Saturday, July 10th
Motorcyclist Critically Hurt in Crash
A Ninnekah man is hospitalized in critical condition after being injured in a motorcycle accident. 40-year old Brandon Mann was initially taken to Grady Memorial Hospital then air-lifted to an Oklahoma City Hospital. The accident happened just after 9 o’clock last night about a mile east of Ninnekah near the intersection of Peach Street and County Street 2860. The highway patrol reports that Mann failed to stop at a stop sign, laid his bike down, and was thrown from the bike. He was not wearing a helmet. The trooper on the scene reported there was an odor of alcohol at the scene.
Man Faces Firearms Charges After Argument over Truck
A Rush Springs man is charged with shooting with intent to kill following a dispute over a pickup. 64-year old Albert Leon Brookshire was arrested Monday afternoon after a confrontation at his home. A Rush Springs police affidavit indicates two men had gone to Brookshire's home to get a pickup that one man said belonged to him. Brookshire told authorities it was his pickup and that the other man hadn't paid for it. Brookshire had a gun and claimed he fired a warning shot at the two men and told them to get off his property. The two men went to the Rush Springs EMS building and called police. Authorities initially arrested Brookshire on a complaint of firing a weapon inside the city limits. Prosecutors have charged Brookshire with felonies that include shooting with intent to kill and pointing a firearm. Brookshire had a previous conviction for drug possession. He is out of jail after posting a $75,000 bond and is to announce his attorney on July 29th with a preliminary hearing conference set for Aug. 11th.
DHS: Beware of Text-Messaging Scam
Oklahoma Department of Human Services (DHS) officials are warning of a text messaging scam falsely claiming that individuals may have been selected to receive $500. A press release from DHS says the text message specifically mentions the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Social Security (SSI). The message is coming from a random number, telling individuals that they have been randomly selected to receive the money, and asks individuals to click on a hyperlink. They are then taken to a website which appears to phish for personal information including Social Security numbers and banking information. Officials say to delete the text. Individuals who have gone to the link should contact their bank and take steps to address possibly identity theft - including freezing their credit - and to contact credit reporting agencies such as Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Chickasha Fire Chief Tony Samaniego is on our KOOL Konversation program and District 3 Grady County Commissioner Ralph Beard is on Real Estate Today. We have links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Funeral service for Margaret "Nanny" Thornton, 84, of Marlow will be at 10:00 a.m. Monday, July 12th at Vimy Ridge Baptist Church. Arrangements are with Callaway-Smith-Cobb Funeral Home in Marlow.
Funeral service for Jessie Bennett, 95, of Ninnekah will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, July 13th at Ninnekah First Baptist Church. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Friday, July 9th
Grady County Courthouse Re-Opens
Grady County Commissioner Ralph Beard says the county courthouse is open today but that the cleaning needed due to a massive sewage back up in the building's basement is continuing. The courthouse has been closed for almost two weeks after last month's heavy rains caused sewer lines to back up. Beard said crews thought they had the problem taken care of several times but raw sewage continued to seep into the building causing a terrible odor to emanate to all three floors of the courthouse causing several people to become ill. Beard said at one time, there was at least 12 inches of raw sewage in Judge Joseph Young's courtroom in the basement. Beard said over the last couple of days a commercial cleaning company has been brought in and that crews have disinfected every room and are running a disinfectant through the heat and air system. While the courthouse will be open to the public only the first and second floors will be accessible with the basement closed off. The county commissioners have hired an Oklahoma City firm under an emergency request to install some one-way valves on the sewer line which are designed to prevent sewage from backing up. That company was scheduled to start today. Beard said the county's insurance company is going to send out an adjuster to determine how much damage has been done.
Ninnekah Residents Meet to Support
Alleged Victims of Girls Basketball Coach
In Ninnekah, Grady County sheriff's deputies met with concerned parents, educators, and supporters of teenaged girls alleged to have been molested by girls basketball coach Ron Akins. In a meeting at the community center, organizers told our partners at KWTV-News 9 that they wanted to offer resources and encourage individuals to speak out at the next school board meeting which is Thursday, July 15th. Parent Shelby Ross said they wanted to show the victims that they believe them and they will do everything they can to lift their voices. Ross said had Akins been given more power there would be a lot more victims and they probably wouldn't have heard about it for years. No one from the Ninnekah school district was invited to the meeting. Organizers said they wanted to create a safe place to meet. Akins has been charged with four felonies after being accused of molesting and sexting players. He has been suspended with pay pending the outcome of the court case. A post on the Ninnekah schools website indicates the district has made arrangements for licensed professional counselors to be available Monday, July 12th to speak with any student or adult who wants to talk.
City of Chix Won't Spray for Mosquitos
The City of Chickasha will not be spraying for mosquitos. Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley says the city doesn't have the equipment or chemicals needed to do so. Mosley said one chemical alone costs $80 a gallon and estimates it would cost about $20,000 for what they would need and the equipment costs about $8,000. The Mayor also said that the weather has to be just right in order for the fogging to work. It can't be too windy, or too humid, and they can't spray if there is rain. Mosley said he talked to Anadarko City Manager Kenneth Corn about borrowing that city's sprayer but they are using it over the next couple of nights. Mosley said he’s not aware of too many Oklahoma communities that still spray for mosquitos and that the only ones he is aware of are Anadarko and Lawton.
