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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1983

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1983 — Congressman Mickey Edwards opened satellite offices in Ponca City and Bartlesville.

Larry Hughes, chairman of the board and CEO of Security Bank, was elected president of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce for the coming year.

The Oklahoma Society of Professional Engineers chose Walt Beam, vice president in charge of Conoco’s Ponca City engineering center, as the “Outstanding Engineer in Management” for 1983.

Mayor John Raley announced in January that he would not seek re-election as mayor. He said he was announcing early, in fairness to other potential candidates so that they could plan their campaign activities accordingly.

The exterior of the City Building received a new coat of beige paint with white trim. Tops of the bell towers were painted red to match the doors. The east wing roof was also repaired.

City employees who drive city owned vehicles were required to take an eight-hour defensive driving training class administered by the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.

Several students were honored at the January school board meeting. Ed Rodgers, chairman of the instrumental music department, said four of his students had been named to all-state band. Dan Larson, orchestra director, introduced nine of his students had advanced to all-state orchestra rank. Football coach Keni Ray introduced Dean Shinault and Kevin Brown, who had been named to the Daily Oklahoman all-state squad.

Louise Abercrombie, feature writer and news reporter for the Ponca City News, was named the Chamber’s Citizen of the Year at the annual banquet.

The Bogan Pool Building Fund received a healthy boost of $100,00, pledged by Conoco.

The contribution raised the total to $560,000 toward construction of the new pool, just $40,000 from the goal.

On February 20, a raging fire, which apparently started in the basement, completely gutted the historic Attucks School Building on South 12th Street.

At the seventh annual Renaissance Ball on the Marland Estate, Larry E. Stephenson was the recipient of the Estate Commission’s Award. He had been chairman of the Mansion Acquisition Committee in 1975, then Charter Chairman of the Marland Estate Commission for the next three years.

In February, C. Richard Pitts was elected president and chief operating officer for Frontier Federal Savings and Loan Association. Pitts had started at Frontier in 1956.

Greenwood Aviation was awarded the fixed-base operator’s contract at the Ponca City Airport.

Po-Hi Steppers, under the direction of Lee Ann Cavener, competed in the Tulsa Union State Drill Team competition and earned first place.

The Po-Hi wrestling team won first place in regional competition and seven members qualified to go to the state competition. Steve Rein and Mark Tatum both won state crowns.

Construction of the two-story Terrace Apartment Complex on Donner was completed in March.

City Commissioner Paul Washecheck resigned in March. He had overseen the refinancing of the water treatment plant renovations just prior to resigning. Dr. Donald Linder, Gary Watters, and Clifton Rowe filed to run for the position.

The 101 Ranch was the theme of the annual Marland Renaissance Ball. Jackie McFarland Laird received the 1983 Pioneer Woman Award. Mrs. Laird, 86, was a pioneer performer with the 101 Ranch Wild West Show.

Gov. Nigh announced officially that U.S. 77 north to Oklahoma Highway 11 would be four-laned and Highway 11 to three miles east of Blackwell would be a “super two-lane.” Construction was to start in May.

Travis Mullins of Ponca City, a member of the Braden 4-H Club, showed the Grand Champion and reserve Grand Champion steers during the Osage County Junior Livestock Show.

On March 15, Ponca Citians defeated a five-year, one-cent sales tax referendum for a major street improvement by a narrow 2% margin. There were 2,670 votes against and 2,555 votes for the issue.

Lee Brown was elected mayor in April, garnering 78% of the vote and carrying all 26 precincts. His opponents were Duane Keeler and James Balcer.

The Miller Brothers (Joseph, George and Zach) were inducted into the “Hall of Fame of Great Westerners,” located in the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.

East Junior High’s newspaper, “The Blue and Gold”, received the Oklahoma Interscholastic Press Assn. “All Oklahoman Award for 1982-83.” The student’s adviser was Marquetta Brown.

There were 23 Po-Hi Junior class boys who represented the American Legion Huff Minor Post No. 14 at Boys State at Central State University in Edmond.

The Girls’ Po-Hi golf team finished first in regional play and advanced to the state tournament.

On May 1st, Ambucs members broke ground for the new Bogan Pool at Maple and 7th Street. They used an old-fashioned hand plow manned by Mayor Raley and Ambuc president Gary Miles. About 75 spectators joined in the plow pulling, symbolizing the community pulling together and plowed a furrow about one-quarter block long.

