Saturday, April 4th
Chix City Hall, Other City-Owned Buildings to Stay Closed
Chickasha city hall and other city-owned buildings will remain closed to the public due to the rapid rise of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma. City Manager John Noblitt said the state of emergency issued on March 13th was set to end yesterday. Now, city-owned buildings are to remain closed to the public through next Friday, April 10th when officials will review the situation again. City officials have also closed all city playgrounds and basketball courts in an attempt to prevent groups of 10 or more people from gathering. City parks are open for walkers and joggers but officials urge users to follow social distancing guidelines. The library and the animal shelter are also closed to the public, and there is no camping, boating, or fishing allowed at Lake Chickasha. Also, the regularly scheduled city council meeting for Monday, April 6th has canceled. In the most recent coronavirus update from the state health department (Friday, April 3rd as of this writing), Grady County had five confirmed reports of the COVID-19 virus. There were 988 confirmed coronavirus cases statewide.
Governor Says State Revenue Failure Expected
Gov. Kevin Stitt says a state revenue failure of more than $415 million is expected in the final three months of fiscal year 2020 which ends June 30th. The shortfall stems from the devastation resulting from a massive decline in the energy industry and the coronavirus pandemic. Stitt will meet with the state Equalization Board next week to start the process of dipping into the state's rainy day fund. The fund currently has more than $800 million although the state has more than $1 billion in savings. State lawmakers will be able to use about $500 million.
State Rig Count Continues Decline
The energy industry is reeling from the effects of tumbling oil prices and the coronavirus pandemic. The latest report indicates that the number of rigs actively exploring for oil and natural gas in Oklahoma continues to plummet. The state lost 10 more rigs in the last week and is down to just 29 active rigs. There were 107 rigs at the same time last year. In what drilling activity remains, Continental Resources did report the completion of a Grady County well bringing in just under 160 barrels of oil per day. Roan Resources filed a completion report on a 2018 well east of Tuttle. The Don's Ranch well had production of 1,000 barrels of oil and more than 2,000 metric cubic feet of natural gas per day. No reason was given on why the report was only recently filed.
NextEra Energy Foundation Helps Regional Food Bank
Many companies and/or their charitable foundations are making contributions to non-profit groups whose missions are to help families dealing with lost jobs and other issues related to the current economic and health problems. Energy Resources, through its NextEra Energy Foundation, has provided $10,000 to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. During the current crisis the Regional Food Bank continues to distribute emergency food boxes to communities in Grady and Caddo counties and more than 300 communities in western Oklahoma. Regional Food Bank officials say high consumer demand for food has reduced the amount of donated retail products it is receiving and that officials are now having to buy food.
Two Arrested in Separate Domestic Violence Cases
Chickasha police make arrests in separate domestic violence investigations. The first stemmed from a call Tuesday March 31st, when police were dispatched to the area of 14th and Minnesota. A victim alleged she was beaten and choked to the point where she couldn't breathe. Officers arrested 21-year old Jacob Deshawn McHugh at a home in the 1100 block of West Idaho. Prosecutors have charged McHugh with a felony count of domestic abuse by strangulation and he remains in jail on a $7,000 bond. Wednesday, April 1st, police were summoned to a home in the 1400 block of N. 16th to look into a domestic violence report. The victim alleged she was injured during a fight with the suspect and that she couldn't take it anymore. Police arrested 45-year old Daniel Greg Burris. Prosecutors have filed a misdemeanor charge of domestic abuse against Burris and he remains in jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Julia Cochran and Jenna Cansler with Red Rock Behavioral Health Services are our guests on the KOOL Konversation. On Real Estate Today with John Mosley, Tim Hushbeck with Public Service Company of Oklahoma is this week's guest. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, April 3rd
Governor Declares Health Emergency
Gov. Kevin Stitt has issued a statewide health emergency as officials work to prevent the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. It gives the governor the power to waive statuatory and regulatory requirements and gives him the ability to coordinate a statewide response among city and county health departments to deal with the state’s escalating coronavirus cases. It's the first time that the state’s Catastrophic Health Emergency Powers Act has been implemented since it was adopted after 9/11. The declaration allows former health care workers who have retired or have let their licenses expire to return to the workforce. It also helps to protect first responders by helping them manage their personal protective equipment. First responders will also be able to know if a home they are going to has a resident who has tested positive for the coronavirus. Stitt has called a special session of the state legislature which must approve the declaration. The special session will be held on Monday, April 6th.
