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Archive for: January 2011

City sees need for better snow removal

When snow and ice hit the Piedmont area it can highlight the city’s need for better snow removal equipment but city manager Clark Williams said budget cuts have limited what the city can purchase.

“We do need snow and ice removal equipment,” Williams said.  “We did plan to purchase a truck mountable snow plow but had to take out of budget in order not to lay off personnel this last year.”

Williams said the city is currently looking into the possibility of purchasing a used mountable snow plow with increased revenue from recent sales tax receipts but the city has to make sure other departments and operations are adequately funded first.

When snow and ice has been a problem in the past the city has hired private plowing companies and last year was helped out during the storm by Tim Kudron who owns a local concrete company.  Canadian County crews will also assist with some snow removal.

The city owns a sand spreader which is capable of spreading three tons of sand per load and can be attached to a truck, but Williams said it is important for the city to someday increase the amount of snow removal equipment it has.

“At present we just do not have the budget for additional equipment,” Williams said, “but this is a high priority if available.”

Fire Dept. reports no weather-related accidents this morning

According to Piedmont fire chief Andy Logan, there have been no weather-related accidents in Piedmont that have required emergency assistance as of Monday morning, but residents are asked to be extra careful on local streets, especially around emergency vehicles.

“We ask that in weather like this people pay extra attention with an emergency vehicle driving by,” Logan said.  “Not only are we trying to get to an emergency but we have to maneuver the same driving conditions as everyone else.”

While there weren’t any weather related accidents as of Monday morning, Logan said the fire department is working to protect its equipment with temperatures dropping below freezing.

“Trucks carry water and we have to make sure that water doesn’t freeze,” Logan said.  “We have to make sure the trucks are not out any longer than they have to be and that the water is circulating even when we don’t have to use it.”

Piedmont bounces back with win over Harrah

Friday was a tough night for the Piedmont boys, but a bounce back day on Saturday got everything back on track.

The Wildcats’ game on Friday against Class 4A No. 6 Tecumseh went back and forth for the entire first half. After the slow start against Elgin on Thursday, Piedmont came out with a commitment to rebounding that easily kept them in the game. The Savages’ out shot Piedmont from the perimeter in the first half. Again, Piedmont came out flat in the third quarter. Tecumseh stretched the lead to six going into the fourth. The Wildcats began to unravel early in the fourth, and would lose 62-44.

Class 4A No. 14 Harrah was up next on Saturday, and Piedmont’s reserves saw a lot of playing time. Freshman Adrian WIlliams started in place of Keith Vick, and continued to have a really good tournament. Piedmont would only score six points in the first, and four of those came at the free throw line. However, Piedmont’s defense continued to show that it is a real strength as they limited the Panthers to 13. John Stephens scored the quarter’s only field goal.

Piedmont halted their third quarter woes on Saturday, outscoring Harrah 14-11.

After trailing for most of the game, a Vick put back at the 5:17 mark gave the Wildcats the lead for good. Harrah brought the game within one in the final minute, but an excellent defensive effort by Stephens forced a Panther turnover. The Wildcats would win 41-40.

“Jimmy (Guerra) was our most valuable player for the tournament,” Coach Ryan Wagner said. Guerra scored five against Harrah and Tecumseh. His real impact came on the defensive side of the ball, where his enjoy helped force numerous turnovers and miscues by opposing offenses. “This whole tournament was big for us. We didn’t come out inspired against Elgin, we quit (in the fourth) against Tecumseh, and the way we came back in the third (against Harrah) was  huge.

“We played a lot of guys (against Harrah) that haven’t played much this year and they did a great job. Connor McFall in the post played really well.”

The Lady Wildcats will play again at Western Heights on Jan. 14, as last Tuesday’s game against Carl Albert is being rescheduled.

Lady Cats stumble in Bethany

Davie Owen

The Lady Wildcats saw its undefeated streak come to an end on Friday and then stumbled again on Saturday in the SNU/Bethany Tournament.

