Saturday, March 26th
More Fallout from Volunteer Firefighters Dispute
The resignations of four more Grady County Volunteer Fire Department firefighters were accepted by the Grady County Fire Board during a special meeting last night. The meeting was held after Perry Wenzel was dismissed as Chief of the Grady County Fire Department in a fire board meeting last month, a move which is being protested by a number of Wenzel supporters. Wenzel told KWTV News 9 that the board did not tell him why he was fired. Here's are some of Perry's comments with a TV reporter-
Fire board president Story Duffle issued a prepared statement saying Wenzel did know why he was being fired-
Duffle said many of the firefighters resigned because they missed too many meetings. She said all were contacted and asked if they still wanted to serve and only one of 18 firefighters responded. Residents are concerned about the lack of fire protection due to the resignations but Duffle said neighboring departments will be able to respond. The fire board accepted the resignations of Farwell station chief Jeffrey Blankenship and fellow firefighters Tony Ledrick, Justin Wenzel, and David Lara. The panel also appointed Grady County Assistant Fire Chief Rodney Gregory to serve as interim fire chief until further notice.
Chix Water Line Repair About A Month Away
Chickasha officials are hoping the purchase of some large coupling rings can repair a leak in the city's water supply line from the Ft. Cobb Reservoir. The city council approved the purchase of four of the adapter rings at a total cost of about $10,000 during a special meeting this week. Those adaptors have to be custom-made as the fractured water line is slightly larger in diameter than current standard sized lines. The rings are about two feet in diameter and just 8- to 12-inches long. It will take as long as three weeks for the couplers to be made by Central Oklahoma Winnelson of Oklahoma City. Once they are delivered it will take one or two days to make repairs at the site of the leak which is near a holding pond north of Anadarko. The water line will have to be shut down during repairs but city officials the water supply should not be interrupted as there are retention ponds and towers which hold enough water to supply the city for about two weeks.
One Hurt After Vehicle Crashes in Ravine
At least one person was injured when a vehicle crashed through a bridge and plummeted into a ravine. The accident happened west of Minco on State Highway 152 about 3 o'clock this morning near the Grady and Caddo county line. The roadway was blocked for about an hour and half as wrecker crews recovered the vehicle. No details about the crash were available and there's no word on how serious the injuries of the person or persons involved were.
Child Porn Suspect Jailed
Now a KOOL News follow-up to a story we told you about yesterday regarding a Cyril man wanted for manufacturing child porn. 51-year old Charles Phillip Gelpi was arrested by Chickasha police last night. Gelpi was booked into the Grady County Jail about 7:30. Gelpi was wanted out of Comanche County for secretly recording videos of a teenage girl in May of 2021. Details on how and where authorities found Gelpi weren't available.
Alleged Drug Trafficker Arrested After Traffic Stop
A Caddo County traffic stop leads to the arrest of a man on drug complaints - who was also wanted on numerous felony warrants out of Lawton. 51-year old Jovon Allen Tolliver of Lawton was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for a partially covered tag in southern Caddo County this week. The Lawton Constitution cites court documents which say Tolliver was found with more than 65 grams of cocaine. Tolliver is now facing a drug trafficking charge in Caddo County where he remains in jail on a $250,000 bond. He's facing eight drug-related charges out of Comanche County. The driver of the car was given a warning about the tag and was not arrested.
Talk Show Topics
Here’s what we’re talking about this weekend. On the KOOL Konversation are the two candidates running for the Ward One Chickasha City Council seat in the upcoming city council election. On Real Estate Today is Larry Weatherford from the U.S. Small Business Administration office in Oklahoma City. Find links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, March 25th
Amber Road Repair Project Has Been on Hold 6 Years
The waiting continues for Amber Mayor Craig Parham and county commissioners regarding a proposed road-improvement project. Parham asked commissioners this week for an update on plans to repair County Road 1280 which is known as the Amber Road that runs from Amber west to U.S. Highway 81. The road and two bridges along the four-mile stretch are in bad condition. Parham is especially worried because it’s a school bus route and says an accident could happen at any time. The project was first proposed in 2016 when the estimated cost for repairs was about $4 million. Officials now believe the estimated cost would be more than twice that at $9 million. The project is included on road and bridge projects in a nine-county region which are all waiting for state funding. Commissioner Kirk Painter said the project is currently third on that list and they may have to do the work in phases. Painter said all the right-of-way has been acquired to re-locate utilities and is hopeful that some work could begin next year.
