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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

2004

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2004 — The Critical Care Unit of Via Christi Medical Center earned high marks from a Press Ganey Associates survey. The CCU was listed in the “best” category.

Mary Frances Haney filed as a second candidate for Mayor of Ponca City. Dick Stone had already filed.
 
On Martin Luther King Day, Dr. John A. Reed Jr. was a guest speaker for “A Day of Celebration” at Attucks Community Center. The next day, Rev. Don Stanton was the keynote speaker at the Interfaith Prayer Breakfast at First Baptist Church, as the celebration of Dr. King continued.
 
The Poncan Theatre Board voted not to purchase the original organ for the theater. The $16,000 purchase price plus the $70,000 for moving and refurbishing was too expensive, according to Michael Varnum, manager.
 
At the annual Ponca City Chamber Banquet, Chairman Linda Brown passed the gavel to new chairman Keni Ray. Pat Evans was named Outstanding Citizen, Ambassador of the Year was again Suzanne Zanardi, ASC was named Industry of the Year, Phil Bandy was named the Community Service winner, and Stolhand Heat and Air was the Top Business with Darrell Stolhand receiving the Leadership Award.
 
Cable One announced a rate increase.
 
On January 31, the Wildcat wrestlers claimed the Big Four wrestling tournament after two days of matches. In February, they won the Dual State and State Tournament titles for the second straight year.
 
Both Supt. Dr. White and Executive Director of Curriculum Dr. Patty Ladd reported that local students were scoring below the state average on API testing.
 
Po-Hi student Bryan Henning was selected as a Finalist in the 2004 National Merit Scholarship Program.
 
According to David Myers, Economic Development director, “The Ponca City Development Authority has launched a new website, providing businesses both inside and outside the area with a tool for information. www.goponca.com is dedicated to building the economy of Kay County by providing economic news, demographic information, links to government, organizations, the Ponca City News, Native American nations and our regional partners in Blackwell, Newkirk, Stillwater, and Tonkawa.”
 
The Wildcat wrestling team won their second straight state tournament championship, and had the outstanding wrestler of the tournament in Class 5A. The Oklahoma Wrestling Officials Association named Po-Hi Coach Todd Steidley coach of the year. The Wildcats crowned three individual champions – David Parker, Jared Rasholt, and Justin Roland.
 
On March 1, the jury selection for Terry Nichols began. Brian Hermanson of Ponca City was a lead attorney for Nichols.
 
Dick Stone, city commissioner, was elected mayor. He won by a 43% margin over his opponent Mary Frances Haney.
 
The Pioneer Woman Museum and the Daughters of the American Revolution honored outstanding women of Kay County. Honorees were Erma Carmack, Eleanor Hayes, Jo Saylors, Louise Abercrombie, Lillian Taylor, Jane Morris, Dusty Branstetter and Marquetta Brown.
 
Volunteers worked at cleaning up and making minor repairs to the buildings and grounds of Camp McFadden.
 
In mid-March, former wildcat wrestling coach Pat Young was honored during the State High School Wrestling tournament. He had recently been inducted into the National
Wrestling Hall of Fame for his service to the sport of wrestling.
 
Marc LaBossiere, finance director, treasurer and city clerk of the City of Ponca City, was awarded the designation of Certified Municipal Clerk from the International Institute of Municipal Clerks for achieving high educational and service requirements, including a history of responsible experience in local government.
 
Westminster Village won two awards from the Oklahoma Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. Westminster’s Celebration of Life program was chosen for the Innovation of the Year Award, and Dixie Weers, activities assistant at Westminster, was named Outstanding Employee of the Year.
 
On March 21, outgoing Mayor Tom Leonard administered the oath of office for mayor of Ponca City to Dick Stone, former City Commissioner.
 
Former state senator Paul Muegge from Tonkawa received the 2004 John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award in Boston. He was honored for standing up to the hog industry and pressing legislation to protect the environment and the health of his constituents.
 
Ponca City Development Authority gave a “thumbs up” for the new ‘spec’ building, Bob.
 
The new building was being constructed at the west end of Sykes Boulevard in the Airport Industrial Park.
 
The Ponca City Library celebrated 100 years of service with ceremonies kicked off by the Twentieth Century Club’s tea, “Honoring the Past.”
 
