Saturday, Oct. 30th
Officials Continue Natural Gas Shortage Debate
Record cold temperatures and low supplies of natural gas led to rolling blackouts throughout much of Oklahoma and Texas this past February. Eight months later officials are still debating what caused a natural gas shortage which forced power companies to shut down production when it was needed most. In a report from the website OK Energy Today officials say the problem has still not been solved. A hearing was held in the U.S. Senate this week where officials were told that a couple of reasons for the shortage was that natural gas wasn't available and that prices were too high. Oklahoma Senator James Lankford chaired the hearing and he asked officials with the Southwest Power Pool what needs to be done to avoid a similar catastrophe in the future. Lanny Nickell, executive Vice President and CEO of the power pool, said the gas and electricity industries have to talk to each other and they haven't done a good job of doing that.
Wildlife Refuge to Donate Bison
to Help Revitalized Tribal Land Herds
Officials with the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge will be thinning out its bison herd over the next few weeks. The animals will be donated to Native American groups across the country. The Department of the Interior created the Bison Conservation Initiative in an attempt to restore bison herds on tribal lands. Refuge Ranger Quinton Smith says there are about 800 bison currently at the refuge which is a higher number than they like to manage.
Hallowe'en Weekend Activities
Ghosts and goblins and princesses and superheroes will be roaming the streets looking for sweet treats this weekend. While Hallowe'en falls on Sunday this year, some communities have formal trick-or-treating tonight while many neighborhoods will be awaiting visitors tomorrow night. In Chickasha, the annual Chamber of Commerce Ne'ewollah Festival will be from 5-7 tonight with as many as 30 downtown businesses handing out candy. The YMCA will have carnival games and there is a virtual costume contest. The University of Science and Arts Art Department has a haunted house downtown at the Art Wrecker studio next to MidFirst Bank. That will be open from 7 to 10:30 and there is a $10 admission. The Bullock Memorial Center is having a fall festival from 6-8 p.m. and will be serving free hot dogs, nachos, and candy. Several churches will have trunk-or-treat events tomorrow afternoon.
Friday, Oct. 29th
State Board of Ed Lifts Emergency Suspension
of Teaching Credentials for Ninnekah Principal
The State Board of Education has lifted an emergency suspension of the teaching certification of suspended Ninnekah High School Principal David Pitts. The Oklahoman reports that while the panel lifted the emergency suspension, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister indicated that the revocation of Pitts' teaching license is still possible. The board took similar action against suspended superintendent Todd Bunch. Both men are among the defendants named in a federal lawsuit filed by more than a dozen former Ninnkeah girls basketball players who say they were sexually assaulted by coach Ron Akins. Akins has been charged with sex crimes in connection with the allegations. The state panel will schedule hearings to discuss revoking the teaching certifications of both Pitts and Bunch.
Drill to Test Response to Pipeline Breach Set
First responders throughout Grady County will be taking part in an emergency response drill next month. County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said the drill will be in conjunction with pipeline company Targa Resources. Thompson shared a letter from Targa officials which indicates the drill will replicate a gas line leak caused by a third party. The drill will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 10th on Highway 62 east of Chickasha in the Friend and Naples area. Thompson said the drill will test response times, capabilities, notifications, and interaction with company officials.
Open House Today for Heidi Helping the Homeless
An open house will be held today for the new location of a non-profit that reaches out to help those who are in need. Heidi Helping the Homeless is having its grand opening at its 3rd and Minnesota Ave. location. The operation was working out of a Chickasha home for the last couple of years. The open house will run from 3-6 this afternoon and they'll be serving free hamburgers. The chamber of commerce will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 4 o'clock.
Traffic Delays Expected East of Chickasha Next Week
Construction on the new Washita River Bridge east of Chickasha will slow down traffic in that area next Thursday. Traffic on Highway 62 will be narrowed to one lane from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 4th to allow crews to install a bridge beam, weather permitting. Flaggers will be on location and traffic will be stopped from time to time. Motorists can expect lengthy delays and may choose to use an alternate route. The ramps on and off the H.E. Bailey Turnpike will be open but congestion will be likely.
