Saturday, May 16th
Bill Named for Injured Chickasha Police Officer
Passes State House, Senate; Heads to Governor
State lawmakers have given their approval to a measure designed to ensure police officers seriously injured in the line of duty can get full disability benefits. The measure is named for a Chickasha police officer. The Sgt. Matthew Schoolfield Disability Act has been sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt, after getting overwhelming approval in both the state house and senate. Schoolfield was permanently disabled after being injured in a shootout in September of 2017. State Representative David Perryman and State Senator Lonnie Paxton of Tuttle were the primary authors of HB 3330. Paxton said that because of how disability benefits are figured in with the police retirement system, Schoolfield can't get full disability, which would still get him less than half of his regular pay. He said the bill would ensure injured officers can get full disability when they sustain life-altering injuries.
Grady County School Administrators Honored
A couple of Grady County school administrators have been recognized for their work. Jennifer Stegman and Kevin Sims were both honored by the Oklahoma Association of School Administrators in District 14. Stegman serves as the assistant superintendent for Chickasha Public Schools and served as interim superintendent for several months. She was named the Assistant Superintendent of the Year for District 14. Sims, the longtime superintendent at Minco Public Schools was named the Superintendent of the Year for District 14.
The number of active coronavirus cases in Oklahoma seems to be on a downward trend. The latest report from the state health department shows about 1,000 individuals currently being treated for the illness. The number of new cases went over the 5,000 mark on Friday. There were 124 new cases, taking the total number of people who have been confirmed with the infection at 5,086. The report also shows that the number of new recoveries outpaced that of new cases. 141 more Oklahomans have been cleared and that total is now 3,801. There was one more death attributed to the illness and that total is now at 285. And the number of patients currently hospitalized is holding fairly steady at 215. Chickasha now has 30 confirmed coronavirus cases and 17 of them have recovered. There have been two deaths in Chickasha and there are still 11 active cases in the city. Throughout Grady County the number is up to 58 and 40 people have recovered.
Drone Technology Bill in Governor's Hands
A bill designed to further drone technology in Oklahoma is headed to Gov. Kevin Stitt for his consideration. Senate Bill 1688 would create the Oklahoma Droneport Project Pilot Program. It would be under the guidance of the Oklahoma Aeronautics Commission and would further the state's investment in innovative technologies. The program is expected to help Oklahoma create jobs in the emerging unmanned aerial systems industry. It could also include autonomous vehicles and taxi services, drone delivery in some areas, unmanned ground cargo deliveries, and a NASA challenge to test electric aircraft. Officials say it has the potential to positon the state as an emerging leader in cutting-edge drone technology.
Rain Postpones Class of 2020 Parades
Several parades scheduled to honor graduating high school seniors last night were called off due to the heavy rains in the area. Parades in Chickasha, Anadarko, and Tuttle were all rained out. Anadarko has re-scheduled its parade for 7:00 p.m. tonight. Chickasha has re-scheduled its parade for 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, May 19th at 7:30 p.m. Tuttle has not yet announced a new date.
Deer, Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Revised
Deer and waterfowl hunters will have more hunting opportunities in their respective sports. The state wildlife commission recently approved the expansions. The new regulations for deer hunting affect antlerless harvest in all 10 of the state's deer management zones. Muzzleloader and rifle season antlerless bag limits increase in most zones although the total combined deer bag limit for each hunter will remain unchanged at a maximum of six. Antlered deer limits were unchanged. The antlerless deer season will increase from 10 to 14 days with the bag limit increasing to two. Waterfowl seasons will be changed. The mid-season split will be reduced from 12 to five days which will allow opening day to fall later in the calendar year. Zones 1 and 2 will have the same dates, Nov. 14th through 29th and Dec 5th through Jan. 31st, 2021. There will be two youth-only hunting days, which will also allow active and retired military members to hunt those days. They are Nov. 7th and Feb. 6th of next year.
Funeral service is pending for Curtis Johnson, 66, formerly of the Anadarko area. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Graveside service for David Files, 85, of Cement will be at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 19th at the Laverty Cemetery. He was a 30-year veteran of the U.S. Navy. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Friday, May 15th
YMCA Closed After Positive COVID-19 Test
The doors of Chickasha's YMCA remain closed after someone tested positive for the coronavirus. Rachel Klein is the Vice President of Communications for the Oklahoma City YMCA, which the Chickasha organization is affiliated with. The Y was closed Wednesday night after an individual reported they had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Klein said they are following health department guidelines by closing for at least 24 hours. Crews spent all day Thursday fogging the building and cleaning and disinfecting high-touch areas every hour. There's no word on when the Y may re-open.
