Saturday, August 15th
Drug Trafficking Ring Taken Down
A large drug trafficking operation in the Grady and Caddo County area was shaken up early Friday morning. Dozens of officers from the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics and numerous law enforcement agencies hit several Caddo County locations with more than 30 arrest warrants and seven search warrants. 28 people were in custody by noon. Taking part in the sting were the District 6 Drug Task Force, Anadarko Police, the Caddo County Sheriff's Office, and the Office of Inspector General with the Department of Corrections. Mark Woodward with the Bureau of Narcotics said the operation concluded a year-and-a-half investigation of the operation that was bringing large quantities of methamphetamine and cocaine into the Chickasha and Anadarko areas. He said it wouldn't be uncommon for more than a kilogram of meth and a half-pound of cocaine to come into Caddo County every week. Woodward said the operation was being run by two inmates from the state prison in McAlester, Clifton Wilson and David Duncan. OBN Director Donnie Anderson said the inmates would organize drug shipments using contraband cellphones to communicate with people outside the prison. All the individuals arrested were taken to the Caddo County Jail where they are facing a number of state and federal charges.
Tech Grants Available for Low-Income State Families
Low-income Oklahoma families can now apply for a grant to help pay for technology and materials that their children need for distance-learning systems put in place because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Gov. Kevin Stitt this week announced the plan that will help 5,000 under-served families. The money is coming from an $8 million Emergency Education Relief Fund. Called the Bridge the Gap Digital Wallet initiative, each family can receive $1,500 to help pay for the materials they need. The program is being run by a new group called Every Kid Counts in Oklahoma. Families of four with an annual income of less than $26,200 a year will be given first priority. Families must apply for the grant on-line, and its first-come, first served. The applications are on the website: www.everykidcountsok.org/digital-wallet
Grady County Sheriff Issues Most 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 regarding any of these individuals you're asked to contact the sheriff's office by calling 405-222-5085.
Funeral for Anita Rumley, 61, of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August 17th at Ferguson Funeral Home. She had been the head cook at Shannon Springs Nursing Home.
A graveside service for 88-year old “Miss Nellie” Campbell of Tuttle will be will be at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, August 18th at Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle. She was a nurse at Grady Memorial Hospital for many years. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
Friday, August 14th
Chickasha Fire Chief May be Terminated
Sources tell KOOL/RANCH News that Chickasha Fire Chief Brian Zalewski may be fired next week. Zalewski has a meeting with city Manager John Noblitt on Monday morning. It's not clear why Zalewski may be losing his job. Noblitt told KOOL/RANCH News that he cannot comment because it is a personnel matter. Zalewski also did not want to make a statement at this time. Zalewski has been with the fire department for 23 years. He was named interim fire chief in 2014 and was elevated to chief in 2015. A representative of the Chickasha Firefighters Association says everything that Zalewski has done has been to protect the firefighters. Josh Gregston, President of the International Association of Firefighters Local 2041, says the union is 100 percent behind the chief and knows he has done nothing wrong. A text message distributed about Monday's meeting is asking supporters of Zalewski to show up at City Hall prior to Monday's 9:30 a.m. meeting.
Chickasha Child Hospitalized After Crash
A 4-year old Chickasha boy is hospitalized after he and his father were involved in a traffic accident in southern Oklahoma last night. The unidentified boy was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital with a head injury and was admitted in stable condition. The child's father, 27-year old Allan Torralba, was not injured. The two were passengers in a pickup driven by 60-year old Earl McCourt, Jr. of Ardmore. McCourt was also air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was also admitted in stable condition. The accident happened north of Lone Grove just after 9 p.m. Thursday, August 13th. The highway patrol reports that the pickup ran off the road for nearly the length of a football field and hit a tree.
Pursuit Suspect Charged with Endangering Others
A Blanchard man is facing a felony charge after leading a number of law enforcement officers on an early-morning pursuit. 22-year old Thomas Kuehn was arrested and has been formally charged with endangering others while attempting to elude. The chase began about 1:30 a.m. Wednesday when Ninnekah police witnessed a truck speeding near the intersection of U.S. Highway 81 and State Highway 19. A probable cause affidavit indicates the driver sped up and headed south on Highway 81. Sheriff's deputies and state troopers were called in to assist. The chase went west on Highway 277 and in to Caddo County, where officials there were notified of the pursuit. The truck then turned south on State Highway 8 and went into Cyril, where the driver bailed out of the pickup and ran. Officials eventually caught up with the driver who put up a bit of struggle then was subdued after being tased. When asked why he failed to stop in the first place Kuehn said he had warrants out of McClain County. Kuehn remains in the Grady County Jail in lieu of a $25,000 bond.
