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Car falls on former Piedmont mayor

George Fina

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Former Piedmont Mayor and Piedmont Hall of Fame member George Fina suffered multiple injuries last night when a car he was working on fell on top of him, breaking an unknown number of his ribs and breaking a vertebra.

According to Fina’s daughter Ann Stolfa’s Facebook page, “So for those friends and family who haven’t heard yet, my dad had a bad accident yesterday; a car he was working on fell on him. He was lucky to escape with only broken ribs and a broken vertebra. I say lucky because it could have ended much differently. I’m feeling very thankful today that my dad is still here with us.

The Fina family were unavailable for comment at this time. This story will be updated once more information becomes available and is confirmed.

City schedules Stout Drive road repair

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
The City of Piedmont announced on its website the Stout Drive road repairs are slated to begin Friday or Monday, depending on weather conditions.

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

The street repair project on Stout Street in Piedmont will either begin this Friday or the following Monday, according the City of Piedmont’s website.

The project start date was moved to June 18 or June 21 because of impending weather conditions.

The project was approved by the Piedmont city council June 23 and has an estimated unit price of $217,550.80. It consists of roadway stabilization improvements on Stout Drive, from Edmond Road south to below Monroe Ave. NW.

In a letter posted to the city’s website, the City of Piedmont writes, “We will start by grinding up the old asphalt paving. Your street will remain open during the majority of these repairs, but sections will be closed on the days we are installing base stabilization, applying road oil, or laying asphalt.”

Silver Star Construction Company road crews are scheduled to work from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be signs at the end of each block, signifying that the city will be working on the street and that the street will be closed for part of that day. On some occasions, city road crews will work on Saturday in the case that an impending storm is heading into Piedmont.

The city also warns residents to be very careful around its heavy road equipment.

“Be very cautious of the large machinery while the road is under construction,” the city writes in its letter. “Be aware that there may be delays getting in or out during certain phases of the construction.”

The city also warns residents to not allow their children to play on or around the construction equipment after work hours.

Also, the city asks that residents who live on or near Stout Drive to keep their vehicles in their driveways and out of the roadway during the road repairs.

“Be patient with our work crews,” the city writes. “It’s our goal to do good work as quickly as possible and to keep you informed along the way.”

For more information about the letter the city of Piedmont sent out, contact the City of Piedmont at 373-2621 or visit the city’s website at www.piedmont-ok.gov.

Piedmont Park Project committee to hold community meeting

By Eric Anderson
F&M Bank President

Have you heard? We are working to build a park in Piedmont, but we need your help. The Piedmont Park Project has several opportunities for all members of the community to help and get involved, including all the little ones as well.

At 6:30 p.m., Thursday, July 24, we will host a community meeting at the Intermediate School. During this meeting, you will have an opportunity to view a slide show regarding the plans and hopes for the future park in our community. There will be refreshments and an opportunity to volunteer in multiple capacities. This park will not be a success without the help and support of our community.

We will be hosting an opportunity for each of you to Design Your Own Dream Park. Take a blank 8 ½ X 11 in. paper and design what you would like as your Dream Park. The sky is the limit on your design.
Read more →

Piedmont Titans win 7-Under tournament

Submitted by Bill Bailey
The Piedmont Titans won a 7-Under baseball tournament in Piedmont last weekend.

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

The 7-Under little league baseball team, Piedmont Titans, won the PSA 7-U Machine Pitch Invitational held last weekend at the PSA baseball fields in Piedmont.

The tournament was a double elimination tournament consisting of three pool play games last Saturday to seed the teams for the double elimination tournament on Sunday.

The Titans won two of their three pool play games to earn a No. 2 seed on Sunday playing a No. 3 seed in the first round.

Titans won their first game on Sunday against the El Reno Rumble 8 – 1.

Titans won their second game on Sunday 21 – 9 against the OK Braves. (OK Braves – from Midwest City are ranked # 13 in the state in 7U coach pitch.)

