Wednesday, October 31, 2007
Youth Services yule express train
- Gerald Green @ 5:00 pm CST
Multi-County Youth Services will again be sponsoring a Christmas Express train ride from Clinton to Custer City, according to Rhonda Shephard with the MCYS Fundraising Committee. The dates will be Friday through Sunday, Dec. 14-16, and Farmrail will again be running this happy event from their train yard just east of the Frisco Center in Clinton.
Tickets go on sale Monday, Nov. 5, at the Multi-County Youth Services Center at Sixth Street and Avant Avenue in downtown Clinton. Prices will be $15 for all participants, unless a small child will be held.
There will be music, stories and a visit from a certain white-haired, red-suited gentleman. The average length of the ride will be about 1˝ hours.
Train departure times will include:
Friday , Dec. 14— 2 and 3:30 p.m.
Saturday, Dec. 15— 9 and 10:30 a.m.; 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.
Sunday Dec. 16— 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.
Other fun activities are in the finalizing stage, and will be announced as they are further developed.
All tickets maybe purchased at the Multi-County Youth Services office, or call (580) 323-3322 for further information. For out-of-town participants tickets can be mailed for a nominal fee.
Train ticket proceeds will go to help run all of the programs for children and teens that come under the umbrella of Multi-County Youth Services, including counseling, pregnancy prevention, emergency shelter care, Community Intervention Center (CIC) juvenile services, Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) and many more. Multi-County will soon be assisting in the operation and staffing of the proposed youth shelter.
Shephard said, “If you’re looking for something different to add to those holiday memories, consider the MCYS Christmas Express train ride. Make it a day, finish Christmas shopping and join in the spirit of the season.”
Completely new space plane planned
- Gerald Green @ 4:59 pm CST
Rocketplane Global announced a completely new design Friday for its XP rocketplane that it hopes someday to fly from the Oklahoma Spaceport at Burns Flat.
In an announcement at the X Prize competition and space show at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Rocketplane said it was ditching its plans to convert a Lear business jet to a space plane and instead will be using an all-new airframe that will increase passenger capacity from three to five persons, plus a pilot.
The company hopes to be one of the pioneers in the space tourism business. Its plans remain to carry dues-paying passengers 62 miles up to the edge of space and back, and it’s also counting on doing micro-gravity experiments for private companies and universities.
George French III, business development associate for the company and son of owner George French, told the Daily News by phone this morning that plans continue to be to have both test flights and commercial flights take off from and return to the Oklahoma Spaceport at Burns Flat.
“We think we’ll be in test flights by early 2010 and commercial flights also in 2010,” he said, speaking by phone from the company’s corporate headquarters at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City.
“Our test flights would be from Burns Flat, as well as our commercial flights. We have a great relationship with Spaceport Oklahoma, and we’re very excited to be using that facility.”
Spaceport Oklahoma is of course the former Clinton-Sherman Air Force Base. It was owned by the City of Clinton until being signed over to the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority last December.
Along with a new, larger airframe that makes the fuselage 10 percent wider, Rocketplane’s newly designed craft will also have more powerful jet engines, a T-shaped tail rather than the V tail that the Learjet has, and a new landing gear based on that of the military’s F-5 fighter plane. Small winglets have been added to the nose to increase stability.
The company said the end result is “a modest 10-percent increase in weight that is more than offset by a 40-percent increase in thrust which allows a 66-percent increase in the passenger carrying capability of the vehicle.”
French said the redesign grew out of more than 200,000 hours of engineering work by Rocketplane Global and its subcontractors.
“It’s not really a redesign, so much as it is an improvement,” he said. “We really didn’t lose time in switching all this. It was a win-win situation.”
“The market’s really matured,” Rocketplane Global program manager Dave Faulkner told MSNBC science editor Alan Boyle. “We took a hard look at the business plan. It made more sense to go with five passengers, and the Lear just wouldn’t support that.”
The wider fuselage will enable two seats to be added. At $200,000 a pop – which is what French said the rides are going for now – that would be an additional $400,000 for the company per trip.
Also, for an extra $50,000, one of the five passengers will get the shotgun seat, riding next to the pilot.
French said the flights will last from 45 minutes to an hour, depending on what the weather is like on a particular day.
“We have a waiting list of customers built up,” he said, not only of the space-tourist variety but also companies wanting space experiments done. “That’s been really great for us,” he said of the scientific payloads.
Friday’s announcement came just a week after NASA said it was pulling back $175 million that it had committed to Rocketplane Kistler, a sister company of Rocketplane Global, to develop a commercial transportation service to and from the international space station. Termination of the agreement was made, said NASA, because Rocketplane Kistler failed to meet project milestones and did not come up with $500 million in outside investment.
French emphasized that that would have no effect on Rocketplane Global’s space tourism efforts.
“We have an umbrella company, Rocketplane Inc., with two subsidiaries, Rocketplane Global and Rocketplane Kistler,” he said. “The companies are completely different. They have different managements, different employees, different missions. The only thing we share is the public perception of the company.”
Asked about financing for Rocketplane Global, French said: “Right now we’re looking for our final round of funding. We’re in negotiations with several individuals. We feel we’ll be getting it shortly. We’ve been pretty picky where we want the money to come from.”
Friday’s announcement, said MSNBC, represents “a shift in emphasis toward suborbital space tourism” as opposed to orbital launches that Rocketplane Kistler was focused on.
Faulkner, the program manager for Rocketplane Global, was quoted as stating: “We are a distinct legal company (separate from Rocketplane Kistler). Nevertheless, the orbital side of the business has been more active over the past year and a half, while the suborbital side seemed relatively quiet. Now the situation is reversed.”
He said that while public attention was focused on Rocketplane Kistler’s NASA contract, Rocketplane Global engineers were quietly analyzing the XP’s aerodynamics and finding ways to make improvements.
Seismic hearing delayed
- Gerald Green @ 4:59 pm CST
Thursday’s scheduled legislative study examining seismic survey regulations has been postponed until later this November.
Rep. Ryan McMullen, D-Burns Flat, had organized the hearings to bring to light many of the frustrations landowners had recently experienced while a number of oil and gas seismic survey companies performed explorations on area farms and ranches.
The speaker of the House assigned the hearings to a subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, but late last week determined the hearings should more appropriately be held before the House Energy Committee.
McMullen is crafting legislation that will ensure that property owners have greater rights in negotiating and granting access to seismic crews wishing to utilize their land.
He believes the hearings are an important step in gathering legislative support for such reforms.
“Most lawmakers don’t have a clue what seismic exploration even is, much less the damages it can cause property owners,” said McMullen “Many of the issues facing Western Oklahoma are unique to our part of the state. That means I have to spend much of my time and energy educating fellow lawmakers.”
McMullen asked anyone who had planned on attending the hearings to contact his office. Those interested will then be notified when the hearings are re-scheduled in the new committee.
“I’m extremely grateful for all the calls, letters and emails I’ve received,” said McMullen. “This type of testimony will be a very important part of the hearings. It’s going to take all of us working together to pass these important reforms for Oklahoma property owners.”
Tuesday, October 30, 2007
Rental electronic games are stolen
- Gerald Green @ 3:50 pm CST
Electronic games and devices were the favorite target of Clinton thieves last weekend, with a system valued at $727.74 reported stolen Friday from Rent-A-Center and four cars burglarized that night or Saturday morning in the north part of town.
Capt. Mike Murley said the theft at Rent-A-Center, 1422 Gary Blvd., occurred between 4:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. Friday. Store manager Lyn Cunningham reported a Nintendo Wii system with two controllers and games was stolen from the showroom.
The car burglaries occurred on Santa Fe Drive and Lee Avenue in the Washington Heights neighborhood near Washington Elementary School.
