Parliamentary Procedure Team: Bayley White, Logan Mckinney, Emma Victory, AJ Scifres, Miana Moon, and Hanna Downes.
Monday, Nov. 12th
State Jobless Rate Continues Plunge
The jobless rate in the Sooner State continues a downward trend. Statewide unemployment for September was 3.5 percent according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission (OESC). It's below 3 percent in several area counties. In Grady County the jobless rate for September was down to 2.7 percent. That's down from 3.1 percent in August and down from 3.8 percent for September of last year. The labor force in Grady County is listed at 26,500 - with 724 people without a job but seeking employment through OESC. Caddo County unemployment was down to 3.2 percent from 3.7 percent which is down a full percentage point from the same time in 2017. That Caddo County labor market stands a little more than 12,000 with just under 400 individuals not working. Stephens County joblessness was down to 3.6 percent from 4.1 percent, Garvin County is 2.8 percent which is down from 3.6, and McClain County was 2.4 percent, down from 2.8
Today a Federal Holiday for Veterans Day; Programs Set
While Veterans Day was yesterday, federal, state, and county government offices are closed today to mark the national holiday. Chickasha City Hall is closed as well. There are a few Veterans Day programs at area schools today including Rush Springs this morning and at Alex this afternoon. The Veterans Day ceremony in Chickasha will be held at the Elks Lodge at 11:00 a.m. Guest speaker is U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Cynthia Givens (Ret.). Music performance is from Chickasha High School's Steppin' Out, and Gavin Johnston from the CHS band will play Taps. Pastor Lynn Walker with Cowboy Country Church will have the prayer. The Elks Lodge will serve lunch to veterans and their spouses after the program. Tonight, Boy Scout Troop 4306 will hold a flag retirement ceremony. That will be at 6:30 p.m. at the troop headquarters in Chickasha at 17th and Iowa.
No Powers Issues with First Snow but PSO Crews Ready
Our first winter weather of the season serves as a reminder that there are occasions when widespread power outages occur. It’s not necessarily snow, but freezing rain and ice that really take a toll on power lines. Tim Hushbeck with Public Service Company of Oklahoma says crews have already gone through a drill to help them get ready should such a power outage take place.
Hushbeck says PSO has an agreement with the Grady County Fairgrounds to serve as a staging area should extra crews from other electric utilities need to be called in to help.
State, Nation Rig Counts Climb
Oklahoma's rig count grew by four last week, to a total of 148. That number is up 25 rigs from the same time a year ago. The count was up nationwide as well, with a dozen more rigs in operation to 1,081.
Cheniere Energy Reports 3rd Quarter Earnings
Cheniere Energy, the company that will build a 200-mile natural gas pipeline through the region, reports $65 million in net income for the third quarter which will pay about 26 cents a share. That's a far cry from the 3rd quarter of last year when Cheniere reported a loss. The firm reports revenue from the first nine months of 2018 has grown about 45 percent topping $5.5 billion. The value of Cheniere Energy shares has climbed 15 percent since the first of the year and its stock has grown 24 percent over the last 12 months.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is down to $60.10 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is down to $70.18.
Natural gas is up to a 2-year high, to $3.72 per million BTUs.
Gold is down to $1,206 and silver dips to $14.11.
Saturday, Nov. 10th
Mother Jailed in Child Neglect Probe
An upsetting child neglect investigation by Chickasha police. Three small children were taken to the hospital for treatment for what authorities say were very high levels carbon monoxide poisoning. A police affidavit indicates their mother made them ride in a defective car that had exhaust leaks. The affidavit states that police and paramedics were called out three times over the last several weeks to check on the same children having seizures in a vehicle. The mother admitted knowing the car was defective and had taken it to a mechanic, but it hadn't been fixed. Police say the car was also trashed with dirty clothes, had an awful odor, and cockroaches coming out of the center console. The children who are 2, 3, and 7 years old were placed in protective custody. The mother, 35-year old Rebekkah Sterling, was arrested on complaints of child neglect. Prosecutors have charged her with six felonies including neglect and endangerment. Her bond was set at $100,000.
