Saturday, March 28th
City of Chix Shuts Down Outside Dining at Restaurants
Some Chickasha restaurants that began offering sit-down meals outside their doors have been told to stop. The City of Chickasha shut down the practice saying it violates Gov. Kevin Stitt's executive order. The city posted the announcement on its website and Facebook page Friday afternoon. The governor’s executive order said restaurants had to cease serving meals in their dining areas to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, but did say they could provide curbside service or deliver meals. A couple of restaurants had set up tables just outside their doors. One comment on the city’s Facebook page was from Mama Carol's which indicated their tables were six feet apart and they were limiting service to a maximum of 10 customers, but that they would comply. The post also state that when (the coronavirus crisis) is over, they hoped Chickasha still has some restaurants. City officials said if restaurants want to contest the decision they need to contact the governor's office.
State Coronavirus Cases Climb;
GMH Buys Robot to Disinfect Surfaces
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma grew to 248 on Friday. Two of those cases are in Grady County though officials at Grady Memorial Hospital report that neither are from the hospital or the Five Oaks Medical Group. The statement indicated that the confirmed cases were Grady County residents who were tested elsewhere. Hospital officials also announced they have purchased an ultra-violet light robot to disinfect surfaces, equipment, and items. The robot cost of $70,000 was not in the hospital budget. Administrator Kean Spellman asks the community to help pay for the robot with tax-deductible donations to the hospital foundation.
Cole Reacts to Passage of Coronavirus Relief Plan
4th District Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole was not able to vote on the historic $2.2 trillion coronavirus act when it passed by voice vote in the House yesterday. Cole was still under self-quarantine at his home in Moore after being in contact with a fellow house member who tested positive for the infection. In a statement, Cole said while many House members were absent from voting, it doesn't make the House any less united in its support of the measure. It passed after House leaders declared there were enough members present for a quorum. In an exclusive interview with KOOL News this week, we asked Cole where the money will come from to fund the program.
Cole did say part of the program is $500 billion in loans that will be paid back. The passage of the CARES Act will increase the national debt to more than $24 trillion.
Sheriff's Office Updates Warrant List
The Grady County Sheriff's Office has an updated list of individuals who have 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.
A private memorial service will be held at a later date for Elnora Carter, 84, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Friday, March 27th
Local Government Leaders Urge Residents
to Heed Coronavirus Restrictions
Grady County government leaders issued a joint statement yesterday asking residents to abide by the restrictions in place in an attempt to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Ralph Beard, the chairman of the Grady County Commissioners, and Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley said while there is not a shelter-in-place order issued for the county or the city, they ask residents to stay home as much as possible. That will minimize potential exposure to the illness, and if you do become infected it would prevent it from being spread to others. They said going to the grocery store, getting prescriptions from pharmacies, getting take-out food from restaurants, and even going on a walk around the neighborhood or parks are fine things to do, but they ask that you maintain a distance of at least six feet between yourself and others. The statement also indicated how proud they are of the first responders working to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of residents.
COVID-19 Confirmations Continue Rapid Rise
The latest report from the state health department shows that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma is now 248. More than half of those confirmations are in the Oklahoma City Metro area. Grady County has another confirmed coronavirus case, which increases the county number to two.
Chix School Officials Plan 'Distance-Learning' Effort
Chickasha school officials are beginning work on the district's 'distance-learning' plan. In a special meeting of the board of education yesterday, Superintendent Rick Croslin said he's meeting with principals to come up with ideas. He said school officials will be working to reach every student in the district.
Croslin said if some students don't have Chromebooks that an effort would be made to get them one. There are concerns that some students and even some teachers in the district don't have Internet access. He said that in some cases lesson plans could be taken to those homes.
CHS Seniors to have 'Different' Graduation Ceremony
School districts are supposed to submit their plans to the state department of education by the end of next week. For Chickasha schools, the plan is to begin the distance-learning program the week of April 6th. Tentatively, teachers will be working with their students on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Croslin said even though all extra-curricular activities have been canceled there's one event he says needs to take place.
Croslin said he is working on a plan to get graduating seniors their caps and gowns and may have a drive-through program when that time comes. Croslin did say the prom has been canceled.
Final Coronavirus Relief Plan Approval Expected
The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote on the coronavirus relief plan today. The $2.2 trillion dollar plan calls for American families making less than $75,000 to get $1,200 per adult and $500 per child. It also includes billions of dollars in loans to small businesses to help them keep their doors open and their employees on the job. 4th District Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole said small business owners can reach out to their local financial institutions for information.
Also KOOL 105.5 and Chickasha Economic Development Council Director Jim Cowan will be talking with Oklahoma Commerce Secretary Sean Kouplen about the loans on this weekend’s Real Estate Today program. Here is the link to that interview:
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $22.60 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $26.34.
