Saturday, Nov. 20th
Report Critical of Oklahoma Highways
A new report shows Oklahoma in the bottom half of the national rankings for its highway conditions. The Sooner State is No. 36 in the poll published in the Annual Highway Report released by The Reason Foundation. That's down two spots from last year. Oklahoma ranks in the bottom half of all 13 categories that are judged and it's the only state to not have a single ranking in the top 25. The state ranks in the bottom ten in its overall fatality rate, rural arterial pavement condition, and structurally-deficient bridges. The report is critical of the work that is being done, saying the infrastructure should be better considering what is being spent. The report shows the state spends more than $88,000 per mile of state-controlled roads and has the 18th largest highway system in the country. The survey indicated that Oklahoma commuters spend near 12 hours a year in traffic jams.
Anadarko Christens New Fire Engine
The City of Anadarko has its first new firetruck in more than 30 years. Firefighters and the community helped to christen the brand new Sutphen fire engine yesterday. Fire Chief Greg Stone says tells how technology changes over the years will help firefighters.
The price tag for the truck was about $700,000 and the city was able to obtain a federal grant to pay just over half of that cost, with a local bond paying for the rest. Also during the ceremony, Dr. John Flynn was recognized for his work with the city to provide much of the funding to train the first emergency medical technicians for the department more than 30 years ago. Today, the department has fulll-fledged paramedics.
Weekend Events Continue at County Fairgrounds
A couple of weekend events are continuing at the Grady County Fairgrounds. The Sooner Circuit Cluster of Dog Shows is being held inside the event center, with hundreds of the top animals in their breeds competing. That event runs through tomorrow. The Grady County OHCE Celebration of Crafts show is being held in the North Exhibit building with more than 30 vendors on hand, and OHCE groups with cakes, pies, rolls, candy and other treats...many of which can help families reduce their preparation time for the upcoming holidays. Admission and parking are free for both events.
Festival of Light Opens Tonight
Chickasha's Festival of Light opens for the holiday season tonight. Through the years the festival has been named one of the top holiday light displays in the state and has also received national recognition. The festival is a volunteer-run, non-profit organization with a small board of directors which meets throughout the year. All contributions are used to make improvements for the following year's event. It's open every night through New Year's Eve. Hours are from 6:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Lts. Bobby and Crystal McFarland with the Salvation Army of Grady and Caddo counties are this week's guests on the KOOL Konversation. Ray Walker with the Medicare Assistance Program with the Oklahoma Insurance Department is our guest on Real Estate Today. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Dr. Pat Kennedy
A memorial service for 77-year old Rev. Pat Kennedy, the pastor of Chickasha's First Presbyterian Church was held today. He spent 50 years in the ministry and was with the Presbytery of Indian Nations. Memorial contributions may be made to the Presbyterian Disaster Relief Fund.
A memorial service for Patty Crowder, 85, will be held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 23rd at Sevier Funeral Home.
Friday, Nov. 19th
The Festival of Light Opens This Weekend
Chickasha will roll out the welcome mat to tens of thousands of visitors over the next few weeks. The Festival of Light begins tomorrow night at Shannon Springs Park. This is the 29th year for the event as the 43-acre park will once again twinkle with millions of lights. Festival director Whitney Palesano says the work to prepare the park started several weeks ago-
The 160-foot tall lighted Christmas tree is the centerpiece of the festival. There are a number of attractions including an ice skating rink, a Ferris wheel, a carousel, carriage rides, and a gift shop. The Festival will be open seven days a week through New Year’s Eve.
Dowtown Events Scheduled During Festival
Downtown Chickasha will have some activities during the festival. They include the 40-foot inflatable leg lamp made famous in the classic holiday film The Christmas Movie and a tall tree at the depot. The depot will also have activities every Friday and Saturday in December which will include pop-up vendors, food trucks, and photos with Santa. To help reduce the long traffic line to the Festival, a shuttle service will be available to and from the park. Chickasha Wings is also offering flights over the Festival each night that originate from the airport north of town. For information follow the Chickasha Festival of Light on Facebook or its website.
Animal Shelter Open House Tomorrow
The Chickasha Animal Shelter will have an open house tomorrow afternoon to display a number of recent improvements. The shelter has replaced some kennels that were 40-plus years old thanks to a grant from the Petco Foundation. Shelter manager Layce Graham says they work with non-profit groups around the country to find forever homes for the many animals that pass through the shelter and that they have occasional spay-and-neuter clinics-
The open house will be from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. tomorrow. The shelter is just north of the Grady County Fairgrounds.
