Saturday, March 25th
New System Tells Motorists They are Driving the Wrong Way
A new system intended to notify motorists they are driving on the wrong side of the highway is being installed on some Oklahoma interstates. The system is already in place along I-40 in eastern Oklahoma to the Arkansas broder and is currently being installed on I-35 from Oklahoma City north to the Kansas border. And beginning next week crews will be installing the system on I-40 from Yukon west to the Texas border. It's a $4 million project which will include raised pavement markers that will show red to indicate a motorist is driving the wrong way, lighted signs, and upgraded striping. In a press release, ODOT officials said 49 interchanges along I-40 from Yukon and points west will be modified. They say internally lit ‘Do Not Enter’ signs will be easier to see at night and a thermal camera system which activates flashing lights will be installed at 10 locations. Officials say the project will cause some temporary ramp closures with detours and that interstate traffic will be narrowed to one lane in the areas where the work will be done.
Plan to Eliminate State Sales Tax on Groceries Being Discussed Again
A proposal that would eliminate the state sales tax on groceries is again making its way through the halls of the state capital. This week the House of Representatives passed a bill which would eliminate the state's 4.5 percent sales tax on groceries. It now goes to the senate for consideration. The house passed a similar measure last year but it stalled in the senate. Gov. Kevin Stitt supports a plan to eliminate the tax and has urged lawmakers for the last two years to send him a bill he can sign into law. You might remember that the measure was discussed during a special session of state lawmakers last summer but the senate didn't approve the measure. At the time Senate President Greg Treat said the senate is for tax reform, they just want to make sure it’s good for the long-term future of Oklahoma. Oklahoma is one of only 13 states which still charges a sales tax on groceries.
Proposal Would Allow Some to Pay Property Taxes Monthly
Also being considered at the state capital is a proposal that would make it easier for some Oklahomans to pay their property taxes. It's HB 2003 which would allow senior citizens and others on fixed incomes to pre-pay their property taxes in monthly installments. Qualifying taxpayers would have to provide a written notice to the county treasurer by Jan. 15th each year. Accounts with delinquent taxes, accounts with an on-going valuation protest, and taxes paid through an escrow account would not be eligible for the installment program. The measure passed the house this week and now goes to the senate for consideration.
Talk Show Topics
The two candidates who are on the ballot for the Chickasha City Council election on April 4th are on our KOOL Konversation. They are Ward 4 Councilman Kelly Boyd and challenger Eric Anderson. On Real Estate Today this week's guests are Reagan Elkins, Kristyn Allbritton, and Kristen McGregor talking about the Production House, a video and audio recording studio that will be opening in Chickasha later this year. Find podcasts of both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Angeline ‘Angie’ Friskel
No service is scheduled for ’Angie’ Friskel, 75, of Chickasha. She was a scrub tech and owned an antique store. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Catherine Robinson, 83, of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 1st at the Grady County Fairgrounds. She was a gospel singer and worked at Head Start. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Friday, March 24th
Bill Would Provide Help for Renters
Living in Unhealthy, Unsafe Conditions
A bill designed to keep renters from living in unsafe conditions is gaining some traction at the state capital. HB 2109 would update the state's Landlord Tenant Act to provide some additional help to those who rent homes or apartments. If signed into law it should protect tenants who have complaints about their living conditions. It would allow courts to require that landlords make needed repairs for the health and safety of their tenants. State Rep. Daniel Pae (R-Lawton) is the author of the bill. He said tenants have little protection under current state law. It would prevent landlords from raising rent, threatening eviction, or decreasing services if tenants have legitimate concerns about the conditions of the home or apartment they are living in. The measure would apply to landlords renting less than 10 units. The bill now goes to the senate where Sen. John Montgomery (R-Lawton) is carrying the bill.
Former Animal Control Officer Pleads Guilty to Animal Abuse
The former animal control officer for the town of Fletcher has pleaded guilty to animal abuse. Timothy Peek was arrested two years ago for leaving animals unattended during the Polar Vortex freeze in February of 2021. Officials say four animals at the shelter were left to fend for themselves for more than four days during frigid arctic temperatures. Peek pleaded guilty to the charge in Comanche County District Court and received a five-year deferred sentence with one year of supervised probation; a fine of $500; will have to perform 100 hours of community service; and undergo drug and alcohol testing.
