Saturday, Aug. 3rd
More Counties Approved for FEMA Help
to Pay for Damage from Spring Storms
Caddo and Kiowa counties have been added to the list of areas eligible for public assistance as a result of damage from flooding and severe storms that occurred this past spring. Gov. Kevin Stitt announced that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has approved the state's request to help municipal, county, and state government offices, as well as rural electric co-operatives, in their costs for infrastructure repairs. Also added to the list were Kay and Woodward counties. There are now 45 Oklahoma counties approved for FEMA assistance to help recover from the flooding, tornadoes, and straight-line winds that caused damage. Grady and Canadian counties had previously been approved for public assistance. Authorities estimate that spring storms caused more than $22 million in damage to infrastructure, debris removal, and response costs. FEMA has approved help for individuals and businesses in 27 counties, most of them in northeastern parts of the state. Residents and businesses in Canadian County are eligible and have until August 14th to register for aid through FEMA or the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Suspect Faces Multiple Lewd Acts Charges
A Duncan man is facing several charges of lewd acts with children. 20-year old Skylar Biby is alleged to have sexually assaulted several children at a Chickasha home. An arrest warrant affidavit indicates the victims were between 10 and 15 years old. Investigators with the District Attorneys Task Force say the assaults occurred over several days in November of 2017. Agents with the task interviewed Biby at the Duncan Police Department about the allegations back in June and a warrant was later issued for his arrest. Biby was booked into the Grady County Jail Friday but has not yet had his initial appearance in court. His arraignment could be held on Monday.
Man Charged with Abuse for
Spanking Child with Paddle
Grady County prosecutors have filed a felony child abuse charge against a Rush Springs man for spanking his son with a wooden paddle. Documents on file at the Grady County courthouse indicate that 39-year old Christopher Merino was arrested by Rush Springs police this week after interviewing the 10-year old child and his mother. The child was also alleged to have had bruises from the punishment, and also a bruised collar bone from where it was alleged he was “grabbed real hard." After spending the night in jail after his arrest, Merino was released after posting a $50,000 bond.
Woman Accused of Child Neglect
A Chickasha mother is alleged to have put drugs and alcohol in her toddler's backpack. Chickasha police arrested 18-year old Celsie Stuckey following a traffic stop Thursday. A probable cause affidavit indicates that Stuckey was a passenger in a car. Her two-year old son was in a child safety seat in the back. The officer suspected there was marijuana in the vehicle. The driver alleged Stuckey put the marijuana and an open bottle of liquor in the boy's backpack. The arresting officer saw the child getting food out of the back pack. Prosecutors have charged Stuckey with felony child neglect. She is out of jail after posting a $5,000 bond.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Jenna Cansler and Sarah Keeth with Red Rock Behavioral Health Services are this week’s guests on the KOOL Konversation. Trait Thompson with the Oklahoma State Capitol Restoration project is the guest on Real Estate Today with John Mosley. We have links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, Aug. 2nd
DA Says Officers' Actions Justified in Fatal Shooting
In a KOOL and RANCH News follow-up, we had an exclusive interview with District Attorney Jason Hicks regarding the shooting death of a domestic violence suspect by Chickasha police. We reported earlier this week that Sgt. Jason Myrko and Officer Preston Hodge were cleared of wrong-doing. The officers had been on paid administrative leave for four months after the shooting death of Kevin Capers back in March. While the medical examiner said that Capers was shot seven times by police, Hicks said the officers did not use excessive force.
Both Sgt. Myrko and Officer Hodge returned to work this week.
Phone Scammers Pose as Law Enforcement Officer
Another telephone scam is making its way around the area. Callers are impersonating law enforcement officers, and demanding victims pay fines or other costs by purchasing gift or money cards. Grady County Undersheriff Phil Blevins said at least one person has been victimized. Blevins says the scammer-
Blevins recommends that should you get such a phone call, simply hang up and do not give out any personal information. Report any suspicious phone calls and the number if you have it to the sheriff's office or other local law enforcement agency.
Power Outage Problem Diagnosed
Public Service Company of Oklahoma is explaining the reason for the power outages which affected thousands of customers in Chickasha and Grady County earlier this week. Authorities say it was a malfunction in the protective relay system for a transformer at the Cornville Substation southwest of Chickasha. Power was out for about 3,400 customers in the central part of Grady County on both Monday and Tuesday afternoon for several hours. PSO Spokesman Tim Hushbeck said at one time the utility had as many as 40 technicians trouble-shooting the problem. On PSO's Facebook page, officials say workers reviewed operational data and performed multiple tests on the transformer's primary and back-up systems to pinpoint the problem, then the transformer was returned to service.
