Saturday, May 25th
Duo Face Drug Trafficking Charges
Two Chickasha residents are behind bars on drug trafficking charges and one of them had a number of outstanding warrants. In custody are 26-year old Chason Joseph Daniel Grigg and 39-year old Edna Michelle Rhodes. They were arrested Wednesday night after Grady County deputies received a tip about illegal drug activity on Skyview Drive in the southwest part of Chickasha. Investigators found drugs that tested positive for heroin, methamphetamine, and marijuana and numerous drug-related items. Both Grigg and Rhodes have been formally charged with felony drug trafficking. Grigg had outstanding warrants for unauthorized use of a vehicle, eluding, and grand larceny. His bond was set at $100,000. In addition to drug trafficking, Rhodes is also facing charges of having a firearm while on probation. Her bond was set at $75,000.
Funeral Tuesday for Man Killed in Crash with Semi
The funeral for an Anadarko man who died when a semi crashed into his car will be on Tuesday. 21-year old Alfredo Gamez died in the accident west of Elgin on Wednesday. Gamez was a graduate of Anadarko High School in 2016 and was a student at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The funeral will be at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday at Anadarko’s St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
Governor Issues Statewide 'State of Emergency'
The entire state of Oklahoma is under a state of emergency as the result of the recent onslaught of tornados and flooding. Gov. Kevin Stitt issuing an executive order Friday as severe weather has caused an incredible amount of damage over the last month. The executive order was already in effect for many counties. The order allows state agencies to make emergency purchases needed to get resources to local governments as quickly as possible. It's also the first step in the process should officials ask for federal assistance to help with recovery. State officials say the best way for individuals and groups to support storm victims is with cash donations to reputable non-profit groups such as the Salvation Army and Red Cross.
Alleged Shooter of Police Car Behind Bars
In Duncan police say they have a suspect in custody who is alleged to have fired a weapon at a police car. The shooting happened last weekend as officers were called to investigate a domestic disturbance. The patrol car was shot in the front fender and a tire. The officer was not injured. KSWO-TV reports that the suspect was taken into custody on unrelated charges, but detectives were able to link the man to the incident. Authorities have not yet released the suspect's name, as prosecutors have not yet filed formal charges.
Nursing Home Measure Sent to Governor
It's hailed as a landmark bill which supporters say will lead to needed improvements in Oklahoma nursing homes. The state legislature this week approved the Nursing Home Quality Assurance Initiative. It has been sent to Gov. Kevin Stitt for his final approval. If approved, the initiative would establish a new system of required quality-improvements at nursing homes. It ties funding directly to defined quality-improvement benchmarks, and provides crucial funding for increased direct-care staffing requirements. It also calls for a mandatory minimum of four hours of Alzheimer's and Dementia training each year for all clinical staff; and a 20 percent increase in the staff-to-patient ratio to enhance resident care and reduce staff turnover.
Sheriff's Office Wanted List
The Grady County Sheriff’s Office has released an updated list of individuals with outstanding warrants. Here’s Public Information Officer Lisa Hatchett.
If you have information regarding any of these individuals, you’re asked to contact the sheriff’s office by calling 405-222-5085.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Misti McClellan with the USAO Alumni Association is this week's guest on our KOOL Konversation. She'll be talking about the group’s summer music series, Listen Local at the Greek. On Real Estate Today with John Mosley, guests are Chickasha City Manager John Noblitt and City Councilman Jim Hopkins. We have links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, May 24th
Alleged Russian Spy Housed in the Grady County Jail
There are reports that a Russian gun rights activist - convicted of working for the Kremlin without registering as a federal agent - is housed in the Grady County Jail. CBS News reports that Maria Butina admitted gathering intelligence on the National Rifle Association and other groups at the direction of a former Russian lawmaker. In April, Butina was sentenced to 18 months in prison and was initially taken to a jail outside Washington, D.C. Butina is said to have recorded a video begging the public for money to help pay her lawyer who is filing an appeal. The Russian News Agency Tass reports the video was recorded at the Grady County Jail. A Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said they aren't financing a lawyer for Butina but is doing everything possible so she will be afforded all rights as a Russian citizen.
