Friends to Search for Missing Man
It's been nearly two weeks since anyone has heard from Todd Laird. The Chickasha man was last seen the night of June 21st, leaving a Chickasha night club on his motorcycle. Social media posts indicate that some friends will spend part of their weekend trying to find him. Chickasha police reported pinging Laird's cel phone at an undisclosed field. The cel phone was not found. A family friend established a Go Fund Me page to raise money to help with the search and offer a reward for information about him. Laird's name is on the national missing persons data base. Anyone with information about Todd Leonard Laird can provide anonymous tips to Grady County Crimestoppers at 405-224-TIPS or through its Facebook page. Tips may also be called to Chickasha police by calling 405-222-6050 or 9-1-1.
J and W Grill Owner, Daren Cook Dies
Longtime Chickasha restaurant owner/operator Daren Cook has died. Cook, who ran J and W Grill for nearly 40 years, died Thursday at the age of 62. Cook was a lifelong Chickasha resident, and started working at the restaurant as a dishwasher when he was 12. He became a partial owner of the restaurant when he was 19 then purchased the business when he was 23. Survivors include his wife Nicole and their children, and his parents, James and Juanita Cook. Funeral will be at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Aug. 3rd at Bible Baptist Church with burial at Fairlawn Cemetery. Visitation will be Sunday, Aug. 2nd from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. at McRay Funeral Home. The family asks that masks be worn at both the funeral and visitation.
Oklahoma has had another rough week with the coronavirus. Another 4,000 positive tests were recorded by the state health department since last Monday, taking the total number of cases to more than 36,000. The number of current illnesses as of Friday was nearly 6,800 with 621 of those individuals in the hospital. There have been 45 more deaths this week taking that number up to 541. Chickasha has had 212 positive tests for the illness and only 16 of those are active. Throughout Grady County, nearly 400 people have tested positive and 51 of them are current illnesses. In other surrounding communities, Blanchard has had 118 people test positive with 11 now active; Tuttle has had 89 positive tests and 15 are current; Newcastle has had 93 people test positive with 17 active cases; Anadarko has now had 133 people test positive and 69 of them are current. Caddo County has had a total of 348 positive tests with 96 current cases.
Schools to Get PPE
Oklahoma schools will be getting some added personal protective equipment (PPE) for the upcoming school year. Gov. Kevin Stitt is distributing $10 million in federal CARES Act funds to help schools open safely for in-person learning. The funds will provide more than 1.5 million masks which would be two for every teacher and student; 42,000 face shields, more than 1 million pairs of disposable gloves, and more than 1 million disposable gowns. The PPE will be distributed from the State Department of Emergency Management warehouses. In a new executive order, the governor directed the state health department to work with the state department of education to develop a plan for teachers to be tested once a month for the coronavirus. The governor also announced that more than $9.5 million in CARES Act funds will be awarded to more than 2,000 day care centers to the support the industry's essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Obituaries today include 80-year old Lou McNeff of Chickasha. A graveside service will be at 10:30 a.m., Monday, Aug. 3rd at the Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
Friday, July 31st
One Dead, One Critically-Hurt in Turnpike Accident
A Chickasha man has died and another is fighting for his life following a crash on the H.E. Bailey turnpike last night. 42-year old Darrell Hickman was pronounced dead at the scene while 39-year old Dustin Joyner was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was admitted with critical injuries. The accident happened about 8:45 p.m. Thursday near mile marker 102 on the Turnpike which is just west of Newcastle. The highway patrol reports that Joyner and Hickman were in a pickup eastbound on the highway. Their truck was rear-ended by a car occupied by a couple of teenaged boys from Comanche. The pickup rolled several times, and both Joyner and Hickman were thrown out of the truck. The teenagers - whose names were not released - were uninjured. Eastbound lanes of the turnpike were closed for more than 2 1/2 hours after the accident. State troopers say the crash is still under investigation.
