Saturday, Oct. 2nd
More Details on Interim Study Addressing
Protested Property Tax Assessments
State Representative Dick Lowe (R-Amber) and members of the State House Energy and Natural Resources Committee held at interim study last month on the topic of protested ad valorem tax assessments. The protests are affecting many school districts which rely on the property taxes paid on those assessments. A recent report from CNHI said when a wind farm was built around Minco the school district's assessed tax base grew by nearly $50 million in ten years. That allowed the district to build a new high school, middle school, and improve its athletic facilities. CNHI reports that Minco School Superintendent Kevin Sims addressed the interim study, saying his district's budget is in shambles after learning that about $1.5 million in expected ad valorem revenue was placed into escrow until the county assessor and the wind company can agree on the assessment. Minco taxpayers had been promised a 4 percent tax cut but will instead face a 4 percent increase to cover bond debt. For years the state offered qualifying manufactures - including wind developers - a tax credit to build in Oklahoma and the state paid the tax bill for five years. But with those exemptions now expiring energy companies now say that county assessors and school districts have relied on years of over-inflated property valuations. Oklahoma counties are holding about $80 million in escrow in disputed property taxes for more than 100 school districts. Grady County has the highest amount of any county in the amount held in escrow at more than $10 million.
Rain Clears Out for Weekend Chix Activities
After some early morning rain it looks like today's weather will be ideal for Chickasha's Rock Island Arts Festival and all the events connected with it. The arts festival includes more than 60 vendors along with live entertainment, a children's play area, food, and a wine and beer garden. The Rock Island Ride bicycle tour may be a little cool and damp to get started this morning but no rain is expected for the duration of the event. The Together We Heel walk to end domestic violence will also have cool, damp conditions. And Mother Nature is expected to be in a good mood for the Oklahoma Food Truck championship with 35 food trucks lining Chickasha Avenue today. Weather will not be a factor for the continuing performance of The Last of the Guacamole Queens with the Chickasha Community Theater nor for the Southwest Regional Welsh Pony show going on at the Grady County Fairgrounds.
Thieves Break In to Apache Football Fieldhouse
In Apache, thieves broke into the high school football fieldhouse and stole a number of computers - and they tried to get away with a big screen TV. A post on the town of Apache's Facebook page says the break in occurred just before 4:30 a.m. Friday. The perpetrators took four desk computers and a lap-top. They tried to steal an 84-inch big screen TV but dropped it on the way out. There were no signs of forced entry. Video surveillance shows a black four-door sedan with black wheels which was on the school campus for about 45 minutes leaving shortly after 5 a.m. Friday. Anyone with information about the break-in is asked to contact Apache City Hall or the Caddo County Sheriff's Office.
Input Sought for Proposed Wildlife Refuge Upgrades
Officials at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge are seeking public comment on some proposed changes. Among the revisions suggested by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service include the demolition of infrastructure around the current administrative compound, the abandoned Treasure Lake Job Corps Civilian Conservation Center site, and some wilderness access points. It also includes building a new administrative compound near the current visitors’ center. Other proposals are to consolidate a number of facilities in order to improve efficiency and to update transportation infrastructure. The projects would be paid for with funds from the Great American Outdoors Act. Comments can be made on-line by doing a search for the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. The deadline for comments is Nov. 1st.
Funeral service for Sharon Robinson, 74, of Rush Springs will be held at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday, October 5th at Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Ronald Varva, 73, of Ninnekah is pending with Sevier Funeral Home. He was a U.S. Navy veteran and retired from the U.S. Postal Service.
