Saturday, July 23rd
Police Name Man Whose Body was Found
Chickasha police have released the name of the man whose body was found near a creek bed in the city this week. The body 37-year old Andrew Thomas Crawford was found in the 400 block of Grand Avenue near Congo Creek Wednesday morning. Police Chief Dee Rowell said Crawford's body was found by a couple of men who arrived at a nearby job-site. Rowell said that Crawford had a Chickasha mailing address but had most recently been in Nevada. Rowell said it wasn't clear how long the body may have been there but that it may have only been there a few hours. It wasn't clear why Crawford may have been at the creek. No foul play is suspected. The state medical examiner will determine how Crawford died.
Power Grid to Issue Another 'Advisory' Due to High Demand
Officials who oversee the power grid that provides electricity to Oklahoma and more than a dozen other states say the demand for electricity is still high as much of the country suffers from an extended heat wave. The Southwest Power Pool (SPP) had issued an advisory earlier this week which was allowed to expire on Thursday. But continued high demand will bring another advisory that will start on Monday. An advisory does not bring a requirement to conserve energy which could lead to rolling blackouts throughout the 14-state region. The website OK Energy Today reports that power generation companies and transmission operators should report any limitations, fuel shortages, or concerns to SPP if electricity demands continue to increase.
Woman Formally Charged with Lewd Acts with Children
A $500,000 bond has been set for a Chickasha woman arrested for alleged lewd acts to young girls. Caddo County Judge David Stephens established the high bond in Friday's arraignment for Cheyenne Lawanda Barnes. She was arrested earlier this week following an OSBI investigation. The agency alleges that Barnes had inappropriate contact with two 15-year old girls at Lake Chickasha during an unspecified time frame between 2020 and 2021. Barnes is charged with two counts of lewd acts with children and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. She is to be back in court September 6th to announce her attorney.
New Bond Set for Woman Accused of Second Drug Offense
The woman arrested this week for selling counterfeit pain pills was out of jail on bond following a previous arrest in a similar incident earlier this year. 19-year old Marcia Illaree Luna was formally charged with drug trafficking and child neglect in connection with this week's arrest. She had been arrested in February on previous allegations of selling M-80 tablets which are prescription pain killers that include fentanyl. The drugs have led to a number of deaths across the country. In both arrests Luna is alleged to have sold the drugs to a confidential informant working with the Grady County Sheriff’s Office and the Drug Enforcement Administration. Following her February arrest Luna was able to get out of jail after having her initial bond of $100,000 lowered to $35,000. As a result of this week's arrest a judge set a new bond of $285,000.
Talk Show Topics
Matt Whetzel with the Intervention and Crisis Advocacy Network (ICAN) is this week’s guest on the KOOL Konversation. USAO Vice President JP Audus is the guest on Real Estate Today. Find podcasts to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Friday, July 22nd
Chix School Officials Proposed $35 Million Bond Issue
Chickasha school district voters will decide a $35 million bond issue next month. The proposal calls for improvements for every school building in the district. Officials call it the 'safety and security bond'. Major upgrades include a new gymnasium at Lincoln School which will double as a storm shelter; a new library at Grand School which will also double as a storm shelter; a new security area at the middle school; and renovations for a number of high school classrooms. It also includes major renovations at Memorial Stadium to include field turf, a new track, upgrades to the grandstands, press box, and other improvements. Other projects include the development of a district day care, new band instruments, uniforms and equipment for fine arts programs, and technology upgrades at all sites. There's also a second $1 million bond proposal for transportation needs to purchase school buses, people movers, fleet vehicles, and equipment. Officials say passage of the two measures will not increase property taxes. Complete information about the projects can be viewed on the Chickasha school's website. The bond issues will be on the August 23rd run-off election ballot.
Woman Accused of Sex Crimes Against Girls
A Chickasha woman is accused of sex crimes against under-aged girls. 22-year old Cheyenne Lawanda Barnes is facing charges of lewd acts with a child in Caddo County. An warrant for Barnes' arrest was issued July 8th and she was booked into the Grady County Jail early Thursday morning. A probable cause affidavit filed in Caddo County District Court by the OSBI alleges that Barnes had intimate contact with two 15-year old girls between 2020 and 2021. In addition to facing two charges of lewd acts with a child, she's charged with a misdemeanor for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Barnes has not yet had her initial appearance on the charges.
