Saturday, May 22nd
State Lawmakers Send Proposed Budget to Gov. Stitt
State lawmakers in both the house and senate have passed an $8.8 billion spending plan for state government for fiscal year 2022. The measure now goes to Gov. Kevin Stitt for his consideration. Marlow State Representative Brad Boles writes in his media column that the plan includes the largest budget ever for public education at $3.2 billion. It includes more money for textbook and school activity funds. Boles said there are also bills still being considered which would create funding equity for school districts with low property tax bases, and increase per-pupil funding by eliminating duplicate student counts in the school funding formula should they be approved and signed by the governor. Boles also said transportation funding would increase, including a $200 million plan to speed up the 8-year highway construction plan through federal programs. The proposal also includes more than $40 million to expand broadband service in rural areas that don't have access to high-speed Internet. It also includes a reduction in personal income taxes by one-fourth of 1 percent and reduces the corporate income tax from 6 percent to 4 percent.
Suspect Arrested for Allegedly Having Explosives
A Caddo County man already in trouble with the law is in jail for allegedly having the materials needed to make Molotov cocktails. 30-year old Gregory Ahhaitty of Carnegie was arrested this week after a police officer saw him riding his bicycle erratically. A probable cause affidavit filed by Carnegie police indicates that Ahhaitty was uncooperative and belligerent when stopped by the officer who had reason to believe that Ahhaitty was under the influence of an intoxicant. Ahhaitty was arrested without incident and while at the police department was found to allegedly have a couple vodka bottles filled with gasoline, toilet paper, a lighter, electrical tape, and a 12-inch knife. Ahhaitty was arrested just a few weeks ago and charged with a felony for assault on a police officer. Ahhaiitty was out of jail after posting bond on that charge and now faces an additional felony charge of threatening the use of an explosive. He remains in the Caddo County Jail on a $60,000 bond and is to be back in court on June 15th.
Sheriff's Office Updates Warrant list
The Grady County Sheriff's Office has updated its 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.
New Rush Springs Watermelon Queen Selected
There's royalty in Rush Springs today. Jerricka Funk was selected to hold court as the queen of 2021 Rush Springs Watermelon Festival this summer. The announcement is posted on the festival's Facebook page. Funk will preside over the event which returns this year after last year's festival was canceled. Jerricka will spend the next couple of months traveling across the state and promoting the festival which will be held on Saturday, August 14th.
State Junior High Rodeo Finals Wrapping Up
Today's the final day of competition of the Oklahoma Junior High School Rodeo Association state finals at the Grady County Fairgrounds. The top 15 competitors in each event will be looking to earn enough points to finish in the top four which will qualify them for the national junior high rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa next month. Gretchen Todd, an 8th-grade student from Tuttle, has been to nationals before. In 2019 she finished 7th overall in pole bending also qualified for nationals last year though nationals was canceled because of the pandemic. While she was disappointed Todd she said she didn't lose her focus.
Heading into this weekend Todd was third in ribbons, third in pole bending, and 7th in all-around. After today's final round (called the short-go) the group will have an awards ceremony tomorrow to crown the state champions and will find out who has qualified for nationals.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Reagan Elkins with Intellego Media is our guest on the KOOL Konversation talking about the filming of The Cowgirl’s Song, a Hollywood movie that is being filmed entirely in Chickasha. On Real Estate today, Third District Oklahoma Congressman Frank Lucas talks with guest host David Nowlin. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, May 21st
Police Warn About the Dangers of Teen Drinking
Law enforcement officials everywhere are warning about the dangers of teen-aged drinking and drinking and driving - especially as high school seniors celebrate after graduation this time of year. Verden police have made some recent arrests of teens who had been partying at Lake Chickasha. Police Chief Jeff Goucher says the teens were ticketed but more importantly warned about the more serious consequences associated with drinking at the lake and drinking and driving. Goucher recalls a tragedy that occurred at Ft. Cobb Lake a few years ago.
Goucher also said he has a cousin who is in a wheelchair for life after she was injured in a drinking and driving incident.
Suspected Rapist Arrested
A man wanted for the alleged rape of a teen-aged girl is behind bars. An arrest warrant for 19-year old Ronald Douglas Merritt, Jr. of Chickasha was issued earlier this week and was taken into custody. The arrest warrant affidavit from Chickasha police indicates the 17-year old victim went to the police department to report the assault. She told investigators that Merritt raped her several times between September and December of last year. Prosecutors have charged Merritt with one count of first degree rape and he remains in the Grady County Jail pending a $40,000 bond.