Early Saturday afternoon police met with Kevin Eckel in the 600 block of Santa Fe Drive. He reported that someone had apparently tried unsuccessfully to remove his compact disc player from the dash, as the wires were exposed.
Eckel said a car belonging to his girlfriend, Tina Wong, had been gone through as well. She told police that papers and miscellaneous items, including her cell phone charger, had been strung about and both her center console and glove compartment were open.
Among items taken from the two cars were an Ipod FM tuner, a black CD case containing numerous CD’s, and several bottles of Gator-Ade. Police later found most of the Gator-Ade in the 1100 block of Lee Avenue.
Eckel’s loss was estimated at about $50 and Miss Wong’s at approximately $200.
Near where the Gator-Ade was found, Shayla Lee reported finding the back passenger door and console of her car open. She said she was missing several CD’s and PlayStation games with a combined value of $56, as well as other miscellaneous items.
Murley said that earlier in the day police had been dispatched to the 1100 block of Santa Fe in reference to another car burglary. However, the victim in that case did not want to file an official report and have the thief – or thieves – prosecuted. Several things were taken from the car, said Murley, but he did not have a list of them since the victim did not want a report made.
Police found no signs of forced entry at any of the burglaries. Murley advised people to lock their vehicles when they are left unattended with valuables inside.
Other theft reports taken recently by police have included:
• Burglary of a residence at 405˝ S. 10th St. on Thursday, Oct. 18.
Victim Michael Sevenstar said everything was fine when he went to work that day and when he returned, he found a 15-inch Awias speaker valued at $30 and a black Gerber pocket knife valued at $45 missing.
• Theft of a cell phone from Taco Mayo at 2233 Gary.
Lt. Ron McLemore said the phone belonged to two brothers who worked at the restaurant and was taken last Thursday. He had no further details.
Firemen respond to variety of blazes
- Gerald Green @ 3:49 pm CST
Clinton firemen got to exercise their trucks over the weekend, but fortunately none of the runs were major ones. One was mysterious, though.
Fire Chief Wade Anders said firemen responding to a call just before 8 p.m. Saturday found a gas can sitting in the middle of the street on fire. There was no one around, so firemen extinguished the flames and returned to the station.
That blaze was on N. Sixth Street, near where it now dead-ends.
Firemen also made four other fire runs from Thursday night through Monday morning, in addition to assisting the Oklahoma Highway Patrol at the scene of a wreck on Interstate 40. No one was seriously injured in the wreck, which occurred early Saturday afternoon, but firemen did have to pop the door to allow two people trapped inside a small sport utility vehicle to get out. The accident was reported on in Monday's Clinton Daily News.
The fire runs were as follows:
• To a hay blaze just off 40th Street three-fourths of a mile south of W. Modelle Avenue.
Firemen responded shortly after 7 p.m. Friday and found that George Hall, who leases the land from Freda Meacham and owns the hay, basically had the fire under control and was watching it.
They returned about 6:30 a.m. Friday after getting numerous reports that smoke was drifting into town. Again they found Hall watching it.
Anders estimated 15 to 20 large round bales of hay were lost.
• To assist the Arapaho Fire Department with a hay and grass fire two miles east and a half mile south of that town.
Clinton firemen responded at 5:38 p.m. Sunday. Arapaho Chief Lynn Malloy estimated 30 acres of grass burned, along with about 20 round bales of hay. He said a tractor belonging to Chad Kinder was located in the middle of the blaze and it burned all around the tractor – even burning some dead grass off a brush hog attached to the tractor – but never touched the tractor itself.
Malloy said the hay belonged to a partner of Kinder’s, but he did not know that individual’s name.
Besides Clinton’s help, the Custer City Fire Department also sent two trucks to assist. Malloy said it was greatly appreciated, as two of the Arapaho trucks died and wouldn’t start again.
• To a cook-top fire at TC’s Country Kitchen, 2249 Gary Blvd.
Firemen responded at 5:04 a.m. Monday but found the fire already extinguished by restaurant personnel when they arrived. Damage was apparently minimal.
MCYS board to seek shelter lease
- Gerald Green @ 3:49 pm CST
Board members for Multi-County Youth Services met early today to consider a counteroffer on the property at 1416 Avant Ave. in Clinton for an area emergency youth shelter and child advocacy center. They ended up, according to MCYS interim director Tracy Howell, deciding to consider other options.
In particular, Howell said the board wants to consider finding a suitable facility that can be leased temporarily for a shelter. And some of those possibilities are located in Clinton.
Two concerns for the group are how to go about financing such a property purchase right now and the available cash on hand.
As opposed to purchasing an older structure, the board members are hoping they can lease a shelter for now in hopes of building a new facility later.
Howell said, “They do have things in mind,” in terms of leasing.
Although the counteroffer on the property at 1416 Avant will not be considered for right now, Howell said it is not totally off the table. Board members just want to pursue the possibility of a lease.
The big effort right now, of course, is to generate more funds. And some more private donations have come in.
Anyone wanting to make a donation can send their checks made out to Multi-County Youth Services (be sure and mark the check for the shelter project), P.O. Box 104, Clinton, OK 73601.
Waldrop said that 15 booths have been reserved so far for a giant Operation K.I.D.S. Arts and Craft Fair fundraiser being organized by Friends for a Shelter.
The fair is set for 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 10, at the Custer County Fairgrounds Patrick Center in south Clinton on U.S. Highway 183.
All proceeds will go toward the shelter. Anyone interested in participating as a vendor can call (580) 331-1900. Booth rentals are for a minimum $50 tax-deductible donation.
It also was reported Monday that Bar-S Foods has donated all of the hot dogs that will be sold as a fundraiser at the K.I.D.S. event.
The shelter would serve Custer, Beckham, Dewey, Roger Mills, Washita and Kiowa Counties.
MCYS agency programs director Heather Waldrop said Monday that while there is a big push to get the shelter up and running within the next six months, there isn’t as much pressure on the Child Advocacy Center that was proposed to be located with the shelter.
In fact, she said that it could take from a year to a year and a half to get the center open. A center is currently operating inside the offices of MCYS at Sixth and Avant downtown.
An advantage to having the center as part of the project would be that the shelter and center could share such expenses as the utilities. And the advocacy center would have its own funding sources separate from the shelter.
SWOSU lists homecoming Saturday slate
- Gerald Green @ 8:40 am CST
Southwestern Oklahoma State University will celebrate homecoming activities next Saturday in Weatherford. Everyone is invited to participate in all homecoming activities.
The theme for this year’s homecoming celebration is “Year of the Dawg: Duke Salutes Oklahoma’s Centennial!”
SWOSU homecoming activities include:
9:30 a.m.— Pharmacy Open House at Chemistry/Pharmacy/Physics Building third floor.
10 a.m.— 5K Dawg Run, registration at the Alumni Centennial Clock Tower Plaza; pharmacy 50-Year recognition ceremony at the Chemistry/Pharmacy/Physics Building third floor.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.— Dawg Fest Classic Car Show at Main and State Streets.
11 a.m.-2 p.m.— Chemistry reception/luncheon, Memorial Student Center Ballroom.
11:30 a.m.— Pharmacy alumni luncheon at Chemistry/Pharmacy/Physics Building third floor.
Noon— Phi Delta lunch at 2401 Lanier.
2 p.m.— SWOSU volleyball vs. Texas Women’s University at the Rankin Williams Fieldhouse.
3-4 p.m.— Homecoming parade in downtown Weatherford.
4 p.m.— Homecoming “Pig Pickin’ for Biology and Allied Health Alumni and Friends,” 508 N. Bradley.
4-5 p.m.— Wesley Student Center open house, celebration of 75th year.
4-6 p.m.— Chili cook-off at Wellness Center.