Chix Chamber, EDC to Hold 'Great Golden Egg' Promotion
Another retail shopping promotion to support Chickasha stores will begin next week. It's the Great Golden Egg Hunt. A total of 1,000 eggs will be hidden at participating retailers and each merchant will have several eggs hidden in their stores each day. Each egg has a prize from one of the participating merchants. After finding an egg shoppers will need to make a minimum $20 purchase. Customers who spend $50 will be entered into a grand prize drawing to win a Golden Egg filled with $500 in gift cards and prizes from the Chickasha Economic Development Council. The promotion will run Friday, March 31st through Saturday, April 8th. Shoppers will need to take a code received from the merchant to the chamber of commerce by Wednesday, April 12th to get entered into the drawing. The drawing will be live on the chamber’s Facebook page at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, April 13th. A printable list of merchants will be available at the chamber on Thursday, March 30th or the list can be downloaded from the website: www.chickashachamber.com
Pesticide Applicator Training Scheduled
Grady County OSU Extension will be offering a pesticide applicator training program over the next couple of weeks. There is a brief session on Wednesday March 29th at noon for Dicamba training. The next training day will be Thursday, April 6th with morning and afternoon sessions. Topics include late-season disease management, early-season cotton weed management; soybean weed management; sorghum herbicides; and-early season insect management in summer row crops. Individuals must attend in person to get credit. For information contact the Grady County OSU Extension Center by calling 405-224-2216.
Aquarium to host 'World Meteorological Day' Event
Here's a family day trip you might consider this weekend. The Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Sciences Center will celebrate World Meteorological Day tomorrow. There will be experiments, demonstrations, and hands-on activities for participants. Among those taking part are U.S. Navy meteorology analysts. The event runs from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. tomorrow (Saturday, March 25th) and is included in the cost of regular paid admission. You can get more information on the Medicine Park Aquarium and Natural Resource Center Facebook page.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $69.96 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $75.91.
Natural gas is $2.15 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,016 and silver is $23.40.
Thursday, March 23rd
More Downtown Chickasha Development Underway
Construction crews have begun working on more upgrades in the downtown Chickasha area. Chet Hitt, the California businessman who announced his intentions to invest more than $5 million around the Rock Island Railroad Depot, brought crews in yesterday to begin the transformation. Hitt tells KOOL-RANCH News-
Hitt recently purchased the Mill Building and adjoining property from the City of Chickasha. The Mill Building is expected to be a coffee house with a distillery to be built next to it and the old Savoy Hotel will be a restaurant. Hitt tells the Southwest Ledger that an informal meet-and-greet with the public will be held next week.
Volunteer Fire Departments Receive Check, Pickup
The Grady County Fire Department gets a sizeable donation. Gulfport Energy of Oklahoma City provided the fire department with $20,000 and a 2017 Ford truck. The money will be used to purchase some gas monitors for the volunteer fire departments. Grady County Fire Chief Rodney Gregory said plans are outfit the truck with emergency medical equipment to help first responders provide basic treatment to those who are injured until paramedics arrive.
Arrest Made After Stolen Car Found in Chickasha
A car stolen out of the Stillwater area is found in Chickasha and a suspect has been arrested and charged for being in possession of the vehicle. A probable cause affidavit indicates Stillwater authorities reached out to Chickasha police last Friday saying the car could be found in a residential area. Officers believed they located it at a home in the 1400 block of South 7th Street. Investigators say they had probable cause to get a search warrant and found the 2008 Mazda Miata in the backyard. Authorities also searched the home and say they found drugs and weapons inside. Police arrested 62-year old David Joseph Voorhies. After spending the weekend in jail Voorhies was charged with felonies which include possession of a stolen vehicle, possession of CDS with intent to distribute, and having a firearm after former felony conviction. Voorhies is out of jail after posting a bond which was only set at $12,500. A preliminary hearing conference is scheduled April 12th.
'Domestic Abuse Survivorship Act' Passes State House
A house bill aimed at limiting the punishment for Oklahomans charged with killing their violent and abusive partners is being considered at the state capital. It's HB 1639 which is called the Domestic Abuse Survivorship Act. It's authored by State Rep. Toni Hasenbeck (R-Elgin). It states that if a defendant is a survivor of domestic abuse - it would limit the punishment that could be issued. It would require that courts consider whether a defendant has been physically, sexually, economically, or psychologically abused. The measure passed the house unanimously and can now be discussed in the senate.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $70.90 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $76.69.
