Mollman Media News

2020, Aug. 17th-22nd

Saturday, August 22nd

 

National Guard Troops Home from Deployment

A police escort preceded an entourage of three buses bringing a number of Oklahoma National Guard troops home this week. Soldiers with the 1st Battalion, 158th Field Artillery Division were reunited with their families in Mustang. The troops had been in Kuwait for about the last six months. The homecoming was much earlier than expected as troops weren't scheduled to return until around Thanksgiving, but their mission was reduced by three months.

 

Fury Erupts as Historic Fort Buildings Demolished              

There are some angry people in El Reno who are furious that a number of buildings at historic Fort Reno are being demolished. Officials with the Historic Fort Reno Museum say about a dozen buildings are being torn down by the federal government. Marie Hearst is the president of the museum board and says they're destroying history that they can't get back. The post was built in 1875 and it is now owned by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Among the 14 buildings scheduled for demolition, eight have historic designations, with two of them built in 1890. In papers filed with the state preservation office, USDA said the agency doesn't have the money to complete the needed repairs and renovations. An official with the state preservation office said when an agency doesn't have the funds for repairs it’s called deferred maintenance, which is really " no maintenance" - and when that happens long enough - buildings start to fail. Hearst said the USDA gets maintenance money from the feds and feels there's been a lot of neglect.

 

Suspected Trailer Thief Charged with Felony

An Anadarko man wanted for the alleged theft of a trailer was arrested this week. 38-year old Brandon Ellis Turner was booked in to the Grady County Jail Thursday afternoon. An arrest warrant had been issued for Turner after a flatbed trailer was stolen from a rural Chickasha home. A probable cause affidavit indicates that a sheriff's deputy was called out to a ranch west of Chickasha Aug. 7th. The victim said a 12-foot flatbed trailer had been taken from the property on Sunday, Aug. 2nd. Surveillance cameras showed the trailer being pulled out of the property by a pickup. The deputy was later contacted by the Anadarko Police Department where an officer was able to connect the pickup with Turner. Turner has been charged with felony grand larceny and is out of jail after posting a $5,000 bond. A preliminary hearing conference was scheduled for Sept. 15th.

 

Police Capture 'Elusive' Driver              

A Cement woman is in custody after a warrant was issued for her arrest for attempting to eluding police. And it’s not the first time she's tried to flee from law enforcement. 31-year old Billie Jean Butler was also booked into the Grady County jail Thursday. The warrant was issued this past June after Chickasha police attempted to pull her over for having previous outstanding warrants. A probable cause affidavit indicates that Butler led police on a short pursuit in the north part of Chickasha. She stopped near the end of a dead-end road, then abandoned the car and ran into a wooded area where she managed to get away. Butler previously pleaded guilty to a 2018 charge of felony eluding and possession of a stolen vehicle. Authorities also discovered she had a warrant out of Stephens County for having a firearm after conviction. Butler remains in jail pending a $25,000 bond with her next court appearance set Sept. 3rd.

 

Quakes Shake Caddo County

A couple of earthquakes were recorded in southern Caddo County this week. The US Geological Survey recorded the first tremor Wednesday evening which occurred just north of the Caddo-Comanche county line. It registered 2.5 on the Richter Scale. The second temblor struck about 10:39 p.m. Thursday, with the epicenter a mile north of Apache. That quake initially registered as 3.3 on the Richter Scale but was later revised down to 2.5. Several residents reported light shaking and others said it knocked a few things off their walls. The quakes occurred about three miles below the surface of the earth.

 

Blanchard Bluegrass Festival Ends Today

They played through the rain at opening night of the 10th annual Blanchard Bluegrass Music Festival last night. The unexpected precipitation didn't dampen the spirits of bluegrass music lovers' enthusiasm for the event. The festival continues this afternoon and runs through evening. Among the groups performing is The Russell Clan out of Guthrie, a group featuring seven brothers and sisters ranging in age from 11 to 23. Other groups include Pearl Grace and Company; H and W Bluegrass Express; Honey Creek Pass; Genetic Connection; Graystone Bluegrass Revival; and The Horn Family. Admission to the festival is free.

              

Obituaries

Gina Koonce Turner

Funeral service for Gina Koonce Turner, 59, of Tuttle will be at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August. 24th at the Newcastle First Baptist Church.

Walter Shaw

A memorial service for Walter Shaw, 93, of Alex will be at 2:00 p.m. Monday, August 24th at the Alex Southern Baptist Chapel. He was a U.S. Army veteran who served in World War II.

