Saturday, March 18th
Drug Trafficking Suspect Pleads Guilty
A woman arrested after authorities found more than 3,000 pills laced with Fentanyl in her Verden home will spend more than two decades behind bars. Amanda Songer recently pleaded guilty to several charges in Grady County District Court. Verden Police Chief Jason Cox estimated the street value of the drugs was up to $40,000. At the time of her arrest last July, Songer told investigators that she had been selling the pills for two years. Songer pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated trafficking; having a weapon during commission of a felony; using a security camera or system; and child neglect. She was sentenced to 35-years in prison with 10 years suspended. Prior to her arrest Songer was on probation after pleading guilty to a felony charge of larceny of a vehicle stemming from an arrest in 2020.
Pros, Cons of Proposed 'Ratepayer Protection Act' Debated
There is debate whether a bill being considered at the state capital will or won't increase utility prices in the state. It's SB 1103 which is called the Ratepayer Protection Act. Supporters include former Corporation Commissioner Jeff Cloud who says it would stop the price shocks like the one that occurred in February of 2021. It would require electric utilities to store adequate supplies of natural gas. In an editorial written for The Oklahoman Cloud said if electricity utilities exceed an earnings threshold set by the Corporation Commission, they would have to return 100 percent of the excess earnings to customers - with 75 percent being directly refunded to customers and 25 percent invested to improve grid reliability. However, current Corporation Commissioner Todd Hiett submitted an op-ed piece to The Oklahoman opposing the bill. The former speaker of the house says the measure is opposed by consumer and business advocates - saying it would result in higher costs for electricity users and limit the corporation commission's role in determining those costs.
Study Compares Costs of Gas- and Electric-Powered Vehicles
A new study indicates that it was cheaper to drive a gas-powered vehicle than an electric vehicle in the final three months of 2022. The study by the Anderson Economic Group found that drivers of a typical mid-priced gas-powered car paid about $11.29 to fuel their vehicles for every 100 miles of driving. That's 31 cents cheaper than those who drove mid-priced electric vehicles (who mostly charged their vehicles at home). The cost was $3 less than those who charged their electric vehicles commercially. The report indicated that electric vehicles looked like a bargain during much of 2021 and 2022 but that rising electricity prices combined with lower gas prices late last year made it more affordable to drive a gas-powered vehicle.
Chix Chamber Announces Restaurant Bingo Winners
Three winners were selected at the end of the Clover Days Restaurant Bingo promotion held by the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce this month. Winners are Margaret Davis, Dan Turner, and Whitney Smith.
Talk Show Topic
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. On our KOOL Konversation we have the press conference held this week by District Attorney Jason Hicks regarding the murder case of Lawrence Paul Anderson. Anderson pleaded guilty to three counts of murder and other brutal crimes and will spend the rest of his life in prison without the possibility of parole. Find a podcast of the program under the Community tab on this website.
Walter Knight, Jr.
Funeral service for Walter Knight, Jr., 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.
Friday, March 17th
Ninnekah Police Arrest Drug Trafficking Suspect
A traffic stop by Ninnekah police leads to the arrest of yet another suspect accused of drug trafficking. 40-year old Ace Ladon Shells, Jr. of Chickasha was arrested this past Monday night. A probable cause affidavit indicates that a Ninnekah police officer pulled over an SUV near U.S. Highway 81 and State Highway 19 for erratic driving and a broken tail light. The officer detected an odor of marijuana inside the vehicle and called the sheriff's office for assistance. Among those responding was Lt. Jim Peek who is also an agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Authorities found several baggies which allegedly contained about 20 grams of drugs which field-tested positive for Fentanyl and other drugs and drug items including PCP. The affidavit also indicates that Shells tried to swallow some of the drugs but spit it out. While being booked into jail officers found marijuana in one of his pockets. Prosecutors have charged Shells with felony counts of trafficking, unlawful distribution, and taking drugs into to jail. Shells remains in the Grady County Jail on a $250,000 bond.
Coach Sought for Alleged Abuse of Female Students
A felony arrest warrant has been issued for a coach at a Caddo County school for allegedly abusing female students. The warrant for felony child abuse was issued last Friday for 33-year old Jacob Peck who is the high school wrestling coach at Hinton. On-line court records indicate that Peck lists a Mangum address.
Pre-War Swap Meet Underway
The history of the early years of transportation can be seen in Chickasha this weekend. It's the Pre-War Swap Meet which celebrates the first 50 years of the automobile. This is the 33rd year for Mike and Susie Ersland to hold the event. Vendors and buyers from across the country make the trek to the swap meet every year which only features modes of transportation prior to World War II. There is also a lot of transportation-related collectibles for sale or trade. The swap meet is being held at the Grady County Fairgrounds today and tomorrow and admission and parking are free.
