aturday, January 11th
Winter Weathers Hits
A Winter Weather Advisory is in effect for much of the region. The advisory includes all of central and parts of western and southern Oklahoma including Grady, Caddo, Garvin, and Stephens counties. It also includes the Oklahoma City metro area which includes Norman, Moore, Oklahoma City, Yukon and El Reno. Some areas could see one to two inches of snow this morning. Roads and bridges will be slick and hazardous. Temps are in the 20s this morning, with wind chills in the single digits and teens in many areas. Afternoon highs are expected to reach the mid-30s.Things will be a lot better tomorrow, when temperatures are expected to return to the low- to mid-50s.
Caddo County Authorities Seek Suspected Arsonist
A number of wildland fires erupted in Oklahoma this past week and in Caddo County, authorities believe some fires were intentionally set. Arson is suspected in fires that broke out in the Ft. Cobb and Carnegie areas. Caddo County Sheriff Spencer Davis tells KFOR-TV that investigators suspect arson because the fires have all started in the same area. Davis says an anonymous donor has come forward with a $5,000 reward for information which can lead to the arrest and conviction of who is responsible. Information can be provided anonymously through the Caddo County Sheriff's Office Facebook page or by calling the sheriff's office, 405-247-5700.
Prosecutors Oppose SQ 805
District Attorney Jason Hicks is speaking out against a proposal he says would allow violent offenders to serve less time behind bars. Hicks, who is president of the Oklahoma District Attorneys Association, writes in a media column that the group is opposed to SQ 805. An initiative petition is currently being circulated in an attempt to get the proposal on a statewide ballot. Hicks says if it's approved, it would take away the ability of prosecutors, the courts, and even juries to lengthen sentences for repeat offenders of so-called non-violent crimes. Hicks specifically mentions domestic violence, which under Oklahoma law is considered non-violent. Hicks says district attorneys know better. He said domestic violence includes beating someone with a deadly weapon like a gun or knife, or a dangerous weapon like a bat, golf club, a skillet or a ceramic mug. He said even strangling someone to the point of them passing out is technically a non-violent crime. Hicks says if SQ 805 becomes law, repeat felony offenders of such domestic violence crimes would be treated as a first-time offender. He also believes that under the proposal, one of the only ways to ever get such an offender out of society for a significant period of time is if their domestic violence leads to death.
Wet Highway, Speed Blamed on Crash
A Grady County man is hospitalized after crashing his pickup on a rain-slickened highway. 34-year old Chance Charton of Tuttle suffered head and leg injuries in the accident that happened south of Shawnee about 8:30 p.m. Friday. Charton was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was admitted in good condition. The highway patrol reports that Charton's pickup ran off a state highway and into a ditch just west of Earlsboro. The trooper investigating the accident indicated that Charton was driving too fast for the wet conditions.
Updated Warrant List
The Grady County Sheriff's Office has an updated 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 by calling 405-222-5085.
Obituaries today include 70-year old Bonnie Burns, formerly of Chickasha. Graveside service will be at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, January 11th at the Pocasset Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Funeral service for 75-year old Raymond Janz of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, January 13th at the Plainview Mennonite Church. Memorial contributions may be made to the church. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Friday, January 10th
Grant Helps Homeless Students in Chickasha Schools
One out of every 10 students in the Chickasha school district might be considered homeless. Pam Ladyman is the Director of Special Services for the district. She says about 200 of the district's nearly 2,100 students are in some type of temporary housing. Chickasha is one of only a few school districts in Oklahoma which have qualified for a federal grant to help these students. The funds are part of what's called the McKinney-Vento Act.
The grant provides the district with $50,000 a year in each of the next three school years to help students pay for materials, clothing, or other items approved by an oversight committee. Ladyman said one representative from each school serves on the committee, which meets once a month. For information about the program, contact Ladyman at the Chickasha schools administration building. Ladyman is this weekend’s guest on the Real Estate Today program. We have a link to that interview under the Community tab on this website.
Public Hearing Set For Sleepy Hollow Addition Project
A public hearing is scheduled for next week regarding some proposed changes in a new home construction project underway in a Chickasha housing addition. The Chickasha Planning Commission will hold the hearing for applicant Crafton Tull, which is building homes in the Sleepy Hollow addition. The company is asking to change the preliminary plat of the Third Addition to that project. After the public hearing, the Planning Commission will consider whether the changes should be recommended. That will then be sent to the city council, which has the final say-so in the matter. The Planning Commission will also consider approving the final plat of the Phase Two plan of that Third Addition at Sleepy Hollow. The Planning Commission meets at 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, January 14th at city hall.
