Friday, August 7th
Missing Man's Body, Motorcycle Found
There is a sad ending regarding a man who had been missing for more than two weeks. Authorities found the body of Todd Laird and his motorcycle east of Chickasha yesterday. Laird was last seen the night of July 21st at the Ten Pin Alley Bar inside the Chickasha Bowling Center. The highway patrol was called out to an area on U.S. Highway 62 just east of Jay's Arena Road about 11:00 a.m. Thursday. The report said that it appeared that Laird was riding his Harley Davidson motorcycle eastbound on the highway when, for an unknown reason, the motorcycle departed the roadway. OHP believes it may have happened July 22nd, the day that Laird was reported missing. Chickasha Police had placed Laird’s name in the national missing person's data base. Authorities had pinged his phone to an undisclosed field.
Cattle Die After Being Hit by Truck; Truck Driver Not Hurt
Several head of cattle died after being hit by a pickup early this morning. The accident happened about 4:45 a.m. near State Highway 19 and CS 2900 which is about three miles west of Alex. Unconfirmed reports indicate that about a half-dozen head of cattle were killed. The driver of the truck was not injured.
Grocery Store Closes After Worker Tests Positive for COVID-19
A Chickasha grocery store closed for a few hours Thursday after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. Homeland closed its doors to customers after store officials were notified of the positive test. A letter posted on the store window indicated the employee last worked at the store on Wednesday and is self-isolating. Other workers who had direct contact with the employee were being notified by the health department. The letter indicated that the store took immediate additional steps on top of its already rigorous cleaning protocols to wipe down, sanitize, and disinfect the store. The letter stated that officials didn't believe there is further undue risk to customers or employees. The letter urged that if customers or anyone customers might have had contact with feel coronavirus symptoms of a fever, coughing, or difficulty in breathing to contact a health care provider. The store has re-opened for business this morning.
Man Arrested After Threatening Police with Knife
A Chickasha man is in custody after allegedly threatening several police officers with a knife. No details of the confrontation are available but the suspect was arrested and no officers were injured. Prosecutors have charged 44-year old Michael Owen Gilleland with a felony count of assault with a dangerous weapon. Following his arraignment, a judge set Gilleland's bond at $50,000. Prosecutors also filed a motion to revoke Gilleland's probation on a 2006 conviction of rape. Gilleland also pleaded guilty to 2012 charges of felony eluding and misdemeanor DUI.
Grant to Help USAO Upgrade Cyber Infrastructure
USAO and a number of other Oklahoma colleges and universities will be improving their cyber infrastructure thanks to a recent grant. The National Science Foundation presented funds to the State Regents for Higher Education and OneNet. The grant will help the schools connect to the OneOklahoma Friction Free Network. USAO’s grant was for more than $230,000. USAO president John Feaver said the upgade will help students pursue their research projects with less difficulty.
Talk Show Topics
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Theresa Plata and Taylar Smith with the Department of Human Services Foster Family program will be on the KOOL Konversation. On Real Estate today our guest is Chickasha Schools Athletic Director and head football coach Jerry Don Bray. We have links to both programs under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.95 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $45.09.
Natural gas is $2.16 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,069 and silver is $28.30.
Gail Yvonne Bowens
A graveside service for Gail Yvonne Bowens, 57, formerly of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8th at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Thursday, August 6th
Driver Dies in Caddo County Crash
A deadly crash near Ft. Cobb Lake claims the life of Texas woman. 36-year old Ruby Nobles of Round Rock, Texas died in the accident that happened east of the town of Albert which is a few miles south of Binger. The accident happened just before 11:00 a.m. Wednesday. The highway patrol reports that Nobles may have been driving too fast on a gravel county road when her car ran off the road, hit a large fence post, then rolled and landed upside down.
Chickasha New Construction Surges
New construction in Chickasha rebounds in a big way. More than $2.4 million in new building projects were approved by the city's Community Development Department in July. That's up from just $700,000 from the previous month. In all, 27 building permits were approved last month. Most of the new construction is for new single-family homes. Home Creations was awarded 10 permits to build homes in the Sleepy Hollow expansion. Rausch Coleman Homes was awarded seven permits for homes in the Shadow Valley development. Each home is valued around $100,000. Two permits for industrial projects were issued to LSPI at U.S. Highway 81 and U.S. 62. Combined, the two permits total more than a half-million dollars. New construction in Chickasha has topped $1 million in six of seven months this year. July's $2.4 million total is the second-best month for 2020, behind only January which saw $2.5 million in new construction. Since the first of the year, the city has approved more than $11.8 million in new construction projects.
Two Charged for Alleged Possession of Stolen Vehicle
Two people are facing felony charges of possession of a stolen vehicle after their arrests earlier this week. Chickasha police arrested 31-year old Rusty Faires (hometown unknown) and 28-year Melinda Dearman of Perkins, Okla. on Monday. No details of the arrests are available. What we've been able to determine from the Chickasha police blotter is that officers were called to the 2700 block of S. 4th Street about 11:00 a.m. Monday to investigate a report of a stolen vehicle. That's where Faires and Dearman were taken into custody. After prosecutors filed formal charges against the pair, Faires' bond was set at $25,000 and Dearman's bond was set at $10,000. Both remain in the Grady County Jail.
