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Saturday, July 21st
Suspect Arrested in Connection with Church Break-in
Investigators have made an arrest in connection with the recent break-in at College Heights Baptist Church. Chickasha police arrested 29-year old Patrick Donn French on a burglary complaint and he was booked into the Grady County jail Friday night. No details of the arrest were available. The church was burglarized about a week ago. Authorities publicized several pictures from video surveillance showing the suspect and the vehicle he may have been driving. French's mug shot closely resembles the suspect seen in the video. French, who was last known to be from the Moore area, has a prior record. He pleaded guilty to a felony charge for false personation in which he received a five-year deferred sentence. He also pleaded guilty to some misdemeanor drug charges. While arrested on a burglary complaint, it will be up to prosecutors to decide what, if any charges he may face. French's initial court appearance could be as early as Monday.
$500,000 Bond Set for Domestic Violence Suspect
A Chickasha man is jailed on a $500,000 bond after his arrest following a volatile domestic disturbance. 47-year old Michael Shane McConnell faces a half-dozen charges including burglary and assault. A police affidavit filed in Grady County District Court indicates Chickasha police were called to a home near 13th and Florida Thursday afternoon. A woman alleged McConnell choked her, broke into her house, and grabbed her cell phone while she tried to call police. McConnell then left the home in a car with another woman. While police were investigating that case, officers were told that McConnell and the other woman were west of Norge, and that McConnell was threatening to shoot himself. McConnell fled the area on foot, but he was located following a brief search by Ninnekah police and Grady County deputies. McConnell surrendered without incident. McConnell is to return to court August 27th to announce his attorney, and a preliminary hearing conference set September 5th.
Firefighters Treated for Heat Exhaustion Battling Cyril Fire
Firefighters battled flames and oppressive heat for several hours in a huge grass fire north of Cyril Friday. A few firefighters had to be treated for heat exhaustion as the temperature rose to near record highs, about 110 degrees. Dozens of fire crews from Cyril, Cement, Anadarko, Apache, New Hope, and Fletcher were also forced to battle rugged terrain. Crews did get some air support to aid their mission. There was minimal property damage however the flames did destroy an abandoned home and a children's playhouse. In all, about 200 acres of charred grassland was left behind. Fire officials say the area may smolder for several days. The fire was reportedly caused by a blown powerline transformer. A handful of homes lost power.
Chickasha Mayor Looks to the Future in Address
Chickasha's future growth relies on supporting existing business and industry and developing a vibrant downtown area. Mayor Chris Mosley made the suggestions in his first State-of-the-City address to business leaders yesterday. Mosley said it's very difficult to recruit companies that provide 100 or more good-paying jobs. Instead of going after those companies, Mosley said -
Mosley and city leaders are also aggressively looking at ways to make big improvements to downtown Chickasha, like creating an arts and entertainment venue to attract tourism dollars. The plan includes applying for grants and seeking private funding that can revitalize downtown.
New Economic Development Director May be Named
A business development group has wasted no time in finding a new leader. The Chickasha Economic Development Council (EDC) is expected to name a new director soon. Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley said the EDC is expected to hold a special meeting next week to announce the new administrator. Former EDC director Christy Elkins resigned the post last month after nearly six years on the job. She is now the Economic Development Manager for Oklahoma Gas and Electric.
Monster Truck Fans Treated to Big Show
Screaming engines, flying dirt and appreciative fans were all part of a big monster truck event at the Grady County Fairgrounds Friday night. Fans were treated to more than two hours of these over-built trucks in the Monster Truck Summer Nationals, with drivers competing for $50,000 in prize money. The show included the world's largest monster truck, Sgt. Smash, and a truck that transforms into a fire-breathing, car eating dinosaur. Two-time world champion Equalizer is also part of the weekend show. If you missed Friday night's show, there's another one tonight (Saturday) at the Grady County Fairgrounds. The pit area opens at 6:30 p.m. for pictures, and the show starts at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are available at the gate.
