Archive for: September 2011
The Wildcats hadn’t won a game at Stout Field since October of 2009, but that all ended on Friday night with a 42-12 win over Western Heights. Piedmont scored early, often and quarterback Collin Bricker set a school record for touchdown completions with five.
“(Getting the win at home) mean a lot,” Coach Craig Church said. “The big thing we focused on this week was getting better. I saw the same type of game (on Friday) that I had seen all week in practice. The playmakers made plays; that’s the group I saw practice.”
Piedmont (1-2) got the ball rolling early, driving down the field for a Cassius Calhoun rushing touchdown on the opening drive of the game. The drive set the tone as the Wildcats’ frantic offensive pace caused the Jets trouble all night.
Piedmont’s defense forced a Jet fumble on the ensuing drive and set up a short field for the offense. Bricker and Christian Foster connected for a 19-yard touchdown strike and the Wildcats were off to the races.
The biggest boon for Piedmont on Friday was its balanced offensive attack and the pressure they were able to apply on defense. When Piedmont can play like this, they’re going to be tough to beat.
“We worked out the kinks (last week),” Calhoun said. Calhoun rushed for 76 yards on 11 touches. “We worked on redzone scoring, special teams and defense. Coach (Jason) Esau got a few new plays and blitzes in and I really think they worked out this week.”
Bricker would toss four other scores on the night; one to Zack Tucker, Calhoun, James Green and another to Foster. He passed for 254 yards. Brett Adams came in late in the game and complete two of three passes for 12 yards.
Foster lead the team in receiving yards with 93 on four catches. Austin Ray hauled in two passes for 49 yards.
For the first time this season, Piedmont was able to consistently pressure the opposing quarterback and they were able to keep running backs from escaping the first hit for much of the night.
Piedmont closed out their non-district schedule with a win and will travel to Elgin next week to start district play.
“We’ve talked to our guys about there being three different seasons,” Church said. “Non-district, district and playoffs. We hope that tonight’s victory will help us pick up steam. Elgin is a very good squad, every game in our district is a battle. We have to reapply focus and get into the playoff hunt. Our goal is that we want to play a playoff game in Piedmont and to do that we need to be in the top one or two in our district.”
“(Friday) was a huge boost,” Calhoun said. “We been working hard and we were finally able to get a win. Western Heights is a great team. We had a great home crowd tonight and the team really fed off of that, it feels good.”
The city of Piedmont is in the process of certifying a petition submitted Thursday that seeks to force a recall election for Ward 4 Councilman Hoss Cooley.
According to city staff, the petition contains 218 signatures with a total of 188 signatures from registered voters needed. A request for a copy of the petition by the Gazette was denied because City Attorney Tom Ferguson said it could not be released before being certified. Ferguson told city staff Friday morning that no one was allowed to view the petition until it was certified but changed his mind later in the day and said Cooley would be allowed to view the document but not have a copy.
When the Gazette asked the city if it could review the petition city staff said Ferguson said only Cooley was allowed to view the document.
Cooley stopped by city hall Friday afternoon to review the document and several recall supporters showed up expressing concern that Cooley was allowed to see the petition.
“I’m worried he is going to try and call those names on the petition to have them change their mind,” one supporter that withheld their name said. “It’s not right, he should not be allowed to see the (petition) until its certified.”
The city has 15 days to certify the names on the petition by crosschecking them with a list of registered voters from Ward 4. City Clerk Jennifer Smith said she hoped to have the petition certified by early next week and that it would then be sent to the city council for an election date to be set.
Ferguson told Smith a person could request that their name be removed up until the petition has been certified. Smith said Ferguson told her any written requests submitted over the weekend should be honored and she confirmed that at least two requests to have names removed had been submitted as of Friday.
If at least 188 signatures are certified within 15 days of the petition being submitted a recall election will be held but the earliest it could take place would be Feb. 14, 2012. Smith said she had spoken with officials at the state election board who said the deadline to file for a November election had already passed and the Oklahoma Legislature does not allow elections in December and January, making February the next available election date, which would be two months before Cooley’s council seat is up for reelection in April 2012.
