Friday, June 19th
CHS Class of 2020 Graduation is Tonight
Graduation ceremonies are scheduled tonight for the 2020 senior class at Chickasha High School. About 135 seniors are expected to pick up their diplomas during the ceremony which will be held outdoors at Memorial Stadium. The ceremony was postponed from last month because of the coronavirus. While graduation is being held outdoors officials are still limiting attendance. Each senior gets six tickets to give to family and friends. The ceremony will be live-streamed on Facebook. Superintendent Rick Croslin said everyone attending will have their temperature taken before being allowed in the stadium and anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher will be turned away. Every other row at the stadium will be blocked to allow for social distancing and masks are recommended but won't be required. Traditionally, three seniors are selected to talk about the past, present, and future of the class. However tonight, two of the class valedictorians – Carson Jones and Austin Albright will have speeches. Music which is normally played by the band will instead be recordings of Pomp and Circumstance and the Recessional for the seniors to enter and exit the stadium. Gates will open at 6:30 p.m. with the ceremony to begin at 7:30 p.m. There is rain in the forecast and officials say they would schedule a virtual graduation if tonight's program is rained out.
Juneteenth Holiday Celebrated
Today, June 19th, marks a big day in America's history. It's known as Juneteenth, which is the day that slavery officially came to an end in the United States. It was June 19th, 1865 when Gen. Gordon Granger and his soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas to announce that the Civil War was over and that slaves were free. It came more than two years after President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. A weekend parade and celebration are normally held in Chickasha however the events were canceled this year due to the coronavirus. Juneteenth has some extra meaning locally as it is adjacent to a memorable date for the civil rights work of Chickasha's Ada Lois Sipuel Fisher. On June 18th, 1949 Sipuel Fisher broke the color barrier at the OU College of Law, which at the time did not allow black students. Her admission to the college came a year and a half after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in her favor.
Chix Airport Hosts Fly-in and Car Show
An historic World War Two bomber headlines a big event at the Chickasha airport this weekend. The annual Wings and Wheels Fly-in and Car Show will take place. Six aircraft from the Commemorative Air Force will be on display and rides will be available on three of those planes. There is a fee for the plane rides. The big bird is a B-25 Bomber from the Devil Dog squadron. Weather permitting, one flight will be at 5 o'clock this afternoon and flights will also be offered tomorrow. Rides will also be available on a UC-78 Bobcat and a Stearman aircraft. The Fly-in and Car Show will be all day tomorrow with free admission to the event. There will be radio-controlled jet demonstrations, and children 8 through 17 can get free airplane rides from students at the Chickasha Wings flight school. The Chickasha Antique Auto Club will also have a car show and food trucks will on hand.
State Oil Firm to Restart Some Production
Here is a bit of good news for the energy industry. Continental Resources announces plans to resume production of some its wells. Last month, officials announced they would cutback 70 percent of its operated oil production. The website OK Energy Today reports that the firm still expects to curtail half of its oil operations. Production in June is expected to average 150,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day with second quarter production is expected to average about 200,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day. July production is expected to be 225,000 barrels of oil-equivalent per day or higher.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $38.84 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $41.51.
Natural gas is $1.64 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,739 and silver is $17.86.
Fred Shiflett, Jr.
A private graveside service will be held for Fred Shiflett, Jr., 62, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Carol Ann Rand Clark
No public services are scheduled for Carol Ann Rand Clark, 85, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Thursday, June 18th
Consumer Spending Numbers
Differ for Grady County, City of Chix
The coronavirus pandemic and the slumping energy industry have taken their toll on Oklahoma's economy and we have some Grady County numbers that show the local effects of those issues. Estimated consumer spending in Grady County in April was $52 million. That was down more than 34 percent compared to the month of March and off more than 55 percent compared to April of 2019. We estimate consumer spending when we see sales tax revenue for the county. June sales tax revenue was only $394,000. Consumer spending in April is believed to be the lowest in about four years.
Chickasha Numbers Were Steady
In surprising numbers for the City of Chickasha...the consumer spending estimate and sales tax revenues were only down slightly. It’s estimated that consumer spending was about $25.3 million in April. The sales tax revenue received this month from that April business was $950,000 - a drop of less than $5,000 from last month and down about 5 percent from June of 2019. April was the first full month in which many retail outlets closed or had restricted hours operation because of the coronavirus.
