Saturday, May 6th
Broadband Service Expanding in Rural Areas
There is some progress regarding the expansion of broadband service in Oklahoma. 100,000 Oklahomans who previously did not have access to high-speed internet are now connected to the World Wide Web. A group called the Cooperative Broadband Coalition made the announcement this week. KOKH-TV reported that the group's chairman said that 10 electric co-ops with fiber subsidiaries are seeing expansion rates as high as 52 percent in rural areas - collectively adding about 2,000 subscribers each month. It was noted that having broadband service helps people get connected to tele-medicine, virtual learning, and allow them to work at home. A state broadband office has been created to assist with the expansion of broadband service to rural areas.
More on PSO's Plan to Use Green Energy to Produce Electricity
We have another follow-up regarding the corporation commission's approval of Public Service Company of Oklahoma's (PSO) plan to purchase wind and solar farms. The massive $2.5 billion effort will allow PSO and its parent company American Electric Power (AEP) to slowly reduce its dependence on natural gas to power its electricity production - and at the same time lower the monthly bills of consumers. The website OK Energy Today reports that Corporation Commission chairman Todd Hiett praised the plan, saying it's one of the most well-structured settlements he has seen and believes it has adequate protection for rate payers. He said it sets up a framework that protects consumers and at the same time meet the needs of the company for capacity. Commission member Kim David said she appreciates the fact that PSO's parent company wants to be green and that there are tax credits available for green energy generation - adding that she appreciates the fact that future project requests will include other sources of energy in addition to solar and wind. There will be a temporary increase in monthly bills in 2025. It's estimated that the average PSO residential household using 1,100 kilowatt hours of electricity per month will pay about $2 a month more. In 2026 rates are projected to drop about $2.65 per month which would be about 65 cents less per month than current costs.
Additional Grady County FFAers Awarded at State Meeting
A few more Grady County FFA students were recognized for their achievements at the state FFA convention in Tulsa this week. Amanda Richardson and Allyson Arthur of Chickasha and Aaron Chestnutt of Rush Springs were all noted for their accomplishments. Richardson earned first place in the Agriculture Communications Proficiency Award area and received a $1,000 scholarship. Arthur earned a second place in the Agricultural Processing Proficiency Award area. Chestnutt won the talent show competition which had more than 50 participants. It's the third straight year for Chestnutt to take part in the talent show. He plays guitar harmonica, and sings - ala Bob Dylan. He covered the Zach Bryan song Something in the Orange. He's hoping to perform at the National FFA Convention this fall.
Talk Show Topics
Tammy Watts with Grady County OHCE is this week’s guest on the KOOL Konversation. On Real Estate Today guests are from Canadian Valley Technology Center including Superintendent Gayla Lutts, Chickasha Campus Director Ronnie Bogle, and Marketing Director Kathy Knox. We have podcasts of both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, May 5th
Biological Mother of Athena Brownfield Arrested
There is a new development regarding the investigation into the death of Athena Brownfield. She's the four-year old girl from Cyril who was reported missing earlier this year and her body found buried in the Agawam area. The OSBI arrested Brownfield's biological mother, Jasmin Brownfield yesterday. Details of her arrest were not available, but there are reports she was taken to the Payne County Jail. Brownfield is facing two charges of child neglect by abandonement in Caddo County. Athena Brownfield was first reported missing in January. Her five-year old sister was found wandering in a Cyril neighborhood when a letter carrier reported the child was alone. That led to a week-long search for Athena and the arrests of two people who were supposed to be taking care of the children. Ivon and Alysisa Adams were both taken into custody. Investigators allege that Ivon beat Athena to death and then buried the body. Ivon Adams is facing a murder charge and is being held in the Caddo County jail without bond. Alysia Adams is jailed on two counts of child neglect in Caddo County. They have preliminary hearing conferences later this month.
