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Ponca City Information

Ponca City History


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2014 — Several new projects are in the works for business in Ponca City. The remodeling permit for the south end of the former K-Mart building at 2604 North Fourteenth Street for Shoe Show, has been issued with a valuation of $548,656, according to Gary Cohenour, of the Development Services Departments Construction and Code Enforcement Activities of the City of Ponca City.

Pioneer Technology Center’s addition and revamping continues on North Ash Street. Sooner Construction has the contract for the major $5 million remodel and add on.

The Shoe Show store, headquartered in North Carolina is to be adjacent to the new Rue 21 and Rue Guy, which opened recently.

Other projects in the works to be reviewed by Technical Review Committee of the City, are the new Hampton Inn, to be located south of the Holiday Inn Express on North Fourteenth Street, and the new gun range, which is on property north of the Sonic on South Fourteenth

Other projects currently in the construction phase include the senior housing construction at the cost of $732,620 for Ponca City Senior Housing for 48 units known as Waverly Estates at 601 North Waverly at the West Highland corner, and the K and C manufacturing facility in the former location of Braden Packing, also on Waverly.

Ponca City Development Authority continues to show the speculation building “Connie Lou” to prospective occupants. The building is on Hall Boulevard in the Airport Industrial Park. Across the street to the north of the spec building is the MJH manufacturing property, which is to
have a large building erected for housing the large industrial vessels the firm builds. Another available building for business and industry in the airport park area is the former Sykes building. PCDA continue to improve the property known as West Ranch Industrial Park west of
the City. Previously it was known as the Whirlpool site. It is anticipated this property would be used for heavy industrial development.

Candidates To Interview For Vacant Board Seat Three candidates have applied for the unexpired Ward 5 seat on the Ponca City Board of Education. The candidates are Marvin Clark, Virginia Combrink and Jerry Fowler.

Cleaning Up History - Dilapidated Roof shingles and beams burn after being removed from a historic old barn structure Saturday on the north side of Lake Road across from Ponca Bowl. The new property owner, local businessman Russ Didlake, says the building was originally the carvers station where stone carvers perpared stone slabs, mined from caves at the site, for use in the construction of the Marland Mansion. It was later converted for use as a barn but has been in disrepair and overgrown by vegetation for many years. Didlake says he hopes to work with interested historical preservation organizations and individuals to see if the structure can be restored. He says the roof was caving in and causing more damage to the stone walls.

After a 90 minute executive session, the Kay County Justice Facilities Authority unanimously agreed to offer Don Jones the position of jail director.

Marvin Clark, former Ponca City Board of Education member, was appointed Monday night to serve the remaining term for Ward 5, previously held by the late Dr. Ron Hartman.

Exciting times are slated for a Ponca City landmark. Known in recent years as the Eastman National Bank building at Third Street and Grand Avenue, the structure has been purchased by the partnership of Richard and Debbie Winterrowd under the banner of Eastin Properties

A treat is in store for those planning to attend the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce Banquet on Thursday Jan. 30 at the Phillips 66 Atrium 6:30 p.m.. In addition to recognizing outstanding leaders and a year of accomplishments, this year’s event will be guided through
the program by master of ceremonies Keni Ray, 2004 Chamber Chair.

Approval was given by the Ponca City Development Authority trustees Thursday on an amendment to an existing agreement in aid of economic development with MJ&H Fabrication concerning the timing of the payment of up to $24,356 incentives. The approval does not change the final approved incentive amount.

A new business opening in Hartford Square, Cindy’s Party Time, adds a new dimension to shopping in Ponca City. Located at 1808 North Fifth Street, the store is owned by Cindy Burgess and offers the complete party packages for families and friends, from children and adult birthday parties, wedding parties, retirement parties and beyond.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners approved a contract Monday night with Benchmark Enterprises of Broken Arrow for $180,000 to build a new splash pad at Dan Moran Park. The location will be in the area of the previously occupied BMX Track. The estimated project completion date is April 29.

The Ponca City board of education on Monday night offered superintendent Dr. David Pennington a $5,000 pay increase which he declined. Board member Robin Riley voted against the measure. The three year contract offered would have raised his base salary to $170,000 and go into effect July 1 with the same terms as 2013-14.

Moving Day at Marland’s Grand Home as furniture is put back in place after a month-long refinishing of the oak floors in the historic first mansion of Ponca City oil pioneer E.W. Marland. The Marland Grand Home will reopen to public viewing next Tuesday, Jan. 21.

School Funds Discussed - Oklahoma has recovered from the recession and state funding is up. Despite this, education appropriations are lower than they were before the recession began around 2008, even though the student population is increasing. Superintendent Dr. David Pennington discussed the funding Monday night at the Ponca City board of education meeting. He noted state aid increased by $269,953 because of a mid-term adjustment. “This is the first time we have seen any real new money since before the recession hit so that’s really good news,” said Pennington. “The bad news is we did not receive as much money as we should have because the appropriation they gave us last year was not enough to cover all the growth in students statewide.” According to reports, the total net state aid for the district in 2008-09 was $14,198,528 and for 2013-14 that number has fallen to $12,147,106, a difference of $2,051,422 less. “We actually have six dollars less to spend on each student,” said Pennington. “Most businesses and most families have seen their income go up since the recession. It may not have kept up with inflation but at least it went up. Our situation is we’re not even talking about keeping up with inflation, we actually have less money to spend on students.” Education funding allocations have taken a hit because of two main factors — oil and gas credits and the roads fund.

Ponca City Board of Education members discussed another controversial topic this week weighing on the minds of Oklahomans. Oklahoma law Senate Bill 346 has some new requirements concerning reading that may cause some third graders to be retained.

Phil Bandy, Outstanding Citizen, Dies - The voice of the cadence caller for Taste and Tasteless and historical player B.S. Barnes has been silenced with the death of Ponca City Outstanding Citizen Phil Bandy. He died Thursday at the age of 65. A part of the arts since he came
to Ponca City in 1974, he established Bandy’s Women’s Wear in 1979 and was well-known across the state for his role with the historical players as B.S. Barnes, the founder of Ponca City. Active in civic affairs since moving here, Bandy served on a number of boards, including Pioneer Technology Center and Ponca City Main Street. He was presented both the Outstanding Citizen and Community Service Awards by the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce. Bandy, with the late John Smith, was instrumental in establishing the first Ponca City Main Street Program. He served on the Ponca City Tomorrow Board and was a consummate actor in a number of Ponca Playhouse presentations. He also served as president of the Ponca Playhouse and Poncan Theatre. He was always the cadence caller for the Lawn Chair Brigade for Taste and Tasteless performances. At the state level Bandy was recognized as a recipient of the Oklahoma Community Institute for Excellence for Community Leadership. He was recognized in part for being in the “middle” of a wide variety of community organizations and initiatives ranging from the business sector to the cultural arena. He is survived by his wife Ann and their children Blake and Brooke. A memorial tribute will be held in his honor at the Poncan Theatre on Monday, Jan. 20, at 2 p.m. The family invites friends to gather with them and share memories of Phil at Trout Funeral Home on Sunday, Jan. 19, from 4-6 p.m.

A lawsuit filed in Kay County in the Spring of 2013 by OSU-University Multi-Spectral Laboratories in Ponca City, reported by The News in May 1, 2013, alleges claims against the management company Triton Scientific and owner Dr. Webster Keogh and his wife Danielle Keogh. OSU is suing Triton for fraud involving funds diverted elsewhere including those used to support a high dollar dress shop in the Classen Curve area in Oklahoma City. The suit also alleges other funds were deposited in offshore accounts in Cyprus. OSU is attempting to recover the lost funds.

For the second time, Barry Bickle will be the chairman of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commence. Bickle, senior vice president and a director of Eastman National Bank, served in the chairman’s position in 2000. Bickle was appointed in 2012, to fill the vice president position on the executive committee, when Dr. Steve Tiger, CEO of Pioneer Technology Center, vacated the position to accept a job at Tulsa Tech. The official symbolic passing of the gavel from outgoing Chamber Chairman Natalie Fraser will happen at the Chamber Banquet on Jan. 30.

A new owner of an established store is Mica Havens, who is operating “Marry Me” store in the Pioneer Shopping Center at 411 North Fourteenth. The store has been in business for a number of years.

Ponca City Commissioner Lanita Chapman is seeking re-election, and is being challenged by Anton Epp for commissioner seat one, a seat she has held for six years.

The 120th Annual Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce is shaping up to be a sell-out. Slated for 6:30 p.m., the Thursday event is in the Phillips 66 Atrium Cafeteria, and the Chamber accomplishments
of the year will be recognized.

The Scope of Work at the new headquarters of Hospice of North Central Oklahoma includes putting in new windows. The building at 1308 East Bradley was formerly the Assembly of God Church. The mission of the $2.7 million renovation of the church building is for a multifunctional office, warehouse and multi-purpose room planned to benefit the 50-mile radius service area.

Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce of Commerce’s Business Council has taken on a new project to be known as “Cash Mob Monday.”

Oklahoma Corporation Commission spokesman Matt Skinner said today crews are still searching for the source of a methane gas leak on the Chris and Sherry Walls property, 1015 South Fifth Street. Skinner said OCC knows there is a source but does not know where or what the source is. He said data collected so far does not indicate the refinery is involved. Skinner said crews are digging toward an old line but they do not know what kind of line it is. The Walls family has been out of their house for 111 days because of the ordeal. Skinner said there is no timetable for how long this could go on.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners met Monday and discussed a height sensor device for the South Avenue underpass. City Manager Craig Stephenson reported that his staff is working with the BNSF Railway Company for the device. Stephenson said the device will provide a light beam that will trigger signals to activate and notify drivers if they are over the height restriction for the underpass. Stephenson said this project should be completed by April. Under the Consent Agenda, the Commission voted to approve the modification of the Union Street Substation Construction Contract, identifying the City of Ponca City as the contracting entity and changing the completion date to May 31, 2014; the update of the Residential Anti-Displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan of the City of Ponca City, and Change Order No. 1 in the add amount of $3,093 to the construction contract with Mies Construction Inc. for the Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority Water Transmission Main Project.