Friday’s game against Millwood was a tough one for Piedmont. The Lady Wildcats would fall 45-21 to the Lady Falcons but played quality defense throughout the contest. Piedmont just couldn’t sink shots on the offensive side of the ball and was limited to just four points in the first and third quarters.  The Lady Falcons are one of the favorites to win Class 2A.

Saturday’s third place contest against Class 4A No. 17 Bethany saw Piedmont hang close for the entire game, but each time they would get within a possession the Lady Bronchos would pull away. The Lady Wildcats were plagued by turnovers through out, disrupting any rhythm the girls may have been building. Between traveling calls and trying to adjust to Bethany’s zone, it was a tough game all around for Piedmont.

Piedmont would come within one point at the end of the third quarter thanks to a Miesha Stevenson lay up, but the Lady Wildcats wouldn’t score again until half way through the final frame. Sarah Parker would score eight of her team high 14 points in the fourth quarter. Piedmont fell to the Lady Bronchos 51-43.

“We have to learn that no matter how far we get down we have to stay together,” Kylie Boggess said. Boggess was a force on the defensive side of the ball through out the tournament. “We have to get that groove back.”

Despite all the negatives surrounding back-to-back losses, Piedmont can still take a lot away from the Southern Nazarene tournament. Keeping the game close against Bethany and continuing to fight hard against Millwood should contribute to the long term success of the team. Last weekend’s tournament was the team’s first time to face adversity, and they handled well despite the final result. Continuing to play tough defense from start to finish, no matter the score, was also a good sign.

The Lady Wildcats will play again at Western Heights on Jan. 14, as last Tuesday’s game against Carl Albert is being rescheduled.

Barresi to speak at chamber banquet

The Piedmont Chamber of Commerce has announced new State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Dr. Janet Barresi, will be the guest speaker during the chamber’s annual banquet on Jan. 22.

The banquet will take place at 7 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Piedmont.  Tickets can be purchased for $25 in advance at the chamber office, or for $30 at the door.  The chamber office is open Mon.-Thur. from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Reserved corporate tables can be purchased for $200.

Entertainment will be provided by the Piedmont Percussion Project.

For more information contact Paisley Hokins at (405) 373-2234 of e-mail at piedmontokchamber@gmail.com

Kiwanis club hosting pancake breakfast

The Piedmont Kiwanis Club will once again be serving up pancakes and sausage, biscuit and gravy as a fundraiser to help raise money for the organizations various service projects.

The breakfast will take place on Jan. 22 inside the Piedmont Elementary School cafeteria.  The breakfast will begin at 7 a.m. and last until 1 p.m.

Ticket prices are $6 for adults and $3 for children aged three- to 11-years-old.  Adults can purchase tickets for $5 if they do so in advance from a Kiwanis member.  Children aged two or younger are free.  The breakfast is all-you-can-eat.

Profits from the Pancake Breakfast help provide funding for the club’s various service projects to benefit kids, including Terrific Kids awards at local elementary schools, college scholarships for high school seniors, sponsorship of the Builders Club at the Middle School of Piedmont and the Key Club at Piedmont High School.

For more information, contact Pat Hornblower, Kiwanis Club President, at (405) 373-1281.

Candidate Profile: Dr. Tamra States

Dr. Tamra States has been a practicing chiropractor for 26 years and has owned her own practice in Piedmont for four years. States said she is hoping to use her business experience as a member of the Piedmont school board.

For 26 years Dr. Tamra States has been a licensed chiropractor, operating her own practice in Piedmont for four years, and now she is looking to take that experience of helping others and running a business to the Piedmont School Board.

States is one of two candidates running for school board seat No. 1, currently held by candidate Stanley Nance.  States is a big believer in the school district, so much in fact that she is one of hundreds of families who have relocated to Piedmont because of the schools.  As a mother of three children — one in grade school, one in middle school and another in high school— States says she is looking to make the “best even better.”

“I think we are a progressive district, we look forward and are a leader in the state,” States said.  “I want to be a part of that.”

