In “Getting to know your Chickasha Fire Department” we meet Captain Duke Keeling.
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Saturday, June 23rd
Strong Storms Topple Semis; Cause Power Outages
Minimal damage was reported throughout central Oklahoma after strong thunderstorms moved through the area last night. Storms packing 70 mile per hour winds caused downed power lines and tree limbs and even toppled semis. About 500 PSO customers in the Chickasha area were without electricity for a short time when the storms hit about 11:00 p.m. Friday. A few PSO customers were still without power Saturday morning. Some of them were west of 29th and U.S. Highway 62 and a couple were in town near Shannon Springs Park. In the Oklahoma City metro area, about 20,000 OG&E customers were without electricity. Parts of Interstate 40 west of El Reno was shut down due to a number of semis that were blown over by the high winds.
Friday Storms Overturn Lake Lawtonka Campers
Strong storms that blew through southwest Oklahoma early Friday morning causing some damage at Lake Lawtonka. 50 mile per hour winds were blamed for flipping over about 10 campers and RVs. One woman was briefly trapped in her overturned camper. She was taken to a hospital with neck and back injuries and a lot of bruises.
State Supreme Court Halts Petition Seeking Tax Repeal
The Oklahoma Supreme Court strikes down a petition that sought to repeal tax increases passed by the state legislature this spring. On Friday, the court ruled that an initiative petition submitted by Oklahoma Taxpayers Unite was misleading and fatally flawed. The group was seeking to repeal the taxes which were passed by state lawmakers to fund teacher pay hikes and force a statewide vote on the tax hikes. The group can file a new petition, but organizers have less than a month to get more than 41,000 signatures. The ruling does not impact the date when the new taxes are set to go into effect, which is August 1st. The increases include sales taxes on motor fuels and cigarettes, and gross production taxes.
Marlow Woman Wants Stolen Trailer Back
A Marlow area woman is using some unconventional language in a sign seeking the return of a stolen trailer. One of the signs at the home of Brenda Rist says “if you saw the ‘expletive’ scumbag that stole the motorcycle trailer, please call the Stephens County Sheriff's Office’. Rist lives on State Highway 7 about two miles west of the Lawton-Duncan Y. She said she came home from the work the day after Mothers Day and noticed the trailer was gone. She said since the trailer was stolen during the day, someone had to have seen it being taken. Rist says she wants her trailer back and also wants whoever stole it to be held accountable.
Bridge Creek Fire District Filing Nixed
Candidates who may have thought about filing for the Bridge Creek Fire Protection District Board of Directors next week will have to wait. The filing period has been cancelled. Officials with the Grady County Election board said the timing of the filing period was a factor. It wasn't clear when the filing period will be re-scheduled. The board election is scheduled the same day as the general election in November.
Chickasha Rodeo Ends Tonight
The second and final go-round of the Chickasha rodeo will break out of the chute tonight. This is the 79th year for the local rodeo foundation to hold the annual event. Ahead of the action of the actual rodeo is the parade, which will get underway at 4:00 p.m. today in downtown Chickasha. The parade will run from the Rock Island Depot and go west on Chickasha Avenue to 8th Street, then circle around back to the depot east on Kansas Avenue. For the rodeo tonight, it starts with the Grand Entry kicks off at 8:00 p.m. at the Grady County Fairgrounds Rodeo Arena.
Militaria Show This Weekend
Also at the fairgrounds this weekend, a militaria collectible show. That runs today and tomorrow in the north exhibit building of the fairgrounds. An admission fee is charged.
Talk Show Topic
Here's what we're talking about this weekend: The three candidates running for district judge in Grady and Caddo counties are on our Kool Konversation program. Doug Carel, Ryland Rivas II and Kory Kirkland are on the show. We have a link to the program elsewhere on this website. Find it under the Community tab.
Sheriff's Office Most Wanted
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 by calling 405-224-5085.
