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Local News

Fair Starts This Week

| September 09, 2018

BLACKWELL — The 101st Kay County Free Fair kicks off Tuesday at the Blackwell Fairgrounds, 800 South Main.

This year’s fair will feature a beer garden, live entertainment, mutton busting, Crawford’s Circus Side Show, fireworks and food.

Entries for domestic science and arts will be accepted Monday 6-8 p.m. at the Expo Center.

Entries for agriculture will be accepted 2-6 at the Expo Center.

On Tuesday entries for plants and flowers, 4H will be taken 8-8 p.m. and Oklahoma Home Community Education judging begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Expo Center.

Check in for cattle and hogs will run 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the fairgrounds and poultry and rabbits check in will be the same time at the Jr. Livestock Building.

Entries for the horse show will be taken 4-7 p.m. in the Horse Arena.

On Wednesday, judging in multiple events kicks off at 9 a.m.

A cattle show is set for 10 a.m. in the Whitman Arena with a hog show to follow.

Sheep and goat check in will be 2-6 p.m. in the Jr. Livestock Building.

On Thursday a sheep show is set for 10 a.m. with a goat show to follow.

At noon the Friends of the 1893 Land Run, formerly Old Settlers Reunion, will host a covered dish luncheon in the Kay Room at Kay Electric followed by a program at 1 p.m.

Cleanup time for livestock pens begins at 5 p.m. in the Jr. Livestock Building, and Whitman Areana.

At 6 p.m. a tractor driving contest will be held east of the Horse Arena.

On Friday at 9 a.m. the 4-H and FFA Livestock Judging Contest will be held at the Livestock Pavilion.

The horse show will be held Sat. at 9 a.m. in the Vernia Byler Horse Arena.

on Sunday exhibits will be released beginning at 7 a.m.

The horse show for speed events will be held at 1 p.m.

This year’s entertainment schedule includes Northern Oklahoma College’s Roustabouts on stage Tuesday at 7 p.m.

On Wednesday a karate demonstration will be on stage at 6 p.m. followed by a concert by 51 Junction at 8 p.m.

At 7 p.m. Thursday, Biskett will play at 7 p.m. Thursday.

On Friday at 6 p.m. Hypnotist Steve Crawford will take the stage followed by Jory Blagdon in concert.

On Saturday at 5 p.m. Ciera Brooke will perform followed by Michael Evans at 8 p.m.

Crawford’s Circus Side Show will be available all week as will the Oklahoma Chainsaw Carvers and a petting zoo.

For the first time Mutton Busting will take place Thursday at 7 p.m. in the arena.

A blacksmith demonstration will be held Friday 5-10 p.m. and Saturday noon-8 p.m.

On Saturday, Steve Crawford will perform in the Water Torture Cell beginning at 7 p.m and Pedal Pulls will kick off at noon.

Fireworks will be held Saturday evening.

This year’s fair board members are: Amber Frieouf, Jake Kahle, Maribeth Ratliff, Daron Grossardt, Russell Miller, Scott Overman, and Gloria Simunek.

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Kay County Fair Schedule

| September 09, 2018

BLACKWELL —The Kay County Free Fair runs Sept. 11-15 in Blackwell.

The entertainment schedule is as follows (times subject to change).

Tuesday, Sept. 11

5:30 p.m. — Opening ceremony of the Fair

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Oklahoma Chainsaw Carvers (Northeast of Exhibit B)

5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. — Crawford’s Circus Side Show ( West of Whitman Arena)

7 p.m. — NOC Roustabouts ( Stage)

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Ponca City FFA Petting Zoo

Wednesday, Sept. 12

5:30 to 6:30, 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Oklahoma Chainsaw Carvers (Northeast of Exhibit B)

5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. — Crawford’s Circus Side Show ( West of Whitman Arena) 6 pm Ball Drop by the Blackwell Tourism

6 p.m. — Karate Demo (Stage)

8 p.m. — 51 Junction (Stage)

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Ponca City FFA Petting Zoo

Thursday, Sept. 13

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Oklahoma Chainsaw Carvers (Northeast of Exhibit B)

5:30, 6:30, 7:30 and 8:30 p.m. — Crawford’s Circus Side Show ( West of Whitman Arena)

7 p.m. — BisKett (Stage)

7 p.m. — Mutton Busting (Horse Arena)

Various times Chuckwagon & Dutch Oven Demos (South of Exhitib Hall B)

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Ponca City FFA Petting Zoo

Friday, Sept. 14

5 p.m. — Blacksmith Demo by Black Fire Forge & Anvil (East of Exhibit B)

5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Oklahoma Chainsaw Carvers (Northeast of Exhibit B)

5:30 and 8:30 p.m. Crawford’s Circus Side Show ( West of Whitman Arena)

6 p.m. — Hypnotist – Magic of the Mind Steve Crawford (Stage)

8 p.m. — Jory Blagdon

Various times Chuckwagon & Dutch Oven Demos

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Ponca City FFA Petting Zoo

Saturday, Sept. 15

Noon to 10 p.m. — Blacksmith Demo by Black Fire Forge & Anvil

1 to 3 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. — Oklahoma Chainsaw Carvers (Northeast of Exhibit B)

1 p.m., 3 p.m., 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. — Crawford’s Circus Side Show ( West of Whitman Arena)

Various times all day Chuckwagon & Dutch Oven Demos

8:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. — Ponca City FFA Petting Zoo

5 p.m. — Ciera Brooke (Stage)

7 p.m. — Water Torture Cell

8 p.m. — Evan Michaels (Stage)

Fireworks at dusk

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Descendants To Be Honored

| September 09, 2018

It took strong, hardy, resourceful people to make the Land Run 125 years ago in September 1893 and even more guts to stay and brave droughts, storms and blizzards the next few years to catch on and survive. Many local families have these ties to that time and Pioneer Genealogical Society is commemorating this grand Oklahoma event by presenting Pioneer Certificates to 5 descendants on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 11 a.m. at the Pioneer Woman Museum. The public is welcome.

This presentation is in conjunction with a book signing and program about the Run by the Pioneer Woman Museum afterwards at 2 p.m. In addition there will be a volunteer or two on hand to help those interested look up homestead records on the Bureau of Land Management databases. Additional applications will be there for those who want to celebrate their own family’s journey. To qualify a person must be a descendent of someone who settled in Kay County between 1893 and 1910 and fill out an application showing their family connection. READ MORE www.poncacitynews.com/articles/descendants-to-be-honored/

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Concert Series Begins Soon

| September 09, 2018

All members of the Ponca City Concert Series can look forward to receiving their membership cards in the coming week. The first concert for the series will be presented on Thursday, Oct. 25, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. at the Poncan Theater.

The special outreach for students in our area is scheduled for 10 a.m. on the same day. Any students interested in this program can contact 580-304-5261 for additional information. Derik Nelson and family will showcase a media presentation of songs through audio, video, stage lighting and ambience lighting. This group has been presented on GLEE, the Fox network show. The rhythm guitar and vocal presentations are spectacular. We are anticipating a great season, beginning with this recognized group.

Memberships are still available by calling 580-304-5261. The concert series will include five concerts. Additional concerts available in Ponca City include: Frisson Ensemble, Twin Kennedy, Five Sax and Sergei Teleshev.