Chickasha EMS to Get New Heart Monitors
Several new cardiac monitors will soon help paramedics with the Chickasha Fire Department. The city council approved the purchase of seven new Advanced Life Support cardiac monitors from a state contract this week. Fire Chief Brian Zalewski said the current monitors are three years beyond their recommended usable life. The council approved trading the old monitors in on the new ones. Even with the trade-in the cost of each monitor is $33,000 for a total price of almost $190,000. However, Zalewski said the entire cost will be reimbursed by the Grady County Emergency Medical Services through an agreement with that agency. The monitors will be placed in three ambulances, three fire trucks and a supervisor's vehicle. Delivery is expected in 90 and 120 days.
Cemetery Fence to Be Repaired; 2nd Project Rejected
The city has received an insurance settlement from a traffic accident that destroyed a lengthy section of the fence at Rosehill Cemetery this summer. The city council approved going out for bids to repair the damaged fence along Grand Avenue. Vendors will be required to replace 19 fence panels and 13 posts that were destroyed, and provide six additional panels and posts for future use. The council also rejected four bids submitted to repair the Fairlawn Cemetery maintenance building. The cemetery board recommended rejecting the bids as all came in over budget. Bids ranged from $52,000 to nearly $100,000 for work on the building, electrical upgrades, a cooling fan, and a gun safe. The project may be re-bid at a later date.
Papa Johns Pizza Said to be Opening in Chickasha
Another pizzeria is coming to Chickasha. Papa Johns is expected to locate in the new construction underway next to the Cotton Patch Cafe in the Shoppes at Chisholm Trail near 4th and Grand. The announcement was made in a recent newsletter from the city's Economic Development Council. There's no timeline on when the store may be open. The restaurant is the second of two eateries that will be setting up shop in that new construction. Tropical Smoothie Cafe previously announced it will be opening a location there.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Blake Elliott and Elizabeth Allen with the Festival of Light are on our KOOL Konversation program. The 26th annual festival opens next week. On Real Estate Today with John Mosley, this week's guest is Tim Hushbeck with Public Service Company of Oklahoma. There are links to both programs elsewhere on this website. You’ll find them under the Community tab.
Friday, Nov. 9th
Ninnekah School Board Backs Superintendent
The Ninnekah Board of Education is standing behind its superintendent, who is charged with domestic violence. Todd Bunch is facing a misdemeanor assault and battery charge in Garvin County. A woman told Lindsay police that Bunch tried to smother her with a pillow. The school board released a statement last night that says while the panel in no way condones any form of domestic violence, they believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. The statement reads that Bunch should be afforded the constitutional right to due process. It also says that contrary to media reports, the board has not requested nor accepted any terms of voluntary administrative leave for Bunch, and that no termination process has begun. The statement says that it's in the best interest of the school district for Bunch to be in his office performing his duties. Once the court determines Bunch’s guilt or innocence the board may re-address the issue. Bunch was scheduled to have court appearance on the charge earlier this week, but prosecutors continued the case to December 19th, in order to further consult with the alleged victim.
Veterans Day Programs Set
Veterans Day will be Sunday, November 11th. Several area schools will honor veterans today including Verden, Pioneer, Friend, Amber-Pocasset and Ninnekah. Two area schools, Rush Springs and Alex, will honor veterans on Monday. Since November 11th is on Sunday, the national holiday is on Monday, November 12th. The Veterans Day ceremony usually held at Chickasha’s Shannon Springs Park has been moved to the Chickasha Elks Lodge, because of the forecast of bad weather. The ceremony will begin at 11:00 a.m. with the Elks Lodge serving veterans and their spouses free lunch after the program.
