Our Chickasha Schools Academic Persons of the week is Ashlin Tryczak
Listen to Ashlin’s story!
Saturday, April 7th
10 Arrested in Connection with Rush Springs Thefts
Rush Springs police arrest 10 people in connection with some recent thefts in that community. Authorities say they've recovered numerous merchandise that had been stolen. Rush Springs Assistant Police Chief Jeff Stonebreaker said the investigation began with reports of numerous tools which were taken from a contractor working on new construction at the school. Among those arrested, 36-year old David Crenweldge. He's been charged with a number of misdemeanors, including possession of stolen property, breaking and entering, and even attempted escape from arrest. A number of the suspects are also facing possible drug charges. One of them, 53-year old Phillip Denham, is charged with felony drug trafficking. Stonebreaker says the investigation continues.
Arrest Made in Animal Cruelty Case
Authorities have made an arrest in connection with a brutal case of animal abuse out of Stephens County. 35-year old Lewis Chastain of Bray is charged with felony animal cruelty after former conviction, after authorities found the remains of two horses near the town of Bray back in January. An arrest warrant for Chastain was issued just last week, after a two-month investigation into the allegations. KSWO TV cites court documents that allege the animals had been severely malnourished for a long period of time. It's alleged that one of the horses was alive when it was dragged by a vehicle with a rope around its neck. It appeared another horse had been killed after suffering head trauma. Chastain is out of jail after posting $50,000 bond.
Chickasha Schools to Remain Closed;
Food Pantry Offers Help to Affected Families
Chickasha schools are to be closed through next Thursday, as administrators continue to allow teachers to be part of a statewide walkout of classes. The teachers want state lawmakers to come up with funding for classroom supplies and materials ... funding that has been cut from public education over the last 10 years. To help the families of teachers and support employees, and even some state workers who have spent much of the week at the state capital...The Chickasha Emergency Food Pantry and the Regional Food Bank have teamed up to offer food boxes to those families. 500 25-pound boxes are available for distribution to families in the Chickasha area. Officials gave away more than 100 of the food boxes yesterday, and the give-away continues from 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. today at Chickasha's First Presbyterian Church at 6th and Minnesota. Any food that is not given away will remain with the local food pantry to help needy families.
Talk Show Topic
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Lisa Perkins who is the Code Enforcement Officer with the City of Chickasha is this week's guest on our KOOL Konversation program to talk about a clean-up Chickasha campaign. Find a link to the program on this website, under the Community tab.
Friday, April 6th
Chickasha Schools Cancel Classes Through April 12th
Chickasha Public Schools will now be closed through next Thursday, in support of the statewide teacher walk-out. A statement issued by school officials says the district is “dedicated to supporting teachers and support staff during the walkout, the purpose of which is to encourage the Oklahoma legislature to find a dedicated source of funding for Oklahoma Public Education”. Interim superintendent Jack Herron said should state lawmakers find a viable solution to school funding ahead of that date, school would return to session the next day. The canceling of classes will not impact the ACT tests that high school juniors are taking next week. Officials say the tests will be given on Tuesday and Wednesday. Buses will run on those days, but pick-up and drop-off times may vary. Juniors will be sent an e-mail with more information, or students can call the administration office.
Food Boxes Available for Families Affected by Walkout
Two groups have combined efforts to provide weekend meals for the families impacted by the walkout. The Chickasha Emergency Food Pantry and the Regional Food Bank will distribute food boxes to teachers, support employees, and even state workers who have been at the state capital this week taking part in demonstrations. Angie Doss is with the Regional Food Bank.
These 25-pound boxes have enough non-perishable food to feed a family for three days. About 500 of these boxes will be given away today and tomorrow at Chickasha's First Presbyterian Church at 6th and Minnesota, from about 2:00 p.m until 5:00 p.m. today and from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. if any remain.