The cost of membership is $25 for student, $50 for adult, $75 for a single family and $125 for a family. This allows you to attend the five concerts available this year in Ponca City. Reciprocal concerts are also available in El Dorado, Kan. and Bartlesville. The first concert in Bartlesville will be Holy Rocka Rollaz on Sept. 23 and is available with your membership card.

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Demolition for New Safety Center

| September 05, 2018

Demolition is underway on properties recently acquired for the site of a new City of Ponca City Public Safety Center located immediately east of the existing facility at 200 East Oklahoma Avenue. The Public Safety Center houses the police department, city court, city jail and the 9-1-1 communications dispatch. The city has acquired the lots in the block bounded by Oklahoma Avenue on the north, Walnut Avenue on the south, and Third and Fourth streets on the west and east.

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Arts and Humanities Music in the Garden Concerts Set

| September 05, 2018

Back by popular demand, Ponca City Arts and Humanities Council will again host the concert series Music in the Garden.

The free performances will take place every Thursday in September at the Cann Gardens at 14th Street and Grand Avenue.

The concerts will all start at 6:30 pm and last about an hour. Music will be provided by the students and faculty from Northern Oklahoma College’s Music Department.

Please bring your lawn chairs, blankets, refreshments and enjoy a casual evening in the beautiful gardens. Inclement weather cancels the show and will not be rescheduled.

Led by Mr. Edward Dixon, Chairman of the Department of Music at NOC, the musicians and singers will keep you entertained with a different weekly theme: On Sept. 6, Broadway music will be featured; on Sept. 13, it will be television and movie favorites; Sept. 20 will feature Disney tunes; and the series will wind down with a night of jazz music on Sept. 27.

Music in the Garden is made possible with financial assistance from individual donors and local business sponsors such as Bob Hurley Auto Group, Phillips 66, Martin Jean & Jackson, RCB Bank, Osage Casino, Pemberton Chevrolet, Ponca City Tourism, Boettcher Devinney Ingle & Wicker, Equity Bank, Cookshack, and Landers Window & Exterior Cleaning. For more information about other upcoming events, visit the Council’s Facebook page or the new Ponca City Arts and Humanities website at www.poncaarts.com.

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Blackwell Museum To Host Land Run Celebration Soon

| September 05, 2018

BLACKWELL — During the month of September many northern Oklahoma counties will celebrate and honor the Cherokee Outlet Land Run of 1893. This run took place 125 years ago. Over 115,000 people registered for the run. People paid $14 to register for a claim on Oklahoma Territory soil. Cost of the land was $5 for 80 acres and $10 for 160 acres.

TOHS museum has a copy of a book with signatures from part of the run. They lined up on the Kansas line waiting for the 12 o’clock gun to fire. People raced for land on horseback, wagons, carts, and some probably on foot.

Each settler had to use a white or U.S. flag to mark their claim. Many Sooners were jailed or shot. The person making the claim must live and work on the land a minimum of five years.

The settler would then receive the deed to the land after the requirements were met.

Stop by the museum and see the room dedicated to William Sheldon Prettyman. Mr. Prettyman went West in 1882 to start a new life.

This gentleman took pictures on all his travels along the way. He was very familiar with the land and the people of the land. Prettyman took the famous picture of the Cherokee Outlet Land Run in 1893. The museum has a book called Indian Territory, A Frontier Photographic Record. This book contains some of his fabulous pictures.

W.S. Prettyman made the Land Run in 1893, owned a photography studio and served as mayor of Blackwell from 1901-1904.

While mayor he was responsible for an ordinance passed requiring all buildings in the Business District be made of stone or brick. Prettyman also was responsible for shutting down all the gambling houses.

Prettyman served as President of Board of Trade. His pictures can be seen at the TOHS Museum, Oklahoma Historical Society, and by appointment at Wichita State Library. Just like William S. Prettyman, the Land Run photographer who took pictures of the people of Blackwell OT, Mindi Johnson Looper is continuing to snap photos of our Kay Co. Citizens.

These are memories captured by one person who will affect so many later in Blackwell and Kay Co. History.

Make time to visit the Museum with your family and help celebrate Blackwell History. TOHS Museum in Blackwell is hosting a 125th Birthday Celebration on Saturday, Sept. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Everyone is invited to attend this special celebration.

The day will start with a picnic on the Museum lawn at 11 a.m.

Everyone is encouraged to bring a blanket and a picnic lunch. From 10:30 a.m. to 12:30p.m. children can make a pool-noodle horse for the Land Run re-enactment at the local library.

Starting at 11:30 they will have a costume contest.

Wear your period appropriate costume and be judged for a prize.

Sheriff Whitehead will fire a shot to start our Land Run re-enactment at 12:30 sharp. At 1:30 they will have bed races for a special prize.

Throughout the day tour the TOHS Museum, play games, and add something special to the scrapbook. Do not forget to sign the beautiful signature quilt. A scrapbook, signature quilt, and small barn quilts will be kept at the museum for future generations to admire.

At 2 p.m. they will end their celebration with cake and ice cream.

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Newkirk Celebration Saturday

| September 05, 2018

NEWKIRK — A grant from the Oklahoma Humanities is bringing Charlie’s Storytellers to Charlie Adams Day on Sept. 8, 2018. Hattie Padilla, a black woman who moved to Ponca City with her family after her stepfather made the run into the Cherokee Outlet. She later moved to Newkirk and raised her own family which included a daughter and three grandchildren. She was interviewed in 1954 by the Pioneer Woman Museum.

Diane Anderson will be portraying Hattie “Babe” Padilla. Diane currently began her career with Conoco in Ponca City working in various positions. In her current role there as Coordinator Community Relations, Diane is responsible for philanthropic donations, Employee Volunteerism, as well as Social and Community Investments for Phillips 66 Ponca City.

Diane and Hattie have many things in common. Diane majored in nursing and Hattie assisted Dr. Gowey in delivering babies and was a mid-wife. Diane considers her walk with God the most important thing in her life. Hattie shared that view.

Another local “character” that will be portrayed this year is Harold “Shorty” Cline, and many may remember Shorty. His father made the Run into the Cherokee Outlet and Shorty was born the same year as Oklahoma became a state. He had a fantastic memory and lived an ornery and fun-filled life as a young boy growing up in Newkirk. His father was an attorney and an Oklahoma State Senator.

Thomas Rodgers will be portraying Shorty. Thomas, also, grew up in Newkirk. Along with his father, mother, brother and sister, they have all at one time or another been a part of the Main Street Mavericks. Sometimes Thomas plays a “good guy” and sometimes he plays a “bad guy.” However in real life, Thomas is always a good guy! He graduated from Cowley County College in Arkansas City and he is an outdoorsman through and through. Although probably not as onery as Shorty, they do share many of the same attributes.

A special treat this year will be the Newkirk 4-H Club presenting their award winning skit on the names of Newkirk. Those presenting will be: Mariana Horinek, Makenna Morgan, Hailey Morgan, Allison Schneeberger, Emalee Kelly and Hannah Cross.

