ten rural transit operations to benefit from these grants. Additionally, ODOT received a $2.4 million grant to replace a 50-year old maintenance facility for the transit system for the OSU-Stillwater transit group.
'Darko Police Join "End 4-20 DUI" Campaign
The Anadarko Police Department is among a number of law enforcement groups to combat drug-impaired driving today. State troopers and other groups are teaming up for what's called the END 420 DUI campaign with a number of checkpoints and extra patrol. A press release from the state transportation department says it's focused on drug-impaired drivers who may be getting high today. April 20th, or 4-20 has long been associated with marijuana use. The National Highway Traffic Safety administration said the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes after 4:20 p.m. on April 20th is higher compared to the same time on days one week earlier and one week later.
Pride of CHS Marching Band Performs in Florida
About 80 members of the Pride of Chickasha High School Marching Band are in Orlando, Florida this week. The group is performing at Disneyworld and Universal Studios which host high school bands all around the country. CHS was the featured band in a parade earlier this week. Kent Barker is the director for the group.
The Pride played the state song "Oklahoma!" during the parade. Barker said they have numerous fundraisers to collect the estimated $850 per student needed for the memorable experience. The students packed up their instruments in two charter buses. They will be leaving Florida tomorrow and are expected home early Sunday morning.
Sheriff's Office Warrant List
Each week the Grady County Sheriff’s Office issues a list of individuals who have outstanding warrants. Here’s public information officer Lisa Hatchett.
If you have information regarding any of these individuals you’re asked to contact the sheriff’s office.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.29 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.78.
Natural gas is $2.66 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,343 and silver is $17.09.
Thursday, April 19th
Police Provide Details of Pursuit in Which Officer was Hurt
Chickasha police have released some information about a high-speed pursuit earlier this week in which an officer was injured when his cruiser crashed. The unidentified officer will be ok. He suffered minor injuries after crashing into a ditch. He was taken to a hospital where he was treated and released. A written statement by police indicates the pursuit began when the officer tried to make a traffic stop on a pick-up Tuesday night. The driver led police on a high-speed pursuit through several neighborhoods, and put lives at risk by driving into oncoming traffic. The chase left the city limits and into rural Grady County, about 10 miles east of Chickasha in the Naples area. Witnesses tell RANCH/KOOL News that sheriff's deputies and Alex police joined in the pursuit. Authorities were looking for the driver of the black, extended cab, Chevy Silverado pick-up.
Child Found Alone at Dangerous Chickasha Intersection
A mother is charged with felony child neglect, after her six-year old girl is found alone in the median of dangerous Chickasha intersection. A couple Good Samaritans saw the child at 4th and Country Club road Tuesday night. They called police, and stayed with the girl until officers arrived. A Chickasha police affidavit indicates the child lives at the nearby Chickasha Villa Apartments with her mother. The girl said she was walking to a convenience store on the other side of the highway. The child was able to take police to the apartment. Authorities suspected there was marijuana inside the apartment and obtained a search warrant. 26-year old Sandy Jean McCarthy was taken into custody. She has been formally charged with felony child neglect and misdemeanor drug charges. She remains in jail in lieu of $35,000 bond. The child was released to a relative.
Man Critically Injured when Van Rear-ends Semi
A van rear-ends a semi on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, critically injuring the driver of the van. 42-year old Apollo Thomasian of Lawton was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital. The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. Wednesday near mile marker 66, near the new turnpike toll booth. The highway patrol reports that Thomasian and the semi were both westbound on the interstate nearing the toll booth. Thomasian failed to slow down and ran into the back of the big rig. Reports indicate that first responders had to use two Jaws of Life tools to get Thomasian out of the wreckage, where he was pinned for nearly an hour. The driver of the semi, 51-year old Timothy Calvert of Oklahoma City, was not injured.
Grady County Jaily Expansion Begins
Groundbreaking was held this week on a new addition to the Grady County Jail. The Grady County Criminal Justice Authority will add a 13,000 sq. ft. facility which will house about 200 inmates. Once completed, officials say the entire jail complex will be one of the largest in the state, able to hold a combined 700 inmates. Cost of the project is $3.8 million. Jail Administrator Jim Gerlach says he is the principal designer, but did ask employees for input.
The new building is being paid for with cash on hand received from jail revenues, not tax dollars. The one-story addition will be built next to the women's jail, across the street from the sheriff's office. The new building will let the county close the old county jail which is on the top floor of the courthouse. That facility holds about 50 prisoners, but has been out of compliance with state regulations. The new jail is expected to open in the spring of 2019.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.47 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.48.
Natural gas is $2.74 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,349 and silver is $17.17.