Coronavirus Cases Still on the Rise
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is now at 879. As of midday Thursday, April 2nd the state health department reports 34 people have died from the illness and more than 250 have been hospitalized. Grady County has three confirmed cases while Caddo County has one. Comanche County's number has grown to 27 and McClain County is up to 11. Garvin County has eight confirmed cases and Stephens County has seven. Stephens County also has had one death from COVID-19 – a man over the age of 65.
Attorney General Tells County Commissioners
Tele-Conference Meetings No Longer Allowed
Grady County Commissioners have been told to no longer hold their weekly meetings by way of a tele-conference. Commission Chairman Ralph Beard said the Oklahoma Attorney General's office issued a ruling that the panel had to have open meetings even though the public was able to access the weekly meetings via tele-conference. Beard said commissioners will have one final meeting via tele-conference on Monday, April 6th at 9:00 a.m. He said the attorney general's ruling did not come in time to provide a 10-day notice of the meeting change. Beginning with the Monday, April 13th meeting, commissioners will meet in the Grady County Fairgrounds Community Building. Beard said the building provides a lot more open space than the commissioner's office which will allow for proper social-distancing. Beard said the public can attend the meetings at the new location. He also said tele-conferencing will be discontinued after the Monday, April 6th meeting.
City of Chix Suspends Bulk Pick-up and Brush Service
The City of Chickasha is taking action to help protect sanitation workers during the health crisis. As of Monday, April 6th, residential bulk and brush pick up is being suspended through April 30th. The city's private contractor for trash pick-up, Waste Connections, will continue regular trash pick up services as scheduled. However, only the contents of the trash carts will be picked up. Any items placed outside the carts will not be picked up. Residents can place yard waste in their carts if there is room. Officials said that residents with bulky items will be able to take those items to the Southern Plains Landfill and dispose of them at no charge, as long as they show a current utility bill. The landfill is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
New Investor Partners with Chickasha Company
Chickasha-based Physician House Calls (PHC) has received an investment from a private equity firm out of Nashville. Council Capital is partnering with PHC, which is a company that provides home-based primary care. Terms of the partnership were not disclosed. In a press release announcing the partnership, Council Capital general partner Eric Keen said the services provided by PHC is an investment theme they have been investigating for more than a year. He said PHC offers an innovative and effective service that improves the patient's quality of care and reduces costs to the healthcare system. PHC co-founder Hank Ross said the partnership is a strategic fit and that he looks forward to leveraging the investor's health care expertise in PHC’s future growth.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $25.32 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $29.94.
Natural gas is $1.55 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,630 and silver is $14.61.
Thursday, April 2nd
Governor Closes Non-Essential Businesses Statewide
All non-essential businesses throughout Oklahoma are ordered closed by Gov. Kevin Stitt as officials to try to help stem the tide of the coronavirus health emergency. During a Wednesday press conference the governor expanded his recent executive order. Previously, the non-essential business closure pertained only to those counties where the coronavirus had been confirmed. That order is now effective in all 77 counties and it has been extended through April 30th. The governor also again asked Oklahomans to postpone elective surgeries in order to allow doctors and health care workers to focus on the health crisis. Stitt also extended his Safer-at-Home order, asking those 65 and older and those with compromised immune systems to stay home through the end of the month unless they have to get food or prescriptions.