In late March, Sen. David Myers and Rep. Jim Newport were guest speakers at the Chamber’s Legislative Review Committee’s Friday Forum at City Hall.
 
A group of area landowners, Ponca Tribe members, and officials with the PACE Union demonstrated at the state capitol, protesting the pollution of the Continental Carbon plant in Ponca City.
 
Adult Role Models (ARMS) received a $10,000 grant from ConocoPhillips. The ARMS program of Northern Oklahoma Youth Services works to improve the quality of life for area children through mentoring.
 
William Ziegenhain was honored with the Oklahoma Heritage Distinguished Service Award for Preservation of State and Local History.
 
Queta Henderson, math teacher at Ponca City High School, was named 2004-05 Teacher of the Year.
 
Richard Hayes, CEO of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce, died unexpectedly at Heart Center Hospital in Oklahoma City.
 
Dr. Phillip Tyndall held a grand opening at his new dental office on East Hartford.
 
Three NOC graduates received Distinguished Alumni Awards. Those recognized were Leo Canaday, 1956, Granvil Hays, 1961, and Gerald Steichen, 1982.
 
ConocoPhillips officials gave an update on local activity to city business leaders. This included the credit card operation, refinery upgrade, pipeline transportation, technology and community investment.
 
The Lady Wildcats’ tennis team won the Ponca City Invitational Tournament at the Wally Smith Tennis Center and the Ponca City Country Club courts.
 
In mid April, Paul Krueger announced he would run for City Commissioner.
 
The Kaw Nation Tribal Youth Program conducted a cleanup, picking up trash along the highways to Newkirk and Kaw City as well as the areas around the tribal facilities.
 
Sue and Fred Boettcher were recognized for donating the building at 205 N. Second Street to the United Way.
 
The Board of Education discussed changes in dress code policy for students in the Ponca City schools.
 
Kristi Hayes, Education Editor of the Ponca City News, received a Marshall Gregory Special Recognition Award for Single Coverage/Feature from members of the Oklahoma Education Association.
 
Lauren Detten, OSU student, was chosen vice president of OSU Student Government.
 
On April 28, Rich Cantillon of Blackwell was named president of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce. He had been the Blackwell Chamber executive since 2000.
 
May 2004 saw crude oil hit $40 a barrel for the first time since 1990.
 
An Oklahoma jury in McAlester convicted 49-year-old Terry Nichols for his part in the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City that killed 168 people. In August, he was sentenced in McAlester to life in prison without parole.
 
A new addition to the annual Iris festival was the “Made in Oklahoma” wine and cheese tasting area. Six wineries and three cheese makers from Oklahoma presented a wide assortment for sampling. The Grand Marshal of the event was Jerry Cathey, founder of the Iris Festival 15 years earlier. Mayor Dick Stone proclaimed May 1, 2004 as Jerry Cathey Day in Ponca City. Ladies named “Iris” also received special recognition.
 
Also on May 1, Aaron Wright, senior at Po-Hi, was named Miss Ponca City in a contest held at the Poncan Theatre.
 
Five Po-Hi senior girls were selected to attend the 2004 Oklahoma Girls State, sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary. Jennifer Miller, Erika Martin, Rachel Potts, Laura Lechtenberg, and Dara Moyer attended assemblies and seminars at East Central University in Ada, where they learned the responsibilities and processes of a democratic republic. All five of the girls were honor roll students and members of the National Honor Society.
 
Ponca Playhouse presented “I Do! I Do!” at the Poncan Theatre in May, featuring actors John and Marisa Kuhlmann.
 
Ponca City Main Street won first place honors in four categories during the annual Oklahoma Main Street Awards Banquet. Honors included Best “Public Improvement Project” for outstanding design and renovation of the City Hall complex; Best “Volunteer Development Program” for the Senior Citizen Center RSVP Program; “Best Community Education/Public Awareness Program” for the “Then and Now” Heritage Program; and “Best Historic Building Art contest” for artwork by Darion Osbey, 4th grade Garfield student. Other Ponca City finalists were “Promotional Campaign/Marketing Package” for 2003-2004, and Fred Boettcher, who was nominated as “Main Street Hero.”
 
In girls Po-Hi sports, Michaela Cavener won her third straight individual state championship golf title in May and the Lady Cat Golfers finished second in the state. In addition to Cavener’s win, Ponca City junior Haley Schauvliege had one of her best tournaments of the year, finishing fifth in individual scoring.
 