The schedule for the tellers is as follows:

9:45 a.m. — Carol Henson – Greta Cottrell

10 a.m. — Mavericks

10:30 a.m. Tim Henson – Jim Williams

10:45 a.m. — Go Getters – Names of Newkirk

10:55 a.m. — Diane Anderson – Hattie Padilla

11:10 a.m. — Bob Rodgers – George Alberti

11:25 a.m. — Maggie Hutchason – Jesse Midgley

Break for Lunch

1 p.m. — Thomas Rodgers – Harold “Shorty” Cline

1:15 p.m. — Brian Hermanson – Ross Chappell

1:30 p.m. — Kim Shafer Shanks – Maude Fitzpatrick Gribble

2 p.m. — Mavericks

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Osage County Free Fair Opens Soon

| September 05, 2018

Since 1913, the Annual Osage County Free Fair has been a staple and go-to affair for the people of Osage County.

The 2018 Fair runs Sept. 12-15. The event is sponsored and promoted by the Osage County Commissioners. The current commissioners are: Jerry Howerton, District One Commissioner; Kevin Pasley, District Two and Darren McKinney, District Three. Each Commissioner appoints three people to represent their district to serve on the Fair Board. These Fair Board members must then seek re-election every few years. Registered voters from the county are also eligible to run for the Fair Board as positions expire.

The 2018 Osage County Fair Board consists of Dee Chambers, Macy Strom, Cyndi Rasberry, Karen Miller, Margie Ford, Sarah Landsaw, Becky King and Johnna Huddleston. Planning for each fair begins immediately following the fair each year. This group has met ten times for formal meeting along with several work days getting ready for your Osage County Fair.

This year, beginning on Entry Day, Wednesday, Sept. 12, Osage County residents can enjoy four days of fun, competition and entertainment, reacquaint themselves with their neighbors and friends or meet newcomers to the county. There will be contests for the best of everything produced in Osage County, from garden produce and crops to crafts & handiwork, the best livestock and pets, even the most talented vocals … and don’t forget the fastest turtle. There is no admission charge at the fair and it doesn’t cost a thing to enter.

For a copy of the Osage County Fair Book go to the Osage County Extension office at the Fairgrounds or download a copy from the “Osage County Free Fair 2018” facebook page or on the Osage County Extension Service website: oces.okstate.edu/osage

Bring Your Garden & Orchard Produce To The Fair

All Osage County residents are encouraged to bring samples of their garden and orchard produce to the Osage County Free Fair. Entry day is on Thursday the 12th from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. There will be entry categories for every type of fruit and vegetable grown in the county. There are even classes for hay, grasses and legumes. And don’t forget houseplants and cut flowers.

Osage County Emergency Response Providers Invited To The Fair

All Osage County Fire Departments, Rural VFDs and first responders are invited to display their trucks and equipment at the Osage County Free Fair. Equipment is constantly changing and improving and area departments, just as in the cities, work hard to keep their equipment up to date in the effort to serve their community’s and rural needs.

It is the hopes of the Osage County Fair Board that each of the Departments in the county would bring one of their newest or their favorite vehicles to share with fair goers.

Mid-West Ranch Horse Association Competition & Show

The Osage County Free Fair will once again be the sight of the Mid-West Ranch Horse Competition and Show, Saturday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. This is a slight time change from earlier announced.

Ranch horse riders from across the area will show off the training of their horses doing events utilizing everyday skills of a ranch horse and their riders.

The event is open to the public. Entry and admission is free.

Flea Market & Craft Fair

This year, fair goers can enjoy a Flea Market and Craft Fair during all three days of their county fair. The KanOkla 100 Mile Yard Sale is coming to Pawhuska this year for the first time. The Pawhuska Merchants group has “gotten on the map” and hope to bring many shoppers to the Pawhuska area. The KanOkla is in its 10th year and grows larger every year. Not only will there be booths in downtown Pawhuska, the Women’s building has been set aside for vendors to set up and sell their wares. There will also be space for some outside vendors, too.

Fair booth set-up begins on Wednesday, Sept. 12 with the sale beginning on Thursday morning at 9 a.m. and run through 8 p.m. on Saturday. Doors are locked at the fair on Wednesday and Thursday at 6 p.m., and 8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Vendor booths in the Women’s building can be new or used, homemade or hand crafted. There will be no vendors in the Agriculture building selling used wares.

The cost for an 8’ X 10’ booth for the Flea Market in the Women’s Building will be $20, paid in advance of sales. Just as in the Agriculture building, two chairs will be provided. Six foot long tables are available for rent at $5 each. If more space is needed than the size allotted, multiple spaces are available, but there are a limited number of spaces. Outside spaces are handled just the same. The sign-up sheets are available on the “Osage County Free Fair 2018” Facebook page. It is advised to sign up now. Search the right-hand column for downloads. Print and send the form along with the booth fee to the address listed on the form: Osage County Free Fair, P.O. Box 1342, Pawhuska OK 74056.

Chili & Salsa Making Contests

On Saturday, Sept. 15, the Agriculture Building at the Osage County Fairgrounds will once again be the sight of a Salsa Making & Chili Cook-off. These contests are open to anyone from Osage County.

Sign up for the events will be at 9 a.m. on Saturday with the judging of both beginning at 1 p.m.

The Chili and the Salsa must be prepared “from scratch” at the event during the allotted time. Contestants will need to prepare at least two gallons of Chili and Salsa entrants must prepare one gallon of salsa. Contestants must provide their own ingredients, equipment and method of cooking. Tables and electricity will be provided. Prize monies range from $100 to $25. Trophies will be awarded also. The Chili Cook-off winner will also receive a $20 BEEF Certificate from an Osage County CattleWoman.

Just as in the Agriculture building, two chairs will be provided. Six foot long tables are available for rent at $5 each. If more space is needed than the size allotted, multiple spaces are available, but there are a limited number of spaces. Outside spaces are handled just the same.

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City Manager To Be Honored

| September 02, 2018

Ponca City’s Craig Stephenson, City Manager, is to be inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and Town Officials.

Stephenson is one of four city officials to be selected for induction this year at a black-tie affair to be held in the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City on September 13 in an induction ceremony held in conjunction with the Annual Conference Banquet for the Oklahoma Municipal League.

The inductees, who will become the 61st through 64th inductees into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame since 2001, were announced by the Oklahoma Hall of Fame for City and Town Officials Foundation.

Ponca City Mayor Homer Nicholson, himself already named to the very same Hall of Fame, says that Stephenson is “an exemplary manager of both personnel and City affairs.” READ MORE…..

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CASONO Rehearsal Tuesday

| September 02, 2018

The Chorale Arts Society of Northern Oklahoma (CASONO) is pleased to invite folks who love to sing beautiful choral music. The first rehearsal will be on Tuesday, Sept. 4 in the Grace Episcopal Parish Hall, 13th and Grand, Ponca City. Park in the lot to the west of the church and enter through the red door on the west side, nearest the parking lot. READ MORE…..

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Local Art Festival Saturday, Sunday

| September 02, 2018

Over 30 artists will travel from across the country to set up tents and display their beautiful, custom works of art for Ponca City to enjoy and buy. Many artists have been coming to the Ponca City Arts Festival for decades.