Wednesday, April 18th
Local Fire Crews Called Back into Action
For the second time in a week, Grady County fire crews are answering the call to help battle wildfires that have now burned an estimated 400,000 acres in western Oklahoma. Grady County Fire Department spokesman Buddy Myers says they are deploying eight vehicles and a dozen personnel to the affected areas. Myers says area residents are being generous with donations to fire crews, dropping off water and energy drinks. Myers says they are needing other items as well.
Myers says donations can be dropped off at the Grady County Fire Department headquarters in Ninnekah. Check out the department's Facebook page. A burn ban remains in effect for most of western Oklahoma until further notice. Many relief organizations are accepting monetary, food, and water donations. There are also ways to help the farmers and ranchers who have lost property, livestock and crops. Many need of hay and milk replacements to feed livestock, and fencing and other materials. There is also a need for volunteers to transport items to the fire-damaged regions. Local OSU Extension offices are working with the State Department of Agriculture to get that done.
UPDATE – Myers said the Grady County crews have returned safely after fighting the fire in the Canton area overnight.
Chix Police Officer Crashes During Pursuit
A pursuit by a Chickasha police officer ends when the officer is involved in a crash. Chickasha police have not released any information, but a reliable source tells KOOL News that the pursuit started a little after 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. The pursuit went east of Chickasha and into the Naples area before the officer crashed. It wasn't clear if the officer was injured, nor if any arrests have been made. Lt. Scott Weaver who is the public information officer for the police department said a statement may be released today.
Former Chix Pharmacist Denied Clemency
The Oklahoma Pardon and Parole Board has denied clemency for Jerome Ersland, the one-time Chickasha pharmacist who shot and killed a teenager at an Oklahoma City pharmacy. Ersland was convicted of murder following the 2009 death of Antuwn Parker, who was one of two teens who attempted to rob the Reliable Pharmacy where Ersland worked. Ersland was asking to commute the life sentence he received following his murder conviction. The board voted 3-2 to deny the request. Ersland said he wished he could go back and not do it. Now 66-years old, Ersland maintains his claim of self-defense, but takes responsibility for Parker's death.
Sen. Inhofe Supports U.S.-Ally Action Against Syria
Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe supports the recent U.S.-led attack on Syria. Inhofe said President Trump issued the attack after Syrian leaders unleashed a chemical attack on their own citizens, the second such attack that has happened in the last year.
Producers Should Wait to Apply for Damaged Crop Relief
Small grain producers in Grady and Caddo counties who are eligible for USDA’s Livestock Forage Program (LFP) for their winter crops are being asked to wait to apply for relief. Mark Jackson with the Grady County Farm Service Agency tells why.
Jackson said they are waiting on the latest report from the U.S. Drought Monitor which comes out tomorrow. If conditions worsen from the current D-2 to D-3 drought designation, then the summer crops will also be available for LFP.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $66.52 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $71.58.
Natural gas is $2.73 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,348 and silver is $16.38.
Tuesday, April 17th
Governor's Office Issues Burn Ban for Western Oklahoma
36 counties in Oklahoma are again under burn ban which was issued by the governor's office yesterday. It includes most counties along and west of U.S. Highway 81 and includes Grady, Caddo, Comanche, and Stephens counties. State fire officials now say an estimated 400,000 acres have been burned in wildfires in western and northwestern Oklahoma that began last week. A fire in Caddo County continues burning between Binger and Lookeba, but officials say it is contained. Extreme fire conditions will be in effect for today, with officials saying fire danger is reaching historic levels which haven't been seen in 10 years. Many farmers and ranchers impacted by the fires need hay for their livestock, and materials to repair and replace fences.
New Mayor, Council Members Sworn In
Five men are sworn in to serve on the Chickasha City Council. All took their oaths of office in a ceremony at city hall last night.
City Atttorney Ryan Riddel was presenting the oath. Mayor Chris Mosley, and councilmen R.P. Ashanti-Alexander, Joe Molder, Zach Grayson, and David Sikes then took their seats on the panel. Outgoing council members were then recognized for their service, including former Mayor Hank Ross, and councilmen Jerry Pittman, Blake Elliott and Howard Carpenter.
Street Improvement Projects OK'd
The revised panel breezed through a short meeting, which included awarding a more than $400,000 bid for street improvements. The only bid submitted came from Donelson Construction out of Missouri. City Manager John Noblitt said they will hold a pre-construction meeting in a few weeks, to determine the order of the projects. The group also approved a nearly $200,000 bid to an Edmond firm to repair or replace up to 100 storm drain inlets. The panel also OK'd a more than $40,000 bid from local contractor Bordwine Development to make street and storm drain repairs in the 1500 block of Virginia Avenue. The council also discussed a proposal to help with a community garden. The city donated land and helped to prepare a plot for a community garden a couple of years ago, but not enough volunteers came forward to work the plot.