States said she had first considered running for the school board two years earlier.  With a line of family members who had previously severed in similar roles in other communities, States felt it was time to follow in their footsteps.  However, as she continued to try and build her business, Piedmont  Chiropratice, she didn’t feel she could pay enough attention to her potential duties on the board.  Two years later, States said she has her business up and running to the point where she can give the attention a position on the school board would require.

“In running a business you have to pay close attention to issues like accountability, budgets and expecting the most out of each dollar,” States said.  “Those are important characteristics to have as a member of the school board.”

States is hoping to utilize her business experience if elected to the board but also understands she will face a learning curve if elected.  That is why States said she is committed to learning as fast as she can and continuing to grow in her understanding of the school district and the board’s role in helping create a better future.

“We are required to have 15 hours a year (of training) and I plan to get those (hours) immediately,” States said.  “As quickly as they are offered I plan to take the necessary training.  I also plan to lean on my relationships with those who are on the board.”

States admits she would have a lot to learn about serving on the school board, but that doesn’t mean she is running for office without specific issues she would like to address.  States said she doesn’t have many complaints about the district and isn’t running because she sees a need for significant change, but would like to focus on three key areas if elected.

The first area of focus for States is fiscal responsibility.

Dr. Tamra States has been a practicing chiropractor for 26 years and has owned her own practice in Piedmont for four years. States said she is hoping to use her business experience as a member of the Piedmont school board.

“We are in a weaker financial time, yet Piedmont is still growing,” States said.  “We have to get the most bang for our buck and be accountable for every single dollar that is spent.  We have to evaluate everything.”

Issue number two for States is paying close attention to planning and construction of new buildings as the district continues to grow.

“We have to analyze where these buildings are going to be built and (make) sure it’s the most cost effective place,” States said.  “Maybe there is (cheaper) land somewhere but you are having to bus children a long distance, which might not ultimately be the most cost effective.  We have to see the big picture on the growth and our buildings.”

Finally, States said she would like to evaluate current programs offered by the district for students.  States said she has children who have benefited greatly from many of the district’s education and athletic programs, and she would like to see if the district can continue to expand what is offered to students.

“We need to see if there is a need for new programs and look at current programs we do have,” States said.  “There is nothing right now that I see that needs to be cut but we could probably offer even more.”

As States campaigns for office, the three areas of finances, buildings and programs are serving as her foundation.  However, she is also interested in developing ways to improve teacher performance and, if elected, would like to create programs to encourage stronger teacher accountability.

“I want to see us implement programs that will recognize the excellent teachers and rewards them,” States said.  “I also (want to) recognize the weaker teachers, not kick them to the street, but let’s develop some coaching programs to bring them up.”

States said she sees a similar goal being set by the incoming state superintendent and would like to see the Piedmont school district work closely with the new state superintendent as she implements new programs for Oklahoma.

States sees her ideas for improvement as ways to make a strong school district even stronger.  She has aspirations of serving in a position that makes a difference in the community and feels her experience could benefit the school board.

“I think maybe it’s time for a new voice (on the) school board,” States said.  “I am looking to strengthen what needs strengthened and to those things that are working well, I want to continue to let them work.”

*This story is a part of a series of articles taking a closer look at the five candidates running for the Piedmont school board.  The election will take place on Feb. 8 and voters will be asked to fill two school board seats.  This article first appeared in print in the Piedmont-Surrey Gazette on Jan. 6.

Piedmont teams advance to second round at Bethany

Collin Bricker scored five points in Piedmont's win in the opening round of the SNU Tournament.

Piedmont’s basketball teams are spending much of their time in Bethany over the next few days, and thanks to a pair of victories on Thursday, both teams are advancing to the second round.

The Lady Wildcats started the day off at Southern Nazarene University against Elgin. Piedmont came out flat in the first quarter, only scoring five points. Luckily, Elgin was having the same offensive problems and scored just six.

“It wasn’t what we ran,” Assistant Coach Jeff Robinson said, “but the way we played. We came out flat.”