GOP Calls to Remove Campaign Signs
With the mid-term election over, officials are asking candidates and their supporters to take down campaign signs. Randy Brindley is the vice chairman for the Grady County Republican Party. He's asking GOP members to remove party signs from both public and private property. However, he says if signs are on private property to get the property owner's permission first. For information, you can contact Brindley by calling 859-816-8586.
Oklahoma Centennial Farms Sought
The search is on for centennial farms in the Sooner State. The Oklahoma Historical Society is publishing a new book to document agriculture in Oklahoma, in conjunction with the 30th anniversary of the Oklahoma Centennial Farm and Ranch program. The book is being written by a team of the state's most prominent authors. For information, you might contact the Oklahoma Historical Society.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is down to $60.67 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude falls to $70.65.
Natural gas is off a penny to $3.54 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,219 and silver is $14.32.
Thursday, Nov. 8th
New Harbor Freight Store Leads New Construction
New construction in Chickasha in October was close to the $1 million mark. The city's Community Development Department issued 15 permits for a total of $923,000 which includes both commercial and residential sectors. The monthly building report shows about a half-dozen commercial projects, including a $220,000 project for the new Harbor Freight store which will be opening soon in the Chickasha Square Shopping Center by Atwoods. Other commercial permits included a $50,000 work oder for checkout remodeling at Wal-Mart, and a $10,000 remodel for contractor Tony Tuthill at 406 West Chickasha Avenue for a new location for the DePriest Insurance company. The report included several new single family homes ranging from $120,000 to $160,000. That includes three new homes in the expansion at Sleepy Hollow for Home Creations and one in the 1300 block of Carolina for H and H Siding. It also includes $6,000 for the remodeling of a store in the Grandview Shopping Center for the city’s first medical marijuana dispensary. Total new construction in Chickasha for 2018 is just over $23 million.
Family Dispute Leads to School Lockdowns
Two Chickasha schools were placed on lockdown for a short time Wednesday after a school employee and her adult son got into a heated argument before school. Grand Avenue School and the Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center went on lockdown about 9:30 a.m. Superintendent Jack Herron said the son came to the school looking for his mother and police were called. Officials at both schools say the incident happened outdoors and that the children never in danger and were safe in their classrooms. Police Lt. Scott Weaver said no arrest was made as it was a verbal confrontation between the mother and son. The lockdown was lifted at both schools by 11:00 a.m.
County Firefighter Training Underway
Volunteer fire fighters throughout Grady County are conducting a drill near Alex this morning. As many as 30 firefighters from 10 departments with two dozen trucks are working to hone their skills at the Chitwood plant just south of Alex. Buddy Myers with the Grady County Fire Department said the training is expected to run until noon.
Police Veteran Earns Promotion
A long-time Chickasha police officer earns a promotion. Gillian O'Brien was promoted to Sergeant recently and a pinning ceremony was held at this week's city council meeting. Police Chief Greg Anderson said O'Brien holds an associate's degree in police science and an advanced law enforcement certification. She’s also an alumnae of the Leadership Chickasha program. O'Brien has been with the police department for 10 years and has served as a field training officer, hostage negotiator, and has spent four years as detective.
Drive Underway for USAO Food Pantry
A month-long food drive is underway to fill a food pantry which is beneficial to USAO students. The campus co-op set up the food pantry a couple of years ago. It comes in handy when the cafeteria is closed. Alexis Avery tells how the project got started.
The food pantry is open year-round, and is especially helpful when international students have nowhere to go during the holidays. Among the items needed are soups on the go, microwavable pastas, small cartons of milk, single serving cereals, fruit cups, and toiletries. Items can be dropped off in Room 118 of Troutt Hall or at the front desk of the Nash Library.
ATV Safety Course Set
A lot of families have four-wheelers they use for work or play. However, Hunter Kelsey with Amber-Pocasset 4H says-
Grady County 4H will hold a free ATV safety workshop for all ages this Saturday, Nov. 10th. It's scheduled for 10:00 a.m. in the north exhibit building at the Grady County Fairgrounds.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is down to $61.67 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is down to $72.07.
