Saturday, May 23rd
Ex-Con Arrested for Alleged Drug Possession
A traffic stop leads to the arrest of an ex-con who is alleged to have had drugs in his possession. 34-year old Ricky East, Jr. of Chickasha was arrested by a state trooper near Minco on Wednesday. East was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for a non-working brake light. The trooper's probable cause affidavit said because of the criminal history of both East and the driver, he asked to search the car. In a routine pat down, the trooper said he found drugs in East's pockets and found several containers in his backpack which combined had more than 450 grams methamphetamine. East was arrested while the driver was released. East has previous felony convictions out of Grady and Caddo Counties, including unauthorized use of a vehicle and possession of a firearm. He's now facing felony and misdemeanor drug charges in connection with this week's arrest. East remains in the Grady County Jail on a $150,000 bond.
Manslaughter Charge Filed in Fatal Truck-Bike Crash
A felony manslaughter charge has been filed against a Chickasha man alleged to have struck and killed a bicycle rider with his pickup. 38-year old Bryan Bingham surrendered to authorities on Friday. The accident claimed the life of Scott Womack last August southwest of Chickasha in a neighborhood where both men lived. Court documents filed by investigators say Bingham was driving about 10 miles an hour over the posted 45 mph speed limit when the crash occurred. Investigators allege that Bingham finished a phone call seven seconds before impact. Bingham was released after posting a $75,000 bond. His attorney is Brett Burns and a preliminary hearing conference is set for July 14th. If convicted, Bingham faces a minimum sentence of four years in prison.
Two Hospitalized After UTV Wreck
Two people are taken to a hospital after a UTV accident near Bradley. 29-year old Cherakee Perez and 52-year old Tammie Harder, both of Lindsay were taken to a Norman hospital where they were admitted in fair condition with head injuries. The driver and one other passenger were not injured The accident happened about 9:00 p.m. Friday. The state trooper dispatched to the crash said the driver identified as 23-year old Tiffanie Harder was doing donuts when the UTV tipped over on its side.
The number of coronavirus cases in Oklahoma now stands at 5,849. That’s after 169 new cases were confirmed on Friday. The state health department also attributed three more deaths to the illness, putting the death toll now at 309. The agency also said the number of active coronavirus cases is just over 1,000 and that the number of people hospitalized with the illness went down to 190. The agency also noted that there are more than 4,500 people who have recovered. Grady County has had a total of 72 confirmed cases and Caddo County is at 132. Chickasha has had a total of 39, Blanchard is at 21, Tuttle remains at 15, and Anadarko is at 14 coronavirus cases.
Casinos Continue Re-Opening
More Oklahoma casinos are re-opening. The Chickasaw Nation says all their casinos will open doors beginning Wednesday, May 27th. That would include Salt Creek Casino north of Chickasha and Riverwind Casino in Norman. Chickasaw Nation Governor Bill Anoatubby said they'll open at 25 percent capacity and that they have developed a plan of protection for employees and patrons. There will be extensive testing and screening of employees. All customers will have their temperatures checked, and employees and guests will have to wear masks. All the casinos will be closed from 4 a.m. to 8 a.m. for cleaning and disinfecting. The Delaware Nation re-opened its casinos in Anadarko and Hinton and the Ft. Sill-Apache Tribe opened their casinos in Lawton welcomed patrons back yesterday.
OHP Looks to Shut Down Drinking Drivers, Boaters
The Memorial Day weekend is known as the unofficial start of summer. The Oklahoma Highway Safety Office is urging those who are traveling to do so safely, and that social distancing and hand hygiene are still important to try and prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Officials say troopers will be on the road looking for impaired drivers and the patrol's marine division will be working state lakes. All troopers are also working with local law enforcement as part of the ENDUI campaign to get impaired drivers and boaters off state roads and lakes.