 

 

Friday, August 21st

 

Accused Child Rapist Has Court Appearance Delayed

A Chickasha man accused of sexually assaulting two girls more than a decade ago has had his preliminary hearing conferenced postponed. 54-year old Guy Lengyelleahu was originally scheduled to be in Grady County District Court last week, but the conference has been re-scheduled for December 3rd. You may remember that Lengyelleahu managed to elude authorities for more than 10 years after an arrest warrant was issued for his arrest in 2009. He was arrested by U.S. marshals in New Mexico last month. Lengyelleahu is accused of raping and molesting children who were 12 and 13-years old at the time. It's alleged that he raped one of the girls at knifepoint. Lengyelleahu is charged with one count of rape and four counts of lewd molestation. if convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison. Lengyelleahu remains in the Grady County Jail on a $1 million bond.

 

Chix Fire Chief Awaits Word on Employment Status              

There's no word on the employment status of Chickasha Fire Chief Brian Zalewski. A hearing officer was to present findings of a pre-termination hearing to City Manager John Noblitt yesterday. KOOL/RANCH News talked to Zalewski yesterday afternoon and said he has not received any notification of his termination. The city manager has not indicated when he might make a decision.

 

Firefighters' Union Vice President

Sends Letter to City Manager, City Council              

In the meantime, a letter from the vice president of District 11 of the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) has been sent to the city manager and members of the city council, saying recent developments in the fire department “raises troubling questions about the city's commitment to workplace and human resources fairness and threats to fire safety standards”. The Chickasha Firefighters Association is represented by the IAFF. The letter from Sandy McGhee says "the actions of the city manager in the past few months - including the questionable on-going investigation of the fire chief – continue a pattern of adversarial posturing against the fire chief and the city's fire fighters”. The letter states that “a growing number of Chickasha citizens wonder whether the city manager authorized a tax-payer funded law firm investigation of the fire chief without disclosing the expenditure and his motive to the city council”. Regarding Noblitt's dispute with the fire chief, McGhee writes that he “encourages the release of audio recordings of recent meetings” between Noblitt and Zalewski, and that “citizens deserve to know  whether the city manager's public positions about possible fire department service cuts - including a unilateral privatization of the Emergency Medical Services - contradict his private positions” on the issues. The letter is posted on the Chickasha Fire Fighters Facebook page.

 

State's Primary Run-off Election is Next Week;

Early Voting Available Today, Tomorrow

Early voting is underway ahead of next Tuesday's primary run-off elections in Oklahoma but not everyone is going to the polls. In Grady County, voters in only four precincts will be casting ballots in a Republican run-off for State Senate District 43. Incumbent Paul Scott of Duncan is being challenged by Jessica Garvin, also of Duncan. The only Grady County precincts that will be open are No. 23 which is Craig's Computers in Ninnekah; No. 14 in Bradley; and two in Rush Springs, including No. 26 at Vimy Ridge Baptist Church and No. 36 at the Rush Springs Library. Voters in all of McClain County and a handful of precincts in Stephens County may also cast ballots in that Republican state senate run-off.  The winner will go on to face Democrat Terry Reimer of Marlow in the general election in November. In-person, absentee voting can be done at the election board offices in Grady, McClain, and Stephens County from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. today (Friday) or 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. Regular precincts will be open next Tuesday. By the way, there are no run-off elections in Caddo County.

 

Wildlife Refuge Cancels Fall Bus Tours, Hikes

The Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge has canceled its popular fall tours. For years, the refuge has hosted fall foliage and Rocky Mountain Elk bus tours and guided hikes. The refuge cites the move as keeping with guidance from the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and acting out of an abundance of caution because of COVID-19. A statement from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service indicates the agency is committed to doing its part to slow the spread of the coronavirus and to ensure the health and safety of employees, volunteers, and visitors. While the tours have been canceled, the refuge remains open from sunrise to sunset every day for recreation and wildlife viewing.

 

Talk Show Topics

Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Ahsha Morin and Ashley Chapman with The Red Cord are our guests on the KOOL Konversation. On Real Estate Today, guests are Superintendent Gayla Lutts, Chickasha Campus Director Ronnie Bogle, and Marketing Director Jessica Limestall with Canadian Valley Technology Center. Find links to the programs under the Community Tab on this website.

 

Energy and Metals

Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.58 per barrel.

London-based Brent crude is $44.90.

Natural gas is $2.35 per million BTUs.

Gold is $1,942 and silver is $27.26.