Natural gas is $1.63 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,641 and silver is $14.66.
Thursday, March 26th
State School Board Cancels Classes,
Adopts 'Distance-Learning' Programs
Classrooms across the state will be void of students for the rest of the school year. The Oklahoma State Board of Education takes action to close classrooms over concerns of the coronavirus. The group approved a plan for distance-learning by State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister. Officials say it will not be all on-line instruction. Teachers will be able to reach out to students via phone and other electronic methods. Moneys that school districts could have used for textbooks will now be used for technology to reach students. The panel also canceled all extra-curricular events for the rest of the school year including the Class 2A through 6A state basketball tournaments that had been postponed earlier this month, as well as proms and graduation ceremonies.
Schools to Continue Feeding Program
Many schools will continue the 'grab-and-go' meal program that was originally implemented to run through April 3rd after classes had been canceled because of COVID-19. Chickasha School Superintendent Rick Croslin said the Chickasha breakfast and lunch program will continue through the rest of the school year.
Chix School Board to Discuss Support Employee Pay
The Chickasha Board of Education has a special meeting today to discuss some coronavirus issues affecting the district. The panel will discuss revising a policy regarding personal leave for support personnel, in order that those workers get paid for the rest of the school year. The school board will also consider a plan to hold teleconferences for future school board meetings. The group will also look at a plan to make a change to the district’s food service management contract, which involves the summer feeding program. That meeting is scheduled for noon today (Thursday, March 26th) at the school administration building.
COVID-19 Cases Now in Stephens, Comanche Counties
Officials in Stephens and Comanche counties are confirming the first coronavirus cases in those areas. Yesterday, the state health department said there was one confirmed case in Stephens County. However, the report did not include two cases confirmed in Comanche county. Officials with Comanche Memorial Hospital wanted to get the word out as quickly as possible about the infections. Including the new cases out of Comanche County, there are now 166 confirmed COVID-19 virus cases in 20 Oklahoma Counties. Caddo County is still without a confirmed coronavirus case.
USAO Campus Closes, Graduation Canceled
USAO has now closed its campus to the public. President John Feaver says the university's highest priority must be to operate in ways that minimize threats to the safety and well-being of the university community. Students will have limited access to computer labs, and offices will continue to operate virtually to accommodate students. Feaver also announced that graduation ceremonies that had been scheduled for April 25th have been canceled. Earlier, the university had asked students living in campus dormitories to go home, and that commuting students were being advised to not visit the campus. Students are asked to communicate with the university electronically. Any students who could not go home were asked to make alternate living arrangements with the dean of students. It’s not clear how many international students are affected. Students living in the Lawson Hall Apartments could stay or go home. Officials did announce that the blood drive scheduled for Friday at the USAO Fieldhouse will go on. Social-distancing procedures will be followed.
Businessman, Longtime City Councilman Paul Powell Dies
Longtime Chickasha businessman and city councilman Paul Powell has died. Powell was 72 when he passed away at his home on Monday. He owned and was a broker for a real estate company, and spent 12 years on the city council. Powell was a lifelong Chickasha resident and earned a degree in accounting from Oklahoma State. He worked for a time with Perdue Housing Industries and in recent years purchased Chickasha Realty. Powell was proud of the fact that in all of his years on the city council, he only missed one planning session. No public services are scheduled. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Tom Cole to Host Town Hall Meeting via Phone
4th District Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole will host a town hall meeting via teleconference later today. Cole is to provide updates on the steps being taken to combat the coronavirus and will discuss the $2.2 trillion dollar spending plan to get critical relief to Americans, small businesses, and factories. Cole will be joined by Dr. Jason Sanders, the senior vice president and provost for the OU Health Sciences Center. The teleconference will be from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. tonight (Thursday, March 26th). To participate, call 1-888-544-2335.
Deadline to Pay Second Half of Property Taxes Extended
As you may know, state and federal officials are allowing individuals to delay filing their incomes taxes because of the coronavirus, Normally the deadline is April 15th, but you now have until July 15th to file taxes. With Governor Stitt's recent action, property owners who need to pay the second half of their property taxes can delay those payments for a couple of weeks. Normally, the second half of the payments were due April 15th, but property owners now have until April 30th to pay without penalty. Grady County Treasurer Robin Burton said this only applies to those property owners who opt to pay half their taxes by the January 15th deadline, followed by the balance in mid-April. Contact your local county treasurer's office if you have questions.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $24.49 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $27.39.
Natural gas is $1.66 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,628 and silver is $14.60.
