Saturday, April 2nd
Crowbar Killer Sentenced to Life Without Parole
Formal sentencing was held in U.S. Federal Court in the Western District of Oklahoma this week for a man convicted of a heinous crime that occurred more than three years ago. 34-year old Isaiah Whitefox Redbird had been convicted of premeditated murder and assault causing serious bodily injury in connection with the attack that occurred in Carnegie in September of 2018. Prosecutors say Redbird used a crowbar to attack Byron 'Subee' Tongkeamah, Jr. and his girlfriend Kayleigh Roughface. Tongkeamah died and Roughface somehow survived massive head injuries. She has no memory of the attack. Prosecutors say Redbird believed he had a duty to kill the couple based on rumors he had heard about them.
Elderly Driver Dies in Rollover
A driver is killed in a rollover crash in eastern Stephens County. 81-year old Joe Compton of Foster died in the accident that happened near the town of Bray yesterday. The highway patrol reports that Compton veered off State Highway 29 then careened off the other side of the road and rolled several times. Compton was trapped in the wreckage for about two hours.
Regional Food Bank Seeks Sites for Summer Food Distribution
The countdown is on for students and teachers as the end of school is just a few weeks away. The Regional Food Bank is again preparing to help struggling families get through the summer by providing meals when school is not in session. But food bank officials are expecting a decline in sites that will be available to distribute food this summer due to some USDA requirements. Officials say waivers that had been put in place during the pandemic will expire next month and some distribution sites don't have enough space, staff, or funds. The food bank is seeking groups that meet the USDA guidelines to help with the distribution. Sites can be schools, non-profit groups, churches, community centers, libraries, or even parks. The program offers the meals to all children up to 18 years old each weekday during the summer break. Last year the agency provided nearly 230,000 meals at 127 sites throughout central and western Oklahoma. Groups can reach out to the regional food bank at www.rfbo.org/summer-meals
City of Chix to Begin Weekly Storm Siren Testing
The City of Chickasha will begin weekly tests of the city's storm sirens. The tests are scheduled each Wednesday at noon if the weather is fair and mild. The sirens will not be tested if it’s cloudy or if there is a forecast of severe weather that day. Officials say they will issue posts on social media if the tests will not be conducted.
Route 66 Communities Get OK to Make Mother Road Markings
Oklahoma communities along the Mother Road of Route 66 will be allowed to make improvements to the highway to get ready for its centennial. The Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) has released new pavement marking guidelines. A number of cities and towns had reached out to the state agency to try and bring more attention to the historic road. Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell says Oklahoma has more than 400 miles of Route 66 and appreciates the enthusiasm of all the communities and ODOT's approval of the guidelines. Each community will have to come up with the funds to pay for the upgrades. They will be black-and-white markings that are 21 feet long and 8 feet wide and are intended for areas where speeds are no more than 35 miles per hour. The 100th anniversary of Route 66 is coming up in 2026.
USAO Softball Pitcher Breaks Career Wins Mark
History was made at USAO yesterday. Emily Cerny became the winningest softball pitcher in the NAIA with her 127th career victory. The Drovers defeated Cottey College of Nebraska, Missouri 3-0 in the first game of a double header at Bill Smith Ballpark. The win breaks a record that stood for 20 years. Cerny says she's had a lot of help in setting the new record.
Cerny allowed only two hits, struck out 14 batters, walked two and hit two. The Drovers got an unearned run in the bottom of the 5th inning when Cottey College misplayed a force-out at home which would have ended the inning. Darcy Chester hit a two-run home run off the scoreboard in the 6th inning to extend the lead.
Friday, April 1st
Driver Injured After Rear-ending Semi
An SUV crashes into the back of a semi on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike, sending the SUV driver to the hospital. The accident happened just after six o'clock last night near the toll booth at mile marker 97. 56-year old Michael Weaver of Edmond was last in fair condition with head and leg injuries. The investigating trooper said both vehicles were eastbound approaching the toll both when the semi began to slow down and Weaver’s SUV struck the big rig. The truck driver was identified as 62-year old William Schmitz of Kansas and he was not hurt.
