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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

1992

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1992 — WBBZ Radio announced a new feature program titled “Then and Now” as a part of their 65th Anniversary celebration. The new program highlighted points of historical interest from the 1920s to the present day.

Pioneer Area Vo-Tech sponsored a job fair for Kay County residents interested in learning about career opportunities.

Gary Parr, president of the United Way of Ponca City reported that the 1991 campaign was the most successful in history, topping the established goal by over $62,000. A total of $772, 449 was raised.

Pioneer Area Vo-Tech School celebrated a $5.25 million rebuilding project with an Open House. Faculty and students in all classes demonstrated equipment and services.

Visitors had the opportunity to see the new business center complete with an incubator to help start-up businesses, the new robotic manufacturing cell, advanced electronic equipment in Transportation Technology, and taste the delicious samples from Food Services.

Construction began on the Wal-Mart Supercenter on Prospect in February. The store was due to open by summer.

By February 1992, the Poncan Theatre had raised $500,000 of the $900,000 needed to renovate the building.

Marilyn Andrews filed to run for the office of mayor. The election was to be in April.

Work began on refurbishing the exterior of the Ponca City Cultural Center at 10th Street and Grand, particularly the east patio area that covers the indoor swimming pool.

The Fire Department purchased two Lifepak defibrillators. Training Officer H.L. VanArsdale reported that 42 members of the department are EMTs and was certified to use the equipment.

Marion Van Hoesen announced his candidacy for Kay County Sheriff.

St. Joseph Hospital opened the “Under the Rainbow” Sick Care unit for children.

Blockbuster Video Superstore opened on North 14th St.

Sen Nickles was inducted into the OSU Alumni Association Hall of Fame.

Workers from Sooner Construction removed the marquee on the Poncan Theatre, and discovered the framework of the original smaller marquee.

Jo Saylors created a statuette entitled “The Best of Friends” to be used as a fundraiser for the new Ponca City Humane Society building.

After 55 years in business, Porter’s Post and Pole Company closed the business.

The Pioneer Area Vo-Tech honored Don Mertz for 15 years of service on their Board.

Renovation was completed on The Tracy W. Young Army Reserve Center on W. Hartford.

Ponca Playhouse presented “Steel Magnolias.” Directed by Nancy Vunovich, the show starred Karen Rivers, Diana Mills, Jacque Hollar, Mary Hunt, Ruslyn Hermanson, and Zondra Smith.

Commissioners approved a beautification project around the 101 Ranch rodeo grounds, which included moving the entrances and landscaping the area.

The Fire Department began installation of free smoke detectors in various mobile home parks. The devices were purchased with a grant from the federal government.

In March, Charles Hollar announced that he would seek re-election to the school board.

The Art Center celebrated March as Youth Arts Month, exhibiting various forms of artwork from school children.

Humble Chiropractic Center opened on North Fourth St.

Celebrity Doug McClure was among the Land of Opportunity Tennis Classic players. His teammates were professional Stewart White, Vic Andrews, Lynn Hohensee, Dennis McBride, George Smith, Betsy Carter, Marta Dorman, Sharon Shepard, Brenda Smith, Becky Snell and Deanna Weisenborn.

Led by Cheryl Fletcher, ten community leaders representing various aspects of the city helped organize “Ponca City Tomorrow: A Community Dialogue.” The plan was to develop a shared community vision of what we want our city to look like in the future.

Thirteen DECA students won the state competition in Oklahoma City, and were selected to represent the state at the National Career Development conference in California.

Robert Garland filed for the position of mayor.

Following the Playhouse production of “My Fair Lady” at the Poncan Theatre, the director stopped the curtain call. Dave May stepped forward, ring in hand, and proposed to Lori Walker, member of the chorus. The audience went wild, and Lori cried as she accepted the ring.

The annual Renaissance Ball got a new look and a new name…The Spring Gala. The proceeds were to be used toward the restoration of Lydie Marland’s statue.

The Board of Education unanimously approved the use of Angela Hall at the Marland Estate as a kindergarten center for the 1992-93 school year. Children would be bused from their neighborhood schools to the center.

Oklahoma Natural Gas named Roger Mitchell manager of the Ponca City area. He replaced Carl Holliday, who moved to the Tulsa district.

Dan Duren, his son, Kyle, and Brian Cullison celebrated Earth Day by planting ten lacebark elm trees at the Ponca City Soccer Complex.

The Poncan Theatre received grants from the Sarkeys Foundation in Norman and the Mabee Foundation of Tulsa.

Marilyn Andrews was elected the new mayor, the first woman mayor in Ponca City.

Lady Wildcats finished in second place at the regional tennis tournament in Jenks. The Doubles team, Bree Howard and Lacee Griffin, had a first place finish.