Aside from having new artists, the festival also attracts long-serving artists who work in a multitude of disciplines. Whether you are looking to buy jewelry, paintings, sculpture or pottery, there really is something for everyone at the Ponca City Arts Festival.

“This festival, which began in 1975, is a keystone event in Oklahoma. It is yet another example of how Northern Oklahoma celebrates a vibrant and thriving arts community,” said Lance Garrett, Director of the Ponca City Art Center. The festival is held on the grounds of the Art Center each year, at the beautiful and historic Soldani Mansion at 819 E. Central Avenue. READ MORE…..

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Blackwell Museum To Host Event Saturday

| September 02, 2018

BLACKWELL — Old fashioned games, horses, free hot dogs and gurney races are all part of the Cherokee Outlet 125th Anniversary celebration at the Top of Oklahoma Historical Society Museum, Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Museum is 303 S. Main, Blackwell.

“We have activities for everyone,” said Melissa Hudson, director. “There will be music, ice cream and cake, great picture taking opportunities and a costume contest.” READ MORE…..

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School in Full Swing at UC

| September 02, 2018

Back to school was in full swing with a number of new students this fall semester at the University Center at Ponca City.

UC CEO Adam Leaming reports as of August 29th, 305 students were attending classes at the UC. This represents a seven percent increase from the previous year. Students enrolled in almost 2,000 credit hours, a six percent increase from Fall 2017.

“It’s oustanding witnessing so many individuals choosing a higher education path in Ponca City. I believe our message of the impact to your life a degree can be is paying off,” said Leaming. “The life and energy this group of students brings to campus will have a positive spillover effect to our community. I believe this is also a testament to our community spreading the word of the UC’s convenience, affordability, and positive support of the student.”

Students returned to classes beginning on Aug.20, the UC’s 19th year to offer classes in Ponca City. In addition to an increased number of students the UC reported a record number of concurrent enrollment students with 45. READ MORE…..

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Station Honors Teacher

| September 02, 2018

Radio station 89.7 The House FM and 88.7 My Praise FM surprised Trout Elementary School teacher Kylie Jackson with a gift basket as a thanks for the dedication and time teachers put into their classrooms.

Jackson, a third grade teacher at Trout, was randomly selected as one of the winners of the radio network’s Teacher Appreciation Contest, which asked listeners to nominate a teacher who is making an impact in their classrooms.

“She gives so much to all children she comes in contact with,” Lisa Fowler, Jackson’s mother, said in her nomination. “She was such a shy child, but in front of her students she is a strong, precise leader.”

Jackson decided in second grade she would become a teacher and now leads a group of third graders eager to learn each day.

Winners of the contest received a $250 gift card, along with a gift basket full of back-to-school goodies. The prize was announced and presented to Jackson in front of the entire school at Trout Elementary’s daily assembly. READ MORE…..

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Be Aware Of Many Changes

| August 31, 2018

Earlier this month, nearly 40 more laws went into effect. As citizens, it’s so important that we’re aware of these changes. This is just an overall glimpse at some of the measures.

This fall, Oklahoma’s wine and liquor laws will be updated. Lots of changes happening in October. SB 929 authorizes a wine and spirits wholesaler who has been designated by a manufacturer as a distributor of its wine or spirits to post those products by line-item. It allows a bonded warehouse license to receive and store nonalcoholic beverages. The new law also allows an applicant for a retail wine and/or retail beer license from maintaining a separate mixed beverage, caterer, mixed beverage/caterer combination license, and/or an on-premise beer and wine license, if the retail wine and/or retail beer license is not situated within or adjacent to the same physical space wherein the on-premises license is maintained.

Another hot topic the last few years at the Capitol has been Sooner Care reimbursement rates. SB 1605 directs the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), through agency administration savings and efficiencies to increase the current reimbursement rates for Sooner Care-contracted long-term care facilities by three percent and for all remaining Sooner Care-contracted provider types/ groups by two percent (with CMS approval) with the following exemptions: services financed through appropriations to other state agencies, durable medical equipment prosthetics, Orthotics and supplies, non-emergency transportation, services provided to Insure Oklahoma members, payments for drug ingredients/ physicians supplied drugs, Indian Health Services/Indian/Urban Clinics, FQHCs, Program for the All-inclusive Care for the Elderly and rural health centers. Rate increases must comply with state and federal law as well as state cost reimbursement methodologies.

Some may not realize but tourism is one of our state’s top three revenue-producing industries so it’s important that we do all we can to promote and support this industry. SB 1579 creates the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department Reimbursement and Donation Revolving Fund for donations, insurance reimbursements, Federal Emergency Management Agency payments and other reimbursement monies received by the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department.

Working to reform our criminal justice system has been an ongoing effort in recent years. We’ve worked hard to address prison overcrowding, high recidivism rates and the tremendous cost of these issues. Many in our prisons are nonviolent offenders so we’ve tried to find ways to punish them for their crime but ensure they can return to be a productive part of society afterwards.

HB 3706 directs the Department of Corrections to coordinate with OMES in the implementation/upgrading of a statewide offender management system. This will help DOC better track offenders in the various facilities, their crimes, any gang affiliations, mental and other health evaluations and other information the agency needs to get them the help they need to return to society. This tool will be vital in making future policy changes to lower incarceration rates and reduce recidivism. The agency was provided $4.8 million in their FY’19 appropriations for the program.

Many new laws have been enacted in recent years to ensure more efficient use of state funds. One area where there can be waste is our government assistance programs such as SoonerCare if enrollees aren’t properly tracked. HB 1270 requires the OHCA to contract with an independent vendor(s) to verify aspects of an individual’s initial eligibility for Medicaid and to report information quarterly that might affect recipients’ continued eligibility. We must ensure that people don’t continue receiving benefits when they are no longer eligible.

Finally, protecting our children is one of our greatest responsibilities. Numerous bills are signed each year to improve the mental, emotional and physical health of Oklahoma’s youth. One major bill that was signed into law this year was SB 1081. This establishes the “Children’s Trust Fund of Oklahoma” for donations and interest earned on fund investments.

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High-Speed Service Moves Forward

| August 28, 2018

Ponca City’s city-owned high-speed internet service took another step forward as the Ponca City Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to enter into a contract for the first physical steps to be taken towards installation.

Dave Williams, the city’s Technology Services Director, has laid the groundwork for the city’s “Fiber to the Home” concept over a period of many, many months. Last night at City Hall, Williams presented commissioners with an initial contract request of $378,221 for telecommunication engineering services with Monte R. Lee and Company of Oklahoma City to actually start the march forward with the project.

“This new utility will not only provide the highest possible internet access speed, it will do so with unparalleled reliability,” Williams said. “This will not only be true now, but into the future as well.”

The project will be built upon a foundation of 100 percent fiber optic network access, currently unavailable through internet providers now serving Ponca City.

Internet access will eventually be offered to all residents within the city limits in three service tiers: 50 megabit per second (Mbps), 100 Mbps, and 1 gigabit (1,000 Mbps) plans. As a particularly strong selling point to those who in the past have had to enter into long-term contracts with vendors to receive high-speed internet service, Ponca City Broadband will apparently not require customers to sign contracts, and will have no data caps or other limitations.

At a work session with Commissioners in July, Williams explained the broadband service will be implemented in five possibly overlapping phases, with the initial “Phase 1” to stretch between Bradley and Highland Avenues and between 14th Street and Union Street.