5 p.m.— Graduates’ awards reception at Wellness Center; awarding of medallions to 50 year graduates; President’s Service Award; blanket awards.
6 p.m.— SWOSU Bulldogs vs. East Central University football game with fireworks display after the game.
Christmas Connection signup set
- Gerald Green @ 8:39 am CST
Signup dates have been announced by Keri Peck for the Christmas Connection food and toy distribution.
Registration will be conducted at the First Bank & Trust Co. Fountain Room at Fifth Street and Gary Boulevard from 5 to 7 p.m. only on these dates:
· Tuesday, Nov. 6.
· Thursday, Nov. 8.
· Thursday, Nov. 15.
· Tuesday, Nov. 20.
· Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Peck also announced that Christmas Connection volunteers are accepting donations that may be sent to P.O. Box 1251, Clinton, OK 73601.
“We want families to come and complete a signup referral for the holiday season. Several donations have been made, allowing us to help families in need,” Peck said.
Pickup strikes ambulance; injuries minor
- Gerald Green @ 8:38 am CST
A Clinton ambulance on its way to an emergency call was hit late Saturday morning by a pickup while crossing Gary Boulevard, causing the ambulance to overturn and skid 21 feet on the driver’s side before returning to an upright status and coming to rest. Two Sinor Emergency Medical Service employees who were in it were treated at Integris Clinton Regional Hospital and released.
The pickup will probably be totaled, said Sgt. Jeremy Pebley who investigated for the Clinton Police Department. The driver, 16-year-old Jennifer Cox of Clinton, was not injured.
A tow truck was called for the pickup. The ambulance was drivable after a blown tire was replaced.
Pebley said Miss Cox told him she did not see the ambulance because other traffic was blocking her view and she also did not hear the siren. She was westbound on Gary, and the ambulance was northbound on 13th Street.
The ambulance was en route to the 500 block of Nowahy Avenue where a man had been reported unable to breathe. Beth Flowers, emergency medical service director for SEMS, said another ambulance was dispatched immediately and took the man to ICRH.
“I talked to him at the hospital, and he seemed to be doing a lot better,” said Pebley. “The accident slowed up the response time a little bit, but he seemed to be doing okay.”
The accident happened at 11:10 a.m. Saturday. Pebley said the 2001 Chevrolet pickup hit the right rear bumper of the 2006 Ford ambulance, causing it to rotate a little. He said the left rear tire blew and the ambulance laid over onto the driver’s side and skidded north on 13th Street before coming back upright.
Shannon Greear, 37, a basic emergency medical technician, was driving the ambulance. Paramedic Austin Wright, 29, was riding with him. Pebley said Greear was complaining of neck, back and arm pain, and Wright of a possible shoulder injury.
Miss Cox was alone in the pickup.
Pebley said she was approaching from the east and had a green light. He said she was in the outside lane and other vehicles in the inside lane had stopped for the ambulance, and she told him her view was blocked by the other traffic.
Actually, a third vehicle became involved when it was hit by debris from the pickup. It was a 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer sport utility vehicle driven by Shannon Mendez, 24, of Clinton. Pebley said she had pulled over and was waiting for the ambulance to pass.
Shortly before 1:30 p.m. Saturday, both city police and the Oklahoma Highway Patrol responded to an accident on Interstate 40 between the 10th Street overpass and the Kmart exit. Again, however, there were no serious injuries.
Trooper Gary Smith of OHP, who had helped with the accident involving the ambulance, investigated the one on the interstate. Because no one was hospitalized, no media report was issued.
However, Pebley – who responded to that one as well – said it was his understanding a small SUV pulling another vehicle on a two-wheel dolly may have hit a semi before wrecking. The Clinton Fire Department also responded, and Chief Wade Anders said two people were out of the SUV when his men arrived and two were still trapped inside. Firemen popped a door so they could get out.
Pebley knew one person was transported to the hospital, but apparently the injury was not serious.
Deputy Sheriff Ron Pebley, father of the Clinton police officer, also assisted at the wreck involving the ambulance.
Shortly before 7 a.m. today, a semi believed to be from Clinton overturned on State Highway 33 one mile west of Custer City. Again, though, no one was seriously hurt.
Monday, October 29, 2007
Seminar on opening meeting Tuesday
- Gerald Green @ 11:39 am CST
Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson and Assistant Attorney General Gay Tudor will be holding an Open Meeting and Records Workshop from 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday at the Frisco Center in Clinton.
Admission is free, and the event is being hosted jointly by Edmondson’s office and the Oklahoma Press Association, Oklahoma Newspaper Foundation and Freedom of Information Oklahoma. No pre-registration is required.
Promotional literature from Edmondson’s office states, “Anyone who deals directly with open meetings and records will benefit from this opportunity to discuss those issues with the attorney general.”
Invitations have been extended to officials with area city, county and school entities.
Requirements on access to public records and the conduct of public meetings will be explored in depth. Questions are welcome.
The meeting in Clinton is one of 10 being held across the state this year. The meetings will continue through Dec. 6.
In his letter to officials, Edmondson stated, “Our fellow Oklahoman, Will Rogers, once said, ‘We will never have true civilization until we have learned to recognize the rights of others.’”
This year marks the fifth time that Edmondson has hosted these seminars on Oklahoma Sunshine Laws.
In writing about the seminar, the attorney general added, “I will be joined at the seminars by Assistant Attorney General Gay Tudor, who is one of Oklahoma’s foremost experts on this topic.”
“We have found in the past,” said Edmondson, “that government and school officials want to comply with the law, but there is some uncertainty about how to do that. These seminars provide a thorough review of the law and allow participants to ask questions about its practical application.”
Halloween fright night plans listed
- Gerald Green @ 11:39 am CST
Clinton streets will get a little spooky for the next two nights for Halloween.
The Clinton Public Library will be hosting a Halloween Costume Party for third through sixth grade goblins from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday.
And because the macabre holiday falls on a Wednesday, Clinton has chosen to hold its Halloween festivities on Tuesday, despite some confusion for a few of the resident goblins.
In addition to the trick-or-treat night on Tuesday, that will also be the night for the Clinton Kiwanis Club Halloween Costume Contest and Parade.
For Monday night’s library haunt, those wishing to participate should call the library at 323-2165 to register in advance.
Participation will be limited to the first 36 who sign up. A costume contest, games and goulish refreshments are planned.
On Tuesday night parade participants will line up at 6 p.m. in front of the Clinton Public Library and proceed down Frisco Avenue east to Engleman Park.
A brave group of judges from the Junior Service League will then decide the winners in age categories ranging from infant to 12 years old.
The top three winners in each age group will win cash prizes courtesy of the Kiwanians.
Firm with local ties favored in space test
- Gerald Green @ 11:38 am CST
While the big hope for years has been on a company called Rocketplane to make the Oklahoma Spaceport a going concern, it’s another firm with ties to the Burns Flat facility that was raising eyebrows and stood to possibly win $1.35 million in this weekend’s huge X Prize Cup competition at Holloman Air Force Base outside Alamogordo, N.M.
Armadillo Aerospace of Mesquite, Texas, tested a mock lunar lander last weekend at the spaceport. NewScientistSpace.com, which is covering the X Prize fete, reported Thursday that of nine teams which originally signed up for the competition, Armadillo was the only one left. None of the others had been able to finish their craft on time; they would have them on display but wouldn’t be trying to fly them.
A spokesperson at the Oklahoma Space Industry Development Authority, headquartered at Burns Flat, said Friday the competition would extend over Saturday and Sunday with the announcement of whether Armadillo had won the money not expected until late today. OSIDA’s executive director, Bill Khourie, was among an estimated 60,000 space devotees gathered in Alamogordo this week.
Armadillo Aerospace is headed by John Carmack, creator of the video game “Doom,” and he’s taking an active role in the nine-man company’s efforts. He was at Burns Flat personally last weekend to test his lander, despite blustery winds.