The Lady Cats tennis team placed in all four divisions of the Class 5A State Tournament. They took second in the No. 2 Singles and the No. 1 Doubles.
Long distance runner, Chelsie Baldwin, won two individual gold medals at the state track meet. She won the 3,200-meter run in the Class 6A state track meet and came back the next day to win the 1,600.
 
The American Cancer Society Relay for Life held its 10th annual celebration on May 21 at the Hutchins Memorial Auditorium with several hundred in attendance. Teams of 8 to 15 people camped out overnight at the Hutchins and took turns walking around the track. A candlelight ceremony was organized to honor cancer survivors and to remember those who lost the battle to cancer.
 
In May, Stolhand Heating and Air Conditioning, owned by Rhonda and Darrell Stolhand, garnered top honors from the National Small Business Administration at a special presentation in Orlando, Florida. The Stolhands were one of ten companies that received the 2004 U.S. Small Business Administration Family Owned Business Champion Award.
The Stolhands were also recognized at a Ponca City reception hosted by Home National Bank and the Small Business Council.
 
On May 15, First Baptist Church honored 108 couples in Ponca City who had been married for 50 years or more. The event was sponsored and organized by the 2003-2004 Leadership Ponca City class as part of the “Character First” program.
 
Ginger Mendenhall, a math and reading specialist at Liberty Elementary, received the “Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in Elementary Education” from Oklahoma first lady Kim Henry. The award was presented at the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence awards banquet in May. Ginger received a $7,500 cash prize, a medallion and an etched glass Roots and Wings sculpture. In addition, Liberty School received a $1,000 cash prize.
 
Artrain USA, the nation’s only art museum on a train, stopped at the Ponca City train depot for three days in May. The featured artwork was a contemporary Native American exhibit called “Native Views: Influences of Modern Culture.” The collection included 71 pieces of art produced by 54 Native American artists from all over the U.S., including four from Oklahoma. There were paintings, ceramics, sculptures, traditionally woven baskets, and interactive artwork on computer. Displayed in three rail cars, the exhibit was entertaining, educational and informative for both children and adults. Ponca City Arts & Humanities Council and ConocoPhillips funded the project, along with many local benefactors.
 
There were 390 seniors and three foreign exchange students who graduated from Ponca City High School at its 103rd commencement ceremony. Megan Benyshek and Katie Didericksen gave the co-valedictorian address, and Bryan Henning gave the salutatorian address. Following the graduation exercises, graduates headed for an evening of fun and relaxation at Great Escape 2004 held at ConocoPhillips.
 
In early June, Ponca City Public Schools in conjunction with the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce and the City of Ponca City, hosted a reception for Dr. Bill White, outgoing superintendent, and welcomed Dr. David Pennington, incoming superintendent.
 
Sixteen Native American communities in Oklahoma received more than $59 million in federal assistance to promote affordable housing., Local housing authorities receiving aid included Kaw Nation, Otoe-Missouria, Pawnee and Tonkawa.
 
The Ponca City Humane Society hosted its annual Trail of Tails walk and wag competition on the lawn of First Presbyterian Church. The event was held in conjunction with the Herb Festival. Proceeds benefited the Ponca City Humane Society.
 
Carrying on the tradition of the doo-wop hits of the 1950s, The Crew Cuts brought their classic sounds to the Poncan Theatre in June.
 
Ponca City World War II hero Jake McNiece was featured on NBC News as part of the
 
D-Day coverage of the 60th anniversary of the June 6, 1944 invasion of Europe by Allied Forces. An NBC correspondent interviewed McNiece before he left with his wife, Martha, on his first trip to the beaches of Normandy since his World War II days.
 
Up to 150 participants took part in the 19th Annual Lake Ponca Triathlon.
 
The Ponca City AMBUCS celebrated the 20th anniversary of AMBUC Pool and dedicated a special plaque to honor Mary Sutton for her many years of hard work in support of the club’s projects.
 
Economic Development was the sole subject of the Ponca City Annual Summit. Several high profile heavy hitters with Ponca City connections participated including VIP’s from Texas, California, Kansas, Minnesota, Oklahoma City and Atlanta.
 