The density of homes within that area is the highest within the city limits, and current utility infrastructure and easements offer the most advantageous situation for early implementation.

The Monte Lee firm will provide final engineering, staking sheets, plant design and implementation, along with final inspection and testing of the new system over a 40-week period, beginning in approximately two weeks.

“Subscribers to this new utility will get what they pay for,” Williams emphasized. “Every time, and all the time.”

The contract request was approved unanimously by the Board. READ MORE…..

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Primary Runoff Election Tuesday

| August 27, 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The race for the GOP nomination to replace Oklahoma’s term-limited Gov. Mary Fallin tops this week’s unusually high number of primary runoff elections.

Former Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Tulsa mortgage company owner Kevin Stitt are pitching their case to Republican voters heading into Tuesday’s vote, as are candidates for several other statewide and congressional offices.

A record number of candidates sought political office this year, with eight-year term limits forcing open nearly every statewide elected office following the Republican Party’s sweep of power in Oklahoma in 2010. This year’s candidate filing period also coincided with a teacher walkout that prompted dozens of public school teachers to seek office.

Polls are open across the state from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday. READ MORE…..

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Birthday Celebration Planned

| August 26, 2018

PONCA CITY Main Street and numerous other local organizations and sponsors will hold a block party, similar to the Crazy Days event pictured here, in celebration of Ponca City’s 125th anniversary centered around Veteran’s Plaza on Friday, Sept. 7. All are invited and welcomed at the all-ages no-ticket required event.

Ponca City Main Street is planning a celebration of Ponca City’s 125th birthday in the historic downtown district for Friday, Sept. 7.

Set to run from 5-11 p.m. and centered about Veterans Plaza at 4th Street and Grand Avenue, the street party will feature a color guard, an opening invocation by Mayor Homer Nicholson, then hours of live music – plus hotdogs, popcorn, drinks, and cupcakes.

“Main Street is thrilled to be hosting this event for our community. There’s nothing better than getting everyone together to celebrate how far Ponca City has come in her 125 years,” says Chelsea McConnell, executive director of Ponca City Main Street.

“Obviously things have changed since Ponca City was founded all those years ago, but at Main Street we are incredibly proud of the progress our downtown and our community as a whole has seen.”

The gathering is set to begin with Oklahoma music playing over the public address system, with hotdogs coming off the grill beginning at 5:30 p.m.

The Mayor will deliver his welcoming address at 6 p.m., followed by the presentation of colors by an honor guard. The National Anthem will be sung at 6:15 p.m., followed by a performance of “Oklahoma.” Native American drummers, singers, and dancers will perform at 6:45. A closing will be given by the Mayor, and then Band #9 will take the stage at 7 p.m. to play a wide range of classic rock songs.

At approximately 8:35 p.m., right about dusk, Main Street presents Oklahoma, the musical.

Ponca City Main Street, with the support of the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce, the Ponca City Development Authority and several other organizations including the City of Ponca City itself, are combining to provide a celebration of our community, still thriving after one and one-quarters of a century.

“The core of our mission is to work to improve quality of life in our community. If we do our job well, we’ll be helping Ponca City residents create memories that will last them for years to come. Main Street would not be able to host this event without our wonderful sponsors, the City of Ponca City, Kevin & Tracy Emmons, Ponca City Chamber of Commerce, and Ponca City Development Authority,” says McConnell. “We’re also partnering with great groups like the YMCA and various other community organizations so that we have enough volunteers. It truly does take a village, or a City, in our case!”

The all-ages affair will be a free non-ticketed event. All local residents, family, and friends are invited to attend.

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Voters Head to Polls on Tuesday

| August 26, 2018

NEWKIRK — Voters will head to the polls Tuesday to vote in the Runoff Primary Election.

Democrats and Libertarians will have one ballot to vote on while Republicans will have a slew of races to vote in.

On the Libertarian Ballot is Chris Powell and Rex L. Lawhorn, both competing for Governor.

Democrats will choose between Blake Cummings and Ashley Nicole McCray, candidates for Corporation Commissioner.

Local issues include a Newkirk ordinance that would extend a sales tax until Aug. 31, 2018 and indefinitely thereafter unless action is then taken by the city commission. The one percent tax is due to terminate at midnight on Aug. 31.

The tax is dedicated to municipal street and walkway engineering, repair, construction, reconstruction, and lighting and including water dranage projects and water line relocation improvement and repair.

Kildare voters will vote on a school proposition that would issue $260,000 in funds for the purpose of purchasing transportation equipment.

The proposition would also levy and collect an annual tax in addition to all other taxes, upon all the taxable property in the school district that would pay the interest on bonds as it falls due.

It would also constitute a sinking fund for the payment of the principal when due not to exceed the rate of 10 percent payable semi-annually and to become due serially within five years from their date.

Republican voters in some Tonkawa and Blackwell areas will vote in the race for the Kay County Commissioner District No. 3 race.

Incumbent Paul Butch Skidmore is being challenged by Braman resident John Wilson.

Republican voters cast ballots for State Representive District No. 38 which features incumbent John Pfeiffer, Orlando, being challenged by Newkirk resident Brian Hobbs. Also on that ballot is the race for State Sen. District No. 1 between Amber Roberts and Bill Coleman.

Other state races on the Republican ballot are: Kevin Stitt vs. Mick Cornett running for Governor: Matt Pinnell vs. Dana Murphy for Lt. Gov., Charlie Prater vs. Cindy Byrd for State Auditor and Inspector; Gentner Drummond vs. Mike Hunter for Attorney General; Linda Murphy vs. Joy Hofmeister for Superintendent of Public Instruction; Leslie Osborn vs. Cathy Costello for Commissioner of Labor, and Brian Bingman vs. Bob Anthony for Corporation Commisisoner.

Only voters registered in a political party can vote to select that party’s nominees, unless the party gives Independent voters permission to vote in its primaries.

The Democratic Party has given Independent voters permission to vote in its primaries and runoff primaries in 2018.

Oklahoma has three recognized political parties in 2018: Democrat, Libertarian and Republican.

All registered voters, regardless of political affiliation, can vote for any candidate in the November General Election and for state or local questions at any election.

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Polls Open at 7 a.m. Tuesday

| August 26, 2018

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday for the Runoff Primary Election.

Tips that can make the voting experience smoother include:

  • A valid ballot marking a filled-in box in either blue or black ballpoint ink is important. Voters who make mistakes marking ballots, should not try to correct it. Instead, return the spoiled ballot to precinct officials, who will destroy it and issue a new ballot.
  • Voters should take voter identification cards to the polls to help precinct officials find name in the Precinct Registry, and it may help resolve a problem if the voter is not listed. Alternatively, voters can bring an unexpired photo ID card issued by the U.S. government, the state of Oklahoma, or a federally recognized tribal government.
  • Voters without ID, or whose names are not found in the Precinct Registry, or voters who disagree with the information shown in the registry, may cast a provisional ballot, sealed in a special envelope and counted after election day if the voter information can be verified by the Election Board.
  • Voters in a hurry are encouraged to vote at mid-morning or mid-afternoon, because those usually are the two slowest periods.

