Saturday, May 8th
Jury Convicts Man of Murder
Guilty. That's the verdict in the murder trial of Baltazar Sanchez-Garcia who was accused of killing his estranged wife. The body of Linday Salazar was found in Marlow in November of 2016 the day after she was reported missing. Her throat had been slashed. After the brutal killing, Sanchez-Garcia fled to Mexico where he was arrested. According to the Duncan Banner, Sanchez-Garcia was brought back to Oklahoma after conditions of his extradition included that the death penalty would not be an option for punishment. A Stephens County jury only took an hour to convict Sanchez-Garcia and the panel recommended life without parole. Formal sentencing is set for June 22nd.
New Law Expected to Release More Non-Violent Offenders
More non-violent Oklahoma offenders may soon be able to be released from prison early if they qualify for electronic monitoring. Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed SB 456 into law which officials say addresses some community sentencing issues. One is to help non-violent offenders re-enter society and the other would keep predators out of the program. The bill was requested by the state department of corrections. A non-violent offender with a sentence of 10 years or less would be eligible once they are within three years of release. Inmates ineligible for home monitoring would include those convicted of child abuse and/or neglect, or the exploitation of a vulnerable adult. Inmates must apply to get into the program and meet certain standards before enrolling. The law goes into effect Nov. 1st.
More Wind Turbines Coming to Southern Oklahoma
Another wind farm will be built in the region. Enel Green Power has announced plans to erect the new turbines in Garvin and Carter counties. It will be called the Rockhaven wind project and is expected to produce 140 megawatts of electricity. Rockhaven is the 11th wind farm in Oklahoma for Enel Green Power and officials anticipate commercial operations to begin by the end of the year. And it’s not the only new construction proposed by the company. The website OK Energy Today reports the project is part of a total 1.5 gigawatt production capability with four other renewable energy projects in Texas and Illinois. One of them will be Enel's largest solar plant in the U.S. and others will include three hybrid renewable energy projects. Officials say the company has more than 2.3 gigawatts of new renewable generation projects under construction and will have more than 600 megawatts of battery-storage capacity under construction in the U.S. later this year.
Funeral service for Gail Donnellan, 65, of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Monday, May 10th at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the American Cancer Society, Chickasha Mobile Meals, or the St. Luke's Memorial Fund.
Friday, May 7th
Appelate Court Overturns Murder Conviction
District Attorney Jason Hicks is disappointed with a state court ruling which overturns the murder conviction of a man accused of killing a teenager. The state court of criminal appeals overturned the conviction of Miles Bench who was convicted of killing Velma-Alma convenience store clerk Braylee Henry in 2012. The appellate court ruling cited the U.S. Supreme Court's McGirt decision as its reasoning for overturning the conviction. In a press conference, Hicks disagreed that the Bench case applied to the McGirt decision.
Hicks said the state attorney general could ask for a stay in the matter. The Bench case is now expected to be heard in tribal or federal court.
City of Chickasha Schedules Ward Meetings
Officials at Chickasha City Hall say they always welcome comments from citizens. Starting next week, officials will have a series of meetings for residents in each of the city's four wards. The first such meeting will be for individuals who live in Ward 1. Ward One City Councilmen David Sikes and Brian Gerdes will be in attendance and residents can share their concerns as well as their ideas about what can be done to make the city better. The Ward 1 meeting will be Monday, May 10th at 6:30 p.m. in the city council chambers at city hall. Meetings for residents in the other three wards will follow over the next few months. The Ward 2 meeting will be Monday, June 14th; the Ward 3 meeting will be Monday, July 12th; and the Ward 4 meeting will be Monday, August 9th.
Bids Sought for Grady County Fairgrounds Contracts
The Grady County Fairgrounds is soliciting bids for several contracts which expire next month. Those contracts include concession management in the indoor arena; concession and beverage management in the event center; mobile concession and beverage management for the outdoor arena; and lawn maintenance and landscape service. Bids must be received by May 24th. For information, contact Jamie Jones at the Grady County Fairgrounds.
Chix Chamber to Hold Ribbon-Cuttings
A number of new Chickasha businesses have opened their doors in the last few months and the Chamber of Commerce is catching up on ribbon-cutting ceremonies for new chamber members – ceremonies which were delayed because of the pandemic. Today, officials will be at Tammie's Bling Boutique downtown at 123 West Chickasha Ave. Friday, May 14th there's a ribbon-cutting at the Salvation Army to celebrate some recently completed renovations. Thursday, May 20th, it’s with Hillary Communications which is bringing high-speed Internet to the community. Friday, May 21st, they'll be at Viridian Coffee, where the chamber will have its first ChamberConnects program in over a year. ChamberConnects is a monthly program for members to network. Check out the chamber's website or Facebook page for more info.