City of Anadarko, OU Locating Water Valves
The City of Anadarko is teaming up with the University of Oklahoma to locate, map, and test all the city’s water valves. The information is expected to help officials make repairs to the water system and reduce the time needed to fix water valve breaks. Officials are marking the water valve locations with blue circles. Neighborhoods could experience brief water outages while they are testing the valves. The tests take about 15 minutes per valve.
State Lawmakers Wrap Up Legislative Session
Oklahoma lawmakers have finished their work at the state capital a week early. The 2019 legislative session officially adjourned yesterday. The lawmakers by law are supposed to end the session by the last Friday in May. Gov. Kevin Stitt praised the leadership team in the house and senate in his first legislative session, saying they've changed the culture at the state capital. Stitt said the vision of Oklahoma is starting to be implemented and that lawmakers are working together like never before.
Shannon Springs Park Pool
Should Open This Weekend
Barring interference from Mother Nature, the swimming pool at Chickasha's Shannon Springs Park is expected to be open for much of the Memorial Day weekend. Crews from the city of Chickasha have spent the last two months making needed repairs to the filtration and chemical systems. Public Works Director David Buchanan says they thought they would have to purchase a new filter, which had a price tag of about $90,000. Instead, city workers physically replaced the sand inside the filter, which Buchanan said was a huge task.
Including the cost of more than 60 gallons of paint to re-paint the pool, the city only spent about $6,500 on repairs. The pool is expected to be open from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. both tomorrow and Sunday. It will be closed on Memorial Day. Beginning June 3rd, the pool will be open Monday through Saturday from 1:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. The YMCA will again manage the pool this summer.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $3.50 to $57.91.
London-based Brent crude is $67.76
Natural gas is $2.57 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,286 and silver is $14.53.
Thursday, May 23rd
Storm Damage Escalates
Oklahoma was battered with another round of severe weather yesterday, with most of the storms in east central and northeastern Oklahoma. Southwest Oklahoma escaped most of the severe weather. A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of Grady, Caddo, Comanche and Stephens counties late yesterday afternoon due to 60-mile-per-hour winds and quarter-size hail. The threatening storm quickly dissipated before 5 o'clock last night. The state's Emergency Operations Center remains activated, and officials are coordinating with dozens of rescue and relief agencies to help the victims. Officials with The State Department of Emergency Management say residents can report storm damage on line at www.damage.ok.gov or by calling 2-1-1. Residential, business, and agricultural damage may be reported
Numerous Grady County Roads Washed Out
A lot of roads are washed out in many parts of the state. Nearly 10 rural roadways in Grady County are closed, many in the Minco area. District Two Grady County Commissioner Kirk Painter said Jay's Arena Road southeast of Chickasha is closed, as the Washita River has washed away part of a gravel road. At the state capital, a bi-partisan group of state senators urged Oklahomans to report damage and heed warnings to take cover or evacuate. The group also thanks first responders for their efforts. Joining those in the statement were Lonnie Paxton of Tuttle who serves much of the Grady County area and Darcy Jech of Kingfisher who serves the Caddo county region.
Crash with Semi Kills One; Critically Injures Child
An Anadarko man has died and a 12-year old is in critical condition following a violent head-on crash involving a car and a semi. 21-year old Alfredo Gamez died in the accident that happened near Elgin. An unidentified 12-year old boy also from Anadarko - who was a passenger in the car - was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital. The accident happened about 11:00 a.m. Wednesday at Highway 62 and Cherry Road, which is about five miles west of Elgin. The highway patrol reports a vehicle in front of the semi had slowed to make a turn. The semi crossed the center line and struck the Gamez’ car. The driver of the semi, 33-year old Josh Smith of Pauls Valley, was not injured. The roadway was closed for more than six hours.
National Guard Troops Returning
Some Oklahoma National Guard troops are headed home. Troops with the 1245th Transportation Company of the 345th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion have wrapped up their deployment to Kuwait as part of Operation Spartan Shield. The group completed more than 650 missions during their time overseas, moving more than 30 tons of cargo and 4,500 service members over 400 thousand miles with no casualties or injuries. A homecoming ceremony will be held in Ada tomorrow morning.