Friday, June 22nd
Firm With SCOOP Interest Gets Millions in New Investments
A Dallas-based company with a major investment in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province (SCOOP) picks up some big-time financial backing. Grey Rock Energy Partners collected more than $230 million in capital commitments in its first and only close of Grey Rock Energy III. The money was raised through institutional investors, many of which company officials say are repeat investors. The news was reported on the website www.okenergytoday.com
Grey Rock officials issued a statement saying the company is well positioned to deliver healthy, risk-adjusted returns in an under-served area of the oil and gas market. Managing Director Matt Miller was quoted as saying they have assembled a savvy team with deep operational expertise, positioning the firm as a world-class partner for operators and a preferential counter-party for sellers. Grey Rock is a private equity firm with more than $450 million in assets with interests in more than 2,000 wells in the SCOOP, Permian Basin, the Bakken, and other plays.
Man Wanted on Child Molestation Charge Surrenders
A man charged with child molestation surrenders to authorities. An arrest warrant was issued for 38-year old Michael James Dean of Blanchard on May 30th. Dean gave himself up by walking into the Grady County Jail yesterday afternoon. Details of the investigation by the Grady County Sheriff’s Office weren't available. Dean was arraigned on the charged in district court yesterday, and he remains in jail pending a $50,000 bond. He's to be back in court July 25th to announce his attorney with a preliminary hearing conference is scheduled for August 1st.
Ex-con Back Behind Bars Accused of Robbery
A Chickasha man with a lengthy criminal record remains in jail in connection with a robbery which occurred earlier this week. 25 year old Michael Ryan Shipley was arrested Monday after police were called to a Chickasha home regarding a stolen vehicle. The victim also said some items were taken from a home. A probable cause affidavit filed in Grady County District Court by Chickasha police indicates the victim was in her car talking to Shipley. It’s alleged Shipley pulled the woman out of the vehicle, got in and sped away. The victim said she feared for her life, thinking Shipley may run over her. Shipley was arrested at his home a few hours later. He's been formally charged with second degree robbery. Just a few weeks ago, Shipley pleaded guilty to several misdemeanor drug charges and was given one-year suspended sentence with 30 days to serve. Shipley owes thousands of dollars in fines in connection with crimes dating back 10 years, including drug and assault and battery charges. Shipley remains in jail in lieu of $25,000 bond.
Good Turnout Reported in Early Primary Voting
Thursday saw a good turnout of early voters ahead of next Tuesday's primary election. About 150 individuals cast ballots at the Grady County Election Board and about 100 did so in Caddo County. In-person, absentee voting continues until 6:00 p.m. today. You can also vote tomorrow at your county election board from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. The best times to vote are mid-morning and mid-afternoon.
Rodeo Cowboys Reflect on Their Careers
The 79th annual Chickasha rodeo opens tonight. Among the spectators this weekend will be a couple of brothers who spent a few years on the pro and open rodeo circuits. John and Frank Cox recalled their rodeo days with us. John, who is 68 years old, said he was a bullfighter, and was the IPRA Rookie of the Year in 1972. He recalls riding six bulls in one night in Durant and three ranked bulls during a rodeo in Amarillo. John said he rode bulls until he was 48 years old. Older brother Frank, who is 66 years old, was a saddle bronc rider. He was on the PRCA circuit for several years, winning a competition in Denver about 1978. The brothers competed in numerous states, as far away as California, and even at the prestigious Frontier Days rodeo in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Frank said witnessed the tragic death of bull rider Lane Frost in 1989 and was a pall bearer at Frosts funeral. John and Frank said they still attend a number of rodeos, and will be attending tomorrow night's Chickasha rodeo performance. The rodeo is held at the Grady County Fairgrounds. The Grand Entry is 8:00 p.m. both tonight and tomorrow night. There will be a rodeo parade downtown Chickasha tomorrow starting at 4:00 p.m.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.54 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.05
Natural gas is $2.95 per million BTU.
Gold is $1,270 and silver is $16.51.