GoFundMe Page Established to Help Find Missing Person
A Go Fund Me page has been established to help find a missing Chickasha man. Todd Laird was last seen the night of Tuesday, July 21st and police are investigating his disappearance. Heaven Bertram is a friend of Kelly Laird, who is Todd's sister. Kelly lives in Michigan and said her brother has a close bond with his family. Bertram posted on her Facebook page that donations will be used to search for Todd, and for rewards which may be offered for information that helps to bring Todd home. Funds could also be used to help Todd's family make any necessary trips, and to pay expenses related to providing awareness about the case. Donors can also use the following link, #BringToddHome
The Go Fund Me page which was established Thursday had collected $170 as of this morning. Laird was last seen riding his 1973 Harley Davidson Shovelhead motorcycle. Police have only said that they pinged his cel phone to a field. Anyone with information about Todd Laird is asked to contact Chickasha Police by calling 405-222-6050 or 9-1-1.
Career Tech Schools Re-open Soon
Just as public schools in Oklahoma are preparing for the upcoming school year, so are career tech schools. All three campuses of the Canadian Valley Technology Center in Chickasha, El Reno, and Yukon will be opening classrooms with the first day of classes on Thursday, Aug. 13th. Officials said that recommendations from the State Health Department and the State Department of Education encourage in-person education for the start of the school year. However, administrators say conditions may change and that virtual classes could begin if needed. Each location will also mandate that individuals wear masks and practice social distancing whenever possible on campus. In Ft. Cobb, the first day of classes at Caddo Kiowa Technology Center will be on Wednesday, Aug. 12th. CKTC officials say anyone needing to apply or test must schedule an appointment to do so. Students who plan to attend should fill out a COVID-19 Acknowledgement Form which is available on the school's website: www.mycktc.com
Ceremony Set for 'Bill Wallace Day'
A special event is scheduled to honor a very special person tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 1st). The Friends of the Chickasha Library and the City of Chickasha will unveil a literary landmark to honor author Bill Wallace. Mayor Chris Mosley has proclaimed tomorrow as Bill Wallace Day. August first is the late author's birth date. Speakers at the ceremony will include Bill's wife, Carol and their son, Justin. Some of the couple’s grandchildren will share some memories and read from some of his books. Wallace wrote nearly 40 books and won numerous awards throughout his career, including a Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 1st at Centennial Park. Those attending are asked to wear masks. The ceremony will be live-streamed on Facebook through the Chickasha Parks and Recreation Department page and shared on the Chickasha Library's Facebook page.
Talk Show Topics
Here’s what we’re talking about this weekend. Jamie Jones with the Grady County Fairgrounds is on the KOOL Konversation talking about the Grady County Fair. Mike Jump and Debbie Segroves with USW, the City of Chickasha’s water and wastewater treatment contractor, are on Real Estate Today. Look for links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $39.92 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $42.94.
Natural gas is $1.83 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,996 and silver is $24.26.
Thursday, July 30th
USAO to Open Classrooms for Fall Semester
USAO students will be returning to campus in a couple of weeks, and officials say classrooms will be open. However, students will have the opportunity to take advantage of a hybrid program which will also include on-line classes in an attempt to minimize the effects of COVID-19. The campus, which has been closed to the general public all summer, will remain closed through the fall semester. President John Feaver announced that students, instructors, and staff will have to wear masks while inside all buildings and outdoors as well when social-distancing can't be maintained. In was previously announced that USAO would start fall classes on Aug. 17th and that there will be no fall break. Final exams will be held in mid-November with graduation set for before Thanksgiving on Nov. 21st. Officials said they are preparing for multiple scenarios for the fall semester and will be ready to make adjustments should they become necessary.
Driver Dies in Caddo County Crash
A Caddo County man has died in a violent rollover crash. 62-year old Randal See of Hydro died in the accident that happened late Tuesday night. The accident wasn't discovered until just after 7:00 a.m. Wednesday. The accident happened on a county road about one-half mile south of Eakly. The trooper investigating the accident reported that See was driving at a high rate of speed when he lost control of his car, then it ran off the road and rolled several times, ejecting See from the vehicle.