Like a well-oiled machine the 120th annual Ponca City Chamber of Commerce banquet rolled along Thursday evening with a sold out audience. Keni Ray, master of ceremonies, moved the program along smoothly ... almost. Getting a capacity crowd of 460 seated takes a little time. Although the event began a touch late, it still finished within the two hours. Part of this was made up by incoming chairman Barry Bickle, who relinquished his time to Chamber Executive Rich Cantillon, who gave the “State of the Chamber” address. Kelly Johnson, president of Quality Water, drew a standing ovation when he was named Outstanding Citizen by Janet Martin, 2013 recipient. Other awardees and presenters were: Terron Lyles, owner of The Bag Lady, Larry Hughes Leadership award, presenter Sue Lunsford; Bill Coleman and Team Radio, Business Partner of Year, Wendy Stobbe, presenter; Albertsons, Industry of the Year, Laurence Beliel, Ponca City Development Authority presenter; Rhonda Skrapke, city grant administrator, Gary Martin Outstanding City Employee, presenter Kevin Murphy.

The Miss Ponca City Pageant will be held on Saturday, Feb. 8 at 6:30 p.m. in the Howell Auditorium. Six contestants will compete this year.

Kaw Enterprise Development Authority (KEDA) working with Ponca City Energy and their crews recently finished the installation of a security camera and wireless transmission system on one of the Southwind Energy lights at Lake Ponca. This off grid, remote monitored system is powered by wind and solar energy, with a pure sine wave inverter specifically for electronics, according to Ken Luttrell, Kaw Enterprise Development Authority, public relations director. This project demonstrates other possibilities for freestanding solar energy devices and the capability to perform 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with no power outages, utilities or electrical usage. This unit provides security, vandalism prevention and family safety in the park and fishing area at the lake, transmitting the security video to the city for monitoring.

Ponca City Police Chief Don Bohon announced at the Chamber of Commerce Board meeting that the Ponca City Police Department’s training center site will host the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) for regional training sessions over a six month time frame beginning in March. The City built the center several years ago as a training facility for the Ponca City Police Department.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners met for a work session on Monday and discussed a proposed agreement for AT&T to provide U-Verse serices. City attorney Kevin Murphy reported that AT&T has informed the city that it would like to bring its U-Verse system to Ponca City. U-Verse is a method to provide phone, TV programming and internet to customers. AT&T approached the city with a request to enter into an agreement for use of the public right of ways within the city. They are offering essentially the same consideration (five percent franchise fee) as the cable company pays. Murphy said AT&T would like to get this agreement worked out prior to the end of February.

A City Commission candidate forum is set for 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Friday in the Commissioner’s Chambers at City Hall. Sponsored by the Ponca Politics Committee of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce, the forum will feature Lanita Chapman, incumbent, and challenger Anton Epp. They are vying for City Commission Seat No. 1. The election is set for Tuesday. Lee Evans, chairman of Ponca Politics, is the moderator. The candidates will each make a brief statement and afterwards the candidates will answer questions submitted on index cards from the audience. The public is encouraged to attend.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners met Monday and authorized the advertisement of bids for the Sidewalk Improvement Project on Grand Avenue from Third to Sixth Street. Mike Lane, traffic engineering director, said the project is a continuation of the Grand Avenue sidewalk improvements completed in 2010, from Oak Street to Third Street. The scope of the project includes new street lighting with underground wiring, a decorative brick strip along the curb line and new sidewalk construction on both sides of Grand Avenue, from Third Street to Fifth Street. It also includes a new brick-patterned strip along the curb lines of Grand Avenue, from Fifth Street to Sixth Street, and new sidewalk construction along the west side of Fourth Street, from Grand Avenue north to the alley adjacent to the proposed Veterans Memorial Plaza.

Lanita Chapman defeated Anton Epp Tuesday by a vote count of 457-102 to retain seat one on the Ponca City Board of Commissioners. “I’m honored to be given a chance at a another term and to continue some things we started,” she said. “We have a wonderful staff and I enjoy working with them.” Chapman said she was surprised at the low turnout. Only 559 of Ponca City’s 12,592 registered voters eligible for Tuesday’s election voted.

Ponca City Development Authority, following an executive session Thursday, voted to approve a temporary lease for the spec building Connie Lou with Log10 a company specializing in food safety, consulting and manufacturing firm. The building, located at 2402 Sykes Boulevard.

Homer Nicholson, owner of Nicholson Auction, was inducted into the Oklahoma State Auctioneers Association Hall of Fame at the yearly conference at the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City. Homer is a member of the National Auctioneers Association and a member of the
National Auctioneers Foundation.

Head Country Food Products Division Is Sold To a New Family of Owners - Danny Head woke up yesterday morning with a new title: Retired. His friends will say Head has practiced retiring a time or two with little success. This time, however, it’s official. Valentine’s Day saw the sale of a labor of love, his Head Country Food Products, Inc., to a new family. The assets were sold to Rocky and Kim Flick, Miami, Okla., and Gladstone Investment Corporation, a publicly traded business development company headquartered in McLean, Va. (Nasdaq: GAIN).

The Old Wonder Bread building, 1300 Princeton, is in the process of being remodeled for offices. The city permit indicates the remodeling has a valuation of $20,000.

The Traffic Signal pole at the southwest corner of 14th Street (US 77) and Hubbard Road is being located to the south to allow for the widening of Hubbard Road later this year. Traffic Engineering Department personnel have commenced relocation work. .

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners met in a work session this week and discussed rural water districts. The commissioners reviewed the current contractual provisions between the City of Ponca City and certain rural water districts and discussed establishing specific criteria as it relates to the consent of the Commission to vary the terms and conditions of said contracts. Craig Stephenson, city manager, and Chris Henderson, community development director, provided the information. Much of the unincorporated portions of Kay and Osage County have been served by rural water districts (RWD’s) dating back to the mid 1960’s.

At Tuesday night’s Ponca City Police Department Awards and Appreciation Ponca City Police Chief Don Bohon, presented awards to Cpl. Manny Lara, Booking Officer Gina Payne and T. L Walker following . Lara was named Officer of the Year after a nomination by Lt. Clint Wood. Payne was named Support Staff Member of the Year with her nomination coming from detective division secretary Laura Klein. Walker is president of the Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association, host of the banquet.

Ponca City Police Department’s fleet has grown to include four new 2014 Chevrolet Tahoes. According to Chief Don Bohon, the new vehicles were chosen to improve the safety of tall officers. The sport utility vehicles are the first for the 53-vehicle fleet which includes 40 marked
patrol cars, two motorcycles and nine unmarked cars.

A quiet, gentle, giving man, Don Mertz, 87, an industrial giant, died Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014. Mertz and his late brother Forrest, carried on a family business they bought from their grandfather Roy in 1948. The business changed over time from a one man machine shop to a major manufacturing plant with over 450 employees eventually having an impact on the energy industry world wide.

After months of training and a few introductory inspections, Ponca City’s new K-9 team is ready for full-time duty. Ptm. Ben Garrison and his partner Koda, a 15-monthold German Shepherd, are the third such team in Ponca City Police Department’s recent history.

The Chris and Sherry Walls family now find themselves back in a hotel that ConocoPhillips is no longer paying for and with their residential property still diagnosed with methane gas leaks plus no guarantees of a quick solution. The crisis began on Oct. 9, 2013 when Oklahoma
Natural Gas crews located a leak, later called a methane gas leak, and shut the family’s gas off. This is Day 136 out of our their home, the family of six and two pets are staying at the Quality Inn at a cost of $118 a day. The family has had to adopt one pet out because of the situation and has been out-of-pocket for U-Haul expenses as they have moved from hotel, to rent house and then back to hotel. At 3:30 p.m. Friday ConocoPhillips stated they will no longer pay for the hotel rooms because they believe the problem has nothing to do with them.

City Crews begin work today in the 300 block of East Grand Avenue in preparation for replacing existing downtown street lights with period-style lamps as shown in the inset photo.

Shoe Show, Inc., announces the opening of Shoe Show Dept. Encore at 2604 North Fourteenth Street, will be soon. This will bring the total number of stores in the chain to 1118. Robert B. Tucker opened the first Shoe Show 54 years ago with used carpeting bought from a church and racks that were spray painted by Tucker and others. The first store employed Tucker, his wife, and one part-time employee. The company now has over 8,900 employees and stores in 38 states. Shoe Show, Inc. averages opening one store every seven days.

Warm Weather preparations are in full swing today at Lake Ponca as about 20 truckloads of sand are being added to the swim beach area.

Lanita Chapman and Mary Beth Moore take the Oath of Office from city judge Bill Kirkpatrick during Monday night’s board of commission meeting. Moore was unopposed during the February election while Chapman defeated challenger Anton Epp.

Future Business development of land at the southwest corner of the intersection of South Fourteenth Street and Harding Avenue is being explored by the Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma, according to current tribal chairman Earl Howe III. Brush and trees have recently been cleared on the property and a business development study is being commissioned to help determine the best business use of the parcel. He says ownership of the parcel, held in federal trust, is fractionated among over 100 individual tribal member owners — including the tribe. Howe says the tribe hopes to acquire many of the fractionated interests utilizing funds designated for that purpose from the Cobell Indian Trust Settlement. He also said the tribe is continuing contacts with the city and the Ponca City Development Authority to strengthen cooperation
and benefits for all parties.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners approved a contract for a sewer replacement project this week during the monthly board meeting. The contact, in the amount of $1,473,547, is with Urban Contractors Inc. for the Ponca City Refinery Sewer Interceptor Replacement Project.

Kent Marshall, Ponca City Senior High School Principal, plans to retire after working for Ponca City Schools for 11 years and serving as principal since 2011. He will leave the district at the end of the 2013-14 school year in order to better care for aging parents.

Opening this week at 215 East Grand Avenue are two businesses housed in the same building. They are Pistols & Pearls Boutique and Sugar Shack.

New owner of Wild Bill’s Embroidery, located for a number of years at 3447 North Enterprise Road, is Western Outfitters and Custom Embroidery 3010 North Fourteenth Street. The business is owned under the Heartland banner by Jimmy Hawkins, Spencer Hawkins and Ashleigh Hawkins. Spencer and Ashleigh are owner/managers.

The Oklahoma House passed a bill Tuesday — on a second try — that extends a tax credit for the film industry after debating the economic impact of the measure and how one film that received such an incentive portrayed the state. House members voted 65-28 for the measure after reconsidering the bill. It had fallen three votes short of the necessary 51 needed to pass in the 101-member House on Monday. The Marland Mansion could possibly be the scene of the film “The Ends of the Earth” about the Marland family. The chances improved Tuesday with the passage of the movie rebate bill for films shot in Oklahoma.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners discussed proposed changes to no-smoking ordinances during a work session this week. Kevin Murphy, city attorney, introduced the item regarding the change which would increase limitations on smoking in some public venues and including restrictions on non-tobacco smoking products. The Oklahoma legislature has lifted its restriction on municipalities being able to regulate smoking of tobacco and non-tobacco smoking products in their outdoor venues. This now permits the City to regulate smoking at outdoor events within the city.

