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Archive for: December 2010

Fina to serve as House Speaker for mayors conference next month

Piedmont Mayor Mike Fina

Piedmont will have strong representation at the first annual Oklahoma Congress of Mayors next month as mayor Mike Fina has been elected to serve as Speaker of the House for the inaugural Congress.

The event, sponsored by the Mayor’s Council of Oklahoma (MCO), will be held on Jan. 21 at the State Capitol with mayors debating the critical issues that face municipalities.

“Oklahoma’s cities and towns are asked to provide more services to citizens than ever before, yet our funding sources are shrinking and we operate in an antiquated tax structure,” Fina said. “The Congress of Mayors will allow us to debate these issues in a public forum and help develop solutions that the state legislature can use in future legislation.”

The event is open to all mayors and vice mayors from across the state and is free to attend. Sand Springs Vice Mayor and MCO President Mike Burdge will serve as Speaker Pro Tempore for the Congress and said the event is designed to promote maximum participation.

“The Mayor’s Council decided to make the event only one day and with no charge so all mayors could participate,” Burdge said. “By the time a city official pays for registration a hotel and travel expenses, the costs can add up fast.” Numerous sponsors have donated funds to operate the congress. “We are fortunate to have many organizations who believe in this concept and willing to help fund it.”

The Congress will feature a State of the Cities Address, committee meetings, and a legislative session in the House of Representatives Chamber.

“We pattered the session to operate as similarly to the State Legislature as you can get in one day,” Fina said. “We did this to help educate mayors on how the process works so they can become better advocates for their municipalities.”

Fina also said it is his hope that by participating in the Congress it will inspire more mayors to make the leap to the state legislature.

Top 10 sports stories of 2010

Members of the Piedmont girls track team pose next to their trophies from the 2010 season. The team won their second straight state track title last year.

No. 10: Boys Basketball Team attends camp at University of Kansas

The Wildcat boys basketball team attended a four day camp at the University of Kansas over the summer. The team played seven games in three days against tough competition from Kansas and Iowa. Many observers said that Piedmont’s Keith Vick was the best player they had watched over the four day period. The biggest highlight for the Wildcats came when they beat defending Iowa state champions, Sioux City. The camp was just the first step towards this year’s team goal of a state championship.

No. 9: Girls basketball wins first tournament in nine years

 

The Lady Wildcats basketball teams had not won a varsity tournament in almost a decade before this season. That all changed when they traveled to Mannford in early December. Piedmont routed McLain and Okmulgee to reach the championship round. A 35-32 victory over Tulsa Webster gave Piedmont the Lake Keystone Classic title. Coach George Wagner said winning the championship was a huge step for the team and it validated all the hard work the team has put it.

No. 8: Football wins two straight to end year

 

Piedmont limped through the season and carried a 1-7 record going into the last two games of the season. It would have been easy for them to throw in the towel and look forward to next year. However, in typical Piedmont style, the Wildcats rallied to win their last two games. Piedmont made the long trip to Guymon and played an overtime thriller that saw Taylor Ashcraft score the game winning touchdown. In the final week of the season, the Wildcats traveled to Cache and fell behind early but shut out the Bulldogs in the second half to end the season. Winning back-to-back games is a big step for Piedmont and should lay a strong foundation for a much improved 2011 season.

No. 7: Middle School cross country takes state

 

Winning state at any level is an impressive accomplishment and when both your boys and girls teams win, it’s even better. That was the case for the Piedmont Middle School teams this fall. The Piedmont girls beat out Tahlequah, Madill, and Ardmore to take home the title. Coach Roger White said that the girls set a goal of being state champions in June and followed through. The boys team was out for revenge after getting beat by Madill earlier during the season. They beat out Madill, Tahlequah, and Edmond Santa Fe South for the title. In total, Piedmont had 17 individual medals at the state meet. With so much talent at the middle school level, one can only imagine how much success these runners will have as they get older and move on to high school.

No. 6: Piedmont adds soccer

 

Piedmont schools are growing and, often, as schools grow they add more sports to meet the expanding needs of their students. This year, Piedmont has added soccer to their slate of sports. The soccer teams started sign ups in early July and have started off season workouts through the fall semester. There are about 65 kids signed up for soccer.