City to Place Large Dumpsters in Neighborhoods in April
In an effort to help Chickasha residents with their spring cleaning efforts, the City of Chickasha will place some large roll-off dumpsters in different neighborhoods every weekend in April. Tomorrow and Sunday, the dumpster will be next to Shannon Springs Park at 12th and Montana. Lisa Perkins is the Code Enforcement officer with the City of Chickasha and says what items residents cannot place in the dumpsters.
Perkins says a city-wide clean-up day is scheduled for Saturday, April 21st in conjunction with a statewide Trash Off day with the State Department of Transportation.
Sheriff's Office Issues 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.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.54 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.33.
Natural gas is $2.67 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,327 and silver is $16.26.
Thursday, April 5th
Consumer Spending Remains Strong
Consumer spending throughout Grady County is still strong. January purchases of taxable goods and services topped $104 million. That's down slightly from the previous month, but 70 percent more than January of last year. It’s also the third straight month in which consumer spending in the region topped $100 million. We estimate consumer spending when we see the sales tax revenue at the county level. Grady County sales tax revenue for the month of March – which is paid on January sales - was nearly $782,000 on a 3/4 of a penny sales tax. Here's how the money is distributed. The Grady County Fairgrounds gets $260,000; Grady Memorial Hospital, $230,000; each of 20 fire districts receive $6,500; each of seven senior nutrition sites gets more than $18,000; Tuttle EMS gets $24,000 and Rush Springs EMS gets $6,000.
City of Chickasha Retail Business Also Good
For the City of Chickasha, consumer spending for January was estimated at more than $25 million. That's up 26 percent compared to January of 2017. The March sales tax revenue, which also reflects collections on the January sales, was more than $960,000 on a 3.75 cent sales tax rate.
Voters Reject Bond Issue for McClain-Grady County EMS
A plan to build a new emergency medical services facility in Newcastle failed in Tuesday's special election. The McLain and Grady County EMS District had asked for a $900,000 bond issue to build a 3,000 sq. ft. facility in Newcastle. The measure failed by 50 votes, 269 to 219. The district serves the Blanchard, Dibble, and Newcastle area but only has a facility in Blanchard. Director Richard Robinson said they EMS board would like to have a Newcastle facility because they are getting an increased number of calls in that area.
Lt. Gov. Lamb Addresses Teacher Walkout
Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Todd Lamb was in Chickasha yesterday, meeting with supporters and also speaking at the on-going USAO forum hosting gubernatorial candidates. Lamb is a Republican candidate for governor, and talked about his stance on the statewide teacher strike that continues into its fourth day today.
Lamb says less than 50 percent of current school funding goes into classrooms and that percentage needs to be at least 65 percent.
USAO Spring Triad, Including Droverstock, Underway
A huge day at USAO today, as the university hosts one of its biggest recruiting events of the year. Hundreds of high school students across the state are expected on campus for what the university calls its Spring Triad, for three events taking place on campus. Most everybody else calls it Droverstock. It opens this morning with a sidewalk chalk art competition, which is open to any individual or group, including USAO students. There's also an academic competition, where students are tested in numerous fields of study throughout the day. The campus really comes to life with an all-day concert called Droverstock, where the USAO oval will have numerous games, activities, and food booths. Local and regional bands will perform, including Dollar-98 which will be among the featured bands playing tonight. Organizers aren't sure how many schools may show up due to the statewide teacher walkout, but one official did say several districts have confirmed that they will be attending.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.77 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.02.
Natural gas is $2.72 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,330 and silver is $16.25.
Wednesday, April 4th
Mosley, Grayson Win City Council Seats
Chickasha voters elect Chris Mosley as the city's next mayor in Tuesday's city council election. In a light turnout of just over 1,500 voters, Mosley picked up nearly 70 percent of the vote in his win over Tom Rose, 1,073 to 476. Mosley said he wants to be part of some long-term planning to improve the city's aging infrastructure.
