Saturday, June 6th
Chickasha Firefighters Tests Positive for Coronavirus
(Editor's note - A previous version of this story indicated only one firefighter reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus. We apologize for the error)
A firefighter for the City of Chickasha has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. In a press release, City Manager John Noblitt said in the interest of public safety, officials wanted to notify citizens and encourage them to monitor their own health in case of exposure. Noblitt encouraged anyone who attended a voter registration drive hosted by the firefighters on Saturday, May 30th or the city council meeting on Monday, June 1st to monitor themselves for coronavirus symptoms since the unidentified firefighter attended both events. Should anyone experience a fever, cough, or shortness of breath they should contact their doctor. Noblitt said anyone wanting to see the city manager, the city clerk, or the community development department at city hall will have to make an appointment over the next couple of weeks. Individuals who want to pay their utility bill in person can do so without an appointment, although anyone visiting city hall are required to wear masks. Noblitt said the special city council meeting on Monday, June 8th which will include a public hearing on the city’s proposed 2021 fiscal year budget will be held as scheduled at 6:30 p.m. in the city council chambers. The meeting will be televised on Suddenlink Channel 3. Individuals who may want to issue comments but not attend the meeting can e-mail those comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Driver Hospitalized Following Rollover
A rollover crash in Caddo County sends two people to the hospital with one of them admitted with head injuries. The driver of the car was 30-year old Mariah Tsotaddle of Oklahoma City. She was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where she was last in fair condition. A passenger, 58-year old Aurelia Hoffman of El Reno, was taken to a Lawton hospital but was not admitted. The accident happened just after 1:30 p.m. Friday about five miles north of Ft. Cobb on Primitive Road. The Highway Patrol reports that Tsotaddle may have been driving too fast for road conditions when she ran off the road and the car rolled and landed upside down.
Anadarko Precinct Changes for June 30th Election
Anadarko voters who normally cast ballots at the Anadarko hospital will be doing so in a different location for the June 30th primary election. Caddo County Election Board Secretary Joy Ferrell said because of health concerns and protocol in dealing with the coronavirus, officials did not want voters to go into the hospital. Voting will take place in the former clinic of Dr. Maldonado which shares the hospital parking lot. There will be signs and arrows directing voters to the new polling place.
Sheriff's Office Updates Wanted 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 about any of these individuals you're asked to contact the sheriff's office by calling 405-222-5085.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. District Attorney Jason Hicks is our guest on the KOOL Konversation. Len Lacefield and Hal Brock with the Southern Plains Medical Group are on Real Estate Today with John Mosley. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
A graveside service for Michael Downes, 67, of Chickasha will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 9th at the Verden Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Friday, June 5th
No Charges Filed Against Woman Arrested
in Connection with Husband's Death
Grady County prosecutors have opted to not file charges at this time against a woman arrested for the shooting death of her husband. Meagan Seward was taken into custody this week after authorities found the body of Bradley Seward in the couple's rural Grady County home. Seward had called the sheriff's office early Sunday morning saying she shot her husband. District Attorney Jason Hicks would not comment on why no charges are being filed, only saying that the shooting is still under investigation. Hicks did say that Meagan Seward has been cooperative as officials continue gathering information about the case.
USAO President Issues Statement
Related to George Floyd's Tragic Death
USAO President John Feaver issues a statement on racism in light of the George Floyd tragedy. He writes that it’s unbelievable that in 2020 the inexcusable brutality remains a part of what should be a responsible, if not routine relationship between designated authority and citizens. Feaver writes that it’s impossible not to reflect on the endemic mistreatment of people of color, especially African-Americans, that has continued to characterize the history of America. He hopes that the violent protests which have taken place are understood has having no relationship to the causes of the public protests as legitimate expressions of anger and a demand to correct justice. He also said that the peaceful demonstrations would be the first steps in a continuing process of improving American society. Feaver writes that significant social, political, and cultural change is difficult but that we are fortunate to live in a Republic with a form of government than can be used to change life for the better.
New Building Purchased to House Grady County DA
Grady County Commissioners have finalized the purchase of property which is expected to be a new office for the district attorney. In a special meeting yesterday, commissioners approved the purchase the building which now houses the Frailey, Chaffin, Cordell, Perryman, and Sterkel Law Firm at 4th and Choctaw Avenue, across the street from the county courthouse. The purchase price was just under $1 million. Commissioners had considered remodeling the old county jail on top floor of the courthouse to serve as the DA's office, but renovation costs were thought to be too high. Many of the attorneys currently at the law firm of the building which was purchased are retiring, and others are said to be joining other law offices. County officials believe the move from the current DA's office just a couple of blocks away at 3rd and Pennsylvania Avenue could be completed by the first of next year.