Matt LaHue, the new head soccer coach, said that he has been impressed with the student’s attitudes and desire to play. LaHue had previously coached soccer at Shawnee. The regular season starts March 1 and Piedmont is scheduled for six regular season games and a tournament.

No. 5: Wrestlers beat sixth ranked McLoud

 

The Piedmont wrestlers kicked off their 2010 season with a victory over Class 4A No. 6 McLoud. The dual took place at Oklahoma City University. Coach Erik Ford said that the dual gave the wrestlers a lot of confidence going forward and was a good experience for them to wrestle at a college venue. Aaron Hane was matched up against a returning state placer, and won by two points. Hunter Winkle sealed the early season upset by pinning his opponent.

Jori Davis stands next to the Gatorade Player of the Year banner outside Piedmont High School. Davis won three cross country state titles while she was in high school.

No. 4: Jori Davis named Gatorade Player of the Year, signs with OSU

Cross country runner Jori Davis was one of Piedmont’s most decorated athletics when she graduated last year. In addition to her three state cross country championships, Davis was named the Gatorade Cross Country Player of the Year in January. She won state titles her freshman, junior, and senior years. Davis’ title from her senior year was won with a time of 11 minutes 52.12 seconds. She was praised by Coach Amanda Tims for her encouragement and leadership.

Just three weeks after being named player of the year, Davis signed with Oklahoma State. Davis was also recruited by North Carolina, Arkansas, UCLA, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech. Davis said that she made the choice to go to OSU because of the coaches and the school.

No. 3: Softball reaches fifth straight state tournament

 

For many schools, back-to-back trips to the state tournament would be a major accomplishment. The Piedmont Lady Wildcats softball team made their fifth straight trip to the big tournament this fall. While Piedmont would fall to Tuttle in the opening round, making five straight trips is a true testament to the stability of the program.

No. 2: Brantley Pyle wins second wrestling state title in school history

 

Brantley Pyle now shares a spot a top the mountain with Dusty Gilles as the only Piedmont wrestlers with a state title. Gilles took state in 2000. Pyle, who wrestled in the 135 pound division, amassed a 36-3 record his senior season. Over the course of the state tournament, Pyle took down two No. 1 seeds as a No. 3 seed. Pyle defeated Tuttle’s Dallas Gracey with a 5-4 decision in the finals. Pyle said that a state title was a big goal of his going into his senior season and he worked hard to achieve what he did.

No. 1: Lady Wildcat track wins second straight state title

 

Back-to-back state titles for the Piedmont Lady Wildcat track team was the top story for 2010. After winning state in 2009 with just seven girls, Piedmont went into 2010 as the hunted. Coach Trinity Johnson said that there was a lot of pressure on the team every time they stepped off the bus.

Senior Jori Davis won the only individual title for Piedmont winning the 3200 meter race to claim her first track title to go with her three cross country titles. The crowning moments for the Lady Wildcats came during the 4×100 and the 4×200 events where the team picked up a total of 40 points. The 4×100 team was praised for their near flawless hands offs as the reason they were able to garner so many points.

City purchases new fire truck

The Piedmont Fire Department recently purchased a new pumper truck at a cost of $161,000. The truck brings the department’s fleet back to a required three rescue trucks.

The Piedmont Fire Department has a new fire truck parked at its station.

The fire department is required to have three pumper trucks and had been needing to replace its third vehicle following damage during a fire call. The damaged truck was a 1984 model, but its replacement is a 2010 rescue pumper.

The new truck came with a $208,000 price tag, and after a trade-in the city will pay $161,000.

According to fire chief Andy Logan, the new truck is economical and low on frills, but comes with enhanced safety features that older models were without. The new truck has equipment notifying passengers when their safety belts are not fastened and there is a black box recording device that can relay information in the event of an accident.

“I can’t stress the importance enough on what this means for the department to have,” Logan said.

The new pumper truck can transport five fire fighters and was put into service on Dec. 22.