Wednesday, March 25th
Governor Takes More Action to Limit COVID-19 Spread
Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt orders non-essential businesses in counties affected by the COVID-19 virus to close for the next three weeks. At a press conference yesterday, the governor issued an executive order closing those businesses in the 19 counties where there are confirmed coronavirus cases. It includes but is not limited to hair salons, barbershops, massage parlors, tattoo parlors and others that require close contact between clients and customers. The businesses have to close at 11:59 p.m. tonight (Wednesday, March 25th) and will be closed for 21 days, or through April 15th. The governor did not describe many other businesses that might be non-essential. Stitt also said he's taking steps to help the health care workers treating coronavirus patients.
Stitt also is banning gatherings of more than 10 people, and is suspending all visitation at long-term care facilities statewide until further notice. Stitt also issued what he called a 'Safe at Home' initiative, saying seniors and individuals who may be vulnerable to contracting the COVID-19 virus to stay home until April 30th, unless they need to buy food or prescriptions. The 19 counties where the coronavirus has been confirmed and where non-essential businesses will be closing include Grady, Garvin, McClain, Cleveland, Oklahoma, and Canadian counties. As of 11:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 24th, the state health department confirmed 106 coronavirus cases in Oklahoma. The City of Chickasha issued a statement which mirrored the governor's action.
AG Warns of Coronavirus Scam
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter is warning residents of a scam connected to the coronavirus. Hunter says his office has received more than 130 complaints about individuals selling at-home coronavirus test kits. Hunter said there are no credible test kits on the market which individuals can administer in their homes and that no health care provider nor other credentialed individual will call and offer the tests at random. Hunter said the issue will likely become more prevalent in the coming days.
Congress Passes Record $2 Trillion Economic Rescue Plan
Congress has finally approved the largest economic rescue plan in history designed to help the country through the coronavirus pandemic. The Associated Press reports the vote came early this morning on the $2 trillion plan. The emergency legislation is designed to aid individuals, businesses, and the health care system. The rescue package would give direct payments to most Americans, expand unemployment benefits, and provide billions of dollars to help small businesses keep making payroll while most workers are forced to stay at home.
Local Trooper Dies After Lengthy Illness
A state trooper has lost his life battling a lengthy illness. Lt. Daniel Moreno passed away at an Oklahoma City hospital yesterday. Moreno worked in the Caddo County area of Troop G after joining the OHP in 2001. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 2013. He transferred to the H.E. Bailey Turnpike detachment where he continued to serve as a supervisor. Moreno grew up in Gracemont and attended Cameron University. He was a U.S. Army veteran and served in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Moreno served more than 20 years in both active and reserve duty roles. Prior to his OHP service he worked for Delta Faucet. A memorial service is pending.
Braum's Restaurant Founder Passes Away
Bill Braum, the founder of the Braum's Ice Cream and Dairy stores, has died. Braum passed away at his home in Tuttle on Monday at the age of 92. No public services are scheduled. Braum started working with the family's small butter and milk processing plant in Kansas at a young age. The family would add ice cream processing to the operation then developed a chain of retail ice cream stores. The family sold that business, then Braum started the chain in Oklahoma by opening 22 stores in 1968. Today, Braum's has 280 locations and employs more than 4,000 people.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $24.01 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $27.15.
Natural gas is $1.65 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,651 and silver is $14.66.
Martha Dickey Hunt
A private burial will be held for 79-year old Martha Dickey Hunt of Chickasha. A memorial service will be held at a later date. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Tuesday, March 24th
New Chix School Superintendent Arrives;
First Priority is Coronavirus Concerns
The new superintendent for Chickasha Public Schools is now in the office full time. Since he was hired for the post in January, Rick Croslin had been spending a couple of days a week in town getting familiar with the district. Now, he's tasked with leading the school system through the local problems associated with the worldwide coronavirus pandemic. With all Oklahoma schools canceled through April 3rd, Croslin said school employees are in the process of sanitizing all the district's buildings. The district is using a machine which sprays a chemical he says is proven to take care of the coronavirus.
Croslin said the district has enough of the chemical to spray all classrooms, offices, school buses, and athletic facilities. In other school issues, the superintendent said the school board will be having a special meeting later this week to discuss paying support personnel, and to consider a plan to implement a system to allow the board to broadcast future meetings via teleconference.
'Distance Learning' May be Implemented in State Schools
It's not clear when, or even if Oklahoma schools will return to business as usual. State Superintendent Joy Hoffmeister said the state board of education will meet tomorrow to discuss a distance-learning plan which may keep public school students out of the classroom for the rest of the year. Hoffmeister said that ‘distance-learning’ doesn't necessarily mean on-line courses. She said teachers could talk to students on the phone, through video chats, or other technology.
Chix Officials Urge Residents
to Heed COVID-19 Precautions
The City of Chickasha issued a statement Monday saying officials want to avoid issuing a stay-at-home order and a mandatory business shutdown. The statement on the city's website asks residents to stay home if they don't have to be out, and implores individuals who suspect they may have coronavirus symptoms to call their health care provider for instructions. The statement urged people who are sick - or have even been around someone who is sick - to stay home. Officials also ask residents to not hoard food, toilet paper, or other items. The city has been under a state of emergency since March 13th.