Officials Seek Sites for Temporary Hospitals
Stitt also said hospitals are expecting a surge in patients that will need to be treated for the coronoavirus infection. He is also looking for locations to build temporary hospitals.
The governor also urged families to not take children grocery shopping. He said the store is not a place for family outings and recommended that only one person from each family go into a store. The governor stopped short of issuing a statewide shelter-in-place plan, but said mayors and county commissioners may issue those restrictions if they feel they are necessary.
State Coronavirus Cases Still Climbing
The state health department now indicates 719 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday, April 1st. Checking the counties in the Chickasha and Anadarko area: Oklahoma County now has nearly 200 cases confirmed; Cleveland County, 87; Canadian County, 24; Comanche County, 21; McClain County, nine; Garvin County, seven; Stephens County, six; Grady County, three; and Caddo County still with only one. Officials anticipate the steep rise of the COVID-19 virus cases in Oklahoma to peak around April 22nd.
SNAP Recipients to Receive Emergency Allotment
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services will be issuing emergency allotments to SNAP recipients – families which are part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. The action is to address temporary food needs because of the coronavirus pandemic. The allotment allows up to the maximum monthly amount based on the number of individuals in a recipient's household. March SNAP supplements will be staggered between April 1st and April 10th and April supplements will be staggered between April 10th and April 30th.
Tom Cole to Host Another Town Hall Tele-Conference
4th District Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole has scheduled another town hall tele-conference this week. Cole will discuss the coronavirus relief package which was approved in Washington, D.C. last week and other recent developments. The telephone town hall meeting will run from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. tonight (Thursday, April 2nd). To participate, call 1-888-652-5404.
USAO Hosts Virtual Chalk-Art Festival
Today was supposed to be a big day on the USAO campus. Hundreds of high school students from across the state were to take part in the annual Spring Triad which normally includes an academic competition, a sidewalk chalk art festival, and the Droverstock outdoor concert. With the campus closed due to coronavirus concerns, officials reached out on Twitter yesterday to encourage students take part in a virtual chalk art festival. Calling it the Stay at Home Chalk Art Festival they say to draw on your sidewalk or driveway, take a photo, and e-mail it to the university to be posted on its on-line album. Photos can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $20.31 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $22.76.
Natural gas is $1.58 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,602 and silver is $14.30.
A memorial service for Thomas South, 29, of Chickasha will be held at a date. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Wednesday, April 1st
Grady County COVID-19 Number Revised Downward
Grady County's number of confirmed COVID-19 virus infections has been revised downward. The state health department changed the number from three to two yesterday. An official said one of the cases may have been a duplicate or it was placed in the wrong county. Statewide, the confirmed coronavirus number is now at 565 with the number of deaths up to 23. There have been 177 people hospitalized with the illness.
Commerce Dep't. Sets Weekly Tele-Conferences
The Oklahoma Department of Commerce today is launching a weekly series of teleconferences to discuss the coronavirus situation in several business sectors. State Commerce and Workforce Secretary Sean Kouplen and others will answer questions from those who participate. They'll address retail, energy, agriculture and food processing, manufacturing, energy, non-profits and others. The teleconferences are being held every Wednesday. A different teleconference is held each hour, from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Participation is limited to the first 1,000 people who join. To see the schedule and conference links, go to the website www.okcommerce.gov
Child Advocacy Group Begins Tele-Conferences
A new series of teleconferences to discuss issues important to children and their families also kicks off today. Joe Dorman with the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy calls the sessions telephone town hall meetings where health care professionals and government leaders will be featured. Dorman talks about some of the topics that will be reviewed.
Those calling into the teleconference will be able ask the panelists questions. The teleconference will get underway at 11:45 a.m. (Wednesday). There is no charge but participants will have to register. Go to the Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy's website, www.oica.org and sign up in the pop-up box. They'll be using the Zoom Internet platform.