Chix City Council will Again Meet Virtually
The Chickasha City Council will again be meeting virtually for its next regularly scheduled meeting. The public can watch the meeting on YouTube or by going to the city's website: www.chickasha dot org
Anyone wanting to address the council during the meeting may do so virtually but will have to log in to the Zoom platform on a personal computer or a mobile app. The meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. Monday, August 3rd. It's not clear if the meeting will be broadcast on Suddenlink Channel 3.
Shannon Springs Park to Close for Tree Removal
Chickasha's Shannon Springs Park will be temporarily closed for several days next week. The park will be closed from Monday, Aug. 3rd through Friday, Aug. 7th as crews work on some maintenance projects. While the walking trails, picnic tables, and playground will not be accessible, the municipal swimming pool will remain open during its regular hours. The city announced in a press release that work crews will be removing a number of dead and dying trees. Officials cited a 2014 U.S. Department of Forestry assessment that found 55 trees to be in the high-risk category, which includes trees that are unstable and could cause property damage or personal injury if they were to fall. Other trees will be trimmed and crews will also work on walking paths and cleaning other areas of the park. The park is expected to re-open on Saturday, Aug. 8th.
More Grady County Fair Cancelations Announced
More cancelations have been announced for the upcoming Grady County Fair. The Grady County OHCE will not be serving their home made meals or Indian Tacos during the three-day event. Fair coordinator Jamie Jones said there will be a number of food trucks on hand and InterUrban will be operating the concession area in the event center. The carnival previously announced that it was canceling its visit, and the alfalfa show has also been canceled. Among the activities that are still scheduled include the youth horse show (which is Saturday, Aug. 8th at 9 a.m.), stock shows, the still exhibits, the cake auction, and the princess contest (which will be held virtually). Jones also said local bands will perform all three days of the 105th Grady County Fair, which will be held Aug. 27th through 29th.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.27 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.75.
Natural gas is $1.85 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,966 and silver is $23.46.
Funeral service for Owita Willis, 90, of Verden will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, August 1st at the Verden First Baptist Church. The family requests that all those attending wear masks. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Wednesday, July 29th
Family, Friends Worry About Missing Chickasha Man
A Chickasha man has not been seen or heard from in over a week and his disappearance has family and friends concerned. Todd Laird was last seen at The Ten Pin Alley Bar playing darts last Tuesday night. It's a place he visits several nights a week. Bar manager Julie Houser tells our partners at KWTV News 9 that Laird promised he'd be back the next night and when he didn't show up, his friends became worried. Laird was last seen driving away on his 1973 Harley Davidson Shovelhead motorcycle. Laird's sister, Kelly, tells News 9 that Todd has battled an addiction problem his whole life but has a close bond with his family. She said he needs to be brought home if he can't make it himself. Chickasha police are investigating and reports are that Laird’s cel phone was pinged to a field. Anyone with information about Todd Laird is asked to call the Chickasha Police Department at 405-222-6050 or 9-1-1.
Grady County Sales Tax Revenue Dips
Sales tax revenue for Grady County dropped to its lowest level in nearly four years in June. The county received just under $374,000 in sales tax revenue which is the lowest since August of 2016. As we reported earlier this month, the July sales tax revenue was even lower, down to $363,000. Here's a breakdown of where the June sales tax revenue went, all of which were approved by county voters. The Grady County Fairgrounds received just under $125,000; Grady Memorial Hospital picked up $110,000; each of the county's 20 fire districts shared $62,000 with each one receiving about $3,100; each of the seven senior nutrition centers also shared $62,000 with each one collecting nearly $9,000; Tuttle Emergency Medical Services received more than 11,000; and Rush Springs EMS collected nearly $3,000.
