Saturday, Sept. 2nd
Obstetric Services May Return to Grady Memorial Hospital
Grady Memorial Hospital and the hospital foundation are beginning a multi-million dollar fund-raising campaign to bring obstetric services back to the hospital. The hospital's OB-GYN services were shut down a few years ago which forced expectant mothers to go to Oklahoma City, Duncan, or Lawton hospitals and doctors to get pre-natal care and have their babies delivered. Beth Malone is the Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital.
Malone says the hospital has plans to remodel three or four rooms on the second floor of the hospital into an obstetric suite that will meet state department of health standards. The suites would also allow the hospital to hire a couple of OB-GYN physicians. Details of a $6.5 million fund-raising campaign are expected to be announced soon. Malone said the target date to open the obstetrics area is early 2025.
Arson Suspect Claimed Space Aliens Started Fire
A Caddo County man claimed aliens were to blame for a grass fire at Ft. Cobb State Park last month. An arrest warrant has been issued for 42-year old Steven Jeffrey Curnett who is facing a felony charge of third degree arson. Authorities were dispatched to the park the evening of Monday, Aug. 21st to investigate a suspicious grass fire. KSWO-TV cites court documents which indicate Curnett said he was swimming with his alien friends - and the fire started when they left in their spaceship. Investigators went to Curnett's Hydro home a few days later to ask him more questions. At that time he said the fire began when he threw his glass marijuana pipe in the grass. Curnett also allegedly admitted to setting another fire because the first one was not burning very good. When asked why he started the fires Curnett said he liked watching them. If convicted Curnett faces up to 15 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Talk Show Topics
Chickasha High School Principal Debbie Davis and Middle School Principal Tori Weber are on the KOOL Konversation program. On Real Estate Today guests are Grady County Commissioner Kirk Painter and Beth Malone who is the chief nursing officer at Grady Memorial Hospital. Find podcasts of both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Funeral service for Pamela Ratliff, 64, of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, September 6th at Sharon Baptist Church. She worked at Grady Memorial Hospital for more than 30 years. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Friday, Sept. 1st
Retired Chix Fire Chief Brian Zalewski Passes Away
The Chickasha community as well as fire departments, law enforcement agencies, and emergency medical groups across the state are mourning the death of former Chickasha Fire Chief Brian Zalewski. Zalewski passed away Wednesday night. His death attributed to a heart attack. He was in his early 50s. Current Chickasha Fire Chief Tony Samaniego worked with Zalewski for nearly two years.
The Chickasha Police Department posted on its Facebook page that Chief Z was a great man and that his passion for serving others was inspirational and will live on as his legacy. A statement issued by Heartland Medical Direction officials says Zalewski dedicated himself to serving his community and extended unwavering assistance to those in need. The statement also indicated that Zalewski was honored as a true hero at a First Responder Night at UCO and that he epitomized kindness, humility and dedication. Heartland officials also said his commitment had no limits and that he became an integral figure in the emergency services landscape in Oklahoma. Zalewski spent about 15 years with the Chickasha Fire Department retiring in 2020. Later that year he was hired as a reserve deputy with the Grady County Sheriff's Office. He also was a paramedic, flight nurse, and instructor. Chief Z is survived by his wife Kim and their adult children. A funeral service will be announced at a later date.
Anadarko Firefighter Faces Child Sex Abuse Allegations
An Anadarko firefighter is in custody for alleged child sexual abuse. 37-year old David Hadrava was arrested this week following an investigation by the Caddo County Sheriff's Office. On-line court records show that Hadrava has been charged with six felonies including four counts of sexual abuse to children under 12 years old. Hadrava, who listed a Hinton address, remains in the Caddo County Jail on a $600,000 bond. A preliminary hearing conference has been set for November.
Hiking Restrictions Implemented at Wildlife Refuge
Officials at the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge have implemented some restrictions on hiking due to extreme heat. Officials say they have had a number of heat-related search-and-rescue missions recently. They say the hot weather and rugged terrain pose a safety risk not only to visitors but emergency response crews as well. Starting today, hiking is only allowed from sunrise to 10:00 a.m. All visitors must be off the trails and the Mt. Scott roadway no later than 10:00 a.m. The restrictions are in place until further notice. Refuge roads will be open to motorized vehicles and bicycles for wildlife observation and photography.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $83.63 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $86.86.
Natural gas is $2.77 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,970 and silver is $25.01.