State 4H 'Cloverthon' in Chickasha Saturday
4H youth from across Oklahoma will be dancing in Chickasha this weekend to help the Children's Hospital Foundation. The State 4H Leadership Team is looking to raise $20,000 for the Foundation. Cathleen Taylor is the Assistant State Specialist for Leadership and Citizenship for 4H Youth Development. She says the event is part of a new Change for Change program created by the 4H state leaders. They are calling the event a Clover-thon. The event is open to the public. Admission is $10 with proceeds going to the Children's Hospital Foundation. As many as 200 people are expected to attend. The event includes a live DJ who has volunteered to play music. The event will be at the Grady County Fairgrounds on Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. By the way, Kale Kennedy of Amber-Pocasset 4H is one of the members of the State 4H Leadership Team.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $61.42 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $70.99.
Natural gas is $2.54 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,277 and silver is $14.46.
Wednesday, May 22nd
Chix School Superintendent Still on the Job
Chickasha school superintendent Jack Herron is still on the job today. Herron's employment was discussed during a special meeting of the board of education last night. Following a lengthy 2 1/2 hour closed-door meeting, School Board President Zach McGill announced that no action would be taken regarding Herron’s employment status. Only a handful of people attended last night's meeting, and many of them left before the meeting came to a close just before 9:30 p.m. Herron was awarded a two-year contract extension this past January to run through June of 2021. But there are three new members on the school board since that contract was approved – the new members taking office following the spring school election. We reported that former school board member Doug Brown resigned from the panel last week. In his resignation letter, Brown wrote that he disagrees with what he said was a proposal by the new school board members to seek a new superintendent.
Flooding Causes Road Closures
Flooding rains over the past few days has really caused havoc on rural county roads. Sections of six Grady County roads in the Minco area have been closed to through traffic because of the excess amount of rain recently. Five of them are west and northwest of Minco, and one is southeast of town. One county road west of Chickasha was closed before big storms brought heavy rainfall on Monday. Crews for District One County Commissioner Michael Walker and District Three Commissioner Ralph Beard will be working to get those roads re-opened as soon as possible.
City Battle with Muscle Car Ranch May be Ending
A five-year legal battle between the City of Chickasha and the Muscle Car Ranch could be making some headway. The city council this week gave City Manager John Noblitt the go-ahead to look at the possibility of de-annexing the Muscle Car Ranch from the city limits. Muscle Car Ranch owner Curtis Hart first filed a lawsuit against the city in September of 2014. Hart wanted to open an RV Park, a request which was denied by the city. Noblitt said that the city wants to work with Hart in order that his annual TwisterFest summer concert continues. Hart does have a city permit for his upcoming TwisterFest May 31st through June 2nd. Hart has held summer concerts on his ranch for more than 30 years.
City Continues Work to Re-Coup Loan
The Chickasha City Council this week also gave the city manager the authority to begin foreclosure proceedings against the owner of a company who reneged on his decision to move his firm to the area. Tom Word of Word Industries of Tulsa received a $250,000 economic development loan from the city which was supposed to help pay re-location costs. However, the move never happened. Word had put up some property he owns at Grand Lake as part of the collateral. Noblitt will now begin the process of working to have the city obtain that property.
Man Sentenced After Guilty Plea in Child Porn Case
An Anadarko man who pleaded guilty to a federal charge of distributing child porn is sentenced to 10 years behind bars. 27-year old Brandon Pruitt was indicted by a federal grand jury last year, after it was alleged he used a cell phone to access child porn on an Internet-based cloud storage service. Prosecutors say it occurred between 2015 and 2018. The Lawton Constitution reports a second charge related to the investigation was dropped against Pruitt in exchange for a guilty plea. The Bureau of Indian Affairs led the investigation since Pruitt worked at a Hinton casino which is on tribal trust land, and the crime also committed on trust land.