Talk Show Topic
Here's what we're talking about this weekend. Michael Chavers, Andrea Chavers, and Tommy Howell with the Grady County Disabled American Veterans are on our KOOL Konversation Program. We have a link to the show elsewhere on this website. Find it under the Community tab.
Friday, July 20th
Gas Well in Alex Puts up Big Numbers
More big news in the energy sector for the region. It's another top-producing well in the South Central Oklahoma Oil Province, commonly called the SCOOP. A well near Alex is producing 10 million cubic feet feet of natural gas per day in the Woodford play. It's the North Cheyenne 4-10X3H well about three miles south of Alex in Township 4 North, Range 6 West in Section 10. The well was drilled by Gulfport Mid-Con of Oklahoma City. In addition to the large volume of natural gas production, it's also bringing up more than 450 barrels of oil a day. OK Energy Today reports the well had a spud date of January, 2017 and it wasn't finished until last August and finally completed this past January. There have been an additional 14 permits to drill in Grady County that have recently been approved, including three each for Gulfport Mid-Con and Marathon; and two each by Roan Resources and Traveis Peak Resource. In the STACK play around Kingfisher, 19 permits to drill have recently been approved.
Ninnekah Voters to Decide School Bond Issues
Ninnekah school patrons will have two special bond issues to decide when they go to the polls for the August 28th primary run-off election. The two issues total $550,000, with one bond to make improvements to the high school science laboratory, and the other to take care of some transportation needs. Superintendent Todd Bunch says the science lab was part of the original construction at the high school more than 40 years ago. He says students have not been able to do any experiments because of non-working gas and plumbing lines. The bonds would also allow the district to purchase some equipment and furniture for the lab. The second bond issue would allow the district to purchase some new buses and people movers. Should the bond issues be approved, Bunch said there would not be an increase in property taxes, since a current bond will be paid off at the end of this year.
Anadarko Back-to-School Expo Nears
Also in education news, students in Anadarko Public Schools will return to the classroom in less than a month. School officials are preparing for the 7th annual back-to-school expo. In addition to meeting teachers and picking up class schedules, the students can get free dental exams and student athletes will be able to get free physicals. There will be numerous organizations with information on ACT testing, special services, Indian education, and college and career information. Also scheduled is a meet-and-greet with new superintendent Jerry McCormick. The first 80 students can get free haircuts, and there will be free hot dogs, popcorn and drinks. Participants can also register to win some very nice door prizes. The Anadarko back-to-school expo is Thursday, August 2nd from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Warrior Fieldhouse. Anadarko students go back to school the following Thursday, August 9th.
DAV May Host Tommy Franks Traveling Museum
An Oklahoman who was the central commander of the U.S. campaign in Iraq is expected to bring an exhibit to Chickasha next month. General Tommy Franks will be hauling his traveling museum to the headquarters of the Grady County Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 17. His permanent museum is in Hobart. Michael Chavers with the Grady County DAV says he's done all the preliminary work to get the traveling museum to the local chapter.
The tentative date for the program is Wednesday, August 22nd. The Grady County DAV Chapter recently re-established a local office, and is assisting veterans in Grady and Caddo counties.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $69.46 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.79.
Natural gas is $2.77 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,225 and sliver is $15.43.
Thursday, July 19th
City Manager Won't be Getting Raise
Chickasha's city manager won't be getting a pay hike this year. The city council opted against the increase for top administrator John Noblitt. The council met behind closed doors for about 45 minutes during this week's council meeting to discuss Noblitt's pay. Noblitt has been the city manager since the spring of 2017.