Mosley will take the mayor’s seat from Hank Ross, who opted not to run for re-election. Chickasha voters also elected a new city councilman in Ward 4. Zach Grayson defeated 10-year council veteran Howard Carpenter, picking up about 58 percent of the vote, 880 to 643. Grayson said he wants city government to be more open about the activities at city hall.
With the election of Mosley and Grayson to the city council, there will be four new faces on the panel. They will join David Sikes, who ran un-opposed in Ward 1 and Joe Molder, who ran un-opposed in Ward 2. Also running un-opposed in Ward 3 was current councilman R.P. Ashanti-Alexander. All will be sworn in on Monday, April 16th.
Friend School Bond Issue Passes
Voters in the Friend school district gave overwhelming approval to a couple of special school bond issues. Both measures received nearly 7 out of every 8 votes cast. A $290,000 bond issue for school repairs, renovations, and the purchase of computers passed with nearly 86 percent of the vote, 84 to 14. An $85,000 bond issue to buy a school bus passed by a nearly identical margin, 84 to 13.
Chickasha Schools Still Canceled due to Teacher Walkout
Chickasha schools are out again today, and will be out indefinitely, to allow teachers to continue to be part of a state-wide walkout to rally for more state funds for their classrooms. Interim superintendent Jack Herron said no decision has yet been made about when classes may resume. Last week, the board of education gave Herron approval to suspend classes all week this week to allow teachers to be part of the walk-out. Herron said he'll be meeting with teachers and support employees tomorrow afternoon to get a progress report. While school buildings will be open for support employees, classes are canceled. 1,800 students are affected with local churches, USAO, and the city library helping with planned activities and meals for the students.
Oil Field Worker Dies After Fall
An oil field worker plummets to his death at a rig near Cement. There's not much information we can tell you regarding the accident. The name of the victim has not been released. The accident happened at a rig located at County Street 2740 and Count Road 1450. The Caddo County Sheriff's Office was called out to the site, but provided no information about the accident.
Fatal Crash Near Rush Springs
A deadly traffic accident near Rush Springs yesterday. A vehicle trying to turn from a county road on to Highway 81 hits a pick-up, causing the truck to go off the road and overturn. The driver of the pick-up died in the crash, and his wife was hospitalized. 68-year old Ernest Tullos of Comanche died at the scene. 66-year old Carla Tullos, was air-lifted to an Oklahoma City hospital where she was last in good condition. The accident happened just after 2:00 p.m. Tuesday at CR 1520 and Highway 81 which is two miles north of Rush Springs. The driver of the other vehicle, 51-year old Billy Hepburn of Duncan, was not injured.
Police: Pharmacist Admits Stealing Pain-Killing Pills
A local pharmacist admits to stealing thousands of pain-killing pills from his work. 49-year old Barry Neil Smith of Yukon, a pharmacist at the Chickasha Wal-Mart pharmacy, was arrested last Friday. A Chickasha police affidavit indicates Smith said he took the drugs to help him deal with a back injury he suffered some years ago. He estimates he may have taken 20,000 pills over the course of his employment. Smith spent the weekend in the Grady County Jail. He has been formally charged in Grady County District Court with four felony counts of obtaining controlled dangerous substance by fraud. If convicted, Smith faces up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine on each count. Smith is out of jail after posting bond.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.51 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $68.12.
Natural gas is $2.70 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,346 and silver is $16.42.
Tuesday, April 3rd
Teacher Walkout Continues
It's day two of a statewide teacher walkout in Oklahoma. Chickasha schools are among those closed for the second straight day to allow teachers and support employees to continue efforts to try and convince state lawmakers to increase funding in classrooms. A statement from one of the state's teachers unions, the Oklahoma Education Association, says lawmakers promised they were doing all they could to find new revenue, but the State House of Representatives adjourned without doing anything. OEA spokesman Alicia Priest said the disrespect shown by the lawmakers only drives the anger and frustration of teachers and education supporters, and its why Oklahomans have no trust in the legislature. Gov. Mary Fallin said the state has to be responsible not to neglect other areas of need including health and human services and corrections. With Chickasha students out of class again today, churches and other groups are again offering programs, along with breakfast and lunch. First Baptist, Bible Baptist, and Calvary Baptist churches, along with the Chickasha Library and USAO are lending a hand, although less than 100 students combined took advantage of those services on Monday. Chickasha school officials announced that classes will resume tomorrow.