Being Mr. Hatchett for a day

(RIGHT) First-grader Coleman Bixler was given the opportunity to be his gym teacher, (LEFT) Mr. Hatchett for a day. Bixler wants to be a gym teacher when he grows up.

Coleman Bixler, a first-grader at Northwood Elementary, has long looked up to his gym teacher, Mr. Keith Hatchett.  Last week, he got the opportunity to shadow Mr. Hatchett and get a taste of what life as a school gym teacher is really like.
Bixler was given the opportunity to be Mr. Hatchett for a day after his parents purchased the prize at the PTO Auction and Carnival last October.
“He’s wanted to be a P.E. teacher for awhile,” Amy Bixler, Coleman’s mom, said.  “He was with Mr. Hatchett at Stone Ridge and always wanted to be Mr. Hatchett.”
Armed with a stopwatch, whistle and a University of Oklahoma outfit, Coleman looked the part.  Throughout the day he was given the opportunity to assist Mr. Hatchett in leading P.E. classes and help conduct the day’s activities.
“When the stations are over I blow the whistle,” Coleman said.  “It’s fun because I get to see everyone play.”

Coleman Bixler, a first-grader at Northwood Elementary, has long looked up to his gym teacher, Mr. Keith Hatchett.  Last week, he got the opportunity to shadow Mr. Hatchett and get a taste of what life as a school gym teacher is really like.Bixler was given the opportunity to be Mr. Hatchett for a day after his parents purchased the prize at the PTO Auction and Carnival last October.  “He’s wanted to be a P.E. teacher for awhile,” Amy Bixler, Coleman’s mom, said.  “He was with Mr. Hatchett at Stone Ridge and always wanted to be Mr. Hatchett.”Armed with a stopwatch, whistle and a University of Oklahoma outfit, Coleman looked the part.  Throughout the day he was given the opportunity to assist Mr. Hatchett in leading P.E. classes and help conduct the day’s activities.“When the stations are over I blow the whistle,” Coleman said.  “It’s fun because I get to see everyone play.”

Coleman says the job has been hard at times, but overall he has had fun.  Spending the day in gym class is probably an ideal way to spend the school day for any first-grade boy, but Hatchett said Coleman has also had the opportunity to see how challenging the job can be.

“He is doing a great job, especially at blowing that whistle,” Hatchett said.  “It can be a challenge to just continually lead the class and making sure there are no problems and everyone is having a good time.

“I think it’s very gratifying that I’m admired like this.  To have children want to do what you do is a great feeling.”

Coleman says he still wants to be a gym teacher when he grows up and after today he will have a better understanding of what that will look like.

Senior citizens find a lot to like about Piedmont

The Piedmont Service Center offers transportation for area senior citizens to several events, including last week’s United Methodist Church senior citizen Christmas lunch.

When Elaine McCellan, and her husband Thomas, moved to Piedmont in 1978 she didn’t mind having to drive into Oklahoma City for services, such as a grocery store, but she always told herself that by the time she turned 80 she would like one to be located in Piedmont.

At age 77, Elaine is going to get her wish in a few months.
“I like a small town like Piedmont because it doesn’t have all the traffic,” Elaine said.  “But I am getting to the point where I would like to have things like a grocery store so I don’t have to drive so far.”
The McCellan’s, now retired, are some of the hundreds of senior citizens who call Piedmont home.  They love the open spaces, small town feel and laid back way of life, but as they get older there are certain things that can make a town, like Piedmont, even more attractive to older adults.
“Sidewalks would be nice,” Elaine said.  “It’s good when you can have places to walk and get around.  I use to ride my bicycle a lot when we first moved here, but now it would be very hard.”

The city has given a lot of attention to creating a community that is attractive for families, especially those with young children.  A comprehensive plan is under works in an effort to set a vision for Piedmont’s future, but with a large number of senior adults calling the town home, it is important to consider the needs of Piedmont’s older citizens.  Many senior citizens share similar wants and needs to the rest of the community.  More retail businesses and recreational opportunities are some of the most common requests but older adults also want to see an increase in safety and better mobility.