 

Obituary

Donnell Padgett

Funeral for Donnell Padgett, 63, of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, August 27th at Ferguson Funeral Home.. She was the owner/operator of Taco Mayo in Chickasha for about the last six years.

 

 

Thursday, August 20th

 

Chickasha, Anadarko Schools Re-open for Classes

School bells in Chickasha and Anadarko Public Schools will be ringing for the first time in five months this morning, as classroom learning will be held for the first time since the coronavirus was first reported in Oklahoma back in March. Parents had an option of having their children return to classrooms or continue a distance-learning program, similar to the at-home system implemented after Spring Break last year. Chickasha School Superintendent Rick Croslin said the distance learning system will have some different curriculum but in many ways it will remain the same.

 

              

 

Croslin said about 500 students are taking part in at-home classes, which won’t start until next week. Some students are taking a combination of at-home and in-school courses. The school district will be delivering breakfast and lunch to the virtual students on regular school days. At Anadarko, Superintendent Jerry McCormick said the district originally was to start last week, but delayed classes for seven days because of the coronavirus. Caddo County is considered an "orange" county or one where there is a moderate risk for COVID-19. Anadarko has had 199 positive tests for the coronavirus. The state health department reported there were 48 active cases as of yesterday.

 

Former Deputy Al Hooper Dies

Longtime Grady County Deputy Sheriff Al Hooper has died. Hooper, who worked the first drug and tracking dogs for the sheriff's office a number of years ago passed away Sunday at 89 years of age.  Prior to his  15 years with the sheriff's office Hooper spent nearly 20 years in the Marine Corps. He served in Korea and Vietnam and received a number of commendations, including a Presidential Unit Citation. A graveside service for Al Hooper will be at 1:00 p.m. Monday, August 24th at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.

 

Octogenarian Arrested for DWI

It's not uncommon for police officers to make traffic stops and find that a driver has been drinking while behind the wheel. This past Sunday morning, Tuttle police arrested an 80-year old man for drinking and driving. A probable cause affidavit filed by the officer indicated that the driver and a passenger from Oklahoma City got lost while heading to the Newcastle Casino. The officer noticed an odor of alcohol  on the driver and asked if he had been drinking and the driver said a beer or two.  The driver failed a field sobriety test and was taken to the Grady County Jail. James Frazier spent a day in jail and on Monday was formally charged with a misdemeanor for driving while intoxicated. It carries maximum penalty of six months in jail and up to a $500 fine.

 

Energy and Metals

Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.93 per barrel.

London-based Brent crude is $45.37.

Natural gas IS $2.42 per million BTUs.

Gold is $1,932 and silver is $27.11.

 

Wednesday, August 19th

 

Grady County Man Accused of Kidnapping

A Ninnekah man is jailed on a half-million dollar bond accused of kidnapping. 48-year old Dusty Earl Knight was taken into custody after a woman alleged that Knight had taken her hostage following a night of drug use. A probable cause affidavit indicates that the victim was accused of taking a couple of bags of methamphetamine, and was ordered to strip to show that she did not have the drugs. After being allowed to put her clothes back on, it’s alleged that Knight tied the victim's hands behind her back with a phone charging cord, then put her in the back of a car and drove around for several hours. It's also alleged that Knight put duct tape over her mouth, threatened to cut off her fingers, kill her, and put her body in a barrel of muriatic acid so her body would never be found. The victim said that at some point she passed out, and when she woke up she was at a home in Verden. Knight was arrested at his home Saturday afternoon. Knight is to announce his attorney next week with a preliminary hearing conference scheduled for Sept. 15th. Knight has a lengthy criminal history.

 

Three People Injured in Verden Crash

Three people were hospitalized and one of them was last in critical condition after a pickup crashed near Verden last night. 23-year old Dalton Alcorn of Alex and 22-year old Traylen Anderson of Bradley were both air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital. Alcorn was admitted in critical condition and Anderson was admitted in serious condition. 22-year old Deven Remy of McLoud was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was admitted in good condition. The accident happened on a gravel county road four miles east of Verden just after 7:00 p.m. Tuesday. The highway patrol said the pickup was traveling at a high rate of speed when it hit a dip in the road, then careened off the road and rolled several times, throwing all three men out of the pickup. The trooper on the scene reported an odor of alcohol on the driver.

 

Chix Students About to Return to School

Chickasha school students will be heading back to the classroom tomorrow. School Superintendent Rick Croslin says a lot of work has gone in to getting the classrooms and all school sites prepared, and getting the distance-learning system established for students opting for that education route. Croslin has this message for parents and students.

