Saturday, July 2nd
Construction of New Chix City Park Underway
Groundbreaking was held this week for a new park in downtown Chickasha. City, business, and civic leaders with the Chickasha Community Foundation were on hand to turn over the first shovels of dirt for the park being built next to the historic Rock Island Railroad Depot. The first phase of construction will include remodeling the old Freight or Mill Building into public restrooms, creating a USAO Arts Plaza, and erecting a more permanent version of the now iconic 40-foot tall leg lamp that has been a feature of downtown the last two holiday seasons. The Leg Lamp is larger-than-life version of the leg lamp made popular by the classic holiday movie, The Christmas Story. The lamp has received international attention including a story in the London Daily News as well as on TV stations in Tokyo. Pat Brooks, president of the Community Foundation says the park is being built entirely with private funds and grants. This first phase of construction is expected to be completed by mid-November which will mark the start of the 30th anniversary of the city’s Festival of Light. Brooks says fund-raising efforts are continuing in order to complete future amenities that may include tributes to local residents who have made an impact on a national and international level, an amphitheatre; walking and jogging trails; a children's play area; and a food truck court.
America's Birthday Parties Underway
America's annual birthday party is underway. The 4th of July commemorates the efforts of the Founding Fathers of the United States of America and their declaration of independence for 13 colonies which had previously been under British rule. The country's 246th birthday is being celebrated with parades, community events, and fireworks nationwide. In this region, the Blanchard Independence Day celebration is this evening. Activities will start at 6 p.m. off of U.S. Highway 62 behind the Sonic Drive In. There are kids games, food trucks, live music, and fireworks. Salt Creek Casino in Pocasset will have inflatable games and activities for children tomorrow starting at 5 p.m. followed by fireworks.
Chickasha July 4th Fireworks to be held Monday
Chickasha's 4th of July celebration will be Monday night at Shannon Springs Park. The fireworks display is funded by private donations with some $18,000 contributed for the numerous displays. Among them are a 600-shot red-white-and-blue 'zipper pattern' barrage; a nearly 560-shot crackling with red pearl barrage; a 300-shot pattern of red and green crossette barrages; and a 210-shot red rhyme dancing barrage. The Grand Finale will include two 90-shot silver coconut barrages; five gold brocade flower chains; two 49-shot quick salute barrages; and an 88-shot twilight-glitter to red-white-and blue tip fan barrage.
‘Gordon’ Reinhart, I
Funeral service Otto ‘Gordon’ Reinhart I, 73, of Blanchard, will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 6th at Ferguson Funeral Home of Chickasha.
A memorial service for Alicia Spencer will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 6th at Bible Baptist Church. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Friday, July 1st
DA Pleased with U.S. Supreme Court Ruling
A ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court this week returned some power to the State of Oklahoma concerning the prosecution of non-Native Americans in crimes against indigenous people. In a 5-4 vote, the nation's high court ruled in favor of Oklahoma in the Castro-Huerta Decision. In a prepared statement, District Attorney Jason Hicks - who serves Grady, Caddo, Stephens and Jefferson counties in District 6 - said the decision is great news for victims of crimes statewide. He said due to the McGirt Decision, the state could not prosecute non-Indians in crimes against Indians. He said there have been multiple cases where the state did not have jurisdiction due to the Native American status of victims and that it has been difficult for him to explain to them that there was nothing his office could do. Hicks said such cases will now remain with the state instead of being sent to another location for prosecution. He said the Supreme Court's decision was a monumental moment and a giant step in re-storing the state's ability to keep the public safe.
One Tribe Speaks out Against Court Ruling
Some tribal groups disagreed with the decision. Quapah Nation Business Committee Chairman Joseph Byrd said the court rendered a decision that is an affront to tribal sovereignty and erodes centuries of well-settled federal Indian law. He went to say that by inserting itself into an area reserved specifically for Congress the high court signals that absolute power is no longer absolute when it comes to Indian affairs.
Chix Mayor Named Chairman of USAO Regents
Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley will be a champion multi-tasker over the next few months. Mosley was recently named the chairman of the board of regents for USAO. Mosley has been member of the regents since 2012. He'll be guiding the panel for the next 12 months. That will be in addition to his work as mayor and as Chickasha's acting city manager while the city council looks for a new manager. He's also involved with the family insurance business. Other officers for the USAO regents include Cale Walker who will serve as vice chairman. Walker was appointed to the panel in 2019 and is a financial advisor with Edward Jones. Kelly Wilkerson will serve as clerk for the regents. Wilkerson is in her third year with the regents and is co-owner of the Chicken Express franchises in Chickasha, Duncan, and Lawton.
