2018, February 12th - Feb. 15th
Our Chickasha Schools Academic Persons of the week is CHS Sr. Ian Turpin
Tune in to hear Ian’s story!
Saturday, February 17th
Petition Signatures Validated for Chix School Audit
A petition seeking a state audit of the financial and other records at Chickasha Public Schools has enough valid signatures for the audit to occur. Officials at the Grady County election board say of the nearly 1,700 signatures that were submitted, about 1,200 were from registered voters within the school district. That number was about 400 more than were needed to request the audit. Petitioners want state officials to look into allegations which include the mismanagement of funds; a review of all contracts with the Oklahoma Public School Resource Center, the company that provides the personalized learning curriculum for the district; and possible nepotism. State Auditor and Inspector Gary Jones says there is no timetable of when the audit will take place as there is a back-log of other cases. The petition indicates the school will have to pay for the audit, which could cost up to $75,000.
Details of School Audit Contract Released
Earlier this week, the Chickasha school board approved a contract for its own detailed audit of school records. The panel hired Workman Forensics out of Tulsa to review the district's books. The contract calls for fees running from $100 to $245 per hour, plus mileage, meals, hotel costs, and any special supplies that may be needed. The contract will run until the completion of the firm's work or up to 12 months after the last date billed for services.
Marlow Resident Dies in Head-on Crash
One person has died and another is hospitalized after a head-on collision near Marlow. Killed in the crash was 24-year old Jason Muller of Marlow. The accident happened near the intersection of State Highway 29 and Scott Street on the east edge of Marlow early Friday morning. Injured in the crash was 18-year old Anthony Hornbeck of Walters. He was taken to a Duncan hospital, where he was last in fair condition with arm and leg injuries. The state trooper investigating the crash reports that Hornbeck crossed the center line on the highway, and his pick-up crashed into Muller's on-coming Jeep.
Man Arrested on Kidnapping Allegations
A Chickasha man on probation for burglary and drug-related crimes is now facing kidnapping charges following an alleged confrontation with his ex. 20-year old Keyvon Richardson has been formally charged with a felony kidnapping, after Chickasha police requested and were approved a warrant for his arrest. Richardson surrendered to law enforcement but is now out of jail after posting bond. The arrest warrant affidavit states the incident occurred the night of Feb. 1st. It alleges Richardson and the victim were arguing while riding in Richardson's pick-up, and that Richardson assaulted the woman in front of their two-year old daughter. The victim got out of the truck while it was moving, and she ran into a convenience store and locked herself in the bathroom. The affidavit also states Richardson went into the store and forcefully carried the woman out of the store while she was screaming and crying for employees to help her. Richardson received a 10-year deferred sentence after pleading guilty the burglary and drug charges which were from 2016. Prosecutors also want to accelerate the deferred sentence he received in connection with those crimes. Richardson is to return to court March 6th for a preliminary hearing conference.
Big Youth Livestock Show Winds Down
The Southwest District Livestock show wraps up at the Grady County Fairgrounds today with the last of the swine show. In the gilt show, Ashton Keeter of Chattanooga had a good day, showing the grand champion pure bred, and the reserve champion commercial gilts; Grace Lambert of Chattanooga had the reserve champion pure-bred; and Aiden Hopper of Merritt had the bronze. Kelsee Smith of Sterling had the grand champion commercial gilt and Holden Powell of Clinton had the bronze. More than 2,300 animals were shown by an estimated 1,000 4H andFFA youth this week. The show pays out about $100,000 to the exhibitors every year.
Grady County Sheriff's Office Warrant List
Each week, the Grady County Sheriff’s Office issues a list of individuals who have outstanding warrants. Here’s public information officer Lisa Hatchett.
If you have information regarding any of these individuals, you’re asked to contact the sheriff’s office.
Talk Show Topic
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson is on KOOL Konversation, talking about a proposal to apply for a FEMA grant which would pay rebates to county residents who install storm shelters. We have a link to the program elsewhere on this website. Find it under the Community tab.
Friday, February 16th
Hundreds Without Power in Chickasha, Ninnekah
About 1,400 PSO customers are without power in the Chickasha and Ninnekah area this morning. Power went out about 6:20 a.m. and includes the area in Chickasha from 29th and Country Club Road east to Sooner Road, then south to Old Highway 81 and Highway 277. Signal lights are out at Highway 81 at both Almar Drive and Country Club Road. PSO reported a power line was down at 2904 S. 4th Street.
