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 the Ponca City Publishing Company, Inc. as an information website for Ponca City, Oklahoma.
2003 — Stan Paynter, CEO of
Bridgeway, Inc., announced he would run for City
Local artist Todd Alexander painted a mural on the wall of the Humane Society.
A bust of Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating, sculpted by local artist Jo Saylors, was unveiled at the Capitol building.
Barry Bickle and Larry Murphy were the co-masters of ceremonies for the annual Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce banquet. Chairman Tom Quillin passed the gavel to Linda Brown. Mark Detten was chosen as Outstanding Citizen of the Year, Bowker Ford was Business of the Year, Sykes Inc. was named Industry of the Year, Brad Parker was Ambassador of the Year, Jack Branstetter received the Leadership Award, and Sandy James, Community Service Award.
State Sen. David Myers opened a local office in Ponca Plaza.
David Cummings, attorney with Baumert, Cummings, Hiatt and Young law firm, filed for City Commission post No. 2.
On January 13, Brad Henry was sworn in as Oklahoma’s 26th governor.
Custom Mechanical Equipment, a Wisconsin manufacturing firm, announced they were moving their company to Ponca City.
The final leg of Waverly from Grand Ave. to South Ave. was opened to traffic, completing the $6 million, four-year project.
Prizm Powder Coating, a new business owned by Darrell and Rhonda Stolhand, opened on West Hartford.
Bret Carter filed for City Commission post No. 4.
Walgreen Drug announced plans to build a store at 14th St and Princeton.
On February 13, George Paczkowski, ConocoPhillips vice-president of downstream technology, announced that the Carbon Fiber project had been scrapped. This affected 175 employees, many in Ponca City. The company had formed the unit in January 2000, and in July 2002, completed construction of the facility. The closing was a result of the cumulative effect of market, operation and technology uncertainties.
ConocoPhillips gave a $100,000 gift to Northern Oklahoma Youth Services capital campaign.
Gary Denny, Ponca City fire chief for the last four years, accepted a position as fire chief in Newton, Kansas.
Ponca City Publishing Co., Ponca City Public Schools, and the Ponca City Utility Authority reached an agreement to establish Cimarron Broadband Project, Inc., a city-wide integrated fiber-optic and wireless telecommunications backbone.
Representatives from the Citizens Police Academy of Muskogee Police Dept. were in town in February to borrow ideas from the Ponca City Police Dept.’s Extra Eyes program. Extra Eyes consists of volunteers who are graduates of the Ponca City Citizens Police Academy. Graduates take an additional 40 hours of training that enable them to assist local police officers at crime scenes, specials events and investigations.
Po-Hi Wildcat wrestlers won 11 of 14 matches, winning their very first dual state championship.
Workforce Oklahoma Veterans Employment Rep. Mike Daugherty and others from the Veterans Affairs Medical Center identified 24 homeless veterans in the Kay County area.
With assistance from the local American Legion, Daugherty helped the veterans apply for benefits and find shelter.
The Board of Education approved the installation of an artificial surface at Sullins Stadium for $705,700. They also awarded a contract to build three safe rooms at Union Elementary.
The Ponca City Library received a grant from the Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries to purchase materials for the Hispanic resource collection.
Ponca City Discount Foods is the new name for the former Buy for Less Grocery.
Ponca City Emergency Management department installed a new NOAA weather transmitter at the KLVV tower site west of the city. They received a $70,000 grant from Rural Utility Services of the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture. Matching funds were provided by in-kind contributions from KLVV and Kay Electric Cooperative.
Northern Oklahoma Youth Services received a $200,000 Challenge Grant from the Mabee Foundation. If NOYS matched that amount, the grant would help them reach their goal for a new building.
City commissioners approved the reactivation of Ponca City Main Street, pledging their financial support for the program. Jayne Detten was named the new manager.
Chris LittleCook became director of Title VII with the public schools. Kristin Rein replaced him in Ward 4 on the Board of Education.
Sen. Inhofe announced that Kay Electric Cooperative would receive additional federal funds from FEMA to help restore the area to pre-storm conditions.
On March 5, Stan Paynter won a seat on the Ponca City Commission, defeating Bret Carter.
With war anticipated in Iraq, Ponca City area reservists were called to active duty on March 9.