Kiowa Tribal Members Prepare for KIC Meeting
Members of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma have a big meeting in Carnegie tomorrow. The Kiowa Indian Council (KIC) will hold its first meeting since the pandemic. Members will be electing a new KIC coordinator, a post which has been empty for about a year after previous coordinator Steve Smith was removed. There are five candidates running including Deborah Shrock Wilson, Hanley Eugene Short, Kristi Wolf Norris, Modina Waters, and Bryan Womack. A quorum of 150 tribal members who are at least 18 years old must be present. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. with the meeting starting at 9:00 a.m. in the Red Buffalo Hall at the Kiowa Complex.
April Events Include Open Streets-Chix, Rotary Run
As we turn the calendar to a new month plans have been underway for a couple of events in Chickasha later this month. The Chickasha Area YMCA is preparing for its annual Open Streets-Chickasha campaign which is a little earlier this year. The event is normally held in May but the date was going to fall on Mother's Day weekend so it was moved up a couple of weeks. The event is now set for Saturday, April 30th downtown. The event is an effort to get families together for a day of exercise and activities. Officials are still looking for vendors. There is no charge for vendors who are asked to have some type of activity for kids and adults. All participants can register at no charge to win some nice prizes. Contact the YMCA for information by calling 405-224-2281. Open Streets - Chickasha will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 30th. Also that day, The Chickasha Rotary Club will have its annual 5K and one mile fun run/walk prior to Open Streets. Costumes are encouraged. Participants can register in advance at www.raceentry.com or register that morning at 7 a.m. The 5K will begin and end at the Rock Island Railroad Depot with a starting time of 8:30 a.m.
Easter Pageant Set for Holy City of the Wichitas
Easter Sunday is just a couple of weeks away. For the last couple of months the Holy City of the Wichitas has been preparing for its 97th annual Easter pageant. It's said to be the oldest Easter pageant in the country. Officials say they could still use some cast members. No acting experience is required and there are no speaking roles. There is a dress rehearsal this weekend followed by the two performances. The first is Saturday, April 9th and the second is Saturday, April 16th with both performances starting 8:30 p.m. Get information about the Easter pageant on the Holy City of the Wichitas Facebook page.
First Quarter Energy Prices Up Sharply
The prices of West Texas Intermediate crude oil and London-based Brent crude fell yesterday. The drop was blamed on President Biden's announcement to release 1 million barrels of oil a day from the Strategic Petroleum Reserves over the next six months. Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation says despite the drop yesterday, oil prices have been on the rise.
At the close yesterday, crude oil on the NYMEX was at $100.28 per barrel and London-based Brent crude was $107.91. Natural gas rose 28 percent in March and is up 51 percent for the first quarter, to $5.64 per million BTUs.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Gab Shepard with the Chickasha Public School Foundation will be on our KOOL Konversation and Pat Cunningham with the Grady County Historical Society and Museum will be on Real Estate Today. Look for links to the programs under the Community tab on this website.
Thursday, March 31st
Drug Trafficking Supect Held on Six-Figure Bond
A Grady County man is in jail on a six-figure bond after being charged with drug trafficking. 53-year old Robert Hershell Leach of Tuttle was picked up by Tuttle police early Tuesday morning. Leach was pulled over on a traffic stop because a brake light was out on his pick-up. A probable cause affidavit indicates that Leach had a suspended license and had a warrant for his arrest out of Canadian County. The officer found nearly 115 grams of meth in the pickup. On-line court records indicate that Leach was on probation after pleading guilty to Canadian County drug charges in 2019. Authorities there issued a warrant for his arrest last August for failure to comply. Leach is now facing a felony drug trafficking charge and a misdemeanor for driving under suspension in Grady County. His bond is $100,000.