Historic Preservation Group to Consider Biz Signs
Another city panel will consider sign requests from businesses which are locating downtown. The Historic Preservation Commission will review one request from Susan Ford and Carmon Nolan with Crazy 8 Cafe. They are asking for a sign at the restaurant's soon-to-be new location at 424 West Chickasha Ave. A second sign request is from Bad Boy Signs, asking for a sign for Whiplash Salon and Boutique at 120 N. 5th Street. The Historic Preservation Commission meets at 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, January 14th, also at city hall.
Group Works to Stop Human Trafficking
A group in southwest Oklahoma is part of a national effort working to stop human trafficking. It's called The Red Cord, and it’s the only non-profit group in the region whose mission is to increase awareness about the issue. The Red Cord was formed in 2015 by individuals concerned about women and children who are victims of sex trafficking. Ahsha Morin is the vice president of the group. She says tomorrow is National Human Trafficking Awareness Day, and encourages individuals to do something symbolic to help promote their cause, like wearing something blue.
The group will have its annual fund-raising Freedom Gala on Saturday, Jan. 25th in Lawton. The guest speaker is Tim Ballard, a former employee of the Department of Homeland Security who founded a group called Operation Underground Railroad. The group works to rescue victims of human trafficking and to bait and capture traffickers worldwide. For information, check out the website www.theredcord.org or check out the group’s Facebook page. Morin, and Ashley Chapman, also with The Red Cord, are this week’s guests on our KOOL Konversation program. Find a link to that interview under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $59.56 per barrel.
London-based Brent Crude is $65.37.
Natural gas is $2.16 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,551 and silver is $17.95.
Thursday, January 9th
Firefighters Battle Numerous Wildand Fires
A number of wildland fires erupted throughout parts of the state yesterday, spread by gusty winds and dry vegetation. One of the largest fires was west of Lawton near the Cache community, where some people were forced to evacuate their homes. At least two homes were destroyed and six other buildings were lost in the flames. It took about five hours for firefighters to get things under control. In Grady County, fire crews responded to a wildland fire south of Alex last night. Buddy Myers with the Grady County Fire Department said four volunteer departments were paged out just before 9:30 p.m.
Volunteer firefighters from Alex, Bradley, Naples, and Ninnekah spent about an hour getting that fire under control. Myers said there was no property damage and only about 40 acres of pasture land was scorched. Myers said there will be a medium wildfire threat today because there will still be gusty winds and warmer than normal temperatures, however humidity levels are expected to be higher and that should be a deterrent for any fires that break out.
More Oil, Gas is Found in the SCOOP
A lesser-known energy company finds success in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP). Red Wolf Operating Company has five wells on a single pad near Alex, bringing a combined 3,200 barrels of oil and more than 40,000 MCF of natural gas per day. The pad is about four miles north of Alex in Section 27 of Township 6 North and Range 6 West. These are the Adams wells in the Mississippian play and were drilled to a depth of about 24,000 feet.
Reception is Monday for New Chix School Superintendent
A reminder that Chickasha school district patrons can meet the district's new superintendent next week. A meet-and-greet reception with Rick Croslin and his wife Jennie will be from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. Monday, January 13th at the high school commons area. Croslin was hired by the school board earlier this week, after a more than six month search for a new superintendent. Croslin has spent the last several years working the Putnam City School District. After the reception, the school board will hold its regular monthly meeting in the high school auditorium. School board meeting days and times have changed for 2020. The panel's regular meetings are now scheduled the second Monday of the month and will start 30 minutes earlier at 6:00 p.m.
Rush Springs Voters Can Vote Early in Election
Early voting is underway today for a special school election in Rush Springs. School patrons are deciding a nearly $4 million bond issue which would pay for security upgrades throughout the district, remodeling the auditorium, installing an all-weather track around the football field, and improvements to the parking lot at the football field. Early voting can only be done at the Grady County Election Board office in Chickasha. Ballots may be cast from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today (Thursday, January 9th) and tomorrow (Friday, January 10th) or on Saturday (January 11th) from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Otherwise, Rush Springs precincts will be open for regular voting on Tuesday, January 14th from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
2020 Calendars Show Chickasha Trash,
Recycling, and Bulk Pick-up Schedules
The City of Chickasha has an updated calendar available for residents that indicate the schedules for trash and recycling pickups. Waste Connections, the city's private sanitation contractor, picks up the blue trash bins every week, while the green recycling bins are picked up every other week. That can cause some confusion if there are five weeks in a month. You can pick up a calendar from city hall or download one from the city’s website, www.chickasha.org City officials also remind residents about the free bulk pick-up service that is available twice a month. Those whose normal trash pick-up days are Monday and Tuesday, the bulk pick up is on the first and third Fridays. For residents with either a Wednesday or Thursday trash service, the bulk pick-up is the second and fourth Fridays. Bulk pickup is limited to four cubic yards and any brush must be under four feet long. Crews cannot take liquids, tires, batteries, or paint. If you have questions, call Waste Connections at 405-785-2600.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $59.61.
