Today we close out the Chickasha Future Farmer of the week with President Blake White and FFA Reporter Cody Bell closing out the year.
Saturday, Dec. 22nd
Child Found Wandering Alone
A little boy was found wandering alone in a Chickasha neighborhood Friday morning. An individual took the child in and called police, who then called the Department of Human Services. The child's parents were eventually located. Chickasha Police Lt. Scott Weaver said authorities got the call about 10:00 a.m. Friday. The child was seen in the area of 23rd and Montana. Police have not released much information about the investigation, other than to say the parents were located within about 30 minutes of when police were called. It wasn't clear how far the child had wandered from his home. It also wasn't known if any legal action might be taken against the parents.
Chickasha Schools Release Statement Regarding Lawsuit
A statement from the Chickasha Public School district has been released regarding a civil lawsuit filed against the district. The statement, written on Chickasha schools stationery does not have the signature or name of a school official or representative. However, Superintendent Jack Herron told KOOL/RANCH News that the statement was sent to a number of media outlets. The statement reads in part that Oklahoma school law is well established regarding the obligations of administrators and school boards, regarding alleged misconduct by school employees. The statement also reads that district representatives have confidence that the district and all the defendants named in the lawsuit will be vindicated. The lawsuit was filed by Pam Ladyman and Yohance Brown who were suspended last December over allegations of failure to report child abuse and embezzlement. Both employees were cleared of wrong-doing. The suit claims that Ladyman and Brown were victims of slander and libel and the defendants intentionally inflicted emotional distress on them.
Woman Hospitalized After Pick-up Hits Tree
An Alex woman is still in the hospital after her pick-up ran off the road and hit a tree. 57-year old Regina Williams suffered trunk, internal, and leg injuries and was trapped inside the pick-up for about 45 minutes. She had to be taken by air ambulance to an Oklahoma City hospital where she was last in serious condition. The accident happened near the junction of U.S. Highway 62 and the Alex highway just after 10:15 a.m. Friday. The highway patrol reports that Williams was driving south on the Alex highway and was distracted looking at the tree line before running off the road. The accident closed the Alex highway for about an hour.
Vehicle Fire Closes Turnpike
A vehicle catches fire after a crash on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike between Chickasha and Newcastle last night. Thankfully, the investigating trooper said there were only minor injuries and no one had to be taken to the hospital. All we know is that the accident and ensuing fire happened just after 8:30 p.m. Friday in the westbound lanes of the turnpike at Mile Marker 96. That's very close to the toll booth in that area. The accident shut down both westbound lanes of traffic for nearly 2 1/2 hours. We don't have any details about the accident and the names of those involved weren’t released. State troopers typically don't provide details of accidents if no one goes to the hospital.
Several Graduate Law Enforcement Academy
Several new reserve law enforcement officers will be on the streets soon. Eighteen students graduated during formal ceremonies Friday night at the Canadian Valley Technology Center. The course was offered by the Grady County Sheriff's office. Cadets attended two or three classes every week for the last several months, and had to pass several tests along the way. The sheriff's office Public Information officer Lisa Hatchett was the only woman in the class.
About six of the reserve officers will join the Grady County Sheriff's Office while others will be working for law enforcement agencies elsewhere in the state.
Friday, Dec. 21st
Manslaughter Suspect Behind Bars
A woman wanted for manslaughter in connection with a deadly Grady County traffic accident is behind bars. A warrant for the arrest of 32-year old Deidra Marie Johnson of Oklahoma City was issued in September and she was booked into the Grady County Jail yesterday. The accident happened in Ninnekah in June, on Highway 277 about four miles west of Highway 81. Killed in the crash was Daren Leon Shadoan. Ninnekah police answered the call to the crash, in which investigators say Johnson crossed the center line of a no-passing zone and hit Shadoan's pickup.
Chickasha Firm Earns Safety Award
A Chickasha company earns a state honor for workplace safety. Livestock Nutrition Center (LNC) received recognition from the state Department of Labor yesterday for completing its Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). Company president Ben Baer said they worked with state and federal officials over the last three years to improve working condition at the plant.
Baer said it wasn't easy, as the plant makes custom feed for cattle producers. He said there is a lot of heavy machinery, equipment with moving parts, and dust. LNC is one of only 16 Oklahoma companies to be recognized for completing SHARP and it’s the first agriculture company to receive the award. State Representative David Perryman of Chickasha and State Senator Lonnie Paxton of Tuttle presented Baer with a citation from the state legislature for its efforts. LNC, which has about 30 employees, is now exempt from any OSHA inspections over the next year.