Friday, May 22nd
Morning Storms Bring High Winds, Heavy Rain
Strong thunderstorms rumbled through the region this morning bringing high wind, heavy rains and resulting in some traffic accidents and power outages. Oklahoma Mesonet data recorded 50 mph wind gusts in Minco and 44 mph wind gusts in Chickasha. The winds may have caused one accident on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike however there were no reported injuries. About 250 PSO customers in the Tabler area were without power at the height of the storm, and about 270 CK Energy customers in Anadarko were also without electricity. Just under one inch of rain was recorded at Mesonet sites in Chickasha and Minco, while rainfall west of Rush Springs at Acme was .15 of an inch.
Suspect Arrested Following Stand-off
One man is in custody after firing multiple gunshots in what Chickasha police called a domestic violence situation. It unfolded about 6:00 a.m. Thursday in the 100 block of Elmhurst Drive. Police department spokesman Lt. Scott Weaver says a man had been drinking and got into an argument with his wife. The man got a gun and started shooting at her. The woman managed to get out of the house, call 911 and hide in a neighbor's yard. The police department's Special Response Team, sheriff's deputies, and state troopers all responded. Weaver tells KOOL/RANCH News-
The standoff ended about 8:30 a.m. when the suspect surrendered without incident. 33-year old Bryan Curtis Hassler was arrested on a complaint of shooting with intent to kill.
Governor Signs Matthew Schoolfield Act into Law
The Sgt. Matthew Schoolfield Act has been signed into law by Gov. Kevin Stitt. The measure ensures police officers who are seriously injured in the line of duty can get full disability benefits. Schoolfield was on duty with the Chickasha Police Department when he was permanently disabled after being shot while trying to deliver a search warrant in September of 2017. State Representative David Perryman and State Senator Lonnie Paxton of Tuttle were the primary authors of the Sgt. Matthew Schoolfield Disability Act, which is HB 3330. Paxton said because of how disability benefits were figured in with the police retirement system, that Schoolfied couldn't get full disability. Paxton said the bill would ensure injured officers can get full disability when they suffer life-altering injuries on the job.
Stephens County has Big Increase in COVID-19
There has been a spike in the number of coronavirus cases in the Duncan and Stephens County area. The state health department says there has been a surge in the illness in nursing homes. The number of coronavirus cases in Stephens County jumped to 36 – with 25 of those in Duncan. The number of Grady County COVID-19 cases is up to 71 cases with 48 of those patients reported to have recovered. There have been two deaths in Grady County, both in Chickasha. Chickasha's total number of coronavirus cases is now at 39 while Tuttle remained unchanged at 15. The number of cases in Blanchard is now at 21. The number of Caddo County cases now stands at 132 with 97 of those patients reported to have fully recovered. There have been 10 deaths in Caddo County. Statewide, there are 5,680 confirmed COVID-19 cases which includes 304 deaths. The number of recovered patients is at 4,361. There are 1,105 active COVID-19 cases in Oklahoma.
Veteran Law Officer Joins Sheriff's Office
Longtime law enforcement officer Shayne Melton has joined the Grady County Sheriff's Office. Melton will serve as the School Resource Deputy for the Chickasha campus of the Canadian Valley Technology Center. He's been a commissioned peace officer in Oklahoma for nearly 20 years. Most recently, Melton worked with the Grady County District Attorney's office as both a special victims crime investigator and with the drug and violent crimes task force. He's also spent time with the Chickasha Police Department and the Comanche County Sheriff's Office. Melton has more than 1,700 hours of training and is a state certified law enforcement instructor. He's developed and presented accredited law enforcement training to numerous local, county, state, federal, and tribal agencies.
Delaware Nation Re-Opens Casinos
The Delaware Nation is re-opening its casinos this weekend. Gold River Casino in Anadarko and Casino Oklahoma in Hinton will open on a limited basis. Nancy Mace is the marketing director for the casinos.
The casinos will open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. and will close after that for deep cleaning. The restaurants will also be open. It’s been 60 days since the casinos closed because of the COVID-19 virus.