The 11th annual KawFest was held at Sandy Beach on Kaw Lake. Activities included the Team Bass Fishing Tournament, Sand Sculpture contest, Sand Volleyball Tournament and a concert on the beach.
 
Children’s storyteller Al Bostick performed at the Juneteenth Celebration at the Attucks Community Center on South Twelfth St. Bostick’s presentation was “Fabulous Fibs, Fables, and Folklore – Africa to America, Anansi to Brer Rabbit.”
 
Owner and renovator Leon Smith of Sharp’s Pawn and Jewelry was awarded Ponca City Main Street’s “Traveling Revitalization Award” for the renovation of the interior and exterior of the old Bowker Ford dealership on the corner of Second and Central.
 
Residential Copper was recognized at the Small Business Administration Awards as one of the Oklahoma Small Business Institute Cases of the Year.
 
Eight members of the Stolhand family were on hand at the 2004 Oklahoma Small Business Champion Awards at Rose State College. The company won the state, regional, and a national award for the family owned heating and air conditioning business. Fred Stolhand accepted the award for owners Darrell and Rhonda Stolhand, who were out of state.
Fred and son,Darrell Stolhand started Stolhand Heat and Air Conditioning in 1977.
 
A new Ponca City Tourism Bureau was established at the offices of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce on Fifth Street and Grand Avenue.
 
Mayor Dick Stone was named a member of the Oklahoma Conference of Mayors.
 
John Erickson, creator and author of 44 books in the celebrated “Hank the Cowdog” series of children’s books appeared here on June 16, giving two presentations at the Poncan Theatre. He was in Oklahoma as part of the OK Mozart Festival in Bartlesville, and Ponca City was lucky enough to have him appear here for one day. OK Mozart turned 20 years old in June. The festival celebrated its two-decade milestone in Bartlesville with an array of musical artists and special events, then came to Ponca City on Sunday afternoon and presented a concert at the Poncan Theatre. This was the first time OK Mozart had “hit the road” after it closed in Bartlesville.
 
Through the generosity of Lillian Taylor, Marland’s Grand Home received several pieces of memorabilia from the No. Six British Flight Training School. One of the pieces was a large picture, “Miss Ponca City, the Flying Fortress B-17 Bomber.”
 
Northern Oklahoma Youth Services Board of Directors held its monthly meeting in the new Youth Shelter and Family Service Center for the first time. The new NOYS facility is located at 2203 N. Ash Street.
 
Gary Martin, Ponca City city manager, was elected to the board of directors of the Festivals and Events Association of Oklahoma.
 
Quality Water Services introduced its new RV Total Water Treatment System for recreational vehicles.
 
Funding for a proposed replacement for the “old” Arkansas River Bridge was on the agenda when the Kay County Commission met in late June. In accordance with an agreement signed earlier in the year, area tribes, through the Bureau of Indian Affairs, will pay $1.5 million of the total cost and Kay County and the Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation will pay the remainder. The new concrete bridge would be 32 feet 9 inches wide, 752 feet long, and rated to hold more than 240 tons. It would be supported by seven pillars and have a 28 inch concrete side rail.
 
Gasoline prices in Ponca City were the cheapest this side of Galveston, Texas. The Phillips 66 station at North Union advertised unleaded at $1.77 per gallon.
 
Tom Cowley received national recognition in New York City for his work in the promotion and advancement of Community Theater in the United States.
 
Seniors in the Po-Hi Class of 2004 attained an excellent record doing concurrent enrollment. There were 67 class members taking college courses while still finishing high school. Together they earned 554 college credit hours and maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.38.
 
Mertz Manufacturing, LLC, a newly formed subsidiary of Compact Power Inc., a North Carolina corporation, announced the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Mertz Inc.Mertz will continue to do business in the same place with the same people and the same quality of manufacturing, according to management.
 
In mid-July, City Commissioners officially opened the new four-lane section of West Highland Avenue from Sunset Street to Waverly Street. Work had begun on the $540,000 project in March. The Highland/Lake Road corridor is now a full four lanes from Waverly to Pecan.
 
The two candidates running for seat No. 1 on the Ponca City Board of Commissioners were given an opportunity to present their views at a televised public forum. Paul Krueger and Darrin York each made opening and closing statements and answered two questions from Review Committee Chairman Steve Crank.
 