Osage County Polling Places include:

Precinct 103 – Shidler Community Building, 269 S Cosden, Shidler

Precinct 105 – McCord Senior Citizens, 115 Mary Road, Ponca City

Precinct 106 – Burbank Town Hall, 105 S First St, Burbank

Precinct 113 – Shidler Community Building, 269 S Cosden, Shidler

Precinct 301 – First Osage Baptist Church, 236 S Main, Fairfax

Precinct 302 – New Hope Christian Fellowship, 161 N 5th St, Fairfax

Precinct 303 – Braden Community Center, 1022 Braden School Rd, Ponca City

Kay County Polling Places are:

Precinct 001 – Newkirk Public Library, 116 North Maple St. Newkirk

Precinct 101 – Methodist Church Family Center, 103 North Fourth Street, Tonkawa

Precinct 103 – Church of Christ Church, 300 N. Public, Tonkawa

Precinct 202 – First Christian Church, 306 E. Coolidge. Blackwell

Precinct 205 – First Baptist Church, 1st and Bridge Ave. Blackwell

Precinct 206 – First United Methodist Church, 524 West Coolidge, Blackwell

Precinct 400 – Masonic Lodge, 103 West Boaz, Newkirk

Precincts 401 and 403 – Christ’s Church, 1001 S. Boaz, Newkirk

Precinct 404 – Peckham Christian Church, 7090 West Church Street

Precinct 406 – Braman Town Hall, 302 Broadway, Braman

Precinct 407 – Kildare School, 1265 Church Street, Kildare

Precinct 409 – Peckham Fire Department, 7151 West Church Street, Newkirk

Precinct 411 – Kildare School, 1265 Church Street, Kildare

Precinct 412 – Community Building Kaw City, 300 Morgan Square, Kaw City

Precinct 413 – Presbyterian Church, 14th and Grand, Ponca City

Precinct 419 – Community Christian Church, 2109 West Grand, Ponca City

Precinct 420 – Ranch Drive Volunteer Fire Dept. 3454 S. Ranch Dr. Ponca City

Precinct 503 – Victory Worship Center, 618 East Hartford, Ponca City

Precinct 507 – Ponca City Senior Center, 319 West Grand, Ponca City

Precinct 516 – Faith Tabernacle, 507 South Fifth Street, Ponca City

Precinct 517 – St. Mary’s Parish Center 408 South 8th Street, Ponca City

Precinct 527 – Providence Baptist Church, 1301 East Bradley, Ponca City

Precinct 530 – Pioneer Technology Center, 2101 North Ash, Ponca City

Precinct 532 – Woodlands Christian Church, 1400 East Hartford Ave., Ponca City

Precinct 533 – St. Luke’s Church of Nazarene, 1715 East Prospect, Ponca City

Precinct 534 – Northeast Baptist Church 2200 N. Pecan Rd.

Precinct 535 – 1st Assembly of God, 2313 E. Prospect Ave., Ponca City

Voters, candidates, campaign officials, and volunteers are advised to be very aware of and careful to not violate state election laws.

All known election law violations will be reported to the proper law enforcement authorities, usually the County Sheriff and District Attorney.

Precinct officials will be watching very closely on election day for illegal electioneering by candidates, zealous campaign staff, and their volunteers. It’s unlawful across the State of Oklahoma to electioneer within 300 feet of a ballot box.

To electioneer means to work for or against election of a particular candidate, political party, or issue. This includes the illegal placement of any campaign signs inside the 300 feet boundary limit away from the ballot box.

Election law violations sometimes committed accidentally by voters include disclosing how one voted while within the election enclosure or removing a ballot from the polling place.

Other violations by voters include taking a ballot into or out of the polling place or taking intoxicating liquors within half a mile of a polling location. It is unlawful for any person to disclose how he or she voted to any other person while inside the election enclosure. It also is against the law for anyone other than voters waiting in line to vote and for precinct or other election officials to be within 50 feet of a ballot box during the election.

Citizens can find these and other state election laws in Title 26 of the Oklahoma Statutes. For more about this topic and other Oklahoma election-related information, please visit www.elections.ok.gov.

• State law permits registered voters who will be unable to go to the polls because they became incapacitated after 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 19, to vote on an emergency basis.

Physical incapacitation” includes a variety of conditions injury, illness, childbirth that prevent a person from voting in person at the polls on election day.

Aside from unplanned emergencies, state law also allows a registered voter who is physically incapacitated on an ongoing basis or a person who is charged with the care of a physically incapacitated person who cannot be left unattended to submit an application for absentee ballot by an agent.

The agent may be any person of the voter’s choosing who is at least 16 years of age and who is not employed by or related within the third degree of consanguinity or affinity to any person whose name appears on the ballot. Also, a person may serve as an agent for only one person at any election.

For more information call the Osage County Election Board at 918-287-3036 or the Kay County Election Board at 580-362-2130.

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Cimarron Transit Will Offer $1 Rides

| August 26, 2018

Celebrating Ponca City workers, Cimarron Public Transit System is offering $1 fare for one-way trips within the city limits for those going to/from work or education destinations. The promotion will begin Monday, Aug. 27 and run through Wednesday, Oct. 31.

To qualify, riders must complete a WorkRide form. The promotion is not income-based. Forms are available through drivers or can be completed over the phone.

The promotion is aligned with Labor Day. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the vital force of labor added materially to the highest standard of living and the greatest production the world has ever known and has brought us closer to the realization of our traditional ideals of economic and political democracy. It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pays tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

Transit service is available Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 6 pm. Limited Saturday service is available. To schedule a ride, contact the dispatcher between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, at 718-0444. Rides are scheduled on a first call basis, subject to availability. Riders with regular schedules are welcome to set up a ‘standing’ appointment.

Public transportation is not a nameless, faceless group of “those people” who cannot afford a car – it is a quality of life issue. It is about the need to access something many take for granted, the ability to get to and from work to support a family.

Lack of transportation can be a barrier to obtaining and maintaining employment for many individuals who do not have a valid driver license, are unable or unwilling to drive or cannot afford to purchase and maintain a vehicle. Staff anticipates the program will be available to eligible riders through the end of October. At that time, staff will review the project, take input from the users and consider extending the project through the end of the year.

Cimarron Transit is a curb-to-curb demand response public transportation. Riders should expect a “shared-ride”. The program assures that no person shall, as provided by Federal and State civil rights laws, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination.

Cimarron Transit provides services in a consistent manner without regard to race, color, national origin, limited English proficiency or disability. Equivalent service is provided to all.

Cimarron Transit is a division of United Community Action Program, Inc. The agency administers federal and state programs designed to assist low income families and individuals. For more information about the agency, check out the Web page at www.ucapinc.org. Like us on Facebook.

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CASA Advocate Sworn In
| August 26, 2018

Meghan Short, of Ponca City, was sworn in as a Court Appointed Special Advocate on August 16, 2018 by Judge Brock of the 8th Judicial District. Meghan completed 30 hours of pre-service training before being sworn in. Meghan will now be appointed to a juvenile deprived case and be able to speak for an abused and neglected child as their advocate, making a report to the court of what is in the child’s best interest.