Public Works Director Resigns
The city is looking for a new public works director. Rob Camp resigned from the post a couple of weeks ago. Camp served in that role for about the last two years. City Manager John Noblitt said the city is taking applications for the position, and hopes to have a new director in place as early as mid-May. The city is also taking applications for two employees in the street and maintenance department.
Ft. Cobb Man Critical After Crash
A traffic accident in Caddo County critically injures a Ft. Cobb man. 73-year old Jimmie Gunter was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital with head, trunk, and internal injuries. That accident happened just before 11:00 a.m. Monday morning on State Highway 9 east of Carnegie. The highway patrol reports that Gunter failed to go around a curve, ran off the road, and rolled several times.
Driver Injured in Tanker Truck Rollover
A tanker truck runs off a rural Grady County highway, injuring the driver. The accident happened on State Highway 19C near County Street 1400 between Alex and Naples about 2:30 p.m. Monday. The unidentified driver was pinned in the cab for several minutes before being rescued by first responders. He was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The tanker was southbound on the highway when - for an unknown reason - the driver ran off the highway, into the ditch and rolled on to the driver's side. We have a video of the crash site on our Facebook page.
Tips for Tomato Growers
A lot of families are planting spring gardens right now, and among the most popular garden vegetables are tomatoes. Shiann Burns with Grady County OSU Extension has some recommendations to help you in your efforts.
Burns says tomatoes should be grown in full sunlight and planted away from trees and shrubs. Also make sure they get plenty of water.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $66.22 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $71.42.
Natural gas is $2.75 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,344 and silver is $16.73
Monday, April 16th
New Chix City Councilors to Take Oaths
Chickasha Mayor-elect Chris Mosley is to be sworn in to office today. Mosley and other newly-elected councilmen will take their oaths of office before tonight's city council meeting. Mosley will take over for Hank Ross, who did not run for re-election. Also to be sworn in, Ward 3 councilman R.P Ashanti-Alexander, who ran un-opposed for re-election. Three new councilors will be seated including David Sikes in Ward 1; Joe Molder in Ward 2; and Zach Grayson in Ward 4. Outgoing councilmen are Jerry Pittman, Blake Elliott, and Howard Carpenter.
Street Repair Bid May be Awarded
Among the first orders of business for the revised council will be to consider approving a street repair project for this summer. It's being recommended that the council authorize a more than $400,000 bid to Donelson Construction out of Missouri. Streets targeted for repair included 2nd Street from Choctaw Ave. south to Minnesota Ave.; 6th Street from Choctaw Ave. north to Frisco Ave.; Chickasha Avenue from 9th Street west to the railroad tracks; Missouri Avenue, from 4th Street west to 9th Street; 9th Street, from Grand Avenue south to about Parkview Christian Church; Almar Drive from 4th Street west to 9th Street; and Country Club Road, from 16th Street west to 29th Street.
Delayed Storm-Drain Project Also may be Approved
The council is also expected to award a bid to replace a number of storm drain inlets. It's an issue that was postponed during the panel’s April 2nd meeting, to allow officials to re-consider a local bid which initially was determined to be incomplete. Officials say the local bid from Bordwine Development of about $190,000 was incomplete, and won't be considered. The project is expected to be awarded to Luckinbill Development out of Edmond for nearly $199,000. Bordwine Development is expected to be awarded a project for street and sewer repairs in the 1500 block of Virginia Ave. for just over $41,000. The council is also expected to schedule a public auction to lease mineral rights for about 47 acres of city-owned property near the airport for May 7th.
Funeral Planned for Dr. Robert Herndon
Longtime local doctor Robert Herndon has died. Herndon spent more than 50 years in pediatrics. He was one of the early doctors for the Chickasha Clinic, now known as the Southern Plains Medical Group, when it opened in 1954. Herndon was 92 when he passed away last week. He was a U.S. Navy veteran, and after his active duty remained in the naval reserves for 20 years, retiring as a Lt. Commander. A memorial service for Dr. Herndon will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, April 20th at Epworth Methodist Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the church.
Wind Power Group Fights Tax Credit Repeal Plan
State lawmakers are considering a plan that would eliminate tax credits that has helped the development of the wind power in Oklahoma. Mark Yates with the Oklahoma Wind Coalition says that would be a mistake.
The State Senate has already passed a measure to do away with the tax credits. It’s now being discussed in the State House of Representatives.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $67.39 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.58.
Natural gas is $2.73 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,346 and silver is $16.60.