PEO Groups Award Scholarships
High school students face a daunting task when applying for scholarships to continue their education. Filling out dozens of documents is a time-consuming task in hopes of getting some help to pay for tuition and books. The work paid off in a big way for three Chickasha High School students. Jordan Wallace, Bailey White, and Logan McKinney have all been awarded $2,500 STAR scholarships from the PEO sisterhood. PEO stands for Philanthropic Educational Organization and there are three such chapters in Chickasha. The STAR scholarship is for exceptional high school senior women who exhibit excellence in leadership, academics, extra-curricular activities, community service, and potential for future success.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. David Nowlin with OSU Extension discusses the pecan industry with horticulturist Becky Carroll on the KOOL Konversation. 4th District Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole is 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 $64.71 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.09.
Natural gas is $2.93 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,821 and silver is $27.45.
Thursday, May 6th
GOP House Members Support Education Funding Increase
Republicans in the State House of Representatives are supporting an increase in education spending. Officials say the house has prioritized funding reform for K-12 schools to include measures that increase per-student funding and equalize appropriations for all districts. In a press release, GOP house members support at least $135 million more for common education. They say the increase could reduce the number of students in each classroom especially in Kindergarten and 1st grade. The plan would restore funds from one-time pandemic-related reductions from last year, and add money to the funding formula to trigger the class-size reductions. State lawmakers only have a few more days left in the legislative session which is required to adjourn by the end of the month.
GMH Adds New General Surgeon
Grady Memorial Hospital has a new general surgeon on staff. Dr. Robert Buchanan has been on board since last fall. He’s a native Texan who graduated from Texas A and M and Southwestern Medical School in Dallas. He had his residency training at the University of North Carolina. Buchanan discusses one of his primary duties.
Buchanan joins longtime general surgeon Dr. Amish Patel at Grady Memorial.
Auto Club Swap Meet Underway
The Chickasha Antique Auto Club spring swap meet is underway. The event attracts thousands of visitors from across the country every year. There are hundreds of vendors with everything from boxes of parts to sort through to fully restored cars and trucks for sale. There's also a lot of transportation-related memorabilia for collectors and individuals share stories about their projects and favorite memories of their work and travels. The swap meet is on the auto club grounds next to the Grady County Fairgrounds and there are also indoor vendors at the fairgrounds east of downtown Chickasha. There will also be an arts and crafts show at the fairgrounds tomorrow and Saturday. There are city-wide garage sales in both Chickasha and Anadarko through the weekend. Both cities are waiving permit fees. Chickasha residents don't have to have a permit but Anadarko residents should pick up a permit at the Utility Billing Department at City Hall., Anadarko's town wide garage sales start tomorrow.
Chix Residents Urged to Promote Local Tourism
This week has been set aside as National Travel and Tourism Week. As proved by the antique auto club's spring and fall swap meets, the Festival of Light, and all the events at the Grady County Fairgrounds throughout the year, tourism is a big deal for Chickasha. In his "The Good Stuff" column this week, Chickasha Economic Development Council Director Jim Cowan writes that there are many other events that bring people to Chickasha. One of them is the annual Oklahoma Shop Hop which runs from June 1st through July 31st. It's a travel event hosted by nearly 30 quilt shops across the state and is estimated to bring about 1,000 people to visit Chickasha’s two shops downtown, Steelman's and Quilts by Gail. Cowan echoed thoughts from Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell during his recent visit to the city that residents must tell Chickasha's story to people everywhere and recognize what tourism means to the local economy.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.63 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.96.
Natural gas is $2.94 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,793 and silver is $26.81.
Graveside service for Susan Bliss, 68, of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 8th at Fairlawn Cemetery. It’s a casual gathering for family and friends. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to any pet rescue organization.
Wednesday, May 5th
Pair Charged in Connection with Teen's Overdose Death
A Chickasha man and his girlfriend have been charged with first degree murder in connection with the overdose death of a teenager last fall. KWTV News 9 reports that 23-year old Lawrence Anderson, Jr. and 25-year old Krishel Cowan were formally charged with murder last week. The two are accused of selling 18-year old Austin Fox counterfeit oxycodone pills which led to his death. Court records show that Fox purchased blue M-30 tablets from the suspects at least three times. Anderson is the son of Lawrence Anderson, who is the suspect in a gruesome triple homicide that occurred in Chickasha earlier this year.