Opportunity Center clients earned a position in the state-level Special Olympics in Edmond.

Officials with the planned Pecan Place Limited apartments broke ground to begin construction. The buildings would be one-half mile north of Prospect on Pecan.

On May 2, Lee Brown was sworn in as Ponca City’s new mayor. Dr. Don Linder, newly elected commissioner, also took the oath of office.

The Po-Hi track team had four gold medalists at the Frontier Conference Track Meet. Jim Fairbanks, Greg Hill, Jose Aguirre, and Chito Aguirre came in first in the 3200-meter relay. Hill also won an individual gold medal in the 800-meter run.

Ponca Playhouse celebrated their 100th production in May, presenting “On Golden Pond,” starring Dick and Joan Jones as Norman and Ethel Thayer. The organization had started in 1959.

The Civic Improvement Committee of the Chamber voted to continue the planting of Bradford pear trees along Grand Avenue. The Park Department donated the trees, and merchants paid $50 each for a contractor to cut a hole in the sidewalk.

The State Legislature approved raising the age for buying 3.2% beer from age 18 to 21. Several lawmakers predicted there would be enforcement problems because neighboring Texas and Kansas allow beer purchases at a younger age. Stan Clark of Eskimo Joe’s in Stillwater predicted that the ordinance would be totally unmanageable.

The police department and public school officials worked together to initiate a fingerprinting service for all elementary school children. Parents received an OSBI standardized card with the fingerprints to be given to authorities in case of an emergency.

Cablecom of Ponca City asked for a change in its charter with the city that would allow it to carry 44 channels, more than doubling its present capacity of 12.

County and city officials were involved in a joint effort to enforce solid waste dumping laws in Kay County. Rewards were offered to those with information that led to a conviction of anyone illegally dumping trash along roadways.

The Po-Hi Chorale received nine Superior ratings out of a possible nine at the Six Flags Over Texas Festival of Choirs in Ft. Worth, and were selected the outstanding choir. Over 80 choral groups from seven states participated in the festival.

The Po-Hi volleyball team won first place in Jenks, Ponca City and Norman Tournaments, and then won the State Tournament.

The 101 Beverage Co. added equipment to recycle clear, green and amber glass containers. Consumers were paid one cent per pound of glass.

Commissioners gave approval to the Sooner Skiers for a water-skiing tournament on East Lake Ponca. Prior to the approval, water skiing had been off limits on the lake.

The Po-Hi girls’ soccer team finished their 1983 season undefeated.

Po-Hi high jumpers Leslie Taylor and Jeff Brown both won gold medals at the state Class 3A and 4A Track Meet in Norman. It was the first time in the history of Po-Hi track that the Wildcats had a girls’ and boys’ gold medalist in the same event at state.

St. Joseph Medical Center of Ponca City merged with Blackwell General Hospital in May. The corporate name for both facilities became St. Joseph Regional Medical Center of Northern Oklahoma.

Consultants informed Kay County Commissioners in late May that current plans for the new jail put expenses at $400,000 over budget. In June, a new state law had passed, requiring juveniles and adults be confined in separate buildings.

A record 21 Ponca City area youths were awarded Conoco scholarships in June.

The library held their third annual Bibliomania Book Sale. They sold 2,368 books, bringing in $869. Books not sold were given to White Eagle and local nursing homes.

Families of Camp Fire girls pitched in to spruce up Camp McFadden for the coming summer. The sixth and newest cabin was dedicated to Lucille Powell, director of the council for 14 years. There were also three tepees, a shower house, dining room and lodge, playing field, nature trails, health cabin and acres of open space. Sullivan’s Trucking provided 17 truckloads of gravel for driving paths. The Dads’ Club built a railroad tie retaining wall to control mud sliding down the hill in rainy weather.

The Planning Commission approved a request from Dollar Saver, to use the old McKinley School as a warehouse.

Ponca City Industrial Foundation started contacting industries that could adapt to the Huffy manufacturing plant. The building was on 90 acres west of Waverly and had parking for 540 vehicles.

Lisa Andrews, a junior at Po-Hi, was named Miss Teen of Oklahoma in June. She won a $1,000 college scholarship and an all-expense paid trip to the Miss Teen of USA pageant in Duluth, Minnesota.

