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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1991

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1991 — The parking lot on Central Avenue reopened. Security Bank took over ownership of the lot, and parking was free.

The first phase of reconstruction at Wentz Pool began.

Randy Wilson was named the new football head coach, replacing coach Rusty Benson.

Lezlee Ann, an 18-year old vocalist from Ponca City, was awarded the #4 spot as “Best Country Female Entertainer of the Year” by Cash Box publications and The Music Trade Magazine. She was also voted one of the top ten independent artists of the year by disc jockeys across the country. Her recording “Cadillac Kind of Girl” was No. 1 in the ratings, and “Stonewashed Jeans” was No. 7. She is the daughter of Lynn Curfman.

St. Joseph opened an Outpatient Surgery Unit on January 7 with private and semi-private rooms for use by patients and their families.

West Junior High’s boys won the Ponca City Junior High Basketball tournament championship by crushing Enid Emerson 76-47.

District Judge Neal Beekman administered the oath of office to District One County Commissioner Glen Burgell, District Two Commissioner Wayne Leven, and District Three Commissioner Vern Willbanks. Kay County tax assessor John Heinze also was sworn-in for his third term of office. He had run unopposed in the general election.

Pioneer Area Vo-Tech’s board voted unanimously to rehire Superintendent Velta Reed-Johnson for the 1991-92 school year.

Westminster Village approved plans for 26 additional apartments and 20 more residential care units.

On January 12, a fire caused $20,000 damage at Lindsay Manufacturing.

The Gulf War began on January 16. At Conoco, security was tightened. The Red Cross fielded many calls concerning relatives in the Mideast.

On January 21, President Bush officially activated the 381st Army Reserve Replacement Battalion in Ponca City. They went to Fort Sill where they opened a facility to process troops into the service. United Way and the Red Cross established a “ribbon tree” on the Civic Center lawn.

The City began smoke testing sewers in the west part of town where leaks had been discovered.

Pat Mulligan, city commissioner, announced that he would not seek re-election.

Commissioner Greg Gregson filed for re-election. Jerald Stone announced he would run for Mulligan’s seat. Both were declared winners, since no one else filed for the positions.

Commissioners approved a plan to average utility bills for citizens who requested it.

Long-time Ponca City tennis coach, Wally Smith, was inducted into the Northwestern State University Athletic Hall of Fame. He had led Po-Hi teams to 12 state championships.

Kay County Sheriff Glenn Guinn announced that his office would begin issuing citations to violators caught dumping trash illegally within the county. Violators could be fined up to $1,000 and/or 30 days in jail.

Head Wildcat football coach Rusty Benson resigned. He had been head coach for five years, and a coach in the Ponca City school system for 15 years.

Jack De McCarty retired as county election board secretary, after serving 20 years in that position. Carol Stafford of Blackwell was chosen as his replacement.

JoAnn Muchmore was hired as executive director of the Poncan Theatre Company.

The Lady Wildcats clinched their fourth Frontier Conference basketball title in five years, under coach Larry Rehl, with a 14-2 conference record.

Witco’s carbon black plant spent $25 million on a plant expansion that increased productivity by 50 percent. The new plant went from an output of 150 million pounds to 225 million pounds annually.

The newly formed Mid-America Door Company bought out Durfee Door in May. The Economic Development Foundation played a role in helping to keep the plant here.

New added equipment allowed the company to control the entire manufacturing process under one roof, so customers received their orders faster.

Habitat for Humanity received its first house to rehabilitate.

Lady Wildcat basketball coach Larry Rehl was named Coach of the Year for Large Schools basketball by the Oklahoma Coaches Assn. The Po-Hi girls finished with a 23-3 record and made their sixth straight trip to the state playoffs.

Five area mayors joined the Board of Kay County Commissioners in proclaiming the week of April 14-20 as “Kay County War Memorial Week.”

 There was a parade on the 18th, with Brig. Gen. Pat Foote as Parade Marshal.

The Lady Wildcat soccer team was the District 6 champion, finishing with a 5-0-1 record in district play.

Cletus Smith was awarded “Best of Show” at the 18th annual fine Arts Festival.

City Treasurer Lee Clark resigned and Richard Freeman took her place.

Randy Wilson became the new head coach for the Wildcat football team.

The Lady Wildcat 1600-meter relay team set a school record in the regional meet with a time of 4:16.2. Participating runners were Arrika Collins, Amy Palmer, Tiffany Brookshire, and Shannon Scott.

In June, the Osage Cove Fire District Assn. Volunteer Fire Department received a reconditioned fire truck. Marco, Inc. of Newkirk, a subsidiary of Mertz, Inc, had refurbished the vehicle.

The Detroit Tigers drafted former Wildcat pitcher Clint Sodowsky.