Some Farms May Qualify for Conservation Program
In agriculture news, the 2018 Farm Bill has provisions which will not allow some farms to take part in the ARC and PLC programs. The farms are those with cropland which were all planted to grass in the crop years from 2009 through 2017. However, Mark Jackson with the Grady County Farm Service Agency says the grassland would be able to participate in a different USDA program.
Producers should contact their local Farm Service Agency for information.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $62.99 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.18.
Natural gas is $2.61 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,273 and silver is $14.43.
Tuesday, May 21st
Tornadoes Rip Across Oklahoma
Torrnadoes hop-scotched their way across the Sooner State Monday leaving damage from the southwest part of the state near Mangum, to near Kingfisher and Watonga, to Enid and Perry. The first tornado warning was issued just before 3:00 p.m. when National Weather Service radar indicated a possible tornado near the El Reno Airport. Strong storms impacted much of Oklahoma during the evening and overnight hours, and a tornado warning was issued for parts of Oklahoma City just before 5:00 a.m. this morning.
Region Avoid Twisters, but Flooding Likely
The Chickasha and Anadarko area appear to have escaped much of the severe weather. There were some heavy rains, with the rainfall total at the Chickasha Mesonet site showing about 1 3/4 inches of rain. About 2 3/4 inches were recorded at Minco, and about 2 inches of rain fell at the Acme station west of Rush Springs. There were higher rain totals in Caddo County, with nearly 4 inches at Ft. Cobb and nearly 3 inches at Apache. About six inches of rain fell in El Reno, and there was some flooding on I-40 east of El Reno. The interstate was closed in both directions for a few hours this morning between U.S. Highway 81 and Banner Road. The weather service issued flood warnings for the Washita River north of Chickasha and at Anadarko, with farmland and county roads to be affected. Also, a flood warning was issued for the Little Washita at Ninnekah, where farmland and roads may be covered with water. Remember to turn around, don't drown in high water. A flood watch remains effect until 10:00 p.m. tonight for much of the region.
City of Chickasha Helps Ahead of Weather Threat
Ahead of the severe weather forecast, the City of Chickasha provided free sand and sand bags for residents and businesses to help protect their property. Two dump truck loads of sand were delivered to the parking lot of the Disabled American Veterans headquarters. Many downtown businesses placed sandbags and tarps in their doorways in hopes of keeping out floodwaters. One car dealer in a flood-prone area near downtown at 4th and Oregon moved its cars and trucks off of its lot. Bryan's Car Corner moved its inventory to higher ground ahead of the flooding risk.
One Hurt in Caddo County Accident
The weather and unsafe speed are being blamed for a crash in Caddo County last night that sent one person to the hospital. 31-year old Kesha Files of Union City was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital with leg injuries after being thrown out of her car. She was last in good condition. The accident happened on State Highway 152 about 11 miles east of Binger just after 10:00 p.m. Monday. The trooper investigating the crash says heavy rain was falling and that Files hit some water, lost control, ran off the road, hit a culvert, and rolled twice. Files was not wearing her seatbelt.
Chickasha School Superintendent's Job on the Line
What does the future hold for Chickasha school superintendent Jack Herron? The board of education will go behind closed doors in a special meeting tonight to discuss his employment status. Herron was named interim superintendent about a year ago, following the resignation of then Superintendent Dave Cash. Herron was awarded a two-year contract by the school board earlier this year, but the five-member panel has three new members since then. Plus, the veteran member of the school board, Doug Brown, resigned over the weekend, saying the new members want to fire Herron. Brown says he does not want his name connected to that decision. The special meeting will get underway at 7:00 p.m. tonight at the school administration building.
Chix City Council Zips Through Meeting
There was a short meeting of the Chickasha City Council last night. Several items were pulled from the agenda, including a presentation to retiring city employee Floyd Griggs and a scheduled proclamation. The council delayed taking action on going out for bids to build a new taxi lane at the airport. The group awarded the only bid that was submitted to repair the roof of the Rock Island Railroad depot. The bid for just under $25,000 was awarded to Bordwine Development. City Manager John Noblitt said the firm was the only company to bid the project, even though it was advertised locally and in contractor publications. The council also approved a payment to Bordwine Development of more than $67,000 for the completion of a maintenance project on the Lake Chickasha dam. The council also approved going out for bids to replace a small section of Country Club Road east of U.S. Highway 81 which had washed out from previous spring rains.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.10 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $71.97.
