Saturday, April 16th
Suspect in Amber Illegal Grow Operation Arrested, Charged
We have some details of an arrest made by a state drug agent after a confidential informant said he was able to purchase thousands of dollars in marijuana from an illegal grow operation in Grady County. A probable cause affidavit shows that the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics gave the informant $25,000 to purchase 30 pounds of marijuana from Forest Lake Farms in Amber. The informant met with the suspect at the farm just before Thanksgiving last year. The informant told the suspect and others at the farm that he was going to take the product to Maryland to sell. The informant said it was clear it was a black market marijuana sale. Among the arrest warrants issued was one for Chung Sing Pang of California. He was arrested this week on a charge of drug trafficking. He was released from the Grady County Jail after posting a $100,000 bond. A preliminary hearing conference has been scheduled for May 11th.
Incumbent Grady County Comissioners Draw Opponents
A third candidate has filed for the District 3 County Commissioner post in Grady County. Gary Bray submitted his documents on the final day of the filing period yesterday. Bray, a retired law enforcement officer, filed as a Republican and joined John Williams as a challenger to incumbent County Commissioner Ralph Beard. If there are no challenges or withdrawals Monday or Tuesday of next week, the three candidates will be on the Republican Primary ballot in June. The only other race that developed was for District One County Commissioner where incumbent Mike Walker is being challenged by Zachary Davis of Minco. They also will be on the Republican primary ballot in June. Grady County Assessor Bari Firestone and Treasurer Robin Burton drew no challengers so each will retain their offices for another four years.
Caddo County filings
There were no additional filings in Caddo County yesterday. Assessor LaDonna Phillips and Treasurer Gina Moser drew no opponents so they will keep their offices for four more years. Two new county commissioners will be elected. District Three Commissioner Brent Kinder and District One Commissioner Benny Bowling did not run for re-election. In district three, Democrats Robert Weaver of Ft. Cobb and Mark Taylor of Carnegie will face off in the Democratic primary election in June. Republican Ricky Schuermann of Ft. Cobb also filed. Three Republicans filed for the district one commissioner post. Bobby Lynn and Mike Belter, both of Lookeba and James Buck Brown of Binger all filed. They will be on the Republican primary ballot in June. Treasurer Gina Moser and Assessor Ladonna Phillips will remain in office as neither drew an opponent. There is a two-day period to allow candidates to withdraw or challenge the qualifications of those who have filed.
District Attorney Jason Hicks Runs Un-opposed
District Attorney Jason Hicks has filed unopposed for a fourth term as DA in District 6 which includes Grady, Caddo, Stephens, and Jefferson Counties.
Regional State House, Senate Filings
In the state house races, Amber Republican Dick Lowe did not get a challenger in House District 56 so he will serve another two years. The same is true for Marlow Republican Brad Boles who did not get an opponent for his seat in House District 51. In House District 65, Republican State Representative Toni Hasenbeck of Elgin is being challenged by Marlow Democrat, Jennifer Kerstetter.
Sen. Darcy Jech Faces Two Challengers
In state senate races, Republican State Senator Darcy Jech of Kingfisher in District 26 which includes Caddo County has two GOP challengers. They are Brady Butler of Fay and JJ Stitt of Kingfisher.
Injured Chix Funny Car Driver Faces Long Recovery
A medical team of more than 30 doctors and nurses are treating Chickasha funny car driver Kendall Singleton in a Dallas hospital. Singleton suffered critical burns when his car caught fire at the Texas Motor Speedway last month. A post on Singleton's High Risk Racing Facebook page says his vision may not return for several months and he won't be able to work for at least a year. Singleton is a welder by trade. Friends and associates will hold a Coffee and Cars for Ken event today for the community to show its support. His racing team will be there, there will be live music and activities, and the Oklahoma Blood Institute will have a blood drive. That's from 9 to 2 today at the Harbor Freight and Atwoods parking lot.
Wind-Generated Electricity Surges
It has been extremely windy in Oklahoma and across the nation over the last few weeks. So much so that electricity produced by wind farms across the country spiked one day last month.
That's Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission. Oklahoma is among the nation's leaders in wind-generated electricity.