Sheriff's Office Updates Warrant List
The Grady County Sheriff's Office has updated its list of individuals who have outstanding warrants. Here's Public Information Officer Lisa Hatchett-
If you have information regarding any of these individuals you're asked to contact the sheriff's office by calling 405-222-5085.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Zack Bowles with the Life Skills Institute and the Resurrection House is on our KOOL Konversation. Mark Jernigan and David Sikes with Jerico, Inc. will be on Real Estate Today to talk about the oil and gas industry. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $82.80 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $84.32.
Natural gas is $5.78 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,796 and silver is $24.05.
Thursday, Oct. 28th
Man Arrested for Selling Fake Opioids That Led to a Death
A Chickasha resident is behind bars on a $500,000 bond after agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) say he sold opioids laced with fentanyl - drugs that may be responsible for the death of a Comanche, Okla. man. An arrest warrant had been issued for 49-year old Mark Lamar James Richardson and he was taken into custody at his Chickasha home Tuesday. Court documents indicate that agents met with the widow of man who died after taking drugs allegedly purchased from Richardson. The documents indicate the man had driven to Chickasha about ten times between August and October to purchase the counterfeit drugs. The last purchase was made Oct. 1st and the victim was found dead on Oct. 7th. Richardson is charged with two drug-related felonies.
Man Arrested After Causing Convenience Store Disturbance
A confrontation at a convenience store lands a man in jail. Chickasha police were called to Love's North on Choctaw Tuesday night. An employee told officers a man who appeared to be intoxicated was trying to buy drugs and fight with customers. The employee said she asked the man to leave and a fight ensued between the two and the man used a racial slur. An officer arrested the man on a public intoxication complaint. During the book-in process at the Grady County Jail the man became irritated and said wanted to die. He turned to some African-American federal inmates being processed and used racial slurs and threatened to kill them. Prosecutors have charged 31-year old Colten Paul Weeks of Chickasha with felonies of attempted robbery and malicious intimidation or harassment as well as a misdemeanor of public intoxication. Weeks remains in jail on a $12,000 bond.
Tip Leads to Arrest of Wanted Man
A tip leads Grady County authorities to arrest a Chickasha man who had a warrant for his arrest. In custody is 32-year old Eric Michael Bunch who was being sought for drug possession and other charges. Sheriff's deputies saw Bunch's unoccupied pickup at the Wal-Mart parking lot late Tuesday night. It wasn't long before Bunch arrived on foot and when he spotted the officers he tried to run though officers quickly had him in custody. Bunch is facing more than a half-dozen charges which include drug possession with intent to distribute and having weapons. Bunch remains in jail on a $50,000 bond.
New Members to be Named to S&A Alumni Hall of Fame
Two individuals will be inducted into the University of Science and Arts Alumni Hall of Fame during the university’s homecoming festivities next week. Among them is the school’s athletic director Mike Ross who is a 2002 graduate. After spending a few years as a baseball coach at Vernon, Texas Junior College, Ross returned to his alma mater and spent 18 years with the Drover baseball program as either head coach or assistant coach. He is the university’s winningest baseball coach and led teams to two NAIA College World Series appearances. Also to be inducted is Dr. Toby Hamilton who spent more than 30 years teaching at the OU Health Sciences Center. The alumni association will also present Jarred Turner with the Young Alumni Award. He's currently a history teacher in Moore. All three will be honored in a program next Saturday, Nov. 6th.
Chickasha's Festival of Light Coming Soon
It doesn't seem possible but we are only about three weeks away from the opening of Chickasha's Festival of Light (FOL). The annual holiday event will feature some 3 million lights shining in Shannon Springs Park and this is the 28th year for the event. The festival will run Saturday, November 20th through December 31st and FOL director Whitney Palesano says the call is out for volunteers to help put the final touches on the lights the first two weekends in November. They'll start at 8 o'clock in morning on Fridays and Saturdays and local restaurants will provide free lunch. Individual and group volunteers can register on-line at: www.chickashafestivaloflight.org/volunteer Also, expect an announcement about some new offerings for this year’s festival within the next few days.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $82.66 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $84.58.