Early Voting Available Ahead of Next Week's Election
Oklahomans can cast ballots ahead of next Tuesday's school and municipal elections. In person, absentee voting can be done at county election board offices today and tomorrow. Among school board elections in the region include Amber-Pocasset, Blanchard, Dibble, Bridge Creek, Cyril, Carnegie, and Marlow. There are school bond elections for Pioneer, Blanchard, and Sterling school districts. There are city council elections in Chickasha and Tuttle. Early voting can be done at county election boards from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today and tomorrow otherwise voters can cast ballots at their normal precincts on Tuesday.
Group Looks to Save Artifacts of Ukraine History
Historians and librarians around the world are working to preserve cultural artifacts that are at-risk in the Russian war against the Ukraine. At USAO’s Nash Library, Anne Tsontekoy is among them. She is part of a volunteer group of more than 500 specialists taking part in the Saving Ukraine Cultural Heritage On-line program. The group is working to identify and archive at-risk sites, digital content, and data in throughout the Ukraine. Tsonetokoy decided to take part after receiving an e-mail seeking volunteers. She says while she is a small part of the effort she is happy to help and encourages others to assist. She said if computer servers in the war-torn country are damaged or destroyed the group will ensure the country’s history will not be lost forever.
Friends of Chickasha Library Host Book Sale
It's a book bonanza at the Chickasha Public Library. The Friends of the Library are having a used book sale as they clear the shelves of older books and raise funds to purchase new books and materials. Recommended donation is a dollar a book except for children's books. Patrons can browse the selection during regular library hours which includes Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The book sale runs through Saturday, April 9th.
Northern Lights May Appear in Oklahoma Tonight
Some Oklahomans may get a rare opportunity to see Northern Lights tonight. It’s a phenomenon usually only seen in the arctic, Canada, and northern tier states in the U.S. The lights don't normally appear as for south as the Sooner State. Officials say the lights could be visible as far south as I-40. They may be visible on the northern horizon after sunset although any cloud cover may obscure them.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $107.82 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $113.45.
Natural gas is $5.60 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,929 and silver is $24.90.
A service for Johnny Banks of Lawton is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Wednesday, March 30th
Suspect in Illegal Grow Operation Raid in 2021 Arrested
Just a few weeks ago state drug agents and local law enforcement raided several illegal medical marijuana growing operations across the state including two in Grady County. Earlier this week, authorities arrested a suspect in connection with a similar raid that took place at an illegal grow facility in Grady County last summer. 32-year old Helen Carillo was booked into the Grady County jail on Monday. A warrant had been issued for her arrest last August after the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics executed a search warrant on the operation near Rush Springs. Authorities said that the property was never granted registration to be a grow operation. Carillo was listed as the property owner and authorities said she had a stake in the operation. Carillo has been formally charged with conspiracy and cultivation of a controlled substance. She is out of jail after posting a $5,000 bond.
Second Chix City Council Candidate Discusses Candidacy
Today we have the second segment of our interviews with candidates running for the Ward One post on the Chickasha City Council. Kea Ginn is a life-long resident of Chickasha. She works with the family business in the health care industry and says she wants to help the city get better.
Ginn currently serves on the Chickasha Economic Development Council. Ginn and David Lucas are the candidates on the ballot for next Tuesday's city council election. We talked to both candidates on last weekend's KOOL Konversation program and we have a link to the program on our website. Look under the Community tab for the KOOL Konversation.
Pioneer School District Voters to Decide Bond Issue
Also next Tuesday, school elections will be held throughout the state. In the Pioneer School district voters will decide a $635,000 bond issue. Superintendent Tod Harrison said the bonds would help make numerous improvements. He said they plan to shore up some drainage issues as water is getting into some of buildings. New flooring would be installed in the main building, classrooms, and the gymnasium. He also said some of the flooring would be no-wax flooring to reduce maintenance costs. The funds would also be used to update bathrooms and the district's electrical system. If approved, property taxes for those in the Pioneer School district would increase about 5 percent. The bond issue would be paid off in six years.