A private memorial service for Kenneth Stewart, 88, of Amber will be held by the family at a later date. He was a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and Air Force Reserves. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Friday, April 15th
Day Two of Filings Sees Few New Candidates
Today is the final day candidates can file to run for county, state, and federal offices. There was one new filing in Grady County yesterday where District One Grady County Commissioner Mike Walker filed for re-election. Earlier this week, Zachary Davis of Minco had also filed for that post. Both Walker and Davis are Republicans. The District 3 County Commissioner post has incumbent Ralph Beard being challenged by John Williams of Rush Springs. They are also both Republicans. Treasurer Robin Burton and Assessor Bari Firestone have not yet drawn any opponents.
Caddo County Update
In Caddo County, there was one new filing for the District Three County Commissioner post. Republican Ricky Schuermann of Ft. Cobb has filed. Two Democrats have also filed for that post and they are Mark Taylor of Carnegie and Robert Weaver of Ft. Cobb. Three Republicans have filed for the District One County Commissioner seat. James Bucky Brown of Binger, and Bobby Lynn and Mike Belter both of Lookeba have filed. Treasurer Gina Moser and Assessor Ladonna Phillips so far have filed un-opposed.
State House, Senate Filings
For offices in the State House of Representatives, Republican Dick Lowe of Amber has filed un-opposed to this point in House District 56. And Republican Brad Boles of Marlow has filed unopposed in District 51. Republican State Representative Toni Hasenbeck in District 65 has drawn a Democratic opponent in Jennifer Kerstetter of Marlow. For state senate, Senator Darcy Jech of Kingfisher who serves Caddo County in Senate District 26 has drawn two Republican challengers. They are JJ Stitt of Kingfisher and Brady Butler of Fay.
Event Supporting Chix Funny Car Driver this Weekend
Friends and associates of Chickasha funny car driver Ken Singleton are ready for a big day tomorrow. A number of activities are scheduled for his hometown to show support and raise funds for Singleton who suffered severe burns when his car caught fire at the Texas Motor Speedway last month. An event called Coffee and Cars for Ken will be held at the Chickasha Square Shopping Center from 9:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. That's behind Jake's Rib and in the parking lot of Atwoods and Harbor Freight. There's a car show, live music, activities for the kids, and food trucks. The Oklahoma Blood institute will also be on-site for a blood drive and donors can give their credit to Singleton. There's also a large get well sign that people can sign which will be taken to Singleton who is still in a Dallas hospital being treated for his burns.
Chickasha School's Pre-K Enrollment Next Week
Parents who want their children to attend pre-Kindergarten classes at Chickasha Public Schools next year can enroll the kids on-line. The process will start Tuesday evening April 19th. Officials say parents should go to the district's website to get log-in information over the next few days. Parents can log-in anywhere they have Internet or Wi-Fi access. The website is: www.chickasha.k12.ok.us
For those who don't have a computer or Internet access, in-person enrollment will take place next Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday at the district's enrollment center, at 7th and Kansas Avenue, across the street from the post office.
Talk Show Topics
Here’s what we’re talking about this weekend. Lts. Bobby and Crystal McFarland with the Salvation Army that serves Grady and Caddo Counties are this week’s guests on the KOOL Konversation. Kenneth Corn, with the USDAs Oklahoma Office of Rural Development is on Real Estate Today. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $106.95 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $111.70.
Natural gas is $7.30 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,974 and silver is $25.79.
Thursday, April 14th
Trial Ordered in County Commissioner Case
A judge says there is enough evidence for a county commissioner and his assistant to stand trial on charges of intimidation and spying on employees. A judge ordered a trial for District One Grady Commissioner Mike Walker and his assistant Neal Locke following a preliminary hearing in Grady County District court yesterday. Both Walker and Locke are accused of illegally installing video surveillance equipment at the Tuttle county barn. They also face charges of intimidating witnesses. Former employees allege that they were fired for cooperating with an OSBI investigation. Walker's attorney Bret Burns said the cameras were installed for security purposes. A trial date has not yet been set. Walker is also facing a charge of embezzlement for allegedly using county materials and equipment to improve a road leading to his home. A trial on the embezzlement charge is scheduled for August. Our partners at KWTV-News 9 say it is possible that all the charges could be combined into one trial.
