Saturday, June 5th
Proposed City of Chickasha Budget Released
A nearly $50 million budget for the City of Chickasha will have a public hearing in next week's Chickasha City Council meeting. The projected expenses for the fiscal year that starts July 1st are just under $48 million. The budget summary shows the city will have about $45 million in various accounts to start the fiscal year, and it’s projected that revenues will bring in just under $36 million. The hearing will be held during the Monday, June 7th council meeting which will get underway at 6:30 p.m. Prior to that meeting the council will have an informal work session at 5:30 p.m. to discuss the plan. The council is expected to adopt the final spending plan during its June 21st council meeting. A summary of the budget can be seen on the agenda for the Monday, June 7th meeting which is posted on the city's website: www.chickasha.org and is under the Agenda tab.
Suspect Wanted for Taser Attack
A Caddo County man is wanted for allegedly using a taser to rob a woman outside a Lawton bar. An arrest warrant has been issued for 30-year old Michael Christopher Bowen of Apache. The Lawton Constitution cites court records which indicate the victim told police she was waiting for a friend to pick her up outside the night club on May 15th. A man drove up and asked if she called an Uber and she said no but that the driver made her feel uncomfortable. The driver got out of the car and produced a taser, and the victim said she jumped out of the way and ran across the street. Video surveillance from the bar was post to a number of social media sites and Bowen was identified as the suspect.
'A Cowgirl's Song' Work Ends This Weekend
Film crews will be wrapping up their work in Chickasha this weekend on A Cowgirls Song. The city has been abuzz over the last two weeks with the arrival of actress Cheryl Ladd who plays a grandmother in the movie. Also in the film are Savannah Lee May who is a budding actress along with Oklahoma's own Darci Lynn Farmer, the young ventriloquist who won America's Got Talent almost four years ago. Farmer says it's great to work with her co-stars.
There are even more local ties to the film as The Imaginaries, the husband and wife due of Shane Henry and Maggie McLure, are co-producers and are writing original music for the film. Reagan Elkins with his Intellego Media group is also a co-producer of the film.
State High School Rodeo Finals Tonight
State champions of high school rodeo will be decided tonight at the Grady County Fairgrounds. It’s the final round of competition for the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association. Cowboys and cowgirls are also looking for a top four finish in their respective events which will earn them a trip to the national high school finals rodeo in Lincoln, Neb. in July. Among them are team ropers Creek Williams of Colony and Wyatt Peterson of Wister. Williams says they have been working together the last couple of years and talks how the two cowboys from opposite sides of the state managed to get together.
Tonight's championships get underway at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Cassandra Ersland and Whitney Palesano with the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce are on our KOOL Konversation program. State Representatives Dick Lowe (R-Amber) and Brad Boles (R-Marlow) are on Real Estate today. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, June 4th
Judge Issues 600+ Year Sentence
Grady County District Judge Kory Kirkland follows a jury's recommendation to sentence a man to more than 600 years in prison. Kirkland formally sentenced 35-year old Eric Zeiset to 620 years behind bars yesterday. Zeiset was convicted on 20 counts which included possession of explosives and firearms after conviction, and possession of stolen vehicles. The sentences ranged from 10 to 60 years on each count and they will run consecutively, meaning Zeiset will spend the rest of his life in prison. Oftentimes, individuals convicted of multiple crimes serve their sentences concurrently (at the same time). It's believed to be a record-long sentence issued by a Grady County judge. Assistant District Attorney Rebecca Brink prosecuted the case-
A jury convicted Zeiset following a four-day trial this past March. He was arrested in February of 2019 after authorities found explosives and weapons at a home outside of Verden.
New Law Will Allow Cities, Towns to Call Elections
for Property Tax Increases to Fund Public Safety
Cities and towns across the state in the coming months will be able to ask their residents to decide on property tax increases to help fund police and fire protection. Gov. Kevin Stitt has signed SB 838, which would allow municipalities to schedule elections to have residents vote on increasing ad valorem taxes for that purpose. State Representative Dick Lowe (R-Amber) said the measures would need a super majority for approval
Currently, cities and towns only operate on sales tax revenues for funding. The law goes into effect Nov. 1st.