Oklahoma's coronavirus count could surpass 5,000 when the state department of health releases its daily report later today. In Thursday's report, there were 110 new confirmations added to the growing list of Oklahomans with the illness - the total number now at 4.962. Six more people died from the illness putting that total now up to 284. The number of people who are currently being treated in hospitals dropped by one to 217. Another 100 Oklahomans have recovered from the illness with that number up to 3,660. The number of active COVID-19 cases is just over 1,000. Grady County's number is at 54 with 39 of them now fully recovered. Caddo County’s number is now at 110 with 63 patients now OK. McClain County’s number is 86 with 66 patients fully recovered. Stephens County has been coronavirus-free for several days. The total number of confirmed cases there remains at 22 with 21 people recovered and one person has died from the illness.
How Area Lawmakers Voted on Governor's Vetoes
State lawmakers this week voted to override Gov. Kevin Stitt's vetoes of several bills related to the state budget for fiscal year 2021. Lawmakers representing the Grady and Caddo County areas were near unanimous in their votes to over-ride those vetoes. Democratic State Representative David Perryman of Chickasha cast a no vote to override the veto of SB 1922 which was the $7.7 billion budget plan. Perryman did vote to override the vetoes on HBs 2741, 2742, and 2743. Republican State Representative Brad Boles of Marlow, and Republican State Senators Lonnie Paxton of Tuttle and Darcy Jech of Kingfisher who serves much of Caddo County cast votes to override all four of the governor's vetoes.
Storm Threat Changes Chix Class of 2020 Parade
The threat of thunderstorms tonight has forced Chickasha school officials to move up the time for the parade to recognize the senior class of 2020. The new start time for the parade has been tentatively set for 6:00 p.m (Listen for updates this afternoon). The seniors will drive around the high school campus and then proceed east on Chickasha Avenue where the parade will end at the Rock Island Railroad Depot. All are welcome to line Chickasha Avenue to show support for the seniors. There is also a parade scheduled tonight for Tuttle High School seniors. School officials there will make a decision about that start time sometime this morning and post it on the school's Facebook page.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Chickasha school superintendent Rick Croslin and athletic director Jerry Don Bray are this week's guest on the KOOL Konversation. On Real Estate Today with John Mosley, this week's guest is Scott Smith with the Oklahoma Manufacturing Alliance. Find links to these programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $27.56 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $30.13.
Natural gas is $1.68 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,741 and silver is $16.64.
Norma Jean Miller
Funeral for Norma Jean Miller, 80, of Verden will be at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 18th at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Thursday, May 14th
Roof Repair Scammers May be on the Prowl
Here's another reminder for homeowners to be wary of unknown or unwanted solicitors offering to repair storm-damaged roofs. A resident called KOOL/RANCH News saying he received two telephone calls from a company saying they were inspecting roofs in the Chickasha area and were setting up appointments. When he asked for their telephone number the caller hung up. Chickasha City Planner Gene Winsett said if you suspect damage that the first person on your roof should be a representative from your insurance company. Then you can contact reputable companies on your own for estimates. If you get a suspicious phone call you can always hang up, or if someone is going door-to-door you can turn them away. In the City of Chickasha companies must be registered with the city. Roofing companies also must be licensed with the State of Oklahoma's Construction Industries Board. Before deciding on a roofer, call the board or go on-line to see if they are licensed at www.cib.ok.gov
USAO Gets $1 Million in CARES Act Funds
USAO has received about $1 million in federal funds as part of the CARES Act. University President John Feaver said about half of that amount is for students and the other half is for university needs. He said the university is getting money to students as quickly as possible.
USAO will be holding a virtual commencement program this spring. There will be a highlight video of each graduate and the event will include all the features of a traditional ceremony. The program will be Friday, May 22nd at 6 p.m. and will be available on-line at usao.stageclip.com
Oklahoma's coronavirus count has grown by another 120 cases and is now up to 4,852. The state health department reported no new deaths in the previous 24 hours so the number fatal cases of the illness remains at 278. The number of people hospitalized was up slightly to 218. The number of people who have recovered from the illness has risen to 3,559. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Chickasha is now up to 25 and 16 of them have recovered. Tuttle remained steady at 15 and all but one has recovered. Blanchard was also unchanged at 18 and all but one has recovered. Anadarko has one more confirmed case with that total up to 11 and eight people have recovered. Binger was unchanged at 38 confirmed cases and 28 people have recovered.