Where to Watch Fireworks this July 4th Weekend
There will be numerous fireworks shows in the region this weekend. Anadarko will hold its Honor America Day celebration today. They'll have activities starting at 11 o'clock this morning at the Caddo County Fairgrounds. There are arts and crafts vendors, food trucks, and free games and activities for the kids. The fireworks show will begin at 9:45 tonight, and music will be synchronized with the fireworks on our sister station New Country 985. Blanchard will hold its Independence Day celebration tomorrow evening. Activities start at 6 p.m. with food trucks, kids’ games, and live music from Squad Live and the Oklahoma City Symphonic Band. Salt Creek Casino will have activities Sunday evening starting at 5 p.m. with face painting and inflatable games followed by fireworks; and the City of Chickasha will have its fireworks display on Monday night, July 4th at Shannon Springs Park. There will be food trucks at the park prior to the fireworks.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson is this week's guest on our KOOL Konversation. On Real Estate Today we have Kenneth Corn, Oklahoma's Rural Development Director for the United States Department of Agriculture. Find podcasts to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $105.76 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $114.81.
Natural gas is $5.42 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,791 and silver is $19.68.
Thursday, June 30th
Verden Man Pleads Guilty to Federal Weapons Charges
A Verden man is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to federal firearms charges. 31-year old Stephen Lee Martin entered the plea in Federal court earlier this month. The plea made in connection with his arrest in connection with a domestic violence incident that occurred at his home in March of this year. An investigation by Verden police alleged that Martin had discharged a shotgun near the head of a female victim and used the shot gun to force her into his pickup. It's also alleged Martin tried to hide the shotgun by throwing it and some ammunition into a ditch however investigators were able to find the items. Martin has prior felony convictions and wasn't supposed to have any firearms. Earlier this month a federal grand jury issued a three-count indictment against Martin including being a felon in possession of a firearm; being a felon in possession of ammunition; and kidnapping. He pleaded guilty to the firearms and ammunition charges. Sentencing is expected to take place within 90 days. He faces up to 10 years in prison on each charge and a $250,000 fine. Martin has been in federal custody since mid-April.
Tip Leads to Child Porn Arrest
An Amber man has been arrested for having child pornography. 32-year old Carl Lee Moore was arrested Tuesday following an investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of investigation (OSBI). Court documents indicate that the OSBI received a tip from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children last fall regarding 90 child sexual abuse files, including videos and pictures being downloaded. Investigators traced the IP address to Moore's Amber home. Grady County prosecutors have charged Moore with felony counts of having child pornography and unlawful use of a computer system. During his arraignment on the charges yesterday Moore's bond was set at $300,000 and he remains in the Grady County Jail.
Suspect Accused of Violating Burn Ban
A Blanchard man is accused of violating a burn ban. 72-year old Lawrence Julian Carroll was arrested by a Grady County deputy this week. Court documents indicate that authorities were called out to a home in the Blanchard area in March to investigate a property damage report. A woman told the deputy that her neighbor, Carroll, had been burning while a burn ban was in effect. She alleged the fire spread to her home where it damaged or destroyed several lawn mowers that were being repaired by her husband. Carroll admitted starting the fire but told officials with the Bridge Creek Fire Department he thought he had fully extinguished the blaze. Carroll is facing misdemeanor charges of unlawful burning and burning in drought emergency conditions. He is out of jail after posting a $2,500 bond. The case has been set for the July 22nd disposition docket in Grady County District Court.
Former USAO Hoopsters in New Adam Sandler Movie
Some former USAO basketball players are in the new Adam Sandler movie. Elvin Rodriguez, Bookie Diakete, and Richard McCalop can been seen in Hustle. Sandler is an NBA scout who discovers a raw but talented player in Spain and tries to get him ready for the NBA draft. The movie also features some big name NBA stars including LeBron James as well as Hollywood actors Queen Latifah and Robert Duvall. Rodriguez has the most prominent role of the three Drovers in the nearly two-hour film. He said it took several weeks of going through the audition process before he was offered his role.
The film is currently available on Netflix.
Restaurants Touted by State Tourism Department
Several area restaurants have been recognized by the state department of tourism. They include J and W Grill which was praised for its onion burgers, chili-cheese coneys, and old-fashioned breakfast meals. Crazy Eight Cafe and Coffee House was awarded for its early dining option;, full-service coffee bar; and homemade desserts. Ken's Steak House and Ribs of Amber is known for its appetizer ribs and expertly cooked steaks and prime rib. Burrito Grill in Blanchard is touted as the home of the one-pound burrito, and is also noted for its tacos, quesadillas, and salads.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $109.78 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $116.26.
