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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History

2006

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2006 — The Commercial Federal building became Bank of the West.
 
The Foundation was laid for the POW-MIA Monument in War Memorial Park, located near the northeast corner of Highland and Grand Ave.
 
On January 6, Wildcat wrestlers defeated the Sand Springs team at Robson Fieldhouse.
 
Stan Paynter and Wayne Foxworthy filed as candidates for seats No. 4 and No. 2 respectively on the Ponca City Board of Commissioners. No other candidates filed by the deadline, so both men were automatically elected.
 
Billionaire Boone Pickens donated $165 million to help OSU towards its goal of creating an athletic village north of the football stadium.
 
Perkins Family Restaurant celebrated the opening of their new building on January 10. The original restaurant was destroyed by fire on Mother’s Day 2005.
 
Carl Renfro and his wife, Carolyn, donated $300,000 to be used for student scholarships at University Center at Ponca City. The center had changed their name from University Learning Center.
 
Tim Burg, assistant director of Ponca City Development Authority, was named emcee for the 112th Chamber of Commerce Banquet.
 
Brian Hermanson, local attorney, was sworn in as a member of the Oklahoma Bar Association Board of Governors.
 
Carl and Carolyn Renfro donated $500,000 to the Marland Estate Foundation.
 
Tom Quillin was named Outstanding Citizen at the Chamber Banquet. Other honorees were Don Nuzum, Community Service Award; Garroutte Manufacturing, industry of the Year; Debbie Covey, Ambassador of the Year; and Sandy Pendergraft, Larry Hughes Leadership Award. The new chairman for 2006 was Kelly Johnson, and Brad Parker was outgoing chairman.
 
Contractors began construction of the new Garfield School.
 
Union Elementary was recognized as a National Title I Distinguished School.
 
In February, ConocoPhillips announced that they would donate the Research East Lab building to Oklahoma State University, plus a $2 million endowment to establish a University Multispectral Laboratory (UML) in Ponca City. Mayor Stone pledged the city’s support to match up to $2 million towards the sensor research lab. The funds would come from the Ponca City Development Authority. AMTI, a government contractor headquartered in Huntington Beach, Va. will manage the UML. The PCDA estimated the economic impact of the facility would be over $120 million over the next ten years.
 
First Lutheran Church began construction of three new school buildings, adding more classrooms to the current school.
 
The Osage Nation built a physical therapy center, the New Wave Clinic at 3202 N. 14th.
 
The state of Oklahoma began construction of a $6 million travel information center near Blackwell along I-35.
 
A new cable channel, Channel 22, was set up as a Ponca City government communication channel, featuring information about city government. The city commission meetings are also televised on the channel.
 
Stan Paynter and Wayne Foxworthy were sworn in for three-year terms on the City Commission.
 
The Po-Hi wrestling team won its fourth consecutive state Class 5A wrestling tournament championship in February. Trey Branscum was the lone Wildcat individual champion. The local wrestlers failed to win the dual state tournament, however, finishing second behind Midwest City.
 
Po-Hi swimmer Kyle Millemon finished first in the 50-meter freestyle competition to claim the individual state title.
 
The Poncan Theatre Board of Directors hired Dave May as the new executive director.
 
Don Garrison, director of jail inspections for the Oklahoma State Department of Protective Health Services, gave Kay County leaders 60 days to come up with a plan and a timetable for solutions to county jail problems or face fines and/or jail closure. Garrison toured the facility and found many concerns, including overcrowding, spray painted lights, broken windows and general lack of maintenance.
 
Effective March 1st, all Oklahoma restaurants were to be entirely smoke free, or have a specially equipped smoking room to protect nonsmokers from exposure to secondhand tobacco smoke.
 
Ponca City Main Street members and guests had a great time at the 2006 Annual Awards Banquet at the Ponca Townsite Company. The banquet theme was “Ponca City Main Street Spurs Success in the Wild, Wild West.”
 
Union Elementary received a check for $32,462 as part of a national Title I awards program that the state coordinates. The check was one of 22 awards given to high-poverty schools.
 
March 5 marked the historic groundbreaking for the new $5 million Conoco History Museum on South Avenue and Osage St.
 