Natural gas is steady at $3.55 per million BTUs.
Metals were lower, with gold down to $1,223 and silver down to $14.46.
Wednesday, Nov. 7th
Mystery Substance Forces Courthouse Evacuation
Quite the scare yesterday when the Grady County Courthouse was evacuated because of a white power found in the treasurer's office. About 100 people in the building were ordered out about 9:00 a.m. Tuesday when the mystery substance was found in some mail in the treasurer's office. Haz-mat crews and bomb-sniffing dogs were called in and a few employees went through a decontamination procedure as a precaution, but no one was taken to the hospital. Grady County Undersheriff Phil Blevins said there were concerns about the timing of the issue, especially because of the importance of the day.
Blevins said it was eventually determined that the substance was from paper. He said a mechanical letter-opening device had produced some debris and the machine had never done that before. The courthouse was closed for the day but is open for business today.
Perryman Re-Elected; Hasenbeck Wins House Seat
Now for results of yesterday's elections. State Representative David Perryman wins re-election to his fourth term in House District 56. Perryman collected about 60 percent of the vote in defeating Charles Wells of Anadarko. The Chickasha Democrat is the minority leader in the house. He says he looks forward to working with Republican governor-elect, Kevin Stitt.
In House District 65, Republican Toni Hasenbeck of Elgin wins the post, picking up about 59 percent of the vote over Democrat Brandon Thompson of Cyril. Hasenbeck will take the post previously held by Scooter Park.
Whitworth Re-Elected as Caddo County Assessor
In Caddo County, assessor Ed Whitworth wins re-election. Whitworth collected 55 percent of the vote in defeating Belita Byrd.
Grady County State Lawmaker Wins Labor Commish Race
In other election results, State Representative Leslie Osborn whose district 47 includes part of Grady County, will be Oklahoma's next Labor Commissioner. In her first statewide race she picked up nearly 62 percent of the vote.
Cole, Lucas Re-Elected; Horn Upsets Russell
In federal elections, 4th District Congressman Tom Cole and 3rd District Congressman Frank Lucas easily won re-election to the U.S. House of Representatives. One of the biggest upsets came in the 5th Congressional District, where Democrat Kendra Horn defeated incumbent Steve Russell. Republicans have held that office in the Oklahoma City region for more than 40 years. Horn has some Chickasha connections. Her parents are Kent and Brenda Horn of Chickasha.
Today Marks Anniversary of the Beginning
of Landmark U.S. Supreme Court Civil Rights Case
November 7th marks a significant day in the very early days of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. It’s an event that happened in Chickasha. It was 71 years ago on this date in 1947 that Chickasha resident Ada Sipuel met with a number of local, state, and national NAACP members to begin preparations to take her lawsuit against the University of Oklahoma to the U.S. Supreme Court. OU had denied Sipuel admission to the OU Law School because she was black. The NAACP team met at Chickasha’s Miles-Brown CME Chapel that day. The nation's high court would go on to rule in favor of Ada Sipuel and she broke the color barrier at the university. Dr. R.P. Ashanti-Alexander with the Chickasha NAACP chapter said the case was the springboard to another important Supreme Court ruling for civil rights several years later.
One of the attorneys for Ada Sipuel was Thurgood Marshall, who would go on to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court. Ashanti-Alexander believes that Marshall was in Chickasha Nov. 7, 1947 to help prepare Sipuel's case.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is down for the 7th straight day, to $62.21 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is down to $72.17.
Natural gas slips to $3.55 per million BTUs.