Clyde Gene White
Funeral service for Clyde Gene White, 82, of Chickasha will be held at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, September 5th at Grand Assembly of God Church. He was a manager for the C.R. Anthony Company and also owned the Ranchwood Motel in Rush Springs. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Thursday, Aug. 31st
Many Mourn Death of Cleveland County Deputy Sheriff
Numerous law enforcement agencies are reaching out to the Cleveland County Sheriff's Office and the family of a deputy sheriff who was allegedly shot and killed by her husband. Jordan Cannon died early Wednesday morning. Her husband, Vaughn Cannon - also a deputy sheriff - was arrested in connection with Jordan's death. The Chickasha Police Department and the Grady County Sheriff's Office posted messages on their Facebook pages. Chickasha police extended their deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues, and community of the Cleveland County sheriff's office. The Grady County Sheriff's Office asked for prayers for Jordan's son, her parents, and her work family. Jordan was recognized as an outstanding officer and while she loved her work, she also enjoyed inter-acting with citizens. Prior to her work in Cleveland County she worked at the Okarche Police Department. A candlelight vigil will be held at 8 o'clock tonight at the Cleveland County Courthouse.
Domestic violence runs rampant in Oklahoma
Cannon's death brings to light the issue of domestic violence. Oklahoma is said to have the most domestic violence cases in the country (according to Domestic Violence Intervention Services). The state is third in the number of domestic violence homicides. The Young Women's Christian Association reported there were more than 43,000 domestic violence cases in Oklahoma last year which led to nearly 1,000 arrests.
ICAN program helps domestic violence victims
A number of Grady County groups join forces each year to battle domestic violence. The Grady County Coordinated Community Response Team includes the district attorney's office, sheriff's office, and police departments which combine efforts to support The Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN). ICAN offers a 24-hour crisis line and provides emergency shelter and other services for victims and their children. The response teams' Together We Heel walk will be held Saturday, Sept. 30th which will be during the Rock Island Arts Festival. Supporters are asked to wear high heels for a half-mile walk which will be held downtown Chickasha. Last year the walk raised more than $20,000 for the ICAN program. Domestic violence victims needing immediate help can call the crisis line at 405-222-1818. To support the Together We Heel Walk contact ICAN director Matt Whetzel by calling 405-224-8256.
USAO Hosts Meet-and-Greet for Students Tonight
USAO students are back in class this week and there is a big event for them in downtown Chickasha tonight for the community to welcome them. The university is holding a street-and-greet event. It will be a festive atmosphere with music, vendor booths, inflatables, and food trucks. There will be commercial booths, non-profit organizations, and other groups sharing information about the services available to students while they are here. USAO's Art Wrecker studio which is downtown will have a number of activities. It will be held in the 200 block of Chickasha Avenue from 6 to 8:30 tonight and it is free and open to the public.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $81.63 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $85.86.
Natural gas is $2.80 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,971 and silver is $24.93.
Wednesday, Aug. 30th
Pursuit Suspect Faces Numerous Charges
Adam John Sherwood, the man accused of stealing a pickup and leading law enforcement on a back-roads pursuit last week, is facing several felony charges. Sherwood was arraigned in Caddo County District Court Monday on eight charges ranging from auto theft and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon to endangering others while eluding and having a pattern of criminal offenses. Sherwood is being held in the Caddo County Jail on a $250,000 bond. The chase took place last Wednesday when its alleged Sherwood stole a pickup from a Cement convenience store. The chase began after Grady County deputies were called to an area near Pioneer School to check out a suspicious vehicle. Authorities say Sherwood led Grady and Caddo County deputies and state troopers on a pursuit through the back roads of Grady and Caddo counties at speeds of up to 70 miles per hour. Authorities managed to take Sherwood into custody southeast of Anadarko. Officials say Sherwood may also face charges in Grady County though none have been filed at this time.
Embezzlement Suspect Worked for State Rep's Company
A suspect is charged with embezzling more than $1 million from a company owned by a state representative. Darren Wayne Alaniz is facing six felony counts of embezzlement for allegedly taking funds from a firm owned by State Representative Brad Boles of Marlow. The charges were filed in Stephens County after Boles realized that Alaniz was receiving unauthorized W-2 payments from Philtek Services. Alaniz worked for the company for five years and stepped down in July of last year. Court documents say Alaniz was authorized to submit and review all of the company's employee payroll information, including his own. Alaniz was paid a combination of regular pay, bonuses, and expense reimbursement during the time the alleged embezzlement took place. The unauthorized payments continued until Alaniz' manager credentials were revoked by company owners.
'Onward Chickasha' Survey Continues
Officials are continuing to work on a long-range plan to take Chickasha into the middle part of the 21st century. The Onward Chickasha project is an 18-month effort to develop a proposal to create a path of community improvements. Officials continue to encourage residents to take part in an on-line survey to offer guidance as to what improvements should be made. The current phase of the project is the Visual Preference Survey and users are asked to select the kind of housing construction they like, commercial development, parks and recreation, transportation, and infrastructure. Residents can go to the website onwardchickasha.org to take part in the survey.
Caddo County Fair Concludes
Most of the events for this year's Caddo County Fair wrap up today. There is the apple pie contest and voting for the quilt block challenge ends this afternoon. Also today will be the drawing for last year's quilt block. All the still exhibits will be released this evening. The horse show will be tomorrow night with the premium sale for the top animals exhibited in this week’s stock shows set for next Tuesday.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $81.16 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $85.49.