'Streetery Party' Closes Out Chamber's Clover Days
Today is St. Patrick’s Day - a day when everyone can be Irish. It also marks the final day of the Chickasha Chamber of Commerce’s Clover Days promotion and the Leprechaun Luck Restaurant Bingo game. The Chamber will close out the promotion with its inaugural St. Patrick's Day Streetery Party. The event will be held downtown at 1st and Chickasha Avenue near Brandy's Bar and Grill; Flowershop Winery and Pizzeria; and Canadian River Brewery. It's open to the public and all the establishments will have food and beverages for sale. There will be live music, a costume contest, and a drawing for $250 in gift cards which is the grand prize for Leprechaun Luck Restaurant Bingo game. It starts at 5:00 p.m. with registration for the costume contest starting 6:00 p.m. The costume contest and drawing for the gift cards will be at 7:00 p.m.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.35 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $74.70.
Natural gas is $2.51 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,952 and silver is $21.96.
A memorial service for Jerry Coshow, 61, of Joshua, Texas and formerly of Chickasha will be held at 10:00 a.m. Thursday, March 23rd at the First Baptist Church of Blanchard. Coshow was an assistant football coach for Chickasha High School with head coach Tim Reynolds when the team played in back-to-back state championship games in the late 1990s. He had worked as an administrator for Joshua Public Schools near Ft. Worth for the last several years.
Thursday, March 16th
Triple Murder Defendant Pleads Guilty
Lawrence Paul Anderson, accused of the brutal murders of three people - including a four-year old girl - will spend the rest of his life behind bars. Anderson pleaded guilty to three counts of murder, one count of maiming, and one count of assault and battery with a deadly weapon in Grady County District Court yesterday. Anderson was arrested following the attacks that occurred in Chickasha in February of 2021. District Attorney Jason Hicks said he dropped his request for the death penalty at the request of the victims' families despite the gruesome details.
Anderson was sentenced to life without parole for the murders of his uncle Leon Pye; Pye's four-year old granddaughter Kaoes Yates and their neighbor, Andrea Blankenship. He was sentenced to life for maiming for the knife attack on his aunt, Delsi Pye and life for assault and battery with a deadly weapon and will serve the sentence consecutively meaning he will never be able to apply for parole. Relatives of the victims were allowed to give victim impact statements during yesterday's court hearing where Anderson was called a monster and one screamed and cursed at Anderson saying she hoped he would rot from the inside out. Anderson showed little emotion during the statements. The plea agreement also states that Anderson cannot write a book, appear on TV or a podcast or otherwise profit from discussing the murders. In addition to life in prison Anderson was ordered to pay $9,500 in fines and $40,000 to the victim's compensation fund.
Grass Fires Erupt with help from Wednesday Winds
Grady County fire fighters were called out to battle some grass fires that popped up in Minco and Union City in yesterday's high winds. In addition to fire firefighters being dispatched, employees from the District One Grady County Barn used heavy equipment to cut fire breaks on the blaze west of Minco. No structure damage was reported with the fires.
Energy Prices Tumble
Yesterday was a rough day for energy prices as we hear from Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission-
London-based Brent crude dipped below $75 to $73.69.
Natural gas is $2.44 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,925 and silver is $22.02.
Wednesday, March 15th
Triple Homicide Suspect Due in Court
Lawrence Paul Anderson, the triple homicide suspect accused of killing his uncle, his uncle’s granddaughter, and their neighbor has a hearing scheduled in a Chickasha courtroom this morning. Anderson is accused of killing a woman who lived across the street from his aunt and uncle, cooking her heart, and trying to make his relatives eat it. Anderson has been behind bars for more than two years after the homicides occurred in February of 2021. A judge is expected to schedule a trial date in today's hearing. The case got a lot of media attention as Anderson was a convicted cocaine dealer, but was released just a few weeks before the homicides occurred after Gov. Kevin Stitt commuted his sentence at the recommendation of the state pardon and parole board.
Grady County Consumer Spending Lagging
Consumer spending in Grady County last December was down for the third straight month and was at its lowest level in more than a year. It's estimated that $79.6 million was spent on taxable goods and services that month. That’s off 1.9 percent from the previous month and down about 11.5 percent compared to December of 2021. We estimate consumer spending when we see the amount of sales tax revenue the county received from the state tax commission. In February, the county received about $600,000 based on the consumer spending that took place in December. The funds go to several voter-approved projects. The Grady County Fairgrounds received nearly $200,000; Grady Memorial Hospital received $176,000; the county's seven senior nutrition centers shared $100,000 (each center received $14,000); the county's 20 fire districts shared $100,000 (each received about $5,000); Tuttle EMS received $18,000; and Rush Springs EMS collected $4,500.