Anadarko to Dedicate New Fire Truck
The City of Anadarko will be putting a new fire engine into service today. Officials say it’s the first new pumper truck for the city in more than 30 years. A dedication ceremony will be held at 2 o'clock this afternoon. The city will also honor Dr. John Flynn for his many years of service as medical director and for his role in the development of emergency medical services for the community.
McLemore Road Project Update
Anadarko officials have a new estimate on completion of upgrades to McLemore Road, formerly Petree Road between Mission Boulevard and State Highway 8. If you remember, the guardrails for the bridge were in transit back in October when Hurricane Ida struck the New Orleans area and the guard rails were never found. Officials now believe the work could be completed by the end of next month. The guard rails are needed to meet federal standards as the project is being paid for with federal funds.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $79.01 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $81.24.
Natural gas is $4.90 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,864 and silver is $24.88.
A funeral service for Gregory Lee, 63, of Ninnekah will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, November 20th at the Ninnekah First Baptist Church. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Larry McCoy, 71, of Chickasha will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday, November 22nd at Ferguson Funeral Home. He was a U.S. Army veteran.
Thursday, Nov. 18th
Two Suspects Charged After Child Abuse Probe
Two people are facing felony charges in connection with a Grady County child abuse investigation. 32-year old Brandon Byrd of Blanchard and his girlfriend - 31-year old Camilla Chapman-Rutledge of Cyril - were arrested by Grady County deputies Tuesday afternoon. No details of the investigation were immediately available. Byrd is charged with child abuse while Chapman-Rutledge is charged with failure to report the incident. Both remain in the Grady County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond each.
COVID Closes Minco Schools
Minco schools have shut down for the rest of the week due to a spike in COVID cases. The district only had three reported cases last Friday but in a Facebook live video posted Wednesday afternoon Superintendent Kevin Sims said the number of cases grew dramatically.
Sims said many of those who are ill have the Delta variant which he said spreads very quickly. Minco schools will not be back in session until Nov. 29th. The district was previously scheduled to be out all next week for Thanksgiving Break. Sims is hoping the extended break will allow those who are sick will be enough time for them to get better. Sims said a junior high basketball game that Minco was supposed to play against Alex tonight has been postponed. The high school football team is scheduled to play in the second round of the playoffs tomorrow night and Sims says that game will be played.
Pikes Peak Road Repair Nears Completion
Upgrades to a road which is shared by the City of Chickasha and Grady County is nearing completion. Crews are in the final stages of the work to improve one mile of Pikes Peak Road between Highway 81 and 16th Street. The city and District 3 of Grady County are sharing the costs. District 3 County Commissioner Ralph Beard said crews initially ground up the old asphalt and are replacing it with new materials and will complete the road building with a 5 ½-inch layer of asphalt. The estimated cost of the project is about $250,000. The contractor is SWH Construction of Goldsby.
Musical Duo Releases Holiday Music Video
The Imaginaries, the local singing duo of Maggie McClure and Shane Henry, have released a new music video in time for the holidays. 'Christmas Town' was filmed entirely in Chickasha and features local performers throughout the nearly 5 1/2 minute video. McClure talks about the video and why they wanted to feature the community.
The video was produced in collaboration with the Chickasha Economic Development Council and directed by Reagan Elkins with Intellego Media. The music video debuted this morning and can be seen on The Imaginaries Facebook page and YouTube.
Dog Shows, Crafts Featured at Grady County Fairgrounds
Many of the top show dogs in the country will be paraded through the Grady County Fairgrounds this weekend. The Sooner Circuit Cluster of Dog Shows runs today through Sunday. The owners and handlers of these prized animals are working to score points that would qualify them to compete in national dog shows including The American Kennel Club/Eukanuba National Championship and the Westminster Kennel Club national show. There are two separate kennel clubs hosting shows this weekend - one from Norman and one from El Reno. The event is being held in the Events Center at the fairgrounds. Admission is free for anyone who wants to watch the shows. Also at the fairgrounds this weekend is the Grady County OHCE Celebration of Crafts Show. More than 30 vendors will have gift items for sale and many of them are hand-made. Others will have home-made food items just in time for the upcoming holidays. The craft show will be in the north exhibit building of the fairgrounds Friday and Saturday. Admission to that event is also free and concessions will be available. Proceeds from the craft show funds scholarships that are awarded to high school and college students in Grady County.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $78.36 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $80.28.