The X Prize competition is divided into two levels, with a $350,000 prize in one and a $1-million prize in the other. News reports from the event seemed to indicate that Armadillo had a good chance of winning both.
Just because it’s the only company left doesn’t mean it gets the money automatically, though. To win the $350,000, NewsScientist said Armadillo would have to launch a rocket that would rise 50 meters from its launch pad, move 100 meters horizontally and land on a concrete pad, staying aloft at least 90 seconds. It then had to reverse its course, doing the same thing and landing back at its starting point.
Requirements for the $1-million prize were more strenuous. To win it, the rocket would have to stay aloft for 180 seconds (three minutes) and land on a bumpy surface similar to that of the moon.
Purpose of the competition is to encourage private companies in the development of lunar landing equipment that NASA could use in a real lunar lander that it’s working on. Both the mockups and the real thing presumably would have sensors enabling the craft to automatically detect craters and boulders when landing on the moon, and software that would redirect the craft to avoid them.
NewsScientist said NASA is very interested in Armadillo’s vehicles.
The company planned to use separate landers for this weekend’s X Prize Cup competitions – one called Pixel for the $1-million challenge and another called Module 1 for the $350,000 test. NewsScientist said they were similar except that Pixel has four fuel tanks and Module 1 only two.
What makes folks think Armadillo won’t just be blowing smoke is that Pixel has already exceeded the requirements for the $1-million prize – in a test flight held last May. Also, this is the second year for the competition, and Armadillo was the only entrant last year, too. It just missed winning what was then the top prize of $500,000 when Pixel landed a few feet to the side of the pad it was supposed to hit.
In an article published Aug. 22 when there were still nine entrants, writer David Shiga of NewsScientistSpace.com called Armadillo “by far the leading contender for the prize.” Shiga said it nearly won the money last year in another challenge, when it also was the only entrant.
Adding even more excitement to his comments was the fact that they were written just after another Armadillo vehicle – a partner of Pixel’s called Texel – crashed during a test flight and burned. It was going to be used for the $350,000 challenge, and its loss forced the company to substitute Module 1.
The crash came as Carmack and other Armadillo tacticians were testing an automatic system to shut down Texel’s engines and give it a smooth landing, hopefully eliminating the “bouncing” that occurred when an earlier stage of manually controlled real vehicles actually landed on the moon.
Texel’s liftoff, hovering and landing went well in the August test, but just after touching the ground, it unexpectedly took off again. Fearing it was going to crash into an overhead crane, Carmack hit a manual shutdown switch and the vehicle plummeted to the ground. One of its four fuel tanks broke open when it hit, engulfing it in flames.
Despite the setback, Carmack retained his good humor.
“It made a fireball that would make any Hollywood movie proud,” he told NewsScientist.
The enthusiasm for Armadillo is shared even by its competitors. One of them, businessman Paul Breed of San Diego, Calif., who was among the group of eight that pulled out, was quoted recently as stating: “Armadillo holds the record for the longest-hovering vehicle, beating the Japanese space agency and NASA. It’s a group of eight or ten guys from Texas, and their budget wouldn’t pay the coffee bill for the Johnson Space Center for a year. I don’t think you can ever underestimate the power of motivated, small entrepreneurial groups.”
Monday, October 22, 2007
Thanksgiving food basket signup set
- Steve Belcher @ 4:48 pm CST
Thanksgiving food basket applications for those in need will be taken for two weeks, Monday, Nov. 5, through Monday, Nov. 19.
Registration hours will be weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Mission House office at Seventh and Hayes (behind the main shelter building facing Hayes Avenue) near downtown Clinton.
Distribution of the holiday food baskets is planned from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 21, at the Mission House office.
United Fund drive total now $5,025
- Steve Belcher @ 4:47 pm CST
A total of $5,025 has now been raised in the 2008 Clinton United Fund drive, according to a report late Friday from board president David Mosburg.
The latest report from the drive volunteers indicates that another $2,850 has been reported in the campaign to raise $38,000 to support local nonprofit agencies.
Contributions can be mailed to the Clinton United Fund at P.O. Box 1101, Clinton, OK 73601. There will be no residential drive this year.
The latest lists of outstanding contributors includes:
$1,000+— Southwest Distributing, Clinton Laundry and Cleaners.
$250+— McKinsey Motors, Primevest, Dr. and Mrs. B.A. Jackson, C.B. Graft.
$100— Dairy Queen, Mr. and Mrs. Roy Shepherd, Julie Strong, David Mosburg.
Daylight Saving time change November 4
- Steve Belcher @ 4:46 pm CST
Daylight Saving Time changes will be one week earlier this November and one week later next March. The “fall back” date to reset clocks this year is Sunday, Nov. 4, while the spring forward date will be Sunday, March 9, 2008.
The DST extension is thanks to the Energy Policy Act of 2005 signed into law by President George W. Bush on Aug. 8, 2005.
Under the new law, Daylight Saving Time begins three weeks earlier than previously, on the second Sunday in March. DST is extended by one week to the first Sunday in November. The new start and stop period began this past March.
The original House bill would have added two full months, one in the spring and another in the fall. According to some U.S. senators, farmers complained that a two-month extension could adversely affect livestock, and airline officials said it would have complicated scheduling of international flights.
So, a compromise was worked out to start DST on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November.
Enactment of the Energy Policy Act of 2005 did not alter the rights of the states and territories to choose not to observe Daylight Saving Time.
The question remains, however, whether the earlier DST will save additional energy.
The original American law by which we turn our clock forward in the spring and back in the fall is known as the Uniform Time Act of 1966. The law does not require that anyone observe Daylight Saving Time; all the law says is that if we are going to observe Daylight Saving Time, it must be done uniformly.
The resetting of clocks twice each year is also taken as an opportunity to change the batteries in home safety devices, including smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.
Safety officials note that it’s a sad fact that approximately 80 percent of fatal home fire victims are children killed in homes without working smoke alarms.
The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC) began a promotion 20 years ago to urge Americans to change their smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector batteries when they reset their clocks.
“We have no way of knowing exactly how many lives and homes have been saved as a result,” said Chief Steven Westermann, president of the IAFC. “What we do know is that each year more Americans are replacing their batteries before they wear out and that makes each alarm safer.”
Homeowners can cut the odds of dying in a home fire nearly in half by adopting this simple habit.
Most American homes — 96 percent in fact — have smoke alarms. But approximately 19 percent of them have at least one non-working smoke alarm, mostly due to worn out or missing batteries. The IAFC estimates that over 25 million homes are at risk.
The five most common reasons home smoke alarms do not function properly are:
• Battery is not replaced in a timely fashion.
• Battery is removed due to unwanted activation from situations such as cooking fumes.
• Battery is removed due to a “chirping sound,” which actually indicates the battery needs to be replaced.
• Alarms and detectors are not cleaned regularly.
• Alarm is aged and may contain outdated parts or technology.
“Many people mistakenly believe they will either see the flames or smell the smoke when a fire breaks out,” Chief Westermann said. “But most fire fatalities happen while families are asleep. Smoke by itself doesn’t provide a wake-up call, but a working smoke alarm does.”
The same holds true with carbon monoxide since it is a colorless, odorless gas.
Several events are calling for sponsorship
- Steve Belcher @ 4:45 pm CST
A number of event participa-tion and sponsorship opportunities are being offered to Clinton Chamber of Commerce members to support upcoming activities while at the same time promoting local enterprises, according to Chamber President Erin Adams.
The chamber holds many events throughout the year, and one new event has been added for 2008, a Job Fair to assist area employers in reaching potential employees on Friday, Feb. 22,2008, at the Frisco Center.