Driver Arrested After Weekend Accident
Now an update to a story we first aired over the weekend about a traffic accident west of Minco where a car drove through a bridge and tumbled into a ravine. We now know the driver was arrested for DUI and three children in the car were taken to a hospital. The accident happened early Saturday morning near the Grady and Caddo County line west of Minco. A probable cause affidavit indicates that 34-year old Kesha Files of Union City told authorities she swerved to miss a deer. Witnesses at the scene told investigators that Files and the car smelled like alcohol. The trooper dispatched to the scene said Files failed a field sobriety test. The three children ranged in age from two to ten years old. They were taken to an Oklahoma City hospital to be treated for scrapes and bruises. Files was also taken to a hospital to be treated for minor injuries and she was released and taken to the Grady County Jail. Files was charged with a felony for child endangerment by DUI as well as a misdemeanor DUI. She is out of jail after posting a $20,000 bond.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $104.24 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $110.23.
Natural gas is $5.34 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,924 and silver is $24.98.
A private family service will be held at a later date for Ruby Boyce, 77, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Tuesday, March 29th
Chick Police Tell How They Found Child Porn Suspect
We have some details today on how Chickasha police arrested a man wanted for manufacturing child porn. Last Friday, authorities arrested 51-year old Charles Phillip Gelpi. The Cyril man was wanted out of Comanche County for allegedly video recording a 16-year old girl without her knowledge. Chickasha Police Lt. Gillian O'Brien said the police department received a phone call from another law enforcement agency saying that Gelpi was in Chickasha. He was found in the 2000 block of Iowa and taken into custody. Gelpi remains in the Grady County Jail and It's believed he'll be taken to Lawton to face the charge awaiting him in Comanche County.
Chix City Council Candidate Discusses Candidacy
Chickasha voters will be going to the polls next week to select a new city council representative in Ward One. Two candidates - David Lucas and Kea Ginn - are running for the post. We’ll have comments from both candidates over the next couple of days. Today, Lucas says the council needs to focus more on long-term solutions to problems that previous councils have kicked down the road.
Lucas also believes that all portions of city council meetings - even executive sessions - should be open to the public. Both Lucas and Ginn were on our KOOL Konversation program last weekend. We have a link to the program under the Community tab on this website. We'll have comments from Ginn tomorrow.
Burn Bans Lifted, But Wind Advisory is Forecast
Burn bans have been lifted in a couple of area counties even as high wind advisories will be in effect today. Commissioners in both Grady and Caddo Counties have lifted the bans as much of the region picked up one to two inches of rain last week and more rain is expected tonight as thunderstorms are in the forecast. But prior to that, the National Weather Service says critical to extremely critical fire conditions are expected in all of western Oklahoma this afternoon. The agency has issued a wind advisory that will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 pm. with south winds gusting to 45 miles per hour.
Darko Continues Feral Hog Fight
A portion of the city park in Anadarko is closed due to the on-going threat of wild hogs in the area. Officials say the north side of Randlett Park is closed to the public all week. A post on the city's Facebook page advises park users to stay on the south side of the river which flows through the park and to stay alert as the animals should be considered dangerous. Officials say the feral hogs have been an off and on problem over the last year or so. They recently returned about three weeks ago. Officials have reached out to the state department of agriculture in hopes of getting the animals removed.
Vietnam Veterans Honored for Their Service
Military veterans who served during the Vietnam War era are getting the recognition deserved for their work in that controversial confrontation. Today is National Vietnam War Veterans Day honoring those veterans, many of whom were shunned in their return home from battle. The day was created in 2017. It was March 29, 1973 that the U.S. Military Command was officially disbanded and the final combat troops left the country. The average age of Vietnam veterans is now 67 years old. Authorities say there are still 1,600 soldiers believed to still be missing from that era.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $105.96 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $112.48.
Natural gas is $5.51 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,918 and silver is $24.75.
