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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1984

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1984 — Dr. Larry Robinson was elected superintendent of the Ponca City Schools on January 12. Bob Ford was re-elected assistant superintendent. Dr. Allen Robson was retiring on June 1 after 19 years of service.

Joe Bartlett purchased the former Rock Island Railroad property and depot.

A Conoco publication, “Conoco 83,” featured a story entitled “Doodlebugger History at a Prairie Mansion.” The story mentioned the Marland Memorabiia and Petroleum Museum at the Marland Estate, and spotlighted Frank Searcy, chairman of the Marland Estate’s Museum Committee. Searcy and other volunteers had donated many hours tending the museum and seeking memorabilia for exhibits.

On January 20, prospective residents of the Westminster Retirement Village held a reception at the Cultural Center to get acquainted. Construction was to start in March and 27 of the living units had already been sold.

Nearly 3,000 voters turned out to elect David Baskin, Sue Clark and Frank Lessert to positions on the school board. All three candidates were newcomers to the board.

Kathy Bourke and Curt Castillo, both juniors at Po-Hi and members of the Chorale, were selected for the 1984 All-State Choir.

At the Chamber of Commerce banquet, Milt Heartsill was named “Outstanding Citizen for 1983.” He was vice president of the Northern Oklahoma District of Oklahoma Natural Gas.

At his retirement, Dr. Allen Robson was honored with the announcement that the senior high fieldhouse would be named after him.

By February, the new Bogan swimming pool was beginning to take shape. Many local suppliers and contractors had donated time and materials and money to the project. The American Legion had donated three diving boards.

The late Clyde E. Muchmore, publisher of the Ponca City News for 40 years, was inducted into the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame.

Bob Wilson and Dana Nichols were inducted into the Wrestling Hall of Fame. Both men had wrestled at Po-Hi as students and later returned to coach – Nichols at East and Wilson at the high school.

The Kittens were 32-18-1 under Nichols during 1968-74. The Wildcats went 140-33-3 under Wilson’s 13-year tenure. He had 13 state champions.

Five Po-Hi student artists were honored with the selection of their works to be on display at the Oklahoma Arts Center in Oklahoma City. According to Maxine Warren, art instructor, the works of Teresa Smith, Bill Munsell, Michelle Wittmer, Sonja Wagoner, and Ginger Reinert were among 231 pieces of art chosen from a field of 1100 entries across the state.

In February, crews from Cablecom of Ponca City worked nightly between midnight and 8:00 a.m. upgrading the local system and adding eight channels.

Jerry Runyan was named district athletic director for the school system. He had been at Po-Hi for 20 years as social studies instructor and head football and track coach.

Incumbent City Commissioners Don Linder and Bill Lacey both filed for re-election. No one filed to oppose either of them, so they were “automatically elected.” Since there was no election, the City saved $6,000.

James Bates was appointed Fire Chief. He had been with the department since 1964.

Ultra-light planes, described as “hang gliders with engines,” were banned from using the airport because of safety factors and traffic problems that could arise.

A new program, Crime Stoppers, was initiated in March. A cooperative community effort of the Chamber and the Police Department, it was designed to solve felony crimes and serious misdemeanors, involving the community to supply leads and information.

The Opportunity Center started a silkscreen workshop with clients manning the operations.

In April, members of First Baptist voted to build a new 1,500 seat sanctuary at Fifth and Central.

Gov. Nigh announced that 10,000 of the state’s 15,000 county bridges had been classified as inadequate. He encouraged citizens to talk to their representatives to pass the 2.42 cents gasoline tax. The measure had already passed the Senate.

H. Vaughn (Skip) Ritcheson, principal of Garfield school, was director of the 1984 summer camping program at Camp McFadden.

The Otoe-Missourias opened a gigantic bingo parlor near Red Rock. Over 100 buses from 35 states crowded the parking lot, and more than 5,000 people gathered over the weekend of April 9th for a 13-hour bingo marathon, with potential prizes of $400,000.

In mid April, Charles Hepler, director of Cultural Affairs for the city, resigned. He had accepted the position of executive director of Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Assn.