Some 450 former cadets of Ponca Military Academy returned to Ponca City in June for their 35-year reunion. It was the last time they would see the buildings of their alma mater, as the buildings were being taken down to make room for a nursing home and housing development.

Dick Stone, Penney’s store manager here, was promoted to district manager of stores in Kansas, and moved to Wichita.

On June 30, Conoco, Inc., the 108-year-old company that Du Pont bought in October, 1981, left Stamford, Connecticut, where its headquarters had been for 11 years. On July 5, employees began work in the refurbished Conoco section of Du Pont’s headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware.

On July 1, Ponca City zip codes became 74601 west of 14th Street, and 74604 east of 14th.

A new “Welcome to Ponca City” billboard was installed on I-35. It was sponsored by the Chamber, Marland Mansion and Kaw Lake Association.

The Gatehouse to the Marland Estate on North 14th Street, former offices of E.W. Marland and architect John Duncan Forsyth, was listed for sale. Mrs. Lucille Sanders had lived there since 1973, but needed to move to smaller quarters.

A new Senior Citizen Multi-purpose Center opened in the old fire station building at Osage and Grand. It was a part of the Kay-Noble Nutrition Program.

Local subscribers of Cablecom voted to retain WTBS and Cable News Network as part of their subscription package.

Evans and Associates began work on the new four-lane addition to U.S. 77 north of Ponca City.

City employees received a pleasant surprise in July with an unexpected 3% pay raise.

On July 15, the final bicycle rolled off the assembly line at the Huffy plant. It was presented to the Opportunity Center, a symbolic gesture since the center had done the packaging for Huffy for several years. There were 640 bikes assembled on that last day. The first Ponca City bicycle had been produced on May 4, 1980.

The old stoves used at the former Ponca Military Academy found a new home at the House of Gourmet, a new business owned by Jannie Ross.

The Marland Mansion received a $75,000 matching restoration grant from the Oklahoma Historical Society for repair of the mansion roof.

Dr. Edwin Fair, director of the Bi-State Mental Health Clinic, retired after 25 years as administrator. The Bi-State program served six counties in Oklahoma plus Cowley County in Kansas.

Diana Hopkins won the Mayor’s Trophy for best entry in the 101 Ranch Rodeo Parade, with her miniature horse, Banjo.

Renovation of the water treatment plant was completed at a cost of $3 million, financed by revenue bonds. The improvements increased the capacity from 16 million gallons per day to 25 million.

Invitations for bid on the construction of the new Kay County jail were sent to various contractors in late August, with bids to be opened on September 29. The contractor had cut back costs so the facility would not go over $3.5 million. They also needed to comply with a new state law requiring that juveniles and adults be confined in separate buildings.

A two-story house in the 600 block of South Osage was moved to 4th Street and Detroit in mid-September. The 30 foot tall house was the largest on record to be moved within the city limits. Utility lines at each intersection had to be moved with the help of city crews and police.

The East Bradley extension at North 14th Street opened, providing access eastward past the Super 8 motel and the East Terrace Apartments.

In September, Superintendent of Schools, Allen Robson, announced his retirement, effective June 1, 1984. Robson came to Ponca City in 1945, teaching math and coaching at East Junior High. Two years later, at the senior high, he continued to teach math and was head coach of basketball and track. He became director of special services in 1949 while still coaching basketball. In 1960, he was named principal at West Junior High, and then became superintendent in 1965.

The YMCA announced plans to expand their facilities, adding 2200 square feet for handball-racquetball courts and a parking lot at 8th Street and Central.

In September, Ponca City was selected as one of 50 towns in the U.S. in which to live for a better life. The selection was by Hugh Bayless, author of a new book, “The Best Town in America: A Where-to-Go Guide for a Better Life.”

The city solicited bids on the dirtwork for the new Bogan Pool. The new swimming facility would be one block south of the Old Bogan Pool in Pecan Park with the bathhouse fronting on Sixth Street. The pool was to be an Olympic-size, 50 meter, eight-lane pool, a 30-by-40 foot instructional and handicapped area, plus a 20-by-20 foot “kiddypool.”

Gareth B. Muchmore, editor and co-publisher of the Ponca City News and a partner in Radio Station WBBZ, died September 22, 1983 of an apparent heart attack. He was named editor of the news in 1959 to succeed his deceased father, Clyde E. Muchmore.