Excerpts from a letter to local business firms written by Adams include: “Member participation and sponsorship are vital to the success of any event, no matter how big or small. Sponsorships can be a great way to promote a business at special events.”
Anyone needing more information can call the chamber at 323-2222 or drop by the of-fice in the Frisco Center.
Sponsorship opportunities listed by Adams include (the sponsorship deadline is listed in parentheses at the end of each event listing):
Festival of Lights
Set for Tuesday, Nov. 27, sponsors are needed for win-ning parade entries (the prizes will consist of a certifi-cate that can be redeemed for cash at the sponsor’s busi-ness), including $200 for first place; $100 for second place and $50 for third place.
Also, items are needed for Santa’s Silent Auction. A portion of the proceeds from the auction go to fund advertising for the Festival of the Lights (Nov. 1, 2007).
Six sponsors are needed for a $50 “Chamber Buck” scrip money prize and two for a $100 “Chamber Buck Coach” prize.
These will be given away at a hospitality booth at the Tornado Dome for visitors attending the tournament from area communities (Jan. 4, 2008).
Extensively advertised and promoted across Oklahoma and Texas, this event will target the general public as well as college and Career Tech graduates.
Sponsorship includes a complimentary fair booth. Presenting sponsorships are $1,000 and only two more slots are still available (Nov. 15, 2007).
Home and Garden Expo
Expo sponsors at $500 each get a free booth and choice of booth location. Five sponsors have been accepted so far.
Fifteen participating merchants have been accepted so far for the $10,000 Extreme Room Makeover prize (winnings must be spent with participating merchants). The cost is $75 to be a spon-sor (Nov. 12, 2007).
Set for spring of 2008, this annual event brings state and national legislators to Clinton for a question and answer session over breakfast. Sponsors, at $300 each, will be recognized at the breakfast (no deadline).
Route 66 Festival
Clinton’s own festival, dubbed “Hot Dogs and Hot Rods on 66” is set for Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, 2008 and will include concerts, a car and motorcycle show, a cruise, a poker run, free hot dogs and the ever-popular Wiener Nationals dog races.
Several levels of sponsors are needed including $50,000, presenting sponsor; $20,000, platinum sponsor; $20,000, gold sponsor; $5,000, silver sponsor; $1,000, bronze sponsor; and $500, contributor (Feb. 1, 2008).
Taste of Western Oklahoma
Set for Thursday, July 17, 2008, this event allows visitors to sample cuisine and wines from across the region. Event sponsors at $500 are needed, and three have been accepted.
Sponsors get exclusive rights to use the kitchen to prepare food, if needed, and will be mentioned in all advertising (March 1, 2008).
Held the fourth Tuesday of each month from 7:30 to 9 a.m., dates remaining for 2008 include June 24; July 22; Aug. 26; Sept. 23; Oct. 28; Nov. 25; and Dec. 16. January through May are already reserved.
Business After Hours
Held once a quarter from 5 to 7 p.m., hors d’oeuvres and beverages are served at a member business. Two businesses co-sponsor an event.
Dates open (co-sponsorships are $100) include March 11, June 10 and Sept. 9 (no deadline).
Saturday, October 20, 2007
Insurer ready to defend county
- Gerald Green @ 11:03 am CST
Custer County has a $1-million liability insurance policy that covers elected officials, employees and the county itself, the insurance program administrator for the Association of County Commissioners said Friday.
Administrator Dusty Birdsong said the $1-million limit is per occurrence and all the allegations made in a federal civil suit filed Wednesday against Sheriff Mike Burgess would be considered one occurrence.
However, he also said that in order for the policy to pay off, assuming the allegations are proven, those accused would have to have been acting within the scope of their job duties. At this time there’s been no proof presented publicly that the allegations are true, much less a determination as to whether the sheriff and affected employees were acting within the scope of their official duties.
But in a 2003 Latimer County case that the Oklahoman newspaper called similar to this one, Birdsong said it was determined that then-Latimer County Sheriff Melvin Holly was acting outside his official job duties and the insurance did not pay.
“We provided a defense for the county and the sheriff,” said Birdsong. “When it was determined he acted outside the scope of his job duties, that was the end of it on our side.”
The Oklahoman said that case ended with Holly receiving a 25-year prison sentence and the county being hit with monetary judgments.
Birdsong said the ACCO insurance program would provide a similar defense for Sheriff Burgess and Custer County.
“We will appoint attorneys to represent the county and the sheriff,” he said.
As to the strategy they might pursue, he said he could not comment since the case is only in “allegation mode” at this point.
County Treasurer Karen Clanton also was contacted Friday and asked what would happen if there was a judgment against the county which exceeds what insurance will pay. She was not positive without doing some research but thought it would be similar to a situation several years ago when a judgment was rendered against the Weatherford School District. In that case, she said the money needed to pay the judgment was collected from property owners in the district over a three-year period as part of their ad valorem taxes.
Presumably, county commissioners and the Excise Board also could dip into reserve funds to help pay off a judgment – if there are any such funds when the time comes.
Referring to the county’s new 141-bed jail now under construction, Mrs. Clanton said, “The jail’s not finished and it’s not operational, so we obviously don’t know what it’s going to cost to operate it.”
The ACCO insurance program is a self-insured plan, but Birdsong said reinsurance is purchased from commercial companies so that members of the ACCO pool would not have to pay the whole thing themselves in the event of a major loss.
In the suit filed Wednesday, Burgess was the only defendant named. However, Tulsa attorney Greg Williams said other defendants probably would be added later. He also said he expected to add other women to the list of 12 plaintiffs named in Wednesday’s filing.
The women are alleging that the sheriff and certain members of his staff sexually abused and denigrated them, either while they were in jail or while participating in the Washita/Custer County Drug Court.
Mart Tisdal inducted into College of Trial Lawyers
- Gerald Green @ 11:03 am CST
Longtime Clinton attorney Mart Tisdal has become a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in America.
The induction ceremony at which Tisdal became a Fellow took place recently before an audience of approximately 730 persons during the 2007 annual meeting of the college in Denver, Colo.
Tisdal and his wife, Marian, live in Clinton. They have two children, Julia, who lives in New York City; and Logan of Austin, Texas.
Tisdal is owner of the Tisdal Law Firm and has been practicing in Clinton for 25 years.
The newly inducted fellow is an alumnus of the University of Oklahoma School of Law and was recently appointed by OU President David Boren to the law school’'s Board of Visitors.
Tisdal also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Oklahoma Attorneys Mutual Insurance Company. He is a recipient of the Neil E. Bogan Professionalism Award given by the Oklahoma Bar Association.
The attorney has served on the Oklahoma Bar Association’s Professional Responsibility Commission and was elected its chairman in 1990.
He was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Oklahoma Bar Foundation in 1996 and became president of the board in 2003.
In June of this year Tisdal was appointed by Gov. Brad Henry to the Oklahoma Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Tisdal is the son of Dr. Harold and Eloise Tisdal of Clinton.
Founded in 1950, the college is composed of the best of the trial bar from the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the college is extended by invitation only and only after careful investigation, to those experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by the highest standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality.
Lawyers must have a minimum of 15 years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship.
Membership in the college cannot exceed one percent of the total lawyer population of any state or province.
There are currently approximately 5,661 members in the United States and Canada, including active Fellows, Emeritus Fellows, Judicial Fellows (those who ascended to the bench after their induction) and Honorary Fellows.
The college strives to improve and elevate the standards of trial practice, the administration of justice and the ethics of the trial profession. Qualified lawyers are called to Fellowship in the College from all branches of trial practice. They are carefully selected from among those who customarily represent plaintiffs in civil cases and those who customarily represent defendants, those who prosecute accused of crime and those who defend them.
The college is thus able to speak with a balanced voice on important issues affecting the legal profession and the administration of justice.