Talk Show Topics
Here’s what we’re talking about this weekend. Chickasha City Planner Gene Winsett is our guest on the KOOL Konversation. Winsett is retiring next week after a total of 42 years of combined service with the city. On Real Estate Today with John Mosley, this week’s guest is Lewis Knicley with the Chickasha YMCA. Find links to both programs under the community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $33.92 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $36.06.
Natural gas is $1.71 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,735 and silver is $17.45.
Thursday, May 21st
UPDATE (10:00 a.m.) - One person is in custody.
Chickasha police were working a possible hostage situation in the south part of the city this morning. Authorities were called to home near Glenwood Drive and Elmwood Drive about 6:15 a.m. That’s east of Highway 81 and Country Club Road. Police, the Grady County Sheriff’s Office, and Oklahoma Highway Patrol were all called to the area. Listen for updates on KOOL 105.5FM News at noon and 5:00 p.m. today.
State Manufacturers Work to 'Re-invent' Selves
Like all sectors of the state's economy, Oklahoma's manufacturers are working to keep their proverbial heads above water in dealing with what's being called a 'perfect storm' of difficulties. The plunge in the energy sector, the aerospace industry (because of problems with the Boeing 737), and the coronavirus are all taking their toll. Scott Smith with the Oklahoma Manufacturers Alliance says companies are working to re-invent themselves, and use available resources which can help make that happen.
Smith said the state's re-boot program launched last month is one program being accessed. Midwest Cooling Towers of Chickasha is of the companies approved to take part in that program, adding equipment to a new and expanded product line.
Motorcycle Crash Injures One
A motorcycle crash near Dibble sends a man to the hospital with leg injuries. The accident happened on State Highway 39 about two miles east of Dibble yesterday. 31-year old Charles Cherry of Purcell was airlifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was admitted in fair condition. The highway patrol reports that Cherry lost control, ran off the road and flipped, ejecting Cherry off the bike. He was wearing a helmet.
New numbers of the coronavirus in Oklahoma are down quite a bit compared to recent reports. Wednesday, the state health department reports only 43 new confirmations, which increases the total number of cases to 5,532. There were five new deaths attributed to the illness, increasing that number to 299. The number of people currently hospitalized with the infection rose to 209. The number of people who have recovered from the illness is up to 4,266. That puts the total number of active cases in the state at 967. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Chickasha grew by two and is up to 38; with 21 people recovering from the infection. There have been no new cases in Blanchard, Tuttle, Newcastle, or Anadarko.
Grady County Treasurer Tax Sale Set
The Grady County Treasurer's Office is making a change in its Tax Sale that is held every year. Treasurer Robin Burton says due to the coronavirus, the sale will be held outdoors on the lawn on the east side of the courthouse and that masks and social distancing will be required. The sale is scheduled for Monday, June 8th at 9 a.m. Individuals will need to register in advance to participate. If there is bad weather the sale will be moved to the Grady County Fairgrounds Community Building.
Newspaper Reduces Publication to Once-a-Week
The newspaper industry nationwide has been struggling in recent years. Many have lost subscribers and advertising revenue as people turn to radio, TV, and the Internet for news. Small town newspapers are feeling the impact as well. The Chickasha Express-Star announced this week that it is going to a once-a-week publication. In last weekend's edition, Publisher Mark Millsap said the paper is restructuring its resources in order to continue to serve its readers. The paper will be published and delivered on Thursdays, starting today. Millsap said the paper will be utilizing its website to update local news and sports on a daily basis.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $33.49 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $.35.75.
Natural gas is $1.77 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,733 and silver is $17.70.