Trio Accused of Taking Expensvie Puppies in Hold-Up
Three armed robbery suspects are arrested for an alleged hold-up regarding some expensive puppies. Chickasha police were summoned to Country Park Apartments last Wednesday by two Kansas women who said they were held up at gunpoint. A probable cause affidavit indicates they women brought four American Bully puppies to sell with each puppy valued at $1,200. The next day, police served an arrest warrant on a man at the Castle Inn and Suites where they arrested 31-year old DeAngelo Donta Cheatham. The warrants were for robbery and firearms charges out of Comanche County. Two of the stolen puppies were found in Cheatham’s room. That led authorities to 25-year old Trevan Desaun Brown of Chickasha and 20-year old Jasmine Lesslie Greer of Lawton. All three were taken into custody and face robbery-related charges. Cheatham is being held on a $150,000 bond in addition to the charges out of Comanche County; Brown is being held on a $75,000 bond; and Greer is being held on a $50,000 bond.
Spring Antique Auto Swap Meet About to Begin
Vendors for the annual Chickasha Antique Auto Club spring swap meet begin arriving today. The vendors come from all over the country and there may also be some international vendors and buyers. Bud Andrus with the auto club says there will be a wide variety of vehicles and individual parts for sale or trade.
Vendors can set up their spaces today and the swap meet officially opens tomorrow at dawn and runs through Saturday. It’s being held east of downtown Chickasha. Admission is free and paid parking benefits local charities.
Lyric-Writing Workshop Scheduled
For those with an interest in writing song lyrics the Chickasha Public Library has a program for you. An upcoming workshop is designed to develop techniques for songwriting lyrics through a process called sensory writing. It's called “Sing a New Song: Changing Lives Through Music”. It will be led by Peter Markes, an award-winning music educator and performer out of Oklahoma City. He is a member of the Kyle Dillingham and Horseshoe Road Band and has performed in over 30 countries. The free one-hour workshop will be held at the library on Saturday, May 22nd. It's geared toward adults and teens. While the workshop is free seating is limited so registration is required. Stop by the library or call 405-222-6075.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.69 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.88.
Natural gas is $2.97 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,777 and silver is $26.45.
Funeral service for Richard Singleton, 76, of Verden will be at 11:00 a.m. Friday, May 7th at the Verden First Baptist Church. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Tuesday, May 4th
Clean-Up Chickasha Campaign Reviewed
Those who organized the weekend Clean up Chickasha Campaign said they were happy with the overwhelming efforts of local residents but know there is room for improvement. Chickasha Economic Development Council (EDC) President Jim Cowan said all the big roll-off dumpsters were over-filled over the four-day period even though Waste Connections officials say they emptied the dumpsters several times. A lot of debris was stacked up around the dumpsters Monday morning and Waste Connections brought in additional roll-off dumpsters to pick up what was left on the ground. There was so much debris that they couldn't finish up yesterday, so Cowan said they expect to finish their work today. He said there is obviously a need to have another clean-up campaign but they will have to do it differently.
Chix City Council OKs McGirt Decision Updates
The Chickasha City Council approved a memorandum of understanding with the FBI and the Western District Safe Trails Task Force last night as part of the re-organization needed with the police department because of the U.S. Supreme Court's McGirt decision. The panel also approved an updated agreement with the Chickasaw Nation Law Enforcement Commission as a result of that decision. The council accepted a $4,000 grant from the Oklahoma Electric Cooperative (OEC) Foundation. The funds will be used to purchases protective gloves and pay for professional mental health counseling for officers and staff. The group also renewed the contract with the Ft. Cobb Reservoir Master Conservancy District, and approved vacating property owned by the city in two locations. One of them is 2020 Missouri Ave. and came at the request of John and Gina Smith; the other was at 1128 S. 21st Street and came at the request of Sherrie Carter. The council also announced a reorganization of the panel’s Finance Committee. The group approved the mayor's recommendation of councilmen R.P. Ashanti-Alexander, Oscar Nelson, Brian Gerdes, and David Sikes to serve on the committee with Sikes being the chairman.