A memorial service for DeLois Hunter, 72, of Ninnekah is pending with the family. Cremation arrangements were with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Friday, Oct. 1st
Ninnekah Schools Placed on Probation
The Ninnekah Public School district was placed on probation by the state board of education yesterday. The Oklahoman reports that State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister said district leaders had a total breakdown of Title IX protections for students, and that it was plainly astonishing that a certified public school administrator failed to respond to such concerns. The move comes after more than a dozen current and former female student athletes at Ninnekah filed a federal lawsuit against the district and others, alleging they told school officials they were being sexually assaulted by a coach and that the administrators did nothing about it. In addition to the district being placed on probation the state school board suspended the teaching certificates of Superintendent Todd Bunch and High School Principal David Pitts, both of whom are on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into the sexual assault allegations. Hoffmeister said Bunch and Pitts failed to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct against then coach Ron Akins from when Akins coached at Friend School. Akins resigned from Ninnekah in June and has been formally charged with sex crimes against juveniles. The Oklahoman reports that since the lawsuit was field that the Ninnekah School Board has approved new procedures for processing complaints, hearings, and discipline regarding sexual harassment of students. The Ninnekah board has also established a three-person Title IX team which will investigate discrimination complaints.
Chickasha Schools Await Results of Community Survey
Chickasha schools will soon be moving into the second phase of an in-depth study designed to make improvements throughout the district. A nearly month-long survey was completed yesterday and Superintendent Rick Croslin said there were about 400 responses from the community and about 1,000 responses all together including school personnel and students.
Croslin said the next phase is to compile all the data and issue a report to the school board and the community. The detailed review is in conjunction with the state school boards association and the K20 Center out of OU. Croslin said the district paid $40,000 to participate in the study which has received national recognition for helping communities improve their school systems.
Hurricane Blamed on Missing Guard Rails for Anadarko Project
A strange case of missing guard rails for a street improvement project in Anadarko. The upgrades to McLemore Road between Mission Boulevard and State Highway 8 (previously named Petree Road) have been delayed because the guard rails for the project can't be found. A post on the City of Anadarko's Facebook page indicates that Hurricane Ida could be to blame. The guard rails were on a truck in Louisiana when the hurricane hit the New Orleans area earlier this year. New guard rails have been ordered and the estimated delivery time is about six weeks. The roadway will remain closed until the guard rails are delivered and installed.
Reception Today for New Anadarko Chamber Director
The Anadarko Chamber of Commerce has a new executive director. Alicia White was recently named to the post. A reception to welcome her to the chamber will be held today. Her office is in the National Hall of Fame for Famous American Indians. The reception will be from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. today and free hamburgers, hot dogs, and drinks will be served.
Continental Resources Completes Wells Drilled in 2019
Continental Resources reports the completion of some Grady County oil wells. The McBryde Wells are about four miles southwest of Dibble in section 23 of Township 6 North and Range 5 West. Continental reports three additional wells have been completed at a site where one had already been completed. The website OK Energy Today reports that the newest completions may have been drilled two years ago but that Continental didn't carry out completion until this year. The wells have a combined production of about 353 barrels of oil and more than 1,100 MCF of natural gas per day.
Talk Show Topics
Here’s what we’re talking about this weekend. Chickasha School Superintendent Rick Croslin is on our KOOL Konversation program. Our guests on Real Estate Today are coaches and players for the University of Science and Arts basketball programs. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $75.03 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $78.52.
Natural gas is $5.86 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,754 and silver is $22.22.
Thursday, Sept. 30th
City of Chickasha Ready for Arts Festival, Other Events
Months of planning for the numerous events in Chickasha this weekend is wrapping up. The Rock Island Arts Festival and related activities will be getting underway for most of the events tomorrow. Volunteers are finishing work on the cleanup effort for Civic Pride Week, from volunteers with the Economic Development Council and Chamber of Commerce. The three-day arts festival will get underway tomorrow morning, rain or shine and will feature more than 60 vendors with items for sale, a play area for kids, food trucks, and live entertainment at the historic Rock Island Railroad Depot. A list of vendors and a schedule of performers can be found on the Rock Island Arts Festival Facebook page or on-line: www.rockislandartsfestival.org
Rock Island Ride
On Saturday, the Rock Island Ride bicycle tour will get underway. More than 200 riders have pre-registered and organizers believe the final count could be 250 to 300 riders. Participants can pick up their packets at the Canadian River Brewery tomorrow night between 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m. where riders can still register. A potato bar will also be available during that time. Final registration for the ride will be Saturday morning from 7:00 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
Oklahoma Food Truck Championship
Also Saturday is the 4th annual Oklahoma Food Truck Championship where 35 food trucks will be competing for $10,000 in prize money and bragging rights. There will also be live music in the food truck area all day with Dollar-98 playing Saturday night.