Utility Group May Vote on Proposed Ft. Sill Energy Center
The state panel which regulates utilities may vote next week on a proposal from Public Service Company of Oklahoma to build a multi-million dollar energy center at Ft. Sill. The $118 million plan is being debated by the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. The website www.okenergytoday.com reports that Commissioners Todd Hiett and Dana Murphy are expressing doubts whether the proposal would survive a legal review from the state supreme court. Commissioner Bob Anthony is in favor of the proposal, calling it a security issue. Commissioners are planning a meeting Monday to consider a possible vote on the plan. If approved, PSO rate payers would pay $108 million of the total with Ft. Sill paying $10 million.
More Youth Rodeo State Finals in Chickasha
A couple of weeks ago, the Grady County Fairgrounds hosted the Oklahoma Jr. High School Rodeo Association State Finals. This weekend, the high school rodeo association is holding its state finals. More than 150 participants will be looking to earn enough points in their respective events to qualify for the national finals. Rodeo action begins at 2:30 p.m. this afternoon and admission is free. Tickets for the Saturday night’s championship round are $5 per person.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.81 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $71.31.
Natural gas is $3.04 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,874 and silver is $27.50.
A funeral service for Brian Branch, 50, of Chickasha is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Thursday, June 3rd
Formal Sentencing Today for Man Convicted
of Having Cache of Explosives, Weapons
A man convicted of more than two dozen counts of having explosives, weapons, and stolen vehicles is to hear is formal sentence today. A Grady County jury recommended that 35-year old Eric Casey Zeiset of Amber spend more than 600 years behind bars. A judge is scheduled to issue Zeiset's formal sentencing in Grady County District Court this afternoon. Zeiset was arrested for having a cache of explosives and weapons at a home south of Verden in February of 2019 following an investigation by the District Attorney's Task Force, Verden police, and the state bureau of narcotics. District Attorney Jason Hicks said at the time of the conviction that while the jury's recommendation may seem excessive Zeiset is a dangerous man.
Chickasha Firm to Add Jobs Thanks to State Program
A Chickasha area company will be adding a number of jobs to its workforce. Cimarron Trailers is adding 40 positions to its payroll with the help of the state Department of Commerce Quality Jobs Act. Cimarron currently has about 123 employees. Taking part in the Quality Jobs Act is expected to allow the employee-owned company to increase its workforce by about one-third over the next five years. In a prepared statement, Cimarron Trailers president Ben Janssen thanked the Department of Commerce for its leadership in helping to encourage growth for existing Oklahoma companies. Janssen said the new jobs will be a positive impact for the community. Cimarron Trailers was founded more than 20 years ago and its trailers are sold in 22 states. The company was acquired by Iowa-based Folience in 2018.
Discussion Continues on City of Chickasha Budget
Budget talks at the City of Chickasha are continuing. The city council will have a work session Monday to continue hammering out a spending plan for the fiscal year that begins in less than a month. Monday's work session will get underway at 5:30 p.m. prior to the council's regularly-scheduled meeting. The council must hold a public hearing on the proposed spending plan before it can be approved. Also at city hall, officials have posted an opening for a finance director. The individual is responsible for planning, organizing, coordinating, and directing the city's financial activities, supervising the finance and utility billing staff, and help the city manager in putting together the annual budget. Candidates should have a bachelor's degree and five years’ experience in managing fiscal operations (preferably in a local government setting), and CPA certification is preferred. A complete job description and applications are available on the city's website.
Festival of Light Has New Leader
There's a new director for Chickasha's Festival of Light. Whitney Palesano has taken the reins of the holiday light display. The announcement was posted on the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce Facebook page which stated that Palesano is the newest employee at the Chamber. In addition to her Festival of Light duties she will also help with chamber events and tourism. Palesano is a life-long Chickasha resident and has served on the Festival of Light and chamber boards of directors.