Larry Williams served Burgess lawsuit notice
- Gerald Green @ 11:01 am CST
In a real irony, former Custer County sheriff Larry Williams was hired by a Tulsa law firm to serve current Sheriff Mike Burgess with notice that he was being sued.
Williams said Friday morning that he expected to serve Burgess with the papers after the incumbent sheriff returned home from Oklahoma City Friday afternoon. Burgess reportedly underwent back surgery recently and is presently on medical leave.
In 1988, Williams unseated the late Richard Mueller and served four years as sheriff. He then was beaten in his first re-election bid in 1992 by Mueller, who subsequently named Burgess as undersheriff. When Mueller died in 1994, Burgess was named by Custer County commissioners to serve out the term and since then has won three four-year terms for himself.
He and Williams were opponents in the 1996 race, Burgess winning with a resounding 72.5 percent of the vote to only 27.5 for Williams.
On Friday, Williams told the Clinton Daily News he was contacted by one of the lawyers filing the lawsuit against Burgess and asked if he had any objections to serving legal papers to police officers. He said that when he answered no, the lawyer asked him, “How about the sheriff?” He said he again answered no.
On Thursday, local bail bondsman Doug Baca – who’s also a process server – had told the Daily News that he too was contacted by the Tulsa law group about serving the papers but declined.
Hanging death ruled suicide
- Gerald Green @ 11:00 am CST
A young man hanged himself Thursday from a bridge approximately four miles south of Dill City, Washita County Sheriff Ron Mazurek confirmed Saturday.
Mazurek said C.J. Ledbetter, 24, had called a friend and told him where he would be. The sheriff called the death a suicide and said no foul play is suspected.
Funeral services will be held Monday at 10 a.m. in the Burns Flat-Dill City High School gym. A full obituary appears on Page 2.
Ledbetter rites Monday
- Gerald Green @ 10:59 am CST
Funeral services for Clifford Joe Ledbetter, 24, will be held at 10 a.m. Monday in the Burns Flat-Dill City High School gymnasium at Burns Flat.
Ledbetter was born Dec. 16, 1983, in Elk City and lived all his life in the Burns Flat-Dill City area. He died Thursday, Oct. 18, 2007, at a location south of Dill City.
He was employed by Helmerich & Payne drilling company.
Known to family and friends as “C.J.,” Ledbetter enjoyed outdoor activities, including motorcycle riding and bull riding.
Survivors include his parents, Larry and Kay Ledbetter of the home south of Dill City; two brothers, Chris Hall and wife Carol of Haworth and Lane Hall, Keithville, La.; two sisters, Larissa Mason and husband Toby, Genoa, Ark., and Priscilla Simon and husband Randy, Elk City; his maternal grandfather, Carl Gough, Dill City; paternal grandmother, Della Rogers, Burns Flat; and three nieces and two nephews.
He was preceded in death by one sister, Chrystal Michelle; his maternal grandmother, Betty Jo Gough; and paternal grandfathers Clifford Ledbetter and Keith Rogers.
Andy Taylor and Garry Ledbetter will officiate at the funeral. Burial will be in the South Burns Cemetery under direction of the Loftiss-Lee Funeral Home of Cordell.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
CMS bean night set
- Steve Belcher @ 3:41 pm CST
Clinton Middle School will host its annual supper, art show, silent auction and talent show night on Thursday, Nov. 1.
The bean supper is set for 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 1. The delicious beans with secret flavorings will be served with cornbread, fried potatoes, relishes, cinnamon rolls, cookies and drinks.
It’s an all-you-can-eat spread, so the public is encouraged to bring their hearty appetites.
During dinner, the CMS Art Department will display art projects in the gym. Students get to showcase their talents in the genres of sketching and animating.
And a silent auction is also planned in the gymnasium. Many items will be available for silent bids with the winning bids being announced at the conclusion of the variety show.
Available for bidding will be theme baskets, donations from local businesses, donations from teachers, donations from individuals and other fun items.
CMS appreciates everyone who helps make the auction a success, according to school principal Peggy Constein.
Highlighting the evening will be the CMS Idol Variety Show at 7 p.m. showcasing the talents of CMS students and teachers.
The Nov. 1 event is being billed as an evening of community, family togetherness, support for the local school and just good fun.
Tickets can be purchased from any middle school student or by phoning the office at 323-4228.
Cost from students is $5 for adults and $3 for students (eighth grade and under) with youngsters ages three and under admitted free.
Buying tickets at the door is also an option, but the cost will be $6 for adults and $4 for students.
Proceeds go toward technology to benefit Clinton Middle School students.
New driver license office open house will be Friday
- Steve Belcher @ 3:41 pm CST
The Oklahoma Department of Public Safety and the City of Clinton will be hosting a joint open house for the new driver license office at 1120 Opal Ave. on the north side of McLain Rogers Park in Clinton at 10 a.m. Friday.
The new driver testing facility is in the general vicinity of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, the Municipal Swimming Pool and sand volleyball courts.
City and state officials will speak following a ribbon-cutting ceremony conducted by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce.
Testing was previously conducted at the Oklahoma Highway Patrol headquarters west on Gary Boulevard.
But this facility wasn’t large enough to accommodate the increased workload and posed security concerns.
The City of Clinton agreed to remodel the old pool bathhouse at McLain Rogers Park to meet the needs of driver license testing.
Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, closing for lunch from noon to 1 p.m.
Commercial driver license skills testing is conducted Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment only. The telephone number of the new office is (580) 323-0678.
Civil sex suit filed against sheriff
- Gerald Green @ 3:39 pm CST
The Custer County Jail is called “a den of sexual de-pravity” in an 18-page civil lawsuit filed late Wednesday afternoon against Sheriff Mike Burgess in federal court at Oklahoma City on behalf of 12 women who’ve been housed at the jail over the past two years.
Burgess himself is accused of engaging in sex with Drug Court participant Joy Mason of Weatherford more than 30 times over an extended pe-riod of time, and of allowing employees to ogle, grope and sexually harass female pris-oners. No employees are ac-cused of actual sexual inter-course.
“Not all employees of Sheriff Burgess engaged in the con-duct described . . . but all too many did,” the lawsuit states.
The suit was filed Wednes-day in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma by the Tulsa law firms of Seymour & Graham, LLP, and Garrett Law Office, P.C. It was recorded in the federal courthouse at 5:07 p.m.
Plaintiffs are Laureen McGowan, Joy Mason, Ivette Figueroa, Melissa Espinosa, Regenia Oldbear, Kimberly Summers, Dawn Rodgers, Brenda Brown, Teresa Chagolla, Dena Estrada, Jennifer Slinkey and Kim-berly Smith.
No sources are listed for the allegations that are made, and they of course are un-proven at this point. How-ever, attorney Greg Williams of the Garrett firm told the Clinton Daily News that the matter has been under inves-tigation since March and in-cidents have been uncovered dating back to 2003.
“We sent out letters to women who’d been in the jail the last year, and we got re-sponses back and started looking for witnesses,” said Williams. “One witness led to another witness who led to another witness. We found this has been going on since 2003.”
Williams said the statute of limitations for this type of activity is two years so the suit covers only incidents al-leged to have occurred during that time span. However, he said of women reportedly vic-timized prior to that: “They’ll make great witnesses.”
Burgess’ office has been un-der investigation by the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation since May, when an accusation was re-portedly made during a ses-sion of the Washita/Custer County Drug Court by a fe-male under supervision of the court.
District Attorney Mike Bor-ing of Guymon, who was ap-pointed to handle the case after local DA Dennis Smith recused himself and his staff, said today that the OSBI in-vestigation is still ongoing and he has nothing new to report on it.
