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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History


The Ponca City Information website is not affiliated nor associated with the City of Ponca City, the website is provided by Kay County Media LLC as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.

1990 — Patt Hughes was elected Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, the first woman to hold that position. The Board of Directors approved a $230,000 budget and a 5% dues increase.

City Commissioners approved a new sound system for the Hutchins Memorial Auditorium.

 The employment picture in Ponca City had taken an upturn since 1988, with more than 400 new jobs in the industrial sector.

Commissioners approved a request from Fire Chief Baldridge for a trade-in ambulance to be converted to a command vehicle for the Fire Department.

The state Senate passed a bill, authored by Sen. Olin Branstetter, requiring merit and incentive pay for teachers, and doing away with tenure pay.

Bob Westmoreland displayed a photo exhibit at the Ponca City Art Center. Titled, “For Love or Money II”, it featured 27 of his photographs.

A team of three historic theater consultants from Texas visited the Poncan Theatre in January to provide specialized knowledge regarding the restoration of the historic theater.

The U.S. Army Reserve Center on West Hartford added 6,000 square feet to their existing building. The Reserve unit used Angela Hall at the Marland Estate for their monthly drills until the new addition was completed.

Work was progressing at the renovation of the building for the Ponca City Senior citizens Center. The city purchased it for $75,000 and an additional $120,000 was budgeted for renovation. City crews were doing much of the work.

In January, 14% of the students in the Ponca City schools were absent due to a flu bug. There were 767 children and 22 teachers who stayed at home.

Pioneer Area Vocational-Technical School proposed a $5.25 million school bond issue to go before voters in January. The school opened in 1974, and had added a second wing in 1981. Funding would come from property taxes.

Judge Lowell Doggett received the Outstanding Citizen award at the annual Chamber of Commerce Banquet. The large industry award was presented to Frank Reyher, manager of the Skaggs Alpha-Beta Distribution Center. Head Country Food Products received the small industry award.

Terry Middlebusher and Darrel Davis were competing candidates for an opening on the school board. Davis was elected.

Kay County Associate Judge Neal Beekman was named to perform administrative duties in the 8th Judicial District until a replacement for retiring District Judge Lowell Doggett was appointed.

John Westfield, president and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce, resigned due to poor health.

The Lady Wildcats set a new season scoring mark and won a bracket championship in the 93-team basketball tournament in Miami.

In the school election, the $5.25 million Vo-Tech Bond issue passed, as did a 3 mill Incentive Levy.

Bill Coddington, owner of the Rusty Barrell Supper club, received an honorary membership in the Oklahoma State Trooper’s Association.

Larry Kent Stephenson, son of Larry E. and Virginia Stephenson, was elected as one of ten watercolor artists to be inducted as a signature member in the American Watercolor Society. He and his wife, Sheryl, owned a custom framing business and art gallery at 111 N. Third Street.
Kevin Murphy was named City Attorney following the death of Marland Johnson, who died in January. Johnson had been the City Attorney since 1960. Murphy had been the assistant city attorney since 1981.

The Ponca City Convention and Tourism Authority approved funding for the Air Museum Air Show set for Sept. 15, and the Iris Festival scheduled for May 5.

The Community Pool at the YMCA re-opened in February after being closed for repairs.

The School Board re-elected Virginia Carey for her third term as president of the school board.

National Merit Scholars from Po-Hi were Jennifer Bennett, Nina Hattiangadi, Chad Bell, Stacy Routh, Jared Cottle, Jesse Rhee and Justin Burnette.

The Ponca City Sailfish Swim Team hosted a nine-member Russian swim team for 16 days in February.

Gary Boyer announced that he would not seek another term as city commissioner.

On February 21, an investigation by the North Central Major Crimes Task Force Unit and the use of four strike teams led to the arrest of six individuals on multiple drug related charges. District Attorney Joe Wideman coordinated the operation.

Billed as “the greatest story ever retold,” the musical “Cotton Patch Gospel,” opened on March 2nd at the Ponca Playhouse in the Civic Center Auditorium. Cast members included Ron Dean, Bill Justice, Mark Brooke, Gordon Hicks, James Pain and John Rardin. Play directors were Vicki Poulson and Susan Hochderffer.

A new water pump was installed as part of a working windmill in the center of the Opportunity Village Complex on North Union.

Hubert Watts announced that he would run again for a City Commission seat. A retired engineering supervisor of Conoco after 42 years service, he had served on the Planning Commission, Airport Advisory Board and numerous other public organizations. He had been a city commissioner since 1985.