Science and Arts Alumni Director Accepts Red Cross Post
The director of Alumni and Community Relations at the University of Science and Arts is beginning a new chapter in her life. Misty McClellan is now the Chapter Executive Director of the Oklahoma and Kansas region of the American Red Cross. The Lawton Constitution reports that she will work with communities to build connections and administer any services that may be needed. McClellan said she wants people to know that Red Cross is more than just medical services. She said the new post checks off all the boxes of what she wants to do with her life and that it is the perfect opportunity for her.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $72.94 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $74.12.
Natural gas is $3.67 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,804 and silver is $26.12.
Funeral service for Janice Haney, 55, of Amber will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 10th at the First Baptist Church of Pocasset. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Thursday, July 8th
Chix Inks Deal with New EMS Billing Contractor
The Chickasha City Council gave its approval to contracting with a new company that is expected to improve the city's EMS billing services and collections. The council approved a new contract with a firm called Quick Med Claims which Fire Chief Tony Samaniego says could bring in an additional $100,000 to the city. Samaniego also said the firm’s rate is lower than the current contractor - just 4.95 percent compared to a 6 percent rate with the previous contractor. Samaniego said Quick Med Claims has worked well for cities like Anadarko and Ponca City and has a good track record of working with Native American tribes.
$300,000+ Payment to Chix A 'Mistake'
Now an update to a report we had yesterday about the Chickasha City Council giving back more than $330,000 that officials believed was from one of the city's Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Districts. Vice Mayor Zach Grayson told the Chickasha Express-Star that it was an accidental payment from Grady County. Grayson was quoted as saying the funds were designated as ad valorem taxes which actually go to school districts. Grayson said the city council was simply giving back money that wasn't the city's in the first place. Grayson said the city was only supposed to receive a percentage of that money which is then passed on to TIF District developers as a partial reimbursement for the costs of building within the TIF district.
Suspect Accused of Terrorizing Neighbors
A Caddo County man is accused of terrorizing his neighbors. 43-year old David Keith Gonzalez of Ft. Cobb had been arrested and charged with intimidating a witness and violating a protective order after the neighbors reported several perceived threats from Gonzalez. The Lawton Constitution reports that a woman asked for protective order against Gonzalez last month and while doing so, he took of photo of her at the hearing. Gonzalez is alleged to have continued to intimidate and harass the couple, to include shining bright lights into their home and playing predator phone calls on a loudspeaker in the middle of the night. Gonzalez had his initial appearance on the charges in Caddo County District Court earlier this week and a judge set his bond at $40,000. If convicted of the felony for intimidating a witness Gonzalez faces up to 10 years in prison.
Anadarko to Fog Neighborhoods for Mosquitos Again
Mosquitos have been a big problem over the last few weeks as a result of all the rain we’ve had. At least one community in the area will be going through neighborhoods with fogging machines in an attempt to reduce their numbers. The City of Anadarko has already been through neighborhoods once and announced on its Facebook page that crews will be fogging again tonight. The post indicates they typically spray at night because that's when the mosquitos are most active. It does say that the spray is only effective in open areas and does not do as well in areas with trees, bushes, or tall grass. The chemical kills the pests on contact but does not kill larvae in water. Officials ask residents to dump any stagnate standing water, dump and re-fill bird baths and non-treated swimming pools with fresh water often, and keep grass mowed. They also urge residents to have their porch lights on when they spray saying the lights encourage the mosquitos to be active and fly into the fog. There's no word if the City of Chickasha will be spraying for the mosquitos. We'll contact city hall today to find out.
4th Generation Joins Sevier Funeral Home
A longtime Chickasha business will continue with a fourth generation of a local family joining the company. Austin Kile is now working with his grandfather Larry Sevier at Sevier Funeral Home. Kile recently graduated from the University of Central Oklahoma and earned his funeral director’s and embalmer's licenses. Sevier Funeral Home opened as the Chickasha Funeral Home in 1941 by Jodi and Virginia Sevier (Larry's parents and Austin's great-grandparents). The late Todd Sevier, Larry's son and Austin's uncle, also worked at the funeral home. Larry will continue as the licensee-in-charge and Austin's father, Jeff Kile, will continue serving as the office manager at both the Chickasha and Tuttle funeral homes.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $72.20 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.43.
Natural gas is $3.59 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,811 and silver is $26.13.
Wednesday, July 7th
Permit for Cell Phone Tower Denied
The Chickasha City Council unanimously voted against issuing a special use permit to build a cell phone tower in a residential area. Following a 24-minute public hearing during last night’s city council meeting, the council voted to deny the permit for Branch Communications. The company wanted to build a 150-foot tower near 9th and Dakota Ave. that would have been used by Verizon to improve cell phone coverage in the area. Officials said they looked at other proposed sites and believed they were not feasible. Many of the same residents who spoke out against the project at a city council meeting last month were back to let their feelings be known. Mary Francis Hathaway was one of them.