Together We 'Heel' Walk
Also Saturday, an awareness campaign to end domestic violence with the Together We Heel Walk. The district attorney's office, law enforcement groups, and agencies that provide help and support for domestic violence victims will walk from the YMCA to the depot.
Among other events are weekend performances from the Chickasha Community Theater which offers The Last Roundup of the Guacamole Queens with performances tonight, tomorrow night and Saturday night and a matinee Sunday afternoon. Also tonight, the University of Science and Arts has its opening Davis Waldorf Performing Arts series program.
Pipeline Donation Helps County Emergency Management
Grady County's Emergency Management Agency gets some help to allow workers to communicate with numerous groups when responding to disasters. Plains All-American Pipeline came forward with a $3,600 contribution to purchase six 800 Megahertz hand-held radios. County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said the radios will help his team communicate with dispatch centers and responders throughout the county, the state emergency management office, and the National Weather Service. Thompson said his office trains with companies like Plains All-American Pipeline to be prepared for pipeline emergencies should they arise. Thompson reminds individuals and businesses to call 8-1-1 before doing any kind of digging to ensure they don't hit the numerous pipelines which run through the county.
One More Thing for This Weekend
In addition to the activities going on downtown Chickasha this weekend is a multi-day event at the Grady County Fairgrounds. It’s the regional Welsh Pony and Cob Show which will include competitors from Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri. One exhibitor is coming from as far away as Oregon. It's a free event for spectators with youth, novice, and experienced participants putting their skills to the test.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $74.83 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $78.64.
Natural gas is $5.47 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,729 and silver is $21.64.
A graveside service for Marvin Jessen, 83, of Rush Springs will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, October 2nd at the Rush Springs Cemetery. He started the Rush Springs Manufacturing Company and was a U.S. Army veteran. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Rondie Lee Surber
A memorial service for Rondie Surber, 79, of Comanche will be held at a later date. He owned and operated a speed shop and a salvage yard. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Wednesday, Sept. 29th
Shots Fired During Attempted Break-in Near Chix
A suspect is in custody accused of trying to break in to a barn in the Tabler area over the weekend. Shots were fired by the property owners and a couple of suspects fled on foot. The property owners said they believed someone tried to break in to the barn Friday night and decided to stay in the barn Saturday night. A probable cause affidavit indicates that just before 9 p.m. the property owners saw a couple of individuals drive up in a pickup and one of them used bolt cutters cut a lock on a gate. One of the property owners let the air out of all the tires of the truck. The property owners then encountered the suspects and shots were fired and the suspects ran off. Grady County sheriff's deputies, Ninnekah, Dibble, and Lindsay police and the Lighthorse Patrol were called in to help in a manhunt for the suspects which was called off about midnight. Authorities traced the pickup to a man in Amber who said he sold the pickup and gave authorities the name of that individual. Sunday night, authorities were able to contact him at a home in Amber took him in to custody. 24-year old Johnnie Lee Jones has been formally charged with felonies which include burglary and having a firearm while committing a felony. He remains in the Grady County Jail on a $75,000 bond.
One Dead, One Hospitalized After Motorcycle Crash
One person died and another is hospitalized following a motorcycle crash on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike. 59-year old Terri Hawk of Fletcher suffered fatal injuries in the accident. 56-year old Phillip Hawk also of Fletcher was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital and was last in fair condition. The accident happened about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday in the westbound lanes of the turnpike near Mile Marker 101. The highway patrol reports that the bike left the highway for an unknown reason then came back on the highway where it rolled on to its side. Neither passenger was wearing a helmet.
