Saturday, Dec. 18th
Resignation 'Agreements' Approved
for Suspended Ninnekah School Administrators
There are reports that the Ninnekah Board of Education has approved resignation agreements with two suspended school administrators. The agreements are with suspended superintendent Todd Bunch and high school principal David Pitts, both of whom are among several defendants named in a federal lawsuit alleging the cover-up of sexual assaults of girls basketball players. The Chickasha Express-Star reports the school board approved the agreements following a closed-door meeting Thursday night. Terms of the agreements weren't released. Bunch and Pitts were suspended by the school board earlier this year, pending the outcome of an investigation into the allegations brought forth by several former basketball players who say they were assaulted by former coach Ron Akins. Akins is facing rape and sexual battery charges in connection with the allegations. A preliminary hearing conference is scheduled in Grady County District Court in March.
Long-time Law Enforcement Officer Lewis Roller Dies
The local law enforcement community is mourning the death of Lewis Roller. Roller passed away Thursday just a few days after his 57th birthday. Roller spent is entire adult life in law enforcement as a Chickasha Police Officer, an investigator with the district attorney's office, as a parole officer in Grady and Caddo Counties, and as the drug court coordinator in both counties. District Attorney Jason Hicks posted a comment on Facebook saying Roller touched countless lives and served as a mentor, counselor, and friend to his staff. A post on the Chickasha police department's Facebook page said they lost a brother and a friend and that Roller was a hero in their hearts and to the Chickasha community. Roller is survived by his wife Leslie, their two children and their families. Funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 21st at Holy Name Catholic Church. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to Friends Fur Change.
HUD Sends $5 Million to Oklahoma Tribes
Several million dollars in COVID-19 relief funds have been awarded to tribal groups in Oklahoma. Each of five tribes will equally share $5 million which comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Officials with the Apache and Kiowa Tribes say they'll use the money for housing upgrades and construction. Kristopher Killsfirst with the Apache Housing Authority tells KSWO-TV many homes have air ducts that need to be cleaned, modified, or even replaced. They may also enclose garages to create extra bedrooms, renovate rental units, and even upgrade broadband infrastructure. Billy Komahcheet with the Kiowa Housing Authority said they'll use the funds to build as many as 14 new homes around Carnegie. Other Oklahoma tribes to receive the funds are the Seminole, Seneca-Cayuga, and Modoc Nation.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Brande Bradford and Courtney Mayall with the Chickasha Public Library are on our KOOL Konversation program. Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe is on Real Estate Today. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, Dec. 17th
Grady County Sees Top Month in Consumer Spending
Consumer spending throughout Grady County was brisk in the most recent reporting period available from county officials. Retailers rang up an estimated $26.4 million in business during September. The previous best month was in April when consumer spending was estimated at $24.1 million. The September number was up 15 percent compared to August - and it was up 13 percent compared to September of last year. Grady County collected nearly $600,000 in sales tax revenue from that consumer spending. The sales tax revenue is distributed to several areas, all of which received approval of Grady County voters. The Grady County Fairgrounds collected $198,000; Grady Memorial Hospital received $175,000; the seven senior nutrition centers each collected $14,000; each of the 20 fire districts received nearly $5,000; Tuttle EMS received $18,000; and Rush Springs EMS received about $4,500
Firetruck Involved in Crash While Responding to Fire
We have a correction to make and some new details to add to a story we aired this morning about a traffic accident that occurred on the H.E. Bailey turnpike last night. We reported that the accident involved a semi. The vehicle was actually a 2002 Freightliner fire engine belonging to the Pioneer Fire Department. We apologize for the error. Pioneer Fire Chief Clay Elrod tells KOOL/RANCH News that volunteer firefighters Rick Gortney and Jeremy Unruh were en route to a vehicle fire on the turnpike. Elrod said the fire truck had its lights and sirens activated and they were trying to maneuver through an emergency turn-around when the fire engine was hit by a car. Gortney was not hurt but Unruh suffered a head injury and was taken to Grady Memorial Hospital where he was treated and released. The driver of the car that hit the fire engine was identified as 50-year old Wendy Flowers of Topeka, Kansas. She was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where she was admitted in good condition with trunk and leg injuries.
Ex-con Back in Custody on Drug, Weapons Charges
An ex-con is back in jail after a warrant was issued for his arrest. 31-year old Dylan Thomas Palmer of Chickasha was picked up by Grady County sheriff's deputies last week after the warrant was issued back in October. On-line court records show Palmer was arrested on two separate occasions earlier this year for drug possession and for having a sawed-off shotgun after a former conviction. At his arraignment, a judge set Palmer's bond at $103,000 and he remains in the Grady County Jail. A preliminary hearing conference is scheduled for January 12th.
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.