Titans won their third game on Sunday 12 – 0 against the Moore Venom (#28 nationally ranked by USSSA in 7U machine pitch) to clinch the winners bracket and require the challenger in the championship game to beat them twice to win the tournament.

They won the championship in the last inning (fifth inning) scoring three runs and rallying from a two-run deficit (7 – 9) to win (10 – 9) and go undefeated on Sunday.

Piedmont Titans were in Pool A with the Perry Marauders, Yukon Drillers and Moore Venom (#28 in Nation in 7U MP, USSSA).

The tournament offered “Dealers Choice” which allowed coach pitch teams to pitch to their team rather than hitting off the machine.

The OK Braves came through the consolation bracket beating the Venom (third in the tournament).

The Titans are coached by Bill Bailey.

Bailey said the Titans won the tournament by playing great defense and exceptional offense (batting).

“The team’s key to success was to have fun playing baseball with their teammates and outstanding confidence at the plate and superb defense,” Bailey said.

Overall, the Titans scored 88 runs, and only gave up 37 the entire tournament. Averaging 11 runs scored per game and not allowing any opponent to score more than nine runs in any game.

Bailey said this was done playing top-level competition on both Saturday and Sunday as the Titans’ pool (Pool A) had the first, third and fourth place teams in it and then played the third place team and second place team twice on Sunday. Both teams carrying state and national rankings.

“Most of these boys have taken home trophies before,” Bailey said. “This is by far the biggest trophy these boys have taken home. It was a huge victory for us. There was some pretty stiff competition that came into the tournament.”

The Titans “Mercy Ruled” most teams they played in the tournament. The Mercy Rule is applied if the winning team has built a substantial lead, not allowing for the other team to come up with enough runs per inning to come back to win. Each game consists of five innings. And each team is only allowed to score seven runs per inning. If a team is up 15 runs after three innings or 10 runs after four innings, the Mercy Rule is applied by the umpire.

This is Bailey’s third season with the Titans. In that time, he has coached many young Piedmont baseball players.

“It’s mostly about keeping it positive and fun for the kids,” he said. “These are sever-year-old little boys out there playing a game. There’s going to be mistakes all over the place. We don’t get down on kids for mistakes. We try to highlight the things that they did good.”

The Titans are #25 Reese McManis, #10 Anderson Cofer, #11 Tate Cardwell, #9 Drake May, #1 Brent Bailey, #4 Austen Mueller, #12 Titus Boice, #7 Walker Kennedy, #5 Caden Cameron, #21 Wyatt Geissler and # 34 Jackson Payne. Coaches: Head Coach Bill Bailey, Assistant Coaches Robert McManis, Brett Payne and Jason Geissler.

Piedmont family instrumental in N.M. Heart Camp’s formation

Submitted by David Pletcher
Justin Gordon, left, a Cavett Kid, and Tobi Gordon ride a chair lift in Angel Fire, N.M., during the Angel Fire Heart Camp, which the Pletcher family from Piedmont are instrumental components of.

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

The Pletcher family of Piedmont were instrumental in the formation of a camp for kids battling terminal illnesses.

The Angel Fire Heart Camp in Angel Fire, N.M. is a destination David and Mandy Pletcher and several of their family members take kids from the Cavett Kids Foundation to relax and enjoy some outdoor activities.

David, Mandy and their daughter Tobi Gordon volunteered at Mercy Hospital before the Heart Camp idea was conceived. His son, Shea Pletcher, worked as an intern for Cavett Kids while he was in college and came up with the basic idea for the Heart Camp.

The family decided if they were going to form a heart camp, they should use their place in the New Mexican mountains.

One of the thoughts behind having the camp in Angel Fire, is to give these kids who are all fighting terminal illnesses a place to go that they normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to go.