The Ponca City Board of Education met at its regular meeting on Monday night. At the meeting a new board member was installed, they elected a new president and vice president and they discussed the March 31 rally at the Capitol. Dr. David Kinkaid, who was unopposed for seat number four on the board of education, was administered the oath of office by school attorney Gary Bracken. Robin Riley was elected new board president. Marvin Clark was approved as vice president. Mary Ladd will continue to serve as clerk and Betty Johnson will continue to serve as deputy clerk. In Dr. David Pennington’s report, he addressed the March 31 rally at the Capitol.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners approved an ordinance and amended the “no smoking” provisions of city code Monday night during the board’s regular session.

Assistant principal Thad Dilbeck has been named as the new Ponca City Senior High School principal pending final board approval. Dilbeck will replace Kent Marshall who is retiring at the end of the school year. Dilbeck has been serving as assistant principal at Po-Hi since he came to the district in 2012. He has 13 total years experience in teaching, coaching and administration in education in Oklahoma.

Diane Anderson, science teacher at East Middle School, accepted the 2015 Teacher of the Year Award at the annual TOY Banquet held Thursday night at Ponca City High School.

AT&T Crews are working near the Pioneer Woman Statute to install conduit in which fiber optic cable will run underground throughout Ponca City rights of way in preparation for the company’s U-Verse service. City commissioners recently approved an agreement with AT&T for use of public rights of way associated with its U-Verse products. AT&T approached the City with a proposed agreement to pay a fee in lieu of a franchise tax for use of the public rights of way for its IP video offerings. The U-Verse service offers telephone, broadband and what is essentially cable TV, all wrapped into one package and offered to the public. AT&T will pay the same franchise fee of five percent as the incumbent cable operator (Cable One) for use of the public rights of way for its IP video (cable TV) component

Ponca City Police Chief Don Bohon announced Friday that K-9 officer Koda is no longer in service to the department. In his announcement, Bohon stated, “I am sad to report that K-9 Koda has been diagnosed with a condition that will negatively affect his ability to be a dual purpose Police K-9. “Handler Ben Garrison will be traveling back to Indiana next week. With the help of Oklahoma Highway Patrol trainers, he will choose another K-9 partner. Koda will be returned to the kennel where he will be treated and could be ‘re-deployed’ as a single purpose police K-9. Koda will still live a productive, fulfilling life as a service dog.

Waverly Estates has erected the sign for the senior housing at North Waverly Street and West Highland Avenue. Building of the 62 units project has been under way since August 2013.

Ponca City was named a 2013 Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to effective urban forest management.

Setting forms for the first concrete pour at the new splash pad now beginning construction at Dan Moran Park, concrete contractors began work Monday afternoon. City commissioners approved the project in January and selected Benchmark Enterprises of Broken Arrow as general contractor for $180,000 project located in the area of the previous BMX track at the south side of the park. The estimated completion date is by the end of the school year.

One of the newer Ponca City industries Consolidated Oil Well Services (COWS) is having an economic impact on the community. A delegation from the company headquarters in Chanute, Kan., led by President Steve Stanfield was here Thursday to meet with City, Chamber and Ponca City Development Authority officials.

The Greenwood Group, Inc., of Ponca City has acknowledged today a new subsidiary, Unmanned Investigations, Inc. This company will lead Greenwood’s pursuit in the area of unmanned systems by providing research and development services to government agencies and corporate clients with a principal focus on small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and robots.

Her Majesty’s Gems is announcing a new location beginning April 1. The shop will be inside Albright Insurance Building, 314 North Fifth Street.

Approximately 400 individuals from the Ponca City Public School District will stand united for Oklahoma students with an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 Oklahomans on Monday at 10:30 a.m. at the Rally for Education at the State Capitol. The purpose of the Rally is to ensure that the state’s 678,000 public school students are made a priority by securing a long term commitment to fund Oklahoma public schools.

An Exercise Station along the Hutchins Memorial Walking Trail is under construction today, Street Division workers position rebar steel rods prior to a concrete pour. Stationary exercise equipment will be added later.

Approximately 25,000 teachers, parents and students rallied at Oklahoma City’s State Capitol Monday in support of funding public education. Funding for schools, teacher salaries and state testing were among the several topics addressed during the rally.

Riding the three-year wave of success of Ponca City’s first splash pad water park, a second facility is currently under construction. Some of the plumbing and the form for the first colored concrete pour for the new splash pad at Dan Moran Park are shown today. The total pad size will be larger as an additional concrete pour in a contrasting color will surround the first pour location. Dan Moran Park is situated on the west side of Ponca City along West South Avenue at South Ash Street.

Ponca City Police Chief Don Bohon announced March 7 that veteran of the force Anthony Rogers has been appointed to the position of Deputy Police Chief.

A world premiere of the movie, Hornet’s Nest is going to be held here at the Poncan Theatre. The movie’s script was written by Ponca City’s hometown Emmy winning journalist Mike Boettcher. The prestigious event is set to be staged on May 7, and the proceeds will benefit the downtown Kay County Veteran’s Memorial Plaza.

The Ponca City Planning Commission voted Monday to approve a rezoning ordinance that will extend the business district status of a parcel of land located in the 400 block of East Prospect Avenue. The unanimous approval paved the way for a new business facility tentatively
slated to begin construction in the next year. The site is the proposed retail location of an Atwoods Ranch and Home store.

Kelly Johnson, Ponca City Development Authority chairman, presented Gov. Mary Fallin a piece of pottery by local artist Clyde Otipoby. The governor was the keynote speaker for the Kay County Economic Conference.

MJ&H FABRICATION in the Airport Industrial Park is in the process of constructing a large plant to build industrial size tanks.

Denton Precision Rifles has moved from Pine Street to 203 North Third Street. Owned by Robert Denton, a rifle smith, the business, buys, sells and trades new and used firearms and accessories.

City workers began removing downtown light posts today on East Grand Avenue between Third and Fourth streets. Decorative period light posts will soon be installed as part of a downtown improvement project.

New dates the 101 Wild West Rodeo are announced on the sign recently erected in front of the rodeo grounds on North Ash Street at West Prospect Avenue. The rodeo committee promises more cowboys and a better rodeo as a result of moving the dates up from early August to June.

A one-of-a-kind event featuring the world premier of the movie “The Hornet’s Nest” at The Poncan Theatre in May will also feature five time Grammy winner Wynonna Judd and her husband Cactus Moser. The musical duo performed the movie sound track feature song “Follow
Me.” Judd and Moser plan to be here for the movie’s premier on Wednesday, May 7 at 7 p.m.

Rack of pipes are placed along South Seventh Street at Circle Drive as work begins on the repair and replacement of the city’s 12-inch to 24-inch sanitary sewer line which runs through the Phillips 66 Ponca City Refinery. The $1,473,547 project is funded through the Oklahoma Water Resources Board’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund. The project is engineered by Cabbiness Engineering LLC of Norman with construction contracted to Urban Contractors LLC of Oklahoma City. The line runs approximately 6,700 linear feet through the refinery according to project information on the Cabbiness website.

KC Electric of Enid continue work today on Ponca City Energy’s new Union Street Substation being built at the southeast corner of North Union and Comanche. The new substation features a 25 million volt ampere (MVA) transformer, replacing an older unit destroyed in a Sept. 15, 2012 explosion and fire at the old substation across the street. The old substation has been restricted to 50 percent capacity since the incident, according to PCE General Manager Phil Johnston. Parts of the existing facility were built in 1928 and part in the 1960s. Johnston says the new plant will increase reliability and will be of all modern technology. Completion is expected by summer.

The Chris and Sherry Walls family are now in a rental home with no scheduled date to return to their family home. The family was forced to leave their home on Oct. 9 after Oklahoma Natural Gas crews located a methane gas leak in their yard. Since then the family has bounced from hotel rooms to rental homes while the Oklahoma Corporation Commission investigates. In February the family was staying in a hotel when they learned ConocoPhillips would no longer foot the bill.

Eastman National Bank announces Melissa Bowers and Shasta Scott have both been promoted. Bowers was recently promoted to Assistant Vice President and Credit Risk Officer and Scott to Assistant Vice President of Mortgage Lending, according to Mark Detten, President and CEO.

Cell Doc is a new business opening at 1800 North Fifth Street in Hartford Square in the former location of Calley Jo’s. Owned by Ponca Citian Sean R. Cochran, the business specializes in repairing cell phone and ipads. Cochran also offers rebuilt phones, and protective cases.

Wind is becoming recognized as a major power source in Oklahoma, according to Laurence Beliel, President of the Oklahoma Renewable Energy Council. Beliel, as the director of business retention and expansion for the Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA), has been attending the OREC for about four years with PCDA recognizing the importance of wind energy in this part of Oklahoma.

Ponca City Medical Center (PCMC) has earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for accreditation by demonstrating compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in hospitals. The accreditation award recognizes PCMC’s dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s state-of-the-art standards.

A kiosk business opening in the hallway of Ponca Plaza, is Exclusive Baskets. The owner of this custom designed basket business is Kristi Roach. She says she enjoyed creating custom gift baskets suggested by customers.

As third grade students prepare for tests that could potientially keep them in third grade another year, legislators are going toe-to-toe concerning third grade retention and mandated testing legislation in Oklahoma. Superintendent Dr. David Pennington explained to the board at Monday night’s meeting where important legislation stands, what this legislation will mean for students in Oklahoma and marks Friday as an important day for this legislation. “Friday is the last day that bills must come out of committee to be considered on the floor of the house they did not originate in,” said Pennington. The most anticipated bill in the legislature now is HB 2625.

Superintendent Says March 31 Rally Made a Difference - The Education Rally on March 31 held at The Capitol made a difference, according to Ponca City Superintendent Dr. David Pennington. During his recent report to the board of education, Pennington highlighted legislative updates including HB 2642, the Securing Educational Excellence Fund.

The Ponca City Parks and Recreation Commission entertained a proposal Thursday that could bring the currently defunct Willow Springs ballpark recreation area back to life. The park, located on South 11th Street, was once the site of Ponca City softball but has now fallen into disrepair.