Despite five lead changes in the second quarter, Piedmont was still having trouble on the offensive side of the ball. A solid effort defending the paint and the perimeter helped the Lady Wildcats take the lead 30 seconds before halftime. Sarah Parker scored all of her team high seven points in the first half.

“We have to come out and play hard every night (or you can get beat),” Robinson said. “In Class 4A there are four or five teams above the rest. We’re close, but we’re not elite yet.

Defense was the name of the game in second half. There were four lead changes and more ties in the third quarter. Break downs along the perimeter allowed the Lady Owls chances to stay in the game.

Sarah Parker had 7 points.

While the Lady Wildcats had struggles offensively, they were eventually able to grab the win on the defensive end. It’s best illustrated by Kylie Boggess, who had just five points against Elgin but was blocked two crucial shots down the stretch. Leading by three with under five seconds left, Miesha Stevenson came up with the game winning steal to give Piedmont a 28-25 victory.

“Coach (George) Wagner said it best in the locker room after the game, it’s pretty good when you can play your worst game of the year and still win the game,” Robinson said.

Boys overcome difficult third quarter to beat Owls

Piedmont came out firing on all cylinders on Thursday. A combination of great ball movement and rebounding helped the Wildcats build a seven point lead at the end of the first quarter. Freshman Adrian Williams put in a lot of quality minutes in the paint for the Wildcats, scoring four in the first frame.

The lead grew to eight in the second quarter before an Elgin scoring outburst tied the game at 26. Elgin connected on back to back threes near the two minute mark, forcing Piedmont to call a time out. A late bucket by James Green gave Piedmont a 28-26 halftime lead.

Jimmy Guerra scored 15 points.

Piedmont’s third quarter is one they would soon like to put behind them. They came out slow and traded scores with the Owls before Elgin took the lead around the three minute mark and refused to let go. Piedmont was outscored15-10 in the third quarter.

“We have to do a better job of listening to our coaches,” Jimmy Guerra said. “They give us everything we need, we just have to execute. We can’t go out flat (like we did) because it will cost us games.”

Guerra scored eight of his 15 points in the second half. He helped spark a rally that eventually saw a pair of Keith Vick free throws give Piedmont the lead for good. John Stephens would make a crucial lay up and Guerra would put the game out of reach with two free throws with about 40 seconds left to put the game out of reach. Stephens ended the game by taking a stolen ball down the court for a victorious slam dunk, as the Wildcats win 54-48.

“We have to get up for every game, every game has an impact,” Guerra said. “We have to bring it every day if we want (to reach our goals.)”

The Piedmont girls will play tomorrow at 4 p.m. against the winner of the Millwood/Plainview game. The boys will play at 5:30 p.m. against winner of Plainview/Tecumseh.

City applies for grant, talks downtown

City leaders are hoping to put more of an emphasis on preserving and growing Piedmont’s historic downtown and a recently submitted application for a transportation grant may be the start of funds that help the city revitalize a two block area along Monroe Ave.

Last month, the city council approved an application for a transportation grant through the Oklahoma Department of Transportation.  If approved, Piedmont would be required to match up to 20 percent of awarded funds which will be used for sidewalks, landscaping and bike lanes along Monroe Ave. in the old downtown area.

According to city manager Clark Williams, this particular transportation grant occurs every two years and the main thing ODOT is looking for are projects that will amplify something that is transportation

related but not specifically roads.

“Based on my experience we might be fortunate if we get $100,000 but you just don’t know,” Williams told the council during last month’s meeting.  “During P3 there was a focus on downtown and one of the line items was to make it a destination point.  Applying for this grant is a part of that.”

While there is no guarantee the city will be awarded the grant, and even if approved it will be a small amount of funds, the process of applying shows a desire by the council to focus on the downtown area and the controversy that may include.

During the council’s meeting, councilman Vernon Woods said he was not against improving downtown but did not feel it was a priority for citizens.

“This isn’t what Piedmont wants, we want roads,” Woods said during the meeting.  “If we do get (the grant) we are going to be committing (money) to something people don’t want.  You are just talking about two blocks.”