State Lawmakers Issue Statement
on Alleged Abuse at Veterans Center
Allegations of patient abuse at the Lawton Veteran's Center have gotten the attention of southwest Oklahoma state lawmakers. Following recent social media posts about alleged mistreatment of patients, lawmakers released a joint statement saying they take all allegations seriously. The statement said the lawmakers appreciated the leadership of the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs who are taking action to investigate and remedy the situation. The lawmakers encouraged families to come forward with concerns of mistreatment, and also encouraged families to be a party to, and maintain committees which promote the welfare of veterans. They also encourage any executive order relating to long-term care visitation to consider solutions which would allow families to safely check on the treatment of their loved ones. Lawmakers issuing the statement were State Reps. Toni Hasenbeck of Elgin along with Trey Caldwell, Daniel Pae, and Rande Worthen all of Lawton and State Senators John Montgomery of Lawton and Chris Kidd of Waurika.
Warning Issued on Seeds Mailed from China
A number of Oklahomans have reported receiving unsolicited seeds in the mail from foreign countries. The seeds are in small packages which indicate that jewelry is inside. State Department of Agriculture officials call it agriculture smuggling. While the contents seem harmless there is the potential of that the seeds could be an invasive species, could introduce diseases to local plants, or even be harmful to livestock. Here’s Ron Hays with the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network-
Any seeds that have been planted and/or have sprouted should be dug up, the soil shaken off, sealed in a plastic baggie, and taken to a local OSU Extension Office.
Some Interstate Speed Limits to Increase
The speed limit on some rural Oklahoma interstates and turnpikes will soon go up to 80 miles per hour. The Oklahoma Turnpike Authority just approved the measure this week even though the initial approval came last year at the state capital. A five-mile stretch of the Norman Spur of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike will see the speed limit go up to 80 miles per hour. That's between Mile Markers 102 and 107 while the main segment of the Bailey will remain at 75 mph. Speed limits will be enforced at the current levels until new signage is installed.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.04 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.22.
Natural gas is $1.80 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,969 and silver is $24.25.
A graveside service for Danny Glass, 70, of Chickasha, will be held at 10:00 a.m. Friday at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Tuesday, July 28th
Missing Blanchard Man Located
A Silver Alert which had been issued for a missing Blanchard man has been canceled, after the man was located in Pauls Valley. Terry Wayne Taylor, 64, had walked away from his home last Tuesday and the Grady County Sheriff's Office issued a Silver Alert on Wednesday. Grady County Undersheriff Phil Blevins said his office was contacted by Pauls Valley police last Saturday morning. Blevins said that Taylor had taken a train ride to Texas. Someone at the Pauls Valley train station who had heard about the Silver Alert notified officials there who then relayed the message to Grady County authorities.
Schools Face Student Transporation Issue
Public school officials face the challenge of getting students to and from school with minimal contact with others to limit any possible exposure to the coronavirus. Dan Turner with Chickasha schools says school buses will be running as scheduled but encourages families to provide transportation if they can.
Turner said the buses will be sanitized after both the morning and afternoon routes and that the windows on buses be put down to help with air circulation. Turner also said the district also has a need for school bus drivers. The district will assist candidates in finding courses in order that drivers can obtain their Commercial Drivers License (CDL) certification.
State's COVID-19 Number Doubles in Three Weeks
The number of new coronavirus cases in Oklahoma has doubled over the last three weeks. Records from the state department of health say the number has climbed from 16,000 on July 5th to 32,000 in the latest report issued by the agency. The number of active cases in the state is now close to 7,000 and there are 625 patients currently in the hospital. 496 Oklahomans have died from the illness. The health department now reports more than 25,000 people have recovered. Grady County is now up to 376 positive tests since March with 70 cases currently active. Caddo County has had a total of 289 positive tests and 59 are active right now. Checking city numbers, Chickasha has had 309 positive tests with 41 active cases. Anadarko has had 87 positive tests and also has 41 active cases. Blanchard has had 111 positive tests with 17 active. Tuttle has had 80 positive tests and 13 are currently active. Newcastle has had 83 positive tests and 19 are active.
County Fair Alfalfa Hay Show Canceled
Another segment of the upcoming Grady County Fair has been canceled. The alfalfa hay show has been canceled over concerns surrounding the COVID-19 virus. A letter Grady County Alfalfa Association President Michael Pettijohn indicated the decision was made after discussing the issue with alfalfa show superintendent Mike Savage. There are plans to have the show next year. Pettijohn also encouraged producers to pay their annual $35 membership fees.