Ponca City Council of Garden Clubs used a $1900 grant to install landscaping at the Prisoner of War/Missing in Action Monument in War Memorial Park at 5th and Highland.
 
Rashawn Parker of Ponca City was named to the all-Frontier Conference second team in a vote of conference basketball coaches. Parker was the only player from Ponca City to be included.
 
Matthew Reeder, 8th grader at First Lutheran School, was one of the finalists eligible to compete in the 2006 Oklahoma Geographic Bee.
 
Kevin Hammell was hired as the head tennis professional at Ponca City Country Club, replacing Brad Louderback.
 
In mid-March, Blackwell residents Josh and Julie Free awoke to camera crews and a check for $100,000. The couple was one of three families nationwide selected out of 54 million entries in the HGTV 10th Anniversary Dream Home Giveaway. They flew to Asheville, North Carolina and drew from the three keys, one of which would open the door of the 5200 square foot, fully furnished luxury mountain home, overlooking Lake Lure in North Carolina. Their key did not open the door, but they had the time of their lives…and $100,000!
 
A monument to the past and a beacon to the future, the Standing Bear Museum was set to become a reality, with the aid of grants and a $1 million trust to be used for operational funds. The trust was made possible by a personal contribution from Ponca City banker Carl Renfro and his wife, Carolyn.
 
Cheryl Snyder, first grade teacher at Woodlands Elementary, was named the Ponca City District Teacher of the Year. Other finalists were Vicki Wasson, special education teacher at Union Elementary, and Joan Wright, music instructor at West Middle School.
 
John Tyson, Chairman and CEO of Tyson Foods Inc., flew into Ponca City with a team from corporate headquarters in Springdale, Ark. They were on a field mission, visiting company owned plants. Tyson Foods officials proclaimed that the products at the Ponca City plant are some of the most profitable items for the company. Tyson and the Ponca City Development Authority hosted a luncheon for civic leaders at the plant, featuring the products that are produced here.
 
Jeremy Stillwell, a Ponca City native and keyboard player for the group, “Banana Seat,” returned to his hometown April 8 to perform at the Ponca Townsite Company. They played for the “Chef to Chef” event, a fundraiser for Friends of Education.
 
First National Bank of Oklahoma announced they would build a new bank on Prospect, east of N. 14th Street. The new $1.5 million building will be 6,000 square feet, with up to five drive-ins.
 
The Ponca City High School Robotics Team 476 returned victorious after competing at the Houston Lone Star Regional. Competing against 54 teams, they made it to the quarterfinals of the elimination round and brought home the Industrial Safety Award and the coveted Engineering Inspiration Award. The Safety Award recognizes the team that progresses beyond the safety fundamentals by using innovative ways to eliminate or protect against hazards.
 
Kay County’s unemployment rate for February was 5.5%, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Their figures showed a workforce of 20,470 in Kay County with 1,120 unemployed.
 
Ron Armstrong, ConocoPhillips refinery manager, reported “2005 was the best year ever at the refinery, and 2006 is probably the busiest year in the history of them all. With all of the clean fuels investment for clean gasoline and clean diesel, we’ve spent about $310 million,” he commented. “Those projects have positioned the refinery to be a stable long term contributor to ConocoPhilips portfolio. The key things we look at when measuring our performance are safety, environment and the reliability of our operations,” Armstrong continued.
 
In early May, the Ponca City Medical Center was officially handed over to the new owners, Community Health Systems, with Dennis Barts as CEO.
 
Susan Powell was named the new district secondary curriculum and assessment coordinator for the Board of Education.
 
Chad Wilson was named the new assistant principal at East Middle School for the 2006-07 school year. Wilson had taught social studies at the high school for three years and also was head basketball coach.
 
Roger and Anita Smith were recognized as American Red Cross Everyday Heroes for their volunteer work at Camp Gruber, a shelter camp for Hurricane Katrina survivors in 2005.
 
City Commissioner Stan Paynter, a Republican, announced his candidacy for the State House of Representatives.
 
According to Jim Gallogly, executive vice president of refining, marketing and transportation for ConocoPhillips, visited the Ponca City complex in early May. He commented that the company had moved up on the Fortune 500 list, passing General Electric in sales, and is now ranked No. 6.
 