Cyril Man Sought for Allegedly Making Child Porn
Authorities are seeking a Caddo County man who is alleged to have secretly recorded video of a nude teenager. An arrest warrant was issued this week for 51-year old Phillip Charles Gelpi, Sr. of Cyril who is wanted for manufacturing child pornography. The warrant was issued out of Comanche County as the alleged act took place at a home there. The Lawton Constitution reports that authorities were notified by the 16-year old girl's mother about the allegations in May of last year. The OSBI was called in to help with the investigation. Authorities found three videos of the girl changing clothes in her bedroom and in the bathroom. The maximum sentence for a conviction is 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
Festival of Light is Top Event in Chickasaw Country, Again
Chickasha's Festival of Light (FOL) has again been voted as the Best Festival in Chickasaw Country. It's the second straight year FOL has been awarded the honor in a survey put together by The Chickasaw Nation. The Festival received 42 percent of the 25,000 votes cast - more than twice the number of the runner-up event which was the Okie Noodling Festival in Pauls Valley.
Rural Broadband Act OK'd in State House
A proposal to get broadband service into much of rural Oklahoma has passed a hurdle at the state capital. House Bill 3363 known as The Rural Broadband Act was passed out of the State House of Representatives this week. If approved the act would create a state office which would distribute all funding available for broadband expansion. The proposal calls for 95 percent of Oklahoma to have broadband (Internet) access within five years. The measure will now be considered in the state senate.
Plan Would Freeze Property Taxes for Senior Citizens
Also at the state capital there is an effort to help senior citizens save money on their property taxes. The house of representatives passed a joint resolution that would freeze the assessed value of homes for property owners 65 and older. The plan is now eligible to be heard by the senate. If approved the measure would be put on a statewide ballot.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $112.34 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $119.03.
Natural gas is $5.40 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,962 and silver is $25.90.
Thursday, March 24th
Leak in Chickasha's Water Supply Line a Concern at City Hall
A leak in the raw water line that brings water from the Ft. Cobb Reservoir to Chickasha has Chickasha officials concerned. The leak is by the holding pond in Anadarko and officials with the public works department say its flooding farm land leased to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. They say the extent of the damage is unknown and they are hesitant to dig it up without the proper parts on-site as it could result in a complete interruption of bringing water to the city. The issue is one of several to be discussed by the city council in a special meeting tonight. Officials are recommending that the council waive bidding requirements in order to purchase about $10,000 in materials that may be needed to make repairs.
FOP Contract, Computer Equipment, Air Show also to be Discussed
The council will also go behind closed doors to get an update on negotiations with the Fraternal Order of Police Local 129 regarding its contract for the current fiscal year. Also to be discussed is waiving the bidding process to purchase computer equipment from Dell Computers using the state contract, and approving an agreement with Curt Richmond Air Shows for just over $4,000 for the air show that will take place at the airport in June. The meeting will get underway at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Commissioners Schedule Emergency Meeting on Burn Ban
Grady County Commissioners will hold an emergency meeting this afternoon to re-affirm the continuation of the county's burn ban. At their regular meeting earlier this week commissioners extended the burn ban through next Monday. At the time, the panel did approve a provision that allows farmers to hold prescribed burns so they can comply with USDA programs they are participating in. The Grady County Fire Department reported that numerous volunteer departments were in the field for more than 14 hours last Sunday battling wildfires throughout the region. The emergency meeting will be at 2:30 today at the commissioner's office in the county courthouse.