Father of Injured Infant Accused of Child Abuse
A little baby is fighting for its life and its father is arrested for child abuse. 29-year old Kyle Butcher of Cement was taken into custody after authorities received a 9-1-1 call about a four-month old having trouble breathing. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation said the child was first taken by ambulance to a Lawton hospital then air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where doctors said the infant suffered multiple brain injuries. Butcher is being held in the Caddo County Jail on a child abuse complaint.
Ninnekah School Board Delays Hiring Superintendent
(EDITOR'S NOTE - This story was updated from the morning newscast which indicated that a new superintendent MAY be hired tonight)
The hiring of a new superintendent at Ninnekah Public Schools has been delayed. Interim superintendent Robyn Morse indicated a few weeks ago that the school board had hoped to announce the new administrator in the panel's monthly meeting tonight. However, the agenda for the meeting only calls for an update on the search for a new superintendent. The school board held special meetings to interview finalists on March 23rd and 25th. Morse said the delay is because all the documents associated with a proposed contract for the candidate have not been completed. Morse said they hope to have a special meeting next week to formally hire the district's new leader.
Candidates Begin Filing for County Government Posts
The filing period is underway for candidates wanting to run for county, state, and federal offices. First-day filings in Grady County include Republican Bari Firestone, seeking re-election as county assessor; and Republican Robin Burton, seeking re-election as treasurer. District 3 County Commissioner Ralph Beard has also filed for re-election and he has a challenger in 37-year old John Williams of Rush Springs. Both are Republicans. Also up for election is the District 1 county commissioner post held by Republican Mike Walker. Walker has not yet filed but one challenger has already come forward. That's 36-year old Republican Zachary Paul Davis of Minco.
Caddo County Filings
In Caddo County, three candidates have filed for District One county commissioner. Mike Belter of Lookeba; Bobby Lynn, also of Lookeba; and James Bucky Brown of Binger are all Republicans who have filed for the post currently held by Benny Bowling who did not file for re-election on Wednesday. Two Democrats have filed for the District 3 county commissioner post. They are Robert Weaver of Ft. Cobb and Mark Steven Taylor of Carnegie. The post is currently held by Brent Kinder who also did not file for re-election yesterday. Also in Caddo County, Republican Ladonna Phillips has filed for re-election for county assessor; and Democrat Gina Moser has filed for re-election as county treasurer. The filing period runs through tomorrow.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $104.25 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $108.78.
Natural gas is just under $7.00 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,971 and silver is $25.75.
A funeral service for Marqurito Hernandez, 84, of Lawton is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Shed Euwins, 36, of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, April 18th at Emmaus Baptist Church in Oklahoma City. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Wednesday, April 13th
Flooring Company Fired After Asbestos Detected in Courthouse
Grady County Commissioners fired a company that was installing new carpet and tile in the county courthouse. The action comes after asbestos was detected while the company was grinding up old tile in a second-floor courtroom. Asbestos is believed to cause cancer. The courthouse was evacuated last Thursday afternoon and then closed Friday and Monday to allow another company to come in and clean up the mess. In a special meeting yesterday, commissioners terminated the work order for Carpet Masters of Oklahoma City. Commissioner Ralph Beard said it appeared the company 'cut corners' by not sealing off the area. Beard said-
Carpet Masters was one of a few companies that submitted quotes to replace carpet and tile in the area of Judge Gina Lowe's courtroom and office. Commissioners did not go out for bid on the project saying it was below the dollar amount required to do so. After the asbestos was discovered authorities issued an emergency purchase order to bring in a company that specializes in asbestos removal. That company is Crystal Creek out of Edmond. The final cost of the clean-up is not yet known. Officials say Carpet Masters will be paid for the work they completed. Commissioners may also sue Carpet Masters for the cost of the clean-up. In the mean-time another company will be brought in to finish the flooring project.
CHS Teacher, Coach Credits Police for Finding Stolen Pickup
A Chickasha High School teacher and coach is grateful after police found his stolen pickup. Wrestling and golf coach Chad Randle was up early Tuesday morning to be a substitute school bus driver but discovered his pick-up was missing. Randle posted the news on Facebook and asked friends to be looking for his black 2012 Toyota Tundra with a Chickasha wrestling tag on the front. Randle later posted that he was notified by police Lieutenant Jeremy Alexander that the truck was found at Parkview Christian Church near Shannon Springs Park. That's a couple of miles away from Randle's home. Randle said it didn't appear his truck was damaged but a laptop and some sunglasses were taken.