On March 18, the 45th Artillery Brigade of the National Guard was deployed for training at Enid.
Ponca Playhouse presented the production “The Last Night of Ballyhoo,” the week of March 27 at the Poncan Theatre.
Five Ponca City junior girls were named as delegates to Oklahoma Girls State – Kimberly Evans, Paula Krueger, Kimberly Young, Kelli Smotone, and Aaron Wright.
Seventeen swimmers from Ponca City qualified for the state high school swim meet. Going into the meet, the Lady Cat swim team ranked No. 2 statewide.
The Wildcat wrestling team won the second of two state championship trophies for the first time in 43 years. Individual state champions were MiMi Miller, David Parker, Jason Leavitt, and Kelsey Empting.
Justin Waller and Jamie Prado were named to the Frontier Conference first team in basketball.
Later in March, the girl’s tennis team won the annual Ponca City Invitational meet.
David Shelton, principal of Lincoln School for 31 years, announced he was retiring at the end of the school year.
On April 7, U.S. forces thundered into Baghdad after taking control of Saddam International Airport three days earlier.
Local citizens of all ages gathered at Hutchins Memorial on April 3 for a community-wide candlelight vigil service. Pastor Don Stanton of Faith Tabernacle presided over the service. City Commissioner Dick Stone read the names of the 150 local men and women who were serving in the military from our community, and a candle was lit for each person.
On April 12, hundreds of citizens turned out on the grounds of the Marland Mansion to show their patriotism and support for military personnel involved in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Adults, teenagers, and children lay on the ground to spell out “Ponca City Okla. Supports Our Troops” in living letters. Others stood with flags around the perimeter to form the boundaries of the State of Oklahoma. The names of all the local military serving overseas were attached to red, white and blue balloons, and then released to the sky. Two media helicopters, Fox TV, and KPNC radio covered the event.
Under the direction of Kristin Smith, coach, the Po-Hi Steppers earned the judges’ nods for Sweepstakes, Gussie Nell Davis Founders Award, National Champion Pom Performance, National Champion Prop Performance, National Champion Military Performance and first runner-up in the High Kick Performance. The combined scores boosted the Hi-Steppers to National Team Champions. The team won the Academic National Championship Award due to their composite grade point average of 3.79.
They also won Best Overall awards for Choreography, Precision, Presentation and Technique.
Traffic started moving again on Hartford at 14th Street after the new pavement was laid.
Janice Finton, second grade teacher at Trout Elementary, was named the 2003-04 District Teacher of the Year.
The 11th Annual “Taste and Tasteless” spoof at the Poncan Theatre had the audience roaring as usual. Louise Abercrombie’s best review statement was “The howler of the “Taste and Tasteless” evening was a skit with Dane Pryse as French President Jacques Chirac and Steve Huston as cowboy President George Bush Jr. This poetic license scene included the silent but effective Stan Wheeler as the Secret Service agent. Needless to say, Dane’s performance was ‘Pryseless.’ To each of Huston’s Bushisms, a berated Pryse had a seemingly appropriate gesture. While Huston displayed a yellow ribbon, Pryse turned his back to reveal a yellow streak.”
First Lutheran School celebrated 50 years of Christian education the first week of April.
Paula Krueger, Po-Hi junior, attended the National Youth Leadership Forum on Law in Washington D.C., joining other outstanding high school juniors and seniors from across the U.S. She was a member of the Symphony Orchestra and captain of varsity cheerleaders. She was also active in Woodlands Christian Church, Young Life, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Attucks Community Center was a 2003 recipient of the Oklahoma Community Institute’s Outstanding Community Improvement Award.
Pioneer Woman Museum representatives held a ribbon cutting and rededication of the Pioneer Woman Statue that was originally dedicated in April, 1930. Representing those who had donated funds for refurbishing the statue were Peggy and W.H. Helmerich of the Helmerich Foundation in Tulsa, and Jack McCarty of Newkirk, who represented the Madalyn Peel Foundation.
Construction was finished and South Waverly opened between Old Highway 60 and Riverview Road. At a cost of $483,000, this was the first of several joint road and bridge projects in which the tribe, city and county all shared as equal partners.