Natural gas is $6.50 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,812 and silver is $20.57.
Funeral service for Delphia Malone, 64, formerly of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, July 9th at First at the Georgia Church of Christ. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Wednesday, June 29th
Voters Oust One Grady County Commissioner
Embattled Grady County Commissioner Mike Walker was defeated by one of his former workers in yesterday's primary elections. Zachary Davis picked up nearly 60 percent of the vote in the Republican primary in the District One county commissioner race - 1,432 to 995. Walker is facing charges of embezzlement and spying on employees stemming from an investigation which alleged he used county resources and labor to pave a private road. His trial is scheduled to begin in August. With no candidates in the Democratic primary Davis will assume the post in January.
Second Commissioner Goes to a Run-off
In the District three Grady County commissioner race incumbent Ralph Beard and challenger Gary Bray will meet in a run-off as neither picked up a majority of votes in a three-candidate Republican primary. Both received a nearly equal amount of votes - Bray with 746 and Beard with 742 - both collected about 42 percent of the vote. The third candidate in the field, John Williams, received 271 votes or 15 percent. Beard and Bray will meet in a run-off on August 23rd with the winner to take office in January as there were no Democratic candidates.
Caddo County Voters Elect Two New Commissioners
In Caddo County two new county commissioners were elected. In District 3, Robert Weaver defeated Mark Taylor in the Democratic primary picking up about 55 percent of the vote, 334 to 279. There were no Republican candidates for the post. Mike Belter won a three-person race in District 1, avoiding a run-off by 10 votes. Belter received 443 votes or 51 percent of the vote in the Republican primary. Bobby Lynn and James Bucky Brown were within five votes of each other. Lynn received 214 votes and Brown 209 votes. Belter will be the new commissioner as there were no Democratic candidates. Weaver and Belter will be sworn in to office in January.
State Senator Forced into a Run-off
State Senator Darcy Jech (R-Kingfisher), who represents much of Caddo County in District 26, will have to go to a run-off to try to retain his seat. He will meet Brady Butler in the August run-off. Jech received just under 43 percent of the vote while Butler received about 38 percent. A third candidate, JJ Stitt, received about 20 percent of the vote.
Stephens County Judicial Post to be Decided in November
In Stephens County, the race for District judge in District 5 will be decided in the general election in November. Neil West and Jay Walker both received about 33 percent of the vote in a four-person race. with Steven Crow collecting about 21 percent and Tommy Sims about 14 percent.
Food Trucks Sought for Chickasha July 4th Fireworks
The City of Chickasha is putting the call out for food trucks to be in Shannon Springs Park for the July 4th celebration on Monday. There are five spaces available in the food truck court at the park. There is no charge to set up however food trucks must have an active permit with the city, must be self-contained, and will have to undergo an inspection. The spaces are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are no activities prior to the fireworks Monday night but food trucks can set up anytime that day. Most people will start arriving at the park after 6 p.m. Food trucks interested in participating should contact city hall by the close of business today.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $111.76 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $117.98.
Natural gas is $6.55 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,818 and silver is $20.79.
The life of Dorothy Kauffman, 88, of Lake Chickasha will be honored at her home at 10:30 a.m. Friday, July 1st which will be followed by a private burial. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Tuesday, June 28th
Primary Elections Underway
Oklahomans are heading to the polls to cast ballots in primary elections today. Republicans and Democrats are voting in their respective primaries and Independent voters can cast ballots in the Democratic primary. There are numerous candidates for state and federal offices and several county primary elections in the region.
Grady County Has Two County Commissioner Primaries
In Grady County, there are Republican primaries for two county commissioner posts. In District Three, incumbent Ralph Beard is facing two challengers in Gary Bray and John Williams. In District One, incumbent Mike Walker is facing former district one employee Zachary Davis.
Caddo County has County Commissioner, State Representative Primaries
In Caddo County, there is a Republican primary for District One County Commissioner between Bobby Lynn, Mike Belter, and James 'Bucky' Brown. There is a Democratic primary for District Three County Commissioner between Robert Weaver and Mark Steven Taylor, the winner of which will be the new District Three commissioner. There is a Republican Primary for State Senate District 50 where incumbent Darcy Jech is facing two challengers in JJ Stitt and Brady Butler; and a Republican Primary for State Representative in District 55 between Jeff Sawatsky, Nick Archer, and Tad Boone.
Two State House Posts on the Ballot in McClain County
In McClain County, there is a Republican Primary for State Representative in District 20 between Anthony Mackey and Sherrie Conley; and a Republican primary for State Representative in District 42 between Cindy Roe and Matthew Huggans.
