Saturday, July 11th
Chickasha Fugitive Returned to Grady County
A suspect accused of raping and sexually assaulting teenage girls at a Chickasha home more than a decade ago has been extradited back to Grady County. Guy Lengyelleahu was booked into the Grady County jail early this morning. He was arrested by U.S. marshals in New Mexico earlier this week after authorities got a tip about a vehicle that was driving. In March of 2009, Grady County prosecutors filed rape and lewd molestation charges against Lengyelleahu. A probable cause affidavit indicates that he raped one girl at knifepoint. If convicted, Lengyelleahu could be sentenced to life in prison. He's expected to have his initial appearance on the felony charges in Grady County District Court sometime next week.
25 Jail Inmates Test Positive for COVID-19
Grady County Jail Administrator Jim Gerlach says 25 inmates have been placed under quarantine after testing positive for the coronavirus. He said none of the inmates showed any symptoms of the illness prior to the tests. Gerlach said all the inmates who have tested positive for COVID-19 are federal inmates who are in transit to other areas of the country. No Grady County inmates and no female inmates have tested positive. One federal inmate died from the illness several weeks ago. Gerlach said there is only one inmate currently hospitalized and has been since May, although the inmate is also dealing with other health issues. Gerlach said that 15 jail employees have also tested positive since COVID-19 hit Oklahoma in March but that all of them are back on the job. Many of the federal inmates are refusing to be tested. Gerlach said the reason is that they don't want to be quarantined before moving on to their next stop. Gerlach said they are not using any county resources for testing. He also said they are sanitizing the jail several times each day and that inmates are given two masks each week, although many don't wear them.
World War II Vet Gordon Spangler Dies
A decorated Grady County citizen-soldier has died. Gordon Spangler, who fought in World War II and in Korea as a member of the Oklahoma National Guard, passed away Thursday. He was 102 years old. He joined the National Guard when he was a high school student at Minco. After graduation, the 158th Field Artillery Division was called to active duty with the 45th Infantry where Spangler served more than 500 combat days in Europe. He was also called to active duty during the Korean War where he served 429 combat days. Spangler received presidential citations for his service in both wars. He would serve with the National Guard for more than 40 years and in 1972 was named Oklahoma’s National Guardsman of the Year by Gov. David Hall. Gordon and his wife Pauline were married nearly 79 years before she passed away at the age of 98 in February of last year. The funeral service for Gordon Spangler will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Epworth Methodist Church. Those attending are asked to wear facial coverings. The service will also be live-streamed on YouTube at Chickasha UMC. He'll be buried in the Friendship Cemetery. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Driver Hospitalized After Rollover Crash
A Caddo County man is hospitalized after crashing his car. 30-year old Johnathon Ray Stone of Carnegie was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital after suffering head, arm, leg, and trunk injuries. He was admitted in fair condition. The accident happened west of Carnegie about 7:30 a.m. Friday. The trooper dispatched to the accident reported that Stone lost control of the car when the road changed from asphalt to gravel. The car careened off the road and overturned, throwing Stone out of the vehicle.
Sheriff's Office Updates Warrant List
The Grady County Sheriff's Office has issued an updated list of individuals who have outstanding warrants. Here's Public Information Officer Lisa Hatchett.
If you have information regarding any of these individuals you're asked to contact the sheriff's office by calling 405-222-5085.
Friday, July 10th
State Transportation Commission
Approves Highway, Bridge Projects
The state Transportation Commission this week approved a number of projects for the Grady and Caddo County areas. Jay Earp is the Division 7 Engineer for the State Department of Transportation which includes the two counties. He says the agency will be taking bids to replace the bridges over the Washita River on U.S. Highway 62 east of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike in September. The estimated cost of that project is more than $13 million. The installation of a cable barrier on U.S. Highway 81 between Ninnekah and Marlow is continuing. That's a more than $3 million project. Earp also said contractors are almost finished with a bridge replacement at Lake Burtchi which is a $975,000 project. A project to install fencing along the U.S. Highway 81 west bypass route of Chickasha was approved this week. That's a $700,000 project. Actual road construction of the bypass is not expected to begin for another couple of years.