Boat and RV Storage; Home Beauty Salon OK'd
Also during this week's meeting, the council approved a re-zoning request that would allow a boat and RV storage business to be developed. Businessman Todd Morris of Todd’s Tire and Auto asked for the re-zoning at the southwest corner of 3rd and Texas to be re-zoned to allow for the storage, as well as the construction of some storage units. The measure passed unanimously. The council also approved a use-on-review for Heather Schenk to operate a beauty shop with a massage therapy practice in the 1200 block of South 18th. Schenk told the council she is licensed and insured, and has been a certified massage therapist for 15 years, with the last eight of them in Chickasha. She said she would not place any advertising signs in her yard. The vote to approve the use-on-review was also unanimous.
Utility Donates Former Substation Property to City
Public Service Company of Oklahoma is donating some property it owns to the City of Chickasha. The utility has a couple of lots around 13th and Tennessee that it no longer uses. PSO spokesman Tim Hushbeck explained the matter at this week's city council meeting.
City Councilman Jim Hopkins expressed concern about any an hazardous materials or chemicals on the site, but Hushbeck said he would ensure the lots would be safe for city use. City officials are considering moving a nearby park at 12th and Alabama to that location, with the possibility of expanding Rose Hill Cemetery.
This Website to Stream Mayor's 'State-of-the-City' Speech
Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley will address city leaders tomorrow morning in his inaugural State of the City address. Mosley's presentation is part of a special chamber of commerce program at InterUrban restaurant. We'll stream the mayor's speech live on this website starting about 8:00 a.m. Friday morning. Look for the Community tab on this website, and find “The Ranch Chickasha information” link.
Fire Chief Presented with Distinguished Service Award
Chickasha Fire Chief Brian Zalewski is recognized for going above and beyond his normal duties. City Manager John Noblitt presented the fire chief with a Distinguished Service Award after spent time on a day off to clean the sidewalks at Shannon Springs Park. Noblitt said Zalewski volunteered his own time on the July 4th holiday to spray bird feces off the sidewalks to make pedestrian traffic safer for the thousands of people visited the park to enjoy the fireworks show. Zalewski said he spent about three hours hosing down the sidewalks.
Panel to Use Funds to Rehabilitate HUD-type Homes
A local group has received more than a half-million dollars to purchase and renovate houses for low-income housing needs. Washita Valley Community Action Council has been awarded $500,000 from the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency, as part of its Home Investment Partnerships Programs. The state panel is part of the federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) program. Washita Valley will be able to purchase and rehabilitate three rental homes in Chickasha. The group collected an additional $50,000 for operations. Other groups receiving similar funds are the Tri-County Indian Nations Community Development Corporation which will build homes in Garvin and other south-central counties. Groups in Altus, Choctaw, and Muskogee were also awarded funds for affordable housing projects.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.75 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.90.
Natural gas is $2.72 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,215 and silver is $15.26.
Wednesday, July 18th
City Officials to Develop Plan to Eliminate Brush, Limb Piles
It doesn't take long for anyone driving through Chickasha neighborhoods to see huge piles of brush and tree limbs on curbs or in center medians. Some of them have been there for weeks if not months. City Councilman Zach Grayson brought up the issue at this week's city council meeting. City Manager John Noblitt says the city and its private sanitation contractor Waste Connections have brush pick-up programs, but each has limitations. Noblitt says they are working on a plan to encourage residents to remove the brush on their own.
We'll be sure to let you know when that program may take place.
New Police Car Purchase Delayed
It will be a while before the Chickasha Police Department can get a new vehicle for its detective division. The department was hoping to get one newer vehicle to replace two damaged vehicles. One was involved in an accident and the other damaged in a shootout. But the city council voted down a plan to purchase a vehicle from an out of town dealer. Here are comments from City Councilman Mark Keeling.
With councilman David Sikes absent from the meeting, the council voted four-four on the issue and five votes needed for passage. Officials will now go out for bid for the new unmarked vehicle for detectives but that won't happen until next month, and a bid may not be awarded until September or later.