CASA Advocates complete a pre-service training learning about the court system, child development and how to speak for an abused and neglected child. CASA Advocates give hope to a child and are often the consistent person in their life. With over 300 children from Kay and Noble Counties in foster care, the need is great for volunteers to be the child’s voice in the court system.

Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kay and Noble Counties is under the umbrella of Northern Oklahoma Youth Services and trains volunteers to be the voice of the child in the court system. If you would like to join Meghan and become an advocate, more information can be found at kaynoblecasa.org or by calling Sharon or Kelli at 580-762-8341.

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Nearly News 2018-08-24

| August 24, 2018

The Ponca City Public School district has revised the 2018-2019 school year calendar by reducing the number of instructional days from 170 to 167. The last day of school will change from May 23 to May 17, 2019, and teacher checkout will occur on May 21, 2019. Snow day #1 will move from May 3 to May 20, 2019. A copy of the revised calendar may be found on the district website at www.pcps.us.

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Powwow Continues

| August 24, 2018

THE 142nd. Annual Ponca Celebration and Powwow kicked off its four-day run Thursday at historic White Eagle Park, 5.5 miles south of Ponca City. Dancers and visitors from across the nation are in attendance, with even one visitor from Africa introduced to the crowd on Thursday. The public is invited to attend with dance sessions daily beginning at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. through Sunday when the original World Fancy Dance Championship will be held. Visitors are encouraged to bring your own chairs. Food and craft vendors are available.

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Local Shop Featured in Magazine

| August 22, 2018

By STEVE DYE
News Staff Writer

Ponca City’s own quilt shop, Completely Quilted, has been chosen as one of just 10 shops from across North America to be featured in the Fall/Winter 2018 issue of Quilt Sampler magazine, published by Better Homes & Gardens.

Quilt Sampler which is published twice a year, has been profiling North America’s top quilt shops since 1995.

Completely Quilted, located in Ponca City’s Historic Downtown District on Grand Avenue, is jointly owned for former City Commissioner and Vice Mayor Nancy Taylor and her parents, Suzy Taylor and current City Commissioner Paul Taylor.

Simply Quilted was selected from nearly 3,000 quilt shops from across the nation to be featured, and was one of just two shops selected to be featured on the cover of the magazine with a map showing flags staked in Ponca City and in Plano, Texas, on the lower corner of the cover.

“Everyone in the store is very excited to be able to share this exciting news with our customers and friends,” Nancy says. “Ponca City is actually on the cover, which is just a little extra we were not expecting.” READ MORE….

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End DUI Campaign In City Until Sept. 3

| August 22, 2018

The ENDUI campaign is in full swing. The Ponca City Police Department through a competitive grant process was awarded funds to place additional officers on the street during peak times to combat aggressive driving by the Oklahoma Highway Safety Office.

“Aggressive driving isn’t just road rage; it’s also drunk and drugged driving and excessive speed. These are all dangerous driving habits which lead to crashes with serious injury or fatality,” says program director Lieutenant Filtz of the Ponca City Police Department.

Special emphasis patrol is a way that some local enforcement efforts will be done. With increased enforcement efforts, well trained law enforcement officers will have zero tolerance for persons driving while impaired. The goal is to have a highly visible ENDUI program that will discourage people who have been drinking or using impairing substances from getting behind the wheel, and to address those who make the poor decision to drive while impaired. “A special emphasis patrol activity is planned in Ponca City in the very near future. Please help the officers by designating a driver before an evening of fun, never ride in a vehicle with a driver that has been drinking or is under the influence of illegal or prescribed drugs,” said Filtz.

The ENDUI campaign runs through Sept. 3.

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Former Resident Misidentified

| August 21, 2018

By SHARON ROWEN
News Staff Writer

OWASSO — Former Ponca City resident Dusty Dan Weaver is upset with area officials after it appears he was mistakenly identified as a methamphatine distributor.

Last week the Kay County Sheriff’s Department, working with the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics, launched an operation designed to arrest 32 individuals accused of dealing meth.

Weaver’s name was listed on the Oklahoma District Court Records website as one of those sought and in The Ponca City News last Friday. READ MORE

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Apply for Absentee Ballots

| August 19, 2018

NEWKIRK — The deadline to apply for absentee ballots for the Primary Run-off Election, the Newkirk Municipal Special Election and Kildare School Bond Special Election, is Aug. 22.

Applications for absentee ballots must be at the Election Board no later than 5 p.m. to be processed.

Any registered voter eligible to vote in the election may do so by absentee ballot without stating a reason.

Absentee voters may apply in person at the Election Board office or they may send their applications by mail, or fax or online application at www.elections.ok.gov

Voters also may apply for absentee ballots for the following reasons:

• Registered voters who are physically incapacitated and voters who care for physically incapacitated persons who cannot be left unattended may apply for absentee ballots.

• Registered voters who are confined to nursing homes in the county may apply.

• Military personnel, residents of Kay County living overseas and the spouses and dependents of each group are entitled to vote without being registered.

For more information on absentee voting, contact the Election Board at 201 S. Main, Newkirk or call 580-362-2130 or visit www.elections.ok.gov

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County Warrant List

| August 19, 2018

NEWKIRK — Law enforcement encourages persons with outstanding warrants to contact the proper officials and resolve the matter. The following subjects are listed on the Oklahoma District Court Network as having active warrants in Kay County. Michael Leon Riggs, 45, Medford, embezzlement; Jeffery C. Riggs, 40, Medford, embezzlement; Leah Annette Moore, 55, Oklahoma City, grand larceny of lost property; Tyler Jay Harris, 25, larceny from a residence; Chasity Nicole Womack, 35, Lawton, embezzlement of rental property; Matthew Hunter Sessions, 39, Ardmore, embezzlement of rented property; Juan Carlos Munuz-Rodriguez, 39, Arkansas City, Kan., falsely personate another to create liability; Alvin Ray Smith, 46, Blackwell, embezzlement of rented property; John Warren Harrison, 50, Big Sandy, Texas, unlawful possession of a CDS; Frank Clifford Ervin Jr., 72, Blackwell, unlawful possession of meth; Omar Alvarez, 37, Blackwell, possession of a CDs; Mark Everett Simpson, 61, Ponca City, obtain controlled substance by fraud; Clinton James Hindman, 32, Blackwell, domestic assault and battery by strangulation; Derek Ray Guinn, 25, Ponca City, assault and battery; Jermaine Lee Tyler, 34. Duncanville, Texas, unlawful possession of marijuana; Pedro, Vargas Jr., 27, Liberal, Kan., possession of stolen credit card; Thomas Gene Turbeville, 47, Edmond, concealing stolen property; Charles Mathew Grant Shaw, 47, Arkansas City, Kan. bringing contraband, drugs, by inmate, after two or more felony convictions; Brodrick Garin Henton, 22, Blackwell, uttering a counterfeit note; Lloyd Daniel Williams, 41, Ponca City, unlawful possession of meth; Auther L. Sieminskie, 48, Ponca City, second degree rape; Cara Jaquelyn Rogers, 24, Tulsa, falsely personate another to create liability; Michael Charles Lee, 57, Wichita, Kan. conspiracy; Dustin Jay Trahan, 36, China, Texas, bail jumping; Sandra Kay Russi, 37, Ponca City, embezzlement; Isreal Flores Orasio, 27, Commerce City, Colo., possession of a CDS; Austin Gregory Smith, 29, Wichita, Kan., second degree burglary; Erica Marie Jones, 33, Arkansas City, Kan. larceny from house; John Wayne Hindsley, 39, Hot Springs National, Ark., driving under the influence; Kaycee Michelle Nimmo, 29, Ponca City, possession of CDS; Jeffrey Scott Richards, 48, Newcastle, DUI, second offense; Kristy Michelle Williams, 32, Batesville, Ark., possession of counterfeit instruments; Arlena Marie Roy, 36, Ponca City, conspiracy; William Ted Vinson, 44, Enid, second degree burglary; Rocky Leroy Brown, 24, Winfield, Kan., possession of stolen vehicle; Ashia Jules Hostetler, 28, Ponca City, larceny of CDS; Sheryl Deen Begay, 47, Ponca City, two or more bogus checks; Jerry Ross Cottingham, 56, Kildare, conspiracy; Michael Gene Bales, 51, Ponca City, DUI; Randall Mark Williams Jr., 34, Nampa, Idaho, embezzlement of rented property; Lorenzo DeShawn Hester, 35, first degree burglary; Blake Matthew Elias, 26, Derby, Kan., second degree burglary; Kevin Eugene Collins, 28, Broken Arrow, knowingly concealing stolen property; Marsha Lee Griffin, 44, Rio Ranch, NM, possession of cocaine; Jessica Louise Williams, 24, embezzlement and Richard Martin Kenny, 64, Ponca City, knowingly concealing stolen property.