Chickasha Municipal Swimming Pool Now Open
Temperatures have been a little cool to take a dip in the pool but the Chickasha Municipal Swimming Pool is open for the season. The pool in Shannon Springs Park opened this past Tuesday and will have open swimming from noon to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. The pool is managed by the Chickasha YMCA and Y members get to swim free while the cost for non-members is $5 per day. Private parties can be booked any evening or all day on Sunday by contacting the YMCA. The Y also will offer a series of swimming lessons through the summer and that information is also available by contacting the Y by calling 405-224-2281. The pool will be open through mid-August.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.33 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $71.35.
Natural gas is $3.08 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,897 and silver is $27.97.
A graveside service for Betty McBride, 84, of Tuttle will be held at 11:00 a.m. Friday, June 4th at Fairview Cemetery in Tuttle. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
A memorial service for Bobby May, 69, of Chickasha will be held at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, June 5th at Pleasant Hill Baptist Church.
Wednesday, June 2nd
Tuesday Morning Pursuit Involved Stolen Vehicle
That pre-dawn pursuit we reported yesterday was the result of law enforcement getting word about a stolen pick-up out of Anadarko. Anadarko police say they received a call just after 5:00 a.m. Tuesday about a 2019 Chevy Silverado that had been stolen from a home in the 400 block of West Central Boulevard. Authorities issued a Be On the Lookout (BOLO) alert to law enforcement. A few minutes later, a Grady County deputy spotted the truck in the Minco area and attempted to make a traffic stop and that's when the chase began. The pursuit topped speeds of 100 miles per hour and the driver of the truck used the backroads in Grady County to get from Minco to Tuttle and then on to Newcastle. The pursuit then went into Oklahoma City on I-44 where the suspect managed to elude authorities. On Star was able to locate the truck at a home in southwest Oklahoma City but the vehicle had been abandoned by the time officers arrived. There's no word on a possible suspect.
Wind Farm to Get Major Upgrade
A Caddo County wind farm will be getting some upgrades in the coming months. Many of the turbines at the Blue Canyon Two Wind Farm near Carnegie will be outfitted with new blades and generators. Officials say 73 of the 84 turbines in Caddo and Kiowa counties will be repowered. The wind farm is owned and operated by EDP Renewable North America. The Lawton Constitution quotes project manager Christopher Morris as saying it’s a critical step toward extending the longevity and efficiency of the company's projects. The repowering of the wind farm will ensure that economic benefits and affordable energy will continue. Officials believe the effort will create an annual 30 percent increase in power production and extend the life of the project an additional 20 to 30 years. The wind farm has already been in operation more than 15 years. The wind farm powers the equivalent of 94,000 average Oklahoma homes with electricity each year. Through 2019 it has paid more than $17 million to local governments and more than $25 million to landowners.
Summer Food Programs Begin
Youth in the Chickasha area can now get free lunches throughout much of the summer. The Chickasha Public Library and the Regional Food Bank have teamed up to provide healthy meals every Monday through Friday for all youth 18-and-under. There are two pick-up locations although the youth will only be able to get lunches at one of them each day. The meals can be picked up at Washita Valley Park from 11:00 a.m. to noon at Washita Valley Park and from noon to 1:00 p.m. at the Chickasha Public Library. The meals will be available through July 30th. In a related story, the Chickasaw Nation is providing an opportunity for families of students eligible for free or reduced meals at participating public schools. Information posted on the Chickasha schools website says it’s for First Americans and non-First Americans. Families can apply to receive an EBT card to purchase healthy food. Application are available on the website www.Chickasaw.net/SummerEBT and the deadline to apply is August 4th. Families can also call 580-272-1178 during regular business hours Monday through Friday.