Church to Hold Back-to-School Outreach
A Chickasha church will be holding its 8th annual back-to-school outreach program with some changes. Shepherd Street Christian Church will have a drive-up event this year as the church will provide school-aged children with backpacks of personal hygiene items. There won't be a carnival, clothing give-away or haircuts this year because of coronavirus concerns. The drive-up is open to students throughout the region, while supplies last. Children must be present. There is a limit of four backpacks per household. Pastor Milton Bowens said the backpacks were donated by the Chickasha Clinic Pharmacy. The outreach will be held from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. tomorrow (Saturday, Aug. 15th) morning at the church which is located at 802 S. Shepherd St.
Monster Trucks Invade Grady County Fairgrounds
Also this weekend, a monster truck show at the Grady County Fairgrounds. Several big-wheeled monstrosities will thrill young and old alike. Performances are tonight at 8 p.m.; and 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 15th. Tickets will be available at the gate.
City of Chix, YMCA to Hold 'Back-to-School Bash'
The City of Chickasha and the YMCA will have a back-to-school bash at Shannon Springs Park tomorrow. It's mainly for Chickasha youth. There's a volleyball tournament, a kids fishing derby, and radio-controlled boat races. The swimming pool will be open for its last day of summer. There's free admission if you bring some school supplies which will be given to the Chickasha Public School Foundation. Otherwise, admission is $5. Food trucks will be on hand. The bash runs from about 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. but the pool will be open until 6 p.m.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Jenna Cansler and Julia Cochran with Red Rock Behavioral Health Services will be on our KOOL Konversation. State Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn will be featured on Real Estate Today. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.24 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $44.96.
Natural gas is $2.18 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,955 and silver is $26.69.
A graveside service for Jannis McVey, 86, of Chickasha will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, August 15th at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation.
Thursday, August 13th
Consumer Spending Numbers Out
for Grady County, City of Chickasha
Consumer spending in the region reflects the downturn in the energy sector over the last year. The June estimate for Grady County of $55 million is less than half that from the same period a year ago. However, the estimate is up about 14 percent from May. For the City of Chickasha, the fall has not been nearly so steep. Estimated consumer spending for June was nearly $26 million which is down just 3.6 percent from 2019. It's down only about 3 percent from May. We estimate consumer spending when we see the sales tax revenues at both the county and city levels. Grady County sales tax revenue from the June retail business was $414,000 - compared to $1.1 million from the same period in 2019. It is up about $50,000 from the previous month. Chickasha's sales tax collections have consistently stayed around the $1 million each month, even with the energy industry slump and the coronavirus pandemic. The most recent sales tax numbers show Chickasha collecting $970,000. That's down slightly from $1.1 million from the same period last year and down from $1 million from the previous month.
Chickasha Schools Open Next Week
Chickasha school officials want to remind parents and students that classes will be starting next Thursday, Aug. 20th. Superintendent Rick Croslin says there has been at least one Oklahoma City television station reporting the wrong date. The August 20th date is for students who will return to the classrooms. Any student who opted for distance-learning, or the blended combination of distance-learning and classroom study will begin the following Thursday, Aug. 27th. Anyone with questions should contact their students' school. Also, Chickasha schools continue enrolling students for the upcoming school year. In-person enrollment has moved from the administration building to each individual school. Parents can also enroll students by filling out documents on the school district's website.
Chix School Board to Hold Special Meeting
The Chickasha school board will have a special meeting today to discuss a contract renewal with a company for school pictures for the upcoming year. There's also a closed door meeting scheduled to discuss personnel issues. The meeting will be held virtually at noon and it can be viewed on a link on the school district's website.
