By Chris Stapelton
Saturday, June 3rd
State Budget Approved Without Governor's Signature
The State of Oklahoma's $13 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year will become law without the signature of Gov. Kevin Stitt. The governor has 10 days in which to sign off on bills approved by both the house and senate but that didn't happen. In a prepared statement, the governor said lawmakers relied on one-time revenue to support recurring costs that exceed recurring income by about $220 million. They also used about $2 billion of the state's rainy day fund - reducing the state's savings account to $4.2 billion. The governor said those moves were neither sustainable nor fiscally-wise. He said because of objections to the unique process by which the bill made its way to his desk that it will become law without his signature.
Wings and Wheels Air Show, Car Show Headlines Weekend Events
Organizers are hoping Mother Nature cooperates for the 5th annual Wings and Wheels Air Show and Car Show today. The event will be held at the Chickasha Airport and will feature a number of flying acts and a huge car show. The car show has been a big hit with more than 50 classic cars and trucks, muscle cars, and antiques entered in previous years. Registration for the car show begins at 8 a.m. and there is no fee to enter. More than a dozen trophies will be awarded. Free airplane rides for kids 8-17 will be from 9 to noon, weather permitting. There are lots of kid-friendly activities as well and several food trucks will be on hand. The air show is scheduled to start at noon. Admission and parking are free.
Elks Lodge kids fishing derby also going on
Also this morning, The Chickasha Elks Lodge will hold its annual kids fishing derby at Shannon Springs Park. The pond was stocked with 2,000 pounds of catfish yesterday with many of them at least 12 inches long. Laforge Enterprises provides the fish every year. Registration starts at 8 o'clock this morning and fishing will run from 9 a.m. to noon. Among the prizes are three lifetime fishing licenses each worth $400. One will be given away in each of three age divisions.
'Stamp Out Hunger' Food Drive Successful
Oklahomans in central and Western Oklahoma came through in a big way in last month's Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive. Officials with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma say the agency received more than 547,000 pounds of food and more than $70,000 as a result of the effort. The Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is a national program put together by the National Association of Letter Carriers in conjunction with the U.S. Postal Service. The food drive is held the second Saturday each May. All donations remain within the more than 200 communities served by the Regional Food Bank including many in the Grady and Caddo county area. Officials say the drive helps to keep the shelves of emergency food banks stocked through the summer. Since 1992 the Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive has collected more than 13 million pounds of food and raised more than $10 million to fight hunger in Oklahoma.
Ninnekah Fire Department to Hold Community Appreciation Meal
The Ninnekah Volunteer Fire Department will hold its community appreciation dinner tomorrow. Fire fighters will be serving free barbecue sandwich meals with dessert and drinks. Donations are welcome. There will be a number of silent auction items as well. It will be at the Ninnekah School cafeteria from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. tomorrow.
Funeral service for Syble Harris, 92, of Chickasha will be at 1:30 p.m. Monday, June 5th at Ferguson Funeral Home.
Friday, June 2nd
Child Sex Crime Suspect Surrenders
A Caddo County man charged with numerous sex crimes against children voluntarily surrendered to authorities this week. 42-year old Kelly Ryan Lee of Carnegie, charged with seven felony counts of child sexual abuse, turned himself in Wednesday. An arrest warrant for Lee was issued last Friday following an investigation by the Caddo County Sheriff’s Office. One of two alleged teenaged victims came forward last month saying that Lee assaulted him and another teenaged boy several times between November of 2020 and November of 2022. Lee is out of jail after posting a $35,000 bond. He is represented by attorney Keenan Haught of Hinton. A preliminary hearing conference is set for August. 4th.
State National Guard Troops Head to U.S.-Mexico Border
National Guard troops from Oklahoma and several other states will soon be headed to the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to prevent illegal immigrants from getting into the United States. Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt is among governors from a dozen states from Arizona to Florida who are sending a combined total of about 1,200 troops to the border. In a prepared statement, Stitt said it is in the best interest of Oklahoma and the nation to take decisive action to address the federal government's utter failure to secure the southern border. Stitt did not say how many of the state’s 2,500 National Guard troops would be dispatched. U.S. Border patrol facilities have reported record numbers of detainments as thousands of people flee violence and poverty in countries around the world.