Election Board Seeks Workers
The Grady County Election Board is looking for individuals to work at some of its precincts for upcoming elections. Election Board Secretary Katrina Hughes says there are more than 100 positions available at the county's 28 precincts. They are paid positions and individuals can earn nearly $100 per day, plus mileage. You do have to be a registered voter and will have to attend a training session. Workers must be at their assigned precinct at 6:30 a.m. the morning of the election and work until after the polls close at 7:00 p.m. Contact the election board by calling 405-224-1430 or e-mail email@example.com and they will e-mail you an application.
Summer Events Canceled due to Pandemic
More summertime events have been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers have canceled Chickasha's annual Juneteenth celebration which was scheduled for Washita Valley Park on June 20th. The Chickasha Community Theater announced that they have postponed its summer performance of Frozen, Jr. and have put the remainder of the 2020 season on a temporary hold. The theatre group said they are discussing some other summer activities. Monitor the Chickasha Community Theater's Facebook page for information.
Auto Dealer Randy Byford Dies
Oklahoma businessman and car dealership owner Randy Byford has died. Byford was 61 when he passed away near Ninnekah Saturday night. Byford owned dealerships in Chickasha, Duncan, Lawton and other areas for about the last 15 years. Born in Duncan in 1959, he grew up on the family's purebred swine operation in Stephens County. He graduated from Comanche High School and then Oklahoma State University. He was a big supporter of the university, and numerous 4H and FFA programs. He became a car salesman in 1983 at Bob Moore Cadillac in Oklahoma City. Byford purchased his first dealership in 2005 in Lawton, and expanded the Byford Auto Group to also include Elk City, Fairview, and Oklahoma City. Funeral services have been arranged with Whitt Funeral Home in Duncan. An on-line funeral will be at 1:30 p.m. Friday, May 15th at www.newhopeduncan.com Memorial contributions may be made to the 4H or FFA programs in Comanche, or The Randy Byford Memorial Fund with Oklahoma State University Foundation.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $25.29 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $29.19.
Natural gas is $1.61 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,726 and silver is $15.83.
Wednesday, May 13th
Chickasha Teacher Tests Positive for the Coronavirus
An elementary teacher in Chickasha Public Schools has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Superintendent Rick Croslin said the third grade teacher at Grand Avenue School notified officials of the test results yesterday. Croslin said the teacher was most recently at school last Thursday helping to bag classroom supplies and personal items of her students. She has not had any contact with students as they have been participating in distance learning. The teacher was also not involved in handling food that was being distributed to students as part of the meal distribution program. Croslin said they have placed the school on a 14-day quarantine. School officials are postponing the pick-up of all third grade students’ personal items, as well as the return of library books and Chrome books that students are using for distance learning until sometime after June 1st. Personal items of 2nd and 4th grade students have already been picked up. Officials will be using the district's Clorox 360 spraying machine to sanitize the entire building as well as the students’ personal items.
Vandalism Suspect Faces Felony Charge
for Committing Crime During State of Emergency
A Chickasha man is charged with a felony for damaging property during a state of emergency. 62-year old Michael Shane Fitzpatrick is behind bars after allegedly throwing a fence post through the window of a neighbor's home. It happened near 22nd and Dakota Avenue Monday morning. A probable cause affidavit indicates there have been some on-going issues between Fitzpatrick and the neighbor. Fitzpatrick claimed the neighbor said he would buy him a new truck if he could break the window. Police say there is video surveillance showing Fitzpatrick failing the first time he threw an object at the window, but it broke on a second attempt. Fitzpatrick was arrested at his home. The affidavit states that an act of vandalism while under a state of emergency is a felony. Fitzpatrick remains in jail pending a $30,000 bond. Fitzpatrick is also facing an unrelated charge of felony assault with a deadly weapon from an incident that occurred in 2018. That case is scheduled for a disposition docket at the Grady County Courthouse in July.
Truck Driver Hurt in I-35 Crash
A Minco truck driver was hospitalized after a crash on I-35 yesterday. Billy Joslin was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital with trunk, arm, and leg injuries and admitted in stable condition. The accident happened about two miles south of Wayne near Mile Marker 82 just before 1:00 p.m. Tuesday. The highway patrol reports that Joslin swerved off the highway to avoid hitting vehicles that had stopped in front of him. The semi rolled one time and pinned Joslin in the cab for nearly an hour.