 

              

 

Croslin told the teachers that everyone needs to practice grace and mercy as students return, welcome students back with a smile, and that they will make adjustments as necessary. Croslin said the coronavirus pandemic is not going to define the school district.

 

Coronavirus Update

There were another 600-plus new positive coronavirus tests in Oklahoma in the Tuesday update from the state health department. The total number of cases is now more than 49,000. There are 7,500 active cases and just over 500 people are hospitalized. In Grady County, which is in the Yellow or Low-Risk category, the number of positive cases stands at 472. Of those, 235 are in Chickasha and 118 are in Tuttle. There are 52 active cases in Grady County, with 19 in Chickasha and 23 in Tuttle. Caddo County is the Orange or Moderate Risk category, with 470 positive tests. Anadarko has had 188 people test positive and Hinton has had 116. Caddo County currently has 76 active cases, with 43 in Anadarko and 9 in Hinton. Blanchard, which is split between Grady and McClain County, has had 147 people test positive for the illness and 15 are active. In Garvin County, Lindsay has had 62 positive tests with 10 active cases.

 

Energy and Metals

Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.89 per barrel.

London-based Brent crude is $45.46.

Natural gas is $2.41 per million BTUs.

Gold is $1,996 and silver is $27.78.

 

Obituary

Verla Tassin

Funeral service for Verla Tassin, 85, of Lawton is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.

 

 

Tuesday, August 18th

 

Chix Fire Chief Awaits Termination Hearing Ruling             

Chickasha Fire Chief Brian Zalewski met behind closed doors for 4 1/2 hours Monday, defending his actions in a termination hearing with city officials. Zalewski tells KOOL/RANCH News that no action was taken after the extended meeting which was held behind closed doors as it is a personnel matter. Zalewski said a ruling is expected by Thursday afternoon. A number of Zalewski’s supporters were on hand including many Chickasha firefighters, although they held their vigil in the parking lot outside of city hall. While the first floor lobby was open to the public, no one was allowed to go upstairs to the lobby of the second floor office of City Manager John Noblitt. Three Chickasha police officers, including Police Chief Dee Rowell, turned away anyone wanting to go upstairs. That included a media request from KOOL/RANCH News. Rowell said only witnesses testifying in the hearing were allowed upstairs. Members of Zalewski's family were on hand but were seated on a bench on the first-floor lobby throughout the hearing.

 

Fire Chief Draws Support from Local FOP              

We reported earlier that Zalewski had the support of the Chickasha Firefighters Association. He also apparently has the support of the city's police union. The Chickasha Fraternal Order of Police Local 129 posted a statement on its Facebook page yesterday that the group stands with Zalewski, his leadership abilities, and his dedication to citizens. The statement said the union understands there was frustration as officers were not allowing anyone access to the second floor of city hall, but that they were only doing what they were told to do as part of their duty assignment for the day.

 

Man on Probation Back in Custody After Felony Arrest              

A Chickasha man serving a suspended sentence for felony eluding and weapons possession is back behind bars. 21-year old Jarrett Michael Price was arrested by Chickasha police over the weekend. Officers were summoned to a fight at an undisclosed location Saturday night where Price was taken into custody. Price is now being charged with felony counts of aggravated assault and battery and assault with a dangerous weapon, as well as a misdemeanor count of domestic abuse. Previously, Price was arrested in April of 2017 and charged with felony eluding. In December of 2017, he was arrested and charged with a felony weapons charge after a delinquent adjudication. He pled guilty to both charges last year and received a 10-year suspended sentence. Prosecutors now want to revoke the suspended sentence following Price's most recent run-in with the law.

 

Sale of City of Chix' Grand Lake Property Delayed

No Sale. At least not yet. The Chickasha City Council was to discuss selling a parcel of land the city owns at Grand Lake in northeastern Oklahoma during its meeting last night. Mayor Chris Mosley pulled the item from the agenda and said it would be considered at a later date. The plan was to sell a lot in the Apache Cove area of the lake for $40,000. The city acquired the land after its previous owner defaulted on an economic development loan he was awarded to move his firm to Chickasha, a move that never took place. The Grand Lake property was used as collateral for the loan which is how the city took ownership. The city has hired a Realtor to help sell the lots.

 

Chix Mayor to Endorse Transit System Grant Request

The city council met briefly in open session Monday night and gave the mayor the approval to endorse a grant application for Washita Valley Community Action Council to upgrade its transit program. The council also met behind closed doors for nearly an hour and a half on what was considered a sensitive topic. A vague description of the issue indicated it was to hold confidential communication with the city attorney concerning a pending investigation, claim or action. No action was taken after the executive session.