Man Drowns While Rescuing Child
Tragedy at Ft. Cobb Lake yesterday, as a man drowned during an outing with two children. 42-year old Casey Satterlee of Edmond died when he tried to rescue an eight-year old boy who had fallen off a floaty. The three had gone out on the lake on a boat and the child was in a floaty on the side of the boat when he fell off. Satterlee jumped in to rescue the boy and the boat started drifting away because of the wind. A 12-year old boy who remained on the boat called 9-1-1. The younger child managed to swim to shore and was unhurt.
Police, Fire Union Contracts Approved
Collective bargaining agreements with the Chickasha police and fire unions have been approved by the Chickasha City Council. City Manager John Noblitt said that the council signed off on the contracts for the 2021 fiscal year after a 30-minute closed-door session during Monday night's council meeting. Noblitt said the agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police Local 129 calls for a freeze on raises, no step increases, and no cost of living allowances for the coming year. The agreement with the International Association of Firefighters Local 2041 calls for step increases of about 3 percent, which will cost the city an additional $53,000 in the coming year. Also, the city will not contribute to costs for uniforms or post-employment health plans for the coming year. The contracts run from July first this year, to June 30th next year.
Former Cop Accused of Sex Crimes Arrested
A former police officer accused of sex crimes is behind bars. 56-year old Bruce Durham of Lawton has been arrested and is in the Comanche County Jail. Durham has been charged with rape by instrumentation after a woman alleged he attacked her in 2018 when Durham was a police officer at Medicine Park. The Lawton Constitution reported that a warrant was issued for Durham's arrest after the OSBI looked into other allegations after two other women came forward and said they were sexually assaulted. Durham went before a judge for his initial appearance on the rape charge in a Lawton courtroom on Wednesday and he remains in jail on a $250,000 bond. He is to be back in court on Aug. 27th for a preliminary hearing conference.
Silver Alert Canceled for Norman Man
An elderly Norman man who went fishing and didn't return home has been found and he's OK. The Norman Police Department issued a Silver Alert for 77-year old Dennis Richards who had gone fishing Tuesday morning. The Silver Alert was issued about noon Wednesday and authorities canceled the alert just before 6:00 p.m. Wednesday. No details about Richards’ return were available
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $37.96 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $40.71.
Natural gas is $1.68 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,734 and silver is $17.80.
Wednesday, June 17th
Chickasha Has Another COVID-19 Death
A fourth person in Chickasha has died from the coronavirus. The state health department reports the individual was a woman between 50 and 64 years old. As of Tuesday, the health department reported a total of 65 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Chickasha and 53 of those patients have recovered. Throughout Grady County, there have been 118 confirmed cases since the illness was first detected in the state back in March and 103 of those patients have recovered. Blanchard has had 29 and Tuttle has 19. In Anadarko, there have been 27 coronavirus cases, and throughout Caddo County there have been 176 confirmed cases. The number of new coronavirus cases statewide have spiked the last couple of days with 228 new cases from Monday to Tuesday, putting the total number of cases at 8,645 and the number of deaths is now 363. The health department says there are more than 1,500 active cases and 172 patients are currently hospitalized.
Former Cop Wanted for Alleged Rape
An arrest warrant has been issued for a former Cyril and Medicine Park police officer who is charged with rape. Authorities are looking for 56-year old Bruce Durham, who is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in December of 2018. The warrant was issued following an investigation by the OSBI. The Lawton Constitution reports that Durham is accused of using his position of authority to assault the victim at the Medicine Park police department, telling her she would go to jail if she didn't have sex with him. The Constitution also reports that Durham was suspected of sexual assault while working as a police officer in Cyril in August of last year.
Chickasha School Calendar Approved
Fall classes in Chickasha Public Schools are scheduled to start August 20th. The board of education approved the 2020-21 calendar in a special meeting yesterday. Officials had considered starting school two weeks earlier at the recommendation of the state school superintendent. However, a poll of school employees overwhelmingly showed that they favored the Aug. 20th start time. Otherwise, teachers would have had to report the final week of July, and many already had vacation and other activities planned. The school calendar includes a lengthy Christmas break from about December 17th through Jan. 5th. The next school year is scheduled to end May 21st, however an emergency week was penciled in for the last week of May, should the district be impacted by illness such as the coronavirus.