After a few days of minimal increases in the number of positive COVID-19 tests in Oklahoma, the number grew by nearly 120 in Tuesday’s report from the state health department. Now 4,732 people have tested positive for the infection and five more people died which increases the number of fatal cases to 278. There are currently 190 in state hospitals. The number those who have recovered now stands at 3,423. There have been 19 confirmed cases in Chickasha where 15 people have recovered and there have been two deaths. Tuttle has had 15 cases and all but one has recovered. Blanchard has had 18 cases and all but one has recovered. Anadarko has had a total of 10 cases with eight people recovering along with one death. In Binger, the total number of cases is 38 with 28 people recovering and eight deaths.
Parade Set for Chickasha Class of 2020
The Chickasha High School Class of 2020 will be parading around the high school campus and through downtown Chickasha Friday night. Residents are encouraged to come out and show their support for the students. Friday was supposed to be graduation night for the class but like many other ceremonies it was canceled because of the COVID-19 health crisis. The seniors will be decorating their cars and trucks, and are encouraged to wear their caps and gowns for the parade. Teachers and school officials will be lining the streets around the high school campus and the lights at Memorial Stadium will be on. The parade will start at 7:30 p.m. and wind around the high school campus, then head east on Chickasha Avenue and end at the Rock Island Railroad depot. Residents are encouraged to line up along Chickasha Avenue at appropriate social distances to congratulate the students. A formal graduation ceremony is scheduled for Friday, June 19th at the high school football field.
Continental Reports Producing Well Amid Downturn
With the energy industry turned upside down there are only 13 working oil and gas rigs in Oklahoma this week. Continental Resources did report the completion of a well north of Alex. It’s in Section 28 of Township Range 6 North and 5 West. It was bringing in about 160 barrels of oil and nearly 560 MCF of natural gas per day. The spud date was August of last year with the completion date in late January. The well is drilled to a depth of nearly 23,000 feet.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $25.78 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is just under $30.
Natural gas is $1.72 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,706 and silver is $15.71.
Tuesday, May 12th
Mixed Numbers for Chickasha Sales Revenue
Sales tax revenues for the City of Chickasha were surprisingly higher this month but officials are still predicting a big drop in the number in the future. The city received $954,000 from the state tax commission this month which is a 6.8 percent increase from April. However, the number is down almost 10 percent from the more than $1 million that came in during May of last year. City Manager John Noblitt told the city council last week that he anticipates sales tax revenues could fall to about $700,000 a month as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The sales tax revenues for May were generated from retail business in March. The coronavirus hit Oklahoma in the middle of that month. Chickasha's use tax collections were up about 17 percent from last month, to $83,000. That’s about equal to the use tax collected at this time last year. Use tax collections are those paid on Internet purchases.
Grady County Sales Tax Revenue Numbers also Mixed
Grady County's sales tax revenue for May was $598,000 which was up about 19 percent from last month. But it was down more than 29 percent compared to May of 2019. Use tax collections for the county grew from $67,000 last month to $76,000 this month but that's nearly half of the total a year ago, when it was $138,000.
Chix Schools Face $2 Million Shortfall
Chickasha Public School officials are expecting a $2 million shortfall in funding for next school year. Superintendent Rick Croslin told the board of education last night that no school employees will be without a job. He said he'd be rolling out a plan in the next few weeks on how he anticipates dealing with the shortfall. School board member Robin Morse was concerned that the district hadn't yet received about $2 million in federal funds. Officials said they are working to solve several issues and hope to get that funding by June 30th.
New School Administrator to Start Early
Croslin also said that the district's new director of curriculum and personnel would be on board a couple of weeks earlier than expected. Seth Meier was originally begin July 1st but will now begin June 15th. Meier was part of last night’s virtual school board meeting. Since Meier was hired last month he has been spending a couple of days a week in the district getting familiar with his new surroundings.
One Dead, Two Hurt in Caddo County Crash
A Caddo County woman died and two children were taken to a hospital following a single vehicle crash. 21-year old Michaela Whiteshire of Lookeba died at the scene of the accident. A 17-year old girl and a 2-year old girl who were passengers were taken to an Oklahoma City hospital for evaluation. Their names were not released and it was not known if they were admitted. The accident happened on a gravel county road just northwest of Lookeba about 7:00 p.m. last night. The highway patrol reports that Whiteshire went airborne at the crest of a hill and lost control. The vehicle ran off the road and rolled an undetermined number of times. Whiteshire and the teen were not wearing seatbelts but the toddler was in a child-restraint seat.
Homes Evacuated After Gas Line Ruptured
Several Chickasha homes were evacuated yesterday when a contractor hit a gas line near USAO. It happened just before noon in the area of 19th and Alabama Avenue. The fire department and other emergency crews were called out after the 4-inch gas line was hit. Fortunately, no fire erupted and residents were allowed to return to their homes after the pipeline was repaired.