Food Distribution Program Helps 500 Families
Many families have been struggling to get through the coronavirus crisis - whether its family members battling the illness or because of lost jobs. Several organizations collaborated for a big food distribution effort in Chickasha yesterday. The Chickasaw Nation was able to help several hundred families. Becky Chandler is the executive officer for Nutrition Services with the Chickasaws.
The distribution took place at the Chickasha sports complex. Chandler said all the food was distributed within about two hours. Similar food distribution programs have been held in Purcell, Kingston, and Marietta and a future distribution will be held in Pauls Valley.
Chix City Council OKs Rezoning, Use-on-Review Requests
A request to rezone some property near the Grady County Fairgrounds to a planned use development was approved by the Chickasha City Council this week. A group called It's Our Turn, LLC of Mustang requested the change. The property was previously zoned for commercial use and includes about 21 acres of land at the junction of Ada Sipuel Avenue and Grand Avenue South which is just southeast of the fairgrounds. City Manager John Noblitt said the Chickasha Municipal Authority was a joint applicant. Noblitt said developers anticipate both residential and commercial construction on the property with less than 30 percent anticipated for commercial. Noblitt said the city anticipates spending about $600,000 on utilities and building a detention pond. The council also approved the variance of the city's veneer ordinance for a warehouse to be used by the Grady County Emergency Management Agency next to the sheriff's office at 3rd and Pennsylvania Ave. The council also approved a use-on-review for Tressa Swanson to use her home at 2025 California for massage therapy. Officials said there were no concerns about parking issues since Swanson provides treatment sessions by appointment only.
Feaver Marks 20 Years as USAO President
USAO President John Feaver recently marked his 20th year at the helm of the university. Feaver spent several years teaching at USAO before moving into an administrative position in the mid-80s. That was a strenuous time for USAO as state lawmakers had their sights on closing the university. Feaver said he took the reins to get USAO on track to keep its doors open.
Feaver has spent a total of 40 years at the university, starting as a teacher in 1980. To recognize Feaver’s length of service as president, the USAO Foundation initiated a 20 for 20 campaign, urging alumni and university supporters to donate $20 to university projects in honor of Feaver's 20 years as president. Feaver has no immediate plans to retire as he wants to guide USAO through the coronavirus crisis. He said he has an agreement with the board of regents to give them a one-year's notice before he retires.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $39.62.
London-based Brent crude is $42.35.
Natural gas is $1.78 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,813 and silver is $19.16.
Gordon Shepard, Jr.
A private family memorial service will be held for Gordon Shephard, Jr., 58, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Thursday, July 9th
Fire Destroys Unoccupied Home in Bradley
Fire crews battled a house fire in Bradley this morning. Buddy Myers with the Grady County Fire Department said the sheriff's office received a 9-1-1 call about 5:15 a.m. regarding a structure fire at 5th and Main. Bradley and Alex fire departments were dispatched, and Ninnekah was also called out for mutual aid. About 18 firefighters and nine trucks were able to get the fire under control and no nearby homes were threatened. Myers said it’s believed the small one story, wood-frame home had been unoccupied for more than a year. The preliminary damage estimate is about $50,000. It's not yet clear how the fire started.
Chix School Students Need to Confirm Enrollment
Chickasha school officials are preparing for an August 20th start date which is only six weeks away. Officials say parents and students will need to confirm enrollment before attending. Parents can either do an in-person confirmation, or an on-line enrollment process is available on the school district’s website. There will be a single location for the in-person confirmation to keep parents from having to visit multiple schools. It will be held at the Chickasha High School Activity Center from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 14th through Thursday, July 16th. All that will be needed is proof of residency. Officials hope to minimize contact and practice appropriate social-distancing by breaking down the three days alphabetically. On Tuesday, it will be for students with last names that begin with A through I; on Wednesday, students with last names starting with J through R; and Thursday students with last names starting with S through Z. Officials say a parent can attend any of the three days if it is more convenient.