FNB Joins Donors Paying to Build New Downtown Chix Park
The effort to create a new park in downtown Chickasha gets a financial boost. The First National Bank and Trust has kicked in $25,000 to go toward the construction of the proposed park south of the Rock Island Railroad Depot downtown. The park will be developed in a partnership between the Chickasha Community Foundation and USAO. It is being launched with a $1.5 million investment for the first phase of construction which is expected to start soon and plans are to have the first phase completed by the time the Festival of Light opens in November. Officials say all the money needed pay for the construction is coming from private donations.
Darko Lifts Boil Order; Issues Traffic Advisory
A voluntary boil order issued in Anadarko this week has been lifted. City officials were recommending that residents boil their tap water after repairs were made to a water distribution line last weekend. The announcement was posted on the City of Anadarko's Facebook page. City officials also are letting the public know that traffic on State Highway 9 west of Anadarko will be down to one lane starting Monday March 28th. ODOT crews will be doing some work on the highway from the west edge of Anadarko to the Apache Y and urge motorists to use caution for the duration of the project.
Grady County Veterans Council is Being Formed
A number of area groups that support military veterans will be expanding their efforts. Grady County Disabled American Veterans (DAV), the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), and the American Legion are forming a Grady County Veterans Council. Tommy Hammons is the adjutant for DAV Chapter 17 and is also active the other veterans groups-
Howell said they are working with the Comanche County Veterans Council and the state council to kick-off the local group which will assist veterans and their dependents. An organizational meeting will be held at 6:30 p.m. tomorrow night (Friday, March 25th) at the Canadian Valley Technology Center. They'll have free pizza for all attending.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $114.93.
London-based Brent is $121.60.
Natural gas is $5.23 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,947 and silver is $25.25.
Funeral service for Linda Carpenter, 78, of Oklahoma City and formerly of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. March 28th at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Funeral service Wanda Asper-McMahan, 98, of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Monday, March 28th at McRay Funeral Home.
Wednesday, March 23rd
Ninnekah School Board Begins Superintendent Interviews
A new superintendent could be named at Ninnekah Public Schools within the next few weeks. The school board is beginning interviews with some of the candidates who applied for the post. Interim Superintendent Robyn Morse issued a prepared statement saying that the school board is pleased with the applications that were received and feels confident that they will find a great fit for the district. The board selected a small number of finalists who met the profile that district stakeholders and the school board established in focus groups and an on-line survey. Morse said a new superintendent could be named during the April 14th school board meeting. A new superintendent is being sought after previous superintendent Todd Bunch resigned following the sexual assault scandal that rocked the district.
Chix Schools Set Meeting for Johnson O'Malley Program
(EDITOR'S NOTE - This story was revised from the original which aired on the morning news. That version contained some erroneous information that did not pertain to this meeting. We apologize for the error)
The Native American education program at Chickasha Public Schools will hold a public hearing regarding its Title VI Indian Education plan. The Johnson O’Malley (JOM) organization will conduct an on-line session to review and get input on the Title VI plan. The on-line session is being held in order to maximize community input. The meeting will also include discussion on the Title VI grant process and voting for the grant budget approval. Those interested in being part of the on-line meeting should contact the administration office for information on how to access the meeting or see the announcement on the Chickasha school’s Facebook page.
Chickasha City Council Election Set
Chickasha voters will elect a new Ward One city councilman in a couple of weeks. Kea Ginn and David Lucas are running for the seat currently held by David Sikes who did not run for re-election. Ginn is a health care professional and is a Chickasha native who holds a master's degree in Business administration. Lucas is a retired plumber who has lived in Chickasha for the last six years. He says he is a Christian conservative Republican who hates government waste. The city council election is scheduled for Tuesday, April 5th.
Benefit Breakfast Scheduled for Fallen Firefighter
Firefighters throughout the region are banding together to support the family of a fallen comrade. A benefit breakfast will be held this Saturday for the family of April Partridge. She died while fighting a wildfire near Lake Ellsworth on Sunday. Bobby Claborn is the chief at the Apache Volunteer Fire Department. He says he's getting assistance from volunteer departments including Cement, Cyril, and New Hope.