Governor Henry Bellmon appointed Neal Beekman Eighth District Judge.

For the first time, students from the Opportunity Center attended the Special Olympics Music Festival in Enid.

Earlene Logan was named Ponca City’s 1989-90 Teacher of the Year. She was a 5th grade teacher at Lincoln Elementary.

In March, the Ponca City Main Street Authority was selected as a 1990 recipient of the State Historic Preservation Officer’s Citation of Merit, for furthering historic preservation in Oklahoma through the local historical marker program.

Avis Hauser, volunteer coordinator for the Neighborhood Watch program, was the WBBZ Volunteer of the Month for February. WBBZ and Heartland Federal made a $100 donation to Crimestoppers. Hauser also received a night for two at the Marland Estate Conference Center.

Many awards were presented at the annual Takedown Club Banquet following a successful wrestling season. State champion Floyd Coburn received four trophies. Other big winners were Chris Kelly, John Terry, David Wells, Jeff Gibson, John Hodgson, Brett Kinkaid, Matt Fry, and Jeremy Thomas.

The Ponca City Grand Prix Association received approval for an expanded program of activity during the Fourth of July week heading into the two-day race extravaganza July 7 and 8.

Members of Arleen Ritcheson’s 1988-89 fourth grade class at Trout Elementary completed a States Quilt. The quilt was constructed of squares representing each state. The students did original drawings of a state bird and flower, and then colored them with fabric crayons.

Five Po-Hi Seniors were name Academic All-State for 1990 by the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence. Named to the select group were Jared Cottle, Jennifer Bennett, Chad Bell, Stacy Routh and Nina Hattiangadi. They each received a $1,000 scholar award.

Dr. Darrell Gwartney, assistant superintendent and director of curriculum for the Ponca City Public Schools, received 500 copies of the Kay County Project Aware directory from Conoco’s Lynn Hohensee. The directory served as a reference guide for information regarding drug and alcohol prevention and rehabilitation facilities in Kay County. The project was coordinated by WBBZ Radio, the City of Ponca City, and Conoco, who made copies of the directory available to all Kay County school districts.

Citizens filing for the two open City Commission seats included Craig Honn, Gary Gibson, and incumbent Hubert Watts. Gibson won the election, and Watts drew no opposition.

Stephen Koster, PoHi student, received a $1500 grant from Dupont for a research paper about finding a cure for the AIDS virus. Students from every state submitted nearly 11,000 essays in both the senior and junior divisions.

Truman Smith made his “Unsolved Mysteries” debut on Channel 4. The promo for his story had been shown in a number of areas.

Ponca City attorney John V. Raley, Jr. was sworn in as interim U.S. Attorney for Oklahoma’s Eastern District. Sen. Don Nickles recommended Raley’s nomination to President Bush.

The Oil, Chemical and Atomic Workers Local 5-857 and Conoco announced the ratification of a new three-year contract for 643 represented employees.

Five Ponca City delegates were selected to attend Girls State in Ada – Wendy Miller, Candy Jack, Wendy Martin, Ann Moore, and Mindy Hampton.

After six months of negotiations, Conoco announced a 23 million dollar settlement agreement with Circle Drive residents over the ongoing groundwater situation in south Ponca City. Conoco offered to buy nearly 400 houses and residential lots alongside its refinery as part of the proposed lawsuit settlement. They also would establish a $5 million settlement fund to be divided among people who had lived in the area since 1966. Homeowners had complained since 1987 that groundwater laced with hydrocarbons had seeped into their basements and threatened their health. Conoco hired a consultant firm to work with the homeowners, answering their questions and assisting them with moving. Within three days of the announcement, 150 residents had signed up for the resale of their property. A week later, 75% of the sellout area had committed to sell. In addition, about 2100 people signed claims seeking compensation from the settlement fund.

The city selected Brawley Engineering to conduct four bridge inspections in the city as required by the state.

New concrete and brick walkways were installed at the Cann Gardens.

Ponca City teachers were among the estimated 10,000 to 15,000 teachers who ringed the State Capitol building to protest the State Senate’s failure to pass House Bill 1017, a $230 million education reform and revenue package for education. Ponca City schools closed to allow the teachers to picket in Oklahoma City. After four days, the senators re-voted and passed the bill. Ponca City schools stood to gain $500,000 to $700,000 from the measure.

The sale of First National Bank to Home National Bank of Arkansas City, Kansas was completed. Roger Brown was chairman of the board of directors, Hal Haver vice chairman, and David Mills, president and chief executive officer.