More COVID Funds OK'd for Kiowa Tribal Members
Another round of COVID-19 relief funds will be available to Kiowa tribal members. It's the second of two economic hardship payments provided by the American Rescue Plan (ARPA). District 7 Legislator Jacob Tsotigh said several drive-through sites will be open next week. The checks can be picked up on Monday in Tulsa at the Riverspirit Casino; on Tuesday in Norman at the Optimist Club; and on Wednesday at Anadarko High School. Pick up times are from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. each of those days. A valid government photo ID will need to be shown and officials encourage that masks be worn during at the time of the pick-up.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $72.78 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $75.02.
Natural gas is $3.77 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,807 and silver is $22.57.
Thursday, Dec. 16th
Arrest Warrants Issued in Cement Child Abuse Probe
Two children in Cement say they suffered burns were choked by their mother's boyfriend. Now authorities are seeking the couple after warrants were issued for their arrests. The children's grandmother called authorities in September to report the alleged abuse. A probable cause affidavit filed by a Caddo County sheriff's deputy indicates an 8-year old and a 9-year old suffered burns from a steamer, had freezing water poured on them, and were placed in choke holds. A 1-year old child was also in the home. The Lawton Constitution cites information from the affidavit indicating that one of the children said the man is mean. Officials have issued arrest warrants for 38-year old Brandon Scott Roberts and 28-year old Linda Pelzer. Roberts is wanted for three counts of child abuse and Pelzer is wanted for three counts of enabling child abuse.
Chickasha Company Named a Top Place to Work
A Chickasha firm is named one of Oklahoma's top places to work. CMS-Willowbrook was noted for its employee-friendly atmosphere by The Oklahoman. The company was ranked No. 6 in the mid-size company category. Not only that, CEO Carey Dehart was presented the Leadership Award in that same category. The list of top 10 places to work is compiled through employee-based feedback provided through a third-party survey. It is an anonymous survey and measures 15 areas said to be critical to the success of any organization. In a press release announcing the results, DeHart says the longevity of employees is what sets the company apart. The average length of service is over 20 years and many have been with the firm for more than 30 years. DeHart said the staff care about each other, their work, and the companies they work with.
Liz Taylor Earns National Award for 4H Work
A Grady County 4H leader receives a national award. Liz Taylor, extension educator with the Grady County OSU Extension Center, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award from the National Association of Extension 4H Agents. Taylor picked up the award at the group's annual conference in Memphis, Tennessee. Taylor has served as the Grady County 4H educator for nine years and has provided more than 1,600 hours of school enrichment programs and partnered with several after-school programs. Under her leadership, Grady County 4Hers have earned more than $84,000 in 4H scholarships.
Holiday Break Upcoming for Chickasha Schools;
Principal Retires After a Nearly 40-year Career
Today is the last day of classes for students in Chickasha Public Schools for a couple of weeks as the district will shut down for the holidays. It's also the last day on the job for Tressia Meeks, who is retiring after a nearly 40-year career in education. For the last 14 years, Meeks has served as principal at the Bill Wallace Early Childhood Center. The Chickasha school board honored Meeks for her service. Meeks says she plans to spend time with her family and perfect the art of ‘grand-parenting’.
Holiday Fundraiser Set for Chix Public School Foundation
There's a unique holiday fund-raiser this weekend for the Chickasha Public School Foundation. Carrie Chavers and the Chickasha Art Center will host a paint-on-canvas project. It's a painting of Old Saint Nick called ‘It's Santa Time!’ The fundraiser will be Saturday, December 18th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Art Center at 624 West Chickasha Avenue. The cost is $40 and participants are asked to pre-register on-line: www.paintoncanvas.net
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $70.87 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.88.
Natural gas is $3.80 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,787 and silver is $22.21.
Jimmy Pearman, Sr.
Funeral service for Jimmy Pearman, Sr., 74, of Tuttle was scheduled for 1:00 p.m. today (Thursday, December 16th) at Sevier Funeral Home of Tuttle.
Wednesday, Dec. 15th
Drug Trafficking Supect in Custody
A joint investigation of several law enforcement agencies has led to the arrest of yet another suspected drug trafficker in the region. 60-year old Chris Bernard Bryant of Chickasha was arrested Monday after authorities allege he made a number of transactions with a confidential informant. Bryant has previous drug possession convictions. An arrest affidavit indicates the Grady County Sheriff's Office, the District Attorneys Drug Task Force, and the Bureau of Narcotics were involved with the investigation over the last several weeks. The document indicates the informant was able to purchase more than 30 grams of methamphetamine and a number of counterfeit pain pills believed to contain fentanyl. At his initial appearance in Grady County District Court yesterday, Bryant was charged with one count of drug trafficking and his bond was set at $100,000. A preliminary hearing conference was scheduled for January 12th. Grady County Undersheriff Gary Boggess says this investigation was separate from a previous operation conducted with the help of the State Bureau of Narcotics and the Drug Enforcement Administration which led to numerous arrests of individuals believed to be connected to a drug pipeline between Chickasha and Oklahoma City and took millions of dollars in illicit drugs off the streets.