New Officer Joins Chickasha Police Force
There's a new police officer patrolling the streets of Chickasha. Alan Pinette joined the force last week. He is a California native who holds a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. He's a U.S. Navy veteran and a graduate of the NAPA Valley Police Academy. He has served with the Winters Police Department and the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department. He and his wife and son recently moved to Oklahoma.
New Police Chief Named in Union City
There's a new police chief in place at Union City. Adam Taylor, who had been serving as interim chief, was named chief by the town's board of trustees this week. Taylor was appointed interim chief after former Chief Richard Stephens died after a battle with COVID-19. Taylor has been with Union City for seven years and has nearly 15 years’ experience in law enforcement. He previously worked with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, served in the Oklahoma National Guard, and is currently active in the Army Reserves. He's also a volunteer with the Union City Fire Department. Taylor and his wife Kayla have a 3-year old daughter, Nora.
Filing Period Underway for County, State, Federal Elections
Individuals seeking county, state, and federal offices will be flooding county and state election board offices over the next few days. The filing period for those offices begins today and runs through Friday. Several county offices will be up for election, all state house of representative offices and some state senate seats are also to be filled. Candidates running for governor, state superintendent of schools, and U.S. House and Senate seats will be filing as well. Candidates for county offices file at county election boards while candidates for state and federal offices file at the state election board.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $100.60 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $104.64.
Natural gas is $6.68 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,977 and silver is $25.79.
A graveside service for David Sims, 37, of Burlington, Iowa and formerly of the Minco area will be held at 3:00 p.m. Friday, April 15th at Pleasant Hill/ Woods Memorial Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Aubrey ‘Grant’ Nelson
A graveside service for Aubrey ‘Grant’ Nelson, 73, of Chickasha will be held at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, April 27th at Rose Hill Cemetery. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Tuesday, April 12th
Dispute Leads to Chase, Gun Shots, Arrest
An argument over the phone and social media leads to a fight, a high speed chase, gun shots, and one man in custody. It happened late Thursday and early Friday. A probable cause affidavit indicates two men agreed to meet at an area called The Crooked Bridge east of Ninnekah. The suspect is alleged to have tried to run over the victim with his truck. That led to a pursuit to the Rush Springs area to an oil lease location. The two men got out of their vehicles and the suspect fired two rounds but the victim was not hit. Investigators later arrested 21-Michael Anthony Crawford of Chickasha on complaints of shooting with intent to kill and assault. Crawford has been formally charged with felonies which include assault and battery with intent to kill and use of a vehicle to discharge a weapon. Crawford remains in the Grady County Jail on a $50,000 bond.
Grady County Courthouse Re-opens
The Grady County Courthouse is open today after being closed the previous two days. Several courthouse employees became ill last Thursday as a contractor was doing some re-modeling. The courthouse closed as a precaution as officials tried to determine what made the employees sick. County commissioners are holding a special meeting this morning to consider firing the contractor, Carpet Masters.
Festival of Light has New Leader
Chickasha's Festival of Light has a new director. Billy Elkins will lead the festival in 2022, which will be its 30th year of featuring the popular holiday light display at Shannon Springs Park. Elkins was hired for the post by the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce board of directors. He takes over for Whitney Palesano who recently accepted another position within the chamber. Chamber President Jim Cowan said Elkins understands the impact the festival has on the local economy and shares the vision and passion the chamber has for the city. Elkins has previously served as a customer service representative for HSI Sensing, has worked for the First National Bank, and is a well-known musician. Elkins work will not be exclusive to the Festival of Light. He'll also assist with chamber events including the Oklahoma Food Truck Championship and some new events that will be coming to Chickasha next year. He'll also oversee the chamber's social media accounts and the Visit Chickasha app.
Youth Rodeo Groups Seeks Funds for Fairgrounds Events
A Chickasha panel will consider giving several thousand dollars to the Oklahoma High School and Jr. High School rodeo associations. The groups have asked for $20,000 from the Chickasha Industrial Authority's Tourism Promotion Program. The rodeo groups have held their state competitions at the Grady County Fairgrounds over the last couple of years. In addition, they host a couple of regional competitions at the fairgrounds each year. Each event brings about 300 participants and others to Chickasha over several days. The groups will be in Chickasha this weekend for one of their regular season competitions. The junior high state finals will be May 19th through 22nd and the high school state finals will be June 1st through the 5th. The groups will return to Chickasha in November for a three-day event.