Chickasha City Council, Friend School Elections Today
Chickasha voters are heading to the polls to elect a new mayor today. Its one of two positions on the city council that are being decided. Chris Mosley and Tom Rose are the candidates running for mayor. The other post is in Ward 4, where Zach Grayson is challenging 10-year council veteran, Howard Carpenter. Polls are open until 7 o'clock tonight. Patrons in the Friend school district are also voting on a couple of special bond issues today. One is for $290,000 for repairs, renovations, and the purchase of computers. A second proposal is for $85,000 to purchase a new bus.
Storm Drain Upgrade Bid Put on Hold
A proposal to replace as many as 100 storm drain inlets in Chickasha was put on hold by the city council last night. It had been recommended that the project be awarded to Luckenbill, Incorporated, which had submitted a bid of nearly $200,000. It was one of four bids submitted. A lower bid of about $191,000 from local contractor Bordwine Development was considered to be incomplete. City Manager John Noblitt asked that the council table the proposal, prompting this exchange between Councilman Kimmie Loggins and the city manager.
The council unanimously voted to delay a decision until its April 16th meeting.
Bid for Lake Chickasha Dam Repairs OK'd
Bordwine Development was awarded a bid to perform maintenance on the dam at Lake Chickasha. While an engineer's estimate put the cost at more than $150,000 the council approved Bordwine's bid which was less than half that - just over $67,000. The city manager said he was confident that the company could do the work, and the firm's owner, Brannan Bordwine, was on hand to explain his bid.
Bordwine also said the project is not as difficult as it appears indicating that It's mostly manual labor to remove trees, repair the dam, and fences. The only other bid for the project was more than $140,000 from a company called Integrity. It was a unanimous vote to award the project to Bordwine.
Clean Out Storm Shelters for Severe Weather Season
Severe storm season is here, so now is the time to make sure you and your family know what to do should a strong thunderstorm or tornado be headed your way. Susan Routh with Grady County OSU Extension has this recommendation.
Also, get an emergency kit ready in case storms knock out power for several hours or days. Water, non-perishable foods, flashlights and batteries should be included. To help your family get ready for storm season, the Grady County Emergency Management Agency will have a community preparedness day this Saturday at Chickasha's Wal-Mart, with critical information you can use. They will also program NOAA weather radios, regardless of where you might buy one.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $63.01 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $70.14.
Natural gas is $2.68 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,341 and silver is $16.54.
Monday, April 2nd
Chickasha Teachers Join Statewide Walkout
School is canceled in Chickasha and hundreds of other school districts throughout the state today. Teachers are walking out of their classes, with the support of school districts, to take part in what's expected to be a huge rally in support of public education at the state capital. Among the Chickasha teachers heading to the capital are Bill Wallace kindergarten teacher Renee Stallings.
Stallings says she spends about $1,000 of her own money every year to purchase materials for her classroom. Teachers did get a more than $6,000 a year raise from state lawmakers in recent days, but teachers say it did not address several years of cuts in funding in other areas such as school materials and equipment.
Chickasha Schools Out Again Tuesday; back in Wednesday
Chickasha schools announced late this morning the classes would be out again Tuesday, April 3rd. School officials gave tentative approval for classes to be canceled all week. Among the groups helping to provide programs and meals for students who won't be attending school due to the walkout are First Baptist Church, Bible Baptist Church, Calvary Baptist Church, and the Chickasha library. USAO is feeding students breakfast and lunch for today and tomorrow at Gary Hall. Chickasha school officials also anounced that classes will resume as scheduled on Wednesday, April 4th.