The Chamber of Commerce hired Bob Wright of Dodge City, Kansas as the new Chamber executive.

The Ponca City Convention & Tourism Authority committed $2,500 of community promotion funds to the Poncan Theatre Company to study the feasibility of renovating the Poncan Theater.

Wayne Leven won the Kay County District 2 Commissioner race.

Mayor Carl Balcer won a second term by a 65 - vote margin over Marilyn Andrews.

The Federal Aviation Administration facility in Ponca City closed at the end of March, after 48 years of service in the community.

Academic All-Staters from Po-Hi included Jared Stigge, Brian Burchfiel, Paul Winslow, Chris Johnson, and Jenifer Cundiff.

Joe Childers rolled the highest series recorded at Ponca Bowl, an 816, with 289-279-248.

Visitors from across the United States gathered in Ponca City to participate in an Elderhostel held at the Marland Estate Conference Center. The topic was “Pioneers, Indians, and Oil.”

Ceremonies April 8 initiated restoration of facilities at the Chilocco Indian School for a Narconon Treatment Center, a drug and rehabilitation center that Narconon officials said could turn into a 1,400 bed operation within five years.

Members of the Kay County Bar Association roasted Joe Lewis on his 90th birthday.

City Commissioners authorized the third year of the city’s continuing contract with the Main Street program.

Velta Reed-Johnston, superintendent of Pioneer Vo-Tech, was selected as Region IV Administrator and Educator of the Year.

Martha Griffin of Muskogee was named recipient of the 1989 Pioneer Woman Award at the annual Renaissance Ball at the Marland Mansion.

A class action suit against the Conoco Refinery by a group of Ponca City residents was filed in the Federal Court of Oklahoma City.

E-911 communications officer, Nadine Frisby, was honored by commissioners for her efforts in helping to save the life of a child.

Barry Switzer, the fourth most successful coach in the history of college football, resigned his position as head football coach at the University of Oklahoma.

Old friends and new acquaintances gathered with Doug Blubaugh and Shelby Wilson, former Olympics winners, as they waited for the U.S. Olympic Festival torch making its way down Grand Avenue. The pair carried it on to the next station as the ’89 Festival Torch spread its light through Oklahoma.

The State Department of Tourism agreed to fund a feasibility study for a proposed 10,000 square-foot addition to the Pioneer Woman Museum.

Commissioners approved a lease for a new industry, Sooner Jet Service, to be located at the Municipal Airport. Vice Mayor, Gary Boyer, announced, “We’re sending a message out to the world that Ponca City is serious about growing jobs.”

Senior class officers for 1989-1990 at Po-Hi were Danielle Hoover, president; Jared Cottle, vice president; and Laurie Wilcoxson, secretary.

The first Ponca Tribal election in more than two years swept out incumbent officers who had blocked previous elections, and put the tribe on the road to getting back $150,000 in federal funds.

Art consultants from Denver were here to do an assessment of the art collection at the library and advise what to do about preserving the pieces.

Post-Newsweek Cable received a 15-year permit to operate in Ponca City.

Gov. Bellmon gave the keynote address for the long-awaited dedication of the $1.2 million expansion and renovation of the Ponca City Library on September 10.

Witco Corporation ConCarb Division announced a $20 million expansion at its existing 28-acre plant south of Ponca City.

Citizens celebrated the 96th Cherokee Strip Run with a parade and open house for descendants of the 1893 run. Festivities also included a concert by the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, various pioneer woman displays on the grounds of the Pioneer Woman Museum, Ambucs pancake breakfast on the Civic Center lawn, and a gunfight at the hanging tree at City Hall.

John Raley was nominated for the newly vacated post of U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority held an open house at Kaw Lake Dam. They had recently completed the operation system of the Kaw Hydroelectric Plant.

Construction crews began building the Narconon Chilocco New Life Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Center.

Randy Baldridge was named Ponca City Fire Chief.

United Way surpassed their goal of $650,000 by over $21,000. Gary Gibson was Campaign chair.

Commissioners voted to proceed with negotiations for repowering Steam Unit No. 1, a venture that would cost $25-30 million.

The Pioneer Area Vo-Tech Board of Education unanimously agreed to seek a $5.25 million bond issue for the expansion of facilities and education programs.

The Environmental Protection Agency approved a permit for Conoco and Ponca City to pump, treat and discharge groundwater from an area in the south part of town into the Arkansas River.