Thieves, Vandals Destroy Lake Chickasha Bar
Thieves and vandals go to extreme levels to destroy a business at Lake Chickasha. Someone drove a pick up through the entire Branding Iron Saloon late Monday or early Tuesday and caused thousands of dollars in damage and took the ATM. Owner Johnny Kurtz said he got a phone call Tuesday morning that the bar was in shambles.
Kurtz estimated damage between $10,000 and $15,000. He said the thieves somehow dragged the ATM about a mile away to the opposite side of the lake, took about $2,000 out of the machine then abandoned the truck. Kurtz said authorities determined the pickup had been stolen out of Chickasha. No suspects have been identified. Kurtz said the Caddo County Sheriff's Office is leading the investigation and asks anyone with information to call Caddo County or local law enforcement.
New Chickasha Firm Makes Electronic Filters
A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held yesterday to celebrate the grand opening of a new company that has re-located to Chickasha. Genisco Filter, originally based in California with an office in Wisconsin, was purchased by HSI Sensing in 2013. CMS Willowbrook Construction recently completed a new 25,000 sq. ft. facility just west of Norge Highway and Country Club Road. Ryan Posey tells what they manufacture.
Posey said some of those electronic filters can be as large as refrigerators. The company currently has a dozen employees and hope to add more in the future.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $75.29 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $79.09.
Natural gas is $5.84 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,742 and silver is $22.32.
Eddra Ann ‘Gammy’ Husley
Funeral service for ‘Gammy’ Hulsey, 79, of Tuttle will be at 2:00 p.m. Thursday, September 30th at Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
Funeral service for Marty Smith, 61, of Chickasha will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, October 2nd at the Pioneer School gymnasium. He was known as Mr. ‘Marty’ at the school. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Pioneer School.
Tuesday, Sept. 28th
Driver Dies in Rollover Crash
A Chickasha man lost his life in a rollover accident yesterday. 61-year old Marty Smith was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident happened about 3:30 p.m. Monday two miles west of Norge on State Highway 92. The highway patrol reports that Smith's pickup ran off the road, went through a fence, struck a pole, and rolled several times.
Proposed PSO Rate Hike Hearing is Today
A proposed rate hike for Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) goes before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission today. A hearing for the requested $243 million increase will be heard by an administrative law judge. The website www.okenergytoday.com reports that many PSO customers and consumer groups are opposed to the rate hike request. PSO filed the request to address a revenue deficiency based on a test year that ended last December. Officials say the utility has increased its operations by more than $700 million from the amount of operations the current rates are based on. If approved, the increase would provide PSO with a more than 7 percent rate of return which would be about $243 million in additional revenue.
State Rep Selected for Leadership Program
A state lawmaker from Grady County has been chosen to take part in a national leadership program. The southern office of the Council of State Governments has selected State Representative Dick Lowe (R-Amber) to be part of its Center for the Advancement of Leadership Skills. Lowe said he's honored to be selected to take part in the highly respective program. The organization brings together officials from all three branches of state government from 15 southern states. The conference will be held in Little Rock, Arkansas Oct. 2nd through 6th.
Chix Police Officers Receive Appreciation Gifts
Some Chickasha police officers were recipients of gifts of appreciation from a couple of law enforcement organizations. A group called Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS) is a national program that provides training to law enforcement agencies and offers support for officers' families. COPS will be hosting its National Law Enforcement Conference in Oklahoma City in November. A group called LA Police Gear, founded in Los Angeles, has helped more than 1 million officers worldwide by providing them with police gear and services.
Dark Water Ranch Offers Fall Family Fun
A good family activity for the fall is a trip to a local pumpkin patch. Dark Water Ranch is between Ninnekah and Rush Springs and will be opening this weekend with a lot of activities which include its pumpkin patch and a hay maze. The ranch also has a petting zoo and visitors can feed the pigs, sheep, goats, and chickens. Philip Anneler says other activities include a pumpkin slingshot as well as a trebuchet-
The ranch will be open mainly on the weekends but welcomes school and church groups during the week. Admission is $10 and everyone gets a souvenir pumpkin. For information about Dark Water Ranch, checkout the website www.Oklahomafarmfun.com or find Dark Water Ranch on Facebook.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $75.45 per barrel.