FFA Groups Encouraged to Apply for PSO STEM Grants
FFA programs might consider applying for science and technology grants being offered by Public Service Company of Oklahoma. The STEM grants are being provided by PSO's parent company and it's non-profit American Electric Power Foundation. Grants range from $1,000 to $2,500 for projects involving science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). A news release indicates that priorities will be given to applications that benefit more than one chapter and that are sustainable over a number of years. The AEP Foundation has set aside a total of $40,000 for grants. Chapters have until July 9th to apply. Applications can be found on the state FFA website at www.okffa. org
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $67.72.
London-based Brent crude is $70.25.
Natural gas is $3.10 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,898 and silver is $27.88.
Carol ‘Sue’ (Porter) Beck
A graveside service for Sue Beck, 69, of Mustang and formerly of the Amber-Pocasset area will be at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, June 3rd at Chickasha’s Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Marion Pinkerton, 74, of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 4th at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Tuesday, June 1st
Morning Pursuit Crosses Several Counties
Law enforcement officers in at least four counties were part of a high-speed pursuit this morning. It's reported that speeds reached 110 miles per hour at one point. The first scanner reports came in just after 5:45 a.m. from northern Caddo County. The chase continued into northern Grady County from Minco to Tuttle and then into Newcastle in McClain County. From there, the chase continue onto I-44 into Oklahoma County. Authorities were trying to reach On Star to shut down the vehicle. The last report was that On Star had located the pick up at a home in Oklahoma City. Listen to KOOL/RANCH News later today for an update.
Grady County Memorial Day Ceremony Held
A good crowd gathered for the Grady County Memorial Day ceremony at the Chickasha Elks Lodge yesterday. The ceremony is normally held at the county veterans memorial at Chickasha's Shannon Springs Park but was moved indoors because of the rain. U.S. Army veteran Brad Bates was the guest speaker. He's part of four generations of his family who have served. His grandfather served in WW I; an uncle served in WW2 and Vietnam; another uncle died in a naval training exercise after Korea; his brother Bruce served in the Marines; his son Daniel is currently serving in the Air Force; and he has a nephew who served in the Marines after attending the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Bates said the U.S. stands ready to defend freedom around the world with an astounding number of military bases.
Also during the ceremony, the names of the 129 Grady County men and women who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces were read. Oklahoma Veterans Recognition Committee chairwoman Sherri Lewis said we should also remember the nearly 82,000 men and women who remain missing in action.
Enrollment Underway for OK's Medicaid Expansion
Oklahoma families eligible for health coverage through the state's Medicaid expansion can begin applying for benefits today. The Oklahoman reports that Medicaid, also known as SoonerCare, has covered children, pregnant women, elderly adults, and disabled individuals. The Oklahoma Health Care Authority estimates an additional 200,000 people will be eligible. Under the expansion individuals ages 19-64 who meet income guidelines can enroll. For one person the maximum income is just under $1,500 per month or nearly $18,000 per year. For a family of four it’s just over $3,000 per month or $36,500 per year. Individuals can apply on-line at www.MySoonerCare.org or call the SoonerCare Helpline, 800-987-7767.
WIC Recipients Get Added Benefits
Families who are part of the State Health Department's Women, Infants, and Children’s (WIC) program get some good news. Officials say there is a temporary increase to the Cash Value Benefit as well as a permanent addition of canned fruits and vegetables to the approved food list. The Cash Value Benefit will increase from $9 to $35 per month per participant from June 1st through Sept. 30th. The funds come from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Regarding the new foods allowed for purchase, previously clients could only buy fresh or frozen fruits and veggies. Clients can now purchase canned fruits and vegetables as long as they meet Food and Drug Administration standards.
Rig Count Up in Nation, State
With energy prices on the rise there's more work in the oil patches across the country.
That's Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $66.32 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $69.63.
Natural gas is $2.99 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,909 and silver is $28.33.
Monday, May 31st
No news due to the Memorial Day holiday