The coronavirus has claimed another life in Grady County and two more lives in Caddo County. In Wednesday’s report from the State Health Department, there were 17 new fatal cases of COVID-19 in Oklahoma, increasing the total number of deaths to 583. The death in Grady County was a woman in the 65 years and older category. The deaths in Caddo County were a man and a woman who were also 65 and older. There have been seven fatalities in Grady County, with 4 in Chickasha; 2 in Tuttle; and one location not yet known. Caddo County has 16 deaths with 9 in Binger; 3 in Anadarko; two in Lookeba; one in Carnegie,;and one in Cyril. There were another 1,100 new coronavirus cases in Oklahoma Wednesday increasing the total number of positive COVID-19 tests since March to more than 40,000. There are almost 6,600 individuals battling the illness with 645 of them currently in the hospital.
Ranel Lasley Retires from Caddo County OSU Extension
Friends, co-workers, and colleagues are saying so long to Caddo County 4H leader Ranel Lasley. She is retiring after a 25-year career with OSU Extension. The Caddo County native began her career with OSU Extension in 1996. In addition to 4H leadership and its programs she helped with farm safety, Annie's Project, the Caddo County Women in Agriculture conference, the advisor for the county OHCE groups, and worked with the county fair board and county commissioners on improvements at the Baldwin Building at the county fairgrounds. She received a couple of distinguished service awards for her work. Ranel says she's looking forward to an active retirement, helping with the family farm in Eakly, enjoying family time, and serving her church. Per Ranel's request and coronavirus restrictions there will not be a retirement party.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $42.19 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $45.17.
Natural gas is $2.19 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,061 and silver is $27.86.
A family graveside service for Donald Horton, 91, of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 8th at Fairlawn Cemetery. A church service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8th at Epworth United Methodist Church. The service will also be live-streamed on the church’s YouTube channel. Horton was a pastor for many years and also served as a medic for the U.S. Army during the Korean War. Memorial contributions may be made to the church's endowment fund or to the Oklahoma United Methodist Volunteers in Missions. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Wednesday, Aug. 5th
Verden School Students Return to the Classroom
Today is the first day of class for students who attend Verden Public Schools. It's the first time in nearly five months for the students to be in an actual classroom, after spring classes went virtual right after spring break in March because of coronavirus. Superintendent Mickey Edwards says the district has put in a lot of time and effort to get ready for today.
Edwards expects about 300 students to be in school today, and about 25 percent have opted to take classes virtually. He said the district was able to obtain some grants from the state department of education to purchase equipment to provide hot spots where broadband service is not as strong.
Tree Work Continues at Shannon Springs Park
Crews for the City of Chickasha are spending the week cutting down dead and dying trees in Shannon Springs Park. The entire 8-man crew of the Parks and Recreation Department are working to help make the park safer. Parks and Recreation Director Kyle Marks said a U.S. Department of Forestry assessment done a few years ago indicated that of the nearly 200 trees in the park, more than 50 were considered to be high-risk. Marks said they won't be removing all of the targeted trees.
Marks said there are maple, Chinese oak, sycamore, Bradford pear, and cottonwood trees in the park to name a few. The park is closed during the day for crews to safely do their work. The park is set to re-open on Saturday. Marks says he plans on planting new trees next spring to replace the ones being removed.
Virtual 'Stamp Out Hunger' Food Drive Successful
Oklahomans opened their wallets for the virtual Stamp Out Hunger food drive last week. Officials with the Regional Food Bank say they surpassed their goal of $28,000 by collecting more than $100,000. The virtual drive was held in place of the National Association of Letter Carriers event which was canceled in May because of the COVID-19 health crisis. The Regional Food Bank and the letter carriers group have worked together for the last 28 years to help re-stock food pantries in Grady and Caddo counties and many areas of central and Western Oklahoma. The food bank says the donated funds will help provide more than 415,000 meals to hungry Oklahomans.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.70 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $44.43.
Natural gas is $2.19 per million BTUs.
Gold is $2,055 and silver is $26.95.
Funeral for Jetta Lee, 64, of Chickasha will be at 10:00 a.m. Friday, August 7th at Full Gospel Church. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral for Clarice Eubank, 86, of Pocasset will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, August 7th at First Baptist Church of Pocasset. Arrangements are also with Sevier Funeral Home.