Another Increase in State Coronavirus Cases
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases continues climbing in Oklahoma. The state health department says there are now 81 confirmed cases (as of 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 23rd). Two people have died from the illness and 15 have required hospital stays. More than half of the confirmed cases are in the Oklahoma City area, with 29 confirmed cases in Oklahoma County and 16 in Cleveland County. Grady and McClain counties still have just one case each while there are two confirmed cases in both Garvin and Canadian counties. There are still no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Caddo, Stephens, or Comanche counties. As health officials work with a limited supply of personal protective equipment, officials with Grady Memorial Hospital say there have been a couple of companies and some individuals which have donated N95 masks. Hospital administrator Kean Spellman said that Willowbrook Development and Harbor Freight are among the companies donating the masks.
Suspected Child Molester Arrested for Vandalism
A man charged with child sexual abuse is back in jail, now accused of vandalism. 37-year old Mathew Chad Smith of Cement was arrested by Grady County sheriff's deputies in connection with an incident that occurred outside Cement on Feb. 23rd. In April of 2018, Smith was charged with child sexual abuse after DHS officials received a call from the child abuse hotline alleging he molested a then eight-year old girl. Smith was out of jail after posting a $75,000 bond. Prosecutors have now charged him with a misdemeanor for the vandalism arrest, and have revoked his bond on the child sexual abuse charge. Smith is to be back in court in July.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $23.36 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $27.03.
Natural gas is $1.60 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,641 and silver is $14.13.
Monday, March 23rd
Governor Stitt Takes More Steps
in Efforts to Limit Spread of COVID-19
Saying he knows Oklahomans are fearful and anxious, Gov. Kevin Stitt announces some new measures in an attempt to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the state. In a Sunday press conference, Stitt said four mobile testing sites will be available this week. They will be in Oklahoma, Tulsa, Kay, and Pittsburgh counties. In addition, more laboratories will be available for testing for the illness. The governor said the state only has nine days of personal protective equipment available for health care workers but that more is on the way.
State's Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Still Climbing
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Oklahoma has increased to 67 as of yesterday (Sunday, March 22nd). The state health department has also confirmed a second death from the virus, which was in Pawnee County. Grady and McClain counties have one confirmed case each. Garvin and Canadian counties have two confirmed cases. Oklahoma County has 26 and Cleveland County has 13. No confirmed COVID-19 cases have been found in Caddo, Stephens, or Comanche counties.
Chickasha Officials Look to Help Businessses
Chickasha city officials are asking business owners to let them know how they are being impacted by the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak. City Manager John Noblitt is asking business owners and managers to fill out a form and e-mail it to the city.
Noblitt said the form is available on the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce website.
Apache Man Dies in Double-Fatality Crash
A Caddo County man is one of two people killed in a head-on collision this past weekend. 81-year old Jerry Rath of Apache and an unidentified man both died in the crash which happened on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike about six miles south of Walters. The accident happened about 3:00 p.m. Sunday, March 22nd. The Highway Patrol reports that Rath was driving the wrong way on the interstate and collided with a van driven by the other victim.
Schools Begin Grab-and-Go Food Programs
Area schools will be providing grab-and-go meals for students over the next two weeks. Chickasha, Ninnekah, Rush Springs, Anadarko, and Bridge Creek schools are among school districts distributing bags with breakfast and lunch foods each Monday through Friday until April 3rd. The school districts have pickup times listed on websites and social media pages if they are available.
Chix Library to Start Unique Book Checkout Program
The Chickasha Library is closed but officials have come up with a unique way to get their books to readers. Starting tomorrow (Tuesday, March 24th), bags of books will be available to check out at the drive-up book drop at 2:00 p.m. The books will be available until 3:30 p.m. unless they are all taken before that time. The bags are divided into several age groups which include pre-school, children's, teens, adult fiction, and adult non-fiction. There will also be a bag of books on CD. There is a limit of two bags per household. Customers will have to show a library card. For those who don't have a library card, bags of used paperback books will be available. The due date will be whenever the library re-opens, and no fines will accrue. Officials say as of now, the library is closed through the end of the month.
Chickasha Movie Theater Closed through COVID-19 Threat
Heritage Park Theatre has closed for the duration of the coronavirus threat. Manager Ron Funderburk says the theatre will re-open.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $22.43 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $26.98.
Natural gas is $1.60 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,500 and silver is $12.61.
Funeral service for 77-year old Leroy Smith of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at Sharon Baptist Church. The funeral service will be for family members only. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Graveside service for 74-year old Kenneth Bradley of Chickasha will be at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at the Ft. Cobb Cemetery. Arrangements are will Sevier Funeral Home.