Natural gas is $4.81 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,867 and silver is $25.13.
Betty Jean Lambert
A memorial service for Betty Jean Lambert, 74, formerly of Chickasha will be held Saturday, November 20th in Vine Grove, Kentucky. The service was announced locally by Brown-Thomas Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Mission Hope for Kids in Elizabethtown, Kentucky or You Cannot Be what You Cannot See in Radcliff, Kentucky.
Wednesday, Nov. 17th
Chickasha Teacher Wins National Award
An agriculture teacher for Chickasha schools earns national recognition. Emily Schmidt will receive the Ideas Unlimited Award from the National Association of Agriculture Education during the group’s annual convention in a couple of weeks. Schmidt is being recognized for her Barn Flix Livestream Project. Her agriculture communications and ag leadership classes live-streamed livestock and horse shows and other community events over the last year. In doing so, the students learned how to use technology while the community was able to access the events without traveling. A press release says the project fits within the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Language Arts which demonstrates the value of the agriculture education program beyond its own walls.
Cyril Man Faces Child Sex Crime Charges
An 18-year old Caddo County man is charged with child sex crimes after reportedly admitting he had been molesting children for over a year. Prosecutors have charged Manny Gene Russell of Cyril with rape and lewd and indecent acts to a child. The Lawton Constitution cites court documents that say Russell admitted to his grandmother that he was a pedophile and that he may have committed the acts 150 times over the course of a year. Both Russell and his grandmother met with Cyril police last week. It's reported that Russell told investigators he had been having bad thoughts since he was 15 and that he tried to divert his attention through hobbies. Russell remains in the Caddo County Jail on a $250,000 bond. He's to be back in court for a preliminary hearing conference on January 13th.
Public Input Sought on I-35 and Highway 9 Interchange
State transportation officials are seeking input on proposed upgrades to the interchange at I-35 and State Highway 9 in Norman. Authorities say improvements are needed to accommodate an increase in traffic and to address local congestion. Authorities will have four design alternatives to review during a public hearing that will be held tomorrow night. The hearing will be held at the Goldsby Community Building from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Individuals wanting to comment but can't attend the meeting will be able take part in a virtual open house on-line. Go to the website: www.oklahoma.gov/odot/programs to find the link. The virtual open house will be available starting Friday and will run through December 9th.
Pioneer School, USAO Choir to Hold Holiday Concert
Pioneer School and USAO will be combining efforts to hold a join holiday concert next month. The Pioneer School Honor Choir and the USAO Concert Choir will join their collective voices for a concert that will be free and open to the public. Crystal Wyatt is the director of the Pioneer Honor Choir which includes students in the third through 8th grades. The group rehearses two mornings each week before classes start. The concert will feature music for chorus, strings, piano, flute, and hand bells. The performance will be at 2:00 p.m. Sunday, December 5th at Chickasha’s First Christian Church. The church's organ, a 903-pipe Miles Organ installed in 1985, will be featured in a couple of the songs.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $80.76 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $82.43.
Natural gas is $5.17 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,863 and silver is $25.20.
Keith Urban, Sr.
A graveside service for Keith Urban, Sr., 84, of Rush Springs will be held at 1:00 p.m. Thursday, November 18th at the Rush Springs Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral home.
A funeral mass for Ted Bingham, 86, of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, November 22nd at Holy Name Catholic Church. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Mobile Meals or the Center of Family Love in Okarche.
Funeral service Sheila Hayes, 61, of Chickasha will be held at 1:00 p.m. Monday, November 22nd at Sevier Funeral Home.
Tuesday, Nov. 16th
Chix City Council OKs Firefighters Union Contract
A new collective bargaining agreement is in place between the City of Chickasha and the Chickasha Firefighters Association. The city council unanimously approved the contract after a 30-minute closed-door session that was part of last night's council meeting. City Manager Tyler Brooks said while there were some changes the agreement is about the same financially. Last year, the city contributed a lump-sum of $1,500 per firefighter for their longevity. This year, there is no longevity payment, however the city will pay $1,000 a year for a uniform allowance and $500 toward post-employment health insurance which was not part of last year's contract.
