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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1981

The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by the Ponca City Publishing Company, Inc. as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

1981 — Former President Gerald R. Ford was the speaker for the annual Chamber of Commerce banquet.

Kay County officials were notified by the state that, unless certain standards were met for the county jail in Newkirk within 60 days, an order would be issued to shut the facility down.

Bill O’Connor was elected as District 20 State Senator to fill the remaining two years of U.S. Senator Don Nickles term. He defeated Johnny Heinze by a 6% margin.

On January 15, Air Midwest began offering $39 discounted airfares for Ponca City passengers traveling to Wichita and Oklahoma City.

Consultants submitted a report to Kay County officials recommending a modern hexagon shaped jail with a central outside recreational area. It would be attached to the west side of the courthouse so prisoners could be transferred to court hearings without leaving the building.

In February, electric bills showed a 10 to 15 percent increase following the 36% OG&E commercial power rate increase. The city buys power from OG&E when it is cheaper than that generated locally.

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded Ponca City a $1.3 million grant to fund 75% of the sewer plant’s expansion. City participation is estimated at $466,500.

Ponca City’s Marge Parker managed to “stump the band” on the live Johnny Carson Show. The song was an old Camp Fire Girls ditty…”Boom, Boom, Ain’t It Great to be Crazy.” Her Camp Fire leadership skills paid off as she received four tickets for dinner at a Los Angeles restaurant after singing all the words to the song.

Eight state journalists, including Allan Muchmore, were inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame during the annual meeting of the Oklahoma Press Association. Muchmore is the first person to serve as president of both major news media organizations, the Oklahoma Press Association and the Oklahoma Broadcasters Association.

J. Gray McBride, former Ponca City Penney’s manager, officiated at the formal ribbon cutting ceremony at the grand opening of the new J.C. Penney store in Ponca Plaza. Through the efforts of current store manager, Dick Stone, a special appearance was arranged for Miss America, Susan Powell. She also appeared at the Marland Estate Renaissance Ball where she was honored with the annual Pioneer Woman Award.Other dignitaries at the Ball were L.F. “Mr. Mc” McCollum, former chairman of the board of Conoco. He received the Distinguished Service National Petroleum Hall of Fame Award. The 1981 Petroleum Hall of Fame inductee was Herbert R. Straight of Cities Service.

Larry E. Stephenson, chairman and CEO of Security Bank, retired, but remained as chairman of the board of Security Bancorp, Inc. Larry T. Hughes, president, succeeded Stephenson.

The Lady Wildcats won their third straight basketball conference victory in the regular season finale against Tulsa Central. Their conference record was 8-2.

Brent Wilson won the state Class 4A wrestling title. The state crown also gave him the Po-Hi record for most tournament wins during his career.

The decorative iron railings for the Marland Mansion were installed in March. Made by craftsmen from Wiemann Iron Works of Tulsa, they match the original ironwork.

The city transferred ownership of the former Attucks School library to the Child Development Center.

The eight candidates running for two City Commission seats were Bill Lacey, Conoco engineer; Sue Roberson, Coca-Cola office manager; Leroy Schuessler, upholstery shop owner; Terry Heagy, convenience store manager; Claude Dale Butler, Conoco retiree; Alice Smith, Conoco refinery employee; Richard Shepard, Conoco control lab tester; Dr. Paul Washecheck, a Conoco research chemist, who filed for re-election. Lacey was elected to fill the seat held by Commissioner Bob Ferguson, and Washecheck was re-elected.

Anthony’s moved into the old J.C. Penney store downtown.

Ponca City’s Wildcat tennis teams swept both championships at the Indian Nations Conference tournament in Tulsa.

Two Ponca City students, Richard Maurer and Anne Rardin, received Symphony String Awards in a contest sponsored by the Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra.

In August, Dupont won control of Conoco, Inc. after a heated takeover battle. Several other companies vied for the company including Mobil Corp. and Seagram Co. Ltd., but Dupont was successful with a $7.4 billion bid.

The city commission passed a comprehensive set of subdivision regulations governing construction of new housing additions. The regulations, long requested by city planning staff and the city Planning Commission, set out specifications for street widths, waterline sizes, sidewalks, and number of fire hydrants.

The annual Ponca Powwow got underway August 20th. The honor of Ponca Tribal Princess went to Sophia Biggoose, daughter of Rev. and Mrs. Levi Biggoose. Franklin Fireshaker, renowned Indian artist, was honored with a special dance. Several of his pieces of artwork were on display at the Ponca Tribal Building.

At the opening session of the 101 Ranch Rodeo, unscheduled events disrupted the show. A faulty main power line caused an hour-long power outage and somehow, two bulls got loose from the starting gates during the bull riding competition. It took 20 minutes for cowboys to rope and corral the bulls.

A new Radio Shack opened downtown at 111 E. Grand.

Frontier Federal began construction of their new branch office on Hartford, adjacent to Ponca Plaza.

Meals on Wheels delivered 17,000 meals during the year, an average of 65 meals daily, requiring nine drivers per day, five days a week.