Testing for Ponca City schools got off to a rough start today as glitches shut down tests statewide. As a result of online testing disruptions for students in grades 6-8 and high school end-of-instruction (EOIs) exams, State Superintendent Janet Barresi has directed testing vendor CTB/McGraw Hill to suspend online testing for today.

Old sidewalks in downtown Ponca City are in the process of removal today along the south side of East Grand Avenue looking from Fourth Street to Third Street. The work is part of a project to add period lighting and new sidewalks with the look of brick.

Kay County Detention Center Director Don Jones said Wednesday it is a concern that the Department of Corrections is pulling prison inmates from county jails but currently is not a real problem for Kay County. “There is not anything we can do about it,” said Jones. “The big thing is we don’t want to go backwards from what we built. Housing 50 DOC inmates here is not a burden. We have an adequate staff and programs for the inmates. It is a concern because the loss of budget money can mean the loss of employees.”

Ponca City Medical Center (PCMC) announces that it is the first Accredited Chest Pain Center in northern Oklahoma and one of only three in the state. PCMC recently applied for and was granted full accreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care (SCPC) - a designation held by only 12 percent of hospitals in the United States.

Work continues on the new home of Hospice of North Central Oklahoma. The building is being converted from the former First Assembly of God Church structure to the new headquarters of Hospice. Rick Scott Construction is doing the $2.7 million conversion.

Dorada Foods is the recipient of an Environmental award from U.S. Energy Recovery, a energy solution technology company. The monetary award from U.S. Energy for reduction in energy totaled $3,159. Dorada donated the funds to Habitat for Humanity and the Ponca
Dugout Club for Ponca City High School.

Groubd Round Grill and Bar owners Marc and Kathy Leavell with the manager Darnell Harris cut the ribbon during the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the restaurant at 720 East Prospect.

Another new store has opened at 2600 North Fourteenth Street in the location of the former K-mart. The business is Shoe Dept. Encore. The store boasts carrying about 2,000 pair of shoes in a variety of styles and name brands.

A new business is opening in Pioneer Shopping Center at 407 North Fourteenth Street, in the former location of Whisky Creek Designs. The business is Kristy’s Balloon Utopia, owned by Kristy Russell.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners convened with city staff Monday and Tuesday to consider the proposed Fiscal Year 2014-2015 city budget and tentative appropriation and expenditure numbers.

The Ponca City Police Department will use the proceeds from a grant awarded last week to pay for a state-of-the-art crime analysis program. The department was one of the recipients of the 2014 Attorney General’s Safe Oklahoma Grant awarded by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt.

New sidewalks will be added this week by the City of Ponca City Street Department. They will be working on Fifth and Sixth Streets in front of the library. Beginning Tuesday, April 29, that block will be closed to foot traffic. The south doors at the Library will be locked during this period, preventing patrons from entering or exiting those doors. Patrons are asked to use the west doors to the Library during that three week period.

City Commissioners of the City of Ponca City received promising news about the local economy in continued resurgence during the Utility Authority segment of its regular meeting Monday. David Myers, executive director of the Ponca City Development Authority, presented
commissioners with a report stating unemployment is down and wages are up in Ponca City. Unemployment in Kay County is currently at 6.3 percent, almost half a percent better than the national average — and Ponca City’s unemployment rate is about one percent better than
that. “The formula used is inexact, but Ponca City’s current unemployment rate is approximately one percent below Kay County at about 5.3 percent,” Myers told the commission.

Ponca City Public School System is making an investment of $13,660,000 in the community to upgrade school facilities for the next three years. The projects that will begin this summer and in the fall are: Woodlands Elementary School - Renovation of the building to include a new office space that will include safety features such as a vestibule area requiring visitors to have their driver’s license scanned, and then let into the office to conduct business, ADA upgrades (elevators, chairlifts and ramps), fire sprinkler system, classroom flooring and a classroom addition to take the place of the old portable classrooms. Woodlands Elementary School will move to the Old Washington Elementary School site during the 2014-2015 school year while construction takes place. The cost is $2,375,000. Union Elementary School will move the existing office into a current classroom, renovate other areas affected by the move, install fire sprinklers and safety features like those in Woodlands, $725,000. Lincoln Elementary School — this project will include safe room upgrades, new HVAC and a new standing seam metal roof for $2,600,000. East Grand Old Administration Building — this renovation project will recover the building back to its original use as a Central Administration Office. This project is funded by a combination of Bond Funds and Building Fund money, $4,000,000. Sullins Stadium Restroom Project — this will begin in November to include new men’s and women’s restrooms on the south side of Sullins Stadium. These restrooms will also serve as areas of refuge for severe weather events, $600,000. The projects beginning the following year, 2015 – 2016 are: Trout Elementary School — This project will be like the Woodlands project in that it will include installing safety features, fire sprinkler system, ADA improvements and additions, construct a new office space, install classroom flooring, build a classroom addition and remove the old portable classroom buildings. Trout will move to the Washington site during the 2015-2016 school year to accommodate construction, $2,785,000. Liberty Elementary School — The project will include renovating and expanding the current office for safety, elevators and chair lifts, and a fire sprinkler system installation at $575,000.

Eastman National Bank has partnered with multiple area schools to celebrate Teach Children To Save Day with savings education held throughout the month of April. More than 225 local youths explored subjects such as safe savings opportunities, the difference between needs and wants, and the importance of saving money. Established by the American Bankers Association in 1997, Teach Children to Save has reached more than six million young people through the commitment of 134,200 banker volunteers.

Auntie Anne’s Pretzels has opened inside Walmart. The shop will have a grand opening Saturday. It is at the southeast entrance in the former location of the photography shop.

A successful eatery “Tortilleria los Compadres” specializing in authentic Mexican food, has moved to 801 South First Street. The location had previously been a Cobb’s Restaurant, but had been vacant for about 10 years.

Ponca City area residents now have access for their television and high speed Internet services. AT&T is launching U-verse® TV, AT&T U-verse High Speed Internet and AT&T U-verse Voice in the area.

Kenneth Holmes and Grace Yates, announce the addition of Michael J. Amend to the firm Holmes, Yates, and Johnson.

René’s Stained Glass Shop, owned and operated by René Vap, has been in business 15 years.

The City Commission of Ponca City met Monday for a work session meeting and discussed possible changes to city ordinances for the parking of vehicles in residential areas. Commissioners also heard from Ponca City Police Chief Don Bohon, Animal Control Supervisor Steve Miner and Humane Society Director Patricia Amado regarding the ongoing problem with a feral feline population. The first order of business was the discussion of a trap, neuter and release program for wild cats that populate and propagate in Ponca City, largely in areas behind local restaurants and grocery stores where the animals are able to subsist on discarded scraps of food. In the second order of business, commissioners heard a report from Development Services Director Chris Henderson concerning the merits of amending the current city code as it relates to the parking or storage of motor vehicles and recreational vehicles in the front yards of residential neighborhoods. Henderson noted that his staff regularly receives calls and complaints with increasing frequency regarding the parking of motor vehicles in the front yards of residences — and in an increasing number of neighborhoods that had previously never experienced such activity. “This has been an ongoing and increasing problem for years now, and is incrementally more prevalent every day,” Henderson said.

Appearing on the Red Carpet tonight for the world premiere of “The Hornet’s Nest” will be directors David Salzberg and Christian Tureaud, stars Mike and Carlos Boettcher and Wynonna Judd and Castus Moser. The action will begin at 7 p.m. at The Poncan Theatre. The movie is an action-drama made with 100 percent real footage. The film is a ground breaking and impressive feature film, according to the directors.

The City of Ponca City has entered into a construction contract with Urban Contractors Inc. to replace a sewer interceptor from the intersection of Osage Street and South Avenue through the P66 Ponca City Refinery Complex to Fourth Street. Due to the need to bypass sewage while the contractor is working on the north end of the interceptor, the section of South Avenue, between Elm and Palm Street, will be closed to all traffic from 8:00 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 12. Signing and barricades will be in place to detour and direct traffic around the construction site.

The world premiere of “The Hornet’s Nest” at the Poncan Theatre was a powerful event about heroes. The real war film footage was shot by Ponca Citian Mike Boettcher and his son Carlos in 2008 while embedded with American troops deep inside Afghanistan. Country music stars Wynonna Judd and Cactus Moser wowed the near capacity crowd at the theatre with their rendition of “Follow Me,” which is on the movie’s soundtrack. The crowd reacted with standing ovations. This would be the first of many thunderous standing ovations during the real action movie. The first three rows of guests were veterans and members of the military, including the 45th Infantry of Oklahoma. Director David Salzberg opened the ceremony and the military was honored throughout the event. This began with Wynonna, who declared her patriotic views in song and words. Earlier on the red carpet, Wynonna said she saw clips of the film and the soldiers following leaders into battle and “Follow Me” came to mind. Moser co-wrote the song and accompanied her at the event. The tribute to the soldiers and their families continued throughout the evening, particularly by hometown ABC correspondent and Oklahoma University journalism professor Mike Boettcher. Boettcher became emotional at times and appeared pleasantly surprised when Mayor Homer Nicholson read a roclamation declaring Mike Boettcher Day in Ponca City. Proceeds from the $100 ticket premiere were directed toward the Kay County Veteran’s Memorial Plaza. The land and the movement to honor veterans began with Mike’s brother, local attorney Fred Boettcher.

Ponca City City Commissioners have a big agenda slated for Monday’s regular session meeting, not the least of which includes a public hearing on the proposed city budget for the next fiscal year. As outlined in budget conferences with over a dozen city department managers
last month, the proposed City of Ponca City budget for 2014-2015 totals $98,674,465 spread across 29 different budget funds, which includes a General Fund targeted at $22,491,041.

New Tutoring Program Calls For Community Volunteers — High School graduation is on everyone’s mind as this year’s graduation grows closer. With that, a topic that comes to mind is student drop out rates, seemingly on the rise. A Ponca City man with the help of a small team of individuals wants to help graduate more students and calls for help from the community. Don Jorgensen, has created and implemented the Multiplication Mastery Project. The project is still in it’s beginning stages, starting in the fall of 2013 at Lincoln Elementary and continuing through this spring adding Woodlands Elementary to the list of schools they help.

Ponca City’s fiscal fortunes are tracking almost exactly as planned according to a budget status report reviewed by the City of Ponca City Board of Commissioners during its regular session meeting Monday. Among other agenda items, commissioners also opened the floor to public comment and discussion regarding the budget for fiscal year 2014-2015, which will begin July 1, received an update from Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority representative Jennifer Rogers, and unanimously approved a motion that will allow a local semi-pro football team to lease the Willow Springs Softball Complex.