Natural gas is $2.67 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,275 and silver is $14.41.
Monday, May 20th
Another Chickasha School Board Member Resigns
Doug Brown has stepped down from his post on the Chickasha school board. Brown was president of the panel during a tumultuous time when a former superintendent brought in a controversial curriculum, and several administrators resigned amid allegations of grade tampering and other accusations. Brown provided KOOL/RANCH News with a copy of the letter. In it, he says with the arrival of new board members, it has become abundantly clear that they share little to no common ground on views on how to move forward. Brown said current members have determined after only two months of membership that current superintendent Jack Herron needs to be removed. Brown defends Herron saying he is a decent and honorable man, and a model superintendent with a deep reservoir of talent and experience, spanning 50 years of dedicated service to education. Brown said most school boards would regard him as a treasure, and it’s unfortunate that a majority of the current school board does not. Brown said given the clear intent of a majority of the board to remove Herron for a lack of proper reason or cause, he did not want to have his name associated with their actions in any way. Brown had one year left on his five-year term on the school board. The panel is expected to appoint a replacement to fill out the remaining months left on that term.
Special Chix School Board Meeting Set
to Discuss Superintendent's Employment
The employment of Chickasha School Superintendent Jack Herron will be discussed in a special board of education meeting called for tomorrow night. The previous board approved a two-year contract with Jack Herron earlier this year, but three of the five school board members have changed since then. Herron’s contract will be discussed in a closed-door meeting of the school board, which will begin at 7:00 p.m. tomorrow night at the Chickasha schools administration building.
Street Work, Depot Roof on City Council Agenda
A street repair project and roof repairs to the city's historic train depot are to be discussed when the Chickasha City Council meets tonight. The council is expected go out for bids to replace a portion of Country Club Road. The group is also expected to OK a nearly $25,000 bid to repair the roof of the Rock Island Depot. The bid more than likely will be awarded to Bordwine Development. Several lawsuits and collective bargaining discussions with the police and fire unions will be reviewed in a closed-door session during tonight's meeting. The lawsuits include Curtis Hart vs. the City; Merrick vs. the City; and the City of Chickasha vs. Tom Word. Longtime city employee Floyd Griggs will be recognized for his service. Griggs is retiring after working with the maintenance crew for the city's sports complex for 13 years. The council meets at 6:30 tonight at City Hall.
Several Injured in Weekend Traffic Accidents
A couple of weekend traffic accidents in the Watonga area sent residents of Grady and Caddo counties to the hospital. A Minco man was one of three people hospitalized after two pickups collide east of Watonga about 10:30 Saturday morning. 24-year old Blake Hughes suffered arm injuries in the crash. 68 year old Dale Kopper and 70-year old Nancy Kopper, both of Bixby were both admitted in serious condition. The trooper investigating the crash said that Hughes failed to yield from a stop sign. The other crash happened Friday night south of Watonga, near the town of Greenfield. 39-year old Stanley Dickson of Carnegie was last in stable condition with numerous injuries following the crash. The highway patrol reports Dickson was a passenger in a pickup which crashed into a car that failed to yield from a stop sign. The driver of the car, 33-year old Mark Henrichsmeyer whose hometown was not available, was last in critical condition. The driver of the pickup, 58-year old Gilbert Dickson of Arizona, was last in stable condition.
PSO Offers FFA Grants
FFA programs are encouraged to apply for STEM grants that are being offered by Public Service Company of Oklahoma. PSO is offering up to $5,000 to FFA programs throughout their service area. PSO will provide a total of $25,000 in grants to enhance the science, technology, engineering, and math programs. Grant applications will be accepted between June 3rd and July 1st. Applications are available on the state FFA website. Grants will be announced during the FFA's Chapter Officer Leadership Training conferences this fall.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $62.76 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is 72.21.
Natural gas is $2.63 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,274 and silver is $14.36.