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California Man Sentenced to Five Years Prison in Custer County

 

A California man has been sentenced to serve 5 years prison after pleading guilty in Custer County District Court to a charge of trafficking illegal drugs. Jamison Freedman Bible was found in possession of 120 pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop earlier this year on Interstate 40 near Clinton.

 

Clinton Man Waives Right to Speedy Trial

 

A Clinton man has waived speedy trial after obtaining new legal counsel. Frank Hart is charged with murder in the first degree while eluding an officer and knowingly concealing stolen property. A pre-trial hearing for Hart is planned for January 26th. Hart was allegedly eluding police on icy Clinton city streets in January 2017 when he crashed into a large tree, killing 31-year-old William Sankey of Hammon, who was a passenger in the vehicle.

 

Clinton City Council to Receive More Information on Property Considered for Condemnation

Clinton City Council meets in regular session later today. The council will hear from Walt Schumacher concerning property considered for condemnation at 2239 Gary Boulevard. Schumacher was before the council in early August and said there is potentially a plan to fix the property and to locate a new business. Mayor David Berrong says the council will learn more tonight.

"As is per our habit, when we're looking at issues of condemnation or issues that involve property, we try to be as understanding as we can as a council," Berrong said. "I think what we did with Mr. Schumacher was to allow him to assess his situation and he listed this day as a good day that he could come back in September. We'll just listen to him and see where we are on his property."

Also on the agenda, the city will consider helping Farm Rail upgrade railroad crossings in the city. The council meets at city hall beginning at 5:30.

 

Cordell Keeps Ambulance Service Under Operation of City

Cordell City Council has decided to take no action and keep its ambulance service under operation of the city. Mayor Bob Plummer says the city did get a proposal from Miller Ambulance.

"In house, the way we have it right now, we're running approximately a little less than $100,000 on cost compared to the $155,000 that Miller would be," Plummer said.

The council may consider revisiting the issue at a later time.

 

Traffic Accidents Decline in Weatherford

Weatherford Police Chief Louis Flowers says accidents in the City of Weatherford have declined over the past four years.

"Four years ago, our accident rate was at 403 a year," Flowers said. "We didn't go at it and say 'hey, we've got to write a lot of tickets.' I just said, 'Guys, be present. Get out and work a little traffic. I don't care whether or not its a warning or a ticket. Just get out there and be seen.' And guess what? Accidents went down the year after that, and they're even down now."

Flowers says accidents have dropped from 400 to 280 per year.

 

 

 

Busy Fire Season Could Be On Tap

 

The latest information from the U.S. Drought Monitor shows nearly 22% of the state is either experiencing abnormally dry or moderate drought conditions. Most of those conditions are confined to the northern part of the state. However, Weatherford Fire Chief Mike Karlin says conditions are setting up for a busy fire season.

"With the growth that we have now, this could lead right on into the spring," Karlin said. "It could be a long winter, depending on how moisture comes. We're just going to be looking at our vegitation continuing to die and become dormant, so it's just going to increase that. Our temperatures will help us when we fall off into the winter temperatures. Depending on how moisuture comes, if our humidity stays down and things like that, we'll continue to see fires all the way to spring."

Karlin says lower temperatures this summer has helped hold down wildfires.

 

City of Weatherford Seeking FEMA Grant for Sink Hole

The City of Weatherford continues to seek a FEMA grant that will help fund repairs to the sink hole at the former Ford dealership site says Economic Development Director Chuck Dougherty.

"Repairing the storm water drainage pipe that caused the problem originially," Dougherty said. "To move that and repair that and kind of get that back to a level, useful piece of ground is probably going to be in the $750,000 range." 

Dougherty says the city would have to match 25% of any FEMA grant.

 

SWOSU, Higher Ed Boosts Economy in Oklahoma

The Assistant to the President and Director of Instituional Advancement at Southwestern Oklahoma State University spoke to members of the Weatherford Economic Development foundation yesterday. Garrett King says numbers show Oklahoma higher education generates $9.2 billion in economic output and 85,000 jobs, is the 5th most affordable in the United States, but is the last in the country for state support.

"Most states increased investment in higher education over the last five fiscal years," King said. "Those investments ranged between 2.1%, we had some states increase spending in public education to almost 51.4%. Seven states in the last five years, tanked it, from a range of about 1.8%, our neighbors to the north, our neigbors to the east, and us, 17.8."

King says when it comes to future physical needs, the SWOSU Foundation and Association are focusing on a dedicated facility for research, expansion of the student union, and addressing student housing needs.

 

Progress Continues on Exit 82 Project in Weatherford

Weatherford Economic Development Director Chuck Dougherty says progress continues on the second phase of Exit 82. Dougherty says ODOT plans to temporarily close eastbound Exit 82 later this month.

"Eastbound, from Main, they're going to be closing that for four days starting September 25th," Dougherty said. "They're going to put up signs in advance to warn people and try and detour traffic to exit 84. They have a transition time when they have to make the two surfaces meet."

Dougherty says the project is expected to be finished in February.

 

Lawton Woman Found Guilty in Cordell Murder

A Washita County jury deliberated for just over two hours Wednesday night before finding a Lawton woman guilty of first degree murder, malice aforethought. The jury finished deliberating around 11:40 Wednesday night, finding Katheryn Lynn Hicks guilty of the shooting death of Michael Beach in his Cordell home.

Prosecutors say Hicks shot and killed Beach on the Friday after Thanksgiving in 2015, saying the bedroom had been staged after the shooting similar to a home invasion. However, the defense claimed cell phone records would show Hicks was in Oklahoma City at the time of the crime.

The jury recommended a sentence of life without the possibility of parole for Hicks. Formal sentencing will be held September 28th.