Mary Ladd, public information coordinator for the Ponca City Schools, received a total of eight awards at the Oklahoma School Public Relations Association annual conference, her sixth consecutive year of recognition by her peers. John Vogt, district integrated technology director, Susan Powell, technology support teacher, and Betty Johnston, administrative secretary, also received awards.
Four Po-Hi students received the State Superintendent’s Award for Arts Excellence – Megan Baugh, Heather Hanson, Cathy Latimer, and Patrick Quinn.
Lincoln Elementary students participated in a Community Service Project to help support local troops serving in Kuwait and Iraq. Following the guidelines of Operation Showbox, the students filled boxes with items such as food, personal hygiene items and personal letters they had written. Each classroom filled at least one box, for a total of 33 boxes. Lincoln PTA, Evans & Associates, and OG&E paid the shipping costs.
KLVV Radio won two community service awards for outstanding achievement in broadcasting from the Oklahoma Assn. of Broadcasting. One award was for the feature “Operation Enduring Prayer,” which aired three times each weekday, announcing the name of a person serving in the military, and offering that name for prayer. The second award was for www.mySchoolNews.org, a Web site used by local schools for activities and posting school closings or cancellations.
Marianne Counter’s Baked Artichoke Steak and Barley recipe took second place in the One Dish Meals category of The Oklahoma Beef Cook-off, as it celebrated its 25th Anniversary.
The Po-Hi Prom theme was “Time Of Your Life,” at the Marland Mansion. Hundreds of parents and friends lined the east lawn of the Estate for the Grand March. Seniors Jeremy Beguin and Jennifer Stone were named 2003 Prom King and Queen.
Almost 600 residents attended a town hall meeting at the Poncan Theatre to hear the truth about rumors that had spread regarding local businesses closing. Linda Brown, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce, acted as moderator of the meeting. Stage Department store and J.C Penney dispelled rumors that their stores were closing. Larry Smith of Smith Home Furnishings advised that Smith had no intentions of closing, commenting, “This is our home and we plan to be here for many years to come.” ConocoPhillips Vice President George Paczkowski said, “The refinery is not being sold, R&D is not being moved to Bartlesville, and there is not another large round of layoffs planned for Ponca City.” Several other community businesses echoed that they were not closing.
Louise Abercrombie, Business Editor for the Ponca City News, was named the Small Business Association 2003 “Small Business Journalist of the Year” for Oklahoma. The Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce nominated her for the award.
Chelsie Baldwin set a new Po-Hi record for the 800-meter run on May 3.
Michaela Cavener captured her second straight Class 6A Girls Golf State Individual Championship.
Ponca City’s Nic Durham won a gold medal May 3 during the Frontier Conference track meet. Durham outdid everyone else in the high jump event, registering a winning jump of 5 feet, 10 inches.
Because Dave May lost 111 pounds eating Subway sandwiches, he raised $111,000 towards Northern Oklahoma Youth Services’ $1 million capital improvement program.
Children and families who need NOYS services were the big winners.
Chad Wilson was named the new men’s basketball coach at Po Hi. He replaced Jerry Orr.
Sen. David Myers assisted officials in Red Rock on May 7 with a ceremony to honor U.S. Army Sgt. Charles Eatmon, who had been injured in Operation Iraqi Freedom.
The Child Advocacy Center of Kay County, known as the Dearing House, was completed in early May.
The 11th annual National Association of Letter Carriers food drive on May 10 collected more than 7,000 pounds of food, benefiting eight local agencies.
Braudrick Printery won two first-place awards at the Graphic Excellence Awards competition in Dallas. A brochure for Bivin Gardens, designed by Christina Rich-Splawn and a poster for the Ponca Nation Pow-Wow painted by Gordon Warrior were the winners, chosen from over 6000 entries. Rich-Splawn is a graphic designer, and Warrior is a pressman.
The Oklahoma Interscholastic Press Association recognized “The Poncan,” the high school newspaper, with highest honors. The Po-Hi yearbook, the “Cat Tale,” was awarded a place in the Gallery of Excellence for the 2001-02 yearbook.
The Eastman National Bank earned a 5-Star Superior rating for financial strength from Bauerfinancial, Inc., Coral Gables, Fla., the nation’s leading independent bank research firm. This was the 39th consecutive time that Eastman had achieved the rating, which was the highest rating awarded.