Directors and officers of the new American National Bank watched a dirt-moving machine break ground for their new structure at 14th Street and Prospect.

Paving began on Prospect between Union and 14th Street.

The City Commission meeting on April 16 only lasted 27 minutes. It was the shortest commission meeting anyone could remember. Some people speculated that perhaps the commissioners hadn’t finished their taxes.

Dawson and Hart Smith purchased The Kettle restaurant franchise at 2125 N. 14th.

On April 18, Cablecom announced they were adding five channels to their lineup, making a total of 18 channels on the system.

Ponca City High School Orchestra won the Sweepstakes Award for Overall Superiority in competition at Central State University.

Farm Fresh announced a plant expansion project at 201 W. Cleveland. They asked that the City upgrade Chestnut Street in order to handle their heavy trucks and trailers.

Mayor Brown suggested they contract with a private company so they wouldn’t be delayed by having to get bids. He indicated that the City could contribute money to the project.

Farm Fresh had 102 employees here, with an annual payroll of $2.3 million. Annual sales figures for the milk plant alone were $53 million.

The American Legion donated 60,000 pounds of paper, or about 2 million sheets, to the Ponca City Schools. It was expected to last the whole school year.

Po-Hi Art Club had an art fair on the front lawn of the high school in May. The theme was “Puttin’ on the Artz,” and student artwork of all descriptions was on display as well as for sale.

Five underground water storage tanks were discovered on the property north of the Westminster Village building site, some of them with “manhole” type covers. Workers found a six-inch cast iron waterline that was not charted on the City utility maps. Ralph Berglund, 1965 Conoco retiree who was head of the architect and engineering department, said they were built at the direction of E.W. Marland. The tanks were filled by a well on the east of the property, then the water was transferred by the water line to the Legion school and to the old Quah-ta-see-da Club, built by Marland for his young male executives of Marland Oil. The club had later become Ponca Military Academy.

Ponca Playhouse presented “The Seven Year Itch,” featuring Dave Hart, June Foreman, and David Bowen. Dave May was “the voice of Richard Sherman’s conscience.”

The American Association of University Women honored twelve top Senior Women at Po-Hi. They were Lisa Andrews, Shelly Browning, Kaye Collins, Tammie Fryar, Amy Horst, Mary Hunt, Robyn Kreger, Ginger Reinert, Lisa Robinson, Karen Rothgeb, Gina Schindler, and Michelle Slade.

Christmas in May preview gift showings were held across the county to benefit the Opportunity Center. Children at the center had hand made all of the items, ranging from grapevine wreaths to ceramic ducks. Volunteers hosted the showings in their homes.

The Kemnasts from Kem’s Gym were big winners at the Oklahoma Kids Talent Search in Enid. The gym team in the 6-to-11 category placed first in the competition.

Pat Ozment, Park Department head, resigned his position to enter private business. During his six-year tenure, he expanded the recreation programs, oversaw the Wentz Clubhouse and the new Bogan Pool project.

Auto Electric on Grand Avenue at the Railroad celebrated their 60th Anniversary in business on May 18, 1984. L.L. Fawcett had founded the company in the back of a garage with $129 in operating capital.

The Symphonic Band, Symphony Orchestra and String Orchestra from the high school received superior ratings at the Nashville Heritage Festival. Judges called the Ponca City delegation the strongest overall program represented at the contest.

Oklahoma Kids Talent Search chose Kevin Kem as the first solo dancer to perform in California with the Oklahoma Kids show.

Sculpture models by Ponca City artists Gallagher Rule and Jo Saylors were among 44 entries in the competition that would establish the design for the monument to Oklahoma Vietnam veterans in Oklahoma City.

Denise Malicoate, Ponca City’s Miss North Central Oklahoma, competed in the Miss Oklahoma Scholarship Pageant.

Junior Golf Week got under way at the Country Club Golf Course with a clinic for youths by PGA touring pro Danny Edwards.

The second group home for developmentally disabled adults was set to open in mid-June.