During June and July, more than 5,000 marijuana plants were destroyed by the Sheriff’s office. The plants were put in a pit, covered with discarded tires, and set on fire using diesel fuel.

Dennis Parker was promoted to Conoco regional vice president and refinery manager.

The Fraternal Order of Police rejected a contract proposal.

The DARE program was initiated in Ponca City by police officers, Randy Empting and Rod Tavanello. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was incorporated into all the schools.

Ground was broken for a new Edwin Fair transitional living building on Second Street and Chestnut.

Ray Cassity, 96, announced his retirement. He had been a barber for 80 years.

The “Good Ole Okie Flying Society” drew a large crowd with their aerobatic stunts on the weekend of June 15.

Ponca City’s Patty Coatney won her eighth state Women’s Amateur golf championship.

By mid-June, renovation was completed at Wentz Pool, and it opened to the public.

The Traffic Commission began review of the intersection at Fairview and Hartford.

John Maddox was appointed Assistant City Attorney.

Ann Carlson claimed the Ponca City Country Club Ladies Golf Championship overall title and championship flight title.

Kim Jump was named director at the Child Development Center.

Commissioners approved a plan for sidewalks along the west side of Pecan Road from Donner to Prospect.

Officials from the Department of Energy came here to study the proposed Atmospheric Radiation Measurement program.

Ponca City Humane Society started a fund drive to construct a new building on West Prospect.

In honor of the rodeo, the Poncan Theatre showed “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys,” starring Ben Johnson.

A record number of ropers entered the 101 Ranch Rodeo, so the event opened a day early.

On August 24, Wild West Show figure Mike Sokoll died. The rodeo paid tribute to the well-known roper and performer. Bill Pickett, world famous bulldogger, was also honored at the rodeo.

Lana Cole was crowned 1991 Ponca Powwow Princess during the annual event at White Eagle.

Twelve Conocoans were killed in a plane crash in Malaysia, including five former Ponca City Conoco employees. There were no survivors.

A suspicious fire destroyed the old blacksmith shop at the 101 Ranch southwest of town.

Norman Coffelt, Public Safety Director and former Chief of Police, retired after 40 years in public service to Kay County and Ponca City.

Phil Carey and Chuck Coatney won the championship flight of the Wentz Labor Day two-man scramble with a 121 total. Coatney followed up that win with the Cherokee Strip title as his two-round total of 141 topped the field.

Conoco donated $150,000 to the Poncan Theatre renovation project.

The new 91,266 square foot K-Mart store opened in the fall, just north of their original building, which would soon become Ponca Auto Mall.

Construction began on the new 168,464 square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter on Prospect.

Five new disaster-warning sirens were installed throughout the city.

The Fire Department Clown Society honored four Washington School students who had produced a fire prevention video.

The Wildcats won its district opener against Sapulpa, 43-25, on the Chieftain’s home field. Quarterback Mark Blubaugh ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more.

Oklahomans voted on October 15 to retain House Bill 1017. The bill boosted teacher and support staff salaries, limited class sizes and provided funds for additional teacher assistants.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assn. honored the 101 Ranch Rodeo as the best of the three-state Prairie Circuit, including rodeos in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska.

After more than two years in the making, the Kay County War Memorial on the courthouse lawn in Newkirk was dedicated on Veteran’s Day. The black granite monument is inscribed with the names of 358 county veterans’ names that died in World War I, World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Featured speakers for the unveiling were Major Tommy Alsip, Adjutant General of Oklahoma and former Ponca City Mayor John Raley, who was a U.S. District Judge in Muskogee. Sen. Don Nickles was a surprise special guest.

Work on the runway at the airport was completed and it opened for service in late December.

Ponca City won the Union Wrestling Tournament 160 -154 over third-ranked Del City. Mike Strassle was the Cats’ only individual winner.

Ponca City offensive lineman Drew Palmer was named to the East All-State football team.

The county election board completed eight months of work on Phase III of the state’s new election system. The number of voting precincts was reduced from 51 to 36. There was only one ballot and, once voters had marked their selections, they inserted it into the electronic voting device, which electronically counted the vote.

On December 23, First National Bank and American National Bank announced that they had reached an agreement for First National to purchase 98% of American’s stock, subject to the approval of the Federal Reserve.

Conoco spent nearly $9 million in repairs and another $1 million in improvements at the re-waxing unit in the refinery’s lube oil facility. Capacity was expanded from 2,000 barrels to 2,500 barrels per day. The unit had been damaged by fire in May, 1990, and had been out of commission since then.

St. Joseph Regional Medical Center began a five-year renovation project. The areas of admitting, outpatient care and surgery were renovated and updated.

Westminster Village Retirement Center began a $3 million expansion, building 26 additional apartments, and 20 more residential care units.