“OSBI is working on the case,” he said. “When they get their deal done, they’ll get back with us. When we get it (the OSBI report), we’ll try to evaluate it and go for-ward from there.”
Boring said he was contacted by the Tulsa lawyers who filed the civil suit and was aware it was going to be filed.
Burgess is being sued “in his official capacity” as sheriff, the suit states. Although ac-cusations are made against other employees – jailers in particular – none are named as defendants. However, Wil-liams said he expects other defendants to be added, and additional plaintiffs as well.
“We needed this lawsuit to issue some subpoenas,” he said.
The suit accuses Burgess of operating a “sex-slave ring” in Custer County. It says that under state law, any sexual intercourse between a county employee and a per-son under supervision of the Drug Court is considered rape, even if it’s consensual. In that regard, it says such intercourse is considered the same as sex by a person 18 or over with an underage indi-vidual.
“Sheriff Burgess has, person-ally, shamelessly engaged in an extended pattern of com-mitting rape, sodomy and sexual battery . . . by and through asserting his author-ity as Sheriff of Custer County,” the suit states. It also accuses him of black-mail.
In addition, he is accused of telling participants in the Drug Court program that he got them into the program and can get them out and sent to prison.
Drug Court is a program in which persons convicted of crimes are allowed to remain free but are required to fol-low strict procedures to avoid going to prison. They are given two possible sentences at the time they enter the program, one normally prom-ising them a suspended sen-tence if they successfully complete the program and the other assuring an ex-tended prison sentence if they don’t.
Alleged specific actions of Burgess and his employees are described in detail. The sheriff is accused of commit-ting rape, sodomy, sexual battery and blackmail against plaintiff Joy Mason who was assigned to the Drug Court program July 15, 2005, following convictions for five counts of burglary.
“Sheriff Burgess committed rape, sodomy, sexual battery and blackmail on Ms. Mason on more than 30 occasions within the statute of limita-tions, telling her on more than one occasion that he got her into the Drug Court pro-gram and if she did not pro-vide the required sexual fa-vors, he would get her out of the program and sent imme-diately to prison,” the suit states. “In addition, on more than one occasion he threat-ened Ms. Mason that by causing her to be sent imme-diately to prison if she did not provide the required sex-ual favors, she would not ever be able to see her chil-dren until after they had grown up.
“Sheriff Burgess called Ms. Mason scores of times, and required that she call him. After Sheriff Burgess’ wife questioned calls on his cell phone, Sheriff Burgess di-rected Ms. Mason to call his private line at the Sheriff’s Office in Custer County. Dur-ing telephone calls between Ms. Mason and Sheriff Bur-gess on Sheriff Burgess’ pri-vate line at the Sheriff’s Of-fice in Custer County, Sheriff Burgess would arrange for and require one or more of the sexual favors referred to herein.
“On one occasion within the statute of limitations Sheriff Burgess called Ms. Mason and demanded that she drive to the Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City and meet with him at his hotel, so that he could have required sex-ual favors. The demand in-cluded the threat that unless she did so, he would cause her to be removed from the Drug Court program and sent to prison. Ms. Mason complied with the demand, fearing the consequences if she did not. Ms. Mason’s driving to Oklahoma City for any purpose was a violation of the conditions of her Drug Court program participation, as Sheriff Burgess well knew, because those conditions prohibited driving outside Custer County without spe-cific permission to do so, which neither she nor Sheriff Burgess had the authority to allow.
“On another occasion, in De-cember 2006, the Drug Court program for the State of Oklahoma was to be show-cased to members of the Oklahoma State Legislature in Oklahoma City on ‘Drug Court Day,’ through presen-tations to them by partici-pants in the Drug Court pro-gram, including Ms. Mason. The night before Ms. Mason and other Drug Court par-ticipants from around the state met the legislators the following day in Oklahoma City, Sheriff Burgess called Ms. Mason and demanded that she drive to Oklahoma City and meet him at his ho-tel, so that he could have the degrading and humiliating sexual favors he demanded. Ms. Mason complied with the demand, fearing the conse-quences if she did not. . . .
“Over the past several months, Sheriff Burgess has required Ms. Mason to drink alcohol in his presence, as part of his overall conduct in requiring Ms. Mason to per-form sexual favors. Sheriff Burgess knew that such con-duct is a violation of the con-ditions of Ms. Mason’s Drug Court program participation.
“Throughout the statute of limitations Sheriff Burgess has engaged in sexual har-assment of Ms. Mason in countless telephone calls, as well as in person, all under the threat of causing her to be sent to prison unless she tolerated his extreme sexual slavery. . . .
“Ms. Mason’s usage of alcohol has caused her severe emo-tional distress, psychological damage and personal hu-miliation, and has substan-tially interfered with her ability to make progress in the Drug Court program. . . .”
In November and December of 2006, Burgess required jail inmate Kimberly Smith to sodomize him on two occa-sions, the suit states. When she refused to do so a third time, he is alleged to have revoked her status as a trusty.
“Immediately thereafter, Sheriff Burgess replaced Ms. Smith as female trusty with another inmate of the Custer County Jail who informed Ms. Smith that she was hav-ing sexual relations with Sheriff Burgess and was per-forming sodomy on him,” the suit states.
Alleged incidents involving employees of the sheriff also are described in detail. The suit says that in May of 2006 employees offered cigarettes to female inmates who would flash their breasts and con-ducted wet T-shirt contests so their breasts would be more visible through their clothing.
That same month one par-ticular jailer, whose last name was not given, alleg-edly committed sexual bat-tery against inmate Ivette Figueroa by pressing her body to his, touching her sexual organs and pressing his sex organ against her.
In July of 2006, the suit con-tinues, sexual battery was committed against Jennifer Slinkey as she was being transported. It says the male employee driving her pulled onto an isolated road, climbed into the back seat with her, groped her groin and breasts, and tried to have sexual relations.
On other occasions, male jail-ers allegedly watched female inmates as they removed their clothing and took show-ers, and also allowed male prisoners to look at the women as well.
Monday, October 15, 2007
Check scam charge filed
- Gerald Green @ 4:30 pm CST
Bradley Martens, 34, was arrested last Monday by Clinton police for allegedly cashing two checks totaling approximately $1,900 using false identification. Capt. Mike Murley said Martens has a Clinton address and was charged with obtaining money by trick or deception, a felony.
Sylvia Mitchell, owner of El Quetzac located in the 500 block of Frisco Avenue, showed up at the police station about 1:30 p.m. Monday and reported cashing the checks approximately 30 minutes earlier. She said a man had come in wanting to cash the checks and had a photocopy of a driver’s license with his picture on it. The name on the photocopied driver’s license was Robert Hightower, and it showed an address in McLoud.
Ms. Mitchell said she cashed the checks but soon had second thoughts. She took them to the police station, along with a copy she had made of the photocopied driver’s license.
Lt. Ray Hammans, with whom she spoke, immediately recognized the man pictured on the license as Bradley Martens. Using pictures on hand at the Police Department, a photo lineup was prepared and shown to Ms. Mitchell. From six individuals pictured in the lineup, Murley said she positively identified a photo of Martens as the man who had cashed the checks.
Through other records, it was determined that the suspect lived in Clinton. Murley said that he, Hammans and Lt. Ron McLemore proceeded to the north part of town and located Martens driving in the 700 block of N. Fourth Street. He was stopped and a large sum of money recovered from his vehicle. Following an interview by Hammans, he was arrested.
Other recent incidents reported by police have included:
• The loss and/or theft of a wallet outside the Homeland store.
Murley said William Torbet told police that on Oct. 5 he went shopping at Homeland and about 4 p.m., as he was leaving the store, he stopped to adjust the groceries he was carrying. He said he laid his wallet on top of the propane rack while doing so and forgot to pick it up.