Requests for Chickasha Building Permits Fall
July was a lackluster month for new construction in Chickasha. Only 10 building permits totaling $75,000 in new building projects were approved by the city's Community Development Department. Four of the permits were for commercial or industrial projects. The largest of the permits was for $35,000 for a 2,100 square foot expansion of T's Treasure re-sale shop at 11th and Choctaw Avenue. A $10,000 remodel for the YMCA was given the go-ahead; officials signed off on a $5,000 project for Bordwine Development for a possible medical marijuana growing facility on Pikes Peak Road; and a $2,500 permit was approved for Lance Snyder for a new awning for a building at 315 West Dakota Avenue. Since the first of the year, officials have approved about $8.5 million new construction. That's down from $17.8 million for the same time period from 2018; and down from more than $22 million from 2017.
USAO Baseball, Softball Programs
Getting New Training Facilities
Exciting news for the USAO baseball and softball programs. Groundbreaking is underway for new locker rooms and indoor, batting, pitching, and training facilities. Both teams will have two-story buildings constructed down the third-base lines at their fields at Bill Smith Ballpark. Construction crews are already moving dirt to prepare the baseball field for its new facility, with work on the softball team’s locker rooms to folow. Baseball coach Mike Ross is thrilled that the long-time efforts of the university, supporters, and coaches are paying off.
The facilities will include a large second-floor VIP seating area which will double as a study hall and recruiting center. Over $100,000 has been pledged to the projects, including two large contributions from the Chickasha Community Foundation and the First National Bank and Trust. Each contributed $40,000 toward the project. It's believed both projects may be completed by early November, with a possible ribbon-cutting and grand opening during USAO's Homecoming activities.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $53.95 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $65.19.
Natural gas is $2.20 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,448 and silver is $16.18.
Thursday, Aug. 1st
Chix Water Treatment Process Changing for August
Some changes to the City of Chickasha's water treatment process may cause tap water to be cloudy and taste like chlorine. Officials say they will be modifying the disinfection treatment of the city's potable water over the next month. Starting today, the plant will be introducing free chlorine into the water distribution system instead of a combination of chlorine and other chemicals. Mike Jump is the regional manager for U.S. Water Corporation, the city’s private contractor which operates the water treatment facilities, and he explains the reason for the change.
The trihalomethanes are said to cause cancer according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Jump said tap water may be temporarily cloudy and taste like swimming pool water. If that happens, he said run your tap water for a few minutes and it should clear up. Officials will also be flushing the city's fire hydrants over the next several days in order to introduce the chlorine into the water distribution system faster.
Minco Issues Watering Ban
An outdoor watering ban has been issued in Minco. Mayor Keith McMullen issued a proclamation this week saying the town's water system can't keep up with demand. McMullen blames the extreme heat, dry conditions, and high water usage over the last few weeks. No outdoor watering is allowed which includes watering yards, washing cars, and filling swimming pools. Residents may water their gardens with watering cans.
Pursuit Suspect Arrested
A Chickasha man is behind bars after its alleged he led police on a high-speed pursuit back in June. 21-year old Justin Chance Knight was taken into custody earlier this week after a warrant was issued for his arrest. The pursuit began in a residential area while police were investigating a report of a stolen vehicle. The chase reached speeds of more than 100 miles per hour as the chase went eastbound on Grand Avenue to Sooner Road, then south to Cottonwood Road. The chase ended when the car ran off Cottonwood Road and got stuck in the mud, but the suspect managed to elude police at that time. Prosecutors have formally charged Knight with a felony for endangering others while trying to elude. His bond is $100,000.
Anadarko Back-to-School Expo Tonight
In Anadarko, kids will be heading back to school next week. Tonight, the school district and many community groups will take part in the 8th annual Back-to-School expo. More than 20 school and community groups will be on hand to provide information about their services. Among them will be student leadership programs, college and career opportunities, and preparation for ACT testing. There will be free physicals for student athletes, free haircuts for the first 80 students, free hot dogs and popcorn, and some nice door prizes will be given away. The expo is from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. tonight at Anadarko's Warrior Fieldhouse.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $58.58 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $65.17.
Natural gas is $2.23 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,419 and silver is $16.07.
Wednesday, July 31st
Policemen Cleared in Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting
A couple of officers with the Chickasha Police Department have been cleared of wrong-doing following a fatal officer-involved shooting that took place this past spring. Sgt. Jason Myrko and Officer Preston Hodge were suspended with pay after the deadly encounter. Chickasha Police Chief Dee Rowell said the investigation into the shooting was recently closed, after authorities received the results of the autopsy of shooting victim Kevin Capers. Rowell said that Myrko and Hodge were cleared by the district attorney. We tried to contact Jason Hicks for comment but our phone call hasn't been returned. Myrko and Hodge were called to investigate a domestic disturbance at a Chickasha home in March. When officers arrived it was reported Capers had a knife and that he had cut himself, then attacked the officers. The autopsy indicated Capers was shot seven times.