Chix School Board OKs Sale of Sr. Nutrition Center
The Chickasha school board approved the sale of more than two acres of land and the buildings which house the Senior Nutrition Center and the Borden Park Community Center. The board accepted a $230,000 bid submitted for the property by the nutrition center. The board wanted a stipulation added to the contract which would give the district the first option to buy the property back should the nutrition center decide to sell it.
School Bonds Sell for Less than 1 Percent Interest
The school board also approved the sale of about $5 million in bonds which was part of a big bond package approved in 2010 for the construction of the Bill Wallace Center. Country Club Bank of Kansas submitted the lowest of three bids that were received. All three bids were lower than 1 percent with the winning bid at just under 0.86 percent. It's not expected to increase property taxes in the district. There will be two more bond sales over the next four years to finish paying for the Bill Wallace construction.
Business Owner to Serve as USAO Regent
USAO regents will welcome a new member this fall. Kelly Wilkerson will take her oath of office in September. Wilkerson and her husband Brad own and operate the Chicken Express restaurants in Chickasha, Duncan, and Lawton. Kelly is a former public educator, retiring after a 32-year career. She was appointed to the post by Gov. Kevin Stitt and will serve a seven-year term. She takes over the seat previously held by Bill Lance, the Chief Executive Officer of the Chickasaw Nation's Department of Commerce, whose term ends June 30th.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil in the NYMEX is $38.38 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is to $40.96.
Natural gas is $1.61 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,715 and silver is $17.67.
There are no funeral services scheduled for Maxine Roberts, 88, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Tuesday, June 16th
One Dead, One Critical After Minco Car Crash
A fatal car crash near Minco last night kills a passenger and leaves the driver in critical condition. Killed in the accident was 36-year old Rickey Thierry, Jr. of Tulsa. The medical examiner said he died at the scene from massive injuries. The driver was identified as 25-year old Aaron Boltshauser of Minco. He was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital with head and trunk injuries. The accident happened about 11:30 p.m. Monday, on private property about 2 1/2 miles east of Minco. The highway patrol reports that the car ran off a county road and hit a utility box. The trooper investigating the crash reported that alcohol may have played a factor.
Grady County Firefighters Called
to Join Wildland Fire Fight
Grady County firefighters were among those dispatched to help with a wildland fire west of El Reno yesterday. Grady County fire department spokesman Buddy Myers said the county sent 13 trucks and 17 firefighters to be part of a task force to battle the blaze. The fire broke out Monday afternoon in the Red Rock Canyon area around Hinton and Calumet and also burned through a wind farm. Firefighters battled the flames in rugged terrain into the night and well past midnight before getting it under control. The last of the Grady County firefighters got home about 5:00 a.m. this morning. About 1,000 acres of pasture land and trees were scorched. The forestry service was to flyover this morning to make sure there were no hot spots.
Chickasha Dentist Passes Away
Longtime Chickasha dentist Jim Hall has died. Hall practiced in Chickasha for about 42 years. He was 86 when he passed away last Thursday. Hall grew up in Elk City, and graduated from both Oklahoma State University and the University of Missouri and Kansas City School of Dentistry. Hall and his wife Carolyn moved to Chickasha in 1964 to open his office and he retired in 2006. Survivors include his wife, and two sons and their families. Funeral service will at the Edmond First Presbyterian Church at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, June 17th. Memorial contributions may be made to Mobile Meals of Chickasha. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Chix Residents Need to Sign Agreement
to Receive City's Economic Stimulus Check
Chickasha residents waiting on an economic stimulus check from the City of Chickasha will be asked to spend the money locally. Recently, the city council approved giving $50 to those who have an active residential utility account for water, sewer, or solid waste services. Last night, the council approved an Economic Development Agreement which will need to be signed and notarized indicating the funds will be spent with local businesses. The agreement says on-line purchases are prohibited. Residents will be asked to submit the agreement to city hall before the payment is sent. The money for the stimulus is coming from $300,000 in an economic development fund.