Man Angry That Rancher Fatally Shot Dog
An Anadarko man is furious after his dog was shot and killed by a rancher. Chase Butler says he was hunting wild hogs at night last week with his dog Smoke. Butler tells KFOR-TV that he uses a device that connects to the dog's collar which tracks the dog's location. Last week, Butler and Smoke were helping a wheat farmer hunt the wild hogs which are notorious for damaging crops. Butler said Smoke became distracted when he saw some headlights and that the dog ran in the direction of the lights. A nearby rancher was out checking on his cattle and Smoke jumped on the rancher’s truck. The rancher grabbed his rifle and fatally shot the dog. Butler confronted the rancher who told him Smoke was not being a threat to him or his livestock, but that he shoots dogs because people are always dumping them in the area. The televised report indicated the Caddo County sheriff's office was called out to investigate, but made no arrests stating that there was no law that warranted an arrest. The incident has been passed on to the district attorney’s office which has not yet filed any charges against the rancher.
An Invite to Welcome Students Back to Chix Schools
Chickasha business leaders are combining efforts with another group to welcome back students to Chickasha schools next week. The Chamber of Commerce and a group called Beautiful Day are asking their members to line the sidewalks of the high school, middle school, and Lincoln school when classes resume next Thursday. They asked that individuals wear school colors of purple and gold, and bring signs to show support for the students. Officials ask that participants wear masks and respect social distancing measures. Contact Cassandra Ersland at the Chamber for more information. Students have not been to school since the coronavirus struck in Oklahoma back in March. Students across the state attended distance-learning classes from their homes the last nine weeks of last school year.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.67 per barrel.
London-based Brent is $45.43.
Natural gas is $2.15 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,941 and silver is $26.10.
Funeral service for Tam Hart, 58, of Chickasha was held at 1:30 p.m. Thursday, August 13th at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Wednesday, August 12th
Former Chix Police Officer Attends
Governor's Signing of Bill Named for Him
It was nearly three years ago that three law enforcement officials were injured in a shootout at a Chickasha home. Former Chickasha police Sgt. Matthew Schoolfield was the most seriously hurt in September of 2017 when he suffered a permanent injury to his right arm. Recently, Schoolfield and his family were on hand for Gov. Kevin Stitt's ceremonial signing of The Sgt. Schoolfield Line of Duty Act (HB 3330). The measure guarantees that qualifying officers would receive 100 percent of their pension benefits instead of a modified percentage should they become disabled as a result of a violent act while on duty. State Rep. David Perryman of Chickasha, who was a co-author of HB 3330, was also part of the ceremony for the signing of the bill into law. State lawmakers overwhelmingly passed the bill with bipartisan support this past spring.
Biker Critically Injured After High-Speed Chase
A Newcastle man is hospitalized in critical condition after crashing his motorcycle during a high-speed pursuit by law enforcement. 42-year old Edwin Dodd was air-lifted to a Plano, Texas hospital following the Tuesday afternoon accident which happened east of Marietta near the small town of Lebanon, Okla. The highway patrol did not indicate why Marshall County authorities were pursuing Dodd. The trooper investigating the accident said the Dodd was unable to go around a curve, then ran off the road and hit a tree. Dodd was wearing a helmet.
Gunman Who Stole Car Faces More Charges
A man arrested for being in possession of a stolen vehicle is facing even more charges. We first told you about 36-year old James Dale Southern, Jr. of Oklahoma City yesterday. KOOL-RANCH News obtained some details about Southern’s arrest from documents filed in Grady County District Court. Grady County sheriff's deputies and Chickasha police responded to a report of a man waving a gun in the 3600 block of S. 4th about 8:00 a.m. Sunday. Authorities were able to detain the man without incident. The gunman told authorities he had stolen a car from Oklahoma City and drove to Chickasha, and that he parked the car about a mile away at a convenience store at 4th and Almar Drive (Authorities discovered the car had been stolen out of Oklahoma City on Saturday). The gunman was carrying some Wal-Mart bags. As officials performed an inventory of the bags' contents they found paperwork from a car belonging to local resident. The owner was contacted and she said the car was parked at the bowling alley. Authorities checked the vehicle and found that it had been burglarized and vandalized. The car owner said the bags in possession of the gunman were hers. Southern was initially charged with possession of a stolen vehicle and burglary, and is now facing additional charges of attempted larceny of a vehicle, pointing a firearm, and having a firearm after adjudication.