Natural gas is $2.56 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,965 and silver is $24.99.
A private graveside service will be held at a later date for Judy Ann Sullivan, 80, of Chickasha. She worked in auto sales for more than 35 years including for Ferguson Buick-Pontiac, Lacefield Chevrolet, and the John Holt Auto Group. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Tuesday, Aug. 29th
Teen Suspect Connected to Minco School Threat Arrested
Minco schools brought in extra security yesterday after a TikTok video threatened violent acts against the school. Superintendent Kevin Sims says he was notified by parents Sunday night about the threat. It indicated that something could happen yesterday and at the next home football game. Sims reached out to Deputy Chris Velarde who was just hired as the district's resource officer. Velarde and other investigators quickly had a 14-year old suspect in custody. Sims said the teen lived in Minco but was not a student there. Grady County Sheriff Gary Boggess said the teen was taken to the Grady County Jail and was being held on a complaint of domestic terrorism. The teen went before a judge yesterday afternoon who ordered the youth be held in a juvenile detention facility until his next court appearance which is scheduled for Sept. 12th. Sims said school officials will be looking at protocol as it relates to attending athletic events. The next home football game is Sept. 15th and Sims said they'll be stepping up security.
Sims thanked the sheriff's office and other law enforcement for their quick response to the threat.
Grady County Consumer Spending Surges
Consumer spending at Grady County retail outlets hit its highest level in more than two years this past May. It's estimated that more than $10 million in taxable goods and services were purchased that month. That's the highest level since before 2021. Consumer spending was up 14 percent from April and up 9.7 percent from May of last year. We estimate consumer spending when we see the sales tax revenues for Grady County. The most recent report from the Grady County Clerk's office shows the county received $780,000 as a result of the county's 3/4ths of a penny sales tax. The areas which benefit from the sales tax include the Grady County Fairgrounds which received $260,000; Grady Memorial Hospital received $230,000; the 20 county fire districts shared $130,000 so each one received about $6,500; the seven senior nutrition centers also shared $130,000 and each one received $18,000; Tuttle EMS collected $24,000; and Rush Springs EMS received $6,000.
Warrant Issued for Tuttle Arson, Burglary Suspect
Grady County authorities are looking for a woman suspected of arson. A warrant for the arrest of 62-year old Kathleen Annette Raiden of Tuttle was issued yesterday. On-line court records indicate she's facing three felony charges which include 4th degree arson, second degree burglary, and malicious injury to property. KSWO-TV cites documents which allege Raiden broke into a Tuttle home back in May and caused about $4,000 in damage. She's also accused of pouring paint thinner around the home and turning on a gas stove in an attempt to start a fire.
Cement to Hold Jesse James Festival
The legendary tales of Jesse James will come back to life in Cement next week for the annual Jesse James Festival. The town has a Jesse James Museum and Visitors Center which is open year-round. The Festival is set for Saturday, Sept. 9th and will include a wild west show, live music, food trucks, and a car show. Also, the Cement Volunteer Fire Department will hold a benefit hamburger and hot dog dinner that day at the fire station and will accept donations.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $80.10 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $84.42.
Natural gas is $2.58 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,951 and silver is $24.71.
Monday, Aug. 28th
Biker Hospitalized After Crash
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is still investigating a crash that sent a motorcycle rider to the hospital. 31-year old Michael Bailey of Marlow was last in stable condition in an Oklahoma City hospital. The accident happened just before 4 o'clock (Sunday) afternoon five miles east of Duncan. The trooper investigating the accident said it wasn't immediately clear what might of caused Bailey to crash. The trooper also said Bailey was not wearing a helmet.
Chix Soup Kitchen Looks to Purchase Rented Building
Officials with the Chickasha Soup Kitchen are undergoing a campaign to purchase the building the group is currently leasing. The soup kitchen, which started as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich ministry out of a cooler at First Christian Church, is now serving 200 or more people a day five days a week at a rented building at 6th and Pennsylvania Ave. The building has a fully-equipped kitchen with a large dining hall and bathrooms which are accessible for the disabled. The group is governed by a 10-member board which raises about $75,000 a year which helps pay for the lease, utilities, equipment, and food. Officials say making the current facility a permanent location would provide stability for clients and volunteers. The kitchen is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization and all contributions are tax deductible. For information reach out to the soup kitchen by calling 405-999-5761.
Chix Library Touts Success of Dolly Parton Book Program
More than 1,000 free books have been mailed to children in the Grady County area over the last year. The books are part of the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program. While the program has been around for nearly 30 years the Chickasha Library joined the program about a year ago. Jana Dabney is with the Friends of the Chickasha Library.
Parents can visit the Chickasha library to sign up their children and again there is no cost to families. The state department of libraries provides some of the funding to be part of the program and Dabney says the Friends of the Library kicks in about $1,000 a year.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $79.83 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $84.48.
Natural gas is $2.54 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,941 and silver is $24.57.