Natural gas is $2.17 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,997 and silver is $23.02.
Louis ‘Bud’ McClaflin, Jr.
A graveside service for ‘Bud’ McClaflin, Jr. of Chickasha will be held at 1:00 p.m. Friday, March 24th at the Verden Cemetery. He was a truck driver and worked in the oilfield. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Billy ‘Mickey’ Stephenson
A memorial service for 'Mickey' Stephenson of Chickasha will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 25th at Shepherd Street Christian Church. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Wednesday, March 22nd
Rural Water District Receives Funds for Upgrades
A large grant and some American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds will pay for some needed improvements to a rural water district in Grady County. Nearly $1.1 million will be used to upgrade the Rural Water District 7 system in the Ninnekah area. The district received a $1 million grant from the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) for materials and nearly $70,000 in ARPA funds to pay for the construction work. The improvements will include the installation of a new water storage standpipe and the relocation and renovation of an existing standpipe. Officials credit the work of State Rep. Brad Boles (R-Marlow) and State Sen. Lonnie Paxton (R-Tuttle) in acquiring the funds. Officials with the OERB estimate that District 7 customers will save more than $1.5 million on the cost of the project compared to traditional financing methods.
Controversial Cockfighting Bill Advances at State Capital
A controversial bill at the state capital about cockfighting has been approved in the state house of representatives and now goes to the senate for consideration. HB 2530 would allow county residents to petition for elections to reduce cockfighting violations from felonies to misdemeanors. The bill’s author, Rep. Justin Humphrey (R-Lane) said the bill would ensure that people who breed the birds won't be unduly punished and that no person has ever died from cockfighting. Officials with the Oklahoma Gamefowl Commission said cockfighting would still be illegal under the proposal. They say current state law doesn't make it clear about whether a chicken is being raised to fight or as breeding stock. There are producers who say they don't raise roosters for fighting. Animal rights activists are opposed to the bill. Officials with a group called Animal Wellness Action called Oklahoma the cockfighting capital of the United States. Tuttle State Senator Lonnie Paxton is carrying similar legislation with SB 1006. He said he'll work to modify the legislation saying it needs more work before it even comes close to becoming law. Paxton said there has been some pushback as larger counties want to keep cockfighting out of big cities due to tourism and convention issues.
Chickasha Woman Arrested for Alleged Drug Trafficking
There has been another drug bust for the Grady County sheriff's office. Authorities arrested 28-year old Jessica Nicole Wright at a Chickasha motel last Friday. A probable cause affidavit indicates that authorities received a tip that Wright was at the Castle Inn. As part of his on-going investigation of illicit drug sales in the region, sheriff's office DEA agent Lt. Jim Peek alleged that Wright is a primary source of Fentanyl-laced counterfeit drugs. He said the tipster indicated that Wright had just gotten a new supply. Authorities allegedly found more than 80 pills which field-tested positive for having Fentanyl. Wright was taken into custody and has been charged with aggravated trafficking and possession of CDS. She remains in the Grady County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
Chix City Council OKs Veterinary Contract
The Chickasha City Council this week approved a proposal for the city's animal shelter to contract with the Verden Veterinary Clinic for treatment of the animals housed at the shelter. The contract is for $1,100 per month. The council also approved the purchase of a management program for the shelter at cost of $250. The council also approved the renewal of a maintenance contract for the fire department with Zoll Cardiac Monitors at a cost of just over $11,000.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $69.33 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $75.32.
Natural gas is $2.35 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,964 and silver is $22.59.
Funeral service for Steve Largent, 59, of Chickasha will be at 1:00 p.m. Friday, March 24th at the First Assembly of God Church. He worked in the oilfield and was a mechanic. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Tuesday, March 21st
Grand Avenue Project Expected to Include Retail Outlets
The Chickasha City Council approved the final plat for work currently being done south of Grand Avenue. Following a brief public hearing during last night’s council meeting the group unanimously approved the plat for the second section of a Planned Urban Development (PUD) known as the Woodlands. Crews have been building roads and installing water and sewer lines over the last few weeks. Developer Eric Fleske told the council that he's anticipating some new retail outlets to locate there.