Camera Catches Thief Red Handed
A security camera helps to nab a suspect in a string of car burglaries in Tuttle. A number of break-ins were reported from late Saturday, April 26th to early Sunday, April 27th. Some of the vehicles were unlocked, but at least one that was locked had a window broken and several items removed. One of the victims called police later saying they had video surveillance of the crime, and authorities were able to identify a suspect. An arrest warrant was issued and last Friday Tuttle police arrested 18-year old Jaxon Scott South on felony burglary charges and a misdemeanor of knowingly concealing stolen property. At his initial appearance in Grady County District Court yesterday South’s bond was set at $100,000.
There were only 24 new cases of the coronavirus in Oklahoma in Monday's report from the State Health Department. The total number of known COVID-19 cases is now at 4,613. There were two new deaths attributed to the illness with the death toll now at 274. The number of those who have recovered is 3,241. The number of individuals currently hospitalized with the illness is down to 177. Grady County's number was unchanged, staying at 45 with 38 people recovering and two deaths. Caddo County is now up to 108 cases with 52 recoveries and eight deaths. McClain County was unchanged at 85 with 31 recoveries and two deaths. Stephens County stayed at 22 with 21 recoveries and one death. Garvin County is at 15 with 12 people recovering and one death.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $24.14 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $29.63.
Natural gas is $1.82 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,709 and silver is $15.79.
Services are pending for Della Jones, 56, formerly of the Chickasha and Anadarko area. Arrangements are with Brown Thomas Funeral Home.
A private graveside service is scheduled for Rita Christian, 85, of Chickasha. Viewing will be at Ferguson Funeral Home on Thursday, May 14th from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. with the graveside service to follow at the Pocasset Cemetery. An on-line funeral using the Zoom platform will be at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, May 16th.
Monday, May 11th
Grady County Courthouse to Re-open to Public
The Grady County Courthouse will be re-opening to the public on a limited basis next week. County Commissioner Ralph Beard calls it a soft opening that will start next Monday, May 18th. Beard said there will be some strict guidelines.
Beard said masks will be provided if individuals do not bring them and that gloves will be provided should visitors want them. Everyone's temperature will be taken, and if it is over 100.4 those individuals will not be allowed in. He also said attendance will be limited for some court hearings.
The weekly county commissioners meeting will continue to be held at the Grady County Fairgrounds with officials anticipate returning the meetings to the courthouse on June 1st.
The number of Oklahomans stricken by the coronavirus continues climbing. There were 66 new cases on Saturday and 99 new cases on Sunday taking the new total to 4,589. The state health department reports 272 deaths and that 3,204 individuals have recovered. Caddo County hit triple digits over the weekend with a total of 100 cases of COVID-19 with 9 deaths and 50 recoveries. McClain County has 85 cases with two deaths and 30 recoveries. Grady County is now at 45 with two deaths and 37 recoveries. Stephens County remains at 22 with one death and 21 recoveries so Stephens County has no active cases. Garvin County has 14 cases with one death and 12 people have recovered.
Chickasha Sports Complex to Re-open
In case you missed the news over the weekend, the City of Chickasha announced that the city's sports complex will be re-opening. The complex is opening Friday, May 15th nearly two months to the day it was closed due to the coronavirus crisis. There will be increased safety measures. Only one entry will be used and everyone entering will have to wear a face covering, including players. Anyone not feeling well is asked to not visit the complex. Playgrounds will be closed and certain bleacher rows will be blocked off to help with social distancing. The sports complex will be fogged twice a day. Officials are strongly recommending frequent hand washing. Snacks like sunflower seeds and similar foods that are spit out will not be allowed.
Small Biz Still Urged to Apply for CARES Act Funds
Small businesses throughout the state still have access to the Paycheck Protection Plan under the CARES Act to help them get through the COVID-19 crisis. In a press release, the Oklahoma Bankers Association says there are still funds available and that community banks are able to help. Officials say that the funds which come from the U.S. Small Business Administration are limited.
Kiowa Tribe Collects PPP
The Kiowa Tribe picks up nearly $20 million in funds from the CARES Act Paycheck Protection Plan. The nation’s 574 federally-recognized tribes started receiving their funds last week. Kiowa Tribe spokesman Neely Tsoodle said the tribe's funding will go directly to unbudgeted costs experienced during the pandemic. Tribal chairman Matt Komalty said the amount of the funds received were based on the tribe's population of more than 14,000 members.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $24.74 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $30.97.
Natural gas is $1.82 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,699 and silver is $15.64.