London-based Brent is $79.53.
Natural gas is $5.70 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,736 and silver is $22.30.
A private memorial service will be held for Everett Hulsey, 68, of Chickasha. Arrangements are will Ferguson Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Charlene Brunson, 59, of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 29th at the First Assembly of God. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
A graveside service for Georgia Johnson, 87, of Ninnekah will be at 9:00 a.m. Thursday, September 30th at the Ft. Sill National Cemetery in Elgin. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Monday, Sept. 27th
Emergency Preparedness Kits Needed at all Times
With the fall season now here it’s a good time to make preparations for the cold weather that will eventually follow. September is emergency preparedness month which is a good time to prepare for whatever emergency could happen. Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson reminds us that its a good time to have your home heating system tested.
If you have a fireplace, have your chimney cleaned by a chimney sweep service and if you have a portable generator it’s a good time to get that serviced as well. Thompson said families should put together a disaster preparedness kit which would provide necessities to get through a lenghty power outage. Get a large plastic tote for water, non-perishable food, a flashlight with new batteries. For information on putting together a disaster kit check the Federal Emergency Management Agency's website: www.fema.gov
Chickasha Hosts Numerous Events This Week
It's a big week for Chickasha as the community gets ready for one its busiest weekends of the year. The headliner is the three day Rock Island Arts Festival (Oct. 1st-3rd) along with the Oklahoma Food Truck Championship and the Rock Island Bicycle Tour (both on Oct. 2nd). Also taking place will be a four-day performance with the Chickasha Community Theatre, the University of Science and Arts has its first Davis Waldorf Performing Arts Series program, and there's the Together We Heel walk against domestic violence on Saturday. The Grady County Fairgrounds is also hosting the South Central Regional Welsh Pony and Cob Show (Oct. 1st-3rd).
Chix Civic Pride Week Underway
The Chickasha Economic Development Council, the Chamber of Commerce, and numerous volunteers are encouraging residents and businesses to spruce up their neighborhoods and properties for Civic Pride Week which runs through Thursday, Sept. 30th. Groups will be working to clean up various areas of downtown and entry points to the city. They are also painting the light poles downtown, and painting some artwork in downtown crosswalks in advance of everything going on downtown this weekend.
Chix Fire Department's New Engine Arrives Soon
The City of Chickasha's new fire engine should be arriving this week. A Facebook post from the Chickasha Fire Department and Emergency Management indicates the $500,000 machine could be in place in a few days if everything goes as planned. All three fire department crews will get some initial training on the engine before it’s placed into service. The community will then be invited to help wash and put the new engine into service at Station No. 2. We’ll let you know when that will take place.
Study Reviews Transportation Needs for the Disabled
State leaders say there is a need to help the more than 600,000 disabled Oklahomans who struggle with transportation needs. The State Senate Business, Commerce, and Tourism Committee reviewed the issue during a recent interim study. In a press release, Senator Mary Boren (D-Norman) said she was disturbed about the lack of adequate transportation needs for the disabled. She said while some do have a network of family and friends to get them around many do not. Presenters during the interim study urged state lawmakers to invest in and develop a statewide on-demand transportation service. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has established the Office of Mobility and Public Transit program to ensure that individuals with disabilities are included during the planning of the state's long-term transit plan.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $73.98 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $78.09.
Natural gas is $5.14 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,748 and silver is $22.54.
Funeral service for Bernice Brewer, 93, of Chickasha is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
A graveside service for Lorene Beasley-Leverett, 84, of Duncan and formerly of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 28th at Fairlawn Cemetery in Chickasha. She was a graduate of Friend High School. Arrangements are with Whitt Funeral Home of Duncan. The family requests memorial contributions be made to the Denton Reace Walker Scholarship Fund at Liberty National Bank.
David 'Mike' Halcomb
A memorial service for Mike Halcomb, 67, of Cement will be held at 3:00 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30th at Ferguson Funeral Home.