State Tops 1,500 New COVID-19 Cases in Two Days
The number of new coronavirus cases in Oklahoma jumped by more than 1,500 in a 48-hour period this week. The total number of positive COVID-19 cases is now close to 18,000 according to the Wednesday report from the State Health Department. Three more deaths were blamed on the infection which now stands at 407. That's about 2.2 percent of the total number of confirmed cases. The number of active cases in Oklahoma is approaching 4,000 and 458 patients are currently be treated in Oklahoma hospitals. Chickasha currently has 49 of Grady County's 68 active COVID-19 cases. Anadarko has six of Caddo County's 12 active cases.
'Sound' Improvements Made to Chix City Council Chambers
The City of Chickasha has finally solved a years-long problem during city council meetings. It has been very difficult to hear anyone talking in the council chambers due to poor acoustics in the very large room. City Manager John Noblitt says the city installed a new sound system this week.
Noblitt said the cost of the system was about $25,000 which was half of the anticipated price.
Chix Company to Lease Former Nat'l Guard Armory
The former National Guard Armory at the Chickasha airport will be seeing some new activity. The city council approved an 18-month lease of the building to Standley Systems. A casket company was the last business to use that facility but it closed a few years ago. Standley Systems will use the building to store some of its equipment. The city will get about $25,000 in lease payments over the 18-month term of the lease.
Council Extends Pact with Proposed Coffee Shop
The city council this week also approved the extension of an economic development agreement with a Duncan coffee shop to help with opening a Chickasha location. The council previously approved the agreement with Viridian Coffee last fall but store owners were delayed in their efforts to find a location. The agreement calls for the company to receive $85,000 in economic development funds to help with renovation and start-up costs. The coffee shop will be opening in the former Taco Bueno restaurant near 4th and Grand Avenue. Renovation work is expected to begin in August and they hope to be open sometime in October.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $40.90 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.29.
Natural gas is $1.82 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,823 and silver is $19.40.
Wednesday, July 8th
Chickasha Fugitive Arrested in New Mexico
Federal officers say a man wanted for raping a teenage girl at knifepoint and other sex crimes in Chickasha more than 10 years ago has been arrested in New Mexico. Guy Lengyel-Leahu had been a fugitive since March of 2009 when a warrant was issued for his arrest. He was accused of sex crimes against girls who were 12 and 13 years old at the time. Prosecutors charged Lengyel-Leahu with rape with a weapon, forcible sodomy, and three counts of lewd molestation. Federal officials say they received a tip last month about a vehicle that Lengyel-Leahu may have been driving and a nationwide alert was issued. A New Mexico state trooper spotted the car and U.S. Marshals made the arrest. Lengyel-Leahu will be extradited back to Grady County to face the charges. If convicted he could be sentenced to life in prison.
Chickasha 'Mask' Ordinance Approved
For Most City-Owned Buildings
The Chickasha City Council passed a new ordinance this week that requires visitors to city hall and most city-owned buildings to wear a facial covering. Violators could be fined. City Manager John Noblitt said the ordinance adds some teeth to the unenforceable mandate that has been in place since March. Noblitt said it is not the intent to over-enforce the ordinance.
Masks will be required when visiting the police department, fire stations, and water treatment facilities. It does not include the YMCA, a building owned by the city but leased and managed by that organization. The city council unanimously passed the ordinance with an emergency clause. It is expected to go into effect next week after the ordinance is published in the local newspaper.
Driver Hospitalized After Rollover Accident
An Anadarko woman is air-lifted to a hospital after her car crashes in Ft. Cobb. 51-year old Trina Glenn suffered head and trunk injuries in the accident and was last in fair condition at an Oklahoma City hospital. The accident happened just after 10:30 p.m. Tuesday at the junction of State Highways 9 and 146. The highway patrol said Glenn was southbound on SH 146 and failed to stop at a stop sign. The car went into a broad slide, ran off the road and went airborne, hit a drainage ditch and rolled twice. Glenn was wearing a seat belt. The trooper investigating the crash said there was an odor of alcohol at the crash site.
Status of Grady County Fair to be Discussed
Will there be a Grady County Fair this year? Many events in the region have been canceled because of the coronavirus including the Rush Springs Watermelon Festival and the State Fair of Oklahoma. Grady County Fair coordinator Jamie Jones says the Grady County Fair Board will make a decision when the panel meets Monday, July 13th. Jones said the carnival has already canceled its appearance for the fair which is currently scheduled for August 27th-29th.