The life of a fallen U.S. soldier is being honored through a scholarship program at the University of Central Oklahoma and this weekend Piedmont residents can help support that cause at a garage sale being held at city hall.
Sgt. Ryan Wood, 27, was killed in Iraq in 2007 when the vehicle he was traveling in hit an IUD explosive that had been buried in a sewer beneath the street. Four other soldiers and an Iraqi interpreter were also killed in the bomb blast.
“He had just been accepted to the University of Central Oklahoma and was going to study art and political science,” Ryan’s mother, Renee Wood-Vincent, said. “We started the art scholarship at UCO before Ryan was ever brought home.”
The Sgt. Ryan Mitchell Wood Foundation was established and money raised funds the Sgt. Ryan Wood Freedom Art Endowed Scholarship and a community service award scholarship. Various fundraisers, such as a golf tournament and garage sale, are held each year and this year the foundation is holding its garage sale in Piedmont. The garage sale will be held on Sept. 17 and 18 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Piedmont city hall, 314 Edmond Road.
Wood-Vincent, who lives in Oklahoma City, said the decision to hold the garage sale in Piedmont was made because the city provided an indoor venue. Ryan’s sister, Candice Bunce, also lives in Piedmont.
Any money spent at the garage sale will help the foundation continue towards its goal of raising $100,000, which Wood-Vincent said the foundation should hit next year.
Ryan’s mother said he had always thought about joining the army and the family has a history of military service. However, it was the events of Sept. 11, 2001, that lead Ryan to enlist.
“After 9/11 he said he had to do something,” Wood-Vincent said. “He wasn’t a pacifist but he was always about peace. But he always knew that if there was a bully you had to take a stand. He didn’t want to fight but Ryan was all about wanting to make a difference.”
Wood, a graduate of Putnam City North High School, enlisted at the age of 17. He served two tours in Iraq where his older brother was also stationed during the war.
“We were very supportive and I still would be today, even after losing Ryan,” Wood-Vincent said. “That’s where he turned into the man he became.”
Ryan’s mother says he was sympathetic to the cause of the Iraqi people and had an understanding that the enemy was a group of fanatics that did not represent the country they were fighting in.
“He understood that these were fanatical people, not representative of the Iraqi people and Muslims,” she said. “He said when you are over there you can see the good in people like you can over here.”
Today that spirit of standing up for others and making a difference is carried on through the scholarships the foundation offers. For more information about the foundation or Ryan’s life, visit the foundation’s website at www.ryanmitchellwoodfoundation.org.
The Lady Wildcats celebrated their six senior players and two senior managers on Thursday night against Guthrie and part of that celebration was a 22-2 route of the visiting Lady Bluejays.
Jamie Lowrie and Courtney Anderson shared time on the mound; Lowrie walked the first two batters and was replaced, but pitched the final inning and struck out one. Anderson pitched three innings and walked one. Piedmont allowed just four hits on the night.
Piedmont got off to a quick start, scoring four runs in the first inning. Emma Nelson, Jordan Chism, Caitlyn Deason and Hayley Baie each brought home a run in the first.
The Lady Wildcats really caught fire in the second inning and the route was on. Hannah Morris hit a pair of three-run homeruns and Deason added her own three run shot. In total, the Lady Wildcats were able to drive home 22 runs on 19 hits.
On a night where the focus was on the seniors, the six girls were able knock in at least one run a piece. Courtney Miller recorded three singles, an RBI and got on base from a fielder’s choice; Baie hit a single and brought home two runners; Morris knocked out two three run home runs; Deason hit a three-run homerun, a two run double and brought in an run; Morgan Ratlif hit two singles and brought home a run; and Haleigh McAnally hit two singles, a double and brought home a run. Between the pregame ceremony, scoring onslaught and beating the No. 15 team in Class 5A, Thursday night’s game was one the senior class won’t soon forget.