Natural gas is $6.20 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,798 and silver is $24.12.
Wednesday, Oct. 27th
Tornadoes, Funnel Clouds Spotted in Overnight Storms
Powerful thunderstorms brought hail and high winds to central Oklahoma late last night and early this morning. Storm trackers spotted funnel clouds and a possible tornado near Union City just after midnight. KWTV News 9 meteorologist David Payne issued a tornado warning for that storm which was tracking toward Mustang and Yukon. There were no reports of injuries and some reports of damage. About 1,000 OG&E customers were without power as the storms moved through. Previous to last night’s wild weather there had already been 28 tornadoes in the state this month. Precipitation totals in the area show eight-tenths of an inch of rain west of Rush Springs at Acme; about two-thirds of an inch of rain in Chickasha and Apache; a half-inch of rain in Minco; and about one-third of an inch of rain in Ft. Cobb.
Semi Rollover Temporarily Closes Highway
A semi rollover closed a section of U.S. Highway 81 near Rush Springs this morning. The accident happened about 2 a.m. in the southbound lanes of the highway. The road was closed for about 30 minutes while wrecker crews worked to get the big rig upright. The highway patrol reported that the driver was not hurt but did not provide any more details about the accident.
BIA Officer Shot in Caddo County Stand-off
A Caddo County man on probation is back in jail after a weekend stand-off with law enforcement which resulted in an officer being shot. Taaron Jay Burcum, 29, of Carnegie was taken into custody after holding police at bay for several hours. Carnegie police, the Caddo County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs all responded to a report of shots being fired at a trailer just before midnight. The Lawton Constitution cities court records that indicate that at some point during the stand-off a BIA officer suffered a gunshot wound. It wasn’t clear how serious the officer was injured. Burcum had just been released from jail on probation for previous Caddo County convictions which include eluding, burglary, and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Burcum is facing new charges of shooting with intent to kill and possession of a firearm while on probation in connection with this most recent arrest.
Groundbreaking Held for Blanchard School Auditorium
Blanchard school officials were joined by contractors and others for a ground-breaking ceremony for the school district’s new performing arts center. It will be a 43,000 sq. ft. facility that will include a FEMA-rated storm shelter and practice rooms for the band and choir. The project is part of a 2019 bond issue approved by voters. The new auditorium is being dedicated to Grammy-award winner Jody Miller who was present for the ground-breaking as was her close friend Wanda Jackson. CMS Willowbrook Construction is the contractor for the project working with Prairie Rock Architects.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $84.65 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $86.40.
Natural gas is $5.88 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,788 and silver is $24.01.
A graveside service for Berta Lee ‘Lauren’ Johnson, 89, will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, October 29th at the Ninnekah Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Rev. Maurice Ford, Sr.
Funeral service for Rev. Maurice Ford, Sr., 69, of Lawton will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday, October 29th at the New Zion Missionary Baptist Church in Lawton. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home. He was a 20-year veteran of the U.S. Army.
Tuesday, Oct. 26th
Father of Teen Accused of Child Abuse
A Grady County man is charged with felony child abuse for allegedly beating his teenaged daughter with an extension cord. 49-year old Amos Corralez of Tuttle was taken into custody after his 14-year old daughter told authorities her father got mad at her for having a boy in their home. Court documents indicate this happened last Friday night. The girl alleged that Corallez threw a plate at her and hit her in the head and legs with what she believed was an extension cord. The girl ran out of the house and to the high school where she hid in the bushes and called 9-1-1. Corralez told Tuttle police that he believed the teen was selling cigarettes and that he hit the girl with a belt. The teen was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where she was treated for her injuries then released to the custody of a family member. Corralez has been charged with a felony count of child abuse and he was released on a $10,000 bond.