Water line replacement work progresses today on North Union Street, which is presently closed from Overbrook Avenue to Liberty Avenue. Traffic is being detoured around the closure onto Pine Street. The Union Street water line replacement projected is expected to continue through June.

Dick Stone, 82, who died Sunday, can best be described as a servant. He served his country in the U.S. Army. He also served JC Penney in several managerial positions and served his church, First Christian, as an elder. He served his city as a city commissioner and as mayor of Ponca City. When Stone first came to Ponca City with Penney’s in 1978 it was to close the 1920s store on Grand Avenue and move to the new location in Ponca Plaza. He held that position until transferring to Wichita in 1983 as district manager of geographic stores in Kansas. Eleven years after the transfer to Wichita, Dick and his wife Ruth returned to Ponca City to “retire.” Retiring wasn’t really in Dick’s DNA and he became involved in the Festival of Angels. This led to many other voluntary projects and involvement in city government as a commissioner and a mayor. Stone was a friend of history, serving on the Marland Mansion Foundation, a friend of education with serving on the University Center Foundation, a friend of the Ponca City Police Academy and a friend of health and exercise when he took the lead to build a new Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center — YMCA. Recently he was chair of the City Planning Commission. Playing golf and wood working were his hobbies. A number of friends and organizations were recipients of his elaborate birdhouses for their personal pleasure or to be auctioned for a good cause. In addition to his wife, Stone is survived by two children — a son Scott and a daughter Elizabeth Ann Fuller. The service is set for 1:30 p.m. Thursday at First Christian Church.

After lengthy discussion of diminishing water assets, the Ponca City Planning Commission has elected not to recommend a recent request for a rural water meter — an action that affirmed a shift in policy for the commercial use of city resources for rural water districts. Kay County’s rural water districts were notified in February that the City Commission would be adopting a new policy regarding variances to contracts existing with Ponca City. This change was primarily prompted by a diminishing water supply due to ongoing drought conditions.

Ponca City schools scored better than the state average on third grade tests, according to recent information submitted to Oklahoma school districts. The test that currently decides retention or advancement is the third grade reading Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT).
In Ponca City, 81 percent of third graders will advance to fourth grade. This score is slightly higher than the state average of 80 percent. Ponca City had 371 third graders participate. Of those, 228 scored satisfactory or 58.6 percent. Fifteen students scored limited knowledge leaving 70 students, or 19 percent, of the third grade class that may possibly be retained. Those scoring unsatisfactory have other opportunities to demonstrate basic reading skills, including alternate tests and summer reading programs. Also students may fit into one of the six categories allowing for a good cause exemption. Of the 70 students that score unsatisfactory, 31 students are on an IEP, seven were English Language Learner students and at this point nine students will advance because of good cause exemption number five. A letter was sent to each parent of a child scoring unsatisfactory explaining Senate Bill 346, which outlines the reasons a students may be detained.

Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc., known commonly as CED, will be opening at 1101 East South Avenue about the first of June, according to Gene Miller. Currently the manager of the store in Enid, Miller will also be the manager of the store here until someone else is brought in to run the operation.

Grand opening of The Pink Possum boutique inside of Embellished at 205 East Cleveland, is set for 5 to 8 p.m., Thursday. Refreshments will be served and door prizes awarded. The business is operated by Gina Wooderson and Devin Courtney. The store is a partnership business between two friends. They began with a store in Blackwell, and also doing road shows, according to Courtney. The Ponca City store is the second store for the two woman partnership.

The Ponca City Public School district has selected Jamie Morgan as new assistant principal at the Senior High School. Morgan will replace Thad Dilbeck who was promoted to high school principal.

Major construction is concluded, but the addition of sod, computer programming and final sign-offs remain to be completed on the new splash pad located in Dan Moran Park on South Avenue at Ash Street as pictured here today. The goal is to have the splash pad up and running by Memorial Day

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners heard the semi-annual report from Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center YMCA in its work session meeting Monday. Executive Director Shane Harland and Stephanie Williams, the senior director of programs and marketing, appeared on behalf of the YMCA. According to the information they provided, the Ponca City branch currently boasts 9220 members, 3977 units, and enjoys a retention rate of 70 percent. Some 87 percent of its membership is comprised of residents of Ponca City. Blackwell, Tonkawa, and Newkirk residents comprise the majority of out-of-town participants.

Stonework is in process at the new Hospice of North Central Oklahoma building on Bradley. The structure is being converted from the former Assembly of God Church to the new headquarters building of Hospice. In June, Hospice of North Central Oklahoma, Inc. will celebrate 33 years of service to the citizens of north central Oklahoma. New staff additions include Winston Henry, Diana Turner, Steffi Cowan, Wendy Stobbe, and Jennifer Colvin.

Second story remodeling has started on the old Board of Education Administration Building on East Grand Avenue. The project will renovate the building back to its original use as a Central Administration Office. This $4,000,000 project is funded by a combination of bond funds and building fund money.

Margaret Hull, grew up hearing stories about Bryant Baker, her third cousin. Her grandmother had a photograph taken and signed by Baker hanging in her home for years and Hull inherited the photo. Hull said she always wanted to visit Ponca City to see the Pioneer Woman Statue and decided to take the long trip from her home in Guelph, Ontario, not far from Toronto. Hull arrived in Ponca City on Wednesday to see the statue and then went to the Marland Estate to see the Bryant Baker studio, which is housed on the grounds.

Ponca City’s newest splash pad water park will open to the public Friday, providing local residents with entertainment for all ages and another facility to beat the heat. Located at Dan Moran Park in the 900 block of West South Avenue, the recently completed splash pad installation includes two covered areas and bench seating around the play area.

Pennington Named District Superintendent of the Year

Beginning Tuesday, May 27, work will begin to reconstruct Ash Street from the north side of Liberty Avenue to the south side of Emporia Avenue. The City of Ponca City has entered into a contract with Hembree and Hodgson Construction of Ponca City to perform this pavement reconstruction work. During construction, this section of Ash Street will be closed to all traffic. Residents will not be able to access their driveways and will need to find alternate parking during construction. Estimated construction time is approximately 75 calendar days, dependent upon the weather.

Residents of Ponca City will soon see a slight increase in their utility bills on rate increases approved Tuesday by the Ponca City Board of Commissioners. Rates will increase for stormwater collection, water and wastewater. Electric energy bills will be tabulated differently but remain largely the same. Ponca City will see a 2.5 percent increase in water rates. This increase is equal for all customers, including residential, rural, and commercial users. Likewise, a 2.5 percent increase in wastewater rates was also approved across the board for all residential, rural, commercial, and industrial customers. The rate increase was deemed necessary to help the city’s Water Department and Wastewater Division recover increased costs of operation and improvement projects. City residential customers will now pay $9.55 per month for water. Rural customers will pay $14.36, commercial customers will pay $28.29, and rural commercial users will pay $42.45.

Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad crews will be performing maintenance activities at five railroad crossings beginning today. The five crossings that will be disrupted by this work are at Broadway Avenue, Albany Avenue, Brookfield Avenue, Detroit Avenue, and Emporia Avenue. The crossings at Albany, Brookfield, Detroit, and Emporia will be closed to motor vehicle traffic beginning mid-day and will remain closed until repairs are completed. The Broadway crossing will be closed to traffic on Thursday, May 29. The rehabilitation work is expected to be finished by Friday. Motorists who normally use one of the four north crossings will need to detour either north to the Hartford Avenue crossing or south to Highland Avenue. Traffic for the Broadway crossing can either use Highland or detour south to Cleveland Avenue.

The Airline Drive-In sign is hoisted onto a trailer after removal from the back of the closed theater’s outdoor screen by a Wyatt Construction crew on Friday. Located at 1800 West Highland Avenue, the drive-in opened in 1952 and was closed for film showings in 2007, according to drive-in theater internet fansite It reportedly had a 500 vehicle capacity. The sign may soon gain a second life as decor in a local business if it can be squeezed into the intended facility.

The Board of Commissioners of the City of Ponca City met in work session Monday and discussed the distribution of energy incentives. Commissioners also heard updates on pending changes to Ponca City sign ordinances and reviewed a resolution setting non-utility rates, fees, and charges for the city.

Discussion concerning the relative merits of pending changes to Ponca City’s zoning regulations for signage dominated Tuesday’s regular meeting of the Planning Commission. At the top end of the spectrum — and cost structure to retailers and other businesses operating in Ponca City — the commission was able to reach agreement on certain aspects of policy for electronic message board signs. There was less consensus on the use of temporary banners for advertising purposes. Commissioners decided or voted on specific provisions regarding the copy space allowed, the maximum brightness, and duration of electronic signs. When all aspects of the recent draft ordinance are approved, the results will be recommended to the Ponca City Board of Commissioners, which will ultimately sanction the measures.

The Airline Drive-In sign will find a second life at unWINEd wine bar if owner Melody Young gets her wish to mount the large sign along a wall of her popular Grand Avenue establishment. “We measured and it’ll fit,” says Young.

The downing of the Airline Drive-In movie marquee marks the end of an era — for sure this time. The 8.3 acres of land at Waverly and Highland, will now be put to use as a low rent housing addition. The theater was first opened in 1953 and enjoyed success for a number of years. After a run of three decades the drive-in movie theater closed in 1983. However the drive-in enjoyed an encore in 1994 when the City Planning Commission okayed the opening and renovation by Bill and Kate Guzenski, Ponca City, of Nichal Theaters. At that time the concessions and restroom areas were revamped and landscaping improved. Also the sound came through car FM radios or any FM radio. In 2004, the new owner was Terri Fry. Three years later the drive-in closed for the last time. The land was sold at auction as part of the Paul Otto farm in April 2007. The farm consisted of 250 acres broken into 17 bid lots, the drive-in was one of those lots.

The Cannon Honda new building project has begun with the setting of forms for the foundation. The state-of-the-art 14,000 square foot building is being constructed directly behind the current dealership facility, 3415 North Fourteenth Street.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners met Monday in regular session, and among other items in a lengthy agenda approved measures that will standardize broadband charges in Ponca City while also lowering the rates for many local users. The City of Ponca City provides broadband service carried over fiber optics to most large industries and many small businesses in the community. The city also provides “dark fiber” connections to organizations that need separate business locations connected without internet capability. The new ordinance drops the previous charge for most customers — entities that use between one and 10 megabytes comprise over 95 percent of Ponca City users — from $300 per megabyte to $200. Technology Services Director Craige Baird explained to commissioners that the rate
decrease is the result of successful negotiations with service provider AT&T.