Judy Morgan has lived in Piedmont since 2007 and uses a wheel chair to get around.  Judy and her husband, Joe, love living in Piedmont with their daughter but some of their favorite places in town, such as the Historical Society’s museum on Monroe St., are unreachable.

“Piedmont is not really that handicap accessible,” Judy said.  “I know they are working on redoing the sidewalk (in downtown) but I can’t get into the museum right now.”

Piedmont lacks a large number of pedestrian areas, but the short strip along the old downtown is full of chipped sidewalks and worn out ramps.  Judy said those conditions make it near impossible for her to visit the museum and she would like to see handicap-friendly design incorporated into any future development plans.

“One thing I do like is the Piedmont Service Center brings a bus,” Judy said.  “That’s a big help for getting around to (community) events.”

Overall, Judy loves living in Piedmont and said she doesn’t have many complaints.  Her biggest want is handicap accessibility, but her husband has another thing on the top of his wish-list.

“If we just had a Braum’s out here that would be perfect,” Joe said.  “I have probably written them three letters asking them to come out here.”

Restaurants like Braum’s and the Piedmont Cuisine provide places for residents of all ages to gather together and enjoy a meal and conversation.  Local churches have attempted to provide that opportunity for Piedmont’s older adults, such as Piedmont United Methodist Church, which holds weekly and monthly activities.  Last week, the church’s senior citizen organization sponsored a Christmas dinner, an event that brought dozens of local senior citizens together.

“These types of events are important,” said Evelyn Munsell, who acts as the organization’s leader.  “Providing opportunities for fellowship and community are what we are trying to do.”

Munsell said she would like to see the church’s ministry to senior citizens continue to grow, but she also has her own ideas of what she would like to see in Piedmont.

“I would like to see a (fitness) facility that offers swimming,” Munsell said.  “I think that’s a big need in the older adult community in Piedmont.”

Christmas holiday presents tough foe for local teams

High school winter sports, like basketball and wrestling, have an interesting quirk that sets them  apart from nearly every other sport.  Just as the season gets underway, coaches lose their kids for two weeks. How they adapt to the lost time and how long it takes them to get their momentum back can be a real sign of a successful team.
Coaches have been with their teams almost every school day this semester, whether in off season work outs or practices. Now, the players will disperse on family vacations and other holiday events.
“We have open gym until the 23, it’s not required,” boys coach Ryan Wagner said. “Then we start practices back up on the 26. We play a couple of scrimmages before things get going again.
“Since we’ve been here, the kids always get better after the break,” Wagner explained. “There are 10 days of nothing but basketball. They get better and get stronger (before the season starts again.)
Girls coach George Wagner said that fundamentals and conditioning are their biggest focuses after the break. While the week or so break might not seem like a long time, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to break downs when the team gets back.
High school winter sports, like basketball and wrestling, have an interesting quirk that sets them  apart from nearly every other sport.  Just as the season gets underway, coaches lose their kids for two weeks. How they adapt to the lost time and how long it takes them to get their momentum back can be a real sign of a successful team.Coaches have been with their teams almost every school day this semester, whether in off season work outs or practices. Now, the players will disperse on family vacations and other holiday events.“We have open gym until the 23, it’s not required,” boys coach Ryan Wagner said. “Then we start practices back up on the 26. We play a couple of scrimmages before things get going again.”“Since we’ve been here, the kids always get better after the break,” Wagner explained. “There are 10 days of nothing but basketball. They get better and get stronger (before the season starts again.)Girls coach George Wagner said that fundamentals and conditioning are their biggest focuses after the break. While the week or so break might not seem like a long time, there are a lot of factors that can contribute to break downs when the team gets back.
“As soon as we come back, we get back to work,” George Wagner explained. “We continue to work on shooting and dribbling. We have to get ready for the hard run during this part of the season.”
This year, the Piedmont girls have scheduled scrimmages against Okarche of Class A and Mustang of Class 6A.
Those extra practices and time spent with teammates can be vital as the season progresses. As Ryan Wagner said, there are 10 days of nothing but basketball. The athletes get a chance to make their sport their one and only focus, and that singular focus now will pay big dividends come February and March. With all the talk of state and gold balls, fans have to believe that Piedmont will come back ready after their short break.
“The first week off we practice Monday through Wednesday,” wrestling coach Erik Ford said. “We work hard. These are some of our hardest practices.”
The wrestlers will get a short break for Christmas, then start back up with practices and scrimmages the following Monday through Thursday.
“We don’t want these guys to go two weeks without wrestling,” Ford explained. “It can be tough to come back after that much time off. During their break, we encourage them to go out and run and keep their feet under them.”
The basketball teams return to action on Jan. 4 against rival Deer Creek. Piedmont then travels to Bethany for the Southern Nazarene  University Tournament on Jan. 6 through 8. Bethany is about a 30 minute drive, so the Wildcats are hoping to see the stands full of blue and gold clad fans.
“We need everyone to come out and support us,” Ryan Wagner said.
The wrestling team resumes their schedule on Jan. 7 at the Cushing Invitational. They then host their first home dual of the year against Weatherford on Jan. 10. With the success that Piedmont has had early this year, there’s no reason that fans can’t come out for a dual at Collett.