Metals with a slight gain, with gold up to $1,236 and silver up to $14.71
Tuesday, Nov. 6th
Jury Convicts Police Shootout Suspect
Guilty. That's the verdict on all 10 counts in the trial of Alex Warren Klingler, accused of barricading himself inside his Chickasha home and shooting at law enforcement in a 2 ½ hour stand-off last year. After 10 days of testimony, a Grady County jury spent about three hours deliberating the charges last night. The charges included three counts of shooting with intent to kill, six counts of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, and one count of maiming. Grady County District Attorney Jason Hicks said the jury saw past the defense team’s efforts to discredit the efforts of the officers involved.
The shootout occurred in September of 2017, when Chickasha police tried to issue a search warrant on Klingler's home. The jury recommended life in prison on each count. Formal sentencing will be held at a later date.
Superintendent Takes Voluntary Leave of Absence
Ninnekah School Superintendent Todd Bunch agrees to take voluntary administrative leave after being charged with domestic violence. Ninnekah Assistant School Board President Dale Thompson said Bunch agreed to take paid leave last Friday. Bunch is charged with a misdemeanor count of assault and battery in Garvin County District Court, following an incident that occurred in Lindsay back in June. Bunch has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is denying the allegation. Public records show that it’s not the first time Bunch has been accused of domestic violence. Three years ago, a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse was filed against him following a previous investigation by Lindsay police. That charge was dismissed. Bunch asked that the 2015 case be expunged from his record, but the request was denied. The Ninnekah School Board will hold a special meeting tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. to discuss hiring an interim superintendent until Bunch's legal issue is settled.
Oklahomans Casting Ballots in Mid-Term Elections
It's election day. Oklahoma voters are going to the polls to elect a new governor and several other state officials. There are several state questions and a couple of regional races for state house of representatives. Democratic State Representative David Perryman of Chickasha is facing Republican challenger Charles Wells of Anadarko for the House District 56 seat the Perryman has held for six years. The district includes Chickasha, Anadarko, and runs into Kiowa County. A new state representative will be elected to serve House District 65. Democrat Brandon Thompson of Cyril is facing Republican Toni Hasenbeck of Elgin for the seat previously held by Scooter Park and includes parts of Rush Springs, Cyril, and Elgin. In Caddo County, voters are electing a county assessor. Incumbent Democrat Ed Whitworth is facing Republican challenger Belita Byrd. Polls are open until 7:00 p.m. By the way, there's a change in locations in Grady County for voters in Precinct 31. Voters who previously cast ballots at the Naples Fire Department now vote at the Tabler Gospel Tabernacle Church, which is just west of State Highway 39 and the Alex Highway.
Tremor Forces Well Operator to Permanently Halt Work
A fracking operation near Bridge Creek has been permanently shut down after Sunday night's earthquake. Roan Resources told the Oklahoma Corporation Commission that it will end its work. Commission chairman Dana Murphy said the agency's oil and gas division will be able to develop further revisions in the requirements operators must follow when there is seismic activity around well completion operations. Roan Resources is an independent oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations in the SCOOP, STACK, and Merge plays. It was formed last year with contributions from Linn Energy and Citizen Energy on about 140,000 net acres combined in the three areas. After taking over field operations this past January, Roan was producing about 40,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day in the first quarter.
Some Damage Now Reported from Earthquake
By the way, there was some minor damage to homes following Sunday night's tremor. Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said three homes had some cracked bricks, including the home of Bridge Creek Fire Chief John Craft. Originally reported as a 3.7 magnitude on the Richter Scale, the quake was revised to 3.4.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX was down to $63.10 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude was up to $73.17.
Natural gas soars to $3.56 per million BTUs.
Gold is higher to $1,236 and silver is lower to $14.57.
Monday, Nov. 5th
Earthquake Shuts Down Grady County Well
An earthquake shakes the Bridge Creek area. While there are no reports of damage, the Oklahoma Corporation Commission told operators drilling a well in the area to cease operations for the time being. The tremor hit the area just before 7:00 p.m. Sunday and was initially reported as 3.7 on the Richter Scale. The U.S. Geological Survey later revised it to 3.1. The epicenter of the earthquake was about 1.2 miles south-southwest of Bridge Creek at a depth of about three miles. Within an hour of the tremor, the corporation commission's oil and gas division ordered the well operator, Roan Resources, to cease operations immediately pending further investigation and data review.