Lydia ‘Ann’ Foster
Funeral service for Ann Foster, 93, of Chickasha was held at 1 o'clock this afternoon at the Ninnekah First Baptist Church. Arrangements were with Sevier Funeral Home.
A memorial service for Paula Bevill, 81, of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, April 2nd at Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Resurrection House and Life Skills Institute or the Lupus Foundation.
Monday, March 28th
Chix Schools to Give Personal Learning Devices to Students
Chickasha Public Schools is putting together a program to provide every student in the district with a personal learning device. In a newsletter released to patrons officials say the reason for doing so is to help students improve academically and learn the skills they'll need to succeed once they get out of school. Authorities say technology helps enhance and re-define how students interact with curriculum, teachers, and peers. The decision to take this step is motivated by the desire to increase student achievement and prepare students to excel in the paths they will pursue. Officials are hoping to have the learning devices in the hands of students for the start of classes this fall.
Local Funny Car Driver Hospitalized After Crash
Chickasha funny car driver Ken Singleton is hospitalized after suffering serious injuries in a weekend accident at a race track in Texas. A post on Singleton's High Risk Racing Facebook page indicates that Singleton suffered second and third degree burns on about 25 percent of his body. He's being treated at the Parkland Burn Center in Dallas. Reports indicate that Singleton could spend up to five weeks in the hospital.
Rural Water District Seeks Fire Hydrant Repair, Installations
An effort to repair broken fire hydrants and to get new hydrants installed in a rural water district will be discussed during a meeting tonight. The proposal will be heard by Rural Water District Six in Grady County which serves the Pocasset area. The meeting will be held at 7 o'clock tonight in the District Six office building in Amber.
Chix Lions Club Seeks Members to Continue Projects
The Chickasha Lions Club is one of the oldest civic clubs in town. The group has been serving the community for 105 years. It was one of 23 Lions clubs nationwide that helped to form Lions Club International. The group's main mission to collect used eye glasses which are sent to third-world countries. They support the Dean McGee Eye Institute and the Meadows of Hope foster care home in Perkins which serves as transitional housing for youth in DHS care. They assist the Festival of Light, the Food for Kids programs in area schools, and host the kiddie tractor pull contest at the county fair. The group's main fundraisers are a pancake breakfast in the fall and they sell nuts during the holidays. The group meets each Tuesday at noon at the Canadian Valley Technology Center. Contact Joan Brown or Wayne Leu for information.
Participants Sought For Short-Film Festival Competition
A challenging competition for those who enjoy producing short films is coming up. Participants will have just 24-hours to put together a film of two-to-five minutes in length with the top winners to be shown at what's called the Wrecking Ball Film Festival. The event is being organized by local film maker Reagan Elkins and Intellego Media and Jordan Vinyard, a USAO art professor and the director of USAO's Art Wrecker Studio. Participants will be given some props, a list of prompts, and a line of dialogue to use. The application fee is $5 with cash prizes being awarded to the top three films with $1,000 going to the winner. The sign up is between April 1st and April 8th and the 24-hour period will begin at 11:59 p.m. Friday April 8th. The top 10 films will be shown at the inaugural Wrecking Ball Film Festival on April 16th. For information e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Great Golden Egg Hunt Promotion Set in April
There will be an ‘eggs’-citing new shopping promotion that will be held just in time for Easter. The Chickasha Chamber of Commerce and the Economic Development Council will have a Great Golden Egg Hunt. Starting April 11th, individuals will be encouraged to shop at participating merchants where 1,000 eggs will be up for grabs. Participants will be entered into a drawing to win a Golden Egg with a grand prize of more than $500 in local gift cards and prizes. Other details are expected to be out this Friday. Retailers who would like to take part in the promotion should contact the Chamber of Commerce by calling 405-224-0787.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $113.90 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $120.65.
Natural gas is $5.57 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,933 and silver is $25.21.
Funeral service for Burley Givens of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 am. Friday April 1st at the First and Georgia Church of Christ. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.