Councilman Larry Gage said he understood Woods’ skepticism, but believed investing in downtown was one way to help the city ultimately build a higher stream of revenue for projects like roads.

“Long-term wise I think we have to do something with downtown to compete in the future,” Gage said.  “The way our budget works is we get revenue from sales tax, we need to put things downtown.  We have got to focus on how to get something here to attract those businesses to come here.”

Gage said he was someone who was originally against Oklahoma City’s push to revitalize its downtown, but now sees the success it has had in bringing in new business.  While a revitalized downtown Piedmont would look nothing like Oklahoma City, Gage felt there was a lesson to learn and said he could see a revitalization effort in Piedmont as a way to attract new business.

Mayor Mike Fina also said he felt focusing on downtown Piedmont was important, not only for business but to help the city preserve its past.

“I agree that the number one requested is roads, but I think trails and (sidewalks) is closely behind,” Fina said.  “That downtown area is the last drop of history that this city has, and if it deteriorates…we lose every bit of history.  We have been horrible about preserving things in Piedmont.  For the sake of the future of this city, you have to invest money in these areas if you want to preserve.”

The grant application is a small step for the city in revitalizing its downtown, but the council agreed it was necessary in order to someday bring major improvements to the area and hopefully attract new business.

Piedmont edges Deer Creek for 63-57 win

Collin Bricker scored nine points in Piedmont's win over Deer Creek.

It’s been a while since Piedmont beat rival Deer Creek in the welcome confines of Collett Fieldhouse. On Tuesday night, that dry spell officially came to an end with a 63-57 win.

Piedmont’s biggest fear coming into the game was starting flat as had been the case earlier i nthe season against Cushing and Victory Christian.  Facing Class 5A No. 17 Deer Creek, Piedmont used a strong start to set the tone.

“Our intensity at the start of the game sets the tone,” Coach Ryan Wagner said. “We need to start fast. We tell our players that every practice, they just have to go do it. Tonight, they did.”

Piedmont started by driving the lane and trying to expose the Deer Creek interior. Keith Vick scored the game’s first five points at the free throw line because of that aggressive offense. Add in John Stephens’ creating contact to get to the line, and fans knew Piedmont had come to play on Tuesday. Piedmont raced out to a 19-10 first quarter lead.

As Deer Creek’s interior crept closer to foul trouble, Piedmont was able to further their advantage by dominating the rebounding battle. Deer Creek would fight back to a single digit deficit before a Jimmy Guerra last second three took the Wildcats into the locker room with a 35-23 lead.

The third quarter was all Deer Creek, with the Antlers even taking the lead at the 2:54 mark. Again, Guerra would step up and hit a crucial three to put the Wildcats back on top before the end of the third. Vick rode the bench for much of the third quarter due to foul trouble.

Piedmont and Deer Creek went back and fourth for much of the final frame, but the final nail came as Collin Bricker hit one of the biggest threes of the game, bringing a road from the Piedmont crowd.

With the Antlers fouling down the stretch, Piedmont would hit six free throws in the final quarter to seal the win.

Keith Vick jumped into the student section after Piedmont's win over Deer Creek. Vick scored 20 points in the game.

“This is the first time I’ve beat them in our gym,” senior Keith Vick said. Vick finished with 20 points. “But we can’t dwell on this win, we have bigger goals than just beating Deer Creek. I have total trust in my teammates. (When I was on the bench in the third) it was hard to watch, but I never had a doubt that we would win this.”

“Jimmy came up huge for us tonight, with those threes and he was great on the defensive end,” Wagner said. “Blake Robinson came off the bench and gave us great minutes. Jacob Swigart had a great game, Keith was Keith, and John got in there and did his job as a defensive stopper. We came in and executed everything we wanted to execute.”

Junior Varsity remains undefeated

Before the varsity played, the junior varsity played and remained undefeated on the season with a win..

“Tanner Larson, Jacob Maloney, and Adrian Williams played really well for us tonight,” Wagner said. “These guys go hard every day in practice and push our starters to be better. They really challenge each other and it makes us better.”

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