Recently released fifth and eighth grade writing test scores could be flawed, according to Ponca City Superintendent Dr. David Pennington. During Monday night’s board of education meeting, Pennington said scores were consistent across the board. “We thought this was odd. For example, if a student scored a 2 in grammar — the student also received a 2 in every category. The scores were almost uniform across the board for every student.” The district also noted a decline in the number of students proficient inconsistent with test preparation. “The consistency across the state is that the scores have dropped,” said Pennington. “The site that prepared the hardest for this test, they actually had an after school program to help them prepare for the test, scored the lowest.” Each student taking the exams, according to the guide, receives a score from 1 to 5 for five subcategories. Each of the five subcategories had different weights that count toward the percentage of the student’s overall score. The five subcategories and their weights are: Ideas and Development — 30 percent; Organization, Unity and Coherence — 25 percent; Word Choice — 15 percent; Sentences and Paragraphs — 15 percent and Grammar, Usage and Mechanics — 15 percent. Pennington notes that students receiving the same scores in each category seems unlikely. Districts have the option to rescore the test at $125 a test; however, this cost is not something the Ponca City district feels is in the budget. Pennington continues that the validity and reliability of the test is in question. “I don’t think it is worth the money,” said Pennington. “You have to question the validity and reliability of the test. We don’t want to spend district resources to prove something that we already feel is true.” The writing tests administered was created by the vendor CTB/McGraw-Hill.

New play equipment installation is nearing completion at Liberty Park, one of which is a pirate ship as shown today. Work on the playground, located just west of Liberty Elementary School, is estimated to be completed by June 20, subject to weather.

Readers of the international publication Government Technology now know about “Ponca City’s Big Idea” (free Wi-Fi). The story written by Wayne E. Hanson, contributing editor, said, “One of the United States’ most successful muni Wi-Fi examples is located in a small city in northern Oklahoma — not necessarily what many picture as a cutting-edge, highly connected tech hub. But Ponca City is.” The article goes on to say Ponca City has a world-class wireless network providing free Wi-Fi across 25 square mile, an unusual attraction these days for a city “90 miles from nowhere.” Describing the system the publication said, “The free wireless mesh service — which is so fast and forward-looking that Kansas City, Apple and Google came calling to check it out — has been so successful that Ponca City again is hosting delegations from Oklahoma, throughout the U.S. and as far away as Australia and Italy.” In the story, Technology Services Director Craige Baird and City Manager Craig Stephenson explained the project had started 15 years ago and that the City has been adding fiber for city communications and disaster recovery over that period of time. The program to make GIS available in real time for public safety, public works, utilities and development services. The story says further “Businesses were eager to buy bandwidth on the system after the city’s needs were met, and that’s what ‘buys the pipe,’” Stephenson said. “Then an additional 200 megabytes of bandwidth was allotted for residential use over the public mesh network that serves the city.”

The Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police is launching a voluntary campaign that encourages Oklahoma police agencies to pay special attention to traffic safety initiatives. The Ponca City Police Department plans to take part in the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Challenge, dubbed the “Chiefs Challenge,” as a way of increasing public awareness and support for traffic safety issues. “I have always felt that aggressive enforcement and proactive traffic safety programs can have a major, positive impact on a community,” said Ponca City Police Chief Don Bohon. “We are excited about the opportunity to partner with the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police on this initiative.”

After some discusssion, the Ponca City Board of Commissioners elected Monday to approve a resolution allowing animal control to go forward with a joint effort with the Ponca City Humane Society to attempt to control the city’s feral cat population. By unanimous vote commissioners approved the Trap-Neuter/Spay-Release (TNR) program for cats. In the measure feral or community cats are trapped, spayed or neutered and then released back to where there were trapped. The cats are also given basic vaccinations and are ear notched to designate prior treatment. Community cats are defined as cats that do not have an owner, but are fed by and have resources provided by citizens.

Kay County voters selected Vance Johnson as the new District No. 1 county commissioner on Tuesday. Johnson defeated Jerald Stone and Brian Smith for the seat.

D AND K’S RED BARN, 2309 Lake Road, opened with new owners, Kathy Mattocks and Dane Pryse. The long time business has been refurbished.

University Center got a boost Friday with the announcement by Oklahoma State President Burns Hargis that OSU Oklahoma City is bringing a new wind turbine technology program to Ponca City. Hargis made the announcement at a public gathering, sponsored by the
Governmental Affairs Committee of the Ponca City Area Chamber of Commerce.

A Pre-Built restroom building is carefully lowered into place today at Pioneer Park. Constructed on a concrete slab with openings to fit over plumbing stubs rising up from the prepared pad, the unit is similar to the bathrooms previously installed at Lake Ponca. Cost of the facility is approximately $150,000, according to Parks & Recreation Director Jim Sindelar.

The Ponca City Planning Commission will meet tonight with three primary items on its agenda. Commissioners will consider and vote on a special use permit that would allow for the expansion of the Ponca City Head Start preschool, located at 407 South Ash Street. They will also consider a measure that would recommend the rezoning of a tract of land located at the northwest corner of Waverly Street and Grand Avenue, changing the area from multi-family residential to general commercial.

The Ponca City Planning Commission voted to approve recommendations to the City Commission to allow for zoning changes at two locations in its regular session Tuesday. The commission gave unanimous approval to extending commercial zoning on South Ash Street that will allow the Ponca City Head Start school to expand its primary facility and consolidate its students to one location. A vote on expanding a previously commercial zoned parcel of land located at the northwest corner of West Grand Avenue and Waverly Street was more contentious. After much discussion and one local resident expressing reservations to the plan, the commission voted 6-2 to allow for expansion. If approved by the City Commission, Sheperd Oil Company will build a convenience store at the Waverly Street location that will include a fast food franchise along with both gasoline and diesel fuel service.

Roofing action was in full force at the new Hospice of North Central Oklahoma headquarters when this photo was taken. The new headquarters, which is being revamped by Rick Scott Construction, at 1308 East Bradley was the former Assembly of God Church.

Johnson Supply is the new occupant of the large building formerly occupied by Rex Appliances, 700 East Prospect. The business is a supply wholesale store for Heating and Air-conditioning units, servicing contractors, and also some supplies for the public including appliance parts.

Real Estate Sales in Ponca City During June Best in Seven Years

Metalwork Construction is a new business in Ponca City at 210 North Pine. The firm specializes in engineered bolt up and weld-up buildings, metal roofs and cement pads.

The UPS sign for the new future location of the service is shown at 2128 North 14th. The store at 522 North 14th will remain in service until the move is made to the larger location. This is anticipated to be about mid-July.

Interior demolition work is nearing completion on the old Board of Education Administration Building located on East Grand Avenue between Sixth and Seventh. The project will renovate the building back to its original use as a Central Administration Office. The $4,000,000 project is funded by a combination of bond funds and building fund money.

Ponca City soon will say goodbye to Fire Marshal David VanBuskirk with the ringing of Ponca City Fire Department’s traditional “Last Alarm.” The public is invited to attend this official retirement ceremony set to begin at 1 p.m. on Friday, July 18 in No. 1 Fire Station’s training room, Fifth and Grand. The following Monday, Van-Buskirk will begin his new position as agent, Oklahoma State Fire Marshal’s Office, under the command of State Fire Marshal Robert Doke. VanBuskirk will be based out of Kay County and cover a territory including Kay, Osage, Payne, Noble and Pawnee counties. As VanBuskirk explained, “same place, same town, just different job.”

OKLAHOMA MUNICIPAL Power Authority workmen lower the lube oil cooler for turbine-generator at Charles D. Lamb energy plant being built north of Ponca City near Oklahoma 11 and “W.” The estimated completion date of the multi-million dollar plant is April 2015.

Possible extension of Sykes Boulevard west of Hall Boulevard in the west section of the Airport Industrial Park is a discussion item up for the Thursday Ponca City Development Authority meeting at the Chamber Conference Room 7:30 a.m. This is the issue the trustees, chaired by Kelly Johnson, will be asked to address. According to the agenda background information, there has been a long term plan for the expansion. With the development of MJ&H property to the north of this planned extension and plans for future spec buildings on the south-side of this extension, should staff develop plans and specifications for this extension?

Pioneer Technology Center (PTC) recently welcomed Doug Perry, owner of Re-Deck-It Concrete Solutions to the Business Incubator. Re-Deck-It is a concrete overlay and resurfacing business. Perry provides top-quality interior and exterior commercial and residential decorative concrete overlays. The polymer cement based material is strong enough for driveways, sidewalks, pool decks, patios and virtually all other concrete surfaces, either high traffic or not. Re-Deck-It is a choice for concrete areas that need to be repaired or resurfaced without tearing out the concrete itself.

Daylight Doughnuts, 118 North Third Street, has changed ownership. The new owner is Socheat Chea. The business is now open seven days a week 3:30 a.m. to 11;30 a.m.

Denise Lawson Interior Design’s new office is located downtown at 205 East Cleveland.

David K. Pennington, superintendent of the Ponca City Public School District, in Ponca City, and David R. Schuler, superintendent of High School District 214, in Arlington Heights, Ill., were installed today as the president and president-elect, respectively, of AASA, The School Superintendents Association, for 2014-15. Pennington and Schuler were officially sworn in during an installation ceremony held in conjunction with AASA’s Legislative Advocacy Conference, in Washington, D.C.

The final shipping containers with parts for the Mammoet PTC 140 crane — used in two lifts of massive coker units conducted last fall at the Phillips 66 Ponca City Refinery — are loaded aboard railcars today near downtown Ponca City.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners will hold its regular session meeting today at 5:30 p.m. in the Ponca City Commission Chamber at City Hall. Among the items on a busy agenda is a public hearing regarding the pending approval of a special use permit that would allow the expansion of the Ponca City Head Start pre-school, located on South Ash Street. In other new business, commissioners will consider and vote on an application for the Small Cities Community Development Block Grant program to the Oklahoma Department of Commerce for funding, as well as an amendment to an agreement for sewer service outside the corporate limits with the Osage Nation and the acceptance of a sanitary sewer line and lift station that would be used by the Osage Casino.

The Ponca City Board of Commissioners voted unanimously Monday to accept the Planning Commission’s recommendation to allow the expansion of the local Head Start preschool facility. The vote approved a special use permit for the otherwise single family residential zoned section in the 400 block of South Ash Street. The measure will allow the Ponca City Head Start school to expand its primary facility and consolidate its students to one location.