The breakfast will include pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, coffee, and orange juice. The breakfast is by donation with all proceeds going to Partridge's family and the Masonic Lodge in Apache will match all contributions. It will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Apache Warrior Event Center at the high school and Claborn says they hope to serve 400 or more and they will continue serving after 11 o’clock if needed.
Paw Paw's Hamburgers Re-opens
A long-time Chickasha restaurant that has been closed the last couple of years has re-opened. Paw-Paw's Hamburgers served its first customers in two years yesterday. It's a third generation family business that was started in 1968 by Wayne and Juanita Payne. Their son Rex ran the restaurant for about 30 years and then Rex's nephew, Dustin took over. Dustin died unexpectedly in the fall of 2019 and his wife, Alicia took over. She said she had to close the restaurant to raise her children and then the pandemic hit. Paw Paw’s is still in its same location at 1028 South 4th Street.
Grady County Cattle Producers to Hold Annual Meeting
The annual meeting of the Grady County Cattle Producers Association is coming up. The group will get an overview of the previous year and hear the results of the steer carcass contest that started last fall. Jake Grossnicklaus is hoping for a turnout of about 200 people. The meeting will be Friday, April 15th at 6:30 p.m. at the Grady County Fairgrounds. Annual membership is $50 per family. Individuals who would like to attend are asked to RSVP by April 7th by contacting the Grady County OSU Extension Office.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $111.76 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $115.48.
Natural gas is $5.19 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,935 and silver is $25.23
Willie Johnson, Jr.
A memorial service for Willie Johnson, Jr., 75, of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, March 28th at the First Baptist Church at 1st and Dakota Avenue. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Tuesday, March 22nd
Some Fire Crews Angry at Fire Board, County Commssioners
Volunteer firefighters from at least one rural Grady County station are angry over recent actions taken by the county fire board and county commissioners. Reports are that a number of members from the Farwell Fire Department have either been dismissed or left on their own. One of the reasons they aren't happy is the recent dismissal of long-time Grady County Fire Chief Perry Wenzel who was relieved of his duties last month. Then yesterday, county commissioners removed Farwell fire fighter Tom Clements from his post on the fire board. District 2 Commissioner Kirk Painter alleged that Clements violated the state's Open Meetings Act in a recent fire board meeting. Clements was present at yesterday's county commissioner's gathering and said that Painter had no proof of such a violation. Stormy Duffle with the fire board said that the complaints are coming from three or four disgruntled firefighters out of about 130 volunteers throughout the county. Painter called for a state audit of the County Fire Department and all 12 of the county's volunteer departments. Commissioners tabled a decision on calling for the audit saying they were to meet with officials from the state auditor's office in the next couple of weeks on a separate issue.
Grady County Burn Ban Extended; Prescribed Burns OK'd
Grady County commissioners approved a one-week extension of the county-wide burn ban. There was a revision approved which will allow farm operators to conduct prescribed burns. Producers who take part in USDA programs are supposed to conduct prescribed burns in order to be eligible for agency programs. However, they must follow certain guidelines from the state forestry division. Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said among the guidelines are notifying neighboring property owners, local fire departments, the sheriff's office, and the county barn in their district.
Firefighter Killed While Battling Wildfire Identified
Officials have identified the firefighter who died while battling a wildland fire near Lake Ellsworth over the weekend. 55-year old April Partridge was a volunteer for the Edgewater Park Fire Department. Reports indicate that Partridge became separated from her truck while fighting the flames. The Lawton Constitution reports that she is the first female firefighter to die in the line of duty in Comanche County. Her death is being investigated by the State Medical Examiner's Office. Officials say there is no evidence that the fire was set intentionally but the State Fire Marshall's Office is working to determine how it started.