Child Predator Sentenced After Pleading Guilty
A child predator accused of committing lewd acts with children in two counties will spend a long time behind bars. A Grady County judge sentenced 21-year Skylar Jay Biby of Duncan to 40 years in prison with 20 of those years suspended. The sentence was handed down yesterday after Biby pleaded guilty to four counts of lewd acts with children. Biby was initially arrested by the District Attorneys Task Force in Duncan in the summer of 2019 in connection with an incident that occurred in Stephens County. Biby pleaded guilty to one count of lewd acts to a child in connection with that arrest and received a 30-year prison sentence with 10 years suspended.
New Anadarko Mayor Sworn In
Anadarko has another new mayor. Kelley McGlothlin was sworn in as mayor this week. A post on the City of Anadarko's Facebook page indicates that McGlothlin will succeed former mayor Tanner Salyer who spent just a few months at the post. Salyer took the post in August, succeeding long-time mayor Kyle Eastwood. The Facebook post indicated that while Salyer stepped down as mayor he will continue to be active in the community. The post also says McGlothlin has been a long time active member with the city council.
Wildland Fire Risk Extremely High Today
The risk for wildland fires will be elevated again today. With afternoon temperatures reaching near 80 degrees and winds gusting 40-50 miles per hour, officials are urging Oklahomans to do what they can to minimize the chances of starting a fire. A huge fire east of Lawton last week burned nearly 1,500 acres and destroyed several homes, barns, and untold personal property. Officials urge residents to delay the burning of trash and brush, and motorists who may be towing trailers should be sure safety chains do not drag on the highway in order to prevent any sparks from setting fires. Stephens County is the only county in the region which has implemented a local burn ban which is in effect through December 27th.
'Buy Chickasha' Gift Cards All Claimed
(EDITOR'S NOTE - This story has been updated from the news broadcasts this morning where only two of the gift cards had been claimed) All three gift cards bundles in the Chickasha Chamber Commerce 'Buy Chickasha' campaign have been claimed. Paige Elliott won the $5,000 gift card bundle on a ticket she received for making a purchase at The Polished Boutique. Vivian Jones was the winner of the $3,000 gift card bundle with her winning ticket recevied from a purchase made at Ross True Value. Jessi Tollett won the $2,000 gift card bundle which was a ticket that came from a purchase made at Wing T's. The winners were announced by Chamber President Cassandra Ersland.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $70.73 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.70.
Natural gas is $3.74 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,768 and silver is $21.77.
Tuesday, Dec. 14th
Burn Ban Issued in Stephens County
Stephens County officials have implemented a burn ban. County Commissioners declared the ban to be effectively immediately and will be in effect for at least 14 days. Warmer than normal temperatures, dry vegetation, and high winds in the forecast over the next couple of days are prime ingredients for wildfires. Just last weekend Garvin County fire crews battled a 200-acre wildland fire. The ban includes trash, brush, bonfires and campfires, or any controlled burns. There are a few exceptions as long as safety measures are taken. They include welding, cutting torch, and grinding activities related to road construction. The work should be done over at least a 10-foot square non-combustible surface with welding blankets or screens to cover flammable vegetation along with having pressurized water or fire extinguishers nearby.
Medical Issue Causes Crash
A one-vehicle crash sends a Chickasha woman to the hospital after she fell ill behind the wheel. 42-year old Treva Buchanan was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where she was admitted in good condition with injuries that weren't related to the crash. The accident happened about 8:00 a.m. Monday on U.S. Highway 62 just east of Chickasha. The highway patrol reports that Buchanan's Jeep veered off the road and hit a sign then crossed over the highway and hit another sign. Two children in the vehicle, ages 14 and 11, were not hurt.
More Meals to be Distributed to Area School Students
The Chickasaw Nation and Chickasha Public Schools will hold another food giveaway for area school students today. Students at Chickasha Middle School can pick up five meals each which will help families during their two-week break during the upcoming holidays. Also, parents of Lincoln School students can pick up their meal packs at the school today. Parents of students who attend Friend and Pioneer schools will be able to pick up meals at Chickasha High School either today or tomorrow. The pick-up will be in the bus lane at the high school between 3 and 7 p.m.