Suspect Arrested Second Time on Alleged Drug Charges
Grady County authorities again team up with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to arrest another suspect with prescription drugs laced with lethal fentanyl. 19-year old Marcia Luna of Chickasha was booked into the Grady County Jail earlier this week. A probable cause affidavit indicates a confidential informant working with the sheriff's office and DEA arranged the purchase of a number of M-30 tablets from Luna on June 20th. It's the second time this year that Luna has been arrested and charged with drug possession with intent to distribute. The first arrest occurred in February and she has a preliminary hearing set in connection with that arrest next month.
Texas Man Also Arrested on Alleged Drug Charges
Minco police arrest a Texas man for allegedly having cocaine and other illegal drugs. 53 year old Raul Ernesto Leal was pulled over by an officer for driving erratically and having an expired tag. A probable cause affidavit indicates the officer detected an odor of marijuana in the truck and asked Leal if he had a medical marijuana card and he did not. The officer asked to search the vehicle and Leal is alleged to have become agitated and combative. The officer found a substance that field-tested positive for cocaine and also found nearly $12,000 in cash. Prosecutors have charged him with two felonies for drug possession with intent to distribute and misdemeanors including having drug items and operating a vehicle with an expired tag. Leal is out of jail after posting a $50,000 bond. He's to be back in court August 8th to announce his attorney.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $96.35 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $103.86.
Natural gas is $7.93 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,741 and silver is $18.75.
A memorial service for Louise Rains, 95, of Chickasha will be held at a later date. She and her husband Totsie Rains owned and operated an appliance store for many years, and she also worked for Ben Franklin and the Jeep/Army store. Viewing will be today and tomorrow at Sevier Funeral Home.
A memorial service for Russell Foster, 80, of Alex will be held at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 26th at the Lindsay First Baptist Church Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Thursday, July 21st
Body Discovered Near Busy Chickasha Roadway
Chickasha police continue looking into the unattended death of a man whose body was found yesterday. Police were called to the 400 block of Grand Avenue near Congo Creek about 9:45 a.m. Wednesday. The body of a Caucasian male was discovered. Police Chief Dee Rowell says dispatchers received a call about a man who was not breathing. Authorities remained on the scene while a medical examiner was brought in to confirm the death. Rowell said there were no obvious signs of trauma and foul play is not suspected at this time. The victim's name is being withheld until relatives are notified.
Suspect Arrested for Alleged Assault of Pregnant Girlfriend
A Chickasha man wanted for allegedly assaulting his pregnant girlfriend is in custody. 22-year old Cade Aldrin Loggins was taken into custody at Autumn Brook Apartments Tuesday. A warrant was issued for Loggins' arrest the day after a July 4th incident where Aldrin is accused of trying to prevent the woman from calling 9-1-1. A probable cause affidavit indicates the victim was walking down the street in the area of 12th and Iowa. Loggins is alleged to have jumped on the victim's back and wrestle her $1,000 cell phone out of her hands and then smashed it onto the street. Loggins has been charged with a felony for malicious injury to property, and misdemeanors for domestic assault against a pregnant woman and disrupting and emergency phone call. Loggins remains in jail on a $10,000 bond.
Home Burglary Suspect Found in Shed
A suspect is in custody after a silent alarm alerts a homeowner of a potential burglar. Chickasha police were called to a home on Maple Lane Saturday evening. The homeowner told authorities he confronted a man with no shirt and that the man tried to break into his house. A probable cause affidavit indicates the suspect then tried to climb the fence to get away and damaged a number of items in the yard. Officers found the suspect hiding in a shed. Authorities arrested 33-year old Phillip Brandon Anthony Foright of Chickasha. He's facing felony charges of burglary and vandalism and remains in jail on a $40,000 bond.
Rural School 'Crisis Management' Program Set
A program to help school officials and first responders deal with school shootings and other crisis situations will be offered by Grady County Emergency Management next month. It's called Crisis Management for School-Based Incidents. The program is from the Rural Domestic Preparedness Consortium and is designed for rural school officials, law enforcement, first responders, school safety and security personnel, and mental health personnel. It is an 8-hour program certified by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Topics to be covered include pro-active threat mitigation, incident response, vulnerability assessments, and incident defusing and debriefing. The free, in-person program will be held on Wednesday, Aug. 10th at the Canadian Valley Technology Center Chickasha campus. Officials say at least 20 people need to pre-register by next Wednesday (July 27th). For information contact the Grady County Emergency Management Office.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $99.88 per barrel.