The foundation brings along medical personnel on the trip each year, to insure the kids’ safety.
Cavett Kids Foundation founder Danny Cavett said the foundation’s doctors do not want the kids to go much higher than 8,000 feet in elevation and not stay very long. The town of Angel Fire sits at 8,406 feet above sea level.
Read more →

DA speaks at legislative breakfast

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Canadian County District Attorney Mike Fields spoke to chamber of commerce and community members this morning at the Piedmont Chamber of Commerce Legislative Breakfast about priorities and issues the district attorney’s office is working on right now.

Fields spent 14 years as the assistant district attorney in District 4. He was named Prosecutor of the Year in 2003. District 4 serves Garfield, Blaine, Kingfisher, Canadian and Grant Counties.

He said the DA’s office operates on a $4 Million yearly budget. More than half of the budgetary money is state appropriated. He said 52 percent of the budget comes from state appropriations, while 48 percent has to be generated by the DA’s office. One of the ways the DA’s office generates that money is by collecting a percentage of the money from offenders who write hot checks. Those offenders have to pay that money back to the lender or get charged with a crime. In this program, the DA’s office collects fees associated with each case. However, less people are writing checks nowadays because a lot of people use bank cards.

Fields said the prosecutor’s office has three main priorities it deals with:

1) Serious and violent offenders
There were 89 violent offenders in Canadian County from 2011-12. Those offenders included murderers and rapists.

2) Career criminals
There were 810 career criminals in the county system from 2011-12.

3) Juvenile justice
Fields said juvenile justice is one of his top priorities. He said rehabilitating youth who are making mistakes is important, so that they can grow out of it to become good citizens.

Fields also gave some statistical numbers from the last few years in the Canadian County court system.

Felonies: 1,762
Misdemeanors: 2,564
Juvenile cases: There are more than 700 juvenile cases still pending and about 3,300 Department of Human Services (DHS) referrals in 2013.

Fields also noted that mental health services with adults is very underfunded in the state and has an impact on public safety.

He also mentioned how Drug Court works. Drug Court is a court-appointed program that allows a drug offender to rehabilitate without getting jail time, unless they fail to complete the program or fail to abide by its rules, set by a judge. There were more than 100 participants in the Drug Court program last year, all from Canadian, Kingfisher and Blaine Counties.

Offender costs are $40 per month. There is an estimated 70 to 80 percent recidivism rate for those who do not attend Drug Court. However, there is a 70 to 80 percent success rate for those who attend.

Some notable cases from year’s past the DA’s office prosecuted:

Wendell Grissom: He was sentenced to death for murder and that sentence was affirmed. He is in his Federal appeals processes.

Thomas TwoBabies: Was given a life sentence for murder.

Jeff Wood: Was given five life sentences for child rape in and around Kingfisher.

Bobby Bledsoe: Was given a 30-year sentence for murder.

John and Sonja Kluth: Were given 50-year sentences for child abuse.

Michael Mason: Was give 20 years for child pornography.

Grady Lewallen: Was given life for murder.

Gregory Wood: Was given 44 years for engaging in child sex.

Becky Bryan: Was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for the murder of her husband, Keith Bryan, the Nichols Hills police chief.

K.O. Cooper: Was given life without parole for drug trafficking after previous convictions for the same crime.

James Dankei: Given life without parole for murder.

Piedmont High School teacher named finalist for Oklahoma Teacher of the Year

Cyndi Brown

By Matt Montgomery
editor@piedmontnewsonline.com

Piedmont High School Advanced Placement (AP) English language and literature teacher Cyndi Brown was one of 12 teachers statewide who were named finalists for the state’s top teaching honor: Teacher of the Year.

Brown has been recognized for being a top teacher before. This past year, Piedmont Schools Superintendent James White, PhD, named Brown the Piedmont High School Site Teacher of the Year.

“We are extremely proud of Cyndi Brown,” White said. “Being named a finalist for the Oklahoma Teacher of the Year is a tremendous honor and accomplishment. We are very fortunate to have a teacher of her caliber and she is a terrific representative of Piedmont Schools.”

Brown said what makes her an effective teacher is making the things she teaches relevant to what is going on in the real world.