Jail Trustees to Assist in Chickasha Beautification Effort
A joint effort between the Chickasha Police Department, Grady County Sheriff's Office, and the Grady County Jail is expected to help with beautification efforts in Chickasha. Grady County Jail trustees will be picking up trash along city streets a couple of days a week. Interim Chickasha Police Chief G.G. Music approached Grady County Sheriff Gary Boggess about the idea and officials at the Grady County Jail have agreed to allow three or four trustees per day to do the work. The trustees are to be non-violent offenders who will be supervised by a deputy sheriff. The project could start as early as next week. Brandt's Ace Hardware and Ross True Value have offered to provide materials and supplies as needed. Sheriff Boggess says he hopes to expand the project to other towns throughout the county.
Seniors Could Benefit from House Bill Under Consideration
A plan to help Oklahoma's senior citizens save money on their property taxes is being circulated around the state capital. HB 1926 would increase the income qualifier for an additional homestead exemption. The measure would increase the amount from the current $25,000 to $30,000. Officials say some seniors are losing out because of increases in their Social Security benefits. Supporters say the bill would keep pace with cost-of-living adjustments and ensure that seniors can still claim the exemption. The bill passed the house unanimously and will now be considered in the senate.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $71.33 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $77.45.
Natural gas is $2.57 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,906 and silver is $21.94.
A memorial service for Dysart Dobbins, 60, of Chickasha will be held at a later date. He was a U.S. Navy veteran. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home.
No service is scheduled for LD Turner, 91, of Chickasha. He was a carpenter and started his own construction business. Arrangements are with McRay Funeral Home.
Tuesday, March 14th
Fourth Drug Trafficking Suspect Appears in Court
A fourth suspect arrested in connection with an alleged drug trafficking operation in Chickasha has had his initial appearance on the charges filed against him. 53-year old Gregory Otis Johns was taken into custody Friday night and was in Grady County District Court for his arraignment yesterday. Johns was wanted for his alleged involvement of selling Fentanyl-laced pain killers following an investigation by the Grady County Sheriff's Office, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Marshals. Johns is charged with aggravated trafficking, drug possession, conspiracy to distribute drugs, and having a weapon while committing a felony. A judge initially set his bond at $100,000 but it was reduced to $50,000 and Johns remains in the Grady County Jail.
Three other suspects held on similar charges
Three other people are also in custody on drug and weapons charges as part of the investigation after authorities converged on a home in the 1200 block of South 9th Street in Chickasha last week. They are Kaley Johns, Braden Harris, and Garret Woodle. Kaley Johns and Brandon Harris are being held on county charges and Woodle is charged with federal crimes.
Driver Hospitalized After Turnpike Crash
A driver is hospitalized after his SUV crashed on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike last night. It happened just after 10:00 p.m. near Mile Marker 61 just east of Fletcher. Injured in the accident was 61-year old Michael Jost of Edmond who was taken to a Lawton hospital and was last in fair condition. The highway patrol reports that Jost veered of the highway came back on the road and hit the concrete median where the vehicle came to rest.
Mental Health Bills OK'd by State House
Two mental health bills have been approved in the state house of representatives and may now be considered in the senate. HB 2157 and HB 2154 were both authored by State Rep. Cynthia Roe (R-Lindsay). HB 2157 calls for crisis intervention training for at least 20 percent of active duty law enforcement officers. It also would require that an officer must document reasons for NOT getting a mental health evaluation done on individuals who appear to be or state that they are mentally ill, or alcohol- or drug-dependent. HB 2154 expands language which was passed three years ago to protect health care workers at health care facilities. The change would prohibit assault on independent contractors working in or for a health care facility in addition to health care employees. The bill would also require medical facilities to report assault data to the state health department.
Bill Seeks to Ease Restrictions on CDL Testing
A plan to make it easier for Oklahomans to get their Commercial Drivers Licenses (CDLs) is working its way through the legislative process. HB 2750 is expected to help expedite the process of obtaining CDLs and may also help school districts recruit bus drivers. The measure would allow third-party individuals and groups to conduct the CDL written exams at locations throughout the state. Currently the written exam can only be administered by a state employee. Officials say that using both public and private entities as testing facilities would put more commercial drivers on the road.