The 56-year-old Tonkawa Foundry received a $600,000 low-interest loan through the office of State Treasurer Scott Meacham. The Linked Deposit Program kept the family owned company from closing their doors.
 
The local Salvation Army announced the opening of a new Boys & Girls Club. With a theme of “Kids Under Construction,” the club will be the sixth one in Oklahoma. They received start-up funding for $40,000 from the U.S. Department of Justices’ Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
 
The Ponca City public schools participated in the Summer Food Service Program with free meals available for all children ages 18 and under.
 
Ponca City was busy with lots of tourism activities in June. The first weekend kicked off with 120 old car enthusiasts attending the Early Model Ford V8 Club event. At the same time, there was the Herb Festival at the Cann Memorial Botanical Gardens, Draggin’ Grand, and the 30th Anniversary of the city’s ownership of the Marland Mansion.
 
The University of Oklahoma escorted representatives from eight countries, affiliated with the Foreign Press Center in New York, on a trip to Ponca City to “Explore American Diversity: A Visit to America’s Heartland.”
 
The Bank of Oklahoma collected thousands of books for underprivileged children throughout Kay County during the third annual Caring for Kids Book by Book literacy campaign.
 
Brent Giddens was named the new Wildcat head basketball coach.
 
Po-Hi graduate Major Chase Freeman was awarded the bronze star for exceptional valor under fire while serving in Afghanistan. Freeman was honored for his heroics during an October 2005 operation in the vicinity of Bagh-Khosal Village.
 
The North Central Job Fair at Pioneer Technology Center in mid-June helped employers connect with potential employees in the Kay and Osage County Area.
 
Ponca City Medical Center launched Health Connection, a new eight-page quarterly community magazine.
 
The Ponca City Noon Lions held its annual awards banquet at the Ponca City County Club. A power point show of the year’s events emphasized the scope of the Lion’s community service activities. Brice Chism was awarded the Melvin E. Jones Fellowship Award, named for the founder of Lions International. Ted Matson, president, presented the award to Chism for his outstanding service to the local club.
 
On June 15, Paul LittleVoice, the oldest veteran in the Ponca Tribe, was honored with a traditional dance and meal in celebration of his 90th birthday.
State Sen. David Myers did not draw an opponent for his District 20 Senator seat, so he was automatically re-elected to a second four-year term in the Oklahoma State Legislature.
 
The City Commission approved the city’s $77 million budget for Fiscal Year 2006-2007.
 
Ponca City Development Authority voted to join the City of Ponca City in matching a $20,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), for a homebuyer program.
 
Po-Hi varsity cheerleaders attended an ACA Camp in Denton, Texas. The squad received a trophy for their Fun Jam performance and choreography. They also received a bid to the ACA national competition at Ft. Worth in January. The cheerleaders also received a five-star evaluation, which is only given to a perfectly executed performance.
 
Ethel Dorothea Franklin Orr, 92, was the recipient of the 2006 Pioneer Woman of the Year award, given at a ceremony at the Pioneer Woman Museum. Selection for the award was based on three criteria points: service and activities which benefit the people of the state of Oklahoma; personal character qualities which exemplify an outstanding woman; and a letter of recommendation which highlights specific examples of service and qualities of the candidate.
 
In mid June, Aldi’s, a new grocery store, was being constructed on East Prospect, between Long John Silvers and El Chico. The Aldi’s retail chain, privately held by a German company, has more than 800 stores in the United States.
 
June was a busy month at the Marland Estate. The Oklahoma Mayor’s Annual meeting held some of their events at the Mansion. There were 2,112 people attending events during
June, 1095 tourists visited the mansion for tours, along with 145 Ponca City residents. The visitors’ tours also included six tour buses, nine school tours and one ConocoPhillips tour. In addition, there were eight weddings and receptions.
 
The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife and the Ponca City Park and Recreation Department held a free youth catch and release fishing clinic at the Marland Mansion pond. Wildlife Department personnel provided instruction on fish identification, casting safety, and knot tying.
 
The popular local quartet, Forgiven, presented their 25th Anniversary Concert at the Poncan Theatre.
 
Austin Wentroth of the Ponca City Cardinals baseball team was named to the Al Ice Memorial Woodbat Classic all-tournament team. Wentroth batted .400 for the tournament while extending his current hitting streak to nine games.
 