Thursday, June 21st
Former Educator, Preacher Sentenced in Molestation Case
He pleaded no contest to several charges of lewd acts with a child. Now, former school administrator and retired preacher Jody Hilliard will be going to prison. A Stephens County judge sentenced Hilliard to 25 years with 18 of those years suspended. That means Hilliard will spend seven years behind bars. He's 73, meaning he won't be eligible for parole until he's 80. Hilliard was an administrator at Ninnekah schools a number of years ago and he spent 25 years as a preacher in Duncan. He pleaded no contest to five counts of lewd or indecent acts with a child. He was accused of molesting a 10-year old girl back in 2015. He was arrested in the spring of 2016 after Duncan police were notified of the allegations.
Woman Hospitalized After Crash on Wet Highway
A Chickasha woman is hospitalized after her pick up runs off a rain-slick highway and hits a utility pole. 36-year old Lyndi Lu Douglas suffered head, arm, leg, and internal injuries in the crash. She is in serious condition in an Oklahoma City hospital this morning. The accident happened in Ninnekah around 8:30 a.m.Wednesday, about a mile west of the U.S. Highway 81 and Highway 277 intersection. The highway patrol reports Douglas was eastbound on 277 when she lost control of the pickup. She was thrown out of the passenger side door when the truck hit the pole.
Minco Mom Pleads for Return of Son's Service Dog
A Minco mother is hoping her son's missing service dog can be found. Delaina Johnson says her 14-year old son Dyllon suffers from seizures, and that his 4-year old rottweiler named Loki has gone missing. Johnson said she took Dyllon to West Virginia last week to visit his dad, but left Loki behind with a dog-sitter. When Johnson came home, the sitter said Loki had run away. Johnson has her suspicions on whether that is true, and thinks that Loki may have been sold. There were also reports that the dog was dumped in the country. Dyllon won't be home until July 1st, and he doesn’t know Loki is missing. The dog is micro-chipped. Anyone with information is asked to call the Minco Police Department.
Fugitive is Back in Custody
One of the state's most wanted fugitives is back in custody. Ryland Miller, wanted on a parole violation on drug trafficking and distribution charges out of Stephens County, was caught in the Lawton area on Wednesday. News of the arrest was posted on the Department of Corrections Facebook page. No details of his arrest were available. Miller was featured in last week's Fugitive Friday program in southwest Oklahoma. He was originally arrested in 2000 following an investigation by the Duncan Police Department. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. It's not clear when he was paroled.
Early Voting Underway for Primary Election
Early voting begins today ahead of next Tuesday's primary election. In-person, absentee ballots may be cast at your local county election board office. While the ballot features many statewide races like governor and lieutenant governor, there are some county elected positions on the ballot. In Grady and Caddo counties, there are three candidates for district judge. Doug Carel of Tuttle, and Ryland Rivas II and Kory Kirkland both of Chickasha are on the ballot. Kirkland was appointed to the post last May. In Grady County, Democrats in District Three have their choices of three county commissioner candidates. Incumbent Ralph Beard is being challenged by Lee Dorman and Jeffrey Cramer. Republicans in District One also have three county commissioner candidates on the ballot. Incumbent Windle Hardy is being challenged by Billy Clapper and Michael Walker. In Caddo County, Democrats will choose a candidate for assessor. Incumbent Edward Whitworth is being challenged by Kelly Caye Ratzlaff, with the winner to face a Republican challenger in November. In-person, absentee voting is from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. today and tomorrow, and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $66.22 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $74.74.
Natural gas is $2.96 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,265 and silver is $16.28.
Chickasha Schools GED Program Placed on Probation
The Adult Basic Education courses offered through Chickasha Public Schools will continue through next school year. However, the program has been placed on probation for one year. The Chickasha school board took the action during a special meeting last night. The program was reportedly out of compliance following an audit. The school board issued a mandate saying administrators must be up-to-date on practices, monitor spending more closely, and teachers will be required to spend at least 12 hours of face-to-face time with students. Program coordinator Lisa Johnson said corrective actions have already begun. The program offers GED and English as a Second Language courses in both Grady and Canadian counties. The program has helped about 1,000 students over the last 10 years, and has been around about 50 years. School Board President Doug Brown said they will do everything they can to ensure the program stays in Chickasha and is successful.