The Cross Oil Company is rebuilding the office and warehouse which was destroyed by a fire last August. The main entrance will be off of the four lane Highway 60, with a cross-over for east bound traffic to enter and exit.

A new entrance is in the process of being constructed on the south side of the former First Assembly of God on Bradley Avenue. When completed the building will house the headquarters of Hospice of North Central Oklahoma and the Carolyn Renfro Event Center. Rick Scott Construction is the general contractor.

Former Ponca Citian, the Honorable Charles A. Johnson, is retiring from the Court of Criminal Appeals (COCA) after 25 years on the bench. Judge Johnson was appointed to the Court on Oct. 31, 1989 by Gov. Henry Bellmon to fill the unexpired term of Hez J. Bussey. Johnson served as Presiding Judge 1995-1996, 2003-2004, 2009-2010.

Dr. Michael B. Moore, OB/GYN, has joined the Ponca City Medical Center medical staff. He recently began seeing patients in his new clinic, Kay County OB/GYN, 1908 North Fourteenth Suite 202 on the hospital campus.

Pizza Inn has a new location at 2600 North Fourteenth, which has completely refurbished the former Braum’s building.

An Old-Style replica street lamp pole is placed into position early today in the 300 block of East Grand Avenue.

Craig Stephenson, city manager for the City of Ponca City, was elected president of the City Management Association of Oklahoma (CMAO) Board of Directors for 2014-2015 at the semi-annual business meeting during the 2014 Summer Conference in Guthrie. Stephenson was one of four officers elected to the board as provided in the CMAO bylaws. The officers will serve a one-year term.

Ponca City Police Chief Don Bohon appeared before the Board of Commissioners to deliver the police department’s 2013 annual report in Monday’s regular session meeting. According to Bohon’s report, Ponca City’s crime rate is below average when compared to similar sized cities in Oklahoma, with right at 1,000 fewer service calls in 2013 than the preceding year, and continues on a downward trend when measured over a five-year period.

Former Ponca Citian Brien Thorstenberg now with the Tulsa Chamber of Commerce. Brien Thorstenberg serves as the vice president for economic development for the Tulsa Regional Chamber. In this capacity, he leads a professional team of economic development professionals to direct the business recruitment attraction and retention division of the Economic Development Department.

A vintage building with an education history is getting a classy update at 613 East Grand Avenue. This is the former Ponca City School Administration building. When the remodeling is finished plans are to return the structure to its original use.

Ross Health Care has announced the acquisition of Image Hospice with locations in Ponca City and Stillwater. Image Hospice will continue to operate its location in Ponca City at 611 East Hartford.

Updating facilities within the Ponca City Public School district continues to lead the commercial remodeling permits for the City of Ponca City.

Security procedures will change for visitors at Ponca City High School. Beginning Aug. 18, a security guard will be posted just on the inside of the main entrance of the Howell Building on the west side of the high school. A wall will be constructed in the corridor just as you enter the high school. The wall will separate the entrance allowing visitors to only enter through the north doors of the main west entrance. Once inside the entrance, a security guard behind a glass window on the north wall of the corridor will greet visitors. The guard will ask for personal identification to gain access to the building using a visitor’s pass. The security guard will be stationed as a way to transition visitors into the new security system set to be installed soon. According to Brett Smith, executive director of operations for Ponca City Schools, “There will soon be a Lobby-Guard installed in that area.” Smith relates that the LobbyGuard is tentatively set to be installed in the next two to three weeks.

After hearing assertions from property developers that a proposed business location would serve the public of Ponca City and not long-haul truckers followed by opposition from a string of local and vocal residents, the Board of Commissioners of Ponca City elected to table a vote that would allow or deny the expansion of commercial zoning at the northwest corner of Grand Avenue and Waverly Street.

A new sloped roof is in process of installation is shown today at Lincoln Elementary, part of a nine-month construction improvement project at the school which will also include a new heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

Pioneer Technology Center has been selected as a national Technology Centers That Work (TCTW) Platinum High Achievement Center. This award is based on the success of local center leaders and teachers in improving school practices and raising student achievement. The award was presented by Dr. Gene Bottoms, senior vice president of the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) and founder of TCTW, at the 28th Annual Staff Development Conference in Nashville. Pioneer Tech was one of only seven TCTW Centers to receive the 2014 TCTW Platinum High Achievement Award.

RCB Bank welcomes Tanner Buffington, who recently joined Ponca’s RCB Bank lending team as Assistant Vice President Commercial Loan Officer.

St. Paul's United Methodist Church’s new garage and accessory building is well underway on the north side of the church’s parking lot on Pecan Road. The permitted valuation is $55,000.

Adam Leaming, CEO of University Center, has been selected as a member of the 28th Leadership Oklahoma Class. The class is selected each year with a wide geographic base representing diverse backgrounds. Members will meet monthly visiting Seminole, Durant, Lawton/Fort Sill, Oklahoma City, McAlester, Stillwater, Tulsa, Guymon and Enid to discuss the many social environmental and economic complexities of Oklahoma in order to stimulate inquiry, analysis and solutions for the public good, according to the Leadership Oklahoma news release.

WE BELIEVE in the Wildcat football team is the message and homegrown movement set in motion by J. J. and Ray Ford, parents of Po-Hi senior Jess Ford, a member of the team. Due to employment, the Fords moved to Ponca City last year from Texas where Jess had been a member of a championship team. Given a chance to return to Texas this year, Jess asked to stay in Ponca City saying he believed in his team and teammates. J. J. and Ray say they were inspired to help the team and their chosen community to revitalize its collective spirit and had signs and shirts made proclaiming We Believe. The signs are now popping up across the city as parents and businesses get behind the Wildcats.

The historic Airline Drive-In in Ponca City is scheduled for demolition in the near future. However, one last movie sponsored by 89.7 The House FM and 88.7 My Praise FM is being shown to allow a final opportunity to experience the drive-in. 6,300 people came to the Airline Drive-In August 14-17 with record numbers of over 2,000 each night on Friday and Saturday! Due to the overwhelming attendance and response, additional showings have been added for Friday, August 22nd and Saturday, August 23rd. The Airline was first opened in 1952 and was closed in 2007. Due to being abandoned for seven years, major effort by generous sponsors and volunteers has gone into restoring the Drive-In for these showings. These showings will be open to the public and admission is FREE! Popcorn will be for sale along with soda at the concession stand. Gates open at 7pm and attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy the film in the seating area to make room for more guests.

U.S. hospital operator Community Health Systems Inc. said on Monday personal data, including patient names and addresses, of about 4.5 million people were stolen by hackers from its computer network, likely in April and June. The company, which owns Ponca City Medical Center and Integris Blackwell Regional Hospital, said the data, considered protected under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, included patient names, addresses, birth dates, telephone numbers and Social Security numbers. Eric Lybarger, director of marketing and physician recruitment for the Ponca City Medical Center, said limited personal identification data belonging to some patients over the past five years was transferred out. Lybarger said patients at the following clinics in Kay County could be at risk: Kay County Anesthesia—Kay County Cardiology—Kay County Clinic Company—Kay County Ear, Nose and Throat—Kay County Family Medicine—Kay County Surgical Associates—Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine. It did not include patient credit card or medical information, Community Health Systems said in a regulatory filing.

The Board of Commissioners of Ponca City met in work session Monday with a full slate of topics for discussion. Issues of parking for recreational vehicles city-wide and consideration of flood plain issues as the Waverly Street and Grand Avenue area is developed may have wider ultimate impact for Ponca City, but in deference to citizens assembled in the chamber, Mayor Homer Nicholson promoted the ongoing discussion of how to best define a convenience store from number four on the agenda to the first item to be — yet again — considered.

Dollar General, the biggest dollar-store chain in the U.S., has offered $9.7 billion to buy rival Family Dollar Stores in a deal that trumps the $8.5 billion cash and stock offer made by rival Dollar Tree late last month. The combined company, to be led by Dollar General Chairman and CEO Rick Dreiling, would have more than 20,000 stores in 46 states, with more than 160,000 employees and combined annual revenue of $28 billion.

Robert Raley, 1981 graduate of Ponca City High School, an assistant U.S. Attorney of Tulsa, was recently honored by the association of Oklahoma Narcotic Enforcers Region II as Prosecutor of the Year. Raley, prosecutor of the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force,
was recognized at the recent awards banquet, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Oklahoma. During 2013 Raley prosecuted and helped supervise 12 wire taps resulting in the prosecution of multiple defendants.

Ponca City Development Authority (PCDA) signed off on a $30,000 Agreement in Aid of Economic Development for Precision Metal Fab, LLC, doing business as Precision Tool and Die, at the Thursday meeting.

The UPS Store is now opened at a new location, 2128 North Fourteenth, Suite 1. The store was previously located at 522 North Fourteenth 14th Street and has served the citizens of Ponca City and the surrounding area for 20 Years, with shipping, postal and business services. The store was first under the name of Mail Boxes Etc. and in 2005 became The UPS Store.

Ponca City ACT Scores Above Average — ACT scores for 2014 have been released for Ponca City Public School students. The results show a composite score of 21.4, which is above the state (20.7) and national (21.0) average. This year’s composite score weighs in exactly the same as last year’s composite score. “We are pleased that once again our ACT composite average scores for the Ponca City graduating class of 2014 were above the state and national averages,” said Dr. David Pennington, superintendent of schools. “Math continues to be an area that is not where we want it to be. We hope that the decision made last fall to tighten our alignment with ACT college preparedness curriculum will result in larger percentages of students meeting ACT benchmarks.” A total of 28,682 students in Oklahoma took the ACT test this year. Two-hundred of those were from the district. That number is up from 189 students in 2013. The ACT consists of curriculum-based tests of educational development designed to measure the skills needed for success in first year college coursework. Students test in English, mathematics, reading and science. Ponca City student’s test scores compared to state numbers are as follows: English — Ponca City: 20.9 State: 20.3, Mathematics — Ponca City: 20.7 State: 19.9, Reading — Ponca City: 22.0 State: 21.5, Science — Ponca City: 21.4 State 20.8. These numbers, according to school officials, indicate that 71 percent of Ponca City students are ready for college English composition; 39 percent are ready for college algebra; 50 percent are prepared for college social science and 41 percent are ready for college biology. These numbers are above state readiness averages of 66 percent for college English composition; 35 percent for college algebra; 45 percent for social science and 35 percent for college biology. According to ACT research, rigor of coursework has the most impact on ACT performance and college readiness. A letter written to the district from ACT states, “Students who take a minimum of Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and Geometry typically achieve higher ACT mathematics scores than students who take less than three years of mathematics. In addition, students who take more advanced mathematics courses substantially increase their ACT mathematics score. Students taking biology and chemistry in combination with physics typically achieve higher ACT science scores than students taking less than three years of science courses.”