 

Energy and Metals

Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.89 per barrel.

London-based Brent crude is $45.37.

Natural gas is $2.34 per million BTUs.

Gold is $2,015 and silver is $28.63.

 

Obituaries

Billy Tallent

A memorial service for Billy Tallent, 73, of the Laverty area will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, August 21st at New Life Christian Church of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.

Gary Surber

A memorial service for Gary Surber, 70, of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, August 22nd at Bible Baptist Church. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.

 

 

Monday, August 17th

 

Chix Fire Chief Termination Hearing Underway

(Updated) - Chickasha Fire Chief Brian Zalewski will learn his fate this morning. He's to meet with the city manager in what is believed to be a termination hearing. The meeting between Zalewski and City Manager John Noblitt was set for 9:30 a.m. at city hall. About 25 firefighters supporting Zalewski gathered outside city hall prior to the start of the meeting. While the lobby of city hall was open, no one was allowed upstairs where the closed-door hearing was being held. Three Chickasha police officers, including Police Chief Dee Rowell, were keeping anyone from getting to Noblitt’s second floor office, accept for witnesses who were participating in the hearing. Zalewski, a 24-year veteran of the fire department, has spent the last five years as chief, and also served over the city's emergency management services. The Chickasha Fire Fighters Association, the union which represents many of the firefighters, issued a statement supporting Zalewski. Neither the city manager nor the fire chief would comment on what factors are involved in Zalewski's possible dismissal.

 

Chickasha's Ada Lois Sipuel-Fisher Named

One of State's Most Influential Women in 20th Century              

The USA Today Network has revealed a list of the top 10 most influential women in each state for the 20th century. Chickasha's Ada Lois Sipuel-Fisher is on the Oklahoma list. The list was compiled as part of America's commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendement granted women in every state the right to vote. Sipuel-Fisher was denied admission to the University of Oklahoma's Law School because she was Black. Her case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which ruled in her favor in 1948. Other Oklahoma women on the top 10 list include teacher and activist Clara Luper; former Cherokee Nation Chief Wilma Mankiller; astronaut Shannon Lucid; pioneering journalist Edith Gaylord; Native American Ballerinas “The 5 Moons”; the first Native American U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo; Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller; young adult novelist Susan Hinton; and country music superstar Reba McEntire.

 

Newcastle Motorcyclist Dies After Crash

A Newcastle man who was hospitalized following a motorcycle accident last week has died. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reports that 42-year old Edwin Dodd passed away from his injuries Saturday afternoon. The accident happened last Tuesday in southern Oklahoma, not far from Marietta near the small town of Lebanon. A state trooper's report indicated that law enforcement were pursuing Dodd for an undisclosed reason just before the accident occurred.

 

Grand Lake Property Owned by City of Chickasha to be Sold

The sale of some property at Grand Lake owned by the City of Chickasha is expected to be approved by the Chickasha City Council tonight. The property is one of several parcels of land the city obtained as repayment of a loan given to the owner of a Tulsa firm who went back on his promise to re-locate his company to the area. The city had awarded a $250,000 economic development loan to Tom Word of Word Industries. Word had used the Grand Lake property as collateral for the loan. The one parcel to be sold tonight is Lot Four of Apache Cove for $40,000. The council is also expected to allow Mayor Chris Mosley to sign an endorsement supporting the Washita Valley Community Action Council’s application for a transit system grant. The council will again meet virtually and the meeting can be seen on a YouTube link which can be accessed from the city's website, www.chickasha.org

The meeting will get underway at 6:30 p.m.

 

Energy and Metals

Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.01 per barrel.

London-based Brent crude is $44.80.

Natural gas is $2.35 per million BTUs.

Gold is $1,962 and silver is $27.19.

 

Obituaries

Kenneth “Bud” Bozarth

Funeral for Kenneth “Bud” Bozarth, 85, of Tuttle will be at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, August 18th at the Heritage Family Baptist Center in Tuttle. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle. Bozarth was a U.S. Army veteran.

Clarita Scott-Spears

Graveside service for Clarita Scott-Spears, 79, formerly of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 21st at Memory Lane Cemetery in Anadarko. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.

Judy Ann Ingram

Graveside service for Judy Ann Ingram of Hollis will be at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, August 22nd at Fairmont Cemetery in Hollis. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.

 

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