Sylvester Earl Sullins died July 16 at the Shawn Manor Nursing Home. He was 98. After teaching his first year at Paoli in 1931, Earl moved and began teaching and coaching at Ponca City High School. In 1942, he became the physical education director for the Army Air Corps during World War II. After the war, he came back to Ponca City and served as athletic director at PoHi. Coach Sullins finished his career in 1971 with a football record of 115-47-10. He also was the winningest coach of Po-Hi baseball. Sullins Stadium was named after him in 1977 and he was inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame and the Ponca City Sports Hall of Fame.
 
A group of local bank executives, headed by Mark T. Detten, president of Home National Bank, announced their intention of buying Eastman National Bank of Newkirk, Kay County’s oldest bank. The group executed a definitive agreement on July 19, identifying shareholders who owned more than 56% of the outstanding common stock of Eastman National Bancshares, Inc.
 
ConocoPhillips Board of Directors elected James J. Mulva to succeed Archie W. Dunham as chairman of the board upon Dunham’s retirement on Sept. 30, 2004. Mulva would continue to serve as president and CEO.
 
Northern Oklahoma Youth Services celebrated their new Emergency Youth Shelter and Family Service Center by hosting an Open House on July 16.
 
Extensive and wanton vandalism to the concession stand at Sullins Stadium occurred on July 22, when trespassers gained entry by smashing through the wooden customer window with concrete cinder blocks. Locks were torn from the refrigerators, food containers were smashed open and food was strewn all over the interior of the concession stand and on the pavement into the parking lot.
 
In August, Tom Leonard took the oath of office for Judge of the Oklahoma Worker’s Compensation Court. Gov. Brad Henry appointed him to the judgeship in June.
 
Through the efforts of concerned citizens, Camp McFadden was once again ready to be rented. The exteriors of all the cabins had been painted. Northern Oklahoma Youth Services donated beds for the cabins. Broken windows and doors were replaced and the overgrown grounds were cleaned up, ready for campers.
 
A single donation was given to the Instrumental Music Parents Assn., covering costs to replace all appliances, supplies and equipment destroyed by vandals at the Sullins Stadium concession stand.
 
In late August, Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for his role in the worst act of domestic terrorism in U.S. history. District Judge Steven Taylor ordered Nichols to serve that term on each of 161 counts of first degree murder and that the sentences run consecutively.
 
Ponca City High School’s athletic department was notified that the Wildcat soccer team, which reached the state championship game with only one loss on the regular season, was ranked No. 15 in the nation by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America’s final poll. PoHi soccer coach Steve Hermann said, “It is quite an honor and rare for Oklahoma teams to get recognition unless you’re among the big city schools.”
 
Kent Marshall was introduced as the new girls’ basketball head coach.
 
Everette VanHoesen beat out incumbent Craig Countryman by 26 votes during a Republican run-off election for sheriff.
 
In late August, the Ponca Tribe had its 128th Annual Celebration at White Eagle. Reigning princess Candice ThreeStars crowned Autumn Moses as 2004-2005 Ponca Tribal Princess in a ceremony amongst multiple dance competitions.
 
Smith Home Furnishings announced they would move their business to the former Pemberton Auto Mall at 2500 N. 14th St.
 
There were 5,414 students enrolled in the Ponca City public schools.
 
The Video Production class at Po-Hi started a new project- the Wildcat Weekly Update, a 6-minute segment of the Real Deal Sports Show.
 
The Wildcat football team won their first three games in September.
 
Country Harvest Antique and Craft Festival marked the beginning of Fall with exhibitors from five states. A week later, citizens enjoyed the annual Fine Arts Festival on the lawn of the Ponca City Art Center.
 
Main Street again sponsored Ponca City’s Birthday Bash, with free cake and ice cream for all.
 
In October, members of the Leo Club at Ponca City High School helped Habitat for Humanity volunteers refurbish a home on the 800 block of North Elm.
 
The Caddo Maple was officially declared the correct tree for the downtown area. Jim Eck, Ponca City Parks superintendent and horticulturist, recommended the tree because it would interfere less with business signs visibility and pedestrian traffic.
 
Ponca City Development Authority coordinated with Mertz Manufacturing on a project that could add at least 66 new jobs.
 
ConocoPhillips announced that their Gas-to-Liquids plant would be phased out by July 1, 2005.
 