London--based Brent crude is $106.92.
Natural gas is $8.00 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,697 and silver is $18.14.
Wednesday, July 20th
Grady County Burn Ban Issued
During an emergency meeting Tuesday, Grady County commissioners issued a two-week county-wide burn ban. The ban was issued due to the extremely hot and dry conditions and the recent fires near Cement and the massive Hitchcock fire north of Watonga which burned an estimated 10,000 acres. The ban came at the urging of Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson and municipal and volunteer fire departments. Thompson told KOOL/RANCH News-
Residents should not burn trash or brush piles - nor should there be campfires or bonfires. Fireworks are banned. Agriculture producers are asked to delay any prescribed burning of crop and rangeland and should follow State Department of Agriculture, Food, and Forestry guidelines. Welding is allowed as long as safety precautions are taken and outdoor grilling is allowed with charcoal and propane grills on a hard surface.
Grady County Fire Crews Assist with Cement Fire
Grady County volunteer firefighters were among the many departments in the region dispatched to help battle the fire in Cement last weekend. Officials with the Grady County Fire Department say more than 15 trucks and a number of firefighters helped to beat back the flames for more than eight hours on Saturday. In addition to volunteer departments from Ninnekah, Verden, and Bridge Creek, municipal fire departments in Chickasha and Tuttle also sent crews. That was in addition to being called out to 10 other fires in Grady County which occurred at the same time. The Ninnekah department shuttled water to Cement as the community's water supply was getting low. Officials urge county residents to support their local volunteer firefighters with donations of water, energy drinks, and even things like eye wash, lip balm, baby wipes, and non-perishable energy bars and snack items. Items can be dropped off at each department or at the county fire department office inside the county emergency management headquarters in Chickasha.
Chix Church to Host Back-to-School Expo
A local church will again be helping public school students get ready for classes that will be getting underway in the next few weeks. Michigan Avenue Baptist Church will host a back-to-school bash and resource fair. There will be free school supplies, backpacks, clothing, toiletry items, and haircuts. About 20 local service organizations will also be on hand. There will also be free lunch and snow cones. The event will be held Saturday, August 6th from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Michigan Avenue Baptist Church at 8th and Michigan Ave.
USAO Amphitheatre Gets Facelift
One of the most popular classrooms on the USAO campus is undergoing some major renovations this summer. The Davis Hall Amphitheatre is being remodeled thanks to the generosity of the estate of an alumna who graduated nearly 80 years ago. The Nancy Wier Estate contributed $100,000 to make the upgrade possible. USAO Vice President JP Audus says it will make the amphitheatre more student and teacher-friendly-
Officials hope to have the project completed by the time classes start next month. It's not the first time that the Wier Estate has helped the university. Previous contributions have enhanced student scholarships, faculty support initiatives, a lecture series, and athletic facilities.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $104.22 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $107.35.
Natural gas is $7.26 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,729 and silver is $18.79.
Tuesday, July 19th
Grady County Burn Ban Approved
Grady County Commissioners enacted a burn ban today. The panel held an emergency meeting this morning to put the ban in place for two weeks. Listen to KOOL News at 12:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. today for the details.
Water, Sewer Service Rate Hikes OK'd by Chix City Council
Chickasha residents and businesses will be paying more for water and sewer services. The city council unanimously approved the increases during last night's council meeting. There was no discussion about the increases as they were included in an overall master fee schedule for all city departments. The base rate for residential water service will increase from $15 to $23.50 per month and the base rate for sewer service will increase from $4.35 per month to $9.60 per month. Even with those increases city officials say the fees paid will still not cover all the city's costs for providing water and sewer services. The increases are expected to go into effect in the next billing cycle.
Info Shared on New City Park
The council heard an update of the development of a new park being built on city-owned property next to the downtown railroad depot. Pat Brooks with the Chickasha Community Foundation gave about a 20-minute presentation of the history of the creation of the park and a 15-year lease between the City of Chickasha, the Community Foundation, and USAO. Brooks said they are on schedule to have a fiberglass replica of the iconic leg lamp from The Christmas Story movie in place for the start of the 30th year of the Festival of Light this fall. He also said that they would like to see more use of the depot.
The Foundation has helped to raise about $1.4 million in local funds to complete the first phase of the park's construction. Brooks said the remodeling of the Freight Building has been delayed because of supply chain and other issues but is hoping that project could be completed by the first of the year.