Sidewalk Project Approved
The council also approved another sidewalk project, one which will connect the high school to USAO. Following a public hearing during last night’s council meeting, the panel approved the plan to build the walking and bike trail in the median on 17th Street between Alabama Avenue and Idaho Avenue. City easement on private property would be needed between Idaho Avenue and Iowa Avenue. The project will be similar to the sidewalk construction underway on 1st Street. The project will be paid for with the help of a matching federal Community Development Block Grant. The grant and the city will equally share the estimated $300,000 cost. The city funds were included in the 2021 fiscal year budget for the Chickasha Municipal Authority.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $37.12 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $39.72.
Natural gas is $1.67 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,737 and silver is $17.59.
Funeral service for Richard Souders, 79, of Pocasset were held at 10:30 this morning at the First Missionary Baptist Church of Pocasset. Arrangements were with Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Debra Null, 58, of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Bible Baptist Church. Arrangements are will Ferguson Funeral Home.
Monday, June 15th
Fire Damages Alex Home
Firefighters were dispatched to a two-story home near Alex last night. Alex, Bradley, and Ninnekah fire crews were called out to the home on State Highway 19 just west Alex about 8:40 p.m. Sunday. Buddy Myers with the Grady County Fire Department said about a dozen trucks and nearly 20 firefighters responded. Crews managed to contain the fire to the second story of the wood-frame home. Firefighters were on the scene for about two hours. The damage was estimated at $30,000 and there were no injuries. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Man Charged with Arson, Drug Possession
A Minco man is facing arson and drug charges in connection with separate incidents in the last few weeks. 26-year old Dakota Dylin Wakefield is charged with a felony count of second-degree arson after a fire broke out at a building that Wakefield had been renting. A probable cause affidavit indicates an investigator found evidence that three separate fires were started in the early morning hours of May 21st. In a separate case, Wakefield is facing misdemeanor drug charges in connection with an arrest last week. Wakefield remains in the Grady County Jail in lieu of a $30,000 bond.
Fireworks, Town-Wide Garage Sales
to be Considered by Chix City Council
The City of Chickasha's annual 4th of July fireworks display and events for the Rock Island Arts Festival this fall are among the items to be reviewed by the Chickasha City Council tonight. The fireworks show is scheduled for Saturday, July 4th at Shannon Springs Park. The free event draws thousands of visitors to celebrate Independence Day, with numerous businesses and individuals donating some $15,000 to light up the night sky. The Rock Island Arts Festival is hosted by the Chickasha Area Arts Council and is scheduled for the first weekend in October. Two other events held in conjunction with the festival are the Oklahoma Food Truck Championship and the Rock Island Ride bicycle tour.
Hearing Set for Proposed Walking, Bike Trail
The Chickasha City Council will also hold a public hearing on a proposed walking trail and bike path on 17th Street from USAO to Iowa Avenue. The project would be paid for through a federal community development block grant. The council is expected to approve a weekend of city-wide garage sales the weekend of June 26th through 28th and waive permit fees for those sales. The panel will go behind closed doors to get an update on negotiations with the fire and police unions. The group will also recognize Homer Hulme for his recent contribution to the library. Hume donated more than $11,000 to help pay for the installation of new LED lighting throughout the library. Hulme's contribution is in honor of his mother, Dorothy.
Chamber Prepares for Next Leadership Chix Program
Plans are already underway for the next Leadership Chickasha class which will be starting this fall. The program was created by the chamber of commerce to inform participants about local and state government, education, and to develop awareness of the community's challenges and opportunities to make Chickasha a better place to live and work. The group will meet monthly over a seven-month period and will include guest speakers and interaction with community leaders. Cost of participation is $350 per individual for chamber members and $450 for potential chamber members. Applications will be accepted through August 7th with the program to start in September. Applications are available at the chamber office or on the website: www.chickashachamber.com
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $36.26 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $38.73.
Natural gas is $1.73 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,715 and silver is $17.24.
Funeral service for Helen Roof, 83, of Blanchard and formerly of Chickasha will be held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, June 16th at Ferguson Funeral Home.