Jack Herron to Remain as Chickasha School Superintendent
Interim Chickasha School Superintendent Jack Herron will be staying with the district. He was hired as the permanent superintendent in last night's special school board meeting. Herron was hired in January following the turmoil that erupted in the aftermath of former superintendent Dave Cash’s term as Superintendent Emeritus and his eventual resignation. Several school employees were suspended for blowing the whistle regarding allegations of grade and attendance tampering with the district's personalized learning curriculum, which remain under investigation by the OSBI and the state department of education. Others were suspended over allegations of abuse of a special needs student. Those accused of abuse were cleared of wrong-doing. Of those suspended, all have resigned with the exception of special education director Pam Huggins, who was re-hired for the upcoming school year. It's reported that Herron was awarded a two-year contract. Contract terms were not immediately available.
Chickasha Water Pressure Issue Resolved
Parts of Chickasha spent much of Tuesday with low water pressure. A leaking pipe joint at one of the city's three water towers was to blame. Customers in the south and southwest part of the city, including USAO, were affected. Crews had to replace a dismantling joint on a 16-inch water line in the tower at 11th and Alabama. Workers from the city and its contracted water treatment company USW spent several hours replacing the joint. A replacement part was available from a supplier in Norman at a cost of $350. Water service had returned to normal for most water customers by mid-afternoon.
Police Department Phone Upgrade Postponed
The Chickasha Police Department did not get its new computer software installed on its telephone system yesterday. Communications Supervisor Kory Brewer said some unexpected problems came up, so the project was postponed. Brewer said they may try again next week.
Livestock Forage Program Enrollment Continues
Livestock producers impacted by the recent drought might consider taking part in USDA's Livestock Forage Program. Amanda Tye with the Caddo County Farm Service Agency says-
Tye said producers must have owned the livestock and be able to provide a lease or deed to prove they had access to the grazing land.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.07 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $75.08.
Natural gas is $2.90 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,274 and silver is $16.26.
Tuesday, June 19th
New Chickasha School Superintendent May be Hired
A new superintendent for Chickasha Public Schools could be announced tonight. The school board interviewed what was believed to be the fifth and final candidate for the post during a special meeting last night. Another special meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. today at the school administration building. The group will go behind closed doors to discuss the candidates, and after the executive session there's an item to vote on the possible employment of the superintendent. Jack Herron has served as interim superintendent for the past five months.
Future of Adult Basic Education Course Under Review
The future of Chickasha school's Adult Education Program will also be discussed in a closed-door session of the school board in today’s meeting. The item on the agenda calls for the school board and its attorney to discuss a Career Tech review of the program. Adult Education Director Lisa Johnson tells KOOL/RANCH News she's afraid the program is in danger of being discontinued. Johnson said the program was put on a corrective action plan and that career tech has approved a one-year extension to make sure they stay in line with their requests. Johnson said the district has already signed the grant for the Adult Education Program for the upcoming school year.
Chix City Council OK's $15 Million General Fund Budget
A $15.1 million general fund budget for the City of Chickasha for the 2019 fiscal was approved by the city council last night. That's a slight increase over the current fiscal year budget which ends next week. The budget passed with a 7-1 vote, with Councilman Mark Keeling providing the lone vote against the measure.
He said the council must be willing to make tough decisions. Keeling is opposed to the council's lease with the YMCA, which is a dollar a year for the old National Guard Armory where the YMCA is housed. He’s also not in favor of an assistant chief for the fire department, or $20,000 for contract labor with the Main Street Association.