Distance-Learning and Classroom Students
To be Treated 'Equitably': Chix School Officials
Chickasha Public Schools have released a lot of information regarding the upcoming school year. Superintendent Rick Croslin says the district is taking steps to be sure that equitable services will be provided to students taking virtual classes, as well as those who will be in the classroom. If a distance-learning student does not have access to a tablet the district will provide a Chromebook to them (one for each student in a household). Homes with little or no Internet service will be provided a 'hot-spot'. The district has approved a two-year agreement with T-Mobile for the hot spots and Internet connectivity. The monthly connection fee will be paid by the district through federal CARES Act funds. Distance-learning students will also be provided breakfast and lunch each school day. There will be designated delivery sites which will be announced later. Students studying at home will be expected to log-in every day to work on assignments and tasks. All assignments must be completed by the due date and will be graded and recorded each week. Teachers will meet with the students once or twice a week. Information about the school district's distance learning plan, attendance policy, and safety protocols are available on the district's website and copies are available from the school administration office.
Businesswoman, Rancher Shirley Wilson Passes Away
Longtime Chickasha businesswoman and rancher Shirley Wilson has died. Wilson was 98 when she passed away on Sunday. Shirley and her husband Clay founded the 19th Seed Company - a company specializing in erosion control - which evolved into one of the largest highway and heavy road construction companies in the southwest. The company was responsible for projects like The Dallas Interchange and the Keystone Expressway. Shirley and Clay also created the 21 Ranch east of Chickasha, where they imported Charolais cattle from France. At one time the ranch earned the Challenge Trophy which is awarded to the top herd in the United States. A graveside service for Shirley Wilson will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Fairlawn Cemetery. Those attending are asked to wear masks. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Epworth Methodist Church or Friends Fur Change.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.61 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $44.50.
Natural gas is $2.17 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,942 and silver is $25.91.
James Bonds, Jr.
A private funeral mass will be held for James Bonds, Jr., 61, of Chickasha. Burial will be at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, August 12th in the Purcell Cemetery. Bonds was a U.S. Air Force Veteran. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Tuesday, August 11th
Chix Schools Ready For Challenges
When Classes Resume Next Week
Like most school administrators, Chickasha school Superintendent Rick Croslin says things are going to be different for the upcoming school year. In remarks to the board of education last night, Croslin said-
Croslin said that despite all the precautions that are being put in place, there will more than likely be some coronavirus problems to deal with and that the district is ready to take action when that happens. Chickasha schools will be back in session next Thursday, Aug. 20th for students who have opted to return to the classroom. Those who have opted for any distance-learning classes will start on Aug. 27th. Croslin added that 15 new teachers were hired and they will undergo orientation later this week. All teachers report for in-service training on Monday, Aug. 17th
Driver Hospitalized After Crash on Gravel Road
A driver is hospitalized after crashing his pickup near Norge yesterday. 22-year old Dylan Green of Ninnekah was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was admitted in stable condition. The accident happened just after 8 a.m. Monday on a gravel road just north of CR 2810 and CS 1400. The trooper dispatched to the crash reported that Green may have been driving too fast when he failed to complete a curve, veered off the road, hit a fence and rolled several times. Green was not wearing his seat belt and he was thrown out of the truck.
Suspect Faces Stolen Vehicle, Burglary Charges
Chickasha police arrest a man on complaints of having a stolen vehicle and burglary. Details aren't available, but we can tell you that 36-year old James Dale Southern, Jr. of Oklahoma City was booked into the Grady County Jail Sunday morning. Prosecutors have charged him with burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, and attempted larceny of a vehicle. Following his initial appearance on the charges in district court yesterday, a judge set Southern's bond at $20,000. He is to announce his attorney Aug. 28th with a preliminary hearing conference set for Sept. 15th.
Live Music Will be Part of Grady County Fair
The Grady County Fair is just a couple of weeks away. While the fair won't have as many attractions because of COVID-19 concerns, fair-goers will still be treated to some live music. Jamie Jones is the coordinator for the fair.
The carnival was not able to be part of the fair this year and Jones says there will be fewer vendors in order to respect social-distancing standards. The still exhibits will also be further apart. The 105th Grady County Fair is set for Aug. 27th, 28th, and 29th.