Wrestlers find success at all levels over the weekend

Bryce Henry tries to flip his opponent onto his back during the Weatherford Invitational.

Piedmont made the trip to Weatherford last weekend, placing second in a field that included five schools ranked in the top 15 of classes 4A and 5A. Piedmont finished with 218 points while champion Weatherford had 222.

“If any of one of our duals swung our way, we could have won this tournament,” Coach Erik Ford said.
The Wildcats saw 11 varsity wrestlers place across all weight divisions. Aaron Hane (125 pounds) and Hunter Winkle (189 lbs.) both took home first place.
Bryce Henry (130 lbs.) took second. David Snelgrove (135 lbs.) took third.  Reece Henry (103 lbs.), Coulton Parker (112 lbs.), Shelby Miller (140 lbs.), Ryan Pyle (145 lbs.), and AJ Walker (152 lbs.) all took fourth. Brandon Gaines (119 lbs.) and Darryl Burns (160 lbs.) rounded out the Piedmont placers with both taking home sixth place finishes.
“We wrestled really well,” Ford said. “We won a lot of matches that could have swung either way. Now, we have to build on this. We’re right where we need to be.”
Piedmont beat Class 4A’s No. 6 Locus Grove by 12.5 points. While Piedmont is ranked No. 12 in Class 4A, as of press time, coaches expect them to climb once other coaches start to notice the improvements the Piedmont wrestling program has made so far this year.
Middle school wrestlers take home 20 medals at NW Classen
Piedmont’s junior high wrestlers attended the NW Classen Invitation last weekend. Six wrestlers placed first in their weight class.
Michael Lopez , Hayden Glasgow, and Thomas Cohrs finished one, two, three in the 102 pound division. Brian Jackson placed third at 78 lbs. Wyatt Lewis and Brandon Brus placed third and fourth in the 86 lbs division. Foster Davis placed fourth at 94 lbs.
Alex Cardenas took home first at 110 lbs. Jacob Tyler and Austin Campbell captured first and second in the 134 lbs. weight class. Fransisco Lopez and Jesse Coleman brought home second and third at 142 lbs.
Marshall Lybarger finished  first in the 152 lbs. class, while Brent Kerby took home third. Dryden Abla captured first at 165 lbs. Juan Guerrero took home second in the heavy weight division.
High School wrestlers who placed were Chase Biggs, second; Joey Haley, second; Brett Adams, first; and Bennett Hall, second.