Corporation Commission OKs PSO's Renewable Energy Project
The Oklahoma Corporation Commission gives PSO approval to move forward with a nearly $2.5 billion purchase for a renewable energy project. PSO is working to purchase three solar farms and three wind farms located in Kansas and the Texas Panhandle. The move is expected to provide PSO with nearly 1,000 megawatts of power production capacity. Just last week, Oklahoma Attorney General Genter Drummond announced a settlement between PSO and a number of groups supporting the project. Gentner said it offered significant protections for PSO customers. Initially, PSO consumers will see their bills increase about $2 per month beginning in 2025 but they would drop about $2.60 per month in 2026.
Earthquake Recorded in Grady County
Some of the rumbling and shaking some Grady County residents may have experienced Thursday morning may not have been from thunderstorms that moved through the region. An earthquake was recorded in the Pocasset area. The Oklahoma Geological Survey indicates that a minor tremor was recorded about 6:38 a.m. It intially registered 3.2 on the Richter Scale but was revised downward to 2.7. The epicenter was about four miles west-northwest of Pocasset at a depth of about three-and-a-half miles. There was no word of damage. A number of area residents reported to the geological survey that they felt the tremor. Others who may have felt the quake are asked to report their experiences on the website: www.earthquake.usgs.gov
Andarko to Host 2nd Annual First Responder Day
First responders from across the state will be in Anadarko tomorrow for a meet-and-greet with residents. The Anadarko Police Department and Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 118 are serving as hosts. There will be a helicopter, K-9 officers, and taser demonstrations and others. Kid-friendly activities include a bounce house and face painting, and free hot dogs, ice pops, and chips. The free event takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Anadarko Police Department.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.56 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.50.
Natural gas is $2.10 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,045 and silver is $26.17.
Funeral service for Herbert Chasten, 89, of Chickasha and formerly of Ft. Cobb will be held Thursday, May 11th in Rose Hill, North Carolina. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Thursday, May 4th
Some Opposed to Add Chisholm Trail to National Trail Program
A plan developed by the National Park Service would designate the Chisholm Trail and the Great Western Trails in the central plains region as National Trails. But the proposal is facing some Oklahoma opposition. Some of those against the plan say it would put privately-owned property under government control - and landowners who agree to allow easements along the trail would be subject to being told how they can use their land. The two trails were largely used in the late 1800s for cattle drives that ran from San Antonio, Texas to Kansas and Nebraska. In Oklahoma, the Chisholm Trail runs roughly along U.S. Highway 81. A feasibility study and an environmental assessment for the project was completed in May of 2019. Grady County Commissioners recently voted to not support the proposal.
Youth Rodeo State Finals in Chix This Weekend
Youth rodeoers from Oklahoma and nearby states are headed to Chickasha this weekend for the state finals of the Heart of Oklahoma Youth Rodeo Association. Some members come from as far away as Mississippi. Riders ages 19-and-under will compete in the season finale. Members compete about once a month from August through April of each year accumulating points in each event in hopes of making it to the state finals. Competitions this year have been in Woodward, Shawnee, Duncan, and Chickasha. There are four different age groups in events that include barrel racing, break-away roping, team roping, tie-down calf roping, and steer stopping. More than 170 youth will compete in events at the Grady County Fairgrounds. Check-in is today with the Grand Entry kicking off the event tomorrow morning. Rodeo events are scheduled Friday and Saturday and there will be a Cowboy Church Sunday morning, followed by an awards ceremony.
YMCA's Open Streets Returns for 6th Year
Downtown Chickasha will again be a hub of activity this Saturday for the 6th annual Open Streets campaign. Open Streets is part of an international campaign to encourage families to be active and live healthy lives. More than 30 vendors will have booths with various activities like jump rope, hula hoop, corn hole and others. Among the most popular areas will be inflatable water slides. The Chickasha Fire Department and Grady County Sheriff's Office will have touch-a-truck events and several food trucks will be on hand. Chickasha Avenue will be closed to through traffic from the railroad depot from 1st through 3rd Streets. Activities are all free although food trucks will charge for their products. Open Streets will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
FFAers Recognized at State Convention
Some regional FFA students are making things happen at the state convention this week. Clara Duncan of Chickasha was named the new state FFA reporter and the Amber-Pocasset chapter won the Sweepstakes Award. It's the 19th time since 1992 that Ampo won the award by compiling the most points collectively out of some 275 single-teacher chapters in career development events. Billy Scott is the ag teacher for Ampo FFA.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.60.