ODOT to Host Small Business Forum
Oklahoma small businesses looking to grow and thrive might take advantage of a program later this month. The State Department of Transportation will host its Disadvantaged Business Enterprises and Contractors program. It's not only for contractors and businesses but also city and town officials and individuals. The theme of the conference is Obstacles Are Opportunities and will feature federal, state, and local speakers. The one-day conference will be held all day Friday, April 29th at the National Center for Employee Development conference center in Norman. Visit the website: oklahoma.gov/business-center
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $94.29 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude fell below $100 to $98.48.
Natural gas is $6.64 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,958 and silver is $25.20.
A graveside service for Joan Sehon, 89, of Chickasha will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, April 15th at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
A funeral service is pending for Shed Euwins, 36, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Monday, April 11th
County Courthouse Closed Again Today;
Commissioners to Consider Terminating Contractor
Grady County officials will consider firing the company that may have caused county courthouse employees to suffer some respiratory problems last week. The courthouse closed early last Thursday after some workers became ill as a contractor was doing some remodeling in a courtroom. The building was closed Friday and is closed again today because of those issues. With the courthouse being closed, today's Grady County Commissioner's meeting has been canceled. The panel has scheduled a special meeting tomorrow morning to consider terminating a contract with Carpet Masters. That meeting will be held at 9 o'clock tomorrow morning in the district attorney's conference room which is across the street from the courthouse. Officials say the courthouse will be open tomorrow.
Chix School Board to Consider Selling Bonds
A resolution to consider the sale of some general obligation bonds is expected to get the approval of the Chickasha Board of Education tonight. The panel will consider selling more than $5.2 million in bonds which would be used for certain capital improvement projects associated with a larger bond that was approved in 2010. Officials say there will be one more section of bonds to be sold in a couple of years associated with that bond issue approved 12 years ago.
Policy Revisions, Child Nutrition Program to be Discussed
The school board will also consider revisions in the district’s Race and Sexual Discrimination policy. The policy will be updated with help from the Center for Education law to support recent changes in laws regarding discrimination. The group will also take a look at the child nutrition program and discuss hours of operation during the summer.
State Champion Powerlifters, Employees of the Month to be Recognized
The panel will recognize a number of state champion weightlifters, including the boys which won the 4A team title, and Aidan Gonzalez and Alli Bordwine who were individual state champs. The panel will also recognize Sandy Ford at the Quality Academy as the Chicken Express Certified Employee of the Month and bus driver Lynn Lee as the Support Employee of the Month. The school board meets at 6 o'clock tonight at the school administration building.
Board Work Session Scheduled
The school board will have a special meeting tomorrow night to hold a work session to review and discuss possible projects that may be part of a school bond election later this year. Tomorrow night's meeting will get underway at 5:30 p.m. also at the school administration building.
School Foundation Annual Gala Nears
The Chickasha Public School Foundation is preparing for its biggest event of the year. The spring gala will be later this month where officials will give a review of the many projects that help teachers and students throughout the district. Foundation President Gab Shepard said they start out the school year by awarding grants to teachers.
The district also spends about $30,000 a year to provide free school supplies to all students from crayons, to glue, to paper. The Foundation gala will be on Tuesday, April 26th. Check out the Chickasha Public School Foundation Facebook page for info.
Chix Community Blood Drive is Today
The Oklahoma Blood Institute will be back in Chickasha today for another community blood drive. The blood mobile will be in the YMCA parking lot today for a drive co-hosted by KOOL-RANCH radio stations and the YMCA. The blood drive will be from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Walk-ins are welcome between 12:30 p.m. and 4:00 p.m. Donors get a mini-health check for blood pressure, temperature, iron count, and cholesterol level. Donors also get a free t-shirt and a free ticket to the Oklahoma City Zoo. You can save the lives of three people with your donation. Donors can also designate their contributions to specific individuals. Regular donors are encouraged to go to the Donor Express portal on the blood institute's website www.obi.org
The next community blood drive will be Saturday, April 30th.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $98.26 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $102.78.
Natural gas is $6.28 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,961 and silver is $25.21.