Fatal Crash Near Marlow
There's breaking news out of the Marlow area, as the highway patrol is working a deadly traffic accident. The crash is two miles east of Marlow on State Highway 29 near Scott Road. Traffic is shut down in both directions as officials work that crash.
Body Found Dowtown Chickasha Identified
The body of a Duncan man was found in a downtown Chickasha alley Thursday morning. Authorities were called to the alley south of the 600 block of Chickasha Avenue just after 6 a.m. Chickasha police say it appears the man committed suicide but did not indicate how he may have died. Authorities identified the man as 30-year old James R. Wilson of Duncan. His body was taken to the state medical examiner’s office where officials will determine how he died.
Kidnapping Suspect Surrenders
A Chickasha man is in custody after an arrest warrant is issued for kidnapping. 20-year old Keyvon Jaquese Richardson surrendered to his parole officer yesterday. Chickasha police requested the warrant which was issued on Wednesday. Richardson is also charged with a misdemeanor count of domestic assault and battery in front of a child. No details are available about the case. Richardson was on probation after pleading guilty to several burglary and drug charges from 2016.
Gov's Burn Ban Extended, Widened
Gov. Mary Fallin has extended a burn ban for much of the state, and has added several counties to that list. 52 of Oklahoma's 77 counties are now under the ban, which is in effect until midnight, March 2nd. The western two-thirds of Oklahoma are within the burn ban area.
Braum's Dairy Fire Contained
A fire at the Braum’s Dairy near Tuttle yesterday was cause for concern for a while, however fire fighters from a number of departments were able to get it under control fairly quickly. The fire was sparked inside a large barn that was storing straw. It wasn't clear how the fire started. Crews contained the blaze to the structure and a small area surrounding it. The amount of damage wasn't reported.
Cattle Show Results from Southwest District
From the Southwest District Livestock Show yesterday, about 200 cattle were paraded through the show ring. A Chickasha exhibitor had the grand champion prospect steer. Allyson Arthur collects the $1,000 cash prize for having the top prospect out of the 15 that were shown. Cooper Cummins of Hollis had the reserve and Landry Chaplin of Weatherford the bronze. Cierra Collins of Frederick had the grand champion market steer out of the 28 that were shown. Avery Smith of Yukon had the reserve; and Timber Mefford of Frederick had the bronze. William Hassenbeck of Elgin had the grand champion heifer out of the 167 in the show. Brayden Buckwald of Chattanooga had the reserve; and Garrison Miller of Clinton had the bronze winner. The swine show will get underway later today, with about 1,400 animals to be shown over the next couple of days. Officials say there were more than 1,000 barrows pre-registered for the show. The show wraps up tomorrow at the Grady County Fairgrounds. Officials will be awarding two Vernon Crose Memorial scholarships.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX up to $61.34 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude down to $64.33.
Natural gas down to $2.50 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,361 and silver is $16.84.
Thursday, February 15th
Petition Signatures Under Review
Grady County election board officials say they are in the process of verifying signatures on a petition from Chickasha residents, which calls for the state auditor to look into alleged mismanagement of funds in the Chickasha school district. Petitioners delivered documents with about 1,700 signatures to the state auditor's office last week. Grady County Election Board Secretary Susan Turner said her office received a packet with those documents in the mail last Friday. Turner said they have been working on verifying the signatures while also dealing with this week's school elections. Turner says they could wrap up the verification process by tomorrow. Petitioners need about 800 verified signatures in order for the state auditor's office come in and review the school district’s finances. The petition alleges mismanagement of funds and also wants a review of the personalized learning curriculum at the high school and related attendance records.
Chix School Board Hires Tulsa Auditing Firm
In the meantime, the Chickasha school board hired a Tulsa firm to also audit the district's financial records. During Tuesday night's board of education meeting, the panel approved a recommendation from interim superintendent Jack Herron to hire Workman Forensics. School members spent several minutes reviewing the contract but had no questions about the proposal. A copy of the contract has not yet been made available to the media. We'll continue our efforts to get a copy of that document.