London-based Brent crude is $72.33.
Natural gas is $2.17 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,046 and silver is $25.90.
Wednesday, May 3rd
State Marks Anniversary of May 3rd Tornadoes
Today is the 24th anniversary of the May 3rd, 1999 tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. One of the largest and deadliest tornadoes that Monday night caused death and destruction along a nearly 40 mile path through central Oklahoma. One of the first tornadoes touched down east of Apache and levelled a home south of Verden and caused significant damage at the Chickasha airport. A few minutes another twister first touched down near Amber at 6:23 p.m. and grew to a powerful EF-5 tornado with wind speeds of more than 300 miles per hour. The twister destroyed a mobile home park in Bridge Creek where four people died then moved on to the Moore and Oklahoma City areas causing widespread distruction. Wikipedia reports the twister was on the ground for nearly an hour-and-a-half and killed 36 people and injured hundreds more. Nearly 10,000 homes and apartments, 260 businesses, 11 public buildings, and seven churches were either destroyed or damaged resulting in an estimated $1 billon in damage.
Chix City Council Schedules Special Budget Work Session
With just two months left in the fiscal year for city, county, and state governments, the push is on for officials to finalize budgets for the 2023-24 fiscal year which starts July 1st. The Chickasha City Council will hold a work session this weekend to discuss budgets for it’s three branches of city governments including all the departments at city hall; the Chickasha Municipal Authority; and the airport. The work session will be at city hall at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, May 6th and is open to the public. A final budget proposal will undergo a public hearing during a regularly scheduled council meeting with a final budget to be approved prior to June 30th.
Chickasha's Juneteenth Celebration Returns
For the first time in four years, Chickasha will have a Juneteenth celebration. Juneteenth marks the anniversary of when slaves in the south first heard the news that they were free. It came more than a year and half after President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation in June of 1863. The celebration will be a two-day event on Friday June 16th and Saturday, June 17th. Friday evening at Washita Valley Park there will be a barbecue cook-off, an outdoor movie, and family-friendly games. Saturday morning there will be a parade, followed by opening ceremonies at the park at 11:00 a.m. with live music, food, and more games that afternoon. For more information see the Chickasha Juneteenth Celebration Facebook page.
Chickasha Clean-up Campaign Underway
The City of Chickasha will hold a city-wide clean-up campaign for the rest of the week. There will be one site for residents to take debris and unwanted items. Roll-off dumpsters will be at the Public Works Headquarters on Genevieve Street north of the Grady County Fairgrounds and the city's animal shelter. The site will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, tomorrow, and Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. Users will have to show a utility bill from the city. They will not be accepting motor oil, paint, hazardous chemicals or materials, or tires.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $71.66 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $75.32.
Natural gas is $2.21 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,024 and silver is $25.59.
A memorial service for Jason South, 56, of Chickasha will be held at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 10th at Ferguson Funeral Home. He was a well-known hairdresser.
Funeral service for Peter Richardson, 49, will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 13th at Shepherd Street Christian Church. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Funeral service Hebert Chasten, 89, is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Tuesday, May 2nd
FEMA Opens Disaster Asssistance Centers
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has opened disaster recovery centers in McClain and Pottawatomie counties to help survivors and all those affected by the tornadoes and severe weather that swept through those areas April 19th and 20th. The McClain County site will be at the Cole Community Center and will be open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Storm victims will be able to apply for assistance, learn the status of FEMA applications, and get help to understand any letters they may have received from FEMA. There will be information about the Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster assistance loan program and officials will provide referrals to other agencies that may offer assistance. Storm victims don't have to visit a disaster recovery center to apply for help. Officials say the fastest and easiest way to apply is by going to the website:
Proposed TIF District Comes Under Fire
A proposal to create what's called a Tax Increment Finance (TIF) District is being considered by a city panel. Such a district can be formed to help provide tax relief to developing businesses in a designated area. The plan being considered by The Chickasha Industrial Authority (CIA) came under some criticism during last night's city council meeting. Torry Wise said there are already measures in place that can help with business development.