Anyone with any information on the location of any of these fugitives is asked to call Ponca City police at 580-767-0370; Kay County Sheriff’s Department, 580-362-2517, Blackwell police,580-363-5490, Newkirk police, 580-362-2414, Tonkawa police at 580-628-2516, crimestoppers at 580-762-5100, or 911.

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YMCA Board Terminates Agreement

| August 17, 2018

The troubled operation of Ponca City’s Aquatic and Family Center took another big turn on Thursday, with its Board of Directors voting to terminate the Recreation Center Operating agreement with the City of Ponca City.

This move, in the wake of a severe upheaval just last year when the Y’s mounting debt, dwindled revenues, and unpaid bills came to a head for the YMCA with the resignation of long-time Executive Director Shane Harland and five other key staffers in May of 2017, again throws the fate and future of the facility into question.

The former management team had come to the City on several occasions previously to ask for help with operational funds, with City officials having grown increasingly reluctant to provide mounting concessions in the agreement.

Ponca City initially entered into an operating agreement with the YMCA in April of 2007, at which time the YMCA took possession of the facility – a facility which had been partially built with Utility Authority sales tax revenue in the amount of $12,510,000.

The residents of Ponca City had approved the passing of a one-half cent sales tax to pay for the construction of a recreation center for the community. The total cost to construct the facility including architectural and engineering fees and the equipment to make it fully operational was $27.5 million. The YMCA of Ponca City at the same time entered into an Operating Agreement whereby it would contribute $2.5 million, which included public donations, to go towards the construction of the aquatic piece of the facility.

Cut to a decade later, and in November of 2016 Harland’s last semi-annual report to the Board of Commissioners before his departure indicated that membership numbers at the Y had fallen by nearly a fourth in four years.

As of 2012, the Y had a membership of approximately 3,900 units — units being, effectively, households.

By last year, that number had dropped to 3,064, over 400 units below the facility’s threshold of being able to effectively pay its insurance, utilities, and even salaries of staff members.

In November of 2016, Ponca’s Board of Commissioners voted to amend the City’s operating agreement with the Y, with the City to take over maintenance of the exterior grounds of the facility to include the parking lot and ball fields. That move was projected to save the Y approximately $21,000 annually.

Another $48,000 in savings came from amendments made to the City Code so that the Y would no longer be required to pay $4,000 a month in property insurance, with the City placing those costs under its insurance umbrella.

An amended contribution schedule was also put into play that lowered the previously required amounts due from YMCA revenues.

In June of 2017, with the continued operation of the facility under the auspices of the YMCA banner still in question, Ponca City’s Board of Commissioners approved an additional addendum modifying the City’s agreement with the YMCA and designed to restore solid footing to the facility’s operation by allowing the Y to secure operational funding through a $1.5 million line of credit.

The addendum involved a four-party agreement between the City of Ponca City, the YMCA, the Ponca City Utility Authority, and Eastman National Bank, with Eastman National agreeing to issue the line of credit.

It was stipulated at the time that should the agreement be terminated, Ponca City would have the obligation to purchase the YMCA ownership interest within 120 days of termination. That could happen if the YMCA were to either cease its function as the primary manager of the facility, or were to remain in default of its debt obligation to Eastman National for a period of 120 days.

The 120 day requirement was to kick in after the official termination of the agreement, which had been set for March 31, 2019 – and which had also been set up to renew automatically for successive periods of four years each, with the final option term expiring in March of 2027.

Unless terminated by either party.

There is also a requirement in the current Recreation Center Operating Agreement with the YMCA of Ponca City that if either party were to terminate the agreement, a 180 day window before the end of any term of the agreement would be required.

The YMCA of Ponca City Board of Directors officially voted on Thursday, Aug. 16 to terminate its agreement with the City of Ponca City to operate the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center-YMCA.

So, while the YMCA has indicated that they cannot continue to operate the facility under the current terms of the agreement, requesting yet another renegotiation of the terms, the City has already renegotiated those terms twice within two years, each time shouldering increased operational and maintenance expenses with money coming out of City coffers.

“Over the last eight years, the YMCA has operated the facility in total autonomy, including the provision of programming, establishment of user fees, and responsibility for maintenance and capital expenses. Residents passed the sales tax in 2007, and approved an extension in December 2008 as well as donated funds to build this state of the art recreation center,” said City Manager Craig Stephenson. “When a community is willing to step out and be progressive, it does so to create a vibrant community for the current residents – as well as to attract new residents to that community.”

Stephenson assures that while the picture for the immediate future may be clouded by the dust of yesterday’s decision having yet to settle, the facility will remain open to Ponca City residents.

“First and foremost, I want to assure the community that this facility will remain open and operational,” Stephenson said.. “These types of amenities are critical to the future growth and sustainability of Ponca City. I want to put to rest any concerns that the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center will cease operations. That will not happen.”

According to Jennie Hinterreiter, YMCA Board President, the Board continues to hope that a revised agreement can be reached with the City.

“The YMCA Board and staff continue to work diligently with the City to confirm a new operating arrangement,” Hinterreiter said.

Henterreiter ascribes the board’s decision yesterday as a procedural maneuver, stating that while essential to the process, the vote will not affect the status of the facility, the availability of programs, fitness classes and accessibility.

“We look forward to an agreement that will allow the YMCA and the City of Ponca City to continue to serve our members and allow the YMCA to sustain and grow its programs,” she said. “The YMCA board appreciates our City partners and all of the citizens of Ponca City for their continued support. The YMCA is a valuable resource for the citizens of Ponca City and in the development of our youth. Working together, the City of Ponca City and the YMCA will continue to have a magnificent facility in our city for generations to come.”

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