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Half Cent Sales Tax Fails in Weatherford

The Weatherford half cent sales tax fails to pass Tuesday's election by a 53 percent to 47 percent margin. Results remain unofficial until the votes are canvassed.

"Disappointed," said Weatherford Mayor Mike Brown. "You know I think that it really is a big part of the continued growth of Weatherford, and I hate that it didn't pass. I guess we'll just go back to the drawing board, and probably just going to have to wait on Lyle Road." 

The tax was intended to fund improvements to Lyle Road, and would have raised the sales tax rate from 9 to 9.5%.

Tuesday's Unofficial Results

Absentee/Early Votes
Yes - 24
No - 21

St. Eugene'sYes - 74
No - 99

Pine Acres
Yes - 46
No - 67

First United Methodist
Yes - 32
No - 50

Life Fellowship
Yes - 121
No - 98

Total
Yes - 297
No - 335 

Manhunt Underway Near Elk City

Beckham County Sheriff's authorities are searching for several suspects that took off on foot following a pursuit overnight. Beckham County Sheriff Derek Manning says the pursuit started in Wheeler County, Texas and ended just southwest of Elk City on Interstate 40.

"I was called out after the pursuit was initiated," Manning said. "I made it to Merritt Road just in time to put out stop sticks in front of the suspect vehicle, which did flatten one of their tires and ended the pursuit within about a mile and a half. The suspects bailed out, we believe seven possibly eight of them bailed out of the vehicle, headed south and east from the end of the pursuit, which was about the 36-and-a-half mile marker."

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol has a helicopter helping assist with the search. Several law enforcement agencies are on patrol in the area trying to keep a perimeter contained and checking on farms and residents in that area.

 

Embezzlement Charges Filed Against Weatherford Man, Clinton Woman

Charges of embezzlement have been filed against a Weatherford man and Clinton woman in Custer County District Court. It's alleged that 42-year-old Neil Ray McLemore and 39-year-old Jamie Dee McLemore stole several thousand dollars from the Arapaho-Butler Class of 2016 while in the capacity as class parents. The monies were raised by four students of the Class of 2016 and were to be used to pay for the senior trip for those four students. Financial records from August 2014 to November 2015 show deposits were made into the account totaling $23,072, with expenditures of approximately $23,062. Court records show the monies were used to make personal purchases and pay bills.

 

Custer County Settles Lawsuit Over Property Taxes

Custer County Assessor Brad Rennels says a settlement has occurred in a suit filed against Custer County by DCPMidstream over valuation of property taxes.

"My value, originally, this was 2016 values, was $21,185,888," Rennels said. "They originally asked for that to be reduced to $5.7 million. We settled the value at $17 million."

Rennels says as a result of the settlement, Thomas-Fay-Custer schools will receive nearly $17,000 less than anticipated. DCP Midstream filed suit against 22 counties.

 

Varnell to Receive Competency Hearing

 

The suspect accused in a car bombing plot in downtown Oklahoma City will now be granted a competency hearing. According to court documents filed Friday, the court says there is reason to believe 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell of Sayre is presently suffering from a mental disease or defect rendering him mentally incompetent to the extent that he is unable to understand the nature and consequences of the proceedings against him or to properly assist in his defense. Last week, Varnell's attorney requested a competency hearing, but withdrew it after an independent psychologist determined Varnell was competent to stand trial. Now a judge says Varnell will have to undergo a mental evaluation.

 

PSO Assists in Restoration Efforts Due to Hurricane Harvey

 

Crews from Public Service Company of Oklahoma made their way to the state of Texas over the weekend to help with restoration efforts as a result of damage from Hurricane Harvey. Community Affairs Manager Mike Hixson says PSO crews went to Victoria, Texas, Sunday. 

"Total personnel from PSO in general are 337," Hixson said. "I know we've got crews from Elk City, Clinton, and I think we even had a couple in the Weatherford area that's headed that way as well. We definitely leave enough back to take care of our system for anything that could happen here."

Hixson says PSO crews will be helping with restoration efforts for up to two weeks.

 

Earthquake Shakes Western Oklahoma

 

An earthquake rattled Western Oklahoma Sunday afternoon. The U.S. Geological survey reports the 3.5 magnitude earthquake happened around 4:25. The epicenter was located in Blaine County about 18 miles north, northeast of Weatherford. The earthquake was more than three miles deep. There were no reports of damage or injury.

 

Motion Filed to Withdraw Sayre Man From Competency Hearing

A motion has been filed to withdraw from a competency hearing for the suspect accused in a bombing plot in downtown Oklahoma City. 23-year-old Jerry Drake Varnell of Sayre was arrested earlier this month in connection with a plot to bomb the Broadway Avenue BancFirst branch in Oklahoma City. The motion, filed today, also seeks to schedule a preliminary hearing and detention hearing.

 

 

Formal Charges Filed in Attempted Robberies

 

Formal charges of first degree robbery and attempted first degree robbery have been filed in Custer County District Court against an Elk City man. 35-year-old Jason Wayne Pickard allegedly tried to rob United Supermarket in Weatherford and Family Dollar in Clinton on the evening of August 10th. However, Pickard failed to get any money during the robbery attempts. Pickard was apprehended the next day by Elk City police on unrelated charges.

 

Corn Youth Makes First Appearance in Court

 

A 14-year-old Corn youth made an initial appearance this morning in Washita County District Court in connection with a July murder in Cordell. Blaize Claude-Eugene Teague is charged with first degree murder, shooting with intent to kill and first degree burglary in connection with the July shooting death of 36-year-old Tammi Thomas and wounding of her 14-year-old son. The judge set a preliminary hearing date for November 7th. Motion hearings are planned for August 31st. Those motions include seeking a bond reduction and motion to certify Teague as a juvenile.