Chickasha Signal Light Upgrades Hit Snafu
There's a snag in the City of Chickasha's effort to improve traffic flow through town. This past summer, the city council approved paying nearly $140,000 to upgrade signal lights along 4th Street from Grand Avenue to Choctaw Avenue. Originally, the project called for a new controller at 4th and Grand Avenue with connections at Chisholm Drive and Choctaw Avenue. Engineers said after reviewing the equipment already installed, that some of it was part of a pilot project that was started a couple of years ago and that the city does not own that equipment. It likely won’t be covered by a maintenance agreement. The proposed changes are not expected to increase the cost of the project.
City Lawsuits to be Reviewed in Executive Session
The council will be going behind closed doors to discuss a couple of lawsuits. One of them is the city's lawsuit against Tom Word. The city is trying to re-coup a $250,000 economic development loan issued to Word and his company. The loan was supposed to help him move his company to Chickasha but the move never occurred. A second lawsuit is one filed against the city last year by James Merrick and others. The panel will also consider selling five acres of land near the sports complex to Jerry and Sheila Layman. The council is to honor Courtney Mayall with the Chickasha Public library as the city's employee of the month, and a pinning ceremony will be held by the police department. The council meets at 6:30 tonight at City Hall.
Robbery Suspect Behind Bars
A Chickasha man is in custody in connection with a recent robbery. 22-year old Michael Anthony Romero was arrested by police early Sunday morning. A felony arrest warrant for 2nd degree robbery was issued by a judge Oct. 24th. There was no information available regarding the robbery that Romero is alleged to have been involved in.
One Injured in Caddo County Crash
A Caddo County man is hospitalized after an SUV and pickup collide. 21-year old Grayson Cornforth of Lookeba had to be air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital with leg injuries. He was last in good condition. The accident happened on State Highway 152 southeast of Eakly just after 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Cornforth was the driver of the SUV. A passenger, 34 year old Levy Taylor, also of Lookeba, refused treatment at the scene. The driver of the pickup was identified as 65-year old Ricky Powell of Yukon. He was not hurt. The trooper's report on the accident didn't say what happened, but did say the crash is still under investigation.
Separate Accidents Shut Down State Roadways
A Sunday morning crash shut down the highway north of Rush Springs for about an hour and a half. No information was released about the one-vehicle accident that happened just before 6 a.m. Sunday at U.S. Highway 81 and CR 1500, which four miles north of Rush Springs. A two-vehicle crash shut down a state highway near Anadarko early Sunday. That crash happened just after 2:00 am. at State Highway 8 and CR 1360 two miles south of Anadarko. The roadway was closed for about two hours after that accident. No information regarding that accident was released.
Iowa Street Repars Scheduled this Week
A Chickasha street project will impact traffic on Iowa Street for much of the week. Storm drain replacement in the 1500 block of Iowa will start Tuesday morning, and traffic will be down to one lane for several days. Traffic will be diverted one block during the project.
Preparations Underway for Community Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is a little more than two weeks away and some Chickasha churches are again teaming up to host a community Thanksgiving dinner. New Life Christian and First Presbyterian churches will be preparing and serving the meal. The churches are in search of volunteers to help prepare all the food that will be served. The meal will be served at the New Life Christian Church Activity Center at 1828 S. 13th from 11:00 a.m to 1:00 pm. on Thanksgiving Day. The meal previously was served at the Presbyterian Church over the last 20 years. Shuttle service will be available from the Presbyterian Church to New Life if needed. Homebound individuals can call to have meals delivered. The number is 405-222-5433.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX slips to $63.14 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is down to $72.83.
Natural gas is up to $3.28 per million BTUs.
Metals had an up week. Gold is $1,233 and silver is $14.74.