Man Charged with Child Sexual Abuse
An investigation into a case of alleged child molestation lands a man in jail. 47-year old Steven James Denton of Chickasha is charged with two counts of the sexual assault of two children under the age of 16. Following last week’s investigation by Chickasha police and questioning of the alleged victims by a third party, an arrest warrant was issued for Denton. He was taken into custody Saturday afternoon. He was arraigned on two felony counts of child sexual assault in Grady County district court yesterday. He remains in jail in lieu of $100,000 bond. Denton is to be back in court August 1st for a preliminary hearing conference.
Child Abuse Suspect Released; Investigation Continues
In a KOOL/RANCH News follow-up, the investigation into a reported case of child abuse is continuing, but a suspect arrested in connection with the case has been released from jail with no charges filed against him at this time. Chickasha police arrested a man on a child abuse complaint last week but he was released from jail Friday afternoon. The Grady County District Attorney's office would only say that the investigation into the allegations is on-going. An emergency protective order has been granted against the suspect. A hearing on that matter is scheduled next week.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.85 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $75.34.
Natural gas is $2.95 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,282 and silver is $16.38.
Monday, June 18th
Shortfall Expected for City of Chickasha's 2019 Budget
The City of Chickasha is projected to have a $1.3 million shortfall in the general fund budget for the 2019 fiscal year which starts next month. Projections from City Manager John Noblitt show total revenues expected to be just over $15 million with total expenses about $16.4 million. The largest increases are for police and fire salaries. Police salaries will grow by 20 percent to $4.2 million, an increase of about $650,000. Fire department salaries will increase about 12.5 percent to about $2.8 million, an increase of about $370,000. General government costs are expected to increase 5 percent to $6.2 million, an increase of about $250,000. The shortfall would leave the city with only $13,000 to carry over to the 2020 fiscal year. It's the third straight year the city could operate with a shortfall. The council is also expected to consider awarding a bid of more than $470,000 for a sewer extension project in the 1800 block of South 9th Street to H and H Plumbing.The council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
Interviews for Chix School Superintendent Continue
Also tonight, another candidate for Chickasha school superintendent is to be interviewed by the school board. That brings the number of candidates interviewed over the last week to five. A second round of interviews is expected with some of the candidates over the next couple of weeks. School board president Doug Brown said there's no clear timetable on when to have a new superintendent in place, however, the contract for interim Superintendent Jack Herron expires next week.Tonight's interview to be held behind closed doors as part of a special meeting of the school board. It begins at 5:30 p.m. at the school administration building.
Security Searches Begin at Grady County Courthouse
Today's the day that security will be tightened at the Grady County courthouse. Everyone entering the courthouse - including employees - will have to go through a metal detector. Any handbags, back packs, and tote bags will be searched, and anyone bringing a lap top with them will be asked to turn it on. Some delays should be expected while officials implement the new security checkpoint.
Phone Outage Expected at Police Department; But Not 9-1-1
The installation of some new software may impact some phone calls made to the Chickasha Police Department tomorrow. Lt. Scott Weaver says there may be some possible interruptions of non-emergency lines tomorrow morning, starting about 10 a.m. and continue for several hours. Weaver said that the department’s 9-1-1 service will not be affected as those lines will be transferred to another system.
Anadarko Looks to Increase Tourism
Anadarko city and business leaders will be more pro-active in promoting their community. A number of state officials and media were on hand for an Anadarko tourism day, including representatives from the state department of tourism and the state department of commerce. Anadarko City Manager Kenneth Corn.
A number of events are scheduled in the coming months, including Anadarko’s Honor America Day on Saturday June 30th and the American Indian Expo which is a big attraction in August.
Early Voting for June 26th Primary Opens Thursday
The June 26th primary election is now just eight days away. Voters may cast ballots early, instead of going to their local precinct. In person, absentee voting can be done at county election board offices. You have to vote at your local county election board. Early voting can be done Thursday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m and even on Saturday, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. You'll have to sign some documents indicating that you're voting early, and you may have to show your voter registration and ID.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $65.06 a barrel.
London-based Brent is $73.44.
Natural gas is $3.02 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,283 and silver is $16.61.