Nurse Recovers from Coronavirus
A nurse who has recovered from the coronavirus is sharing her story. Alison Toney says she took all the precautions that a front line worker should take but fell ill anyway. After completing Practical Nursing training at the Canadian Valley Technology Center last fall, she went to work almost immediately. She believes she contracted the illness from a co-worker or a patient. Toney said she had moderate symptoms at first but that it took her about three weeks to recover. Toney is back at work now and has aspirations to become a Registered Nurse as she is enrolled in fall classes at OSU-OKC. Toney encourages individuals to follow the advice from health officials to prevent the spread of coronavirus including washing your hands often.
State's Wheat Harvest Begins
Oklahoma's wheat harvest is underway with combines in the fields along the Red River border in the southern and southwest part of the state. Mike Schulte with the Oklahoma Wheat Commission tells the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network that crops a little further north still need to mature a bit.
Schulte said the mid-April freeze damaged a lot of wheat fields. He estimates the harvest at 8 percent complete heading into the weekend.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $37.41 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $39.99.
Natural gas is $1.82 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,710 and silver is $17.88.
Thursday, June 4th
Good Numbers for New Construction in Chickasha
Despite restrictions at Chickasha City Hall due to the coronavirus last month, permits for new construction held steady. The city's Community Development Department approved more than $1.7 million in projects in May. 16 permits were authorized, including one for nearly $1 million for a remodeling project at Southern Plains Medical Center. Another $190,000 in new commercial projects were approved including one for $150,000 for Bordwine Development in the 400 block of Grand Avenue. In residential construction, officials signed off on the construction of four new single family homes in the Shadow Valley addition on West Country Club. Each of the homes are valued at $100,000. New construction in Chickasha for the first five months of the year totals $8.7 million.
Senior Nutrition Sales Tax Extension to be Decided
Grady County voters will decide if a county-wide sales tax should be extended to help fund senior nutrition centers. Centers in Chickasha, Ninnekah, Alex, Rush Springs, Verden, Minco, and Tuttle all benefit from the sales tax. While the centers do receive federal and state grants, supporters say it’s not enough to pay for many of their expenses. Jane Porter is one of many senior nutrition program officials.
Within the last few years, each center has received anywhere from $8,000 per month to as much as $25,000 per month from the sales tax. The one-eighth of a penny sales tax was first approved by voters in 2010 and it was extended in 2015. If approved, the sales would be extended another five years. The issue is on the June 30th ballot.
Deadline to Register to Vote June 30th is Tomorrow
By the way, tomorrow is the last day to register to vote in the June 30th election. It is Oklahoma’s primary election for federal and state offices which was postponed from earlier this spring. There are also a number of municipal and school board elections to be decided. You can register to vote at your county election board or go to the state election board website: www.elections.ok.gov
City COVID-19 Numbers to be Released Again
The state health department will resume releasing city-by-city numbers regarding the coronavirus. The agency stopped providing the information earlier this week, saying it was because the state's catastrophic emergency declaration had expired. Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter told health department officials that releasing the data would not violate state or federal law, as long as individuals are not identified. The community data is expected to be included when today's update is released.
There were 113 new coronavirus cases in Oklahoma in Wednesday's health department report, increasing the total number of the illnesses to 6,805. The agency also reported two new deaths which increases the number of fatal COVID-19 cases to 341. There were 753 active cases with 136 patients currently hospitalized with the illness. Grady County now has 100 confirmed COVID-19 cases. There have been three deaths and 95 patients have recovered. Caddo County now has167 cases, there have been 10 deaths, and 134 patients have recovered.
Some FFA STEM Programs to Benefit from Grants
A number of FFA programs across the state will be able to bolster their STEM education activities for the next few years. The PSO Foundation is providing $200,000 in grants over the next five years, which will be awarded to FFA chapters in communities served by the utility. PSO chairman Peggy Simmons said the grants will provide FFA students with new opportunities to develop their potential for leadership and learning that is important for the future of agriculture. The newest round of grants continues a program in which the PSO Foundation provided funds to 24 FFA chapters over the last two years. Individual chapter grants will be awarded through the Oklahoma FFA Foundation. Grant applications will be available soon with recipients to be announced later this year.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $37.29 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $39.79.
Natural gas is $1.82 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,712 and silver is $17.98.