A memorial service will be held for Bill Terry, 69, of Chickasha. It will be an outdoor social distancing service at the Terry home at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 23rd. Terry owned and operated Bill's Auto and Diesel for many years. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Wednesday, May 20th
Grady Memorial Offers COVID-19 Antibody Test
Grady Memorial Hospital is now able to do antibody testing for individuals who want to find out if they've ever had the coronavirus. Dr. Bill Crowell is the medical director for that hospital and explains that it—
Antibodies are proteins produced by the body's immune system in response to an infection, and the proteins then help the immune system fight the infection. If antibodies are found, it would indicate that the individual had been infected at some point in the past. The antibody test requires a small amount of blood which can be obtained with a traditional lab draw. Officials anticipate a 48-hour turnaround time for results. The cost is covered by most insurance companies as well as Medicare. The hospital and Five Oaks Medical Clinic can also perform tests for the actual coronavirus. Anyone experiencing symptoms like a fever or difficulty in breathing should call ahead to make an appointment to be tested. Crowell urges individuals to wear masks when going out in public, which health officials say prevents the spread of the coronavirus.
Nearly 5,500 coronavirus cases have now been confirmed in Oklahoma. The Tuesday report from the state health department is 91 cases higher than the previous report. There were six more deaths which increases the death toll to 294. Current hospitalizations were down to 167 patients. The number of people who have recovered from the illness increased to 4,135. The health department said the number of active cases fell to 1,060. Chickasha had one more confirmed case, with the total number now at 36. Twenty of those individuals have recovered. Blanchard's total increased by one and is now up to 20. Eighteen of those individuals have recovered. The number in Tuttle remained steady at 15 and 14 of those individuals have recovered. Anadarko has two more cases which takes it’s total to 13 and eight of those individuals have recovered.
Chickasha Drinking Water Tested Below
DEQ Standards Three Times in 2019
Chickasha's drinking water was below acceptable levels on three occasions last year. Officials say there was never a health emergency and the water has always been safe to drink. Letters describing the problems were included in this month's water bills sent out by the city of Chickasha. The problems occurred in July, August, and October of last year. In July, a piece of equipment malfunctioned to cause chlorine levels to fall below levels established by the Department of Environmental Quality. In August and September, a problem with a pump caused the water to fall out of compliance with turbidity, or the cloudiness of the water which leads to an increased risk of disease-causing organisms. The faulty parts were replaced at an estimated cost of about $500.
Man Jailed After Being Run Over by His Own Car
Chickasha police arrested a man on a drug complaint after he was run over by his own car. Officers were called out to the area of 4th Street and Almar Drive just after 2:00 a.m. Tuesday. It wasn't clear how serious the man's injuries were. A report on the Chickasha police blotter shows 24-year old Darrion Braxton Ledgerwood was taken into custody. After spending the night in jail, prosecutors formally charged him with misdemeanors of being in actual physical control of a motor vehicle while under the influence, and possession of a controlled dangerous substance. Ledgerwood was released from jail after paying a $3,000 bond. The case has been set on a disposition docket on July 10th.
Ag Producers Can Apply Next Week for CFAP
Agriculture producers will soon be able to apply for relief through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP). Ron Hays with the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network has some of the details.
Sign-up begins at local Farm Service Agencies Tuesday, May 26th. Producers should call their local office to make an appointment or can apply on-line. The payments are expected to be made within a week of making the applications.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $32.50 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $34.65.
Natural gas is $1.83 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,754 and silver is $18.01.
Funeral services are pending for Leroy Townsel, 82, of Chickasha. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Arthur “Hoppy” Hargus
Funeral service for Arthur “Hoppy” Hargus, 69, of Byars will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday at Bible Baptist Church. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home
Tuesday, May 19th
Residents Ask City Officials to Apologize
for Calling Firefighters 'Bullies'
A couple of Chickasha residents want a public apology from the city manager and the city council for disparaging remarks they say were made about the city's firefighters. Gina Downey and Kirstie Morton called for the apologies during last night’s city council meeting. Downey said City Manager John Noblitt called the firefighters bullies during the May 4th council meeting. At the time, Noblitt was talking about proposed budget cuts for both the fire and police departments. Noblitt said that the Chickasha Firefighters Association used scare tactics to frighten the public regarding those proposed cuts. Downey said Noblitt's comments don't adequately describe how citizens feel about the firefighters.