Anadarko Indian Exposition Canceled
This year's American Indian Exposition in Anadarko has been canceled because of the coronavirus. The Lawton Constitution reports that Expo board president Phil Dupoint said the decision was made after considerable deliberation. Dupoint said they are following guidelines from the City of Anadarko, The Caddo County Commissioners, and the Centers for Disease Control, and it was determined that such a large gathering would not be safe. This was to be the 85th year for the Expo which was scheduled next month.
BIA Sanctions Against Kiowa Tribe Lifted
Some sanctions placed against The Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma have been lifted, giving the tribe access to nearly $4 million in federal funds needed for its programs. The Lawton Constitution reports that the Bureau of Indian Affairs initially put the sanctions in place four years ago because of the late filing of the tribe's audits for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. The BIA issued additional sanctions for the late submission of audits from the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. Tribal officials were notified June 30th that all sanctions have been lifted. Tribal Chairman Matt Komalty was quoted as saying the lifting of the sanctions vindicates officials of allegations made in recall charges. Komalty also said they can now start planning for the next phase of the tribe's future growth and success.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $40.62 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.08.
Natural gas is $1.87 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,815 and silver is $18.85.
A graveside service for Donna Fitzgerald, 63, of Minco will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, July 9th at Minco's Evergreen Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
Tuesday, July 7th
Chix City Councilman Again Calls
for Panel to Battle Racism
Ward 3 Chickasha City Councilman R.P. Ashanti-Alexander has called for city officials to take action to bring the city together on racial issues. During last night's city council meeting, Ashanti-Alexander cited what could be considered a threat to African-Americans.
Since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minn. earlier this year, several Oklahoma communities have formed groups to deal with possible racism in their communities. So far, no such group has been formed in Chickasha.
Chix Mayor, Councilmen Take Oaths of Office
Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley and other city councilmen were sworn into office during last night's city council meeting. Mosley ran un-opposed for a second term this spring. Others sworn in were Dr. R.P. Ashanti-Alexander and Zach Grayson, both of whom also ran un-opposed. Also taking his oath of office was David Sikes, who just last week was re-elected. One new councilman was sworn in - businessman Clark Van Dyck. He ran unopposed for the seat previously held by Joe Molder, who did not run for re-election.
Council Denies First Responder Appreciation Event
A proposed first responder appreciation event has been canceled after the Chickasha Police Department opted to not support it. Brett Landry was asking to hold the event at Shannon Springs Park on Saturday, July 18th. At first the event did have the support of police but City Manager John Noblitt said authorities rescinded that support.
Noblitt was pressed to say why the support was withdrawn but made the following statement after consulting with the city attorney.
The council voted 6-3 to deny the first responder event. Those voting against the proposal included Mayor Mosley, David Sikes, Kimmie Loggins, Zach Grayson, R.P. Ashanti-Alexander, and Clark Van Dyck. Voting in support of the event were Jim Hopkins, Oscar Nelson, and Brian Gerdes.
Blood Drive Scheduled Today
KOOL 105 and 106.1 The RANCH radio stations are teaming up with the Oklahoma Blood institute to host blood drives over the next few weeks. One of them is today, as the bloodmobile will be in the YMCA parking lot across from the studios at 7th and Chickasha Avenue. Jennifer Isinger with the blood institute said they will be providing free tests for COVID-19 antibodies.
The blood drive runs from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and walk-ups are welcome. Everyone will have their temperature taken before being allowed to donate and donors are asked to wear masks. The next scheduled blood drive is Thursday, July 16th. To schedule an appointment, visit the Oklahoma Blood Institute website: www.obi.org
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $40.63 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.10.
Natural gas is $1.83 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,783 and silver is $18.27.