Chickasha Mayor to Preside Over Last Council Meeting
Chickasha Mayor Hank Ross presides over his final city council meeting today. It's his last official meeting, as city voters will be selecting a new mayor tomorrow. After the election, a new mayor will be sworn in at the next council meeting in two weeks. Part of the business for the council to review tonight includes awarding a bid of nearly $200,000 to replace as many as 100 of the city's storm water inlets. It's being recommended that the bid be awarded to Luckinbill, Inc. The council will also consider an agreement with the city of Blanchard to help with its animal shelter. Another proposal is holding a city wide garage sale for May 10th through 12th, and waiving permit fees for garage sales during that time. The city-wide garage sale would be held in conjunction with the spring swap meet of the Chickasha Antique Auto Club. The council is expected to recognized Brooke Morales-Nezario as the city's employee of the month. She is the supervisor for the police department's communications program. Mayor Ross is also to issue a proclamation recognizing assistant police chief G.G. Music. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at Chickasha City Hall.
Former City Planner Larry Ummel Dies
Former Chickasha City Planner Larry Ummel has died. Ummel was 74 when he passed away over the weekend. Ummel was Chickasha's first city planner, beginning in the mid-1980s. He instrumental in helping the city acquire the Federal Building and post office which is now City Hall. Most recently he was a bus driver for Chickasha public schools. He was a U.S. Army veteran and also served in the Oklahoma National Guard. Funeral will be at 10:00 a.m. Tuesday at College Heights Baptist Church. Arrangements are with Ferguson Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the church, or Buckner Children and Family Services and East Texas Ministries in Longview, Texas.
Several Weekend Accidents Involve Teen Drivers
There were a number of traffic accidents over the weekend involving young drivers. Two teens were hospitalized when an SUV runs off the highway and rolls. A 16-year old and a 14-year old, both from Oklahoma City, suffered head, arm and leg injuries in the crash that happened on State Highway 152 about 2 1/2 miles west of Minco about 4:15 yesterday afternoon. Their names were not released. The highway patrol reports the 16-year old was driving eastbound on the highway when he became distracted and ran off the road and struck an embankment. The SUV rolled onto to its top. The 14-year old was trapped inside for the vehicle for about 20 minutes. The youths were taken by ambulance to an Oklahoma City hospital, where they were last reported in good condition. A crash in the southern part of Grady County sent a Marlow teen to the hospital. 19-year old Austin Kuhlman was last in fair condition after the accident, which happened about six miles southwest of Rush Springs just after 2 o'clock Saturday morning. The highway patrol reports Kuhlman's pickup ran off the road for an unknown reason and hit a tree. And another accident injured a motorcycle rider, who collided with an SUV that had pulled in front of him west of Marlow. 35-year old Jared Hatcher of Marlow was taken by air ambulance to an Oklahoma City hospital where they were last in serious condition. That accident happened just before six o'clock Saturday evening, about six miles west of Marlow on Highway 7. The highway patrol reports that Hatcher was headed east on Highway 7, when an SUV driven by 18-year old Erin McCaslin of Marlow tried to cross the highway at hit Hatcher's bike. Hatcher was wearing a helmet. McCaslin was not injured.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $64.94 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $70.27.
Natural gas is $2.73 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,335 and silver is $16.45.
Kiowa Tribe Sets Primary, General Elections
The Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma will be holding primary and general elections in the next couple of months. Offices to be determined include chairman, vice-chairman, and legislators for Districts One, Three, and Four. The Kiowa Election Commission is asking members to update their mailing addresses. Officials say they have had numerous mailouts returned as un-deliverable. There are more than 3,500 voters currently registered. A list of people whose addresses have not been updated is published on the Kiowa Tribe website, which is www.kiowatribe.org The primary election will be Saturday, May 5th, and the general election will be held on June 2nd.