Neither Noblitt nor the council opted to apologize during the meeting.
Chickasha Street Improvement Program OK'd
A summer street improvement program is approved by the city council. The council delayed awarding a bid on the project two weeks ago, over concerns that there are many streets in worse shape than those targeted for the work. City Manager John Noblitt said he knows that but also says the city doesn't have enough money to make all the repairs necessary.
The council voted 7-1 to award a $278,000 bid to Silver Star Construction of Moore. It will only allow the city to do maintenance work on about 7,500 linear feet of roadway which is about 1.5 miles.
Council OK's Sidewalk Project Payment, Jail Contract, EDC Agreements
The council also approved the first payment to the company installing a sidewalk on 1st Street that will connect the downtown area to WalMart. The council OK'd a payment of just over $59,000 to Luckinbill Development to pay for some of the work that has already been completed. The council also approved a contract between the city and the Grady County Jail to house city inmates. The contract is for $30,000 for fiscal year 2021 which represents a rate of $45 per day per inmate, or $28 per day for prisoners held for less than 24 hours. The council also approved a payment of $50,000 of the city's economic development funds to the Crazy 8 Cafe for its remodeling project. The panel also approved a 12-month extension to an economic development agreement with Great Plains Land and Cattle for its renovation work on the old Chickasha Star newspaper building.
Shannon Springs Park Pool Opening Set for June 8th
Memorial Day weekend is coming up but the City of Chickasha's swimming pool at Shannon Springs Park won't be open. Lewis Knisley with the Chickasha YMCA says the target date to open the pool is June 8th. The YMCA has managed the pool for several years. Knisley said the city and the Y have yet to approve a contract for pool operations this summer due mainly to the COVID-19 situation. It's not clear how the coronavirus will affect those who want to use the pool this summer.
Chickasha's July 4th Fireworks Expected to Be Held
Looks like things are full speed ahead for a 4th of July fireworks show in Chickasha. City officials in Lawton and Edmond canceled fireworks shows in those communities this year. Organizers of the local display did have concerns about what the coronavirus impact will be on large gatherings this summer since thousands of people usually attend the event at Shannon Springs Park. Officials say they have been assured by Mayor Chris Mosley that the event will happen. A number of local businesses and individuals have already said they were on board to help finance the fireworks.
88 additional cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Oklahoma and the state health department reports no new deaths from the illness. The Tuesday report shows the total number of coronavirus cases has risen to 5,398; the number of deaths remains at 288; and the number of people hospitalized with the illness statewide is at 180. The number of people who have recovered from the illness is up to 4,008. The number of active cases for the COVID 19-virus is 1,102. Chickasha’s total number of confirmed cases remained at 35 with 19 of those inviduals now fully recovered. There have been two deaths so there 14 active cases. Tuttle had no additional cases and stays at 15 total and 14 of them have recovered. Blanchard's count has remained steady at 19 and 18 of them have recovered. Anadarko has 11 diagnosed cases with eight people fully recovered and there has been one death.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $31.82 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $34.81.
Natural gas is $1.78 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,736 and silver is $17.43.
A private graveside service for Ed Chamberlain, 88, of Chickasha will be held at a later date. He was a veteran of the U.S. Navy Reserve and was the branch manager for the Chickasha Social Security office for many years. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Graveside service for Rupert Johnson, 94, of the Ninnekah and Cement area were held at 2:00 p.m. Tuesday, May 19th in the Cement Cemetery. Arrangements were with McRay Funeral Home.
Graveside service for Louise Bell, 76, of Alex will be at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 20th at the Alex Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the Alex United Methodist Women.