Couple Arrested Following Molestation Investigation
A husband and wife from northeastern Oklahoma are jailed in connection with child sex crimes and related offenses which allegedly occurred in Grady County. 53-year old Scott Allen Hickman and 51-year old Laura Hickman of Skiatook are in the Grady County Jail after warrants were issued for their arrests. A probable cause affidavit from Tuttle police indicates investigators were contacted by the couple’s now 23-year old daughter. She alleged she was sexually abused by her biological father Scott Hickman from the time she was seven years old and through high school when the family lived in Tuttle. The victim said Hickman told her she would get in trouble if she told anyone. Prosecutors have charged Hickman with felonies of lewd acts with a child and sexual battery. Laura Hickman was arrested on a misdemeanor for allegedly failing to report child abuse. The victim told investigators that that Laura Hickman knew about the molestation but told her that if they went to the police they would be poor. The Hickman’s are out of jail after posting bond.
Chickasha High School Graduation is Tonight
It's a big day for the senior class at Chickasha High School. Graduation ceremonies will be held tonight, with about 130 seniors crossing the stage to receive their diplomas. For the second straight year, they are breaking tradition of selecting three students to talk about the past, present, and future. Two of the Valedictorians – Aubree Wright and Joseph Shaw - will address their classmates. Both were also selected as the best all-around students. Several students are Oklahoma Academic Scholars including Claire Carver, Jordan Wallace, Hunter Puryear, Brian Green-Young, Aubree Wright, Nevaeh King, and Lexi Albright. Numerous students were awarded scholarships for the next level of their education. In addition to scholarships from civic groups, businesses, and individuals, this year's senior class will benefit from more than $93,000 in scholarships from colleges and universities. Graduation ceremonies will be held at the high school activity center starting at 7 o'clock tonight. Afterwards, the new alumni will have an opportunity for one last hurrah together with Project Graduation hosted by the Chickasha Optimist Club at the YMCA.
Junior High Rodeo State Finals in Chickasha
Middle school rodeo competitors from across state are in Chickasha this weekend for the state finals of the Oklahoma Junior High School Rodeo Association. About 70 individuals will be competing in one or more of a dozen events at the Grady County Fairgrounds. All have hopes of winning state titles in their events and qualifying for the National Junior High School Rodeo in Des Moines, Iowa this summer. Kennadee Bickerstaff is an 8th-grade student from Ada. She is the president of the junior high rodeo association and is among the leaders in a couple of her events.
Bickerstaff trails Merrick Moyer of Woodward in the All-around by 18 points. Gretchen Todd of Tuttle is 7th in the all-around. For the boys, Keaton Kellum of Antlers leads the boys all-around and has nearly a 100 point lead over Foreman Casebolt of Ryan who is in second place. Chizm Kuykendall of Carnegie holds down 4th place and Trip Taylor of Pocasset is 8th. The top 15 in each event Friday and Saturday qualify for the short go-round on Sunday. The top four placers in each event qualify for the national rodeo.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $62.05 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $65.11.
Natural gas is $2.93 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,879 and silver is $27.89.
Thursday, May 20th
New Under-Sheriff Named for Grady County
A veteran law enforcement officer has been tabbed as the No. 2 man at the Grady County Sheriff's Office. Gary Boggess will officially join the sheriff's office next week as the new Under-Sheriff. Sheriff Jim Weir recently named Boggess to the post.
Boggess has also spent some time as a reserve officer with the sheriff's office. Weir says Boggess has been responsible for obtaining a number of grants at Newcastle and believes that will be helpful for the sheriff's office.
Grady County Veteran Honored at State Capital
A Grady County military veteran was recognized for his service at the state capital this week. Matthew Schoolfield was honored as Veteran of the Week for the State House of Representatives. Amber State Representative Dick Lowe nominated Schoolfield for the honor.
Marlow State Representative Brad Boles, whose district also includes a section of Chickasha, was also part of the ceremony. In addition to the citation Schoolfield received a United States Flag that has recently flown over the state capital building. As a member of the Oklahoma National Guard, Schoolfield was deployed to combat three times during Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. He spent 2 1/2 years in Iraq and another year in Afghanistan. As a Chickasha police officer Schoolfield was shot six times while executing a search warrant and received the Purple Heart and Medal of Valor as a result.
Film Crews in Chickasha for New Movie
Film crews are in Chickasha working on a number of scenes for a new movie. They are coordinating with Reagan Elkins of Intellego Media who is arranging days and times for the locations. Elkins has been working with the Oklahoma Film Commission to bring Hollywood film producers to the city. Some locations include the Grady County Fairgrounds, the county courthouse, and even the KOOL-RANCH studios. Grady County Commissioners and the Chickasha City Council have special meetings over the next couple of days to discuss approving contracts with production companies including one called Cowgirl Productions out of Dallas, Texas. Officials did not want to announce the dates or locations of the sites being used in order to prevent a lot people from showing up on the sets.