Support Employee Honored
The school board did recognize a support employee this week. Judy Thomas, who is a pre-K teacher's assistant at Bill Wallace School, was recognized as Support Employee of the Quarter for her long time commitment to the children of the district. Wilma Dudley, president of the Chickasha Association of Support Employees, says Thomas even spends time at home preparing materials for the students. Thomas has worked for the district for 22 years.
Pete Bush to be Hired at Ninnekah
There are some saying today that Chickasha's loss is Ninnekah's gain. Pete Bush, who resigned from Chickasha schools after he was suspended back in December amid all the controversy within the district, is now the assistant high school baseball coach at Ninnekah. The Ninnekah school board is expected to approve his contract when that group meets tonight. Bush stepped down from his post as transportation and maintenance director for Chickasha schools last month. His resignation came before a public hearing that was to be held regarding allegations against Bush that led to his suspension. Ninnekah superintendent Todd Bunch is recommending Bush be on board through the end of the school year.
Suspect in Custody in Caddo County Hold-up
Frightening moments for a clerk at a rural Caddo County convenience store, when masked gunmen brandished weapons and demanded money. The clerk handed over some cash and the two men drove away. The clerk was not hurt. It happened in Eakly Saturday night. Investigators with the Caddo County Sheriff's Office looked at the store’s video surveillance and recognized a man who had walked into the store before the hold-up. The Lawton Constitution reports that the photos were posted on the sheriff’s office Facebook page which led to several tips. Authorities arrested 24-year old Garrett Cole Cooper of Anadarko in connection with the hold up. He’s being held on $500,000 bond.
Volunteer Firefighter Hurt Helping with Accident
A volunteer firefighter is injured while helping with a traffic accident in Caddo County. 62-year old Michael Taylor, a volunteer with the Lookeba Fire Department, suffered head and leg injuries. He was last in fair condition after Wednesday night's crash about a mile north of that community. The highway patrol reports Taylor had legally parked his pickup and activated emergency lights to help with traffic control on a prior accident. Reliable sources tell us that an oncoming vehicle was weaving through the stopped emergency vehicles, struck Taylor’s pick-up when then hit him. The driver of the other pick-up, 39-year old Tacherami Zarecki of Binger, was not injured.
Lamb, Goat Show Results from Southwest District
Here is a list of winners from the first day of the Southwest District Livestock Show. In the wether lamb show, Kamden Urban of Mt. View-Gotebo had the grand champion; Kylee Elliott of El Reno had the reserve grand; and Colt Randall of Mt. View-Gotebo had the bronze. In the ewe lamb show, Kailen Urban of Mt. View-Gotebo had the grand; Baylor Pearson of Lookeba-Sickles had the reserve; and Clay Randall of Canute had the bronze. In the wether goat show, Brooklyn Read of Weatherford had the grand; Baylor Pearson of Lookeba-Sickles the reserve; and Kade Squires of Lookeba-Sickles had bronze. For the doe goat show, Noah Hollars of Elgin had the grand; Karsen McPherson of Weatherford had the reserve; and Caden Church of Sentinel at the bronze.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $60.60 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is$64.36.
Natural gas is $2.58 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,354 and silver is $16.83.
Wednesday, February 14th
McGill Wins Landslide School Board Election
There will be another new member on the Chickasha school board. Zack McGill was a landslide winner in yesterday's school board election by defeating incumbent Julie Badgett-Sinn. McGill collected more than nine out of every 10 votes, 875 to 73. McGill is the third new member for the board in the last three months but is the first to be elected. Ginny Howell and Shawna Covington were both appointed to their posts, following the resignations of board president Chris Ludwell and board member Amos Franco. McGill will serve a five-year term. It's expected that he'll be sworn in during the March school board meeting.
Chix School Board Approves Several Resignations
The resignations of two Chickasha high school administrators were accepted by the school board last night. Resignation agreements with principal Michele Pontikos and assistant principal Kim Nelson were approve by a 4-0 vote. Badgett-Sinn did not attend last night's school board meeting. Details of those agreements were not revealed. The school board also accepted the resignations of the final two employees who had been suspended in December. Stacy Crutchield, who was an administrative assistant at the bus barn; and Director of Information Technology Greg Hackney submitted their resignations. Both were among five employees suspended. Details were never released about the Crutchfield or Hackney suspensions. Regarding three other suspensions, Director of Transportation and Maintenance Pete Bush also resigned; while Athletic Director Yohance Brown and Special Education Director Pam Huggins were re-instated. With the resignations of Pontikos and Nelson at the high school, administrative duties will be covered by another assistant principal, Rhonda Snow, and Jerry Don Bray. Interim Superintendent Jack Herron said they will fill in for the rest of the school year.