City Council Flips Decision on Starbucks' Sign Variance
The city council reverses its decision that may have prevented a Starbucks coffee shop from expanding to the area. Earlier this month the council voted 9-0 to deny a request for the store to have an 80-foot sign. The city currently has an ordinance limiting sign height to 45 feet. During the November 1st council meeting Kaylee Hurych, a representative from Starbucks' parent company Vaquero Ventures, said the chain might not build a store here if the variance wasn't approved. Huryck was back at last night's council meeting to apologize.
After about a 10-minute public hearing the council voted 8-1 to approve the variance. The only councilman who did not change his vote was Dr. R.P. Ashanti-Alexander who was disappointed in Huryck's earlier comments.
Huryck said the company is working with engineers to make sure the sign can hold up against high winds with designs that include a 12-foot underground structure. Huryck hopes construction can begin in early 2022 and that the store could be open by next summer.
Suspect Accused of Growing Illegal Marijuana Plants
A Ninnekah man is facing a felony charge for allegedly growing marijuana illegally. Grady County deputies received a tip in early September that 39-year old Ronald Edwin Ryans might have the illegal crop. Court documents filed following the investigation indicate Ryans told investigators that he had a medical marijuana card. Such a card allows the holder to have six mature plants and six seedlings. However deputies counted nearly 35 plants on the property and said that neither Ryans nor anyone else at the home had a card. Authorities arrested Ryans last week and he has been formally charged with cultivating a controlled drug. He was also wanted for an arrest in Rush Springs this past January for actual physical control of a vehicle and misdemeanor drug possession. Ryans is out of jail after posting a $10,000 bond and he has court dates for both cases next month.
Grady County Property Tax Statements Mailed
Ad valorem tax statements have been mailed out to Grady County property owners. County Treasurer Robin Burton said more than 30,000 tax statements were sent out in three separate batches last week. The tax statements total almost $79 million which is up about $1 million from last year or 1.2 percent. Burton said many of the statements were sent to mortgage companies which will pay the taxes from escrow accounts of property owners. For others, Burton said individuals can pay the entire amount by January 15, 2022 or pay half the amount owed by that date. The balance would then be due April 15, 2022. Payments may be made at the treasurer’s office in the county courthouse. Burton said if a credit or debit card, or e-check is used there will be a fee however none of the fee goes to the treasurer’s office. Checks and statements can also be placed in the drop-box just outside the courthouse entrance. Burton said if property owners have not received their statements in the mail by December 1st to contact her office.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $80.88 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $82.05.
Natural gas is $5.01 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,875 and silver is $25.24.
Funeral service for Kaylan Grimes, 72, of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 17th at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Monday, Nov. 15th
Chix City Council to Reconsider Starbucks' Sign Variance
Hopes for a new Starbucks coffee shop in Chickasha are re-newed. During tonight's Chickasha City Council meeting the panel is expected to reconsider a decision that Starbucks representatives said would prevent them from expanding to the city. At the November 1st council meeting the panel unanimously voted against a variance in the city's ordinance regarding how tall a store sign could be. The maximum height is 45 feet and Starbucks officials said they needed an 80-foot tall sign to draw traffic off the H.E. Bailey Turnpike. The issue was brought up during an informal work session last week where City Manager Tyler Brooks recommended the council reconsider its decision. The council will have a public hearing on the issue before a formal vote.
Council to Get Update of Firefighter Union Talks
The city council is also to go behind closed doors to discuss the status of the collective bargaining negotiations with the Chickasha Firefighters Association for the current fiscal year. The council is also to present a retirement watch to Kelly Crowder for his 10 years of service with the department. The council will also present a plaque to Ward 2 Councilman Clark VanDyck for his service. Vandyck has spent nearly two years on the city council but is stepping down at the end of the month as he recently moved out of the city limits. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Caddo County Driver Hospitalized After Crash
A Caddo County driver is hospitalized after suffering a medical problem behind the wheel. 60-year old Betty Harley of Apache suffered trunk and facial injuries after her SUV ran off the road, crashed through two fences, and hit a house. The Highway Patrol reports that Harley was taken by ground ambulance to a Lawton hospital where she was last in stable condition. The accident happened just before 1:00 p.m. Sunday on Highway 277 north of Elgin.
Funeral service for Marla Howell, 65, of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 16th at Bible Baptist Church. She worked as a Realtor for more than 20 years with Century 21/Mosley Real Estate. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.