Monday, May 18th
Grady County Courthouse Re-opens
After being closed to the public for the last two months, the Grady County Courthouse is allowing citizens back in the building today. There are some stipulations, however. Everyone entering the courthouse will have their temperature taken, and everyone will be required to wear masks which will be provided if visitors don't have their own. Gloves will also be available. Families and friends of anyone having a hearing with a judge will not be allowed in the courtroom. County commissioners will continue holding their weekly meetings at the Grady County Fairgrounds for the next two weeks. They will return to the commissioners’ office in the courthouse on June 1st.
Chix City Council Meetings Return to City Hall
The Chickasha City Council will return to city hall for its regular city council meetings tonight. The panel has been holding virtual meetings for the last month. The panel will once again take a look at a street improvement program which was postponed from the May 4th meeting. The group tabled it’s decision after some councilors argued that the streets selected are in better shape than many others. The streets proposed for upgrades include Genevieve Street from near the city's animal shelter and north to Frisco Avenue; John Cowan Drive in front of the high school; Chickasha Avenue, from 18 Street to the high school; 16th Street, from Country Club Road north to Carolina Avenue; and Country Club Road, from 4th Street east to Glenwood. Officials are recommending that the council approve a $278,000 bid from Silver Star Construction Company of Moore for those upgrades.
Council to also Consider Economic Development Projects
The council will also consider awarding Crazy 8 Cafe $50,000 in economic development founds; and to extend an economic development agreement with the Great Plains Land and Cattle Company for the renovation work underway at the former Chickasha Star Newspaper building.
City's Agreement with County Jail up for Renewal
The group will also consider extending an agreement with the Grady County Jail to house city prisoners which calls for the city to pay the jail $30,000 per year. The council will also recognize records clerk Susan Earnest as the city's employee of the quarter. The council meets at 6:30 p.m. tonight at city hall.
Two County School Administrators Honored
In case you missed the news over the weekend, two Grady County school administrators were recognized for their work during the past year. The Oklahoma Association of School Administrators named Kevin Sims, superintendent for Minco schools, as its Superintendent of the Year for District 14. Jennifer Stegman of Chickasha schools was named the Assistant Superintendent of the Year, also for District 14. Stegman spent much of last year as the interim superintendent for Chickasha schools. Both Sims and Stegman are expected to be honored at the summer conference of the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma School Administration next month.
Chix Chamber, EDC Announce 'Tunes in June'
Chickasha's two business groups are offering to help venues offer live music from local musicians. The Chickasha Chamber of Commerce and the city’s Economic Development Council (EDC) are offering $500 scholarships to businesses as part of a program called Tunes in June. It’s one more effort to help local businesses in their recovery after the coronavirus economic shut down. It's also a way to support local artists. A calendar of the Tunes in June concerts will be released later. The EDC and chamber effort to help local businesses started in April with a restaurant bingo campaign which runs through June. They are also offering gift certificates to residents by asking them to promote their shopping experience with a selfie on social media.
Oklahoma's current number of active coronavirus cases stands at 1,039 according to the latest numbers provided by the state health department. The report shows the total number of confirmed cases was up 73 from Saturday to Sunday and is now at 5,310. The number of those who have recovered grew by 38 and is up to 3,983. The number of deaths has risen to 288 and there are currently 180 people in hospitals. Chickasha has 35 total COVID-19 cases and Grady County has a total of 64. The number of people recovering in Grady County is 42 and there have been two deaths. Caddo County has had 114 confirmed COVID-19 cases with 82 recoveries and 10 deaths.
Chix Library Revises Summer Reading Program
The Chickasha Public Library is expanding some of its services. Starting today, patrons will be able to view all the items available for checkout. Visitors will still have to wear facial coverings and children still will not be allowed. Library hours will remain from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The library will be offering free summer reading programs but there will be no in-person programs. There will be virtual and grab-and-go programs for children in several age categories. The reading program will run June 1st through July 31st and registration is underway.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $29.42 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $32.50.
Natural gas is $1.64 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,771 and silver is $17.71.