Alex, Pioneer Voters OK Bond Issues
In other school elections yesterday, Alex voters approved a nearly $14.7 million bond issue with 10 votes to spare. The measure collected 66 percent of the vote, 112 to 59. Pioneer school district voters approved a bond issue with nearly 95 percent approval, 73 to 4.
More School Board Election Results
At Rush Springs, Del Ford won a seat on the school board, picking up 55 percent of the vote over Tommy Jordan, 177 to 145. In Anadarko, Ronald McLemore defeated two candidates for a seat on the school board. McLemore picked up nearly 70 percent of the vote, defeating Brett Stephens and Justin Myers. McLemore will take the seat held by Kathy Kappelle, who did not run for re-election. In Carnegie, Michael Longhat wins a seat on the school board, defeating Ryan Clark, 288 to 154.
Carnegie Bond Issue Fails by 13 Votes
In Carnegie, voters turned down a $4.2 million bond issue for school improvements by 13 votes. While getting a majority of the votes, it fell short of the 60 percent needed for approval, failing 252 to 193.
1st National Bank Celebrates Renovations
A ribbon-cutting ceremony held yesterday at the renovated 1st National Bank building in downtown Chickasha. The historic building which was originally constructed in 1931, went through a $3 million facelift over the last year. The project uncovered a beautiful ceiling and light fixtures as well as a marble floor. Vice president of communications Randy Talley said the floor was a surprise to many.
Talley said it took about 19,000 labor hours. Since 2015, the bank has invested $6 million in the downtown branch, which also included an expansion for improved technology.
Huge Southwest District Livestock Show Begins
The Southwest District Livestock Show gets underway today at the Grady County Fairgrounds. Over the next four days, more than 2,300 animals will be shown with exhibitors competing for up to $1,000 in prize money. It's believed to be the second largest spring stock show for youth, behind the Oklahoma Youth Expo. More than 1,000 youth from 14 southwest Oklahoma counties will participate. Today, some 400 sheep and 350 goats will be shown. About 240 cattle will be shown tomorrow and the pig show will be over two days, Friday and Saturday, with more than 1,300 swine to be led through the arena.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $59.19 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $62.79.
Natural gas is $2.59 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,333 and silver is $16.56.
Tuesday, February 13th
CHS Principal, Ass't Principal To Resign
Chickasha High School Principal Michele Pontikos and Assistant Principal Kim Nelson are apparently resigning. Among the items on the agenda for the Chickasha Board of Education tonight includes the consideration of their resignation agreements. Pontikos and Nelson were among those testifying in the recent failed attempt to fire the school district's special education director. If approved, the resignations are effective today. During a due process hearing for special education director Pam Huggins, Pontikos and Nelson both said they took statements from several teachers regarding alleged abuse of a high school special needs student. While many of those teachers said they initialed their statements, they said they never received a formal document to review. The school board re-instated Huggins earlier this month.
Chix School Board to Consider Audit
The school board is also to consider hiring a firm to perform a forensic audit of the district's financial records. That is separate from an audit request by a group of petitioners who want the state auditor to review school financial records. A petition with nearly 1,700 signatures was submitted to the state auditor's office last week. Election board officials still need to verify if there are enough certified signatures in order for that audit to take place.
School Board Elections, Bond Issues on Area Ballots
School board and special bond elections are underway throughout Oklahoma. In Chickasha, school board incumbent Julie Badgett-Sinn is facing challenger Zack McGill. There are also school board races in Rush Springs, Blanchard, Anadarko, and Carnegie. Also in Carnegie, voters are deciding a $4.2 million bond issue. If approved, funds would be used to replace the roofs on the middle school and high school; build two storm shelters; remodel the football stadium fieldhouse and build a new softball fieldhouse; and install new heat and air systems at the high school and at the Memorial Building.
Water Continues Spewing from Oil Rig
Crews are still on site of a Continental Resources oil rig north of Chickasha where water and water vapor continues to spray out from a completed well. It's been more than 48 hours since a water valve malfunction on the well. One family was evacuated, and Grady County Emergency Management Director Dale Thompson said there are a few other families that - as of yesterday - were being allowed to stay in their homes.