Crash Near Anadarko Sends Four to Hospitals
Two senior citizens and two teenagers are taken to hospitals after an SUV slams into a small sedan outside of Anadarko. 89-year old Lester Kosechata of Ft. Cobb was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was admitted in serious condition. He was a passenger in the SUV driven by 74-year old Jennie Kosechata, also of Ft. Cobb. She was taken to a Norman hospital and was treated and released. Two 16-year old girls also from Ft. Cobb were in the other vehicle. They were taken to hospitals in Anadarko and Carnegie where they were treated and released. The names of the girls were not released as per policy of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol to not release the names of juveniles. The accident happened about four miles west of Anadarko on State Highway 9, just after 6:00 p.m. Tuesday. The trooper called to investigate said the teens had stopped for traffic and the SUV crashed into the back of the car.
Injured Motorcycle Riders Still Hospitalized
The two motorcycle riders who were hurt when their bike hit a car in Chickasha Monday afternoon could face a long recovery from their injuries. The Chickasha Police Department identified the injured as 22-year old Sarah Files and 24-year old Benjamin Francis. Both were last reported in good condition at an Oklahoma City hospital. The two were riding their motorcycle on Choctaw Avenue west of downtown when a car pulled out in front of them and the motorcycle slammed into the car.
Second Power Outage Affects PSO Customers
Parts of Chickasha and Grady County were hit with a power outage for a second straight day yesterday. More than 3,400 PSO customers had to deal with no electricity, some for four hours or longer as temperatures soared to the mid-to-upper 90s. The outage affected much of downtown Chickasha, all the area north of Choctaw Avenue, and much of the business and residential areas east of 7th Street from Choctaw Avenue south to Pikes Peak Road. It also affected a large part of central Grady County, between Highway 81 and Highway 76 and south of a line from Pocasset to Blanchard. What's odd is that the areas affected by the outage on Tuesday were nearly identical to those that were hit on Monday. PSO officials said crews found a burned-up jumper at the Chickasha substation and made some adjustments to get power restored. Authorities said there was another malfunction at the substation yesterday but it wasn’t clear what happened.
Producers Face Deadlines to Apply for Flood Relief
Agriculture producers in the region who suffered flood damage this spring are facing deadlines to apply for USDA's Emergency Conservation Program. Mark Jackson with the Grady County Farm Service Agency says qualifying producers can get cost share levels of up to 75 percent of the eligible restoration cost, up to $500,000. Jackson discusses what repair projects might be considered.
Jackson said next Monday, Aug. 5th is the final signup date for Grady County producers. Caddo County producers have until Aug. 30th to sign up.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $58.05.
London-based Brent crude is $64.72.
Natural gas is $2.13 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,443 and sliver is $16.50.
Tuesday, July 30th
Power Outage Affects Thousands in Grady County
It was a rough Monday afternoon for thousands of PSO customers when the power went out for a large part of Chickasha and central Grady County. More than 3,200 customers spent several hours without electricity starting about 2 o'clock. The outage affected homes, businesses, and government offices. The Grady County Courthouse was forced to close as a result of the outage. Chickasha City Hall was also without electricity but remained open. Tim Hushbeck with PSO described the problem as a burned up jumper at a substation, but what caused that to happen wasn't clear. Power for most customers was restored by about 5:00 p.m. yesterday but electricity for some didn't return until after 6:00 p.m.
Two Motorcyclists Injured in Crash
Two people riding a motorcycle suffer serious injuries when their bike hit a car that had pulled in front of them. Both passengers were air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital. Their names were not immediately available and their conditions unknown this morning. The accident happened near the Chickasha Travel Plaza west of downtown Chickasha just before 4:00 p.m. Monday. Police say the driver of the car failed to yield at a stop sign, and the bike hit the car behind its left front tire.
Woman, Child Hospitalized After Semi Hits Car
A woman and a child were hospitalized following that accident near Cyril involving a vehicle and a semi we reported yesterday. 41-year old Denise Harris of Cyril and a 10-year old girl in the car with her were both air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital and admitted in fair condition. The name of the child was not released. The accident happened just west of Cyril on State Highway 19 Monday morning. The trooper dispatched to the crash said the driver of the semi - 31-year old Cody Weakley of Lawton - failed to yield from a stop sign and hit the car. The semi rolled onto the driver's side. Weakley refused treatment at the scene.