London-based-Brent crude is $65.44.
Natural gas is $2.12 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,548 and silver is $17.97.
Wednesday, January 8th
State Unemployment Numbers Rise
The jobless rate is on the rise in the Sooner State, up in every county but one last November. Grady County's unemployment grew from 3 percent in October to 3.5 percent in November. That compares to 2.5 percent from November of 2018. Statewide unemployment for November was 3.4 percent. Records from the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission show about 80 more Grady County residents without work that month, up to about 940. The total labor force for Grady County is at 26,500. In neighboring counties - the jobless rate in Caddo County rose from 3.8 percent in October to 4 percent in November out of a labor force of just under 12,000 individuals; in Garvin County, up from 3.2 percent in October to 3.5 percent in November out of a labor force of just under 13,000; in Stephens County, unemployment climbs from 3.3 percent in September, to 4.4 percent in October, and now 5 percent in November. The Stephens County labor force is just under 19,000 people.
New Construction in Chickasha Down in 2019
December is typically a slow month for new construction permits in Chickasha and last month was no different. The city's Community Development Department only approved six permits for new construction totaling just over $420,000 in projects. The largest of the permits was for the renovation of the old Save-A-Lot and Goodwill store locations in the Southland Shopping Center. That is for a new Burke's Outlet Store. It's a departament store operated by the Beall's company. That building permit was for $400,000. The one other commercial permit approved was for $1,500 for improvements at 116 South 5th Street. Four residential building permits were issued for some minor new construction. For the 2019 calendar year, new construction in Chickasha totaled just over $13 million. That was down from $23.5 million in 2018.
State's First Lady Backs Effort to Support Youth
The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy has a big supporter on its side in the First Lady for the State of Oklahoma, Sarah Stitt, wife of Governor Kevin Stitt. She knows first-hand about some of the issues that youth face, according to Joe Dorman, director for the institute.
Dorman says he's hoping state lawmakers will continue efforts to help working families, which he said would include restoring the refundability of the Earned Income Tax Credit and other incentives to cover early childhood care costs. Dorman says the agency has started the new year with shared mission that we can all be better and do better for the state and the nation.
Bill Filed to Increase State's Minimum Wage
A proposal to increase the state's minimum wage may be discussed at the state capital. Sen. George Young (D-Oklahoma City) has filed Senate Bill 1165 which calls for increasing the Oklahoma minimum wage to $10.50 per hour - or match the federal minimum wage - whichever is higher. Right now, the state’s minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. The minimum wage hasn't been increased in Oklahoma in more than 10 years. Young says Oklahomans deserve to be paid fairly, so they can offset the rising costs of healthcare, housing, and food.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is 62.70.
London-based Brent crude is $68.27.
Natural gas is $2.16 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,580 and silver is $18.43.
Obituaries today include 99-year old Imogene Rice of Chickasha. Funeral service will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, January 11th at Sevier Funeral Home.
Tuesday, January 7th
Superintendent Hired For Chickasha Schools
The new superintendent for Chickasha Public Schools has worked in the Putnam City school district for several years. Rick Croslin was announced as the district’s new superintendent in a special meeting of the Chickasha school board last night. Croslin has spent the last seven years as Executive Director of Secondary Education for Putnam City Schools. He's previously served as both a high school and middle school principal and began his education career as a special education teacher. Chickasha School Board president Zach McGill says the board believes that Croslin is a good fit for the district.
Croslin is set to begin on July 1st but McGill said he could be on board as early as April. Croslin is expected to be visiting schools and attending school events almost immediately. The school board approved a 3-year contract with Croslin which includes an annual salary of $140,000 per year, plus additional benefits that put his total compensation package at about $170,000 per year. McGill says that’s comparable to school districts of similar size. A meet-and-greet reception for Croslin will be held next Monday, January 13th from 5:00 p.m.-6:00 p.m. in the Commons Area at Chickasha High School.
Fire Damages Building Owned by County Jail
Fire breaks out at a building owned by the Grady County Jail. The fire ignited just before 7:00 p.m. Monday at the former Salvation Army Church at 4th and Pennsylvania Avenue. That's right across the street from the county jail. Fire Chief Brian Zalewski, who was attending the city council meeting at the time, left the meeting to assist. He said the building is used to store maintenance equipment and also is a laundry facility for the jail. No one was inside the building when the fire started. Zalewski said one of the commercial dryers malfunctioned causing the clothes inside to ignite. Zalewski said there was video surveillance of the fire. The damage estimate was not immediately available.