Winds Whip Up Bridge Creek Fire
Yesterday's high winds helped fuel a grass fire in the Bridge Creek area. The blaze started about 3:00 p.m. near State Highway 4 and Sooner Road. Thick smoke from the flames created a driving hazard and officials had to shut down the highway for about 45 minutes. Blanchard and Tuttle fire departments were called out. Media reports indicate the fire may have started next to the roadway, and winds pushed it to grassy areas nearby.
Donation Helps Cyril Schools Build New Fieldhouse
Some new athletic facilities are being built at Cyril Public Schools and it didn't take a bond issue to get the funds. Hillary Communications donated $13,000 to the district to build a new fieldhouse. Athletic Director and softball coach Tim Persinger said the fieldhouse will include batting cages, locker rooms, a concession area and restrooms. The fieldhouse is being built next to the football field.
Talk Show Topic
Here’s part of what we’re talking about this weekend. Katie Fitzgerald with the Regional Food Bank is this week’s guest on our KOOL Konversation. Find the link to the program under the Community tab on this website.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX falls to $45.88 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude falls to $54.35.
Natural gas was down to $3.58 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,263 and silver is $14.73.
Thursday, Dec. 20th
Public-Private Development Funds Get City Council OK
More than $1 million has been set aside by the Chickasha City Council to help spur investment in the city. It's a joint effort of the city and the Economic Development Council. The city council approved ear-marking $1.2 million which will be allocated to approved projects. The grant program provides an investor a one dollar match for every two dollars of private investment. An investor offering $100,000 could be provided $50,000 from the fund. EDC Director Cody Mosley said this program shows a community being able to come together to support new investment and define the city's image as a place to live and do business in central Oklahoma. The program is aimed at downtown revitalization and other areas of the community.
Traffic Stop Leads to Recovery of Stolen Pickup, Arrest
A stolen pick-up is found when police make a routine traffic stop. A Chickasha police officer pulled over the driver of the pick-up because he failed to yield from a stop sign and the truck also had a broken tail light. In a probable cause affidavit, the officer said one of the windows appeared to have been recently broken, and as he looked in the cab the plastic shroud around the steering column was missing. The driver said he had been working on the pick-up for a friend and was taking it for a test drive. It was later determined the truck had recently been stolen. The driver, 27-year old Jacob Daniel Farley, was arrested and has been formally charged with a felony count of possession of a stolen vehicle. He remains in jail in lieu of a $10,000 bond.
'Ping' Locates Stolen Cel Phone and Suspect
The ping of a stolen cel phone leads to the arrest of a man on a burglary complaint. A man called Chickasha police after attending church recently and said his phone was missing from his car. He said the phone and an Otterbox were worth $750. Authorities went to the store where the phone was purchased and it was pinged at a Chickasha home. An arrest warrant affidavit says police went to that home and found the phone and questioned a man about it. Police arrested 27-year old Brian Clinton Cooper of Chickasha on a burglary complaint. Cooper has been charged with felony second degree burglary. He remains in jail pending a $5,000 bond. Cooper is on probation for pleading guilty to charges of unauthorized use of a vehicle and escape stemming from a 2016 arrest.
State Winter Wheat Crop Down from Last Year
The numbers are out for Oklahoma's 2018 winter wheat crop. Farm broadcaster Carson Horn with the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network says 70 million bushels of wheat were harvested from 2.5 million acres. That's an average of 28 bushels per acre statewide. Horn says total production was down about 30 percent compared to last year.
2018 was the second straight year that saw harvested wheat acres below 3 million. Garfield and Grant counties were the two largest wheat producing counties this year.
CHS Robotics Sets Open House Tonight
The Chickasha High School robotics program will kick off its season in a couple of weeks. The students will hold an open house tonight, to show the community the work they have been doing and offer a demonstration of last year's robot. The open house is from 5:00 p.m. to 8 p.m. tonight at the robotics classroom at 9th and Chickasha Avenue.
More Safety Reminders in Ice and Snow
We've already experienced a couple of rounds of wintry weather, but with the official start of winter coming tomorrow, it's a good time to again remind you of the dangers of ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. Spending too much time in freezing weather without protective clothing can lead to hypothermia, especially with older folks. Beth Armstrong has information from Grady County OSU Extension.
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX took a step up yesterday to $48.17 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude was up to $57.24.