In late June, the Great Racers headed out of Missouri on their way to an overnight stop in Wichita, after making a brief foray into Oklahoma. They were in third place in the Grand Championship Division through the first six stages.
 
On July 2, the Oklahoma State Department of Health issued an Administrative Compliance Order to Kay County Commissioners and the sheriff, stating that the jail did not meet state standards. The order gave the county 15 days to fix the problems or be fined. Later, the county was fined $95,000 for violations that included insufficient bunking space, missing drain covers, faulty showers, and overcrowding.
 
On July 4, county commissioners considered the idea of putting televisions in the jail in an effort to occupy inmates and keep them from tearing up the jail. “They are like a herd of cattle,” said Commissioner Wayne Leven. “You have to keep them docile.” The television idea was soon dropped.
 
The following week, several jail consultants traveled to Kay County to tour the jail. They shared several conclusions with the public including: The jail is poorly designed; inmate supervision is impossible; the jail suffers from construction deficiencies; it is poorly maintained and understaffed; and the Kay County system is in need of a vision and a clear mission for corrections.
 
Road crews began work on the Union Street bridge overpass over Highland. The work was scheduled to be completed in August.
 
Mayor Dick Stone announced that it was time for citizens to comply with city codes. Residents were asked to clean their yards of debris and mow, or risk receiving a citation.
The Great Race continued into July with the three local racers heading to Colorado toward their final destination of San Rafael, California.
 
Ponca City educators reviewed preliminary test results for the 2005-2006 school year. Officials said the scores showed a decline in reading and special education scores.
 
Quizno’s, the sub shop, opened in Ponca Plaza. Rick and Wendy Hubler are the franchise owners.
 
The OG&E Sooner generating plant south of Ponca City announced plans of an expansion project that is predicted to have a $20 million impact in ad valorem taxes to north central Oklahoma.
 
A relatively young Ponca City business, Custom Mechanical Equipment, was breaking all sorts of production records.
 
The problems at the Kay County Jail continued to surface, including faulty locks on the doors and dirty showers.
 
On August 1, a special cleaning crew removed mercury contamination from a Ponca City residence. They first sealed everything in plastic, and then took extra precautions as they removed all contents of the house.
 
On August 3, Stephanie Kline went to Hollywood for a week to study at the Millennium Dance Center for a perpetual motion production.
 
The code enforcement department prepared for a crackdown of businesses and residential areas that had exceedingly tall grass and brush, what Development Director Chris Henderson called “a haven for rodents and snakes.” The tall grasses also pose a fire danger.
 
About 100 athletes checked out equipment for the first practices at Po-Hi for football season.
 
A number of Vietnam Veterans and others worked at War Memorial Park to erect a flagpole at the new POW/MIA Memorial at 5th Street and Highland.
 
Chris Walker was named the new Ponca City High School wresting coach.
 
Po-Hi Lady Cat volleyball coach Steve McKay announced his retirement for the second and “last time, forever.” McKay had served a total of 27 years as the Po-Hi coach during 1977-2002 and 2005-2006.
 
The Big Chief RV Park completed basic construction. Located on West North Ave. in the Bois D’Arc area, the park has 40 recreational vehicle spaces, with plans to add more.
 
Corral West Ranchwear on North 14th Street doubled the size of their store with a $185,000 addition.
 
AMC Urgent Care Plus opened its doors for business in Ponca Plaza, offering a minor emergency and occupational medicine center.
 
On October 13, the Otoe-Missouria Tribe held a “soft opening” of the new 7 Clans Travel Mart Plaza located north of Newkirk on U.S. 77. The travel plaza features a deli along with 93 gaming machines.
 
Car Mart opened its lot and doors for business at 3314 N. 14th St.
 
Veteran’s Day brought the annual Veteran’s Day Parade, and citizens focused their attention more than ever on the war in Iraq and the sacrifices that our veterans have made.
 
Kay County War Memorial additions were dedicated November 11, during a ceremony on the Kay county Courthouse lawn that included a flyover by fighter jets. Norma Lamb,
Kathie Hartley, mother of fallen soldier Jed Hartley, and Garry Bilger unveiled the additions. Hartley was also honored by the state as a stretch of U.S. 77 north of Newkirk was named after him.
 