Air Show, Car Show set at Chickasha Airport Tomorrow
High-flying daredevils and formation flyers are among the acts that will take to the sky over the Chickasha airport this weekend. The 5th annual Wings and Wheels Air Show and Car Show is set for tomorrow. Among the acts is the husband-and-wife team of Kyle and Liz Franklin with Franklin’s Flying Circus. They perform at airshows all over the country. Kyle is a third-generation pilot who has been around planes his whole life. He’s been performing professionally for more than 25 years starting when he was 17 years old. Franklin talks about their plane.
The couple actually assemble and dis-assemble the plane before and after every show. Activities at the airport begin at 8:00 a.m. with the car show. There are a lot of kid-friendly activities, free airplane rides for children 8 to 17 years old from 9 a.m. to noon, and the air show will run from about noon to 2 p.m. Numerous food trucks will be on hand. Admission and parking are free.
High School Rodeo State Finals in Chix This Week
Teenaged rodeo competitors are spending a few days in Chickasha for the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association state finals. From bull riding and barrel racing, to goat tying and team roping, competitors are working to collect enough points in each event to qualify for the National High School Rodeo later this summer. Camree Slavin leads the boys’ all-around standings by more than 20 points over Dessa Hext. Heston Harrison leads the girls’ all-around competition by 24 points over Hazen Parks. The rodeo runs through Saturday evening at the Grady County Fairgrounds. The final go-round will be Saturday night with the Grand Entry at 5:45 p.m. followed by the finals at 6 p.m.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $70.10 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.68.
Natural gas is $2.16 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,997 and silver is $24.03.
Christopher Crawford, Jr.
A graveside service for Christopher Columbus Crawford, Jr., 88, of Hollis will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, June 3rd at Fairmount Cemetery in Hollis. He was a U.S. military veteran. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Thursday, June 1st
Chix School District Shuts Down E-mail Scam
Chickasha school officials say they were recently notified about an e-mail account that may have been compromised. A post on the district's Facebook page indicated that several unauthorized e-mails were sent asking recipients to click on links and attachments to provide log-in information for various accounts. Officials say they immediately disabled the account once it was discovered. The post indicated that the district will never ask for log-in credentials or other sensitive information in an e-mail. They urge individuals to take extra precaution when receiving suspicious e-mails and that it’s good practice to never open attachments or click on any links you weren't expecting to receive. They recommend changing passwords immediately if you think an account has been compromised.
Contractor Still Sought to Repair Chickasha Intersection
Chickasha city officials are trying to expedite work at a busy residential intersection damaged by recent rains. But they are running into some problems that are hampering their efforts. Heavy rains last month led to the damage at 14th and Missouri. That intersection has been closed as the pavement buckled and caused serious damage. While the city council declared an emergency and waived bidding requirements, City Manager Keith Johnson said they have not been able to find any contractors willing to take on the project. He said many of them have larger projects they are working on. Officials say even after they find a contractor it will take several weeks to make repairs. It's estimated the cost could surpass $200,000.
Routine Maintenance to Impact H.E. Bailey Traffic
Here is a traffic advisory for motorists on the H.E. Bailey Turnpike through Chickasha. The turnpike will occasionally be narrowed to one-lane through the weekend and into early next week for routine maintenance. Tonight, southbound traffic will be affected from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Friday morning. Southbound traffic will again be affected from 7:00 p.m. Sunday to 7:00 a.m. Monday. Then northbound traffic will be affected from 7:00 p.m. Monday to 7:00 a.m. Tuesday.
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Kiowa Author
to be Honored at Oklahoma History Center
A renowned author of the Kiowa Tribe will be honored in a legacy reception at the Oklahoma History Center tonight. N. Scott Momaday was the first indigenous writer to win a Pulitzer-prize. Momaday is known worldwide as a poet, novelist, artist, teacher, and story-teller. His works celebrate and preserve American Indian heritage. His novel 'House Made of Dawn' won a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1969. He later received a National Medal of Arts from President George W. Bush in 2007. Among those at the ceremony will be Kiowa Tribe Chairman Lawrence Spottedbird.
Spottebird will have the welcoming speech and Kiowa Tribe Vice Chairman Jacob Tsotigh will serve as master of ceremonies. The Black Leggings Color Guard will also be part of the program. Momaday, who lives in New Mexico, will not be able to make the trip but several family members will be in attendance.