On October 19, U.S. 177 opened as a four- lane highway. State Rep. Jim Newport and State Sen. David Myers joined other officials in the ribbon cutting ceremony.
 
In the November elections, Republican incumbent, U.S. representative Frank Lucas was reelected. Dr. Tom Coburn, Republican, was named successor for Don Nickles Senate seat, defeating Democrat Brad Carson and Independent Sheila Bilyeu.
 
State questions 705 and 706 were approved by voters, thus creating a statewide lottery. State question 712 addressed tribal and racetrack gaming. Oklahoma voters clarified the definition of marriage by passing a so-called “gay marriage ban.”
 
County elections were very competitive. Tammy Reese defeated incumbent Pam Goodno for the County Clerk position, and Democrat incumbent Wayne Leven defeated Don Garrett for District 2 County Commissioner.
 
On November 19, Sen. Don Nickles made his final Senate-floor speech, ending a 24-year career in Washington, D.C. He had chosen not to run for re-election, but planned to stay in the Washington area to head a lobbying group.
 
U.S. Third District Congressman Frank Lucas secured vital funding for the Standing Bear project. On November 20, the House of Representatives passed a bill allocating $500,000 for the Standing Bear Museum, Educational and Welcome Center.
 
A life-size statue of Lew Wentz, Ponca City businessman and philanthropist, sculpted by local artist, Jo Saylors, was placed at Centennial Plaza near the corner of Grand Avenue and Sixth Street. C.D. Northcutt, Ray Kinsinger and Tom Muchmore spearheaded the project. Members of the 2003 class of Ponca City Leadership helped raise funds for the statue. Wentz was a millionaire oilman and philanthropist who left many gifts to the city, including Wentz Camp. The Wentz Foundation continues today, providing higher education scholarships for students at O.U. and O.S.U.
 
Ponca City Main Street was recognized for exceeding the $20 million milestone for private investment in downtown Ponca City. Kathy Taylor, Oklahoma Secretary of Commerce and Tourism, presented the award on behalf of the state Main Street organization to Ponca City Main street chairman Phil Bandy and executive director Jayne Detten. Ponca City is one of only three cities to reach this milestone.
 
Approximately 100 local homes were featured in a new book, “Historic Homes of Ponca City and Kay County,” written by John Brooks Walton and Kathy Adams. The book was released in November.
 
On November 15, the school board voted unanimously to proceed with renovation efforts at Garfield Academy in the fall of 2005. The school would be closed for 18 to 24 months, reopening for the 2007-08 school year. Members of the Save our Neighborhood Schools committee had fought intensely to preserve the school.
 
At the same meeting, board members voted 6-1 to continue operating seven schools following the completion of the Garfield project. In two years, the board would return to the issue and decide which one of the district elementary schools would be closed when Garfield reopened.
 
School Board members also acted to reduce the size of the board from seven to five members. The district would be reapportioned into five districts and board members would serve five-year terms instead of four.
 
The Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Ponca City signed a two-year collective bargaining agreement on November 8, retroactive to July 1. Previous agreements had always been annual.
 
Dee Schieber, Kay County commissioner for District 1, officially closed the Old River Bridge to begin tearing down the existing structure to make way for a new bridge. Crews began dismantling the bridge in November. The project was made possible by an agreement with Kay and Osage counties and the Ponca Tribe.
 
Po-Hi wrestlers Jared Rosholt and Tyler Shinn signed early agreements to wrestle at OSU. Lady Wildcat golfer Haley Schauvliege signed a letter of intent with OSU.
 
Ponca City High School was named the top Class 6A school in the sportsmanship conduct ratings by the OSSAA. The school was ranked on the conduct of administration, coaches, teams and crowds, as reported by game officials from football, basketball, baseball, softball, wrestling, soccer and volleyball.
 
In early December, city commissioners drafted a resolution addressing the black dust that had covered large areas of the city within the last six months. The board had been actively pursuing the problem for months, discussing it at length in numerous executive sessions. The resolution expressed the commission’s commitment to determine the source of the pollution and to terminate its cause.
 
Continental Carbon and Union workers at the local carbon black facility finally reached an agreement on December 3, allowing employees to return after a 3 ½ year lockout.
 