Troy Williams with Branch Communications said the county assessor told them property values should not fall as his company and Verizon combined were going to invest nearly $500,000 at the site.
In the end, the council voted 8-0 to deny the special use permit. Mayor Chris Mosley was absent from the meeting which was conducted by Vice Mayor Zack Grayson.
City Council Pays Back TIF Funds
The Chickasha City Council also settled a dispute over the amount of money the city received from one of its Tax Increment Finance districts. After about a 30-minute closed-door meeting City Councilman David Sikes made the motion to approve turning over more than $300,000 to the county.
It wasn't clear what error may have occurred that forced the council to make that decision. It was a unanimous vote of the council to make that payment.
Chix Ward 3 Meeting Scheduled
Residents in Chickasha's Ward 3 will be able to meet their council representatives and other city officials to discuss concerns as well as ideas about making the city a better place to live. The third of four Ward meetings this year will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, July 12th at city hall. Ward Three council representatives Dr. R. P. Ashanti-Alexander and Oscar Nelson will be on hand. Residents can e-mail questions to email@example.com or bring them to the meeting. Similar meetings have already been held for residents in Wards 1 and 2 while residents in Ward 4 will have their meeting next month.
Cong. Lucas Co-Sponsors Broadband Expansion Plan
Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas is co-sponsoring a bill in the nation's capitol to expand rural broadband service for rural states like Oklahoma. It's the Broadband for Rural America Act designed to bridge the digital divide nationwide by providing more than $7 billion for USDA broadband connectivity programs. The website www.okenergytoday.com reports that Lucas said the act provides important investments to USDA broadband programs which will in turn provide critical modern infrastructure to countless rural communities. The Broadband for Rural America Act would authorize $3.7 billion per year for critical rural broadband programs, including the ReConnect Rural Broadband Program, the Middle Mile Broadband Program, and the Innovative Broadband Advancement Program; it would target limited resources so assistance is focused on the most rural and least-connected residents, which are often the most expensive to connect; and it would promote borrower accountability and protects taxpayers with new tools to ensure promised services are delivered to rural communities.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $73.37 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $74.53.
Natural gas is $3.63 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,807 and silver is $26.52.
Billie Jean Griffin
A memorial service for Billie Jean Griffin, 94, of Chickasha will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 31st at First Presbyterian Church. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Tuesday, July 6th
Public Hearing Tonight for Proposed Cell Phone Tower
A plan to erect a cell phone tower in a Chickasha neighborhood is getting some push back by residents in the area. The Chickasha City Council will hold a public hearing on the controversial issue tonight. Branch Communications wants to build the tower near 8th and Dakota Ave. Several residents spoke against the proposal at the June 21st city council meeting while developers were also on hand to support the project. The city's Planning Commission voted against the project earlier this year. The council is also to discuss a proposed Emergency Operations Plan and an agreement between Emergency Medical Services and the Grady EMS District Board of Trustees. The panel will also have a closed-door session regarding an investigation into the city's Tax Increment Finance District payments. The council meets tonight at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Courthouse Continues Dealing with Sewer Back Ups
The Grady County Courthouse will be closed again today. The courthouse has been dealing with sewer back-up issues for over a week. The county emergency management office sent out a text last night saying the office would be closed today. This morning's regularly scheduled county commissioners meeting has been moved to the Grady County Fairgrounds community building at 9 a.m. In the meantime some meetings that were scheduled tomorrow at the courthouse have been canceled. The county excise board and the tax roll correction board meetings that were scheduled for tomorrow have been called off and have not yet been re-scheduled.
Sheriff's Office Hopes to Add New Investigator
A new fiscal year is underway for city, county, and state governments. July 1st is when those offices begin with new budgets for the next 12 months. Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir, whose budget is the largest of the departments at the county level, is asking commissioners and the excise board for a budget increase in order to hire a new employee.
Weir said over-worked employees probably don't do as good a job as they could and that it's fair to the public to hire a new investigator as some cases don't get as much attention as they should.
Area Lawmakers Honored by Children's Group
State Representative Cindy Roe (R-Lindsay) is among several lawmakers named Children's Legislators of the Year. The Oklahoma Institute for Child Advocacy (OICA) recently announced that Roe and other lawmakers had made the group's Honor Roll for supporting children's issues at the state capitol. In a press release issued by OICA, Roe said there is no more important role of government than to protect and nurture children. Other regional state lawmakers recognized for their work for kids were Rep. Sherrie Conley (R-Newcastle) awarded with a Special Attention Award and Sen. Jessica Garvin (R-Duncan) who was named one of the Freshmen Legislators of the Year. The OICA is led by former state representative Joe Dorman of Rush Springs. He said he is already working with lawmakers on measures to consider for the 2022 legislative session.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $76.27 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $77.11.
Natural gas is $3.70 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,806 and silver is $26.76.
A graveside service for Albert Darnell, 86, of Chickasha will be at 2 o'clock this afternoon (Tuesday, July 6th) at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
A graveside service for Linda Fay Jansen, 79, of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 7th at the Erin Springs Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home. She owned and operated Lee's Beauty School.