Grady County Commissioners Set Surplus Sale
Grady County officials have scheduled the annual sale of surplus equipment no longer needed by various departments. Among the items up for grabs are a 1995 Ford F-350 brush truck; a 2014 Ford F-250 4X4; a rescue boat; a skid steer; an air compressor; and a lot of tires. A lot of office equipment will be on the auction block including computers and computer equipment; copiers and printers; a desk; chairs; and book cases. The surplus sale will be held at the Grady County Fairgrounds Thursday, June 15th starting at 9 a.m. Contact the Grady County clerk's office for a detailed list.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $68.09 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $72.66.
Natural gas is $2.27 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,977 and silver is $23.52.
Carolyn Kay Tramell
Funeral service for Carolyn Kay Tramell, 82, of Chickasha will be at 2:00 p.m. Friday, June 2nd at Ferguson Funeral Home. She owned and operated Carolyn Kay's Flower shop for more than 30 years.
Wednesday, May 31st
Proposed City of Chix Budgets Unveiled;
Public Hearing Scheduled Later this Month
More than $36 million is proposed for the upcoming fiscal year for the three entities within the City of Chickasha. In a special meeting last night, the city council reviewed the budget suggestions for the City of Chickasha, the Chickasha Municipal Authority, and the Chickasha Airport. The total $36 million proposal for 2023-24 is a slight increase over the current fiscal year. For the City of Chickasha, leaders have proposed increasing the general fund spending from $21.2 million to $21.4 million. Officials are projecting a slight increase in sales tax revenue for the coming year - from about $15 million to $15.3 million. City Manager Keith Johnson said the budget includes full staffing for the police department although that won't happen right away. The department has had a shortage of officers for a couple of years. The proposed police department budget includes funding for 28 patrol officers, four detectives, and administrative staff.
Slight increase proposed for CMA; slight decrease for Airport
For the Municipal Authority, the proposed spending plan grows from $15 million to $16.5 million. The proposed budget for the airport is lower - from $1.5 million to $1.2 million. Johnson said they hope to have the nearly 180-page budget posted on the city's website today for public viewing. The council is expected to hold a special meeting June 15th which will include a public hearing on the proposed budget. The spending plan must be finalized by June 20th for the fiscal year which begins July 1st.
City of Chix to Acknowledge Deadly 1930 Lynching
Today is a dark day in the history of Chickasha. It was May 31, 1930 that a black man was killed in what is believed to be the last public lynching in Oklahoma. 19-year old Henry Argo was accused of attacking a white woman and her child. It's reported that as many as 2,000 people may have stormed the jail where Argo was being held. The National Guard had been called in to subdue the crowd but was unable to do so. Argo died after being shot in the head and stabbed but no one was ever arrested or held accountable for his death. City Councilman Dr. R.P. Ashanti-Alexander has been working for several years to have city officials admit that an injustice occurred in Argo’s death.
The city council is expected to adopt a resolution noting the tragic event during a regular meeting scheduled Monday, June 5th.
Caddo County Child Sex Crimes Suspect Sought
Authorities are looking for a Caddo County man wanted for multiple counts of child sex crimes. Last Friday a judge issued an arrest warrant for 42-year old Kelly Ryan Lee of the Carnegie area. The warrant was issued following an investigation by the Caddo County Sheriff's Office. One of two alleged victims came forward earlier this month saying the Lee assaulted him several times between November of 2018 and November of 2021. Lee is facing seven felony counts of child sexual abuse. A photograph of Lee was posted on the sheriff's office Facebook page. The post also indicated that Lee may be driving one of two vehicles - a dark gray GMC four-door pick up with an OU tag on the front - or a blue, two-door Pontiac. He may be pulling a small bumper-pull travel trailer as he is known to frequent area lakes. Authorities say Lee should not be approached and anyone with information about him is asked to reach out to local law enforcement.
Charges Filed After Man Shoots at Neighbor
A Chickasha man accused of shooting at his neighbor is facing two charges in connection with the incident. 46-year old Jonathan O’Neal Bridges was arrested at his home last Friday night after police responded to a shots-fired call near 6th and Illinois Ave. No one was injured. Bridges is already on probation after pleading guilty to a drug charge stemming from a 2015 arrest. He now is facing a felony charge of possessing a firearm while on probation and a misdemeanor for the reckless handling of a firearm. His bond was set at $25,000.