Piedmont made the trip to Weatherford last weekend, placing second in a field that included five schools ranked in the top 15 of classes 4A and 5A. Piedmont finished with 218 points while champion Weatherford had 222.“If any of one of our duals swung our way, we could have won this tournament,” Coach Erik Ford said.The Wildcats saw 11 varsity wrestlers place across all weight divisions. Aaron Hane (125 pounds) and Hunter Winkle (189 lbs.) both took home first place.Bryce Henry (130 lbs.) took second. David Snelgrove (135 lbs.) took third.  Reece Henry (103 lbs.), Coulton Parker (112 lbs.), Shelby Miller (140 lbs.), Ryan Pyle (145 lbs.), and AJ Walker (152 lbs.) all took fourth. Brandon Gaines (119 lbs.) and Darryl Burns (160 lbs.) rounded out the Piedmont placers with both taking home sixth place finishes.“We wrestled really well,” Ford said. “We won a lot of matches that could have swung either way. Now, we have to build on this. We’re right where we need to be.”Piedmont beat Class 4A’s No. 6 Locus Grove by 12.5 points. While Piedmont is ranked No. 12 in Class 4A, as of press time, coaches expect them to climb once other coaches start to notice the improvements the Piedmont wrestling program has made so far this year.

Middle school wrestlers take home 20 medals at NW ClassenPiedmont’s junior high wrestlers attended the NW Classen Invitation last weekend. Six wrestlers placed first in their weight class.Michael Lopez , Hayden Glasgow, and Thomas Cohrs finished one, two, three in the 102 pound division. Brian Jackson placed third at 78 lbs. Wyatt Lewis and Brandon Brus placed third and fourth in the 86 lbs division. Foster Davis placed fourth at 94 lbs.Alex Cardenas took home first at 110 lbs. Jacob Tyler and Austin Campbell captured first and second in the 134 lbs. weight class. Fransisco Lopez and Jesse Coleman brought home second and third at 142 lbs. Marshall Lybarger finished  first in the 152 lbs. class, while Brent Kerby took home third. Dryden Abla captured first at 165 lbs. Juan Guerrero took home second in the heavy weight division.High School wrestlers who placed were Chase Biggs, second; Joey Haley, second; Brett Adams, first; and Bennett Hall, second.

Piedmont grad a part of OSU ‘Space Cowboys’

(left to right) OSU Space Cowboys: Dillon Nelson, Watonga; Chad Harland, Guymon; David Grismore, Bartlesville; Timothy Seitz, Tulsa; Zack Deck, Midland, Texas; Zach Barbeau, The Woodlands, Texas; Kristin Nevels, Claremore; Clint Reitz, Kingfisher; and Shea Fehrenbach, Piedmont.

A Piedmont graduate is among a team of Oklahoma State University students that NASA has selected to board a specialized aircraft and perform experiments the students designed for micro-gravity testing.

Shea Fehrenbach of Piedmont is one of ten undergraduate students in mechanical and aerospace engineering that have been invited to the Johnson Space Center in Houston for several days next June.  The students will conduct actual rides in the aircraft that will simulate a weightless environment, according to Kristin Nevels, team leader.

“To have the opportunity to conduct our experiments and fly ‘weightless’ like the astronauts is like a dream come true,” said Nevels, a senior from Claremore. “We’re excited to find out we’ve been selected for the program that was very competitive this year because there will be only one week of these particular flights.”

Scientists and engineers with NASA’s Microgravity University selected the OSU team, called the “Space Cowboys,” as one of just 10 teams chosen from about 75 entries, said team mentor Dr. Jamey Jacob, professor of aerospace engineering at OSU.

“It’s a terrific opportunity and a testament to our students’ ability to put together a proposal and show NASA they have the right stuff,” said Jacob, who explained that the students will test an inflatable system planned for space station deployment that could ultimately reduce the side-effects of various gravitational changes on astronauts.

“The idea is to use a rotating inflatable system to generate artificial gravity for the astronauts so they won’t experience as much bone and muscle loss as they would if they were floating in the weightlessness of the space station,” added Nevels. “Our team will be testing the inflation dynamics of the system and experiment with different rotation speeds to determine the best speed for the desired level of artificial gravity.”

Before the actual flights, their NASA schedule requires students to undergo training sessions in a high altitude chamber to help prepare them for the rides in the aircraft that has been dubbed the “Vomit Comet” due to the reaction of some passengers to the various levels of gravity they experience as the aircraft performs specific maneuvers.

The team receives no funding from NASA for their expenses. They are supported in part by the Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium, the School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology, as well as private donors.