Man Alledgedly Uses Shovel Handle to Beat his Brother
A fight between brothers that included a shovel handle being used as a weapon lands one of the men in jail. Chickasha police were called to a home near 9th and Oregon last Saturday morning. A probable cause affidavit indicates one of the men was homeless, but his brother allowed him to live in a shed at the residence. The fight began over allegations that the suspect had been defecating in the yard, then escalated to the point where the suspect allegedly grabbed the shovel handle and hit his brother in the head, neck and back. Authorities arrested 49-year old Johnathan Clifford Mulligan. Prosecutors have charged him with a felony count of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. Prosecutors also want to revoke a suspended sentence Mulligan received for pleading guilty to a misdemeanor burglary charge back in December. Mulligan remains in jail in lieu of a $30,000 bond.
Grant to Create Native American Institute at OU
A multi-million dollar grant to the University of Oklahoma will create a new program to study Native American nations. It will be called the Native Peoples Institute. University officials say the nearly $5 million grant will make OU the premier center for Native American research and teaching. The grant was provided by The Horizon Foundation which is a grant-making non-profit group from the Dallas area. It includes three $1.5 million endowed chairs to attract nationally recognized scholars in Native American studies. Areas of study will include spirituality and the environment, history and culture, and language preservation and revitalization.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $20.48 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $22.74.
Natural gas is $1.64 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,607 and silver is $14.17.
A private graveside service is scheduled for Shirley Daugherty, 74, of Tuttle. The service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, April 3rd at the Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
Tuesday, March 31st
Official Guestimates When State COVID-19 Cases Peak
The number of Oklahomans infected by the COVID-19 virus will likely top 500 today. The state health department reported Monday that the number was up to 481, with 17 deaths blamed on the illness and 153 hospitalized. When the threat might peak in Oklahoma is anybody's guess, but Grady Memorial hospital administrator Kean Spellman told county commissioners yesterday that there are projections that it could be a couple more weeks, perhaps mid-April. Yesterday's health department report indicated three confirmed COVID-19 virus cases in Grady County. Spellman said there are likely more who are self-quarantined at home, and those who are ill but not having severe symptoms. Spellman said that if needed the hospital could create an emergency room overflow driveway, which could circle through the hospital parking lot. The hospital and its adjoining Five Oaks Medical Group are screening everyone who visit the medical facilities for potential coronavirus symptoms.
Two Hospitalized After SUV Accident
An SUV crashes on a wet highway near Anadarko sending two people to the hospital. The accident happened just after 10:30 p.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 62, about three miles west of Anadarko. 42-year old Tymaemah Tofpi and a passenger, 35-year old Sky Bullock both of Anadarko, were taken to a Lawton hospital. Tofpi was last in fair condition and Bullock was in good condition. A third person in the SUV refused treatment. The trooper investigating the accident said Tofpi was driving when she lost control of the vehicle, ran off the road and hit a sign and a couple of trees. She was pinned in the vehicle for about 20 minutes.
April 7th City Council, School Elections Postponed
City council and school elections which were scheduled across the state next week have been postponed because of the health risks involving the COVID-19 virus. Most of those elections have been re-scheduled for June 30th including the Chickasha City Council election and the Anadarko municipal election. One area school district has postponed a bond election indefinitely. That’s in Bridge Creek where school officials will decide later when to re-schedule that election.
Filing Period for County, State Offices Set
(EDITOR'S NOTE - An earlier version of this story had the wrong dates for the filing period. We apologize for the mistake)
How will the coronavirus affect the filing period for candidates who want to run for state or county offices? The filing period is officially next week, April 8th through the 10th. While election board offices are closed to the public, candidates can find applications for county and state offices on the state election board website. Grady County Election Board Secretary Katrina Hughes says that candidates can fill out those forms ahead of time and deliver or mail them to the election board in a sealed envelope. For county offices, the applications must also include a $300 filing fee. Hughes says it’s not clear from the state election board if the county offices will extend their hours during the filing period. Currently some election boards are closing at 2 o'clock in the afternoon. County offices up for election this year include the sheriff, district two county commissioner, court clerk, and county clerk.