Garvin County Also has Two State Representative Primaries
Garvin County also has a Republican primary for State Representative in District 42 between Cindy Roe and Matthew Huggans; and for State Representative in District 48 between April Brown and Tammy Townley.
Stephens County has State Rep, District Judge Primaries
In Stephens County, there is a Republican primary for State Representative in District 50 between Jennifer Sengstock, Marcus McEntire, and Deborah Campbell. There is also a primary election for District Judge in District 5 between Tommy Simms, Neil West, Steven Crow, and Jay Walker. Polls are open until 7 p.m. tonight.
State Election Board Says to Check Location of Precincts
State election board officials recommend that voters should verify their polling places as some precincts have either closed or changed due to redistricting that took place earlier this year. Many voters were mailed new voter registration cards which indicate their precincts. You can check your precinct by going to the state election board website www.elections.ok.gov and click on the OK Voter Portal link. Individuals may also call their county election board office.
Funeral Set for Anadarko Man Fatally Shot by Deputy
Family and friends of an Anadarko man shot and killed by a Caddo County sheriff's deputy are saying their final goodbyes to the victim today. 48-year old Roy Sink died on Father's Day after a deputy was called to his home to investigate a disturbance. It was reported that Sink had a machete in his possession and there has been no word on why the deputy fired his weapon. A funeral service for Sink was held this morning at J.J. Methvin Methodist Church in Anadarko. A lot of individuals are speaking out about Sink’s death and want answers about the shooting. The name of the deputy involved has not been released. The OSBI is continuing its investigation and when finished will turn over its final report to District Attorney Jason Hicks who will determine if the shooting was justified.
Wildlife Refuge Lifts Hiking Restrictions
Hiking restrictions put in place at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge last week have been lifted. An Emergency Heat Closure was implemented due to excessive heat. Officials announced yesterday (Monday) that they have resumed normal activities and hours of operation. However, officials say that temperatures will still be hot enough to pose a safety risk and they ask visitors to use caution. Visitors planning on visiting the refuge can get information on the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge Facebook page.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $117.58 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $119.81.
Natural gas is $6.50 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,826 and silver is $21.32.
Monday, June 27th
OSBI Re-Opens Garvin County Cold Case
In June of 1987, the remains of an unidentified woman were found in Garvin County. The case has never been solved. The Oklahoma State Bureau of investigation (OSBI) has re-opened the case hoping anyone can provide some information. The remains were found southwest of the I-35 exit at Goldsby in Short Creek on June 24th of that year. The woman had been shot in the head. The OSBI reports that she was Caucasian, about 5-feet, three inches tall and had brown hair. Anyone with information is asked to contact the OSBI by calling 800-522-8017 or send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Fire Board to Consider Buying Thermal Imaging Devices
The Grady County Fire Board meets tonight and will discuss the purchase of 12 hand-held thermal imaging cameras. The panel will also consider becoming an EMR agency under the direction of Heartland Medical Direction, and will discuss the use of lights and sirens in fire department vehicles. The panel will also discuss the state of inventories from all volunteer stations. The group will go behind closed doors to discuss a potential property damage claim; the release of some firefighters; and to consider the applications of new volunteers at Ninnekah and Friend. The fire board meets at 7 o'clock tonight in the community room of the Grady County Emergency Management Agency.
Woman Allegedly Uses Truck as Weapon
A Marlow woman is out of jail on bond after being accused of using her pickup as a weapon. 56-year old Tammy Sue Balthrop was arrested earlier this month following a confrontation with her husband, which allegedly included her ramming her pickup head-in into her husband's truck while he was in it. The Lawton Constitution cites Stephens County court documents that allege she also assaulted Stephens County deputies when they arrived to investigate. Balthrop has been formally charged with felonies that include assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and assault on a police officer. She's also charged with a misdemeanor for obstruction. Balthrop is out of jail after posting a $50,000 bond and she's to undergo a mental evaluation prior to her next court appearance which is scheduled for Aug. 24th.
Salvation Army Says Requests for Help Rise
The Salvation Army which serves Grady and Caddo Counties says more families are requesting help. Officials say the financial strain of lost income, medical expenses, and now inflation have all impacted family budgets. Lt. Bobby McFarland said the demand for food boxes and utility assistance is growing and he's concerned that the food pantry will soon be depleted. He's asking for contributions of non-perishable food items and monetary donations to help needy families in both counties. Food contributions can include canned fruit, vegetables, and meat; beans; rice; and peanut butter. All contributions can be dropped off at the Salvation Army headquarters at 2402 S. 16th which is near Bill Wallace School.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $104.27 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $113.12.
Natural gas is $6.22 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,840 and silver is $21.53.