Steve Standridge to Serve on Cattlemen's Board
A Grady County rancher will serve a post on the Oklahoma Cattlemen's Association (OCA) board. Steve Standridge was named the director for the South Central district and will serve a three-year term. OCA president Mike Weeks said in a press release that the association is membership-owned and driven, and that he appreciates the willingness of his fellow cattlemen to serve as volunteer leaders. The cattlemen's association also honored Elgin State Representative Toni Hasenbeck with a Legislative Appreciation Award. OCA executive vice president Michael Kelsey said she helped lead the legislative charge in the house over the last two legislative sessions. Kelsey credited Hasenbeck with helping to advance two separate bills which addressed the labeling of alternative meat products.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.60 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.41.
Natural gas is $1.73 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,951 and silver is $23.81.
Monday, July 27th
Two Hospitalized Following Crash-Ending Pursuit
A pursuit on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike ends when a car being chased by a state trooper hits a toll booth and overturns. Two people were air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital however the trooper was not involved in the crash and was not hurt. The accident happened about 6:00 p.m. Sunday at the toll booth at Mile Marker 66 in Caddo County. The highway patrol said the driver of the car was eastbound and tried to drive around the toll booth when it hit a curb and then a support column. The car rolled 1 1/2 times, ejecting the driver. The driver, 20-year old Breanna Bothe of Norman and an unidentified 17-year old boy from Lawton who was a passenger were admitted to the hospital in serious condition. The highway patrolman involved in the pursuit was identified as Trooper John Hoover. It was not clear what initiated the pursuit. The crash shut down the pay-lane section of the toll both for nearly three hours. All traffic was routed through the Pikepass lane.
Chix Schools Urging Enrollment Sign-up
Chickasha schools are making a big push to have returning and new students attending classes this year to confirm the students' enrollment status. Special Services Director Pam Ladyman said the registration can be done in-person at the school administration building or on-line.
Ladyman said the primary reason for the process is for parents and students to select one of three pathways of learning which are being offered. They include traditional classroom instruction, distance-learning, or a combination of the two. Ladyman said families are asked to sign up for the entire fall semester although they will be able to change pathways after the first week if the one chosen is not working out. The school administration building will be open for enrollment today through Thursday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. No appointment is needed.
Another 1,200 new positive cases of the COVID-19 virus in Oklahoma were confirmed by the state health department yesterday. That takes the total number of positive tests to more than 31,000 which is 6,000 more positive tests in the last week alone. The agency also reports 496 deaths from the illness. There are nearly 6,100 active coronavirus cases and more than 600 people are being treated in hospitals. Nearly 25,000 Oklahomans have recovered. Chickasha has 40 active cases with the total count at 208. Anadarko has 34 current cases with its total positive tests at 80. Blanchard has 16 active cases with the total count at 108. Tuttle has just seven active cases with its total positive tests at 76.
Landmark to Honor Chickasha Author
A special ceremony is set this coming weekend to recognize the award-winning work of the late author Bill Wallace. Wallace was an elementary school teacher and principal for Chickasha Public Schools before he and his wife Carol started writing and illustrating nearly 40 books. The City of Chickasha will be installing a Literary Landmark honoring Wallace at Centennial Park this Saturday. Mayor Chris Mosley has issued a proclamation that August 1st will be Bill Wallace Day. Wallace won 22 state awards for his work. Saturday's ceremony will get underway at 10 o'clock.
Volunteer Firefighters Undergo Training
A number of volunteer Grady County firefighters spent part of their weekend attending search-and-rescue training. Classes were held Friday night and Sunday afternoon. According to the Grady County Fire Department's Facebook page, it was the first time for some of the firefighters to train with the Self Contained Breathing Apparatus or SCBA tanks in full bunker gear. The instructors in the program have more than 100 years of combined fire service experience.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.29 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.34.
Natural gas is $1.81 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,965 and silver is $24.25.