City Council OKs Alley Closing
The Chickasha City Council clears the way to help a developer with his efforts to open more businesses in the downtown area. The council approved a request to close the alley behind the old Chickasha Star newspaper building. Mark McPherson with the Great Plains Land and Cattle Company purchased the building last year, a building that the city at one time considering tearing down. McPherson hopes to install a drive-through for a coffee shop that is interested in locating in that building. Plans also include a restaurant in that building - as officials look to encourage business growth in the downtown area. City Manager John Noblitt said closing the alley was the first of two phases that must be completed before the project can move forward. Noblitt said there is concern about the east-west alley next to the building, saying it has already been repaired once due to a sink hole, and says it will likely fail again with the additional traffic that is expected if the development becomes a reality.
Library's Food for Fines Program Successful
The Chickasha Public Library's Food for Fines program last month was another success. Every December, the library allows patrons to donate food instead of paying late fees. Librarian Lillie Huckaby says the drive collected 21 boxes of food which was donated to local food pantries. The total donations paid off about $2,000 in fines and also resulted in about 100 overdue books being returned.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.52 per barrel.
London-based Brent is $68.91.
Natural gas is $2.13 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,568 and silver is $18.15.
Obituaries today include 83-year old Johnny Livingston. No public services are scheduled. He was a U.S Army veteran. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Funeral for 82-year old Walter Rogers of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 8th at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Graveside service for 89-year old Mary Brown of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Thursday at the Ninnekah Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Monday, January 6th
Murder Suspect Found Dead at Wildlife Refuge
A murder suspect who was the subject of an intense manhunt in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge was found dead in the park over the weekend. Authorities found the body of Christopher James Trent Saturday morning at an area near Quetone Point, which is about a mile and a half west of Mt. Scott. Trent was wanted for the New Year's Day death of a two-year old boy in Norman. Authorities say Trent had hanged himself. KSWO TV reported that officials believe Trent killed himself late Friday or early Saturday. Comanche County Sheriff Kenny Stradley said officials had previously searched the area where the body was found. Stradley said it appeared that Trent started to build a fire but never lit it.
New Superintendent for Chickasha Schools may be Hired
We may know who the next superintendent of Chickasha schools will be tonight. The school board will hold a special meeting to consider employing an individual. The district has been without a permanent superintendent since last spring, after the school board and former superintendent Jack Herron parted ways. Jenifer Stegman has been serving as interim superintendent since then. After opening tonight’s meeting, the board will go immediately into a closed-door session. When the panel returns to open session a public vote is expected to hire the candidate. School board president Zack McGill recently said the five-member panel was unanimous in their choice following a second round of interviews with applicant last month. Should a new superintendent be hired, McGill said a meet-and-greet will be scheduled ahead of next Monday night's regular school board meeting. Tonight’s special meeting is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. at the school administration building.
Public Hearings on Tap for First Council Meeting of 2020
The Chickasha City Council has its first meeting of the new year tonight. The meeting will include a couple of public hearings. One is to consider a request to close a portion of the 2800 block of West Frisco Avenue. The second is to consider closing part of the easement in the alley south of the 300 block of Chickasha Avenue. The Planning Commission has recommended that both proposals be approved. The council is expected to approve of going out for bids for the sidewalk construction program along 1st Street from Wal-Mart north to the downtown area. The panel is also expected to approve a contract extension with Jeffrey Winn for the maintenance of city cemeteries. The council will also consider soliciting bids to repair part of the roof at the Rock Island Railroad Depot. The council is also to recognize Elgin Rich, Jr. of the Street Maintenance Department as the city's employee of the quarter. Prior to tonight's meeting, the council will hold an informal work session in which City Manager John Noblitt will discuss plans for 2020. The work session begins at 5:00 p.m. and the city council meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. with both meetings to be held at city hall.
OSU Weed Specialist Schedules Chickasha Stop
A weed specialist from OSU will be in Chickasha tomorrow to discuss some timely topics. Dr. Misha Manuchehri is the small grains and canola weed specialist at Oklahoma State. She will be the guest speaker at the Grady County OSU Extension Office for a marketing meeting at 7:00 a.m. Tuesday, January 7th. The program is free and open to the public.
Caddo County Fair Board Sets Meeting
Tomorrow morning in Anadarko, the Caddo County Fair Board will hold its monthly meeting at 7:00 a.m. at the Baldwin Building on the Caddo County Fairgrounds.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.05 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.60.
Natural gas is $2.13 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,579 and silver is $18.43.
Roger "Dale" Stinnett
Obituaries today include 73-year old Dale Stinnett of Cement. A private memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
A memorial service for David Sampson of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, January 11th at Epworth Methodist Church.