Camera Helps Catch Theft Suspect
A camera placed in a deer stand helps authorities nab a suspect accused of stealing the device. Grady County deputies were called to a home in the Cement area last week where a man said he leases some land and is allowed to hunt there. He had set up a camera in a deer stand and that the camera was missing. However, he was able to remotely access the video which showed a man thought to have stolen it. Deputies spotted a man walking down the road with what appeared to be the device. At first the suspect said he bought it, then that he found it in the woods. When the deputy asked if the suspect thought he could be seen on the camera, he initially said no. Then the suspect admitted taking it. Authorities arrested 40-year old Dustin Levi Bartgis of Oklahoma City. He spent the weekend in jail and was formally charged with misdemeanors of knowingly concealing stolen property and having drugs. His bond was set at $3,000.
ARPA Funds May be Paid to Some County Employees
Some Grady County employees might be receiving some extra pay for working during the pandemic. Grady County commissioners discussed using American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to compensate workers who performed essential duties from March of 2020 through May 4th of this year. The Chickasha Express-Star reports that an attorney providing legal advice to the commissioners about the use of ARPA funds said that a large segment of the workforce did not have the option to social distance or work at home - and that the employees may have lower-pay, hourly wage-jobs and couldn't afford to miss work. Retired employees may also be eligible. County commissioners will consider offering the extra funds after the first of the year.
University to Host STEM Program for Girls
An effort to encourage fifth and sixth grade girls to consider careers in technology and science will be offered on the campus of the University of Science and Arts next month. The university will hold its annual Women in Technology and Science (WITS) day. The program is coordinated by Dr. Jeanette Loutsch who is an associate professor of biology. She said that encouraging girls to explore science, technology, engineering, and math is critical for their future success no matter what career they may choose. There will be a number of inter-active workshops all led by female professionals in a STEM field. Cost is just $5 for the day and those attending should bring a sack lunch. The program will be held Saturday, November 6th on the University of Science and Arts campus at Austin Hall starting at 8 a.m. For information contact Dr. Loutsch at the university or register on-line at www.usao.edu/wits
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $83.76 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $85.99.
Natural gas climbs to $5.90 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,804 and silver is $24.39.
Funeral service for Earl Miracle, 69, of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, October 27th at The Christian Center. He was a veteran of the Oklahoma National Guard. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Maurice Ford, Sr.
Funeral service for Pastor Maurice Ford Sr., 69, are pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Monday, Oct. 25th
New Chix City Manager to Use Team Leadership Concept
Chickasha City Manager Tyler Brooks has been on the job all of two weeks and he's learning the ropes of his new post. The eight-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force says he will rely on department heads and the city council to be part of a team effort.
Brooks says his experience in the military prepared him for his new career.
Oct. 25th Grady County Jury Term Canceled
Grady County residents who received a summons for jury duty this week (Oct. 25th) will not have to appear. The jury term that was supposed to begin this morning has been canceled. Officials say that all other weeks will continue as scheduled.
Minco Wind Farm Included in Acquisition
The wind farm at Minco is part of more than $800 million acquisition. Next Era Energy has sold the properties to its parent company - Next Era Energy Partners LP. The website OK Energy Today reports that the wind farm is part of an $824 million acquistion for Next Era Energy Partners to obtain 50 percent ownership in 13 wind and solar energy sites in Oklahoma and six other states. The Minco site which is known as Minco Wind Energy III is a nearly 107-megawatt wind farm with 66 turbines.
Lt. Gov. Says People Still Attracted to 'The Mother Road'
Oklahoma’s most famous highway is one of the Sooner State’s top tourist attractions. Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell says more people are spending time on ‘The Mother Road.’
The Lt. Gov. was on our KOOL Konversation program over the weekend.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $83.76 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $85.53.
Natural gas is $5.28 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,800 and silver is $24.45.
A graveside service for Peggy Sue ‘Kelley’ Morris, 64, of Chickasha will be held at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, October 30th at the Ninnekah Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.