A graveside service was previously held for Orena Workman, 90, of Chickasha. Arrangements were under the direction of Ferguson Funeral Home.
Wednesday, June 3rd
Peaceful Protestors March in Chickasha
While violent protests have occurred across the country after the death of George Floyd last week, there have been peaceful protests in Chickasha. Several people have been gathering at 4th and Grand Avenue the last several days waving signs and protesting racial discrimination. Floyd died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for nearly 9 minutes in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Last night, about 20 people marched along 4th Street from Grand Avenue to the downtown area and back which is about three miles. Here's one of the demonstrators-
The group had an escort by Chickasha police along the way, and many passers-by honked their horns in a show of support. The demonstration at 4th and Grand Avenue is expected to continue. A woman posted on social media last night that she'll be marching on Friday, June 5th and will end with a prayer vigil at 8:28 p.m. which is the time that George Floyd died.
Wife Arrested in Connection with Husband's Death
A Grady County woman is behind bars accused in the shooting death of her allegedly abusive husband. 29-year old Meagan Danielle Seward is being held on a murder complaint in connection with the fatal shooting that occurred in the Bradley area over the weekend. Grady County Undersheriff Phil Blevins said authorities got a call from Seward about 5:30 a.m. Sunday. When deputies and police arrived they found the body of Bradley Seward in a bedroom but Mrs. Seward and the couple’s two-year old son were not there. Blevins said officers then-
Blevins said Seward's attorney contacted them on Monday and said she would turn herself in but that didn't happen. Blevins said investigators had an idea about the vehicles that Seward may be driving and she was arrested on a traffic stop in Ninnekah Monday night. Seward told authorities that she had suffered years of abuse from her husband and that he was violent toward her the morning of the shooting. While Meagan Seward is being held on a first degree murder complaint, it will be up to the district attorney to decide what, if any charges should be filed.
Home Burglary Suspect in Custody
A Chickasha man is facing burglary and assault charges after allegedly breaking into his ex-girlfriend's house. 39-year old James Lewis Stewart is accused of breaking into the home, holding the woman captive, and threatening to kill her. Police were called to the home in the area of 9th and Dakota Avenue on Tuesday, May 26th to take the complaint. A probable cause affidavit filed by police alleges that Stewart held a knife to the victim's throat and cut her leg. The victim's father happened to come by at the time and Stewart ran out the back door. Police caught up with Stewart the next day after being dispatched to a pawn shop where Stewart was alleged to have been trying to sell stolen property. Stewart had left the store but police tracked him down a few blocks away. Stewart remains in jail in lieu of a $50,000 bond. He has a long list of previous encounters with police.
Artscope Summer Camp Will be Held
A lot of summer camps have been canceled this year, but one popular day camp in Chickasha will be held. Registration for Artscope is underway. Artscope is hosted by the Chickasha Area Arts Council and will be held July 20th-31st. The event is normally held at USAO but with the campus closed this summer, officials were able to relocate it to the Grady County Fairgrounds Event Center. Artscope is for kids 8-12 years old and features visual arts, music, and dance. Enrollment is limited to 80 students. The cost of the camp is $195 and scholarships are available. Find applications on-line at www.chickashaarts.org and get information by sending an e-mail to email@example.com
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $36.81 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $39.57.
Natural gas is $1.77 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,725 and silver is $18.23.
Tuesday, June 2nd
Chickasha City Councilman Calls for
Improved Race Relations in the City
Ward 3 Chickasha City Councilman R.P. Ashanti-Alexander says race relations in Chickasha need to get better. Ashanti-Alexander had this to say at last night's city council meeting.
Ashanti-Alexander presented the council and city manager information about what officials in Austin, Texas and Tacoma, Washington have done to address racial and cultural climates in their cities.
Supporters Rally for City Firefighters
Chickasha firefighters, family members, and supporters crowded into the Chickasha City Council chambers last night. All were calling for city officials to keep from cutting the fire department's budget. Over the last several weeks, there has been concern that City Manager John Noblitt is proposing a $1 million cut in the fire department's budget and laying off 10 firefighters, which Noblitt says is not true. Georgianne Hebblethwaite addressed the council, saying Noblitt has accused the International Assocation of Firefighters Local 2041 of being bullies and using scare tactics. She defended the firefighters, saying-
Noblitt said that the fire department is actually getting a budget increase next year, but that the funds are coming out of a different account.
Another firefighter supporter, Gina Downey, previously said Noblitt called firefighters bullies and demanded a public apology. She said she is still waiting for that apology. A public hearing on the proposed 2021 fiscal year budget for the City of Chickasha will be held next Monday night.