A graveside service for Jewell Thompson, 100, of Alex will be at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 8th at the Antioch Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Terry Atwell, 72, of Ninnekah will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 8th at the First Baptist Church of Ninnekah. He was a U.S. Army veteran and received a Purple Heart for his service as a combat infantryman in Vietnam. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Funeral services for Claude Hill, 68, are pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Monday, July 6th
Man Dies in Rollover Accident
A Chickasha man died in a rollover crash while exiting the H.E. Bailey Turnpike this past 4th of July weekend. 43-year old Reford Alcorn, II was identified as one of two individuals in the pickup involved in the accident Friday night. A second passenger, 23-year old Billy Johnson, II, was taken by ground ambulance to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was admitted in critical condition. A hospital spokesman this morning said that Johnson was no longer in the hospital. The accident happened about 8:00 p.m. Friday, July 3rd on the exit ramp at Mile Marker 83 of the turnpike at U.S. Highway 62. The highway patrol reported that the pickup was traveling at a high rate of speed when it veered off the exit ramp and rolled an undetermined number of times. Both men were thrown out of the truck. The highway patrol reported it wasn't clear who was driving.
Two Injured in Separate Caddo County Accidents
There were a couple of traffic accidents in Caddo County that happened about the same time late Saturday. One was just north of Anadarko on U.S. Highway 281. 18-year old Priscilla Barrera of Anadarko was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where she was admitted in good condition with leg injuries. Barrera was a passenger in a car heading south on the highway at a high rate of speed and struck an SUV that had pulled onto the highway. A second passenger in Barrera's car, 18-year old Cassandra Avila also of Anadarko, was not hurt. The SUV driver, 60-year old Stacy Hollowell of Anadarko, was not hurt. The second accident was northeast of Ft. Cobb at the intersection of a couple of county roads. 29-year old Dillon Wilson of Ft. Cobb was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital and admitted in fair condition. The state trooper investigating that crash said the Wilson's pickup failed to go around a curve then ran off the road and hit both a stop sign and a fence. Both accidents happened between 11:30 p.m. and midnight Saturday night.
Minco School Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19
An employee of Minco Public Schools has tested positive for the coronavirus. Superintendent Kevin Sims posted the news on the school district’s Facebook last night. The unidentified employee was at the football team's Summer Pride weightlifting program from June 22nd through June 25th. Sims said coaches made sure that the weight room and all facilities that were used were thoroughly sanitized every day. The health department is recommending that anyone attending the camp during those days to monitor their health over the next few days for coronavirus symptoms. Individuals experiencing a fever, difficulty in breathing, and/or a cough should get tested for COVID-19.
Mask Policy to be Reviewed for Chix City Hall
Chickasha city officials will consider whether it will be necessary to continue wearing masks inside city hall and other city-owned buildings. It's one of the items to be discussed during tonight's city council meeting. In background information provide to council members, it’s being recommended that facial coverings be required through the end of the year. The proposed city ordinance would not require businesses nor anyone attending outdoor activities on public property to wear a mask. The council also has a number of public hearings scheduled. One is for property near the Grady County Fairgrounds to consider re-zoning property from commercial use to a planned use development. Another public hearing is to consider a Use-on-Review for a home at 2025 California. Yet another public hearing will be held to approve a variance of the city's veneer ordinance for property at 302 N. 3rd. The council will also consider a request by Brett Landry to hold a Law Enforcement Appreciation event at Shannon Springs Park on July 18th. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
1st National Bank Breaks Ground on New Tuttle Branch
First National Bank and Trust (FNBT) is building a new bank in Tuttle. A groundbreaking ceremony was held last Thursday for the 5,000 sq. ft. bank in the 5300 block of East Highway 37 which is just east of the current bank. FNBT President and CEO John Gorton said the bank purchased the land more than 30 years ago in hopes of expansion. Gorton said the bank will feature four drive-thru lanes, an ATM, and a community meeting room. The bank's mortgage company will also re-locate to the new building. The current bank will remain open until the new facility is completed which is expected to be April of next year. CMS Willowbrook of Chickasha is the construction management company in charge of the project, and the architectural services are from Bockus Payne Architecture of OKC.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $40.65 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.14.
Natural gas is $1.73 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,784 and silver if $18.49.
Funeral service for Ardessa Bownes, 94, of Chickasha will be at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, July 11th at Shepherd Street Christian Church. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Illora Walker, 78, of Lawton is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.