Lil Kernels opened in the Plaza 14 Shopping Center. Boys and girls at the American Legion Children’s Home operated the popcorn business.

June marked the second anniversary of Hospice of Ponca City.

City Commissioners appointed Rick Miller as Cultural Affairs director of the city. He replaced Charles Hepler, who had resigned.

Commemorative ceramic tiles were placed on the bathhouse at the new Bogan swimming pool, denoting large donors.

New signs were posted on Oklahoma highways to discourage drivers from going over the newly mandated 55 miles per hour. The signs identified fines a driver would pay, depending on how much he was over the speed limit. For example, going 56-65 mph would be a $52 fine, and at the high end of the scale, over 80 mph, the fine was $122.

A Nature Center opened at Camp McFadden, housed in a cabin dedicated to Lucille Powell, former director of the Ponca Area Council of Camp Fire.

John Robinson of Manchester Center, Vermont accepted the position of manager and artistic director of Ponca Playhouse. Bill Butterfield had held the post for the past six years, but the Playhouse Board had chosen not to renew his contract.

Ron Harmon, former Hominy and Cushing head coach, was hired to take over the Po-Hi football program. The school board also confirmed hiring Don Wentroth from Putnam City to be the girls’ tennis coach.

Oklahoma’s First Lady Donna Nigh and Oklahoma Department of Transportation Director Dick Ward announced a plan for cleaning up Oklahoma’s state highways using mildly handicapped citizens. Opportunity Center was one of the ten sheltered workshops designated to receive an annual $50,000 grant for participation in the program.

Dr. Larry Robinson stepped into the superintendent’s position at the June school board meeting. He introduced Charles Callum, new assistant superintendent of personnel. Callum had been Yukon High School principal.

Kay County lawmen corralled a four-legged runaway in the Po-Hi parking lot about 4:00 a.m. on June 22nd. They chased the all-black quarter horse mare from the corner of Juanito and Pecan to the high school.

Fred Boettcher was elected chairman of the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority. Gov. Nigh had appointed Boettcher to an eight-year term on the Turnpike Authority in 1981.

LaVelle Wittmer announced she would run for re-election as Kay County Superintendent of Schools.

Shirley Petersen, Ponca City artist, was awarded “Best of Show” at the Walnut Valley Art Festival in Arkansas City. The award was for her oil painting titled “Watching the Coyote.”

Rep. Dorothy Conaghan announced her intention to seek another term as state representative from District 38, which included Kay and Grant counties and part of Alfalfa County.

Milt Heartsill was named Rotary District 575 Governor for the 1984-85 year.

The interim upgrade of the local cable television system was officially complete, and officials were finishing a franchise ordinance.

Rep. Jim Holt announced he would seek a sixth-term as a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He had served on the Appropriations, Rules, Human Services and Municipal Government committees.

Dr. Joanne Gula accepted the position of cable television administrator for the City. Her duties included consulting with the Cable Television Franchise Review Committee chaired by City Commissioner Charles Casey. She had a doctorate in mass communications from the University of Massachusetts and had served as assistant professor in the OSU School of Journalism and Broadcasting for two years.

The Jaycees held their Fifth Annual River Raft Race on July 15. Larry Howell, race chairman, said the race was open to the whole community and their canoes, factory-made rafts and homemade rafts. The 11.2 mile course began below the dam at Kaw Lake’s Sandy Beach, and 47 of the 48 rafts continued along the Arkansas River to the Sober Brothers gravel pit.

Irene Czaplinski filed for the office of Kay County clerk.

Kit Ramsey, Ponca City, was elected president of the National Ambucs at their convention in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“Forgiven,” a gospel music ministry that originated in Ponca City, released their second album, “Here We Are.” Members of the group were Mark Brooke, Ed Gogerty, Kerry Mills and Billy Russell.

Dolan Bayless was chosen by the Board of Directors for Ponca City Civic Orchestra to be music director and conductor for the 1984-85 season.

The old Howe-Foster Building at Grand Avenue and Union received a facelift, preparing for the new location of Sonja’s Flowers.