Thompson said about 20 workers were on site trying to stop the water and vapor from spewing. We tried to contact a representative from Continental Resources for comment but they have not provided an update.
Step-Up Oklahoma Plan Fails in House Vote
Despite receiving a majority of votes, the State House of Representatives failed to approve the proposed Step-Up Oklahoma plan introduced by a statewide coalition of business and civic leaders. The vote was 63-35 and fell 13 votes shy of the number needed to pass. Lawmakers from this region voting against the $581 million plan included Democrat David Perryman of Chickasha. Voting for the plan were Republicans Leslie Osborn of Mustang and Scooter Park of Devol.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is 59.29 a barrel.
London-based Brent is $62.59.
Natural gas is $2.55 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,331 and silver is $16.50.
Monday, February 12th
Crash Slows Traffic Near Tuttle
There is a one-vehicle accident near Tuttle this morning. A witness reports a pick-up overturned near the intersection of State Highways 4 and 37. Emergency vehicles are on the scene. Traffic may be delayed for several minutes.
Repairs Continue at Evacuated Oil Rig
Work crews are still at an oil rig location just north of Chickasha that was evacuated early Sunday. Officials say a malfunctioning water valve led to the spewing of water vapor into the air about 5 o'clock Sunday morning. Workers on the Contintental Resources rig near 4th Street and Reding Road were evacuated and traffic around the location detoured. There were no reports of any injuries. Continental Resources released a statement saying there was a failure of a wellhead isolation tool, and that no one on location was in harm's way at any time.
Jury Awards Rancher $1.5 Million
A Verden rancher is awarded $1.5 million in a lawsuit he filed against his insurance company. A Grady County jury awarded Bryan Linn the payment from Oklahoma Farm Bureau, in a lawsuit filed over stolen cattle. KFOR-TV reports the award comes nearly five years after Linn filed the claim. Linn said about 550 head of cattle were stolen and estimated the loss at nearly $600,000. Over the years, Linn claims the loss cost him his entire operation which he valued about $ 2.5 million. He also said he lost his credit and his reputation. Oklahoma Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company claimed there was no physical or tangible evidence of theft.
Remains of Korean War Soldier Identified
The remains of another Korean War soldier with Grady County ties have been identified. Sgt. Ollie Shepherd was reported missing in Korea in 1951 and declared dead in 1953. Shepherd's remains were among hundreds sent from Korea to Hawaii in 2004. It took several years to find family members. His niece, Paula Cudd, says she got a call last November that officials had identified Sgt. Shepherd's DNA from a small bone fragment. Cudd said her father had always hoped his brother's remains would be identified. Cudd's father passed away several years ago. Shepherd's remains were flown to Oklahoma City last week. He was buried in the Bradley cemetery next to his parents over the weekend. It was just over a year ago that the remains of Cpl. Melvin "Mutt" Hill identified and returned to the area. His remains are buried in the Alex Cemetery.
Local Economic Development Pro to Lead State Group
The president of Chickasha's Economic Development Council will soon lead a state-wide group of her peers. Christy Elkins will serve the next year as chairman of the Governor's Economic Development Marketing Team. Elkins will be handed the gavel to the group in a meeting in the Blue Room at the state capital tomorrow morning. She'll take over for Brian Thorstenburg, who served as the group's chairman over the last 12 months. Elkins will continue her work with the Chickasha panel
Chix Officials Consider Work to Improve Traffic Flow
Efforts to make traffic flow more smoothly through Chickasha are underway. Rob Camp is the city's public works director, and he says officials hope to go out for bid to implement a plan to relieve some of the congestion.
Camp says they want to start at the intersection of 4th and Grand and move north through downtown Chickasha with that project.
High School Students Recieve Military Academy Nominations
A number of area high school students have been nominated to attend military academies. Congressman Tom Cole announces that some students have been nominated to more than one. Keaton Rogers of Amber-Pocasset has been nominated to both the Air Force Academy and West Point. Enrique Orozco of Tuttle, who attends the Oklahoma School of Science and Math, has been nominated to the Air Force Academy and the Naval Academy. Cody Watson of Tuttle was also nominated to the Naval Academy.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $59.20 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $62.79.
Natural gas is $2.58 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,322 and silver is $16.38.
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