City says hearing will have little impact on grocery store

A new Williams Food grocery store is currently under construction in Piedmont with an expected opening date of early March.

If a judge sides with 10 Piedmont citizens who have filed a law suit against the City of Piedmont it will not disrupt plans for a new Williams Foods grocery store, and if the group loses, they could have to repay the city its legal fees, mayor Mike Fina said.

A hearing is scheduled for Jan. 21 where Canadian County Judge Gary Miller will hear the citizen group’s claim that the city has unlawfully agreed to help Williams Food, Inc. build a new grocery store in Piedmont.  Fina said there is no case because the city has not yet decided on the way it will contribute $1.9 million towards construction costs and that a ruling against the city will mean very little.

“Nothing is going to change the plans to open this grocery store,” Fina said.  “I’m not worried about the lawsuit. If there was any concern whatsoever we wouldn’t move forward on the project.”

Because no final agreement on how to pay Williams has been made, Fina said there is little substance to the case.  But if the judge sides with the city, Fina said the city will go after the group of citizens in order to recoup its legal fees.

“This hasn’t been fair to our city’s tax payers to foot the (legal) bill,” Fina said.  “We have to go after that money.  But if for some reason we don’t prevail, there is nothing for them to recoup because there has been no money spent by the city on this project yet.”

City attorney David Davis did not return a request for comment, but Fina said he expects the legal fees to “be in the thousands of dollars.”

According to Phil Boevers, one of the citizens listed on the suit, and his attorney Andy Bass, the plaintiffs are confident they will win their case, but if not, they are planning to refile against what they feel are several other wrongdoings by the city.

The art of the dunk

Freshman Cameron Peters, and the rest of the Piedmont Wildcats basketball team know that the most exciting play on the court is the slam dunk.

Some say it’s the most exciting two points in sports, others know it is. What is it? The slam dunk.

When you think of basketball, one of the first images that comes to mind is the Michael Jordan “jump man” logo. The logo depicts Jordan flying towards the rim to slam one home. There are hours of video devoted to determining the “best dunk” of all time. During the NBA All-Star weekend, there is an entire event devoted to the dunk. For many, the dunk is to basketball as the Christmas tree is to Christmas.

A dunk will get people on their feet at any level, even if your team is getting dunked on. Whether your cheer is in excitement or slight pain, it’s still something fans cheer for.

Piedmont has five players who can dunk during practice, and three who can in a game. Keith Vick, Adrian Williams, and Cameron Peters can all take pride in being able to rattle the rim when it matters most.

“We encourage them to drunk at any time,” Coach Ryan Wagner said. Even during practice, Wagner encourages the guys to dunk when they can. “It can be intimidating to the other team. It’s a momentum starter and a confidence starter.”

The evidence of that momentum is everywhere. Remember back to the Noble game, Vick was able to take a pass, run the length of the floor and slam one down. A quick glance at the Noble bench was like looking at a balloon being popped. They didn’t have any fight left.

“It’s a game changer,” Vick said. “When you dunk in a big game, the crowd goes nuts and the whole game changes. Your team gets pumped up.”

Now, players can’t just wake up one day and be able to dunk a basketball. It takes a lot of hard work to learn how to approach the rim, where to jump, how to hold the ball in the air, and how to get it through the hoop without hurting yourself. All the work pays off the first time a player soars through the air and gets the crowd to their feet.

“You have to want (to do it),” Peters said. “It takes work.”

“(To dunk) you need the right technique and you have to work out in the offseason,” Vick explained. “You can’t just come in and expect to do it the first time.”

One thing that no player ever forgets is the first time they dunked in a game. For these three guys at Piedmont, it happened during their eighth grade year. Williams in a game against Deer Creek, Peters in one against Chickasa, and Vick in a game against Whittier. It’s that moment when every part of your game changes, and start going above the rim.

“A dunk, it swings the game speed,” Williams said. “You dunk and things go your way.”

Through hard work, practice, more hard work, and a little bit of luck these players have joined the club of guys who can score the most exciting two points in the sport. With every slam of the ball, every rattle of the rim; they amp up the crowd, themselves, and their teammates towards another win.

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