Teens Arrested, Charged on Robbery, Assault Allegations
A couple of Anadarko teenagers accused of some violent crimes have been charged as youthful offenders.16-year old Raymonda Wetselline and 15-year old Michael Jamael Chase James are facing felony counts of robbery with a weapon, burglary, and aggravated assault and battery. The Lawton Constitution reported the story but provided no details about the allegations. If convicted, the teens are facing at least five years behind bars.
Roast Set for Retiring Educator
A lifetime in education will be recognized next month. Greg Winters, superintendent of the Canadian Valley Technology Centers in Chickasha, El Reno, and Yukon, is retiring after spending 40 years in the field. A retirement roast for Winters will be held Tuesday, August 7th on the El Reno Campus. Winters was instrumental in leading the El Reno campus through the aftermath of a huge tornado that destroyed nearly every one of it's buildings in 2013. While there was millions of dollars in damage, there were no fatalities or injuries on the campus. Winters retires at the end of this month. The roast is an invitation-only event, and individuals are asked to RSVP Michelle Hester at the El Reno campus by July 27th by calling 405-422-2285.
Ag Producers Facing Deadlines for USDA Programs
Agriculture producers only have a couple more weeks to sign up for USDA programs for the upcoming crop year. Amanda Tye with the Caddo County Farm Service Agency said August 1st is the deadline for both the ARC and PLC programs.
She also said that August 1st is the deadline to request a reconstitution of farming operations. Producers who have sold or purchased a farm or farms in the past year are asked to contact their local FSA office.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.08 a barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.60.
Natural gas is $2.74 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,223 and silver is $15.47.
Tuesday, July 17th
Second Chickasha Church Burglarized
Another Chickasha church has been burglarized. Police were called out to College Heights Baptist Church Saturday morning when the burglary was discovered. It's the second church in town to have experience a break-in within the last few weeks. At the College Heights break-in, someone broke a window to gain entry and is said to have spent a couple of hours inside. Among the items taken were a bass guitar, a laptop and a DVD-Blu Ray player. Officials are not sure if this break-in is related to a similar burglary that occurred at First Assembly of God early this month, where three people were arrested in connection with that burglary. If you have information that can help solve the College Heights Baptist Church break-in, contact Chickasha police by calling 405-222-6050 or the Chickasha and Grady County Crimestoppers at 405-224-TIPS. You can also provide anonymous tips on the Crimestoppers Facebook page.
Texas Murder Suspect Found Dead in Anadarko
A suspect wanted for questioning in connection with a homicide in Texas has been found dead in Anadarko. Anadarko police were summoned to the Wal-Mart parking lot Saturday night, where the suspect's vehicle was said to have been located. The suspect was inside and is believed to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Texas Rangers were looking for 37-year old Jeremy Judd Owens. He was a suspect in the death of a man in the northeastern Texas town of Cromwell, about 300 miles away and east of Tyler, Texas. That’s where a man's body was found in a local cemetery last Friday. There's no word if Owens had any connections in Anadarko.
Tuttle Man Faces Rape, Incest Charges
A Grady County man is facing formal charges of rape and incest in connection with an attack on a 16-year old girl. 42-year old Donald Wayne Attebery, Jr. was arrested by Tuttle police last Friday. A probable cause affidavit filed by Tuttle police indicates the assault occurred in March. It state's Attebery walked into the girl's bedroom and forcibly attacked her. During questioning, Attebery denied the assault, but did provide some DNA samples. Tuttle police received word last month that the sample matched DNA on a bed sheet taken from the girl's bedroom. Attebery remains in the Grady County Jail in lieu of $250,000 bond.
Traffic Light Project Gets Approval
Despite a cost that was 40 percent higher than budgeted, the Chickasha City Council approves a plan expected to improve the flow of traffic through the city. The panel will spend $140,000 to upgrade signal lights and video cameras along 4th Street. The upgraded lights and cameras will be at 4th and Grand, 4th and Chisholm Drive and 4th and Choctaw. City Manager John Noblitt:
Work on the project is expected to start this fall.