Verden Burglary Suspects Arrested
Verden and Chickasha police have arrested two men who have been subsequently charged with felonies following a recent break-in at a Verden home. 26-year old Sinjin David Moore and 37-year old Ryan Keith Chase - both of Chickasha - were both taken into custody after the break-ins last Thursday. A post on the Verden Police Department Facebook page alleges the two men drove their pick-up into the backyard of a home, backed up to a storage shed, and loaded large tool boxes into the truck. When they left they ran over a gas meter which left gas spewing into the neighborhood. Fortunately, the homeowner had a security system and alerted police about the burglary. Case was arrested at a home in Verden and Chickasha police picked up Moore. Moore has been charged with burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property. He is out of jail after posting a $5,000 bond. Case remains in the Grady County Jail. Case has also been charged with burglary and Verden police say he has refused to follow book-in procedures at the jail and will see a judge when he decides to cooperate.
Okla. Congressman Tom Cole Has Chickasha Stop
4th District Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole made a stop in Chickasha yesterday. He met with Chickasha School Superintendent Rick Croslin, University of Science and Arts President John Feaver, and Grady County Fairgrounds director Andy Maher. He also spent a few minutes with us at the KOOL/RANCH studio. Cole talked about the efforts of President Joe Biden in the first three months of his administration-
You can listen to our interview with Congressman Cole on our Real Estate Today program this Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. on KOOL 105.5FM.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $64.49 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $67.29.
Natural gas is $2.97 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,782 and silver is $26.88.
A graveside service for Ernestean Warden, 84, of Tuttle will be at 1:00 p.m. Friday, May 7th at Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
Monday, May 3rd
Chix PD Begins Cross-Deputization Process
Chickasha police officers will soon be able to file cases with tribal courts as a result of the U.S. Supreme Court's McGirt decision. Chickasha and many areas of eastern Oklahoma have returned to Native American territory as a result of the ruling. Because of the decision police departments have limited authority in legal issues with individuals who are members of recognized tribes in the state. Chickasha Police Chief Dee Rowell has been working with the Chickasaw Nation regarding the issue. The Chickasha City Council tonight is expected to approve an agreement with the Chickasaws to allow officers to fully investigate incidents involving tribal members. The agreement would allow police officers to continue performing as they normally do, though officers would not need to wait for a member of the Chickasaw Lighthorse Police Department to arrive before making an arrest. In a related issue, the city council is expected to approve a memorandum of understanding with the Bureau of Indian Affairs as officers are cross-deputized with that agency. It would allow officers to file criminal cases with the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ft. Cobb Reservoir Contract Up for Renewal
The council is also expected to renew the city's contract with the Ft. Cobb Reservoir Master Conservancy District. The city has contracted with the district for 55 years to get the city's water from the reservoir. The last contract renewal was in May of 2010. Officials are expected to give city representatives the authority to negotiate rates. The panel is also expected to approve the appointment of two new representatives to the Chickasha Industrial Authority. Mayor Chris Mosley is recommending that Zach Grayson and Clark Van Dyck be appointed to the panel. They would replace former council representatives Jim Hopkins and Kim Loggins. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Chix School Employees to Receive CARES Act Stipends
Most Chickasha school employees will see a little extra in their paychecks. The Chickasha Board of Education approved a stipend for qualified employees made possible by federal CARES act funds. Stipends of $1,500 and $750 were approved for both certified and support employees based on their hire date. The bonuses are dependent upon the completion of a COVID-19 professional development program. Superintendent Rick Croslin said the past 15 months have been nothing short of challenging, hectic, and tough. Chickasha Public Schools have been in session the entire school year serving students from multiple platforms and district employees pulled together to overcome barriers and worked tirelessly to meet the needs of the students and the community.
First-Year State Lawmaker Has Success
A freshman state lawmaker has had a banner year at the state capital. A number of bills written by or co-sponsored by State Representative Dick Lowe (R-Amber) have been signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt. In a statement Lowe said he was glad he could help some of these important pieces of legislation across the finish line. Among them is HB 2465 which is expected to reduce the backlog of driver’s license testing. It authorizes the Department of Public Safety to work with local school districts, career techs, and colleges and universities to act as approved written exam proctors for driver’s licenses. SB 128 creates the Seizure Safe Schools Act. It would require a school district to employ someone who has met the training requirements to administer medication to a student with a seizure disorder, should a district have a student with that need. HB 2462 authorizes the State Department of Education to enter into contracts and agreements for the payment of food, lodging, and other expenses to host, conduct, sponsor, or participate in conferences, meetings, or training sessions. Lowe said some of these bills may not be the flashiest but they accomplish his goal of getting legislation passed that truly helps Oklahomans.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.58 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $67.25.
Natural gas is $2.93 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,775 and silver is $26.17.