At the beginning of the school year, Dale Pickens bus contractor for the school system, said that 21 buses would be transporting 1400 students to and from their respective schools.

Domino’s Pizza opened at 2402 N. 14th.

A new radio station, KIX-FM, signed on the air with a country-western format. The studio was located at 205 W. Hartford.

In Tulsa, at a special U.S. Jaycees national meeting, delegates overwhelmingly approved a resolution allowing women full membership in the all-male organization.

A satellite dish was set up outside the Fine Arts Building at Po-Hi, signaling the advent of something new in education. English teachers took part in the first teleconferencing program broadcast from OSU. The program, “Freshman Composition at OSU,” was an overview of what is taught to graduate assistants who teach freshmen. McGrew’s TV and Appliance Center provided the dish.

Pioneer Vo-Tech started its 11th year when classes began August 27. New programs included training for Displaced Homemakers and Computer operations. There were over 1,500 students enrolled in evening classes.

The new Cookshack manufacturing facility on North Ash was completed in September.

Mayor Brown appointed Jim Sindelar as director of Parks and Recreation for the city.

Hodgson Meat and Cheese Shoppe opened on North Waverly.

A 30-member citizens committee, chaired by Commissioner Don Linder, was formed to study traffic flow issues in the city. They determined 11 areas of the city that needed improvement.

School Principal Perry Pederson was named Principal of the Month in September.

Oklahoma voters narrowly passed a constitutional amendment to allow liquor by the drink on a county option basis. Kay County was one of only 17 counties to cast a majority.

Several members of the Royal Air Force had a reunion of the Darr School on September 29, the first reunion of the World War II flyers to be held in Ponca City. A number of cadets had trained here at the Darr Flight School, officially named No. 6 British Flying Training School. Local Ponca Citian, Lillian Taylor, helped organize the reunion.

Al Jensen, owner of Jensen’s Music Stores in Enid and Ponca City, received a Community Service Award from Gov. Nigh at the Governor’s Arts Awards ceremonies at the State Capitol.

A special election was held on October 16 to vote on a one-cent City sales tax increase. The two-year tax was projected to raise $3.8 million to finance the traffic flow needs and intersection improvements in the city. Only 27% of the city’s registered voters went to the polls, and the proposal was rejected by a 322-vote margin.

Conoco donated a 14-inch telescope to the science department at the high school. Voyle Graham, astronomy teacher, said the telescope would be used for solar, lunar and planetary studies. The science club, photography club and rocket club also had access to the telescope.

At the regional marching contest, the Big Blue Band captured superior ratings for the 36th consecutive year.

The Conoco refinery set a new plant record of three million hours worked without a lost time injury.

The Ponca City refinery, Oklahoma’s largest, employed more than 800 people.

Tulsa Ballet Theater held tryouts here for “The Nutcracker” and 117 children participated, hoping to get one of the 30 parts.

By November 1st, Westminster Village was well under construction. Mrs. Rheva Victor was named executive director. She had 14 years experience in long-term care for the elderly.

On December 1, Larry Hughes resigned as chairman of the board and CEO of Security Bank to pursue other business interests. John Kreighbaum was named to fill Hughes position.

The Ponca City Senior High Chamber Orchestra opened their concert season with Gov. Nigh as a special guest narrator. Director Dan Larson announced that the orchestra had received a special invitation to perform in the Oklahoma State Capitol building in March.

The 29 members of Po-Hi Steppers performed at the New Orleans World’s Fair in November.

A new tribal museum for Tonkawa Indians was dedicated at Fort Oakland in November, marking a year-long series of celebrations to commemorate the arrival of the Tonkawa Indians in Oklahoma territory from native lands in Texas.

Junior High School students from across the state gathered at the Marland Estate for the 34th annual convention of the Oklahoma Association of Junior High Student Councils. The event was co-hosted by the East and West school representatives.

Clickles, a furry seat belt mascot, visited elementary schools to remind students of the importance of buckling up when riding in a car. Clickles’ appearance was sponsored by the PTA Council as part of a month-long series of special events stressing the importance of using seat belts.