More Delays Possible Due to Bridge Construction
Here's another reminder that work on the Washita River bridges on U.S. Highway 62 east of Chickasha today will have traffic stopped at intermittent times. Crews are installing huge steel beams across the span of the river on one of the bridges currently under construction. Traffic is already affected as it is one lane in both directions. Flaggers will assist so state department of transportation officials encourage motorists to use caution and perhaps find an alternate route.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.26.
London-based Brent crude is $66.66.
Natural gas is $2.96 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,866 and silver is $27.70.
Viewing for Bruce Bedoka, 63, of Chickasha will be from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday, May 21st at Ferguson Funeral Home. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 28th also at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Wednesday, May 19th
Chix Officials Update Regulations
for New Dispensaries Locating Here
Revised regulations for future medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities have been approved by the Chickasha City Council. The panel approved the changes in its meeting Monday night and will soon be in effect. Among the changes are that dispensaries and commercial growers will not be allowed to operate outside an approved zoning area unless the applicant has obtained a use-on-review permit. And no dispensaries shall allow the consumption of medical marijuana, related products, or alcohol in the dispensary. Use-on-review permits will be considered on a case-by-case basis at the discretion of the Community Development director. The permits will only be active for the duration that the tenant or property owner uses that location. The new regulations were approved by a 6-2 vote with Councilmen Clark Van Dyck and R.P. Ashanti-Alexander casting the no votes.
New Dispensary, Fire Fighter Lawsuit
on Agenda for Special Council Meeting
A proposal to consider a use-on-review for a new dispensary was pulled from the city council agenda Monday night. Officials said there was an error in the paperwork. The request is from Brannan Bordwine for a location at 420 West Grand and it will be considered in a special city council meeting later today. Other items on the agenda include a behind-closed-doors discussion regarding the lawsuit filed against city by the Chickasha Firefighters Association regarding the allegations of the city's refusal to compensate firefighters for overtime pay as part their contract agreement. The council will also consider a $44,000 payment to a firm to burn the remaining debris collected from last October's ice storm. Today's special meeting will get underway at 5:30 p.m. at city hall.
Suspect Accused of Setting Fire to His Home
A Rush Springs man has been arrested and charged with arson in connection with a fire that damaged his mobile home. The state fire marshal's office issued an arrest warrant for 46-year old Jeffrey Allen Clark last Friday and he was arrested on Monday. Clark is accused of starting the fire at his home south of Rush Springs in July of last year. A probable cause affidavit from the investigator states that evidence from the fire was identified as an ignitable fluid similar to gasoline. Other possible causes for the fire were eliminated including electrical problems, unattended cooking, or lit candles, cigarettes, or cigars that may have fallen on the floor. Clark's daughter, who was living with him at the mobile home, told investigators her father had removed a lot of items from the home two days before the fire and that Clark admitted to her that he started the fire. Prosecutors have formally charged Clark with second degree arson and he is out of jail after posting a $25,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for June 23rd.
Chix Library Sets Summer Reading Program
The Chickasha Public Library is getting ready to offer another summer reading program for kids. Children's Librarian Courtney Mayall says sign-ups are underway and talks about this year's theme-
The “Tails and Tales” program is free and begins June 1st and runs through July 30th.
Congressman Schedules Telephone Town Hall Meeting
Oklahoma 4th District Congressman Tom Cole will hold a telephone town hall meeting next week. In a press release, Cole says he wants to provide an update on legislative news and updates from Washington, D.C. He said between recent legislative developments and more misguided and expensive policies put forth by the Biden Administration there is a lot to discuss. The Congressman has set aside one hour to visit with Oklahomans in his district which includes parts of central and southwest Oklahoma. It will be Monday, May 24th from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Constituents can call 833-305-1727. Individuals can contact Cole's Oklahoma office in Norman for other information.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.49 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.71.
Natural gas is $3.01 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,858 and silver is $27.77.
A memorial service for Patricia Williams, 61, of Chickasha will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 21st at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Tuesday, May 18th
Councilman: 1930 Chix Lynching Should be Condemned
It's reported that the last lynching in Oklahoma occurred in Chickasha nearly 100 years ago. City Councilman R.P. Ashanti-Alexander wants the city council to pass a resolution condemning the act. The Ward 3 councilman brought up the issue during last night's city council meeting. He said as the state prepares to mark the 100th anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre that it was appropriate that the city take the action. Ashanti-Alexander said that Henry Argo died in the attack on May 30th, 1930. No one was ever arrested for the hate crime. On-line records show that Argo was killed by a mob at the Chickasha jail. He had been arrested for the alleged attack on a white woman and her child. It was reported that a sniper made his way into Argo's cell and shot him in the head.