Suspect Arrested in Alledged Verden Kidnapping Case
A Verden man is facing kidnapping and weapons charges following his arrest this past weekend. 31-year old Stephen Lee Martin was taken into custody by Verden police after authorities were called to investigate a domestic disturbance at a home. However the officer was notified that no one was at the home when the call came in. The officer had knowledge of the individuals and said he would be on the lookout for them. About 4 a.m. Sunday the officer spotted Martin and the victim driving back into town in a pickup and pulled them over. The victim told police that Martin kidnapped her at gunpoint and threatened to kill her so Martin was taken into custody. Martin has been charged with four felonies along with a misdemeanor for domestic abuse. He remains in jail on a $100,000 bond.
Area Youth Show Some Top Animals at OYE
A number of regional youth had some of the top animals shown at the Oklahoma Youth Expo (OYE) last week. Sadie Winn of Newcastle had the grand champion market steer with her crossbred which brought $102,000 in the sale. Also in the market steer show, Ladd Turner of Amber-Pocasset had the reserve-grand market steer which brought $51,000. Ladd also had the reserve-breed champion Limousin and Madilyn Norvell also of Amber-Pocasset had the breed champion Charolais. In the market lamb show, Kobi Scoggins of Tuttle had the breed champion Shropshire. In the market goat show, Kolton Kohler of Alex had the reserve-breed champion in Division Four. Overall, the OYE Sale of Champions brought in a record $1.5 million.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $112.12 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $115.62.
Natural gas is $4.90 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,932 and silver is $25.26.
Monday, March 21st
One Firefighter Dead, Two Hurt Battling Fires
Dozens of firefighters were dispatched to battle numerous wildfires which erupted from Sunday's high winds. One fire fighter died and two others were injured battling flames in Comanche County where a mandatory evacuation was ordered. The name of the firefighter who died was not available. Another fire was south of Apache near the Caddo and Comanche county line. Fires also sprang up in the Alex and Lindsay areas and some homes were damaged in Lindsay. Other fires erupted east of Blanchard and east of Tuttle. The Tuttle Fire Department called in help from the Oklahoma City to help put down those flames.
Audit May Be Called to Look Into Volunteer Fire Departments
A proposal to audit the Grady County Fire Department and all 12 of the county’s volunteer departments will be considered by Grady County Commissioners in their weekly meeting this morning. The panel will also consider removing Tom Clements from the Grady County Fire Board as the Falwell department’s representative. The panel is also to consider awarding a bid for the removal of asbestos from the Chickasha Senior Nutrition Center.
Anadarko Residents Encouraged to Boil Water
Anadarko residents are being urged to boil the water they drink out the tap and use for cooking. A voluntary boil order was issued by the city yesterday. The boil order published on the City of Anadarko’s Facebook page is being recommended after work crews repaired a broken water line at 7th and Kansas over the weekend. It's not clear how long the voluntary boil order will be in effect.
Chix Firefighters Get Training at Tinker
Chickasha firefighters spent some time with the Tinker Fire Department last week. Crews trained on a piece of equipment called a 'flashover simulator’. The training is with live fire. A post on the City of Chickasha's Facebook page says the training is vital for city firefighters to become better at what they do. Other members of the fire department will take part in the training over the next few months. The social media post included a thank you message to those who donated to make the training possible.
Groups Combine Efforts to Help Fight Poverty
A couple of non-profit organizations and a business group are joining efforts to help residents affected by poverty. The Salvation Army of Grady and Caddo Counties and the Resurrection House are uniting with the Chickasha Economic Development Council (EDC) to form what will be called the Chickasha Community Alliance Committee. The new group was announced in a recent media column form EDC president Jim Cowan. He says the three agencies are inviting all organizations that work with people dealing with poverty to see how they can all assist each other. Lts. Bobby and Crystal McFarland with the Salvation Army and Zack Bowles from the Resurrection House will co-chair the committee. The first meeting of the new committee will be held next Wednesday, March 30th at 2 p.m. at the Economic Development Council office inside the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce. For information contact Cowan by calling 405-224-0787.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $104.72 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $107.93.
Natural gas is $4.86 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,933 and silver is $25.20.