The CIA discussed the idea in a recent meeting but took no action.
RV Park Expansion Approved
The council approved the expansion of an RV park in the city limits. The panel ok'd the plan for the Pecan Grove RV Resort located on Almar Drive between 4th and 9th Streets. The council first approved the re-zoning of a residential area to commercial use for the expansion then approved a use-on-review permit. Both had been recommended by the city's planning commission. The expansion will allow park owners Glen and Gina Snedeker to add 14 more spaces which will bring its total number available to 124.
Lake Chickasha-area Mineral Rights to be Auctioned
The council also approved scheduling an auction for the mineral rights on about 460 acres of city-owned property at Lake Chickasha. The auction will be held during a future council meeting.
Cost for Airport Fuel Pump Project Increases
The group also approved an increase in the price for upgrading and replacing fuel pumps at the Chickasha Airport. Last month, the panel approved spending up to $50,000 but that was increased to a cost of $55,000.
No Action Taken on 'Pending Investigation' of EDC
The council spent just over an hour in a closed-door session to discuss a pending investigation of the Chickasha Economic Development Council in regards to use of taxpayer funds. The council took no action on the matter.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $75.66 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $79.54.
Natural gas is $2.32 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,994 and silver is $25.00.
Monday, May 1st
Lake Chickasha Mineral Rights to be Discussed
Auctions for the mineral leases of about 500 acres of land around Lake Chickasha will be considered by the Chickasha City Council tonight. There is a 360-acre tract and a 130-acre tract available. If approved, the leases will be put up for sale at an auction to be held during a future meeting.
Panel to consider RV Park Expansion Plan
The council will hold a couple of public hearings to consider a re-zoning request for the expansion of an RV park. Glen and Gina Snedeker are looking to expand the Pecan Grove RV Resort. The first public hearing is to consider rezoning property at 402 West Almar Drive from residential to commercial use. The second public hearing is to consider a Use on Review permit to allow for the expansion. This would be phase five of the park.
ODOT Grant to Help Make Improvements to City Park
The council will also consider an agreement with the state Department of Transportation (ODOT) to upgrade the walking trails at Shannon Springs Park. The city has been approved for an 80-20 matching grant with ODOT to make the improvements. The total cost of the proposal is just over $1.8 million with the city's share to be about $360,000.
Executive Session Set to Discuss 'Pending investigation' of EDC
The council will go behind closed doors to discuss what officials say is a 'pending investigation' into the Chickasha Economic Development Council in conjunction with the use of taxpayer funds, including funds dispersed pursuant to grants.
Bids for Water System Upgrades to be Sought
In the Chickasha Municipal Authority section of the meeting the panel will consider advertising for bids for water distribution upgrades for a section of town east of 4th Street between Missouri and Alabama Avenues. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
USAO Professor to Discuss Research in Europe
A USAO professor will be presenting an original research paper in Germany. Dr. Zach Simpson, professor of religion and philosophy will discuss his research at the Institute for American Religious and Philosophical Thought in Berlin June 12th-15th. A press release from the university indicates it is part of a larger research project which examines how western ideas of individuality evolved and what they might mean for society. The theme of the conference focuses on borders and boundaries and welcomes scholars with inter-disciplinary backgrounds to discuss their work.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $76.78 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $79.54.
Natural gas is $2.41 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,994 and silver is $25.38.
Funeral service for Loretta McGill, 69, of Rush Springs will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, May 2nd at Ferguson Funeral Home. She was a beautician and cared for individuals with disabilities.