On May 23, Ponca City High School graduated 396 seniors at Sullins Stadium.
Ponca City’s Lady Wildcat tennis team swept through the Class 5A regional held at the Wally Smith Tennis Center to qualify as one of the top teams in the upcoming state tournament. The Lady Cats won the team title by winning all four divisions of the state tournament. Audrey Donovan won the No. 1 singles title. Darrek Schreiner took the No. 2 singles trophy. In the No. 1 doubles, Hope Sanders and Sun Mi Choi beat Union for the title. Ashlee Greenwood and Dominique Schreiner won the No. 2 doubles title. Ponca City finished with a perfect 36 points.
On May 27, the new Commission Chamber at City Hall was officially opened, and commissioners convened for their first session there.
Several community events provided fun things to do and see in June, including the Ponca City Herb Festival at the Cann Memorial and Botanical Gardens, “Draggin’ Grand, the 21st annual Show ‘n’ Shine Car show, the Corvette Show, The Trail of Tails, the 19th Lake Ponca Triathlon, Juneteenth celebration and reported sightings of Elvis.
Mel Tillis, the Glenn Miller Band and Will Harjo helped citizens celebrate music throughout the month, and residents had a chance to wave at the crew of the Goodyear Blimp as it glided over the city. As usual, Ponca City residents came through with donations for the local Literacy Council, Northern Oklahoma Youth Services and Main Street Programs.
Five Ponca City students were accepted to the 2003 Oklahoma Summer Arts Institute at Quartz Mountain. The young people were among the 206 accepted from across the state, including Charles Barraclough, Chorus; Andy Davis, Kent Dennis, and Courtney Dixon, Orchestra, and Kortny Rhodes, Drawing.
Outstanding senior Po-Hi girls who attended Girls State at East Central University in Ada were Kimberly Evans, Paula Krueger, Kelli Smotone, Ashley Wilson, Aaron Wright, and Kimberly Young. Aaron Wright was named lieutenant governor for the week.
The Cimarron Broadband project (CBP), Ponca City Utility Authority, and Ponca City Schools moved closer to an agreement for the city and schools to be wired. The CBP group authorized a payment of $100,000 to the PCUA for lease of eight fiber optic strands of the PCUA/Schools fiber optic network.
Newman Grill Systems went on the market with a new product, featuring a compact grill, refrigerator, and sink to use for backyard picnics or tailgating parties. Residential Copper and Prizm Powder Coating undertook the fabrication of the new product.
The Extra Eyes program, a division of volunteers of the Ponca City Police Department, kicked off a new program to prevent auto theft. Extra Eyes volunteers patrolled business parking lots throughout the city, looking for keys left in cars. Policemen mailed a letter of notification to the registered owner of the vehicle as a simple reminder to lock the vehicle and remove the keys from the ignition.
Mac McCreedy returned to the Country Club for his third hitch as general manager.
The seven-member board of the newly created Ponca City Development Authority took the oath of office during a special meeting. Members included Stan Kistler, Darrell Stolhand, Chuck Van Cleave, Lee Evans, Kelly Johnson, Greg Neisen and Jim Leach.
School construction projects throughout the summer were re-roofing the Math/Science/Business building at the high school; bleacher replacement at Sullins Stadium; soccer field lighting at West; HVAC projects at Robson Fieldhouse and Union Elementary; and the artificial turf project at Sullins Stadium. The classroom addition was about 80% complete at Trout Elementary and bids had been received for the remodel and addition project at Roosevelt Elementary.
The newly re-established Ponca City Main Street reported 134 membership pledges totaling $54,885. The City had pledged $30,000 plus an additional $10,000 of in-kind City services.
The Ponca City Area Literacy Council received a $2,800 grant from ConocoPhillips that reflects an employee volunteer grant initiated by employee Jon Kennedy. The grant would implement a new family literacy program called “Jump Start.”
Ponca Citian Megan King impressed the staff of “Good Morning America” as she sang a few lines from a LeAnn Rimes song on the national TV show.
The Ponca City Rotary Club recognized seven area citizens whose business or lifestyle is representative of the tenets of the Rotary Four Way Test. Those honored were Fred Boettcher, attorney; Scott Blubaugh, farmer/rancher; Craig Myers, banker; Kelly Johnson, business owner; Larry Keirn, minister; Vivian Mertz, volunteer; and Violet Nine, registrar.