Gas Pipeline Rupture Causes Minimal Damage
A scare near Bradley yesterday when a natural gas pipeline was ruptured. Officials say the Bradley Volunteer Fire Department was called out about 3:00 p.m. Monday. Grady County Fire Department Spokesman Buddy Myers said the gas line was a tap to a farm that was hit and the pressure on the line was minimal. Myers said there were no injuries and damaged was estimated at $500.
Lawmakers Form State Panel to Review
Alternative to Medicaid Expansion
State lawmakers say they are forming a bi-partisan group to discuss putting together an Oklahoma-specific plan to expand health care in the state. It would be an alternative to the Medicaid expansion plan offered by the federal government. Oklahoma is one of 14 states which do not participate in Medicaid expansion. The group will be led by Representative Marcus McEntire of Duncan and State Senator Greg McCortney of Ada, both Republicans. The 20-member group will include 18 elected officials, with half from the House and half from the Senate. The GOP will make up the majority while two Democrats from both the House and Senate will also serve. Gov. Kevin Stitt said he wanted to develop a state alternative to Medicaid expansion to improve health care and low-cost health insurance to needy Oklahomans. In the meantime, a group begins an initiative petition effort tomorrow to collect nearly 180,000 signatures of registered Oklahoma voters asking to put Medicaid expansion on a statewide ballot.
Wildlife Refuge to Hold Controlled Burns
You may be seeing a lot of smoke in southwest Oklahoma the next few days. The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge will begin a number of controlled burns today. Officials say the smoke from the fires could cause delays for refuge visitors and residents who live nearby. Targeted areas are the Big Four and Black Bear Mountains and around Prairie Dog Town. The burns are expected to run through next Monday.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $56.87 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $63.71.
Natural gas is $2.11 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,441 and silver is $16.52.
Monday, July 29th
One Hurt in Car-Semi Collision
One person was hospitalized following a traffic involving a semi near Cyril this morning. The unidentified woman was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital after the crash. The accident happened about 7:15 this morning at State Highway 19 and County Street 2760 which is about 1 1/2 miles west of Cyril. Details of the crash were not immediately available from the highway patrol.
Consumer Spending Steady
Consumers continue spending at a good pace at retail outlets around Grady County. Estimates are that spending county-wide was up about 12.3 percent from April to May of this year, to about $132 million. The county received about $993,000 in sales tax revenue from that consumer spending. In the City of Chickasha, consumer spending was up a fraction, to about $29.3 million. The city collected about $1.1 million in sales tax revenues from that consumer spending. Use tax collections were up in both areas. In Grady County, use tax revenues were up more than 12 percent to $146,000. In Chickasha, use tax revenues were up a little more than 7 percent to $74,000. Use taxes are those paid on purchases made on the Internet.
Teamwork Rids Veteran's Property of Graffiti
The City of Chickasha and a local home improvement store team up to help a veteran whose property was vandalized with graffiti. Lt. Traye Alexander with the Chickasha Police Department, who leads the city's Code Enforcement Division, says a home in the 1100 block of South 1st had been painted with graffiti recently. The city teamed up with the Sherwin-Williams store on its Neighborhood Beautification Project to paint over the graffiti. Alexander said the veteran who owned the property was unable to do the work himself. On the city's Facebook page, Alexander said the project falls under what's called the Broken Window theory, which is that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an environment that encourages further crime and disorder. Alexander praised the work of Code Enforcement employees Natalie Benoit and Angela Kerr for providing much of the labor and directing the project. Alexander also thanked the Sherwin-Williams management team of Zach Willis and Cody Englebretson for supplying paint and prep material.
Firm Seeks Grant Applicants from Area Counties
An Oklahoma-based company will be distributing grants that focus on education and youth development programs in the region. The Gulfport Energy Corporation has operations in Grady, Garvin, and Stephens Counties. A press release from the company says the firm invests in the areas where they operate with a focus on education, health, human services, and the environment. The deadline to apply is Aug. 30th. For information visit the website www.cfok.org
World Champs to Compete at Lawton Rangers Rodeo
The Lawton Rangers rodeo is coming up in a couple of weeks, and some current world champions will be competing. Sage Kimzey, who has won five straight PRCA bull riding world titles will be among those thrilling the crowd. Bareback bronc world champion Tim O'Connell; saddle bronc champ Wade Sundell; calf roping champ Caleb Schmidt; steer wrestling champ Tyler Wagespack, and team roping header Clay Smith will headline the event. The Lawton Rangers Rodeo is set for Aug. 7th through 10th at the Comanche County Fairgrounds.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $56.20 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $63.46
Natural gas is $2.17 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,431 and silver is $16.39.