The council also heard a presentation from Pat Brooks with the Chickasha Community Foundation regarding Phase Two of the proposed downtown park near the Rock Island Railroad Depot. Preliminary plans included a pavilion for entertainment but Brooks said that may not be needed as developer Chet Hitt has plans to build an entertainment venue north of the depot. Brooks said there has been discussion of an option to replace the pavilion-
Brooks said the committee discussing Phase Two will be meeting soon and they could have a proposal for the city council to consider within the next 60 days. He said fundraising could start this summer but that any construction may not begin until next year.
Grant Helps USAO's Communications Department
A grant awarded to USAO will help improve the university's communications program. A $50,000 grant from the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education is being used to purchase equipment to emphasize video production. David Duncan is USAO's digital media technology instructor. He says they have purchased cameras, microphones, and drones - and students are already being trained on some of the new equipment. There has been a lot of recent interest in video production as two courses were taught last fall and enrollment in those courses almost doubled this spring. A course on podcasting is being developed and there are plans for an original student-produced podcast to be developed in the next few weeks. A course in drones and aerial photography will be offered this fall. Duncan said the equipment is expected to give students hands-on experience in everything from making image spots to producing news and sports interviews.
4Her Says Game of Chess Benefits All Age Groups
A Grady County 4Her has discovered the benefits of playing chess. Molly Williamson with the Rock Island 4H Club says that playing the game can improve a person's creative thinking, innovative skills, and even their mental health. She also says it can be beneficial for senior citizens-
She also points to a study that indicates that children with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) can reduce their symptoms by playing chess.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $67.64 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.79.
Natural gas is $2.22 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,989 and silver is $22.63.
Donald ‘Scotty’ Evans
A memorial service for Scotty Evans, 56, of Chickasha will be held at 2:00 p.m. Friday, March 24th at Ferguson Funeral Home. He worked at Delta Faucet and in the oil field.
Monday, March 20th
Public Hearing Set to Consider Next Phase of New Chix Development
It's a development that has been in the works for more than 15 years. The Woodlands Project is under construction on the south side of Grand Avenue between 4th and 6th Streets. A public hearing to consider the final plat of section two of the planned urban development will be held during a special meeting of the Chickasha City Council tonight. It was first discussed in 2007 and was last updated in 2019. Also during tonight's meeting, the council will consider declaring some of the police department's weapons and ammunition as surplus and exchange it for about 12,000 rounds of ammunition from R and M Arms of Minco. The group will also hear a presentation from Pat Brooks with the Chickasha Community Foundation and consider awarding veterinary services to the Verden Veterinary Clinic. The council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Chickasha Citizens Police Academy Begins This Week
The Chickasha Police Department has one or two slots left in a Citizens Police Academy that will begin this week. The program begins Thursday and is an eight-week course that will run through May 11th from 6-9 p.m. each week. There will be a number of hands-on programs including a simulated 'shoot-or-don't-shoot’ exercise, participants will learn about gun safety, and shoot a weapon at the department's firing range. The series will include guest speakers including district attorney Jason Hicks, Grady County Sheriff Gary Boggess, and tribal authorities. The academy is free and applicants will undergo a background check. Applications are available on-line in the lobby of the police department at 2001 West Iowa or on-line at www.chickasha.org/CPA
New Program Assists Transitioning Military Veterans
Last week, we reported on a new program for military veterans available through the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs called OK STEP (Oklahoma Specific Training Education Program). The goal is to help veterans transitioning out of active duty and into public life. Program Director Randall Coon tells us-
The service is available to help veterans looking for employment, wanting to train for a new career, or go to college. The program was developed as part of the Oklahoma Veterans Life and Wellness suicide prevention programming and designed to help meet the needs of veterans during gap periods. The service is available throughout a veteran’s lifetime. For information e-mail Coon at email@example.com
Prescribed Burn Group to Hold Annual Meeting
The Grady and Caddo County Prescribed Burn Association will hold its annual meeting tomorrow night. The group is part of the Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association. The meeting will be held at 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 21st at the Caddo County Extension Office in Anadarko. The burn trailer with all of its equipment will be there. Don West is the president of the group. For information, contact the OSU extension offices in Chickasha or Anadarko or visit the website: www.ok-pba.org
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $66.74 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.97.
Natural gas is $2.34 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,003 and silver is $22.66.
Walter Knight, Jr.
Funeral service for Walter Knight, Jr., 62, of Lawton will be held at 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, March 22nd at New Hope Church of God in Lawton. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.