Captain Bill Bridges of the Fire Department trained all lifeguards and employees at Ambucs Pool on self-contained breathing apparatus.

WalkAmerica, the March of Dimes fund raiser, was held May 9 with 377 walkers participating. Contributions totaled $10,681,

Graduating seniors at Po-Hi enjoyed casino games, raft races in the swimming pool, and live entertainment at “Great Escape” at the Conoco complex.

Gov. David Walters proclaimed Ponca City an “America 2000 Community,” the first city in the state to make this commitment. The governor flew to Ponca City in a helicopter that landed on the PoHi football field. The school community had accepted the challenge to improve the quality of education and prepare students for lifelong learning.

While in Ponca City, the governor announced that $4.6 million had been budgeted for improvements to U.S. 177. He joked about being in Ponca City the previous August when Chuck Westerheide and other Chamber leaders took him on a bus tour of U.S. 177 south of town. They didn’t go very far, because a house that was being moved blocked the road. He said, “Your Chamber knew how to make a point.”

Albertsons sign went up at the distribution center at the west edge of town. The building was originally built as Huffy Bicycle plant, and later had been occupied by Skaggs Alpha Beta.

Conoco telecommunications employees Robin Riley and Steve Scott assisted the schools by installing public address speakers on the ceiling of Robson Fieldhouse at the high school.

Professionals Today sponsored their seventh Cherokee Strip Cook-off. A Tulsa team, Smoklahomans, captured the Oklahoma State Barbecue championship and Pioneer Bank’s team won the CASI chili crown. Proceeds benefit Hospice.

Charles Hollar and Jim Kelly were elected to serve on the Board of Education.

On Memorial Day, the White Eagle American Legion Post 38 gathered at the Kay County War Memorial. An honor guard from the famous “Buffalo Post” paid tribute to the county’s war dead on the courthouse lawn at Newkirk.

In June, Ponca City Arts & Humanities Council sponsored Chautauqua, featuring “The Progressive Era, 1890-1920.” Reenactors portrayed Theodore Roosevelt, William Jennings Bryan, Clarence Darrow and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.

Mike Lane, a member of the Traffic Engineering Department for the past seven years, was appointed city traffic engineer. Lane replaced Lee Knight, who retired for health reasons. Knight had been with the city for 45 years, and had initiated the Traffic Engineering Department more than 30 years ago.

United Supermarket added a deli and expanded the produce area at the local store. The Ponca City store was a pilot store in the chain, and would train other store operators that were adding delis.

Mike Lane, City traffic engineer, identified 47 locations for street improvement projects that would go out for bid for a surface treatment. In addition, there were 5.5 miles of chip and seal surfacing that would take place in 25 locations.

In June, Kristen Maddox and Lori Bivin served as pages for Rep. Jim Holt in the State House of Representatives.

Lake Ponca sponsored the ninth annual Free Fishing Derby. Fishermen were divided into five categories, by age, and prizes were awarded in each age group for the largest fish by weight and by length.

Po-Hi French and Spanish students left for France and Spain in early June. PoHi Spanish teacher Julie Lawrence and French teacher Terry Sharon accompanied the students. Participating students were Courtney Boettcher, Seth Downs, Emilie Ebbesson, Stephanie Galbraith, Cameron Kekahbah, Randy Lahann, Lora Leonard, Jeni O’Mealey, Julie Oppel, Tracy Hayden, Joyce Mcdonald, Carrie Palmer, Drew Palmer, Richard Parma, Brenda Rath, Shana Rutz, Amy Schieber, Jana Stagner, Brooke Startz, Kimberly Stuckey, and Ryan Thomas.

Nga Ly was among the 16 participants honored as Outstanding Citizens at Oklahoma Girls State held at East Central University in Ada.

City commissioners approved the fiscal year 1993 budget of $46,503,122. Several capital improvements were included in the figures, totaling $2,270,000.

The proposed Centennial Plaza in front of the Civic Center was to be made up of 10,000 personalized bricks. According to Kathy Adams, committee chairman, bricks had been purchased for current family members, as well as those in memory of loved ones. Many families remembered their ancestors who made the Cherokee Strip Run with a personalized brick in the plaza. There were even bricks named for pets.
Shirley Bellmon, two-time First Lady of the State, was honored with the Pioneer Woman Award at the Marland Mansion Spring Gala. Another highlight of the event was when six-year-old Robert Hefner V, dressed in his tuxedo, accepted the award for his great-great-grandfather Robert A. Hefner, who was inducted into the National Petroleum Hall of Fame. A popular focal point during the evening was the unassembled statue of Lydie Marland in the foyer of the Marland Mansion. The proceeds from the event were donated for the restoration of the statue.