Larry Degan was named volleyball coach for Po-Hi.
Effective July 1, the Ponca City Development Authority became a stand-alone entity, rather than an arm of the Chamber of Commerce. David Myers of Palmdale, California was hired as director.
Po-Hi sports champions were busy during the summer. Four Ponca City golfers qualified for the Senior State Amateur Tournament – Phillip Howe, Bruce Maddux, Phil Knight and Tommy Green. Po-Hi’s champion wrestlers won the Oklahoma State Wrestling Camp Tournament, finishing ahead of 46 other teams from five states.
On July 16, Michaela Cavener made her third straight trip to the Independent Insurance Agents Junior Championships. Pat Collogan had a spectacular finish, beating ten other players to qualify for the national tournament at the Old Yorke Country Club in Columbus, N.J.
Christian Petty, age 7, was named the new Oklahoma State BMX Bicycle Race Champion in his age bracket in Sand Springs.
There were six Po-Hi students who earned the prestigious Presidential Student Service Award – Charles Barraclough, Jessika Kelly, Shelby Evans, Ashley Bland, Raagini Subramaniam and Aaron Wright. Hannah Hunt, a second grader at St. Mary’s school, earned the silver award.
On July 18 and 19, owners and trainers of 200 Missouri Fox Trotters from most of the 50 states saddled up for the 2003 Southern Classic Charity Horse Show at the Busy B Arena on Pecan Road. Arena owner Bill Jeffries said this was quite a coup for Ponca City, as it was the first time the show had been held in Oklahoma outside of Tulsa.
Cherokee Strip Credit Union received a 5-Star Superior Rating from the nation’s leading independent credit union research firm BauerFinancial, Inc. It was the 12th consecutive time the local credit union had earned this honor.
On July 21, clouds of black smoke billowed over the ConocoPhillips refinery after an explosion in a unit of the West Plant ignited a fire. Cause of the fire was unknown, but two workers were sent to the hospital. A third employee was flown to the Baptist Burn Center where he died ten days later.
A new heated and air-conditioned fishing dock was moored just off the west shore of West Lake Ponca in July.
A telethon for Northern Oklahoma Youth Services helped them raise more than $25,000 to meet the matching grant from Mabee Foundation to build a new center.
Mayor Tom Leonard and Fraternal Order of Police president Sgt. Earl Watkins signed the collective bargaining agreement between the City and the FOP.
Freshman Orientation was held for new students at Ponca City High School during August. They were given a tour of the facilities, and provided with the “do’s and don’ts” of dress code and other regulations.
The annual reunion of the 101 Ranch Old Timers Association featured three talented reenactors of famous men in early Ponca City - Phil Bandy as B.S. Barnes, John Raley as Colonel Zack Miller Sr., and Steve Huston as Lew Wentz.
The City Commission called a special election for October 14 to renew the economic development tax.
Mertz Inc. provided the needed funding and expertise to repair water lines to the fountain display on the Civic Center grounds.
Holly LaBossiere became a new member of the School Board, taking the place of Kristen Rein, who moved to Texas.
On August 14, an early morning fire destroyed The Mission at 909 E. South Avenue. Volunteers vowed to construct a new Mission so that free meals could continue.
The Ponca City Wildcat football team had their first practice of the season on the new artificial turf field.
Volunteers were busy cleaning and painting prior to the Open House at the historic Santa Fe Train Depot on August 19.
The University Learning Center of Northern Oklahoma at ConocoPhillips announced that they had enrolled their 1,000th student.
The Ponca tribe planned a Celebration/Victory Dance west of Carbon Black following a planned march and protest. The tribe announced that they would file lawsuits against the firm, claiming that the company hadn’t kept their promise to protect the area near the plant where some 1,500 people live.
In September, Dr. Berno Ebbesson was appointed as chief medical officer of Via Christi Oklahoma Regional Medical Center. Ebbesson retired June 30 from his general surgery practice after nearly 29 years of service.
Chelsie Baldwin remained unbeaten for the year as she claimed the individual title in the Ponca City Cross Country meet at Lake Ponca, with a time of 12 minutes and 12 seconds.