Police checked with management at the store and determined that nobody had turned in the wallet. If anybody did pick it up, Murley asked that they contact police and it will be returned to Torbet.
• Recovery of a pickup stolen in Thomas and found here on a parking lot in the 200 block of S. 28th St.
Murley said that last Monday officers met with an individual who said that the previous Saturday he had noticed the pickup on the church premises with a trailer hooked onto it. When it was still there on Monday, he contacted police who determined that it had been reported stolen in Thomas.
Thomas police were contacted, and the pickup was recovered and returned to its owner, Howard Dyck.
• Vandalism to a 1999 Chevrolet pickup while it was parked at the Days Inn.
The owner, Paul Walker, told police that someone got inside and literally broke the steering wheel off the column. Damage was estimated at $500.
Walker said he had left the pickup unlocked.
Curves benefit raises $1,200
- Gerald Green @ 4:29 pm CST
Women from Curves of Clinton collected $1,200.36 in their premier drive for the American Cancer Society (ACS) Making Strides Against Cancer fundraiser Saturday.
Curves members staged a “Fill the Bra” drive at the intersection of Jaycee Lane and Gary Boulevard most of the day Saturday.
Another donation opportunity will be available from 1 to 8 p.m. this coming Saturday in the entry area of Big Kmart.
Proceeds are going to not only support the ACS but also the Project Women Coalition of Oklahoma — an organization that has been involved in the fight to prevent breast cancer since 1989.
Curves owner Patty Lewellen is planning to make this an annual fundraising campaign.
'Social Host' ordinance's vote Tuesday
- Gerald Green @ 4:29 pm CST
After nearly two months of discussion and considerable revision, Clinton’s proposed “Social Host” ordinance will be voted on at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, assuming it gets the necessary motion and second.
Only other items on the agenda for the 5:30 p.m. meeting are a resolution creating a committee to consider TIF (“Tax Increment Financing”) districts and establishing the process under which they would be considered, and a budget transfer creating a reserve fund for the Clinton Airport Authority. The fund would be used as matching money for federal grants received to finance improvements at Clinton Regional Airport.
Purpose of the Social Host ordinance would be to curtail underage drinking by holding the adults who are responsible for premises where young people congregate – including private homes – accountable if those under age 21 do drink alcohol. A revised draft of the ordinance presented at the council’s Oct. 2 session said it is the duty of any person having control of any premises who knowingly allows a gathering to occur “to take all reasonable steps to prevent the consumption of alcoholic beverages by any minor at the gathering,” with reasonable steps defined as “controlling access to alcoholic beverages at the gathering.”
An exception is made for parents who allow their children – and only their children – to drink at home, provided the children do not leave the residence in an intoxicated condition.
Under a series of questions and answers posted on the city’s Web site, it is stated that adults are not responsible for hosting the party if they are away from home and youth hold a drinking party without their knowledge. However, it is also stated that under state statutes and case law, homeowners may be held liable for injuries or other consequences that occur regardless of whether or not they are present.
Adults found in violation of the Social Host law would be subject to the maximum penalties permitted for violation of any city ordinance – that is, up to 30 days in jail or a fine of up to $500. It would be up to the municipal judge to determine punishment within those limitations.
The proposed ordinance was requested by the Clinton High School chapter of SADD/2M2L (Students Against Destructive Decisions and 2Much2Lose), whose members presented survey results at the council’s Aug. 21 meeting indicating that a sizeable percentage of minors in Custer County do drink. Also among the survey’s findings was that many of those who drink do so at home, at a friend’s house or at a party.
In a letter to the editor published Sept. 9 in the Clinton Daily News, three members of the chapter’s Executive Board – Derek Adams, Kaesha Lister and Ashley Rogers – said that some parents and other adults concerned about drinking and driving mistakenly believe if youth are going to drink, it’s better they do so at home than somewhere else.
They also wrote that drinking parties are frequently hosted by young adults who allow minors to drink.
“The ordinance we hope is passed provides parents with peace of mind in knowing that their children should not be encouraged by other adults or older teens to drink alcohol when their child goes to someone else’s home,” they wrote.
2007 Festival of Lights to be largest ever
- Gerald Green @ 4:28 pm CST
The 2007 Clinton Festival of Lights parade and festivities is expected to be one of the biggest Christmas extravaganzas in recent history, according to Allen Bryson, chairman of the Chamber of Commerce Service and Retail Committee.
The evening of events is scheduled for Tuesday Nov. 27, from 4 to 8 p.m. in downtown Clinton.
Activities will begin at 4 p.m. at the Frisco Center with a silent auction. Businesses throughout the Hub City will be open until 8 p.m. so shoppers can get a head start on their Christmas shopping.
Chamber of Commerce members are also invited to set up booths at the Frisco Center to highlight their wares. Bryson encourages members to contact the Chamber of Commerce early to reserve a booth. Space is limited and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.
The North Pole has confirmed that Santa Clause will be at the Frisco Center from 5 to 8 p.m. so area children can make their Christmas wishes known.
At 6 p.m. the Centennial Clock, now under construction, will be officially dedicated in Engleman Park at 6th Street and Frisco Avenue.
Singers and musicians from area schools and churches are expected to be performing on the sidewalks and in the parks on Frisco Avenue to help get everyone in the Christmas spirit.
The Festival of Lights Parade is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m.
“We want this to be a Christmas celebration that you will remember the rest of your life,” commented Bryson. “To make the parade the biggest ever we are offering a prize of $200 for the best float, $100 for second place and $50 for third place. We will also be giving trophies to the best entry by a church, best entry by a civic club, best entry by a school, best entry by a business and the mayor’s choice trophy.”
Chamber President Erin Adams said that an “entry” doesn’t necessarily have to be a float.
“If there is a church choir in the parade singing Christmas carols they will be judged in the same category as a church that has a float in the parade. The same goes for the band, etc.”
Parade judging will be done by the Junior Service League.
Anyone interested in competing for prizes needs to get an entry from the Chamber of Commerce office located in the Frisco Center.
School vocal groups and bands and church groups are also invited to perform throughout the evening. Those interested should also contact the chamber to reserve a time and location.
Adams believes Clinton is the place to shop for Christmas and the Festival of Lights is a great way to kick off the holiday season.
“There has been a surge of new retail businesses opening in Clinton that will make this the place to shop this Christmas,” she said. “The Festival of Lights is a great way to see the variety of unique items available right here in Clinton.”
Trooper saves woman after jump from bus
- Gerald Green @ 4:27 pm CST
A young woman who appar-ently intended to jump out the window of a moving Greyhound bus and then was forcefully stopped from jump-ing in front of a moving pickup on Interstate 40 was transported Tuesday to the Red Rock West Behavioral Health Center in Clinton.
Trooper Aaron Hunter of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol arrived in the nick of time to possibly save the woman’s life after the bus driver did his part by calling for help and stopping the bus. Hunter said the woman did succeed in kicking out the bathroom window of the bus and did jump out, but by then the bus was stopped.
The 24-year-old female was from Rochester, N.Y., and had boarded the bus in Phoenix, Ariz. Hunter said she had been acting irration-ally since the bus left Elk City.
OHP got involved when the driver made a star-55 call to Troop H headquarters about 5 p.m. reporting that a woman was trying to kick out the bathroom window and jump out. He had stopped the bus near the eastbound U.S. Highway 183 exit in Clinton.
“As soon as I got there, she had just kicked out the win-dow and was jumping,” said Hunter. “After she jumped out, she tried to jump in front of the pickup. I had hold of her and was able to stop her.”
Asked if she appeared to be under the influence of intoxi-cants, Hunter said she had needle marks on her arms.
Four Clinton police officers also responded to the scene and gave assistance. They were Lt. Jeff McAdams, Sgt. Jimmy Murphy, Jeff Card-well and Richard Staton.