Natural gas was down to $3.73 per million BTUs.
Gold is up to $1,259 and silver is up to $14.83.
Wednesday, Dec. 19th
Lawsuit Filed Against Chickasha Schools,
School Board, and Former Administrators
A current and a former employee of Chickasha Public Schools have both filed a lawsuit against the school district, former school administrators, and school board members. The suit stems from their controversial suspensions that took place a year ago. Pam Ladyman and Yohance Brown are alleging slander, libel, and intentional infliction of emotional stress. They are seeking damages in excess of $10,000 and attorney fees. They allege the suspensions ruined their personal and professional reputations by making false public statements which accused them of failure to report child abuse of special needs students, and embezzlement of taxpayer dollars. Both were cleared of wrong-doing following a public hearing of allegations against Ladyman. Both eventually returned to work for the district. Ladyman continues to serve as the district’s director of special needs education, while Brown finished out the school year and accepted a post with another school district. Among the defendants named in the lawsuit are former superintendent Dave Cash; former assistant superintendent Cindy Schmidt; former high school administrators Michelle Pontikos and Kim Nelson; school board members Doug Brown, Julie Badgett-Sinn and Julie Hibbard; and Richard O'Carroll, who was the attorney representing the school district. The lawsuit was filed in Grady County District Court last Thursday, which was the one-year anniversary of the suspensions of Ladyman, Brown, and three other school employees.
X-Ray Machine to Improve Security at County Courthouse
A new X-ray machine is being installed at the entrance of the Grady County Courthouse. We told you last week that Grady County Commissioners approved the purchase of the machine, to improve security checks of all patrons who enter the courthouse. Sheriff Jim Weir says it should make security checks go a little faster.
Deputies will need some training on the new machine but it’s expected to be operational shortly after installation. The machine cost a little more than $24,000 and was purchased from a Florida-based company, Pemica, Inc. which has a branch in Texas.
PSO Nationally Recognized for Customer Service
Public Service Company of Oklahoma is nationally recognized for its customer service. PSO was named a 2018 Business Customer Champion following a review by Market Strategies International. The award honors utilities that exhibit exceptional performance on brand trust, service satisfaction, and product experience. PSO is one of only 21 utilities nationwide to receive the award. PSO officials say it’s an honor to make the list. They say they are continually updating processes and programs to meet customer needs and expectations, and that the award helps to confirm they are giving customers what they want and need.
Toy Safety Stressed During Holidays
Children of all ages are eager to wake up Christmas morning to find what kind of toys Santa left for them. Santa takes care to make sure the toys are safe for the kiddos, however many youngsters take unexpected trips to the hospital due to toy-related injuries. Hunter Kelsey with Amber-Pocasset 4H says-
He said plush toys should be flame-resistant, lead-free paint should be used on painted toys, and art supplies should be non-toxic.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is down to $46.24 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude falls to $56.26.
Natural gas is up to $3.84 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,252 and silver is $14.73.
Tuesday, Dec. 18th
Two Arrested in Motel Shooting; Including Motel Owner
A motel owner and an alleged burglary suspect are both arrested, after the motel owner takes the law into his own hands. The OSBI alleges the motel owner shot the suspect in the back. The shooting took place at an Apache motel early Saturday morning. On its Facebook page, the OSBI reports motel owner Donald Eugene Coyle of Apache was monitoring video surveillance when he saw a man breaking into vehicles. Coyle confronted the suspect and held him at gunpoint saying he was going to wait for police to arrive. But the suspect decided to run, and Coyle is said to have fired several shots and hit the suspect in his back. The suspect was taken to a hospital for treatment then taken to jail. Coyle was also arrested and both men spent the weekend in the Caddo County jail. Both were formally charged in Caddo County District Court yesterday. Coyle is facing a felony charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and is out of jail after posting a $10,000 bond. The suspect, Amon Killsfirst, is charged with two felony counts of third degree burglary. He remains in jail pending a $10,000 bond.
One Hospitalized After Car Crashes, Burns
A man is hospitalized after his car runs off the road, hits a utility pole, and catches fire in Caddo County. 38-year old Derick Skinner of Mt. View was last in good condition at an Oklahoma City hospital. The accident happened about 5:00 a.m. Monday on State Highway 58 just north of Carnegie. The highway patrol said Skinner may have been distracted when the accident happened. He was initially taken by ambulance to the Anadarko hospital, then was transferred to Oklahoma City. It wasn't clear is Skinner suffered any burns. The report only said he was admitted with internal injuries.