The Oklahoma Department of Environmental Quality said that the Continental Carbon facility in Ponca City had signed a consent order concerning emissions and dust. The company was ordered to perform $1.66 million in upgrades to control the discharge of carbon black into the air and to implement a plan to control the dust. Failure to comply with the order would result in fines of $1000 a day, according to DEQ.
 
State Rep. Jim Newport was named as an assistant majority floor leader in the state House of Representatives and was also tapped to serve as vice chairman of the House Committee on Appropriations and Budget. He also was to help track legislation flowing through various House committees and subcommittees.
 
House Speaker-elect Todd Hiett selected state Rep. Dale DeWitt for two leadership positions. The Braman Republican would serve as one of the majority party’s whips and oversee the house committee responsible for studying legislation that affects Oklahoma’s rural and agricultural communities. Hiatt appointed DeWitt chairman of the House Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.
 
The Ponca City Public School Foundation, Inc. funded seven grants in the amount of $15,900 for Ponca City schoolteachers.
 
Ponca City Rotary Club initiated a new local project in 2004 as a continuation of its support for the Literacy Program within the community. The club distributed a free personal copy of a specially designed dictionary to each third grader within the Ponca City area, including public and private schools, and McCord.
 
Fred Boettcher was recipient of the prestigious Eagle Award at the annual banquet of North Central Oklahoma Board of Realtors. Keith Lawrence was installed as president of the organization.
 
Voters passed a one-half cent sales tax increase on December 12. The tax may be used for five projects: reconstruction of the YMCA pool; reconstruction of hazardous downtown sidewalks; restoration of decorative ceilings at the Marland Mansion; restoration of Wentz Pool and Camp facilities; and renovation of the kitchen at Marland’s Grand Home.
 
The United Way campaign for 2004 reached their lofty goal of $735,000 and even went over by $25. Campaign chair was Lee Little.
 
On December 22, Kim Manning returned to Ponca City to perform at the VFW. The city native has been performing around the world as a solo artist, actor, dancer, and feature musician for some of the biggest names in the music business.
 
The Ponca City Fire Department awarded a Certificate of Commendation to firefighter Lt. Larry Albert. While off duty, he responded to a call for help at Lake Ponca. He saved a man’s life by performing CPR until paramedics arrived by ambulance. Interim Fire Chief Gary Reed said that without Lt. Albert’s quick assistance, the man would not have survived.
 
Ponca City Main Street commended Chris Henderson as Outstanding Committee member, Barbara Impson was named Outstanding Board Member, and Gary Ray received an Excellence award for refurbishing many historic buildings in downtown Ponca City.
 
Pioneer Bank and Trust promoted Craig Myers and Jeff Cowan from senior vice presidents to executive vice presidents.
 
Mayor Dick Stone appointed Jeff Cowan and Carey Head as co-chairmen of his “Vision 2020 Committee.” The group was composed of 30 appointed citizens, city management, and seven city department heads. Meetings were to begin in January.
 
Robyn Young was the grand prizewinner of $5000 in Ponca Bucks at the community-wide holiday giveaway, sponsored by the Ponca City Chamber of Commerce.
 
Pioneer Equipment Rental and Supply moved its company’s corporate headquarters to Ponca City, with assistance from the Ponca City Development Authority.
 
The Wildcat basketball team finished their season with a record of nine wins and one loss.
 
They got to play in Florida at the KSA Boys Basketball Holiday Classic Black Bracket on Dec. 30, defeating East Islip, N.Y., 62-54. The Tournament was played in the Disney Wide World of Sports Complex.
 
Wildcat wrestlers continued their domination of Oklahoma’s Class 5A wrestling throughout the season. Standouts for Coach Todd Steidley included Jared Rosholt, Tyler Shinn, Kelsey Empting, and Daniel Morrison.
 
Wildcat swimmers honored at the end of the season were Judy Merz, Kelsey Whitebay, Jonathan Roth, Patrick Powers and Kelsey Geheb.
 
Football awards were presented to Chris Vaughn, Jared Kelle, Wes Badley, Kelsey Empting, Donnie Grant, Zak Frederick, and Michael Detten.
 
Cross country team members who received awards were Cassy Kendrick, Emily Powell, Mark Chaney, Tiffany Chambers, Tyler Taber, Cecilia Burley, Alex McCumber, Maleah Dyer, and Alston Benton.