Lillian Taylor was named the Pioneer Woman Museum’s Woman of the Year and was honored at a reception held on the 45th anniversary of the opening of the museum.
The 2003-2004 season at the Poncan Theatre included five concerts - Kathy Mattea, The Poncan Holiday Special, Bill Haley and The Comets, Grass Roots and the Brothers Four.
Bryan Henning was named a semifinalist for the 2004 National Merit Scholarship program.
Candice Nellie Mae Threestars was selected as the Ponca Tribal Princess during the evening ceremonies of the 127th Annual Ponca Pow-Wow.
Several construction projects at different school sites were completed over the summer months. The soccer field at West Middle School was completed, as were HVAC upgrades.
Trout School expanded with six new classrooms and added more parking spaces. Air conditioning was replaced at Robson Fieldhouse. Three safe rooms were completed along with a new fire alarm system at Union Elementary. A total of 3,432 yards of carpet would be installed by Christmas. New baseball bleachers were installed at Po-Hi, and the Wrestling room addition was completed in November.
Miss 101 Wild West Rodeo 2003, Lacey Stubblefield, was crowned Miss Oklahoma Rodeo 2004 and participated in the Miss Rodeo America pageant held during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
At the first Po-Hi home football game, skydivers landed at Sullins Stadium on the new artificial surface, brining in the American flag and the game ball. The Cats kicked off their season ranked in the Top 10 teams of class 6A of the state. They hosted and beat Woodward, 41-0. In their second game, the Wildcats scored another 41-0 rout, this time against Bartlesville. Tulsa Central fell to Ponca City the third week, 37-0. The fourth week was the district opener against Enid, and the Cats won 19-0.
The new fishing dock on the west shore of Lake Ponca was dedicated in September. It was air conditioned and heated, handicap accessible, and free to the public.
Ponca City High School Alumni started fundraising to repair and restore the World War II Memorial on the front lawn of the high school. Dedicated in 1949, it lists the names of Po-Hi students who were killed in action during World War II, Korea, and the Vietnam wars.
CASA, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Kay/Noble County, celebrated six years of helping abused and neglected children. Local volunteers had given 10,000 hours making a difference in the lives of over 150 children and saving almost $160,000 of taxpayer money.
The Country Harvest Antique and Craft Festival was held on the Marland Estate grounds. There were more than 90 exhibitors from five states.
The rededication of the newly renovated City Hall complex was held September 18 with close to 500 in attendance. The celebration opened with the Larry Hughes Memorial Clock on the west tower of City Hall chiming in the hour. The newly renovated Centennial fountain displayed numerous columns of water lit by a succession of varying colors.
The ceremony ended with a fireworks display. The project was selected for the first Main Street Revitalization Award for 2003.
Antoine English scored twice in the final seven minutes as Ponca City turned back Sapulpa, 28-7, in the Homecoming game at Sullins Stadium. The Wildcats ran their record to a perfect 5-0.
Whitney Bunch, Kali Martin, and Lindsay Weems of the Po-Hi varsity cheerleading squad made the ACA All-Star squad in the summer, and qualified to participate in the 72nd annual Hollywood Christmas Parade. The girls performed a routine that was a tribute to Bob Hope.
Po-Hi Symphony Orchestra attended the 57th annual Midwest Clinic in Chicago, the largest instrumental music education conference in the world. There were 12,000 music educators, students, and professionals from all 50 states and 30 nations. The local orchestra earned nationwide and worldwide recognition.
The Ponca City School board signed a contract with Rick Scott Construction for $4,064,000 for the remodeling project of Roosevelt Elementary School.
The City got tough on “junk” vehicles as code enforcement began towing those types of problems from properties throughout the city.
More than 10,000 snow geese glided into the area on November 1, creating what appeared to be a large snow bank in a wheat field east of Ponca City on Highway 60.
Ponca City Meals on Wheels celebrated 30 years of service, delivering meals to citizens 65 and older.
At the annual Redbud Awards of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department, Kaw Lake Association earned a merit award for best publication with their Kaw Lake Magazine.
Po Hi head football coach, Frank Piccirillo, resigned in November. The team record was 6-3 at the time and they had qualified for the playoffs. Piccirillo remained at the high school as a teacher. He had been head coach for the Wildcats since 2000.