'Hoppy Days' Scheduled in Anadarko
Easter is just a few weeks away and the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce will be having an Easter egg hunt with other activities. It's called Hoppy Day 2023 and will include games, a bounce house, live entertainment, and vendors. Hoppy Day will take place Saturday, April 8th at Anadarko’s Randlett Park. It will begin at 11 o’clock with the games, vendors, and entertainment with the egg hunt starting at 1:00 p.m. There will be three age groups for the egg hunt. The chamber is seeking vendors and musical groups to participate. For information, contact Alicia White or see the Anadarko Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $74.80 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $80.77.
Natural gas is $2.61 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,906 and silver is $21.65.
Monday, March 13th
Chix Airport Upgrades to be Discussed
The panel that oversees operations at the Chickasha Airport has a special meeting tonight to discuss some possible improvements. The city's Municipal Airport Authority which is a branch of the city council will consider going out for bids to rehabilitate the runway and a parallel taxi-way. A pre-bid conference for the project is scheduled for next week. Preliminary bids will be received over the next month and the project could be awarded to the winning bidder within 90 days of the bid opening with a contract possibly awarded within 10 days after that. Tonight's meeting will get underway at 6:30 at city hall.
OSBI Seeks Info on 2020 Death of Woman
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation (OSBI) is asking for information about the shooting death of a woman whose body was found in Union City three years ago. The agency posted on its authorized Facebook page that the body of 29-year old Jennifer Janelle Jesse was discovered by a passerby on Southwest 44th Street near Gregory Road on March 11th, 2020. An autopsy conducted by the state medical examiner's office indicated she had been shot several times. Media reports say the agency released photos on March 30th of that year of a man who was believed to have information about Jesse's death. The photos were taken at an Oklahoma City Braum’s restaurant but the only description they could confirm was that he was wearing light blue shoes with pink shoelaces. Individuals who may have knowledge of what happened can send an anonymous e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 800-522-8017.
Long-time Resurrection House Director Dies
Kent Hibbard, who spent 30 years helping the homeless in Chickasha has died. Hibbard died five days before his 67th birthday last week. Hibbard was the director of the Resurrection House which started as a one-room dormitory and spent time ministering to those who came to the shelter where he made sure everyone had a purpose. He also pastored at Southern Hills Baptist Church. He is survived by his wife Julie and their three sons and their families. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 14th at Trinity Baptist Church. Arrangements are with Sevier Funeral Home.
Toxic Waste from Ohio Kept from Coming into Oklahoma
Oklahoma officials blocked a shipment of toxic waste from entering the state. Gov. Kevin Stitt worked with U.S. Senator James Lankford and Congressman Markwayne Mullin to prevent the waste from the East Palestine, Ohio train derailment from traveling to eastern Oklahoma. The governor stated in a post on his Facebook page that there were too many unanswered questions and that it was not in the best interest of Oklahomans. Media reports indicate that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) e-mailed the governor to let him know that the waste was going to be shipped to a facility in Waynoka which specializes in hazardous waste disposal. While it’s not uncommon for hazardous waste to come to the state KOCO-TV reported that the EPA request WAS unusual and state officials felt that was a red flag. The EPA indicated that the shipment was about 2,600 yards of toxic waste and the governor's team said that amount worried them.
Churches, Agencies to Feed Kids During Spring Break
Several churches and relief organizations are working to make sure area youth get some good food during spring break. In Chickasha, The Community Alliance is joining forces with a number of groups to provide free lunches for all youth 18-and under. That will take place at Breakout Ministries at 902 S. 9th Street from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. today through Friday. Helping with the project are The Linked Church, Michigan Avenue Baptist Church, Grady County OHCE, and the community alliance.
Salvation Army has stops in Caddo County
The Salvation Army of Grady and Caddo counties will be in Cyril and Anadarko today and in Binger tomorrow with their food truck. They will provide a free hot meal for everyone and provide snack packs for kids. They'll be at the Cyril Housing Authority from 10 to 11 this morning and at the Anadarko Housing Authority from 12:30 to 1:30 this afternoon. They'll be at the Binger Baptist Church from 10 a.m. to noon tomorrow.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $76.68 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $82.78.
Natural gas is $2.43 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,891 and silver is $20.92.
Tracy Ann Heaton
A memorial service for Tracy Ann Heaton, 62, of Chickasha was held at 2:00 p.m. today (Monday, March 13th) at Sevier Funeral Home.
A private graveside service for Audra Hughes, 81, of Chickasha was held Wednesday, March 8th at Fairlawn Cemetery. Arrangements were with Sevier Funeral Home.
Walter Knight, Jr.
Funeral service for Walter Knight, Jr., 64, of Lawton is pending with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.