On June 5, an estimated crowd of 2,500 children and parents attended the St. Joseph Medical Center Safety Fair for Kids.

Nine Ponca City students participated in the 1992 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. The talented students were Julianne Stokke, Kristen O’Neill, Kevin Kem, Angie Luis, Patrick Muchmore, Sarah Parsons, Brian Phillips, Shana Rutz, and Amanda Werling.

After an intense, exciting week, Dane Pryse and Stephen Collins graduated from Session 1 of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center’s 1992 Future Astronaut Training Program in Hutchinson, Kansas.

Members of the Classic Cars of Ponca City Club presented smoke alarms to the Ponca City Fire Department as part of their 10th Annual Summer “Show ‘N’ Shine” event at the Pioneer Woman Museum grounds.

The Rusty Barrell Steakhouse celebrated its 16th anniversary. Bill Coddington, owner, served the 250,000th steak to Paul Jones of Blackwell.

The Aviation Booster Club refurbished the former No. 14 hangar at the airport for a clubhouse.

The Arts Adventure Program, sponsored by Ponca City Arts & Humanities Council, was held at the Marland Mansion, with 128 students participating. During the two-week workshop, students in seventh through tenth grades studied creative writing, dance, piano, theater, visual arts and vocal music.

Carole Jeffries was installed as President of the Ponca City Rotary Club, and Carol Didlake was installed as President of the Pioneer Rotary. Both were the first women presidents of their club.

Ponca City’s Grand Prix Race was featured on “Discover Oklahoma,” the State Tourism television show.

State Rep. Jim Holt filed for re-election to the State House. He was first elected in 1974, and was serving his ninth term.

The new $350,000 Ponca City Humane Society shelter house for homeless animals opened at Prospect and Titus Road.

Po-Hi and East Junior High cheerleaders qualified for national competition at the National Cheerleader Assn. summer camp held at OU. The 29 girls will go to Dallas after Christmas for the Nationals. Deachi Guier was named to the All-American squad.

The Granary, an antique Co-op, opened in a former grain warehouse at 121 W. Central.

The new Wal Mart Supercenter opened on June 30. The 174,097 square-foot store would be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Leon Ward was manager.

The Poncan Theatre presented a month-long Humphrey Bogart Classic Film festival in July.

C.D. Northcutt retired from the Opportunity Center Board of Directors, after serving for 19 years. He was one of the founders of the Cherokee Strip Golf Classic, the major fundraiser for the center.

City employees received a 4% across-the-board pay raise at the beginning of the fiscal year.

In July, the Salvation Army made fans available for low-income elderly citizens and families with small children.

Po-Hi Steppers Amy Dickerson, Natasha Flippin, Courtney Boettcher and Kristina Williams were named to the All-American Drill Team.

The largest painting in the Matzene Art Collection at the Ponca City Library was shipped to Colorado for restoration. The painting, “Sunset – Smoky River, Kansas,” was by Birger Sandzen.

Allan Muchmore, owner of WBBZ, and the late Lewis Coleman, who founded KPNC in 1979, were each honored with the Pioneer Award by the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters.

Bill Williams, a Ponca City-based research scientist, was one of 12 Conoco employees selected to receive DuPont’s Marketing Excellence Award for 1991-92.

Max Berry resigned as Municipal Judge in September, and William Kirkpatrick was appointed to take his place.

Ron McCleary, former principal of Woodlands Elementary, was named the new director of certified personnel and staff development for the school district. Dr. Vern Minor took the position of administrator for the division of student learning. James Jennings was hired as administrator for the division of public information and public accountability.

These were the new positions created after a reorganization of the district’s administration.

The Chamber of Commerce purchased a named brick for each of the “Outstanding Citizens.” The bricks were to be laid together in the Centennial Plaza. Ponca City Rotary Club did the same thing with all their past presidents.

Work began to reconstruct the intersection of North Union Street and Prospect. New left turn bays and signals were to be added.

Thousands of folks lined the beach and scores more were in boats at Kaw City’s eighth annual “Christmas in July” celebration on Kaw Lake, coordinated by Keith Fruits.

Resurfacing of 14th Street began in July. The project would take seven weeks to complete and was funded by the state.

Gov. Walters came to town with a group of state media professionals. They toured most of the city attractions and also saw the Southside Buyout Area. Walters was most interested in what Conoco had done in that area.

In honor of the Year of the Indian 1992, the Poncan Theatre offered a salute to the Ponca Tribe by presenting the PBS-made video “The Trial of Standing Bear.”

Kevin and Cara Kem, son and daughter of Bill and Suzanne Kem, appeared in “Singin’ in the Rain” in the Music Theatre of Wichita at Century II auditorium. The Music Theatre organization is rated in the top 10 for regional theater in the United States.