Chix Water Bills Going Up
Chickasha residents will be paying more for their drinking water. The city council approved a wide range of fee increases during last night's meeting. The minimum cost for water will be $15 for up to 2,000 gallons used. Basic sewer rates inside the city limits, which is based on water consumption, will be $4.35 per month plus $3.30 per 1,000 gallons. The new rates are expected to be implement July 1st. Mayor Chris Mosley said the rate hike is needed as the city's cost to purchase water from the Ft. Cobb Reservoir will increase substantially. That's because the city has not had a new contract with the Ft. Cobb Master Conservancy District which operates the reservoir in nearly three decades.
Mosley said a federal audit discovered the failure by both sides for not having a new contract for that length of time.
Traffic Delays Expected Due to Bridge Work
Today is the day that crews working on the Washita River Bridge Replacement project will be putting a new bridge beam into place. This is on U.S. Highway 62 near the H.E. Bailey Turnpike east of Chickasha. Traffic will be stopped occasionally while crews maneuver the giant piece of steel. Officials expect there will be delays and motorists should find an alternate route.
Power Line Replacement Postponed
Some electrical line work on Choctaw Avenue that was scheduled for tomorrow has been postponed. Officials had announced that traffic would be detoured between 4th Street and 16th Street for a brief time Wednesday morning. Public Works Director David Buchanan said that the work has been delayed as there was an issue with the detour route. Contractors for Public Service Company of Oklahoma will be replacing some power lines which is associated with the Highway 81 West Bypass project.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $66.27 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $69.46.
Natural gas is $3.22 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,869 and silver is $28.62.
A private graveside service for 72-year old Ron Reynolds of Chickasha will be held at the Verden Cemetery. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Funeral service for 24-year old Justice Oliver of Chickasha will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, May 21st at The Christian Center. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Monday, May 17th
Downpour Causes Flooding in Rush Springs Area
Torrential rains caused some flooding in the Rush Springs area yesterday. District 3 Grady County Commissioner Ralph Beard says there were reports of more than six inches of rain in a wide area in southern Grady and northern Stephens counties. And, there has been some damage to county roads.
Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson posted a number of photos on the agency's Facebook page showing water running over county roads. The National Weather Service has issued a flood watch for all of central and southern Oklahoma through 7:00 a.m. Wednesday morning as more rain is forecast for the region. Officials say additional flooding is possible south of the H.E. Bailey Turnpike.
Chix City Council to Discuss Dispensary Regulations
Updates to the City of Chickasha's code regarding medical marijuana dispensaries and grow facilities will be discussed by the Chickasha City Council tonight. The panel will also consider a use-on-review request for yet another dispensary at 420 West Grand Avenue. The council will also consider rezoning several lots in the Southgate Addition from residential to commercial use. The Planning Commission is recommending the changes for applicant Bryce Binyon. The council will also consider declaring expired protective body armor and law enforcement uniform equipment no longer used by the police department as surplus property. The group will also consider a proposal to purchase additional quarantine cages for the city’s animal shelter at a cost of $8,000. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Several People Hurt in Collision
One person was hospitalized and several others suffered minor injuries after a crash in Stephens County. 20-year old Braden Wright of Duncan was taken to an Oklahoma City hospital where he was admitted in fair condition. 20-year old Addy Elroy, 18-year old Michael Elroy, and 20-year old Kaytlyn Smock all of Marlow were taken to a Duncan hospital where they were treated and released. The accident happened about 5:30 a.m. Friday on U.S. Highway 81 south of Duncan. The highway patrol reports all the crash victims were in the same vehicle when a pickup driven by 56-year old Antonio Alvarez of Duncan ran a stop sign and crash into them.
Bridge Construction to Slow Traffic
The Washita River bridge re-construction on U.S. Highway 62 east of Chickasha could cause some traffic delays this week. State department of transportation officials say crews will be putting one of the new bridge beams in place. Flaggers will be out on Tuesday and Thursday to stop traffic occasionally. Motorists can expect delays and should be prepared to stop or find an alternate route. Future bridge beam placements will be taking place over the next few weeks and officials say they will announce them in advance. The two bridges over the river are being replaced at a cost of $12.5 million. The project is expected to take another 14 months to complete.
IRS Tax Deadline Extended for Some
You may hear news reports that today is the deadline in most states to file 2020 tax statements with the IRS. However, that's not the case in Oklahoma, Texas, and Louisiana. Steve Grodecki with the Chickasha H and R Block office says an extension was granted to residents in those states due to the federal disaster declared in those states as a result of the polar vortex that paralyzed the three states in February. The deadline to file taxes for residents in those states was extended to June 15th.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.37 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.71.
Natural gas is $2.96 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,850 and silver is $27.74.