The long awaited reconstruction of the Ponca City High School War Memorial began.
 
In the governor’s election, Democrat Brad Henry’s victory over Republican Rep. Ernest Istook was the biggest landslide in an Oklahoma governor’s race in almost 50 years. Henry garnered 66.5% of the vote.
 
Democrat Ken Luttrell won the Oklahoma District 37 House of Representatives seat with 55% of the vote over Republican Stan Paynter.
 
The democratic process heated up in Ponca City with several discussions and forums on the controversial sales tax ballot slated to finance a new Performing Arts Center, Sports Complex, and Streetscape projects. There were numerous meetings where citizens debated and examined the issue.
 
The Centennial House Project moved into high gear as volunteers gathered to build a new house on Highland Avenue at Ash Street for a working single mom with two children at home. To commemorate the pioneer spirit of the Oklahoma Centennial, United Way, Americorps, Habitat for Humanity, Chamber of Commerce, Community Volunteer Center and the city of Ponca City partnered with citizens to complete the home in time for Thanksgiving.
 
Groundbreaking ceremonies were held at Standing Bear Park on November 13 for the new Standing Bear Museum.
 
The Board of Education made the decision to close Washington Elementary following the end of the school year, and establish new attendance boundaries. Garfield Elementary was scheduled to open in September 2007.
 
Former Po-Hi graduate John Munger was named the new assistant principal at Po-Hi, taking over for Scott Taylor, who had served as assistant principal since 2005.
 
On December 3, singer Tony Bennett landed his plane at Greenwood Aviation at the Ponca City Airport to refuel. He visited with Chuck Greenwood about “our fine town.”
 
On December 4, the Ponca City Development Authority Board of Trustees unanimously approved the agreement with OSU to provide $2 million in economic incentives to develop the nation’s first sensor testing center in Ponca City. Now known as the University Multispectral Lab or UML, there will be 80 full-time permanent employees. The center will test sensors and research from universities and private companies from all over the world. According to an economic impact model prepared by PCDA, the UML will create $140 million in economic benefits to Ponca City over the next ten years.
 
Don Nuzum and Debra Herron filed for the two vacancies on the school board. Since they were uncontested, there was no election in February. Larry Buck was unopposed for Pioneer Technology Center’s Office 5, so he will have another five years on that board.
 
Sykes Enterprises was named a recipient of the 2006 Governor’s Disability Employment Awards of Excellence, presented in Oklahoma City.
 
On December 12, County Commissioner Dee Schieber reported that a portion of Lake Road would be closed between Longwood and Rock Cliff for at least 60 days. Crews were constructing a new bridge over Coon Creek.
 
By a 57-43 percent margin, Ponca City voters rejected a proposed one percent sales tax for three city projects. The projects included a YMCA Recreation Center, a Performing Arts Center, and a newly designed streetscape for downtown.
 
Michael Anderson of Ponca City proved that it is always smart to check your Lottery tickets. Anderson checked a Powerball ticket sitting on his dresser and discovered that it was a $200,000 winner from the Nov. 1 drawing.
 
At the annual North Central Board of Realtors banquet, Faye and Bob Askew received 25-year service awards. Bev Cunningham was named the Most Cooperative Realtor, Steve Hermann was the Realtor Associate of the Year and Glenn Bacher was awarded Realtor of the Year.
 
Homer Nicholson announced his candidacy for mayor of Ponca City in the upcoming election set for Feb. 13, 2007. Nicholson is retired from ConocoPhillips with 38 years of service and retired from the U.S. Army Reserve as a Command Sergeant Major with 35 years of service. He has resided in Ponca City for 44 years, and owns a local Real Estate and Auction business.
 
Middle school students auditioned and earned a spot in the North Central Honor Orchestra. Named were Gabrielle Gregg, Garrett Vogele, Meagan Green, Dylan Labon, Jaryd Hintch, Kristen Stangeland, Brittney Barham, and Amber Evans.
 
Susan Powell, secondary curriculum and assessment coordinator, reported to the Ponca City School Board that there has been a steady increase in API scores. Lincoln Elementary had the highest API gain in 2006. Woodlands Elementary had the highest API score in the district, followed by Trout and Union.