Former Ponca City Commissioner, Gary Boyer, died in a mountain climbing accident in Rocky Mountain National Park. Boyer was manager of Southwestern Bell in Ponca City.

The ride along Pecan Road from Lake Road south to the Old River Bridge was finally made smooth.

The “Bluffdales,” portrayed by John and Nancy Taylor, brought tales of pioneer days in Ponca City to life. John and Sarah Bluffdale were a fictional couple created by the Cherokee Strip committee. They made appearances at many civic clubs and schools to help promote the annual celebration. WBBZ featured an old time radio drama, “The Bluffdale Adventure,” written and produced by Dave May.

Paula Bakke was named the new chief executive officer of Westminster Village.

Russ Didlake Jr. won the monthly Main Street award for assisting with removal of the covers on second floor windows at the Gift Shoppe and Brown’s Shoe Fit.

Louise Abercrombie, business editor and feature writer for the Ponca City News, served as grand marshal for the 101 Ranch Rodeo Parade in August.

The new McFadden Hall on the campus of the American Legion Children’s Home was dedicated in August, 64 years after the dedication of the original McFadden Hall in June 1928.

Many changes were made in the school district in 1992. There was a new kindergarten center in Angela Hall at the Marland Estate, new parking lots and repaired playgrounds, a seventh grade pilot program, new breakfast and lunch programs, and the seven period day.

Silver certificates of life membership in the American Legion were presented to two longtime Ponca City Legionnaires, Clyde Hickman and Noble Mears.

Les Thomas from Southern Living magazine visited here during the Rodeo. He toured the Pioneer Woman Museum and the Marland Mansion, and then went to the rodeo.

The City Commission approved a 2.5% local use tax on items that citizens purchased from mail order catalogs.

The International Fire Fighters of America of Ponca City filed an unfair labor practice with the State Public Employees Relations Board against the City of Ponca City.

Paul Lawrence and John Maker coordinated a special Cherokee Strip project to construct a sod house. On a hot Saturday morning in August, at least 50 people showed up at Sober Brothers sod farm to help cut sod and then put the dirt in place. Dewey Kelly furnished the horses to pull an antique sod cutter, but participants found that it was easier to use shovels. Whitey Bristow built the I-beam base for the 8-foot square, 8-foot high, 14,000 pound portable soddie. The house was a favorite in the parade, and was then moved to the grounds of the Pioneer Woman Museum.

The sixth annual “Land of Country” Antique and Craft Festival, featuring 68 artists, craftsmen and antique dealers, was held at the Hutchins Memorial in mid-September.

Proceeds from the Festival were to benefit the restoration of the Lydie Marland statue.

Kay Gawel, owner of The Brick House, moved into her new location at 211 E. Grand.

City Commissioners approved a recommendation from the Traffic Commission to reduce the speed limit on Prospect from 45 to 35 mph. Since Wal-Mart had opened, traffic accidents on Prospect had increased.

As a part of the Cherokee Strip celebration, Grant Hodges organized a trail ride. On Saturday, Sept. 12, riders met at Osage Cove on the shores of Kaw Lake and followed the trails around the lake.

To commemorate the establishment of religious activities in early Ponca City, a community wide barbecue dinner and Community Worship service were held at Sullins Stadium. The schools’ Food Services Division provided the meal. The ecumenical service, planned by the Ponca City Ministerial Alliance, included a combined choir representing 12 churches, the gospel group, Forgiven, and the Donner Place Trio. There were eight local ministers who participated in the service. The offering collected was donated to Habitat for Humanity.

A total of $37,000 was raised for the Opportunity Center Foundation during the Cherokee Strip Golf Classic Auction at the country club. A handmade Americana quilt made by clients at the center was purchased for $6,750.

Commissioners approved nominations for reappointment of all department heads and division directors for the city, except the Public Safety Director and the Marland Mansion Director.

The Cherokee Strip Celebration in September featured a full calendar of events. There were home tours, museum exhibits, descendant gatherings, a 5k run, a performance at the Poncan, a carnival, entertainment on stages downtown, lots of food, and a Grand Old town Street dance. And, of course, a parade!

The City passed an ordinance declaring that old junk and dilapidated vehicles on city streets and in front yards would be declared a public nuisance, and would be removed by the city and destroyed.

Student leaders for the 1992-93 “Big Blue” Wildcat Marching Band were Pam Sipe, flag captain; Mike Armstrong, drum major; Stephanie Walker, drum major; and Shelley Wolf, assistant flag captain. Directors for the band were Tricia Bovenschen, Mel Arner, Dan Larson, Steve Workman and Richard Dale.

Everett VanHoesen was named Assistant Chief/Administrative Assistant to Ponca City Police Chief Raymond Ham. The position had become vacant when Bill Boese retired.