Tuesday, Aug. 4th
Contractor For Chickasha Sidewalk Project
Blamed for Shoddy Work Done for Homeowners
Some Chickasha homeowners are angry over some shoddy work they say was performed by the contractor putting in a sidewalk on First Street from the downtown area to Wal-Mart. City Councilman R.P. Ashanti-Alexander first brought up the problem at a city council meeting a couple of weeks ago. He said employees of the contractor reached out to homeowners and told them that – for a fee – they would do some improvements for them. The work for the homeowners was not part the company’s contract with the city. Ashanti-Alexander said that some of that work was substandard and wants the city to help the homeowners with their dilemma. During last night's city council meeting, City Manager John Noblitt said it’s not the city's responsibility to force the contractor to correct that work. That led to this exchange between Ashanti-Alexander and the city manager.
Ashanti-Alexander suggested the city not use the contractor for any future projects.
City of Chickasha has New Assistant City Manager
The City of Chickasha has a new assistant city manager. Leesa Furr was recently promoted to the post. Furr has spent the last couple of years as the city's administrative services director. In that role, she has focused on providing customer service in utility billing and helped to switch the city's insurance plan from self-insured to fully-insured. The insurance switch secured a more than 35 percent decrease on annual premiums as well as a monthly savings for employees. In the past year, Furr also has taken on management of human resources in addition to serving as city treasurer. In her new role as assistant city manager, Furr will continue to have oversight of finance, utility billing, and human resources. She will also oversee the parks and recreation and community development departments, and manage special projects.
The number of new positive coronavirus tests was down significantly Monday. About 350 new cases were reported by the state health department, putting the total number of COVID-19 tests to more than 38,500. There was one new death, increasing the number of fatal cases to 551. The number of active cases of the illness is nearly 6,900 statewide. Of that number, 628 people are hospitalized. Chickasha has had 215 people test positive with 14 of them current; Anadarko is at 144 cases with 76 of them active; Blanchard is at 125 with 13 active cases; Newcastle has had 98 total positive tests with 17 active; Tuttle has had 95 confirmed tests with 15 active; Lindsay has had 54 total cases with eight of them active. Grady County has had 412 people test positive with 40 current cases. There have been six deaths in Grady County with four in Chickasha and two in Tuttle. Caddo County has had 373 people test positive. There have been 14 deaths in Caddo County with nine in Binger and two in Anadarko.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $41.01 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.26.
Natural gas is $2.10 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,993 and silver is $24.45.
A graveside service for Johnny Hinson, 65, Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5th at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
Funeral for Darrell Hickman, 42, of Chickasha will be at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 6th at the Southern Oaks Church of Christ Pavilion. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Monday, Aug. 3rd
Sidewalk, TIF Agreement on Chix City Council Agenda
An update on a sidewalk project and a proposal to extend the maturity date for an economic development agreement are among the few items on the agenda for the Chickasha City Council tonight. Work crews continue the construction of a sidewalk along First Street which will connect downtown Chickasha to Wal-Mart. It's being paid for with the help of a matching federal community development block grant. The council will also consider extending an economic development re-assignment agreement with a firm for development along East Grand Avenue. The 2018 agreement with Chisholm Trail Development re-assigned sales tax revenue which will be generated from the Tax Increment Finance district to that company. City Manager John Noblitt said the change calls to extend the maturity date of the loan for 12 months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The city council is meeting virtually again this evening, starting at 6:30 p.m. The meeting can be viewed on the city's website: www.chickasha.org
Shannon Springs Park Closed 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. All Week
Shannon Springs Park will be closed from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day this week. Crews will be removing some dead and dying trees and performing other maintenance work. The swimming pool will be open for its regular hours. City officials say a U.S. Forestry assessment from 2014 indicated that more than 50 trees were considered high-risk, including many that are unstable and could cause injuries or property damage if they fall. The park will re-open for its regular hours on Saturday.
Chix School Offices Return to Normal Hours
Chickasha school offices are re-opening for regular hours today as the district prepares for the opening day of school which is a little over two weeks away (Thursday, Aug. 20th). School offices had been open four days a week for much of the summer. Starting today, the offices are open Monday through Friday. School officials continue urging parents to enroll students in one of the three learning systems the district will offer this year - all in the classroom, virtual learning, or a combination of the two. Enrollment is requested even if students pre-enrolled in the spring. Parents can stop by the administration building or fill out the enrollment forms available on the school district's website: www.chickasha.k12.ok.us
Chix Author's Literary Landmark Unveiled
A Chickasha author is now in some exclusive company. The late Bill Wallace joins the likes of Will Rogers and Woody Guthrie who all have a literary landmark in their honor. The landmark was unveiled in a special ceremony at Centennial Park this past Saturday morning. Eugene Earsom of the Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma served as the emcee for the event. He said the Wallace landmark is the 14th of its kind in the Sooner State. Bill's wife, Carol said it is a great honor for Bill and the entire Wallace family. Carol says Bill’s writing career started after reading some of his manuscripts to his students.
Bill Wallace received numerous awards for the 38 children's books he wrote throughout his career including a lifetime achievement award.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $40.27 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $43.30.
Natural gas is $1.80 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1, 967 and silver is $24.39.