Chickasha Police Receive State Attorney General Grant
The Chickasha Police Department gets some new equipment thanks to the state attorney general's office. The OK Safe Grant allows the department to buy items needed to assist officers while at the scenes of violent crimes. Among the items the department was able to purchase were two ballistic shields for its Special Response Team. The announcement of the grant was posted on the police department's Facebook page, showing Lt. Traye Alexander and Office Erick Burkhardt with the shields.
Lincoln School Robotics Team Places High at State Meet
The Lincoln School robotics team had a top 10 finish at the FIRST Lego League state competition in Shawnee last weekend. Instructor Brandon Willis says the team and their robot Astro was ranked 12th out of the 50 teams in the competition and was awarded the 3rd place trophy.
CV-Tech Enrollment Rising in Tech Courses
The number of students taking technology-related courses at Canadian Valley Technology Center is on the rise. Ronnie Bogle is the director of the Chickasha Campus of CV-Tech.
He also said digital media and graphic design courses are always near capacity. The tech center is about to wrap up its fall semester, with new courses scheduled to start after the first of the year.
Mustang Fuel Helps Regional Food Bank
In Anadarko, some holiday cheer provided to a number of families with the help of a regional company. Mustang Fuel provided care and share boxes of food to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. The gift allowed the food bank to help 150 families in the Anadarko area. Mustang Fuel CEO Carey Joullian said they believe know family should go hungry during the holiday season. The company delivered care and share boxes to a number of other communities it serves in western and northern Oklahoma. Regional Food Bank CEO Katie Fitzgerald said last year the food bank distributed nearly 585,000 pounds of food to families in Caddo County.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX falls below $50 to $49.88 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude dips below $60 to $59.61.
Natural gas was also down, to $3.53 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,253 and silver is $14.77.
Monday, Dec. 17th
Consumer Spending Still Healthy in Grady County
A lot of money continues being spent at Grady County retail outlets. Consumer spending in September topped $123 million. That number is based on the sales tax revenue collected by the county last month. While consumer spending was down about 7 percent from the previous month it was an increase of 80 percent compared to September of 2017. Grady County sales tax revenue in November – which was collected on consumer spending in September – was $927,000. County sales tax revenue topped $1 million in each of the two previous months. Here's how the county sales tax revenue is distributed, with each one approved by county voters. The Grady County Fairgrounds collected nearly $309,000; Grady Memorial Hospital received more than $273,000. Each of the 20 fire districts in the county receive more than $7,700 and each of the seven senior nutrition centers collects about $22,000. Tuttle EMS picks up about $28,000 and Rush Springs EMS collects more than $7,000. The county’s use tax collections for November was $275,000 up from $92,000 in November of 2017. Use taxes are paid on Internet purchases.
City of Chickasha Consumer Spending Also Good
In the City of Chickasha, consumer spending for September was estimated at just under $30 million. That's steady from the previous month, and up about 30 percent compared to September of 2017. The city collected about $1.1 million in sales tax revenue in each of the last couple of months. Chickasha’s use tax collections for last month were $85,000 which is down from $120,000 from November, 2017.
Former State Lawmaker Prepares for New Post
Former State Representative Leslie Osborn, who will be the state's next labor commissioner, has spent the last few weeks learning the ins and outs about the agency she'll soon be leading. Osborn served 10 years in the State House of Representatives in District 47 which included parts of Grady County. Osborn was elected Labor Commissioner last month. Osborn says she asked the current deputy labor commissioner Jim Buck if she could shadow some of the employees at the agency to learn what they do.
Osborn will be sworn into office on Jan. 14th.
DHS Now Accepting LIHEAP Applications On-Line
The Oklahoma Department of Human Services has $10 million available to help low income families pay home heating bills this winter. The money comes from the federal government for DHS' Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). DHS is now accepting applications on-line. Eligible households already receiving public assistance have already been notified by mail that they qualify, and those families will not have to apply. Any households which are not pre-authorized but receive help from DHS can apply on-line at www.okdhslive.org Only one LIHEAP payment per household is allowed each year. A news release from DHS says Native American families can apply for tribal programs but cannot receive help from both the tribal program and DHS. Applicants for LIHEAP must provide an ID, Social Security number, income verification, and the most recent heating bill for their home.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX was down Friday to $51.20 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude was down to $60.28.
Natural gas was down to $3.83 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,243 and silver is $14.70.