Thursday night’s contest marked the Lady Wildcat’s final regular season home game of the year. The Lady Wildcats went 4-1 at home this season and hope they can host a regional game during the playoffs. The Lady Wildcats will finish the regular season off with trips to Weatherford, Tuttle, Stillwater and Yukon.
Due to impending weather, the road work on Piedmont Road between Edmond and Arrowhead Roads that was originally scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 15 at 10 p.m. has been canceled. More information will be forthcoming as this necessary road work is rescheduled.
City of Piedmont
The city has said a new school under construction on 164th Street cannot link to the nearest sewer line because the line is near capacity and in poor condition, but the school district has offered to help the city pay for a new sewer line in hopes it can use it.
In June city and school district official met to discuss the new intermediate school that is currently under construction and Piedmont engineers told the district the new school could not tap into an east flowing sewer line that is located behind the new school. Instead, the district was told a lift station would need to be built to pump sewage to lagoons to the west.
“(The sewer line) needs to be replaced,” Piedmont Engineer Ellen Stevens said at the meeting. “If the (line) was a new 12-inch PVC pipe…this wouldn’t be an issue.”
District officials say the new school will cost close to $14 million to construct and building a lift station would cost an additional $92,000, plus maintenance. Rather than spend the extra money on the lift station the school board voted this week to offer the city $90,000 to help pay for a new sewer line, which the district estimates is nearly half of the total cost.
“It will benefit everyone in that area and we won’t have a lift station to maintain,” Superintendent James White said. “The city is going to have to upgrade that line anyways.”
During previous meetings the district has asked the city to provide an estimate for the cost to replace the line. However, White said the city has not named a price and that school district engineers estimated the total based on the price per feet for 12-inch PVC pipe.
According to the proposal approved by the school board, the school district would refund the city $90,000 within 30 days of the sewer line’s completion. White said the board voted on the issue in an effort to get the proposal before the city council at its next meeting because council approval is necessary to approve the agreement.
“Early October is the latest it needs to be approved,” White said. “That’s the point when we would have to know if we need a lift station or not.”
The intermediate school, which will house the district’s fifth- and sixth-grade students, is currently under construction. A recent construction update reports that the building should be complete by July 27, 2012, in plenty of time for the 2012-13 school year.
Muller spent some time recently exploring the world of small town newspapers and said they are an example of journalism success in an era when many have already pronounced he death of newspapers.
“At a time when mainstream news media are hemorrhaging and doomsayers are predicting the death of journalism (at least as we’ve known it), take heart: The free press is alive and well in small towns across America, thanks to the editors of thousands of weeklies who, for very little money and a fair amount of aggravation, keep on telling it like it is,” Muller said.
Muller does a good job exploring the challenge many small newspapers have when it comes to covering a beat where many editors are neighbors, or at least closely work with those they are required to hold accountable. It’s easy for a daily newspaper reporter to slam the mayor of a small town or school district superintendent, but for small newspaper editors like me, you want to be careful not to burn bridges while also practicing good journalism.
Muller also identifies the reason many small town newspapers are thriving, which is they are hyper-local, publishing stories readers can only find in the weekly newspaper. However, local news is personal news. Local business, schools and crimes are extremely personal issues to many people and its not uncommon for readers to respond passionately to the issues they read. Take for example the Williams Foods grocery store issue, which is only news in Piedmont. The story has been an important one for about a year as it deals with millions in taxpayer money, but many readers have made the issue extremely personal because it deals with their neighbors, family members and the future prosperity of their town.
But for all the challenges our industry faces, and we do face many, there does seem to be hope in many places, including the small town newspaper, where many of the founding pillars of journalism still live.
“I wouldn’t be so bold as to predict the future, not in a media landscape that is constantly shifting,” Muller said. “But when we engage in these discussions about how to “monetize” journalism, it’s refreshing to remember a different kind of bottom line, one that lives in the hearts of weekly newspaper editors and reporters who keep churning out news for the corniest of reasons — because their readers depend on it.”