Long-time Minister Charles Watson Dies
Longtime Methodist minister Rev. Charles Watson has died. Watson was 84 when he passed away this past Saturday. Watson spent more than 50 years serving in churches in central and western Oklahoma. He was a long-time volunteer with the Easter pageant at the Holy City of the Wichitas and was an advocate for senior citizens through the Silver Haired Legislature in Oklahoma and the Silver Haired Congress in Washington, D.C. He also spent many years ministering with the Boy Scouts of America and was an associate of Santa Claus. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
'Buy Chickasha' Gift Card Numbers Drawn
The winning numbers for the Chamber of Commerce 'Buy Chickasha' campaign have been drawn. The number for the $5,000 in gift cards is 015297; the number for the $3,000 in gift cards is 004166; and the number for the $2,000 in gift cards is 044688. Ticket holders have until 3:00 p.m. today (Tuesday, December 14th) to claim their prizes or more drawings will be held. Ticket winners should contact the Chamber of Commerce by calling 405-224-0787.
More Well Completions Reported
A few well completions have been reported in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, what we know as the SCOOP. Citizen Energy recently completed two Keeler wells on a single pad southeast of Dibble. The wells are producing about 280 barrels of oil and 80 Metric cubic feet of natural gas per day at a depth of 16,000 feet. Donray Petroleum reported a completion from 2020 of the Apache Gas Unit in Caddo County two miles west of Apache. It was producing more than 200 barrels of oil and nearly 1,150 Mcf of natural gas per day. Camino Natural Resources has one of the largest wells in Garvin County northwest of Elmore City and Continental Resources completed a Carter County well southeast of Elmore City.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $71.29 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $74.39.
Natural gas is $3.79 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,784 and silver is $22.16.
Mary Alice Gibbons
Funeral service for Mary Alice Gibbons, 89, of the Norman, Anadarko, and Chickasha area will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, December 16th at St. Luke's Episcopal Church. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Chickasha Soup Kitchen.
Monday, Dec. 13th
Website Established to Help with Investigations
of Missing and Murdered Native Americans
Officials with the Bureau of Indian Affairs say a new website has been created which is designed to help with cold cases involving missing and murdered indigenous people. Last month Ida's law went into effect in Oklahoma directing the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to dedicate more resources to help solve the many cases of missing and murdered Native Americans. Information provided through the website will be shared with the FBI and connected to the National Missing and Unidentified person's system. The website includes photos of individuals whose cases are still open. A link to the website is available from the Bureau of Indian Affairs website at: www.bia.gov or the website: www.nativenewsonline.net
Southern Plains Clinic to Open Out-Patient Surgery Center
Southern Plains Medical Center in Chickasha will be opening a new ambulatory surgery center after the first of the year. CEO Len Lacefield says it will be a 4,000 sq. ft. facility with two operating rooms.
Lacefield said the fees will be lower than traditional hospital fees and no overnight stays would be required although if a situation arose where that would be necessary the clinic has an agreement with Grady Memorial Hospital for any patient to spend the night there.
Some Chix School Administrators Seek Union Status
A petition calling for an election to create a bargaining unit for certified Chickasha school administrators has been submitted to the board of education. The agenda for tonight's school board meeting indicates the petition was received in a sealed packet. Background information provided to school board members says the legal process requires that the packet be turned over to a judge to verify the signatures. The court would have 30 days to determine if there are enough verified signatures in order for an election to be held. Other items to be considered include officially naming Dr. Demeka Norwood the interim principal for Bill Wallace School. Norwood is the district’s federal programs coordinator and would maintain her current duties while also serving as interim principal. She will fill in for longtime principal Tressia Meeks who is retiring at the end of the month.
School Employees to be Recognized
Teachers-of-the-year at each school site will be recognized. They are Nancy Ragain at Bill Wallace; Chris Albrecht at Grand Avenue; Megan Drennan at Lincoln Elementary; Michael Voyles at the middle school; and Sharita Brown at the high school. Also, two middle school employees will be recognized as the Chicken Express Employees of the month. They are math teacher Stacy O'Neal and support employee Eric Golightly. The school board meets at 6 o'clock tonight at the school administration building.
School Students to Receive Meals for Holiday Break
The Chickasaw Nation and Chickasha Public Schools will be distributing some 20,000 meals to youth in Chickasha and area schools this week. Students through the age of 18 can pick up boxes that include five meals each to help the students get through the upcoming two-week holiday break. High school students can pick up the meals today. Parents of students at Friend and Pioneer schools can pick up the meals at the high school tomorrow and Wednesday between 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.
Cyril School Board Candidate Withdraws
A candidate who filed for a seat on the Cyril school board last week has withdrawn her name from consideration. Connie Clayborn was one of three candidates who filed for Office No. 2 during last week's filing period. With Clayborn's withdrawal, there will be two candidates on the ballot for Cyril’s spring school election. They are 38-year old Derek Cocheran and 63-year old Kenny Gray.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $71.67 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $75.15.
Natural gas is $3.92 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,787 and silver is $22.25.
Funeral for Patricia Farley, 71, of Chickasha was held at 10:30 this morning (Monday, Dec. 13th) at Ferguson Funeral Home.