Family Dollar Rejects Offer — Family Dollar is rebuffing Dollar General’s takeover bid, citing antitrust issues. The discounter’s board supports its existing merger with Dollar Tree. Family Dollar Stores Inc. Chairman and CEO Howard Levine said in a statement Thursday that its board and advisers reviewed Dollar General Corp.’s offer and determined it wasn’t reasonably likely to be completed on the terms proposed. Dollar General declined to comment. Family Dollar became a takeover target in part because of its business struggles. The Matthews, North Carolina company has been shuttering stores and cutting prices in hopes of boosting its financial performance. In June investor Carl Icahn urged the company to put itself up for sale. On Monday Dollar General — the nation’s biggest dollar-store chain — offered about $8.95 billion, or a $78.50 per share in cash, for Family Dollar. The Goodlettsville, Tennessee company said at the time that it believed it could quickly address any antitrust issues and was willing to divest up to 700 of its stores in order to get the necessary approvals. In a letter sent to Family Dollar on Wednesday, Dollar General said that it believed the number of stores it was offering to divest was “more than sufficient to take this (antitrust) issue off the table.” Last month Family Dollar agreed to an $8.5 billion deal with Chesapeake, Virginia-based Dollar Tree Inc. The transaction includes $59.60 in cash and the equivalent of $14.90 in shares of Dollar Tree for each share held. The companies valued the transaction at $74.50 per share at the time. Including debt and other costs, Family Dollar and Dollar Tree estimated the deal to be worth approximately $9.2 billion.

The implementation of Saturday School at Ponca City High School is planned by the Ponca City Public School District. In the near future, the high school will use Saturday School as a means to focus more closely on chronic truancy, tardiness and discipline problems. Saturday School will be held at the high school from 9-11 a.m. The program will be assigned accordingly by administrators and monitored by a certified teacher. During Saturday School, students will have mandatory work to accomplish that relates directly to the reason they were assigned to the program. The teacher will address the specific reason the students are there and will work on various academic subjects. Students will be required to bring homework, or a book to read, after they completed the mandatory work. The program is set and ready to begin as soon as students are assigned. “We are ready to start this Saturday,” said Chuck Bayha, Ponca City High School assistant principal. “However, we don’t have any students assigned to it yet. As soon as we have students assigned, we will start.” The goal of the program is to make disciplinary action relevant to the reason the action is being taken and to help facilitate a change of behavior. “We are looking for ways to be more proactive and focused on changing behaviors — not just reacting to the problems when they occur,” said Bayha. For questions call the high school at 580-767-9500.

Discussion of a fall event to bring awareness to Ponca City’s dog park was the alpha item on the agenda at the Thursday night meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission. Board members approved a measure to have a “Grand Opening” for the already open park, tentatively slated for Oct. 25, with an impetus of increased awareness of the facility and its availability to the community. The dog park was approved by the Ponca City Board of Commissioners in November of 2012, and opened the following February. “We want to have the event to bring more awareness to people in Ponca City and the surrounding area,” said Tom Throop in delivering his committee report to the Board. “It is known and used, but it isn’t known well enough or used enough. And we want to continue to improve the facility, to build a bigger park, a better park.” Ponca City’s off-leash dog park is located on the southwest side of Dan Moran Park, at Franklin Street and South Avenue. Throop said that the committee vetted the date by checking for conflicting events, which, in fall months in Oklahoma, amount to football schedules. Oklahoma has an off day and Oklahoma State plays at night on the proposed event date.

Oklahoma Association of Narcotics Enforcers (A-One) recently named Brian T. Hermanson, district attorney for Kay and Noble Counties, as the Oklahoma Region 5 Prosecutor of the Year. The award was presented at the Association of Oklahoma Narcotic Enforcers (A-ONE) training conference held on Aug. 7 in Tulsa. Region 5 is made up of 16 counties including Kay, Noble, Alfalfa, Beaver, Cimarron, Custer, Dewey. Ellis, Garfield, Grant, Harper, Major, Roger Mills, Texas, Woodward and Woods Counties.

Ponca City’s Board of Commissioners will meet in the Commission Chamber of City Hall at 5:30 p.m. today. In new business, commissioners will consider and vote on a resolution to sign a grant agreement between the city of Ponca City and the Federal Aviation Administration for improvements to be made to the Ponca City Regional Airport. These improvements are to be made to the existing hangar access and parking aprons, to widen and extend an existing taxi lane, and to install improved lighting for the airport’s wind cone. Commissioners will also consider and vote on awarding a construction contract for a replacement water well project. The meeting is open to the public and citizens are invited to attend.

Commissioners Approve Plan To Improve Airport - Lyndon Johnson was president. Jack Ruby made perhaps the most infamous television appearance ever. At the other end of the broadcast spectrum, a little pop group called The Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show. The Cleveland Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts in the National Football League championship game in a season that did not yet culminate in a Super Bowl. These are among the events that City Manager Craig Stephenson evoked in setting the time frame, and the mood of the room, as the Ponca City Board of Commissioners began its regular session meeting Monday night with a special ceremony recognizing the 50-year service of one of the more familiar faces in the city’s employ. “But the really important thing that happened in 1964 happened right here in Ponca City, when, on August 21 of that year, Mr. Klinger — better known to most as Walt — began his career with the City of Ponca City.” Walt Klinger, now the Director of Technology for the city, was presented with a plaque and a pin commemorating his 50-year career — a resume that began with a position as a meter reader and included many various stints in different offices for the city. Moving on to regular business, the Board voted unanimously to approve a resolution that will allow the mayor to sign a grant agreement between the City of Ponca City and the Federal Aviation Administration for improvements to the Ponca City Regional Airport. The Board also voted to award a construction contract in the amount of $324,284.20 to the Layne Christensen Company of Oklahoma City for a replacement water well project. Environmental Services Director Hong Fu appeared before commissioners to present the project that is slated for the area of the Woodridge Market Place, south of Lake Road. The new well will be capable of providing as much as 400 gallons per minute, and is designed to produce 200 gallons per minute of treated water under normal operating conditions.

The Ponca City Moose Lodge, located at 500 West Prospect Avenue, will close its doors at midnight on Thursday. Don Hoffman, past governor for the Ponca City Moose Lodge, said the liquor license for the lodge expires at midnight on Thursday. “We will be closed after that,” he said. The decision to close the lodge was made Tuesday night by the administrator, current governor of the Ponca City Moose Lodge and present board members. Hoffman said Moose International will assume the property at some point. “Moose International will assume ownership of the building and its contents.” Hoffman said the closure is mainly due to the lodge being a membership-only club with an older generation of members. “Our deal has been that our members are getting older. They just don’t go out much anymore,” he said. “We don’t have anything to offer the younger generations.” Hoffman said future events inside the lodge will not be held. “Phone calls have been made this morning to anyone that put deposits on rooms. They will get their deposits back.” The Ponca City Moose Lodge was organized on June 13, 1912, and chartered on July 11, 1912. About seven years after the lodge was chartered, the Moose members started construction on its lodge building at 111-113 North Third Street. An article from The Ponca City News on July 30, 1919, included a notice to contractors for proposals for building the Third Street lodge, at the offices of Layton, Smith and Forsyth, architects. Solomon Layton designed the State Capitol and a number of other structures around Oklahoma and in Ponca City. At the Aug. 26, 1919, ceremony for the laying of the cornerstone, it was noted that the lodge had increased membership in a six-month campaign from 115 members to nearly 700. E.W. Marland donated the lots for the building and the lodge was build with private donations. The contractor and builder was J.C. Ibach, also the architect of the Jens-Marie Hotel, which was completed in 1924. The second floor of the Third Street lodge was used as a bowling alley, billiard hall, shower baths and a lounging room. On the third floor there was a main lodge room, banquet room and kitchen. The building had retail space on the first floor, and it was home of the Ponca City Post Office for 14 years. The lodge moved to its current location in a steel building at Ash Street and Prospect Avenue in October of 1971. The new Ponca City lodge hosted the state Moose convention in 1972. In April 1975 the lodge held a special meeting and members voted to approve an addition to the building. The addition was used mainly for enlargement of the kitchen and dining space. The Third Street lodge was sold at auction in May 2008. Membership at the Ponca City Moose Lodge topped the 1,000 mark for the first time in history in 1976. Current membership for the local lodge was approximately 750 paying members.

ASC Responds to Rumors - Rumors have been circulating about the possibility of a layoff at Air Systems Components before Christmas.   The response from Johnson Controls of Milwaukee, a global multi-industrial company which acquired the company in June, acknowledged the firm has started to discuss the situation at ASC with the Sheet Metal Workers Local 464. “We respect this process and will not discuss details at this time. There are no plans to close the Ponca City facility,” according to Johnson spokesperson Monica Zimmer.   Located in the Darr Industrial Park 40 years ago, the plant was then known as Titus. The local workforce was listed at 150 at the time Johnson Controls acquired the firm two months ago.

Skidmore Wins County Seat - Republican Paul Butch Skidmore defeated Republican incumbent Tyson Rowe by a count of 620-569 Tuesday for the Kay County Commissioner District No. 3 seat. Skidmore will take office in January along with new District No. 1 commissioner Vance Johnson, who is replacing the retiring Dee Schieber. In state district 38, voters selected John Pfeiffer over Harold LeValley by a total vote count of 2,190 to 1,263. The Kay County vote also went to Pfeiffer by a count of 806-780. In Newkirk voters defeated a proposition that would have been used for a new city hall building by a count of 261-153. They also voted down a school bond that would have been used for a new event center by a count of 404-327. The proposition to annex the Frontier School District to the Meridian Technology Center School District was also defeated.

Study Will Look at Impact of Fracking - Lawmakers and others are expected to gather at the Capitol on Sept. 9 for an interim study on the impact fracking has on the state’s water supplies. Rep. Steve Vaughan, Ponca City, requested the study.  The study is expected to be held on Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at the state Capitol in room 206. Another study, expected to be held Oct. 28 at the Capitol, will look at the monitoring the Oklahoma Corporation Commission does in the area of seismic activity.