'Bingo' Campaign Begins to Support Restaurants
In an effort to help local restaurants experiencing hardships because of the coronavirus, the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Council have combined to create a plan that will help consumers help those eateries. Plus, the consumers will be eligible to win gift certificates to use later at those establishments. It's called To Go Bingo. 39 area restaurants are listed on a “card”, and customers must purchase a minimum of $20 to mark a restaurant's spot. A card must have at least eight squares marked off and the receipts from the restaurant where the purchase was made. Photos of the card and the receipts can be e-mailed to: email@example.com or through regular mail to: Chickasha EDC, 221 W. Chickasha Avenue, Chickasha, OK 73018. Names will go into a daily drawing where $100 gift certificates will be given away every weekday through the month of April. Officials expect to give away more than $10,000 in gift certificates.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $20.09 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $22.76.
Natural gas is $1.69 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,611 and silver is $14.09.
A private graveside service for Anna Powell, 93, of Chickasha will be held at 2:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 1st at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Pauline “Polly” Wilson
A private graveside service for old Polly Wilson, 86, of Duncan will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday. April 2nd at the Oddfellows Memory Gardens Cemetery in Norman. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Monday, March 30th
Governor Adds More Restrictions Due to COVID-19 Virus
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt has made more changes to his executive order designed to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Oklahoma. On Sunday, Stitt required travelers from six states to self-quarantine for two weeks. Individuals from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Louisiana, Washington, and California will have to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Another change requires delivery personnel to submit to screenings upon request at medical facilities, long-term care facilities, and day care centers. Those tests would likely include a temperature check and a short questionnaire about possible exposure to the coronavirus.
State Democrats Call for More Coronavirus Restrictions
Over the weekend, Democrats in the State House of Representatives called on the governor to take stronger action against the infection. A letter from house minority leader Kay Floyd of Oklahoma City said the Democrats agree with medical experts who are calling for an executive order to implement a statewide shelter-in-place policy. Floyd said limiting the Safer at Home initiative to only those counties where the coronavirus has been confirmed will not effectively contain the community transmission of the illness. As of Sunday, the state has 429 confirmed coronavirus cases which included 16 deaths. Grady, Stephens, and McClain Counties each have two, Garvin County has four, Canadian County has 12, and Comanche County has 11. Caddo County still has just one confirmed case.
Goodwill Closes Local, National Stores
There's another store closure in Chickasha because of the growing number of COVID-19 illnesses. Goodwill has closed its doors not only locally, but nationwide. Chickasha store officials posted a sign on its door Sunday that the store is temporarily closed. Goodwill Industries of Southern Oklahoma and North Texas released a statement saying they also will not be providing home pick-up service of donated items. Goodwill has also closed their adult day care services, workforce development services, the career development center, and voluntary income tax assistance service. Operations are expected to resume on April 12th. Officials say they are still accepting donations at their blue bins, but ask that no large items like furniture be dropped off during the temporary closure.
Loans Available to Help Small Businesses Stay Open
Small businesses across the country are hurting due to the coronavirus pandemic. The passage of the coronavirus act last week includes a new loan program to help businesses keep their doors open and their employees on the job. Sean Kouplen is the Secretary of Commerce for the State of Oklahoma. He says business owners should contact their local banks to get information.
Business owners will not have to re-pay the loans as long as they follow some guidelines, which include maintaining their current level of employees through the economic slowdown.
OSU Extension Offices Closed, but Services Available
Like many public buildings OSU Extension Offices are not accessible to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic. But Dave Deken with the OETA Sunup program says offices are still able to offer assistance.
He said the offices can still send soil samples from agriculture producers and those wanting to plant spring gardens to Oklahoma State University for testing.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $21.51 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $24.93.
Natural gas is $1.63 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,622 and silver is $14.19.