Mayer Appoints Assistant City Manager
Mayor Chris Mosley appointed the city's Chief Financial Officer to serve as assistant city manager. Cindy Rogers will be filling in for the mayor when he is out of town. Mosley currently serves as the interim city manager as the council continues its search for a new permanent manager.
Other Council Actions
The council did not take any action on a proposal to require registration of motorized and electric-operated bicycles and mopeds. The panel approved the purchase of a new 2022 Ford F150 Crew Cab pickup for the Community Development Department. The council waived the bidding process and authorized the $38,000 purchase of the truck from John Vance Fleet Services which under state contract. The council approved the installation of a sidewalk on 9th Street just south of Grand Avenue for Victory Family Church which will pay for the project and authorized a back-to-school party sponsored by USAO that will be open to the community in the downtown area on Saturday, August 20th.
Fire Board to Discuss Sheriff's Office Dispatch Fees
Discussion of a dispatch fee paid to the Grady County Sheriff's Office by all the county volunteer fire departments will be discussed during tonight's Grady County Fire Board Meeting. Fire board officials say each of the volunteer departments pay $300 per year for the fee - and fire board officials believe it should be a total of $300 to service all the departments. The group will also discuss becoming an EMR agency under the direction of Heartland Medical Direction, and will introduce Dustin Wynn as a new board member from the Farwell Station. The fire board will meet at 7 o'clock tonight in the Community Room of the Grady County Emergency Management Agency.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $102.60 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $106.27.
Natural gas is $7.48 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,711 and silver is $18.77.
Monday, July 18th
Chix City Council to Consider Water, Sewer Rate Hikes
Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley has been saying that water and sewer bills in city will be going up - and that could happen within the next few weeks. The city council tonight will consider a proposal that would increase utility rates by nearly 50 percent. Currently, the minimum water rate is $15 per month for up to 2,000 gallons with additional costs for higher use. The minimum costs for sewer is $4.35 per month plus $3.30 per 1,000 gallons of water consumed. Add in the monthly cost for trash pickup and the minimum monthly cost for city utilities is about $40. The proposal calls for the minimum water bill to increase to about $23.50 per month and that sewer costs more than double to $9.60 per month plus $3.50 per 1,000 gallons of water consumed. Trash pick-up service remains at $21 so the minimum monthly cost would be about $55 month - an increase of an estimated $170 per year. Mosley says the increase is needed because the fees that have been charged for the last several years fall short of paying the costs of providing water and sewer and that the city has used sales tax revenues to cover the shortfall.
Council to Get Update on City's New Park
The council will also hear a presentation from Pat Brooks with the Chickasha Community Foundation who will give an update on the new downtown park that is being developed next to the Rock Island Railroad Depot. The panel is also expected to approve a new ordinance requiring electric-powered bicycles, motorized bicycles, and mopeds to be registered with the city with an annual cost of $25. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Wildland Fire Threat Continues
Wildfires have been a big concern over the last few days. Near Cement, dozens of firefighters were summoned to battle a blaze that burned several hundred acres on Saturday. The fire was in a heavily wooded area and crews battled rocky and hilly terrain in their efforts to suppress the flames. Reports indicated that the New Hope Fire Department lost one of its fire trucks. A huge fire in Blaine County continues burning out of control with more than 10,000 acres burned. Gov. Kevin Stitt has called in the National Guard to help with firefighting efforts.
First Water Donation Received
Chickasha's first responders get one of their first deliveries of bottled water. The city kicked off a water drive last week to assist police, fire, public works, and parks and rec department employees to help them endure the extreme heat. First National Bank came through with 35 cases of water delivered to the police department on Friday. Water donations can be made at the police department, Fire Station No. 1, city hall, the library, and the public works headquarters.
Companies Sought for Job Fair
Central and southwest Oklahoma companies seeking new employees can take part in an upcoming job fair in Anadarko. The South Central Oklahoma Workforce Board will be hosting the job fair on Thursday, August 4th at the Anadarko Public Schools Activity Center. The job fair will take place the same day the school district hosts its back-to-school expo. The job fair will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and there is no cost for companies to set up vendor space. For information, reach out to Erin Glass with the South Central Oklahoma Workforce Board:
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $97.59 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $101.16.
Natural gas is $7.01 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,719 and silver is $18.88.