“To teach them how to engage in intelligent, informed discussion and debate about events in the world about classic and contemporary issues is important,” she said. “I had a great opportunity to do that with my wonderful AP students. They are so smart and insightful. I’ve learned just as much from them as they did from me.”

Brown said she thinks it’s important to teach her students to listen to each other and listen to other people’s perspectives and to view things from multiple viewpoints so they can see there are so many valid ways to look at things.

“I want them to be great students and have great success in college, but I also want them to be successful people,” Brown said.

Her classroom can be described as a discussion-oriented, respectful environment where students have the freedom to express themselves in an energetic and high-level way of thinking. Brown said the goal in her classroom isn’t necessarily to learn and regurgitate copy from the textbook, but rather to let the students debate among themselves in an intellectual way.

“One of the things we do in AP English is to take issues and break them apart,” she said. “I want them to develop their own viewpoints and listen to other people, too, and not just put other people down by trying to ramrod their opinions down other people’s throats.”

She changes her curriculum yearly by integrating current events into each year’s course.

“When they take that test in May, it’s going to deal with very current issues,” she said. “It asks them to weigh in on things that are very current. So, we read the paper, pay attention to politics, and that’s what keeps it exciting for me. It’s a very relevant class and I think the students appreciate that.”

Brown keeps in touch with her students after they graduate Piedmont High School.

“I would rather have a student say that mine was their favorite class,” she said. “Rather than just I’m their favorite teacher. I try to teach them what they need to know. I love to hear back from my students and knowing that they are doing well.”

The other 11 finalists are Tonya Boyle of H. Cecil Rhoades Elementary School; Roger Clement of Noble High School; Amber Elder of James L. Dennis Elementary School; Adam Forester of Bethany High School; Monica Hodgden of Woodward Early Childhood Center; James LeGrand of Altus High School; Jennifer Luttmer of Liberty Elementary School; Romney Nesbitt of Jenks West Intermediate School; Jason Proctor of Tahlequah High School; Diane Walker of Muskogee High School and LeaAnn J. Wyrick of McCall Middle School.

The teacher of the year will be chosen and announced sometime in September of this year. No date has been confirmed.

Cat Scratch Summer: Piedmont baseball gains experience in offseason

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Stanton Reasoner applies a tag to a runner from Edmond North High School during the first round of the Zorian Wood Bat Tournament earlier this summer at Deer Creek High School in Edmond.

By Evan Grice

Sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

On the heels of their first appearance in a regional final as a Class 5A program, the Piedmont Wildcats baseball team hit the ground running over the past month.

Traveling all across the state of Oklahoma, the Wildcats varsity 1 and 2 squads along with the freshmen teams all gained valuable experience against tough opposition from all classes. Read more →

Camping at the Intermediate: PHS volleyball set to host OU Volleyball

Evan Grice/Gazette
Piedmont’s Anna Young goes up for a kill attempt during a game last season against Noble at the Intermediate Gymnasium in Piedmont. Young and the Lady Cats will be hosting the OU camp on July 23-24.

By Evan Grice

Sports@piedmontnewsonline.com

Sometimes the best laid plans that go astray, turn into something better.

That’s the case for the Piedmont Lady Wildcat volleyball team, as they will be getting some coaching from the coaches who represent the University of Oklahoma.

A scheduling conflict over the OU volleyball camp being held in Norman led to the Sooners coaching staff contacting PHS head coach Brad Brucker about holding the camp at the Piedmont Intermediate Gymnasium, an idea that the second year head coach just couldn’t turn down. Read more →

Surrey Hills 7-11 gives away free, small icees for 7-11 Day

Matt Montgomery/Gazette
Piedmont residents Magan Word and her soon-to-be pre-school son Trace Word stop by the Surrey Hills 7-11 for a free icee as part of 7-11′s promotional free icee day. The convenience store chain is offering the free, small icees only on July 7, which is 7-11 Day.

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