Hit-and-Run DUI Suspect Arrested, Charged
Tuttle police arrest a suspected drinking driver following a hit-and-run that happened Monday night. It happened on State Highway 37 about three miles east of downtown Tuttle. Assistant Police Chief Michael Scott said the suspect ran a stop sign at Cemetery Road and broadsided an east-bound pickup. The suspect drove away but a witness called police and followed the vehicle for about a mile before police pulled him over. 22-year old Brian Shane McConnell of Tuttle reportedly told police he had three or four beers and refused to take a field-sobriety test. McConnell has been charged with a felony for leaving the scene of an injury accident and a misdemeanor for DUI. His bond was set at $100,000. The driver of the pick-up that was hit suffered a minor shoulder injury and refused medical treatment from paramedics.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $69.46 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $73.54.
Natural gas is $2.33 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,975 and silver is $23.36.
Jean Vonzell Johnson
Funeral service for Jean Vonzell Johnson, 67, of Anadarko will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 3rd at the First Baptist Church of Anadarko. Arrangements are with Brown Thomas Funeral Home.
A memorial service for Kathy Spivey, 64, of the Chickasha and Amber area will be held at 2:00 p.m. Saturday, June 3rd at the Dibble Middle School Gymnasium. She was an advocate for people with disabilities and worked with boards under three governors to promote equality for all.
A memorial service Justin Powell, 41, of Chickasha will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday June 5th at Sevier Funeral Home.
Funeral service for Juanita Hicks-Brown, 90, of Chickasha will be held at 1:00 p.m. Saturday, June 10th at Shepherd Street Christian Church. Arrangements are with Brown-Thomas Funeral Home.
Tuesday, May 30th
Memorial Day Ceremony Honors
Military Personnel Who Died in Service
A ceremony paying respect to those who died during active duty in the U.S. military was held in Chickasha on Memorial Day yesterday. The forecast for rain and the showers that did fall prior to the ceremony forced officials to move the program from the Grady County Veterans Memorial at Shannon Springs Park indoors at the Chickasha Elks Lodge. Sherri Lewis with the Oklahoma Veterans Recognition Committee said the ceremony honors the millions of fallen and injured military personnel and the thousands who are still considered missing.
The names of the more than 160 Grady County individuals who died while serving their country were read aloud. Guest speaker Zach Grayson, a veteran of the U.S. Army Reserves, urged individuals to contact elected state and national officials to urge lawmakers to support legislation which ensures that wounded veterans receive their disability benefits.
Chix City Council to Consider Extending Deadline
for Firms to Submit Qualifications for Water Plant Design
At Chickasha City Hall officials are asking to extend a deadline related to construction plans of the city's proposed multi-million dollar water treatment plant. It's among several topics to be discussed in special meetings of the Chickasha City Council and the municipal authority tonight. Officials have been asked to extend a deadline for engineering firms to submit requests for qualifications that want to participate. The original deadline was May 19th but officials are asking to extend it until Friday, June 9th. Firms are being asked to submit designs for a more than $70 million water treatment plant. The State Department of Environmental Quality issued consent orders in December of 2021 directing the city to deal with a number of deficiencies at the plant which is about 60 years old.
Budgets and MOU with Caddo Nation discussions also to be held
The council will also discuss proposed budgets for the municipal authority and the airport authority for the upcoming fiscal year which begins July 1st. The panel will also consider a memorandum of understanding with the Caddo Nation for a mutual aid partnership when it comes to emergency management assistance. The special meetings will get underway at 6:30 tonight at city hall.
State Lawmakers Pass Record Budget
Oklahoma state lawmakers wrapped up the 2023 legislative session as required last week. They passed a record budget of nearly $13 billion with education and teachers being among the big winners. Lawmakers added $625 million to the education budget with about $285 million of that going for teacher pay raises. Public school teachers will receive raises between $3,000 and $6,000 based on years of experience. They'll also get six weeks paid maternity leave which is a first.
Lawmakers Over-ride Some Gubernatorial Vetoes
State lawmakers over-rode more than a dozen gubernatorial vetoes. Among them are those which will continue state funding for the Oklahoma Education Television Authority (OETA) for public television and one that will provide protections for Native American students who want to wear tribal regalia at public school graduation ceremonies.
Energy and Metals
Crude oil on the NYMEX is $72.67 per barrel.
London-based Brent crude is $76.95.
Natural gas is $2.18 per million BTUs.
Gold is $1,971 and silver is $23.37.
By Earl Thomas Conley
By Hal Ketchum from the album -?
By George Strait