Angel Central opened its doors in November for the 2003 holiday season at their new downtown location, 215 E. Grand Avenue. Over 50 volunteers staff the gift store whose proceeds go to defray the costs of the Festival of Angels. 2003 was the tenth season for the lighted Christmas display at Lake Ponca, Marland’s Grand Home, Cann Gardens and the Pioneer Woman.
United Way exceeded their $650,000 goal by raising $756,399 in the annual fund drive. The theme was “Get in the game. Be a Champion of Caring.” Doug Major was the chairman.
On November 7, the Wildcats headed into the first round of playoffs by smashing Sand Springs 48-2.
The theme of the annual Veterans Day Parade was “Your Freedom, Our Mission.” The highlight of the parade was the fly over of many different types of planes.
The City Commission appointed Dale Hicks as the new fire chief for the Ponca City Fire Department on November 10. Hicks had been with the department since November 1978 and had been interim fire chief since March.
The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority awarded Ponca City Energy with a check for $20,000 in recognition of excellent service.
Arts & Humanities Council presented the “Boogie Woogie Babies, A 1940s musical revue,” at the Poncan Theatre on November 11. Then on November 14, the theater presented “A Winter Dance Party,” featuring John Mueller as Buddy Holly, Ray Anthony as Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper’s son, J.P Richardson as the Big Bopper.
On November 13, Congressman Frank Lucas announced that the Ponca City Fire Department would receive $59,859 in federal funds to defray the costs of its firefighting operations. Seven other Oklahoma fire departments received grants.
Mayor Leonard proclaimed November 22 George and Donna Nigh Appreciation Day. The former governor was honored at a pre-party before the Heritage Gala fundraiser at the Marland Mansion. When Nigh was Lieutenant Governor and head of Oklahoma Tourism, he had encouraged the citizens of Ponca City to purchase the mansion. The Heritage Gala was a celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Marland Mansion, and a $250 per ticket fundraiser for the “Palace on the Prairie.” Gov. Brad Henry and wife Kim presented awards to Nigh and his wife Donna. Sen. David Myers was emcee.
Main Street members J.D. Nash, Illene Ozment, Ann Powell, and Larry Bittman, representing their business or property, were awarded Main Street building improvement grants totaling $13,461. The Ponca City Main Street Program made the matching funds available to any historic commercial district business or property owner who is also a member of the Main Street Program.
Early in December, Darrin Swenson and Cliff Cannon finalized purchase of the Dick Stanton Honda dealership at 3415 N. 14th St. Swenson had been general manager of the dealership for several years.
In the season wrestling openers, the Wildcats defeated Enid 64-10 and beat Edmond Santa Fe, 76-0.
Two candidates filed for each of the two open Ponca City Board of Education seats. Holly LaBossiere and Gary Alan Gregg both filed for Office 4, a four-year term. LaBossiere was appointed to the post after board member Kristin Rein moved out of town. Gregg had to withdraw, as he did not live within the ward boundaries. Judith Throop and Shawn Harkins filed for Office 7, a four-year term. Vicki Graves currently held the office, but did not file for re-election. Throop won the election.
Don Nickles announced he would not seek re-election to the U.S. Senate.
One of the highlights of the Annual Lighted Holiday Parade downtown was the Express Personnel Clydesdale horses.
Chad Wilson’s first game as new basketball coach for the Wildcats was a win. Po-Hi defeated the Alva Goldbugs 58-46 in the Robson Fieldhouse. Wilson had been named coach in the spring to replace Jerry Orr.
The North Central Board of Realtors held their annual Awards banquet. Robin Smith was awarded Realtor of the Year; Glenn Bacher was named Realtor-Associate of the Year,
Richard Clemons, Rookie of the Year, and Annette Newcomb, Most Cooperative Realtor of the Year.
Two-term mayor Tom Leonard announced that he would not seek re-election in 2004. Commissioner Dick Stone immediately tossed his hat into the ring as the first announced candidate for that office.
On December 22, more than 3,000 hopeful shoppers packed Robson Fieldhouse for the annual Holiday Giveaway drawing sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce. Tracy Nelson was the big winner with $14,000 in Santa bucks.
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