Ground-breaking Set for Chix Mini-Golf Course
Miniature golf is coming to Chickasha. It's been a dream of Jerry and Sheila Layman and their son Steven for several years and they’ve finally been able to get the ball rolling, so to speak. Groundbreaking will held Thursday. It will tentatively be called the Jungle Ice Fun Zone featuring an 18-hole mini-golf course, game room and concessions. The Laymans are working a Wisconsin company called Miniature Golf Construction, which has built courses in Kansas, Arkansas, and North Carolina. The company also built the mini-golf course in Oklahoma City’s Bricktown area called Bricktopolis. The Layman’s know the importance of having alternative entertainment options for area families. They previously managed and operated OK Skateland and they also own the Jungle Ice Snow Cone stands. The Laymans are also working with Jim Cowan with Chickasha's Economic Development Council. A ground-breaking ceremony will be held Thursday morning with construction expected to take four to six months.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.94 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is under $45.
Natural gas is $2.15 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,996 and silver is $28.18.
Monday, August 10th
Chix School Board Meets as Classes Begin Soon
Chickasha school classes open next week, and parents are still urged to contact school officials in order to choose to have their students in the classroom full time, attend virtual classes at home or a combination of the two methods. Tonight, the school board takes a look at a few things before classes begin Thursday, Aug. 20th. Among the items of discussion include the sale of the land and building where the Chickasha Senior Nutrition Center is located. The group will also consider a contract with new personnel director Seth Meier, and a memorandum of understanding with the Chickasha Association of Support Employees. The board of education meets virtually again tonight beginning at 6 p.m. and the meeting can be viewed on the school district's website: www.chickasha.k12.ok.us
Substitute Teacher Workshop Set
Chickasha schools will have a substitute teacher workshop this week. Substitutes are needed at every grade level. Individuals must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. The session will be this Wednesday, Aug. 12th at the Chickasha High School Activity Center starting at 8:30 a.m.
Anadarko School Board Meets, Classes Start Thursday
The Anadarko school board also meets tonight. The group will discuss the Oklahoma Public School Safety protocol established by the State Department of Education to determine the safest operation for classes which will begin this Thursday, Aug. 13th. The group will also look at a revised calendar for the year, review entry-year teacher-mentor assignments, and consider fundraisers for several programs. The Anadarko School Board will hold a regular meeting in the school administration office at 6 o'clock tonight.
Just under 500 new positive coronavirus cases were reported by the state department of health yesterday. That puts the total number of positive tests to 43,500 since the virus was first found in Oklahoma five months ago. There were no new deaths, with that number staying at 603. There are about 6,900 current cases of the illness with around 600 people being treated in hospitals. Checking city numbers, Chickasha has had 224 people test positive, there have been four deaths, and there are 18 current cases. Anadarko has had 155 people test positive, there have been three deaths, and there are 32 current cases. Blanchard has had 136 cases, there has been one 1 death, and there are 13 current cases. Newcastle has had 109 positive tests, there has been one death, and there are 12 current cases. Tuttle has had 103 positive tests, with two deaths, and there are 14 active cases. Grady County has had a total of 441 positive tests with 7 deaths and there are 46 active cases. Caddo County has had a total of 417 positive cases with 16 deaths and 75 cases are active. Stephens County has had 200 people test positive and there have been three deaths and 37 cases are current.
DHS Recruits Foster Families
There is a big need for foster families in Oklahoma to care for children who are in DHS custody. There are nearly 7,800 children in state custody right now. DHS Child Welfare Specialist Theresa Plata talks about the need in this region.
Foster parent requirements include that individuals must be 21 years old, pass a background check, and complete 27 hours of training. You can be a single parent or a same-sex household. For information about becoming a foster parent, reach out to your local DHS office.
Energy Firm Reports 2nd Quarter Profit
Cheniere Energy, the company which built a natural gas pipeline through Oklahoma’s SCOOP and STACK plays, was in rare company in the second quarter. The Houston-based liquid natural gas company reported a profit of $197 million which result in quarterly earnings of 78 cents a share. Over the last four quarters, Cheniere has surpassed some consensus estimates three times. The company reported net income of $572 million for the first six months of 2020.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.22 per barrel.
London-based Brent Crude is $44.40.
Natural gas is $2.24 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,037 and silver is $28.26.