Council OKs Zoning Change, Church
A century-old Chickasha business gets the go-ahead to continue its growth. The city council last night approved a zoning change for Ross Seed Company on property it recently acquired at 5th and Pennsylvania Avenue. Officials approved a recommendation to change the property from multi-family dwelling to light industrial use. The company plans are to build a warehouse and move the company's seed-cleaning process to that building. The council also approved a use-on-review for a church to be built in the 2900 block of Norge Highway. The panel also accepted a $30,000 grant from the federal government's CARES Act to help the Chickasha airport. City Manager John Noblitt said that the city could get some additional grant money from the federal government to help the city recover from a loss of funds due to the coronavirus.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $35.44 per barrel.
London-based crude is $38.32.
Natural gas is $1.77 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,750 and silver is $18.81.
A graveside service for Garry Givens, 66, of Chickasha was scheduled for 1 p.m. today (Tuesday, June 2nd) at Fairlawn Cemetery. He was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and worked for Western Farmers Electric Coop for many years. Arrangements were with Sevier Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Wounded Warriors Project in Topeka, Kansas.
A graveside service for Melba Brown, 85, of Chickasha will be at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 3rd at the Westview Cemetery in Rush Springs. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Monday, June 1st
Fatal Shooting is Under Investigation
Investigators with the Grady County Sheriff's Office are looking for answers after responding to a fatal shooting that occurred in the Ninnekah area this weekend. Officials have not released any details saying the incident is under investigation. Deputies were called to the home early Sunday morning. We'll report more information as it becomes available.
Proposed Business Expansion, Church
to be Discussed by Chix City Council
Public hearings for a proposed zoning change and a use-on-review for a church are on the agenda for the Chickasha City Council tonight. The re-zoning proposal is for changing the zoning for property at 5th and Pennsylvania Avenue from multi-family residential use to light industrial use. Ross Seed Company wants to build a warehouse and relocate its seed-cleaning operations. The Use-on-Review for the church was submitted by Glenna Laird, who wants to build a church at 2912 Norge Highway. The area is currently zoned for residential use and churches are allowed within that zoning designation. The Planning Commission recommended that both proposals should be approved. The council will also consider accepting a $30,000 grant from the federal CARES Act to be used at the Chickasha Airport. The grant is to provide funding help to offset a decline in revenues because of diminished use of the airport in light of the coronavirus. The council is also to recognize former City Planner Gene Winsett who retired last week. Winsett spend a total of 42 years with the city including his time with the fire department. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
New Phase of State's COVID-19 Recovery Begins
Oklahoma enters Phase 3 of the governor's economic recovery plan as the state continues to see a manageable number of coronavirus cases. Businesses can resume unrestricted staffing at their worksites but must work to observe social-distancing, and increased cleaning and disinfecting practices. Businesses which had been operating by appointment only can now accept walk-ins at their discretion. Limited visitations are allowed at hospitals at their discretion. Summer camps are allowed to open provided they follow safety guidelines. However, the Oklahoma Baptist Association previously announced that their summer camp at Falls Creek was canceled this year.
There were 160 new cases of the coronavirus confirmed in Oklahoma over the weekend which puts the overall number of cases up to 6,506. There were five additional deaths increasing that total to 334. The state health department reports the number of active cases as of Sunday was 680 which was up slightly from Friday's tally. The number of patients currently hospitalized with the illness is 154. The number of those patients who have recovered from the illness is now just short of 5,500.
Ampo Valedictorian Picks Up Scholarship
An Amber-Pocasset graduate has been awarded a scholarship to help with his college studies. Jackson Caves, who was the valedictorian at Ampo last month, was presented an FFA scholarship sponsored by Domino's Pizza. Caves earned his State FFA Degree, took part in public speaking competitions, and was on Ampo's livestock showing and livestock judging teams. He also served as the chapter vice president and treasurer. Shari Logan is the Domino's franchise owner in Chickasha and said she is glad they can help local students by sponsoring scholarships to help them achieve their dreams and develop a successful career in the agriculture industry. Caves will be studying mechanical engineering.
Feeding Programs Begin for Chix Youth
Summer feeding programs for Chickasha youth begin today. Both the Chickasha Library and the YMCA are working with the Regional Food Bank to distribute food over the next couple of months. The library will offer a grab-and-go food bag from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. while the YMCA program is from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Both programs will be Monday through Friday and will run through July 31st. It's for all youth 18-years and younger.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $35.49 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $37.84.
Natural gas is $1.85 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,748 and silver is $18.66.