Poverty 'Exercise' Planned
Many Oklahomans living in poverty face difficult decisions every day. Do you buy food for your family or pay your electricity bill? Do you pawn your wedding ring to get medicine for your kids? Dozens of community leaders will meet in Lawton this week to try and experience those issues. Susan Routh with Grady County OSU Extension says a Poverty Simulation exercise has been developed by the state cooperative extension service.
The exercise allows participants to look at poverty from several angles, then recognize and discuss the potential changes which may be made in their communities.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX drops below $70, down to $68.06.
London-based Brent crude falls to $71.84.
Natural gas was off a penny to $2.74 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,242 and silver is $15.81.
Monday, July 16th
4th Street Traffic-Flow Upgrade Project to be Reviewed
The City of Chickasha may be spending nearly $140,000 on a project officials say would improve the flow of traffic along 4th Street. Officials are recommending a bid from a firm called Traffic Signals of Edmond, which would install a new controller at 4th and Grand, and new video detection at 4th and Grand, 4th and Chisholm Drive, and 4th and Choctaw. The bid from Traffic Signals is the lowest of two bids received. The other was for about $154,000. City Manager John Noblitt said the project is over budget, likely due to an increase in the cost of video equipment. The city budgeted $100,000 and Noblitt is recommending the rest of the funds come from a little-used sidewalk fund. The council will review the plan when it meets tonight.
City Council to Discuss City Manager Salary, Re-zoning Issues
The council will also go behind closed doors to discuss a salary review for the city manager. The panel will also consider a request to re-zone some property at 3rd and Texas to allow boat and RV storage and some storage units; and another proposal to allow a use-on-revue for home beauty shop in the 1200 block of South 18th, to include massage therapy services. The Planning Commission recommended that both of those requests be approved. The city council meets at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
U.S. Highway 81 Road, Bridge Upgrades Underway
A number of highway improvement projects are underway along U.S. Highway 81 in Grady County. Jay Earp with the Duncan office of the State Department of Transportation says contractors have just started upgrades on three bridges over the Washita River north of Chickasha. He says one of the bridges had been identified as structurally deficient. Earp says the number of structurally-deficient bridges has been reduced quite a bit over the last several years.
Another U.S. Highway 81 project underway is between Ninnekah and Rush Springs. Contractors are doing an asphalt overlay and repairing the concrete base underneath if needed. Earp said contractors will also soon install cable barriers in the center median along that stretch of highway.
Chickasha Mayor to Discuss 'State of the City'
Chickasha Mayor Chris Mosley is preparing his State of the City address which he will be delivering later this week. Mosley will give his overview of the city this Friday morning in a special program offered by the Chamber of Commerce. Officials ask anyone interested in attending to RSVP by the close of business today (Monday). The program will be at the InterUrban Restaurant this Friday, July 20th with breakfast served at 7:30 a.m. and the program to start about 8:00 a.m. Cost is $10 if you'd like to attend. Chamber president Mark Rathe says 40 people have already signed up to hear the mayor's presentation.
Energy Industry Boom Continues
The Sooner State continues to benefit from a surging energy sector. Here's Matt Skinner with the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Skinner said the weekly rig count in Oklahoma remained unchanged at 141, while the national rig count grew by two to 1,054.
Libraray Moves 'How to Talk to Your Doctor' Program
There has been a change in the date of an upcoming program at the Chickasha Library. It's about how to talk to your doctor and health care professionals more effectively. The original date was Tuesday, July 31st but the date has been moved up a week to Tuesday, July 24th. It's for individuals and care-givers who want to have a more positive inter-action with their health-care providers. It's a free one-hour program that will start at 3:00 p.m. that day but you must register ahead of time. Visit the library or call 405-222-6075.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX was lower last week to $71.01 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude was down to $75.33.
Natural gas was down to $2.75 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,244 and silver is $15.84.